Driving the ring road was one of the coolest travel experiences I have ever done. Iceland has a unique accessibility to nature that I think is hard to find in the rest of the world. 

That being said, planning for Iceland is overwhelming. Especially, if you are driving the ring road. There are a million things to see in Iceland so it is so hard to pick and choose what you want to see and what you can skip. That's where I come in... 

P.S. If you are only spending a couple days in Iceland and are focusing on Reykjavik and the golden circle check out this article.

So first things first. This guide is long. EXTREMELY LONG. But, I am going to give to try and give you tons of information that will make your trip that much smoother. Included in this guide is:

  • Driving directions to all the hard to find sights

  • Daily mileage totals

  • Total driving hours

First, what is the Ring Road?

Iceland's ring road is highway one that circles the entire island. It is paved 90% of the way and a great way to see ALL that Iceland has to offer. Take a look at the map below and begin to orient yourself with how long each portion of the road will take. I drove the road in 9 days total and that included Snæfellsnes peninsula.  I wouldn't suggest trying to drive the peninsula if you have any less than 7 days. 

Map of Iceland to help you plan a trip.

Below is a quick overview of each day. They are coded to reference the map above. PS...click the picture to enlarge the shot.

And then, to hopefully make it even simpler, below is a list of each day. If you want to read more in-depth on each day just click the link and it will jump immediately to the day. If not just scroll through and prepare yourself for a whole bunch of information. 

Ring Road daily guides

Instagram Guides

Don't worry, I didn't forget about the Instagram guides that I promised. Click here to access them. Password is Iceland.

Finally, before we begin, two quick notes:

  1. All campsites mentioned are included with the Iceland Camping Card. If you buy the card you will be given a handy book that lists all the campsites which will make it easy to reference the names of the campsites I mention. If you don't buy the card don't worry - you can search for each campsite on google maps and pay a per person fee to stay there instead.

  2. All the (weird) Icelandic names are linked to google maps. I suggest staring the ones you want to see directly onto your google map. When you are in Iceland, even if you don't have wifi you can see your stars, and GPS location, as you drive so you don't miss anything good.

Day 1: Arrival, Camper Van Pick-up, and Some Sightseeing

Today's Mileage: 245 km

Day one will of course start with you actually flying into Iceland. Specifically into Keflavik International Airport.

Some tips for Iceland Airport.

From the airport you will probably have three-ish options...

Shuttle to Reykjavik

If you are heading to Reykjavik you can book ahead of time with Flybus which I recommend. 

The Flybus is located right outside the Keflavík International Airport. The bus leaves 35-40 minutes after arrival of each flight. Passengers should keep an eye on the screen in the terminal to see when the bus leaves or ask for information at the Flybus information desk at the arrival hall. The trip to Reykjavík will take approximately 45 minutes and upon request, the bus will stop at Hotel Viking in Hafnarfjörður and at Aktu Taktu in Garðabær. When reaching Reykjavík our first stop will be the BSÍ Bus Terminal. Transfers are available to all major hotels, the Youth Hostel, Laugardalur camping area and the domestic airport. For these transfers the driver will ask you to board smaller busses.
Cost: Between 2500 - 3000 ISK
Source: Keflavik Airport Website

Shuttle to camper van pickup

Depending on which camper van company you rent from (I suggest Go Campers for renting you van - Here is a more in-depth article why) you will be picking up your van. Some companies offer transportation from the airport with pick up, some don't. When you book your van make sure you figure out how to get to the actual pick up location.

Shuttle to car rental pickup

As you come out of the airport and into arrivals there will be a sign to direct you to the shuttles for all car rental agencies. Very big and easy to follow, so try not to worry too much. 

Finally, once you have picked up your car/camper van you can start your road trip around Iceland! YAY!

Side note: I spent no time in Reykjavik, I was extremely focused on the ring road. If you are visiting, I have read you don't need more than a day here. If you are short on time, don't feel too bad about missing Reykjavik. I PROMISE the ring road and the rest of Iceland will make up for it - 10 fold.

If you want some articles on Reykjavik things to do I suggest these fine blogs:

Stop 1: Blue Lagoon

I have a full guide to the visiting the Blue Lagoon here. I highly suggest you give it a read. 

Since you are apart of my travel tribes you get a ton of extras - check out my Instagram tips for the blue lagoon here.  Password is Iceland.

Stop 2: Þingvellir (Thingvellir) National Park

Þingvellir (Thingvellir) is a historic site and national park in Iceland, east of Reykjavík. It's known for the Alþing (Althing), the site of Iceland's parliament from the 10th to 18th centuries. On the site are the Þingvellir Church and the ruins of old stone shelters. The park sits in a rift valley caused by the separation of 2 tectonic plates, with rocky cliffs and fissures like the huge Almannagjá fault.

One of the best things to do in Iceland

Navigating Þingvellir National Park

I used google maps to navgate most of Iceland and Þingvellir National Park was no difference. If you are having trouble here are detailed instructions from various sites near Þingvellir. 

Once you are in the region there are 5 parking lots to access the sights of the National Park. The cost to park is 500 ISK and your ticket is good for any parking lot. There are various signs all around the park and a visitor center at the main entrance. 


Top sights in Þingvellir (Thingvellir)

Diving Silfra

Best things to do in Iceland when driving the ring road.

Diving in Iceland is one of the most unique experiences in the world. Silfra is actually a crack between the North American and Eurasian continents, meaning that you dive or snorkel right where the continental plates meet and drift apart about 2cm per year. Also it has some of the clearest water in the world with visibility up to 100 meters!! Definitely book ahead - this is a popular tour. 
You can find more information on diving Silfra here. 

Campsite Day 1:
Eldborg (if you are driving the Snæfellsnes peninsula)
Varmaland (if you are continuing on the ring road)

Eldborg campsite was one of the worst campsites I encountered the whole trip. I hate recommending it as your first stop but if you buy the Iceland camping card and are driving Snæfellsnes Peninsula on day two it is pretty much your only option. The site is pretty much a large field behind a slightly creepy hotel. The outside bathrooms were not working when I visited so we had to walk a long way to use the bathrooms inside the hotel. The hotel/campsite is 3 km off of route 54 on a road called Kolviðarnesvegur. There will be a huge sign.

Read on: Everything you need to know to rent a camper van in Iceland

Varmaland campsite I never had a chance to visit but read great things about in the Iceland camping card book. Stay here if you don't have enough time to drive Snæfellsnes Peninsula. 

Eldborg Campsite Photos

Day 2: Snæfellsnes Peninsula

Today's Mileage: 311 km

  • I only suggest you do Snæfellsnes Peninsula if you are driving the ring road for more than 7 days. If you aren't you simply don't have enough time to make a complete circle around the Island.

  • Most guides I read beforehand suggested breaking up Snæfellsnes Peninsula into two days.

  • I did it in one day, but it was a 16 hour day. Keep that in mind.

  • Don't forget all of the locations are tagged on google maps in the headings

Also, all my Instragram tips for Snæfellsnes Peninsula can be found here. Password is Iceland.

Campsite Snæfellsnes Peninsula: Hvammstangi

By far, this was the best campsite of the trip! Only a couple of kilometers off the ring road and in the small town of Hvammstangi. The campsite is located near the swimming pool up the hill from the main town. There are signs to follow as you drive in to the town. The campsite has GREAT wifi and best of all an indoor hot plate and eating area. Having a room to spread out in was a real luxury. Definitely stay at this campsite.

Day 3: Rocky Northern Peninsulas and Hot Pots

Today's Mileage: 244 km

Tip on staying sane while driving the ring road:

After two very long days, it may be time for a half day with some relaxing. Putting breaks into your drive really help you stay sane and energized. Driving and exploring Iceland in the summer when the sun never sets really throws off your internal clock. Don't be afraid to take the morning to yourself.

Alternatively, if you are pressed for time (or driving the ring road in less than 10 days) you can combine days 3 and 4 together to condense this route.

Day 3: Morning

I spent the morning cooking breakfast and taking advantage of Hvammstangi campsites amazing WiFi. Also you can head down the hill and use the showers at Hvammstangi swimming pool. The price was $5 to use the whole facility and $2.50 for just the showers. (GREAT DEAL!).

Day 3: Afternoon

Head north from the town of Hvammstangi and drive around the peninsula. (Road 711). It is entirely gravel but well maintained. The road being gravel actually works in your favor since there are many small stops on the road including seals and cool rock formations.

Best things to do in Iceland

The best and longest stop of the day will be Hvitserkur, an interesting 15 m-high sea stack just off the shore. There is a parking lot and a nice look point point built into the cliff side. There is a makeshift, very steep, path that leads down to the beach. I fell a few times going down! But, if you time the tides right you can walk out to the stack. I was not so lucky....

Day 3: Early Evening 

Best hot pots in Iceland

After finishing the gravel peninsula, or road 711, jump back on the ring road heading towards the town of Varmahlíð. Right outside this small town is a hot pot you definitely need to stop at. Just take a look at the picture on the right....absolutely gorgeous right? 

I will warn you...it is VERY hard to find. I kind of stumbled on it even with directions. But, I will try to give you the best and most detailed directions I can manage... First off, the approximate location on google maps is here. 

Driving from road 1 (aka the ring road) you will turn onto road 752. Continue down 752 until you reach a left onto 753. From 753 is where it gets complicated. Make sure you follow the right most roads until you pass a farm and field of horses and reach a parking lot. You should also see a sign for Fosslaug. This is the name of the hot pot. See the map below for help driving to the parking lot. 

Map to help you navigate Iceland.

Once parked in the lot you will walk about 10 minutes to the hot pot. First cross the gate over onto the walking path. You are not trespassing this is just for the horses. Once you walk a bit you will find another gate...this is the true beginning of the hike to the hot pot. Cross through the gate and continue down the path. Shortly you will come along a huge waterfall to your right. This is Reykjafoss. After you get your fill of some great waterfall views continue down the path to the bridge.

The beginning of the trail is marked by a gate. It is fine to go through, this is for the horses.

The beginning of the trail is marked by a gate. It is fine to go through, this is for the horses.

Gorgeous Reykjafoss.

Gorgeous Reykjafoss.

On the other side of the bridge follow the river back towards the waterfall. You will come upon the hot pot in a minute or so! The water is extremely hot! It is even boiling in the smaller pools closest to the river. It is extremely enjoyable to sit in the hot pot and then dunk yourself in the cold river!

The actual hot pot.

The actual hot pot.

The view from the hot pot. You can see it’s one of the best hot pots in Iceland.

The view from the hot pot. You can see it’s one of the best hot pots in Iceland.

Don't forget to look at the waterfall from this side of the river. This is where I got the beautiful shot below.

A serious gorgeous spot in Iceland.

Campsite Day 3: Lonsa in Akureyri

Akureyri is the biggest city in the north. Be careful driving into the town, Becky - my travel partner on this trip - got a speeding ticket while coming in. The Lonsa campsite is small but sufficient.

Day 4: Famous Iceland Waterfalls

Today's Mileage: 387 km

Stop 1: Goðafoss Waterfall

One of the best waterfalls in Iceland is Godafoss.

One of the top waterfalls in Iceland you can't miss Goðafoss. There are multiple viewing spots on either side. I spent about an hour here. There is also a cafe and huge gift shop. This waterfall gets pretty busy so try and come early in the morning before the tour buses arrive.

If you look closesly at the picture on the right you can see all the people climbing on the rocks near the bottom of the waterfall. Very fun, but be very careful!


Optional stop: ALDEYJARFOSS

One of the best waterfalls in Iceland is Aldeyjarfoss.

I was going to drive to this waterfall and then realized it would be a dirt road the whole way there and back. The camper van is not suppose to go on F roads, but dirt roads are fine. I figured we had too much to see already this day and didn't want to spend so much time for one waterfall. But now, looking at pictures, I am really sad I missed it. 

Directions: From Godafoss follow 842 straight until you reach the waterfall


Stop 2: Drive around Mývatn Lake

Mývatn is a volcanic lake in northern Iceland. There is a scenic route road that goes around the lake, road 848, I suggest taking that. 

There are many view points around the lake but your first stop will probably be the walking trails around Skútustaðagígar craters. I walked around for about 20 minutes. The are unique but not too interesting.

Further around the lake is Dimmuborgir which are huge volcanic rocks that are interesting to walk around. This place has even be used for filming Game of Thrones. A visitor center, cafe and map explain the various trails here. I spent about an hour exploring the rocks but could have stayed longer.

Stop 3: Namaskard

It is really hard to describe Namaskard because it feels like you just drove into another planet. Boiling mud pots, absolutely no vegetation, and steaming volcanic piles can be all explored. Warning: it smells like rotten egg.

Stop 4: Dettifoss Waterfall

One of the best waterfalls in Iceland is Dettifoss

The largest waterfall (by volume) in Europe, Dettifoss is an AMAZING stop. The road to get there is long, about 30 km, and pure gravel. The last 10 km gets pretty rough but if you go slow you will be fine.

IMPORTANT: Enter the road on the WEST side of the falls (Road 864) not the EAST side (Road 862). The east side has a nicer viewing platform but you will be constantly sprayed with mist from the falls. Plus you can't walk (literally) to the edge of the falls like you can on the west side. 


Campsite day 4: Fjalladyrd Campsite

One of the best camp sites in Iceland

One of the best camp sites in Iceland

The Fjalladyrd campsite is about a 45 minute drive away from Dettifoss (once you reach the ring road). The drive there is spectacular as you weave your way around mountains and into valleys.

The turnoff to the campsite/national park has a huge sign. It is well maintained gravel road for about 3 km.

The campsite is amazing (and super cute with grass on their roofs! The site has a nice restaurant which is warm and dry and offers great WiFi. You do have to buy something to access their WiFi. I suggest the homemade love balls (huge cinnamon donut-like treats). They are delicious!

Day 5: The East Fjords

Today's Mileage: 308 km

Before you begin today a couple words...Today is a lot of driving on a road and back but east Iceland isn't to be missed. While it may seem tedious all these drives are ridiculously enjoyable. If you are a waterfall lover there were certain points that I literally had 10 waterfalls in my eyesight as we drove through canyons. Incredible.

Stop 1: Waterfalls

As you drive from the Fjalladyrd campsite, on road one, to Egilsstaðir, you will be introduced to the magnificent beauty of East Iceland. Waterfalls will surround you and there are multiple points you can stop to walk up to the waterfalls. It is a beautiful drive. Enjoy ever second of it. 

Stop 2: Egilsstaðir visitor center

A map to help you navigate Iceland.

Like I said above, today's route is a lot of driving back in forth. While totally worth it, you have to be very careful you don't drive on gravel roads that are not in good condition. That is why I suggest stopping at the visitor center, in the main town of the east, before heading out on the road. The visitor center will give you up to date information on road conditions so you know what you are getting into. 

To the right, is a diagram of the route I took which was recommended by a kind girl working in the visitor center. I suggest following it - the route was incredibly beautiful but also avoided as many gravel roads as possible. 

The main thing to avoid is highway one from Egilsstaðir turns into a gravel road for about 30 km. Taking this route instead will avoid that gravel road stretch.


From Egilsstaðir, drive north on road 94 to the very end. You will go over a mountain on a gravel road. It is well maintained so don't worry. Each way of the drive, takes about 70 mins. At the end of the road is a gorgeous island that is full of puffins. I am not a bird lover and even I was incredibly impressed. I couldn't believe how close we were to these birds!

All over Iceland I talked to other travelers about puffins - it is a very popular topic since so many people come to Iceland specifically to see the puffins. No one had the experience we had in Borgarfjarðarhöfn!! It is a long drive, but do not miss it!
You can find my full article on the puffins in Iceland here.

Stop 4: Seydisfjordur and popular hike to Mt. Bjolfur

After driving back over the mountain and to your starting point you will now take Road 93 up and over a mountain and into Seydisfjordur. The small town at the end is beautiful and many people stay here for the night. The church in the main square is very popular.  If the weather is clear, a popular hike is Mt. Bjolfur, which ends with an AMAZING viewpoint over Seydisfjordur. Unfortunately, when I was in Seydisfjordur, it was extremely cloudy.

Stop 5: Gufufoss Waterfall

The best things to do in Iceland

As you drive back to Egilsstaðir on road 93 you will pass a gorgeous waterfall called Gufafoss. The waterfall is incredible to take in from the river but also take the time to climb up along the side and admire it from the hill. 


Stop 6: Heiðarvatn - Glacier Lake on top of Road 93

The best things to do in Iceland

Still on road 93, just a few kilometers past Gufafoss is Heiðarvatn, a large glacier lake at the very top of the mountain. There is a full off past the lake, closer to Egilsstaðir, with a hiking path into the area around the lake. 

Road 92 and beyond

As you continue driving around the fjords you will take a weird route to get to camping for the night. Refer back to the map above if you get confused. Take road 92 south and out of Egilsstaðir. There are many stops on road 92 to take in. Road 92 will take you through a long tunnel and turn into Road 96, continue on. The most beautiful is a viewpoint over a canyon on road 96. 

Stop 7: Orange Lighthouse

The best things to do in Iceland

I have no idea the name for this lighthouse but I do know you can't really miss it. You can see the small orange building standing out against the sky very easily. The GPS coordinates are here. If you hit the town of Stodvarfjordur you have gone too far. 


Camping Day 5: Stodvarfjordur

A very small and simple campsite, Stodvarfjordur has toilets and water for cooking. But literally that is all.

Day 6: Hot Pots & Glacier Lagoons

Today's Mileage: 178 km

Continuing driving around the peninsulas you will see many nice viewpoints to explore. Today is the day I switched my body clock over to an opposite time schedule. You can read more on why I did that here.

Stop 1: hidden Hot Pot near Djupivogur

The best things to do in Iceland

We stumbled upon this hot pot by chatting with a very nice hitchhiker while I flew my drone. This hot pot isn't on any map - this seems to be a recurring theme with the best stops of the trip.

To get to the hot pot follow the ring road until you reach the town of Djúpivogur. After you pass the town it will be your first left. There is a small parking lot. The hot pot will be right over the ridge that is directly in front of the parking lot. If you hit a turn off for Adventura you have gone to far. 

A map to help you navigate Iceland.

Stop 2: Hofn Swimming Pool for a shower and a nap

Why you should shower in at swimming pools in Iceland.

The town of Hofn is super cute and a great stop to return to civilization. I also used the local swimming pool. It is HUGE with multiple pools and even a water slide. The cost was $8 (the most expensive I have seen) but well worth it. The showers were nice and extremely hot.

After showering I took a nap to prepare for a very long night ahead. 

The best things to do in Iceland

A cute hot pot but not very hot. After the amazing one this morning I admit I was being picky. Still a nice stop.

It is pretty easy to find. Follow the signs to hoffell off the ring road. Then, you will see signs for a hot pot. A large parking lot is in front of the pools. The hot pot costs $5 (honor system).


Stop 4: Random roads to glaciers

As the Vatnajokull glacier came into view, we took some random roads to eat dinner near the glacier. It was fun exploring and while I don't remember the exact road we took there are tons. I recommend pulling off onto one to try and drive as close as you can to it. 

Stop 5: Iceberg Lagoon or Jökulsárlón
Note: You will be camping here

The best things to do in Iceland

We arrived at the lagoon around sunset, which was 12:30 am in June, which I HIGHLY recommend. The sun had just set and it made the lighting in the lagoon beautiful and we found the area mostly empty. Once we found our parking spot (and camping spot) for the night we walked over to Diamond Beach. There were no explicit signs not to camp here. In fact, there were MANY people camping here. The lagoon itself is so beautiful it deserves its own post - you can find it here. 

The best things to do in Iceland
The best things to do in Iceland

From your parking spot in glacier lagoon you can walk under the bridge and over to diamond beach. Depending on the current and the tide (and a lot of luck) there will be pieces of icebergs littered all over the beach. I was lucky when I was there and got a beautiful show. Icebergs were everywhere. Some were small enough to pick up while others were beached on the sand the size of Icelandic horses. Also, I was wondering why glacier lagoon was so empty...It was because this is where all the people were. The beach while littered with icebergs was also littered with photographers. 

Sunrise over Iceberg Lagoon

The best things to do in Iceland

After taking in your fill of Diamond beach take a seat on the hill overlooking the lagoon and prepare yourself for a beautiful show. Sunrise is around 3 am in June and spectacular over the lagoon. It was by far the best sunrise I have ever seen. I probably could have spent a few days here alone. 

Day 7: Walking on Vatnajokull Glacier

Today's Mileage: 344 km

Stop 1: Glacier Tour on Vatnajokull Glacier

Although expensive, I really recommend spending the money on a glacier walk in Vatnajokull National Park. I booked with Glacier Adventures and it was an amazing four hours. Read all about my experience on this page, let's just say it was well worth the money. 

Stop 2: Nap time

Not exactly a scenic stop, but if you do a tour during the day you have to take a nap after so you can stay on a reversed schedule. This is especially important as we head closer to the south. 

Stop 3: Fjallsárlón Glacial Lagoon 

The best things to do in Iceland

Although this glacier lagoon is very similar to Jökulsárlón I suggest stopping at both. This lagoon will have far less tourists. Plus, you can walk to the edge of the lake and pick up some of the smaller icebergs that have been beached on the pebbles. It is also cheaper to take a zodiac tour of the lagoon here. 


Stop 4: Hike to Svarifoss Waterfall inside Skaftafell Park

The best things to do in Iceland

The hiking trails inside Skaftafell park are extensive and if you have more time you can spend a day here hiking the various trails. If you don't have enough time and want to do one hike - I suggest the 1.7 km hike to the Svartifoss Waterfall.

The Svartifoss hike takes about an hour each way. There are three beautiful waterfalls to see along the way. Svartifoss is the last one and is great to explore.

The best things to do in Iceland

I would aim to be at the canyon directly after sunrise when the lighting is best. This remarkable canyon is deep and winding. The car park is close to the trail that walks along the edge of the 2 km long canyon. There are many viewpoints and most of them are past the ropes that were just installed. Climb and explore at your own risk. 

Camping Day 7: Kleifar Camp

Also known as Tjaldsvæðið Kleifar to google maps, this was the only campsite that took a second to find. The campsite is directly next to a nice waterfall that has a shallow pool of water. On clear days the sun will warm the pool up making it great for swimming.

Day 8: South Iceland - Vik Beach to Seljalandsfoss

Today's Mileage: 184 km

Remember to sleep in, especially if you stayed up till almost 6 am like we did the night before. You are deeply into South Iceland and tourist territory so you aren't going to really start your day sightseeing until about 9 pm. More on reverse scheduling here.

Stop 1: Viewpoints on ring road between Kleifar and Vik

As you make your way from the Kleifar camping site to the town of Vik there will be many viewpoints along the road. 

Stop 2: Vik Town

A small town but full of interesting shops and restaurants to explore. There are also a lot of adventure tours that leave from Vik. Think paragliding and hikes to see puffins.

Stop 3: Vik Beach, East side

The best things to do in Iceland

The east side of Vik Beach is much quieter than the West side during the day. In fact, I highly suggest skipping the west side until later in the evening. The east side though has barely anyone on it and is beautiful to visit during the day. You can reach it by driving through the town of Vik. I spent about an hour exploring the rocks, caves, and beach. 

Stop 4: Hotel Rangá 

The best things to do in Iceland

At this point, we were starting the hotel portion of our trip. Although we still had a van we wanted to experience both. Hotel Rangá was first, you can read my full review here. If you are going to splurge on one nice hotel I would have it be this one. You won't be disappointed.

If you aren't splurging on this fantastic hotel I suggest hanging out at any campground in the Vik area and perhaps cooking some dinner and taking another nap. 

best waterfall in iceland

Start your night of sightseeing as late as you can. I started around 9 pm.

My first stop was Seljalandsfoss waterfall. Take your time here this is one of the best waterfalls in Iceland! You can walk around the back of the waterfall for a unique perspective and an awesome show at the immense power of nature! If you walk around to the back please be aware that you will be soaking wet by the end!

best waterfall in iceland

Skogafoss is next, only a couple of minutes down the road. Another great waterfall to explore with viewpoints above and below the falls.

Timing Tip: I would stay here until the sun goes down completely. 


Stop 7: Back to Vik Beach - Reynisfjara and the West side

Back at Vik beach you will be stopping along the west side. (Road 215)

Walking around and exploring the famous black sand beach with no one around was amazing and I even stayed here and watched sunrise - which was around 3 am in July. A close second for the best sunrise in Iceland (with first being sunrise over Glacier Lagoon).

Stop 8: Solheimasandur Plane Wreck

best things to do in iceland on the Ring Road

The last stop for the night, make sure you have enough energy.

The hike to the plane wreck is 50 minutes (3.5 km) each way. The "hike" is long but extremely easy and has basically no elevation gain. You are purely hiking over black rocky gravel. The end result is an extremely cool plane wreck that you can climb all over.


Camping Day 8: Brautarholt

Day 9: Last of the Golden Circle

Today's Mileage: 245 km

South Iceland's final stops will be the most packed as you are now in the tourist zone. Again you are going to want to sleep all day and visit these as close to the evening as you can.

Note: You will be traveling off the ring road and up and down road 35 all day.

Stop 1: Kerid crater

best things to do in iceland on the Ring Road

A 55-meter deep volcanic crater that is around 3000 years old. One of the few sights in Iceland that has an entrance fee. ($4) The crater now holds a lake. There is a walking trail around the top of the crater and to the base of the lake. 

Stop 2: Geysir

best things to do in iceland on the Ring Road

A geothermal field with tons of hot springs. The main draw is watching Stokkur shoot a tower of water and steam 30 meters into the air every 10(ish) minutes. The whole area has many smaller geysers and pools of mud bubbles to see.

This is also a great visitor center full of expensive food. It is still a nice place to relax and maybe grab an ice cream! 


Actually two separate waterfalls, Gullfoss is impressive and a perfect way to end your Iceland trip. There are various easy hiking paths to points on the falls and you can even walk the ledges between the upper and lower portion of the falls. Beware: you will get wet. 


Camping Day 9: Akranes

Day 10: Bye Iceland

Today's Mileage: 70 km

Remember when planning, that the day your flight returns will mostly comprise of returning your van and getting yourself to the airport. Also, keep in mind Reykjavik is about an hour away from Keflavik International Airport. This is why I suggest staying in Akranes your last night. This way you can explore Reykjavik in the morning before heading to the airport and back home. 

Note: I stayed in Geo Hotel, which is close to the airport and is a nice relaxing stop before returning the camper and flying home.

Budgeting and traveling cheap in Iceland

Iceland is an expensive country but there are ways to make it cheaper. Here are my top tips for budgeting in Iceland....

  • Rent a camper van. Although the price per day may seem expensive renting a van saves you lots of money in the long run.
    Here is an article addressing all the questions you may have about camper vans in Iceland.

  • Hitch hike - yup. Hitchhiking is extremely popular in Iceland. Probably because it is one of the safest countries in the world!

  • Bring a water bottle - Iceland has some of the cleanest water in the world. Make sure you pack a water bottle so you aren't stuck buying plastic ones throughout the trip.

  • Rent a car and camp

  • Cook your own food on the road

    • If you have a camper van this is easy, it will come with a kitchen.

    • If you are driving from hotel to hotel stock up on things from the budget grocery store in Iceland like granola, sandwiches, cup of noodles and more.

  • Bring food from home. Even better than buying food in Iceland is bringing a ton of food from home. I packed rice, pasta, granola, protein bars and even tuna in my luggage for my trip to Iceland!

  • If you are going to eat out gas station hot dogs and hot dog stalls are your cheapest option. Each hot dog is around $3.50

  • Travel during the off season - hotels, cars, camper vans, food...everything will be cheaper

  • Don't drink alcohol - it may seem silly but you will be doing so much hiking and exploring you don't want to be hungover either...plus it's expensive.

  • If you do drink buy it from the duty free store at the airport as you fly in.

  • Skip the blue lagoon - definitely the most expensive tourist attraction skippingit will save you a ton of money.

Final Thoughts

One last thing... even though researching ahead of time is great, I definitely recommend bringing a travel guide for Iceland along with you. Here are some of the best travel guide books I recommend...

One of the most common questions I get: What is the best camera for travel photography? I personally love my Nikon D5600. I use the kit lens and a Sigma wide-angle lens (for Nikon) which I am genuinely obsessed with.

Read on: Full list of travel gear I use on every trip

And of course, if you have any questions DO NOT hesitate to reach out to me via Instagram, Twitter, or just shoot me an email (tessajuliette at gmail dot com).

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