The Perfect 8 Day Iceland Road Trip
Outlined below is a sample itinerary for an 8 day trip around the Ring Road using the Iceland Camping Card. At a low rate of 150 euros (valid for 2 campers), this card with save you TONS time and money along the way! The campsites listed are just suggestions. Part of the beauty of an Iceland road trip is all the beautiful, lesser known surprises along the way!
ICELAND ROADTRIP – 8 DAY ITINERARY
DAY 1 – Reykjavik: Arrival, Sightseeing, and Road Trip Prep
Most international flights arrive into Reykjavik in the early morning. Take some time to get your rental car sorted before heading into the city.
Since you will most likely not be able to check into your hotel yet, head over to Hallgrimskirkja. The largest church in Iceland, and one of Reykjavik’s top attractions, it also has the added bonus of free parking! Head up to the top for a beautiful view of the city.
Make your way through the town and check out one of the many lunch spots that Reykjavik has to offer. While traveling I find that it is budget friendly to eat out for lunch rather than dinner, taking advantage of all the great lunch specials! Don’t forget to pop into some of the awesome shops along the way! Definitely spend some time wandering through the beautiful streets.
4. Iceland Phallological Museum (Laugavegur 116, 105 Reykjavik)
Although you may not find this museum on most “must-see” lists, this penis focuses museum is sure to give you a laugh. This museum boasts a collection of more than two hundred and fifteen penises and penile parts!
You’ll notice quickly that Iceland is quite expensive! Head over to one of the local supermarkets to pick up food for your trip, otherwise you may find yourself living off of gas station hot dogs for the week. Click here for some great road trip snack ideas to stay healthy while on the road!
6. Dinner, Check in, and a Power Nap
If you are looking to save money you can head back to your hotel/hostel and cook up some of the groceries that you just purchased. While I am usually a strong advocator for eating local, I will admit that I was not too thrilled by the Icelandic cuisine. If you are looking for a decently priced dinner spot, head over to Hraðlestin. This restaurant serves up some tasty Indian dishes without breaking the bank. A long day of exploring following a night of travel had us pretty wiped out. We went the take out Indian and a power nap route to recharge for our evening adventures.
7. Blue Lagoon
One great aspect of traveling to Iceland during the summer months is the never ending days! Throughout our 9 day trip we never saw a fully dark sky. We took advantage of this by booking a 10pm reservation at the Blue Lagoon. Although this is the type of touristy, pricey attraction that I would typically opt to avoid, I would advice against skipping this one if you have the cash to spare. Definitely book online ahead of time to secure a reservation!
8. Sunset and the Sun Voyager
Prepare to feel a bit disoriented by the continuous light! After a long soak in the lagoon and a nice shower, when we finally headed back to the city around midnight the sun was only just beginning to set. If you have the energy this is the perfect time to check out the Sun Voyager sculpture!
ICELAND ROADTRIP – WHERE TO STAY:
You will most likely want to spend your first night at a hotel or hostel. Make sure to book this as early as possible because accommodation fills up very quickly. Summer hostel prices start at around $40/bed, while hotels are typically $150+/double room.
Day 2 – Reykjavik to Vik
1. Seljalandfoss Waterfall
Located about an hour and a half outside of Reykjavik, Seljalandfoss is one of the most amazing waterfalls in Iceland. Make sure to walk up behind the waterfall for some incredible views!
2. Seljavallalaug Pool
Approximately 20-30 minutes up to road you will arrive at the Seljavallalaug pool parking lot. Grab your bathing suit and head up the right! After about 10 minutes you will come to a free, naturally heated pool in the middle of nowhere.
3. Skogafoss Waterfall
One of the bigger waterfalls in Iceland, Skogafoss is definitely worth a visit. Hike up to the top for the waterfall for some cool aerial views. If you have the time there are also some great hiking trails located above the waterfall.
4. Solheimajokull Glacier
Located right outside of Vik, Solheimajokull glacier offers guided ice hikes (at a rather steep price). Unfortunately we didn’t have the time or budget for a guided hike, so instead we simply walked around the base of the glacier on our own.
5. Check in: Vik i Myrdal (https://campingcard.is/vik-i-myrdal/)
Check in to your first campsite and spend some time setting up camp. This campsite does get quite busy so try not to arrive too late in order to ensure a spot. If you opted for one of the camper vans that you can simply pull up and you’re ready to go!
6. Black Beach
Directly across the street from the campsite you’ll find the Black Beach. Although I was admittedly not too impressed, it doesn’t hurt to take a quick peek. Additionally, you will also find a gas station and two restaurants located next to the beach.
An impressive view, with an even more beautiful ride up, make sure to head over to Dyrholaey around sunset!
Day 3 – Vik to Hofn
1. Solheimasandur Plane Crash
Located 15 minutes from Vik, this site is a must-see. We had originally planned on seeing the crash site on Day 2 since it is actually on the way to Vik, however we simply did not have the time. It is important to note that you can no longer drive to the site, but rather you are required to park in the lot and walk approximately one hour (each way) to the crash site.
2. Fjaorargljafur Canyon
After leaving the crash site you will drive for about an hour before arriving at Fjaorargljafur Canyon. Take some time to hike around and explore. Weather permitting, take advantage of one of the picnic tables for a scenic picnic lunch.
3. Jokulsarlon lagoon
Many tour companies offer a series of boat cruises around the lagoon. Once again we opted to skip the tour and simply wandered around the perimeter of Jokulsarlon lagoon for some awesome views.
4. Check in: Hofn Camping and Dinner Hafnarbraut 52 (1.500 kr/ tent)
Although not included in the camping card, I recommend to spend the night in Hofn, a quaint fishing village serving up amazing seafood! The campsite has hot showers (fees apply) and a great cooking area. Make sure to also take advantage of the nice, big supermarket here!
Day 4 – Hofn to Fjalladyrd
1. Town of Seydisfjordur
Seydisfjordur is a cute fishing village in the East Fjords. If you’re looking for a nice meal check out Nord Austur for some great sushi. Make sure to stop right above the town for some breathtaking views!
2. Check in: Fjalladyrd (https://campingcard.is/fjalladyrd/)
Although we were little wary driving out to this campsite in the middle of nowhere, it was probably my favorite sit! There is a cozy, heated lodge and a pet goat on the grounds!
Day 5 – Fjalladyrd to Heiðarbær
1. Dettifoss waterfalls
Dettifoss claims the title as the most powerful waterfall in Europe. Awesome to see a waterfall with such power, however I admit it is a bit terrifying as there are no ropes or chains!
Forget the grassy greens and rolling hills, you will instantly feel like you are walking on the moon the minute that you step out of your car! Leirhnjukur is a site not to be missed!
3. Red flats of Hverir
If you can stand the overwhelming sulfur smell, the geothermal grounds of Hverir are worth a quick stop. Beware though, this is a major tourist stop so you will need to avoid the tour bus hoards!
4. Myvatn Nature Baths (Jardbodin vid Myvatn)
This is essentially a smaller, cheaper Blue Lagoon. If you’re a student make sure to bring some ID because they give a nice discount!
5. Check in: Heidarbaer (https://campingcard.is/heidarbaer/)
DAY 6 – Heiðarbær to Hvammstangi
1. Whale Watching
Located just 10 minutes away from the campsite, Husavik is the perfect place to head out on a whale watching tour. We did a tour with the Gentle Giants and we were not disappointed. We were fortunate enough to see multiple humpback whales while on the tour. For lunch you can find some deliciously fresh fish and chips right on the water.
2. Godafoss Waterfall
Although you may be sick of waterfalls at this point, Godafoss is probably my favorite one of them all (although it is difficult to choose!)
3. Check in: Hvammstangi (http://campingcard.is/hvammstangi/)
DAY 7 – Hvammstangi to Skjol
1. Dragneses Hot Tubs
Head up in the direction of the West Fjords towards Dragneses. Here you will find a rather deserted town with some interesting hot tubs on the beach (because why not?). We originally intended on making is all the way to the town of Isafjodur, however we simply did not have the time. If you have the time to add an extra day in then I highly recommend it as many fellow travelers mention it as a highlight.
2. Scenic Drive
After your hot tub dip so driving in the direction of Skjol campgrounds. This will be one of your heaviest driving days with less designated stopping points, however you will pass hundreds of photographic spots!
3. Check in: Skjol (http://campingcard.is/skjol/)
Check in and set up camp before heading over to the bar and restaurant for some pizza and beers! If you are interested in a horseback riding tour this can be booked with the assistance of the campground staff.
DAY 8 – Skjol to Reykjavik
1. Gullfoss Waterfall
Only 5 minutes up the road from the campsite, Gullfoss will be your first stop for the day. While these last couple sites are all beautiful you will quickly find that they are extremely packed with tourists as they are part of the famous Golden Circle.
Make sure to stick around until the Geyser erupts for some awesome views!
3. Þingvellir National Park
Personally I was a bit disappointed by this park as I was given some misinformation about the nature of the tectonic plates. That being said the park has been designated a UNESCO Heritage Site and has some unique geological features. Definitely a nice place to stop for a quick hike!
4. Check in: Reykjavik Accommodation
This is your final stop in what was hopefully an amazing trip through Iceland! If you have any money left in your budget treat yourself to a nice meal and a drink at one of Reykjavik’s many bars. If you are fortunate enough to be in the city on a weekend then definitely make sure to check out Reykjavik’s awesome night life!
Another option for saving money would be to return to the Skjol campsite for a second night. Located only 45 minutes outside of Reykjavik you will have no problem getting to the airport in the morning!
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