I visited Iceland in February 2014 as a solo traveler and from the moment I got there I knew I’d be back. Fast forward to July 2016 and that dream became a reality. This time I had a travel buddy (my lovely fiance) and because Iceland has a reputation for being a little on the pricey side we decided to give ourselves all the freedom in the world and camp as we made our way around the ring road.
We flew into Keflavik and excitedly I could see the Blue Lagoon as we flew over it. We were here!! After a couple of days in Reykjavik we picked up our hire car from ProCar rental and we were on our way. The reviews online are pretty bad of this company so we were a little wary however we had no problems with them at all and would recommend. I had previously rented with Sad Cars and while their cars are genuinely sad, they were fine too. The best thing about going in Summer is endless daylight and you can just keep driving.
DAY ONE You can go either way around the circle route, and I based it depending on weather. We drove North via the Golden Circle to see the obligatory Geysirs and Gullfoss waterfall (a little overrated in my opinion as it’s so windy and the spray coming from the waterfall makes it hard to get decent shots) then made a detour off the ring road on our way up to the campsite closest to Kirkjufellsfoss as this is where I wanted to take sunset photos. This place is incredible!!!! A must see, but keep your eyes peeled as the first time I went here I missed it. The campsite in Grundarfjörður was easy to find and 5 minutes drive away from the falls. Perfect. Set up camp and they came around collecting money for the campsite at around 10pm but we were off photographing by this time. Campsite has toilets but no showers. Great location though so I would recommend it. And that view.
DAY TWO The following morning we were tired and cold after not having slept well (whose idea was it to camp again?!) and we made our way back to the 1 road destination: Akureyri. I wanted to get this long drive out of the way so we would have a short drive the following day and it was worth it. Arrived in Akureyri with gorgeous sunshine and decided to celebrate the Summer solstice with a whale watching tour. We found a whale within about 45 minutes which was awesome but we followed him around for an hour and then headed back in. By this time it was getting late but the sun was still glowing a bright yellow and too beautiful to go to bed. We found some horses and photographed them instead, then headed to our campsite. The campsite we stayed at was Hamrar and it was beautifully surrounded by mountains and easily accessible by car. Good toilets and showers (male/female) and quite peaceful. Also there was a common room with a small kitchen and plugs for charging batteries etc and a washer and dryer.
DAY THREE From Akureyri we drove to the Myvatn area and stayed at the Vogahraun camping. We ate pizza at the little pizza place next door and watched Iceland play in the Euro world cup. Winning. Then we went to Myvatn’s version of the Blue Lagoon which was just as great, and then climbed to the top of the Hverfjall crater (which was surprisingly easy). Myvatn has lots of things to do and see here like Hverir so it’s worth spending some time there. The Dettifoss waterfall is also relatively close by too.
DAY FOUR Another long driving day took us all around the East and then South to Svinafell camping grounds via the famous Jokulsarlon Lagoon. This place absolutely blew me away. I knew it was meant to be pretty special but it’s somewhere you have to see for yourself. We went in the late afternoon and I decided I wanted to come back for sunset…at midnight. I wasn’t the only one there when I drove back the 45 minutes from Svinafell too (this was the closest camping I could find, you can also stay in Hofn too). Many other photographers were out snapping away when I got there, but unfortunately we had no sun at all due to cloud cover. It was still a surreal experience and very enjoyable. I love hearing the sound of the popping of the ice and then watching it break free and woosh down towards the beach just beyond the lagoon.
DAY FIVE From Svinafell you have all of Skaftafell National Park to explore and you can climb up to see Svartifoss waterfall like we did or explore the glacier.
From here you can drive around to Vik and explore the beautiful black sand beach and maybe even see a puffin! Plenty of things to stop and see along the way depending on how much time you have.
Skogafoss is ALWAYS worth seeing and getting drenched in front of. It was pouring with rain while we were here, and although you can camp here we decided to push on and camp at the next waterfall, Sejalandsfoss.
Our last night of camping was pretty windy and squally and not a lot of sleep was had. But sometimes these things happen and when I look back on it now it is quite funny. Camping our way around Iceland was very memorable and made it so much easier to stay close to the things I wanted to photograph.
DAY SIX We drove back to return the rental car and say our goodbyes to Iceland. There are still places I didn’t get great weather in and others I just didn’t have time to visit so no doubt, I’ll be back…again. It’s a photographers paradise after all. Maybe I’ll get lucky next time and coincide my trip with a volcanic eruption. Have you been? Where would you recommend to go?