Secrets Of The Ring Road: Iceland’s Epic Road Trip

Ring Road Iceland

Driving Iceland’s Ring Road

Ring Road, Iceland

There’s nothing like a good road trip. Especially when driving past active volcanoes, blue icebergs, roaring waterfalls, and northern lights on Iceland’s Ring Road.

If you’re searching for an unforgettable adventure travel experience, a road trip around Iceland’s Ring Road will not disappoint. It’s difficult to describe in words. The country is visually captivating in a way I’ve not seen elsewhere.

Lurking around every bend a stunning new landscape reveals itself.

I traveled the Ring Road in October/November for a project with LifeProof to test their awesome waterproof iPhone cases in harsh environments, like wet & windy Iceland.

Driving Iceland’s Ring Road will expose you to bubbling geothermal springs, sparkling rainbows, beautiful horses, tumultuous waterfalls, and rugged mountains in a single day. Oh, and you may even catch the magic of the Northern Lights a few times too.

Now repeat for 7 days, throw in the occasional glacial ice cave or erupting volcano, and you’ll start to appreciate what traveling in Iceland is actually like. However you must experience the country for yourself to understand!

In this travel guide I’ll help you get the most out of a Ring Road adventure.

Need a place to stay in Iceland? Click here for accommodation deals.
Ring Road Map Iceland

7 Day Ring Road Route

Driving Iceland’s Ring Road

If you haven’t figured it out by the map above, Iceland’s Ring Road encircles the entire country covering over 800 miles on Route 1. While you could technically drive the whole thing in less than 24 hours, the reality is it will take you at least a week with stops on along the way.

This is because you’ll be stopping a lot. Like every 5 minutes!

The photography opportunities in Iceland are unbelievable, and you’ll find yourself constantly pulling over for photos. I gave myself 7 days to drive the Ring Road, and almost didn’t make it back to Reykjavik in time.

Weather can also be a factor if you are traveling in the fall or winter, as sudden snowstorms are common, and roads can be treacherous or even impassable.

Camper Van Iceland

My Happy Campers Van

Camper Van Iceland

A Peek Inside the Van

Camper Van Rental

Renting a car for your Iceland road trip is essential. Sure, there are bus tours that drive the route, but a self-drive tour is the way to go. You can stop anywhere you want, for as long as you want, giving you complete freedom.

I drove the ring road in Iceland with a van from Happy Campers. The major benefit of renting a camper is that it covers your accommodation too, enabling you to pull over and sleep pretty much anywhere.

It was perfect to maximize my time exploring & photographing landscapes. My van was equipped with a fold-down bed, sink with running water, electric cooler, gas grill, heating system, and a large solar panel to help power it all.

The vans are modern & easy to drive, fitted with studded tires which came in handy for a few icy mountain passes I encountered on the route. They also have 4×4 models available.

Dirt Roads Iceland

Exploring Iceland’s Back Roads

Planning An Iceland Road Trip

Gas Stations

Gas is expensive in Iceland at $2 USD per liter ($7.50 per gallon). Gas stations are easy to find around towns, but in the countryside they are less frequent. Some foreign credit cards may need to be used inside rather than at the pump. Fill up whenever you can, especially in winter, just in case you’re stuck in a snowstorm overnight.

Gas for the entire ring road journey cost me $300 USD.

Groceries

Stock up on groceries before you leave for your road trip. Iceland has a famous budget supermarket called Bónus that’s perfect for this. You can’t miss it — the logo is a giant cartoon pig. Many gas stations along the ring road also offer pre-made sandwiches, hot soup, and basic groceries for sale too. So you can buy basic food supplies along the way.

GPS & Mobile Phone

If your cellphone is unlocked, you can buy a local prepaid Icelandic SIM card from the Vodafone store at Kringlan Shopping Mall in Reykjavik. This gives you access to GPS maps, internet data, emergency services, and local weather reports.

Accommodation

If you aren’t camping or sleeping in a van, you’ll probably want to pre-book your accommodation in advance depending on the season. Try browsing guesthouse or hotel options on Booking.com.

What Should You See?

I’d recommend picking a few highlights and loosely planning your journey around them. Most people start their Ring Road adventure from Reykjavik or Keflavik Airport. Below you’ll find my suggested itinerary with highlights you shouldn’t miss, plus adventure activities that must be booked in advance.

Golden Circle Iceland

Thingvellir National Park

DAY 1: The Golden Circle

The Golden Circle is a short 1 day road trip which I covered in a separate article. It’s a great place to start your adventure. Some of the highlights include Thingvellir National Park where the Earth’s tectonic plates are being ripped apart, exploding geysers, and the impressive Gullfoss Waterfall.

After driving the Golden Circle, a good place to spend the night is around the town of Árborg. From here you can get back onto Route 1 and the main Ring Road route in the morning.

Skogafoss Ring Road Iceland

Rainbow at Skógafoss Waterfall

DAY 2: Rainbows & Glaciers

Seljalandsfoss Waterfall

Your next stop is perfect for incredible sunrises, so wake up early! Seljalandsfoss Waterfall [MAP] rises some 200 feet in the air, with a short hiking trail that takes you behind the waterfall itself. Shooting photos behind the waterfall at sunrise can be difficult with all the spray though. Another good photo location is from a hill on the right, just be careful because it’s slippery climbing up.

Seljalandsfoss Ring Road Iceland

Seljalandsfoss Waterfall

Skógafoss Waterfall

After that you can drive to Skógafoss [MAP], another massive & beautiful waterfall only minutes away. About the same height as Seljalandsfoss, but much wider and more powerful. Colorful rainbows are a common occurrence here. A wooden stairway brings you to a viewing platform on the top.

Ice Climbing Glaciers

Ice Climbing with Arctic Adventures

Hiking Sólheimajökull Glacier

One activity you can’t do on your own is hiking glaciers. If you’ve never hiked a glacier before, I highly recommend it! The guys at Arctic Adventures have a few different glacier hiking trips that include ice climbing. If you’re driving the Ring Road, you can book a trip and just meet your guide at the glacier.

Airplane Crash Iceland

Sólheimasandur Plane Crash

Sólheimasandur Plane Crash

The abandoned airplane wreckage on Sólheimasandur Beach is one of Iceland’s most iconic photography locations. Back in 1973 a United States Navy DC-3 crashed on the beach here. You can drive out to the plane and explore what remains, IF you know where to look.

Luckily I wrote up detailed directions for you!

If you’re not camping out, the next best place to spend the night is in the coastal town of Vik. There are a few guesthouses, a hostel, small grocery store, and a restaurant.

Iceberg Lagoon Iceland

Jökulsárlón Iceberg Lagoon

LifeProof Case

LifeProof Surviving Icy Water!

DAY 3: Icebergs & Ice Caves

Jökulsárlón Iceberg Lagoon

Breiðamerkurjökull glacier is slowly melting, with giant blue-tinted icebergs breaking off and floating into a lagoon. The ice collects on the shores while some pieces drift out to sea. Jökulsárlón iceberg lagoon is such a cool place (pun intended) that you can easily spend most of the day here. Don’t forget to visit the ocean nearby, where icebergs wash up on shore from the waves.

Iceberg Bridge Iceland

Icebergs Floating Under Route 1

Crystal Ice Caves

If you’re traveling in Iceland for photography, you can’t miss the crystal ice caves under Vatnajökull glacier. Meltwater creates these intricate natural ice tunnels, with sunlight filtering through the ice giving them a blue tint. Iceland’s crystal caves are difficult and treacherous to reach, so you’ll need to hire a guide. You can only visit them in winter (starting November).

The fishing village of Höfn is a good place to spend the night if you need a hotel or guesthouse. There’s also a HI Hostel in town.

Ice Caves Iceland

Amazing Glacial Ice Caves

DAY 4: Rugged Eastern Fjords

Driving The Coastline

Ok, now you’re officially in the middle of nowhere. Eastern Iceland is an untamed wilderness of rocky mountain peaks, winding black-sand coastlines, and quickly changing weather. There’s a lot of driving here without many towns (or people). You’ll be weaving in and out of fjords all day. Pump up the jams and enjoy beautiful Icelandic views.

Eastern Iceland

Mountains on the East Coast

Beware Of Sheep & Reindeer

While it may not have many people, Eastern Iceland is home to many sheep & reindeer. Yup. Reindeer! Make sure to keep your eyes on the road, because a herd can suddenly cross your path without warning. Pay special attention at night or in bad weather. In the winter sheep will be fenced in, but in the summer and fall they roam free.

Northern Lights Iceland

Playing with Light Under the Northern Lights

Hunting Northern Lights

You should be searching for the Northern Lights every evening while driving the Ring Road, however on the East coast they were especially good for me. During my 7 day adventure I lucked out with 3 nights of strong aurora activity and clear skies. Night driving will actually improve your chances of spotting them. Here’s a post I wrote with tips for finding & photographing the Northern Lights in Iceland.

Hverir Mud Pools Iceland

Hverir Mud Pools at Myvatn

DAY 5: Myvatn Geothermal Area

Snowy Mountain Passes

Fáskrúðsfjarðargöng tunnel (I dare you to say it out loud!) is 4 miles long and seems like it will never end. When it does, you’ll eventually be in the Highlands of Iceland. A barren stretch of high plateau. In the winter it’s covered in snow, and Route 1 is the only safe road to travel on. In the summer you can explore more with a 4×4.

Mountain Pass Iceland

Snow Covered Mountain Pass

Dettifoss Waterfall

While I didn’t have time to visit this waterfall on my Ring Road adventure, you might. So I wanted to mention it here. Dettifoss [MAP] is the largest waterfall in Iceland (and Europe) by water volume. I totally regret not making the journey up here, and won’t make that mistake again on my next visit.

Geothermal Vents Iceland

Myvatn Geothermal Vents

Námafjall Hverir

Pulling back onto Route 1 you’ll soon get to the Myvatn Lake area in Northern Iceland. Volcanic activity is high, with some fun hot springs & other geothermal features to explore. One such place is Námafjall Hverir geothermal area [MAP]. You can get up-close-and-personal with boiling blue mud pits or steaming fumaroles.

Spend the night in Iceland’s 2nd largest city and capital of the North, Akureyri. Or if you have a camper van like me, pull over anywhere.

Erupting Volcano Iceland

Holuhraun Volcanic Eruption

DAY 6: Erupting Volcanoes

Holuhraun Volcano Flight

Akureyri has tons of activities to keep you busy, but one in particular was pretty special. Flying over Iceland’s most recent eruption at Bárðarbunga Volcano (also called the Holuhraun eruption). On August 2014 lava broke through the surface here and has been spewing rivers of molten rock ever since with no signs of stopping. Flying over the volcano in a small plane is reasonably priced.

Volcano Flight Iceland

Flying Over the Volcano

Whale Watching

Because I was waiting for weather to clear up for my volcano flight, I didn’t go whale watching. But it’s a very popular thing to do in the fjords around Akureyri. The whale season here is from June to October, where you can spot bottlenose, humpbacks and minky whales. You can learn more about whale watching in Akureyri here.

Kirkjufellsfoss Waterfall Iceland

Kirkjufellsfoss Waterfall

DAY 7: Snæfellsnes Peninsula

Kirkjufellsfoss Waterfall

Depending on how much time you have left, you’ll either want to head straight for Reykjavik, or drive around the Snæfellsnes Peninsula (sometimes called “Little Iceland”). I drove all night in order to make time for the peninsula. It’s where you’ll find Kirkjufellsfoss, the most photographed waterfall in Iceland just West of the town of Grundarfjörður.

Abandoned Bus Iceland

Old Abandoned Bus

Tips For Driving The Ring Road

How Long Does It Take?

Seven days is the minimum, but you’ll be pushing it. In fact I’d recommend 10 so you don’t feel rushed and have time to relax, maybe spend 2 days in one spot.

When Should You Go?

The best weather is during the summer, July & August. But the shoulder season of September & October can be a good time to visit too as prices are lower, less people are on the road, and days become shorter, increasing chances to see the Northern Lights in good weather.

Check The Weather

Speaking of the weather, it changes quickly in Iceland. A sunny morning can easily turn into a whiteout blizzard. Bookmark the website Vegagerdin.is for real-time road conditions. They even have a smartphone app. ★

More Information

Location: Ring Road, Iceland
Car Rental: Happy Campers
Accommodation: Click Here For Deals in Iceland
Useful Notes: The Ring Road is paved, so four-wheel drive is not needed unless you head off-road. Actual driving time may vary. These are only a few of the activities & landmarks you can find on the Ring Road.
Recommended Guidebook: Lonely Planet Iceland
Suggested Reading: The Little Book Of Hidden People

READ NEXT: Iceland Photography: Land Of Fire & Ice

Are you planning a road trip to Iceland soon?

LifeProof

THANKS FOR READING

Hi, I'm Matthew Karsten — I’ve been traveling around the world for over 5 years. Adventure travel & photography are my passions. Let me inspire you to travel more with crazy stories, photography, and useful tips from my travel adventures. Join thousands who receive exclusive email updates and click the green button below...

Comments & Questions

189 Comments

  1. Rohit Agrawal
    July 23, 2016

    I will be travelling solo in Iceland from 29th July to 3 Aug. I am looking for travel mates particularly for sharing rides. Let me know if anybody has a place.

    Reply
  2. Amy Jarecki
    July 22, 2016

    Thanks for the tips!

    Reply
  3. Sho
    July 19, 2016

    Hi guys – planning to do this sometime around Sep, 8-15 and looking for company! Email me at feelgood.sm@gmail.com if you’re looking for a travel buddy, I’m a 27yo male from the US. Thanks!

    Reply
  4. Ana Lucia
    July 13, 2016

    Awesome blog! So much information! I’m arriving in Iceland on the 27th and am planning on driving the ring road! Anyone interested in sharing gas and car rental costs. I’m into nature, photography, animals and camping. Let me know!

    Reply
  5. Heather
    July 8, 2016

    This is great! Thank you! Did you happen to see any mountain biking opportunities along Ring Road in any areas or towns? We would love to do this drive but def would love to be able to stop along the way somewhere and do some MTB. What a cool blog! Thanks.

    Reply
  6. Billy Z
    July 8, 2016

    Hello! Me and my friend will be traveling to Iceland and taking this roadtrip, we are pretty laid back. So if you are interested in joining us to split costs, send me an email to billyzca@hotmail.com We are 31 and 27 y/o from Costa Rica.

    Reply
    • Billy Z
      July 8, 2016

      Important to note, we will be there from September 16th to the 26th. Cheers!

      Reply
  7. Nimit
    July 7, 2016

    Hi,

    Me and my wife are looking forward to cover the above suggested itinerary and would love to share the cost of Car and Fuel. If anyone (preferably couple) is interested in joining along during 14th-23rd Oct’16, do let me know.

    Cheers,

    Reply
    • Cherishia Pande
      July 17, 2016

      Hi Nimit
      My husband and myself are planning to travel in Sept or Oct and planning about 10 days. Are your dates fixed. Are you planning on booking a 4WD. Also please let me know about accommodation.
      Thanks
      Cherishia

      Reply
  8. Kathy
    July 6, 2016

    Hi Matthew.
    I’ve been reading your blog and am enjoying your posts very much. I’m hoping you can give me your opinion…I booked a way too short trip to Iceland through a Groupon. It was for all the right reasons but now I’m kind of lost. We (hubby and me) will be in Iceland for 7 days in September. The deal came with a hotel in Reykjavik and since we are on a bit of a budget, I’m wondering if it’s possible (or stupid) to use that hotel as a home base (so to speak) and do daily “trips” or excursions out in various directions to see as much as we can. Any thoughts you can give would be appreciated. I want to make this trip as special for my husband as I can and I feel like I am in WAY over my head. : ) ~Kathy

    Reply
  9. Ilaria
    June 22, 2016

    Hi Matthew,
    nice reading your travel experience in Iceland! I am going for a week in September and I am trying to figure out if renting a 4X4 car is absolutely necessary to explore the back roads. My budget is quite low and wanted to avoid the extra cost. Can I rent a regular car and still enjoy some of the great locations, outside of route 1? Thanks!

    Reply
    • Gustavo
      June 29, 2016

      Hello evryone. I planned to visit Iceland in September, anyone want to joined me? I was reading everywhere that is cheapest if you travel in a car.

      Thanks

      Reply
      • Amit Lamba
        July 4, 2016

        Hi I plan to visit iceland for 8 days towards end of September.
        Let me know your plan

        Reply
      • Joey lim
        July 8, 2016

        Hi, I’m planning a solo trip to Iceland from London, 12-16 sept. Anyone keen to do the road trips together to share cost?

        Reply
    • Asdis Valdimarsdottir
      July 17, 2016

      Hi
      Ilaria
      My name is Asdis and i live in Iceland. yes it is necessary to rent 4×4 to travel the back roads and also if you are going over river. Please be careful and always have fully charged gsm and extra battery also GPS we have had to many accidents this year sorry to say.
      Hope you have a wonderful time here and yes ask for icelandic map for the GPS.

      Best regards
      Ásdis Valdimarsdóttir

      Reply
  10. Ruchika
    June 20, 2016

    Me and my husband are planning for October end from New York. I need to know whether there will be any greenery near south of Iceland? Also I am planning for a car to rent, would be nice to have a company to share the rent price and enjoy..

    Reply
    • Nimit
      July 7, 2016

      Hi Ruchika,

      Are your dates confirmed? Me and my wife are planning to do this trip from 14th – 23rd oct and would love to have some company for the drive along this road.
      Drop me an email, if you think this can be worked out,

      Reply
    • Nimit Jain
      July 12, 2016

      Hi Ruchika,

      I am planning a trip with my wife in mid october (15-23), so if you guys have any chance of change in plans, let me know.

      Reply
  11. Adlin
    June 17, 2016

    Nice article there. I will be heading there from 27 July to 9 August 2016. I will love to have a travel buddy and who is willing to share the cost of the vehicle. Let me kno wherever is interested. Email me at riotgrrlz@gmail.com

    Reply
  12. carolina
    June 16, 2016

    is that possible to do that route in jannuary?
    thnaks in advance
    carolina

    Reply
  13. ELVIN
    June 13, 2016

    hi everyone,
    me and my gf are going on September 5- 18.
    We are wondering what car should we rent. Also, what are the best way to book accommodations.

    Reply
  14. Gary "Gabs" Higgins
    June 13, 2016

    Planning my Iceland trip for July-August 2017, 3 weeks. It is a self-drive provided by a tour company, with accommodation arranged all along the Ring Road for 14 days. I didn’t see mentioned in this page text the ethereal beauty of the Reynisdrangar (spelling??) Beach with its basalt columns, sea cave, black sand and erie off-sure rock formations. I believe this is one of Iceland’s “slightly creapy must see” destinations and comes with the warning to be wary of monster tidal washes as tourists have been caught unawares and been swept out to sea! I have not see my itinerary but it definitely covers all the photographer’s “hot spots”. It’s a long, long way from Australia but I think it will definitely be worth the tedium! Tim Rudman’s book, “ICELAND: AN UNEASY CALM” showcases Iceland in fine art black and white photography and is well worth a look.

    Reply
    • Ana
      July 9, 2016

      Gary, you will see Reynisdrangar as it is just before Vik. A short diversion to the black beach will require you to take hwy 215 off the Ring Road (Hwy 1) but it’s a short drive. Also before hwy 215 is hwy 218 which will take you to Dyrhólaey (great views). Pick up an Iceland Road Atlas, with Town Plans, I was surprised how much I used it. Also check out http://www.road.is and if you have an unlocked phone, get a sim card and the app vegagerdin for road & weather conditions. You WILL have a great time. First time we went to Iceland we also stayed 3 weeks — and continue to return.

      Reply
  15. Ruben
    June 11, 2016

    Great blog! I am planning a solo visit to Iceland June 26-July 8. Would be interested in renting a van for the Ring Road. If anyone is interested in joining to split the costs, contact me.

    Reply
    • chris sherlock
      July 6, 2016

      Hello, I will be heading to Iceland July27 till August 10 and was wondering how many people you found already to share the rental van? I ask because if there are at least 3 people in total to share ,then the price wont be too high. I am bringing a tent and was going to just hitchhike i ring road as i read Iceland is the easiest and safest place to do this. however i am open to share a rental with others.i live in USA and have traveled in many countries as well as camped across the USA. you can also find me on facebook,although i don’t use it much. search chris sherlock, baltimore.

      Reply
  16. Grace K
    June 9, 2016

    Awesome post and excited to take on the Ring Road in a couple of weeks!

    I’m traveling solo and planning on Ring Road from June 20-June 28 if anyone’s interested in joining for a portion of it.

    E-mail is poptart27@gmail.com if it sounds like our schedules might overlap!

    Reply
  17. Megha
    June 8, 2016

    Hie matt..thanks for the lovely plan..my hubby n me travelling on the 30th June to 8th July and planning to drive from revykjavik to akureyi..and fly back from akureyi…would appreciate if u have any driving tips for this season..is the drive comfortable coz we are used to a right hand drive but have driven left hand vehicle a few times earlier when travelling!!!!

    Also pls can u advise on which places to halt over for stay keeping in mind whr we can get to see a few people around and get vegetarian food!!!

    Any other suggestions from all of u would be appreciated 😁

    Reply
  18. Rich
    June 6, 2016

    We’re visiting on a short trip/long weekend in June. We are staying in Reykjavik. Time will not afford us to enjoy the full ring road so I was wondering what the absolute “can’t miss” drives should be? We have a rental car

    Thank you in advance for any recommendations

    Reply
  19. physicsmom
    June 5, 2016

    We went on a repositioning cruise in Sept. and had just a day to spend in Iceland. We had arranged for a car ahead of time, and the owner told us that everyone in Iceland spoke English, so we didn’t have to worry about that. Turns out, our driver was on his first day, didn’t speak English much at all, and we drove around just outside of Reykjavik for about 3 hrs. where the landscape is pretty much the same all over. We asked the driver to take us to the glaciers, but he took us to a geyser (language problem) where it started pouring rain. He took a “short cut” back to the Capital on the bumpiest darn roads that seemed to last forever. When we arrived in town to shop a bit, it started snowing. Didn’t last long, then the sun came out. We were disappointed all around, but I’d love to go back; I’m determined to see the Northern Lights eventually and the eastern end of the island.

    Reply
  20. Grant
    June 5, 2016

    Spare seat in my van from the 9th to 16th of June….. let me know if you are interested grantpurcell1@gmail.com

    25 yr old aussie guy, into photography and animals

    Reply
  21. Pierre
    June 3, 2016

    Hello Matthew,
    My wife and I are going to Iceland in August 2016 for our honeymoon. Your website is great and we’ve found a lot of places to go, and a good camper to rent ! Thank you a lot for every tips you gave us :)
    Have a nice day !
    Pierre.

    Reply
  22. Jocelyn
    June 1, 2016

    Hello! I’m flying into Iceland for 10 days and hoping to spend most of it exploring the beauties of Ring Road. Looking for a couple travelers who’d be interested in joining me to split the cost of the car and gas for the trip. I arrive on June 6th and fly out June 16th. I’ve got a tent and will be camping along the way and will be self-catering the majority of the time from grocery stores to cut down on costs.

    The goal is to see as much as possible, as cheap as possible! If this sounds like you let’s talk!

    Reply
    • Marawan Ahmed
      July 4, 2016

      Hey Jocelyn,
      I know you just came back!
      How was it? i am wondering! i wanna go soon myself.
      thanks

      Reply
  23. Patrick
    May 30, 2016

    Hey guys
    We’re three young guys trying to see the beautiful landscape of island. We booked your flight and a 4-seated car from 30th of june to 6th of juli, but we need someone to drive. Looking forward to any answer.
    Greetings

    Reply
  24. Sam
    May 26, 2016

    Interesting to hear what everyone has done or plan on doing. I’ll be in Iceland from June 6 – June 14th. Staying in Reykjavik for the first couple nights then soloing the Ring Road for the next 4 days. Hit me up!

    Reply
  25. JackLinley
    May 22, 2016

    Hey, I saw your picture of the abandoned bus under the Snæfellsnes Peninsula section and I fell in love with it. I’d like to know where it is located. Where can I find that bus when I go to Iceland in a couple of months?

    Reply
  26. Tom ModicaAmore
    May 22, 2016

    This is great, been planning my vaca and this helped a lot. I had a question about sleeping arrangements

    I’m having trouble figuring out where to sleep. we rented a RV so we wont be using hotels or anything like that. Its just i don’t know where to legally park my RV. This trip was planned to b very frugal with the intention of roughing it. However campgrounds cost money per person. Is it true that you can park your RV “anywhere” and sleep for the night?

    Reply
    • Wolfgang
      May 29, 2016

      Here now doing the ring and yeah the rv’s and camper vans are parked everywhere.You can park overnight at most roadside spots.just certain places have no camping signs and they are few and far between.

      Reply
  27. Josh
    May 21, 2016

    Awesome itinerary! We planned to follow it as closely as we could, but of course, Iceland wouldn’t let us… hope it’s ok we linked to you on our blog.

    Maybe it might help someone the way you helped us!

    Reply
  28. Hector M
    May 19, 2016

    Thanks for your wonderful blog, I am planning for a vacation on June (1 week), basically my dates are flexible from June 7th – 30th, if anyone wants to join forces and share the cost for a rental car that would be great! Thanks :)

    Reply
    • Jitka
      June 7, 2016

      Hi Hector, Are you still planning the trip? on what dates? I would be interested from 9th-21th June. you can write on jitka1@hotmail.com

      Reply
  29. Lawrence Strikland
    May 14, 2016

    Great post. I definitely want to head out there to Iceland. I’ve been working on my conditioning. Hopefully I’ll be ready by the time I start camping out again over the summer.

    Thanks.

    Reply
  30. Jasdeep
    May 12, 2016

    Hey,

    Coming from Canada. Doing a solo trip. Arrive Monday June 6th and will be renting a car and do the circle or in 4-5 days. (short I know, but i want time to party Friday Sat in the city!) Will be returning the car June 10th and plan on camping along the way. Leaving Iceland June 14th. If the dates work for anyone, lets rent a car and go camping! email is: chahal.fnce@gmail.com

    Reply
  31. TheGreenPick
    May 10, 2016

    Hi Matthew,
    Thanks for the good tips! We just travelled to Iceland and really loved it. By the way we saw at least 2 times the happy campers van on our road , it looked pretty cool and practical so we are tempted to give it a try for our next time))

    Reply
  32. Alex
    May 9, 2016

    Going to iceland 1st of september for 10 days. Driving the ring road and experiencing iceland. Anyone who might want to tag along?

    Reply
    • Danny Knight
      June 1, 2016

      Hello, where are you from? I may be interested? Would you fancy hiring a van and camping there?

      Reply
    • Cynthia
      July 1, 2016

      Me too! Where are you coming from? I might be interested.

      Reply
    • Stine
      July 18, 2016

      My boyfriend and I are going first of september too, looking for a couple of travel companions to drive around the ring road. We plan on renting some kind of camper van – anyone interested, Alex? We are 30 and 27 years old, from Denmark.

      Reply
  33. MS
    May 9, 2016

    Hi Matthew,

    Great blog and pictures. Clear and to the point info. What if I had only 5 nights in a camper van? Is there a way to cut out the East and skip down to the south at some point? I can skip ice climbing, but want a heavy focus on waterfalls/big photo spots.

    Reply
    • Matthew Karsten
      May 11, 2016

      There isn’t a main road that cuts through the middle of the country, it’s all remote wilderness in there and rough backroads called “F Roads”.

      Reply
  34. Chadd Keepper
    May 9, 2016

    Awesome summary! My wife and I have been using this a lot to plan our future Iceland trip this June. Do you recommend a 4×4 vehicle or would you be able to see a majority of the attractions with a smaller vehicle? Since you had the camper van, which I assume is not a 4×4, it appears you were able to see pretty much everything! Thanks again!

    Reply
    • Matthew Karsten
      May 11, 2016

      Yeah you can see all this without a 4X4. If you plan to go exploring on Iceland’s “F-Roads”, then you’d want a 4X4. But it’s not necessary for the Ring Road.

      Reply
  35. Ashley
    May 4, 2016

    Great article! I didn’t know about the camping vans. Could be a good idea but we won’t have sleeping bags or anything like that with us. Do they provide those or can you buy cheap ones at the supermarket? We’re going to be in Iceland for only 6 days and I’m agonising over wanting to drive the whole right road and properly seeing the sites!

    Reply
  36. Stefan
    April 28, 2016

    going with couple of friends for 10 days – 3th of June to 13th of June – 2016. Planning to do as much as we can for 10 days camping. Would be great to meet some of you along the way! best Stefan

    Reply
  37. Daniel O Sullivan
    April 26, 2016

    i am thinking of travelling the 28th of May flying out Friday the 6 of May. I am looking to see if anyone is interested in travelling together i am also bring my drone to get them great shots. danielosullivan83@gmail.com

    Reply
    • M Altaf
      April 29, 2016

      Hi Daniel,
      I am going on a road trip with my family. I just wanted to check, are there any laws about taking drone through the airport. I am planning to take my drone as well. There is conflicting information on the internet. Some people believe you have to take permission for the transmitter attached to the drone in advance. Others think you don’t need to do so. Do you know what the facts are? Many thanks.

      Reply
  38. Karan Garg
    April 25, 2016

    Great post! Beautiful pictures. Just can’t wait to be in Iceland.

    I’m reaching Iceland on 28th May and will be there until 7th June. I’m traveling solo so looking for someone to share costs for covering the Ring Road.

    If you’re interested do let me know.
    FB: facebook.com/kgarg18

    Reply
  39. KT
    April 21, 2016

    Hi , Planning to visit Iceland 26 June to 2 July 2016. Hire a car to ring road. Anyone can advise is this period a peak tourist season? I would like to travel as we go along and book a night when we reach a place, so that we don’t have to rush for a booked accommodation, please advise

    Reply
  40. Mahee Ferlini
    April 18, 2016

    I love your photos, just an incredible trip!

    Reply
  41. Ajay
    April 11, 2016

    Hi Matthew
    Briliiant & Brief. We are planning to go to Iceland for 4 nights and 5 days from the 29th of June. Though our friends recommend that we should take day tours for Golden Circle, Southern Shores and Geyser with a Whale watching thrown in. My idea was to rent a car and drive south, golden circle and and overnight trip to Akuryeri to heck out the north. Finally spending the last night back in Reykjavik. What would you recommend considering that we have 6 and half year old son with us. Thanks again for the brilliant commentary on Iceland, a place thats been on our radar for five years. Ciao !

    Reply
    • megha agarwal
      June 9, 2016

      Hie ajay..me n my hubby planning to visit iceland from 30th June to 7th June..do post updates of ur trip so that it can be a guide for us..do let us know about veg food options available…from whr r u guys travelling from?????

      Reply
  42. ilovetravelling
    April 10, 2016

    Your photos are so inspiring and the nature there must be just beautiful. I always wondered if the colors and sceneries are really like they are shown in pictures. But this is maybe one thing one can find out only by travelling there and exploring this amazing country!

    Reply
  43. Kyle McK
    April 5, 2016

    Hi, im going to Iceland in May for 7-8 days, should one get a 4×4 camper or just a regular camper van? obviously I wanna hit some of the hotspots but i dont wanna be stuck to the highway.. opinions?

    cheers

    Kyle

    Reply
  44. Steve @ What Way Today
    March 22, 2016

    Wow! Amazing that you crammed in so much in such a short amount of time. It’s a really good itinerary you have here. We spent a few days doing the Golden Circle and Southern Shores alone. And good shout about winter not being the best time for the Northern Lights, we went in November and it was too foggy, also it was too windy to go whale watching, and ironically there was not enough snow to go dog sledding. But still a fantastically beautiful country.

    Reply
  45. Laura
    March 22, 2016

    Hi,

    Looks awesome. Traveling alone the second week of May 2016. Please message if interested in joining this roadtrip!

    Reply
    • ELKEE
      April 17, 2016

      Hi Laura, I am also traveling solo the second week of May (5/18-5/23).
      Lets join forces! Email me at Ell.Elkee108@gmail.com

      Reply
      • Sarah
        April 21, 2016

        Hi Elkee and Laura,

        I’m looking at doing a solo drive of the ring road from July 1 – 11. I’ll be flying in from Toronto. It would be awesome to have someone else with me. If your dates change, please feel free to reply here and we can organise something :)

        Reply
        • Minna
          May 18, 2016

          Hi Sarah,
          Are your dates flexible?
          I’m thinking about doing the same around july 23rd – july 30th 2016.
          What do you think?
          /Minna ;o)

        • Jeff
          May 25, 2016

          Hi Sarah!

          I am also planning a solo trip from July 1-10! I have a car rented, and am planning on starting my drive on the 2nd and finishing on the 9th. If at any point you want to meet up, let me know! I’ve booked a hostel in Reyk (July 2nd) and Akureyri (July 6th) so far, but have no plans besides that. If you want my contact information, let me know and I would be happy to give it to you.

          Some more basics about me:

          24 years old, male, American.

          Just let me know if you want to meet up!

          Jeff

        • MsMc
          May 26, 2016

          Hi, A friend of mine and I are planning a trip from 29th June for about a week.
          We’d be happy to have company. If you are interested in joining forces, let us know.

  46. Natalie
    March 18, 2016

    Hello and thank you for this detailed account. So far, I plan on going to Iceland June 23 to July 3, if anybody wants to get together and share costs, let me know. :)

    Reply
    • Eric
      March 31, 2016

      We may be going late June for a week.

      Reply
    • Nicole Chirillo
      April 4, 2016

      Natalie,

      I just purchased a rental car! I am going from the 22-27th. Email me if you want to meet up!

      Reply
    • Timothy
      April 6, 2016

      Hello Natalie,
      I’m also planning a tour of Iceland and would be great to find someone interested. So if you’re still looking for someone to get together and share costs: here I am! :)

      Reply
    • Kendra
      April 10, 2016

      Hi there! I’d be interested in sharing the cost for those dates. I’m Canadian/27 :-)

      Reply
      • Hector M
        May 19, 2016

        Hi Kendra
        when are you going?! I’m planning to go on June, my dates are flexible (June 7th -30th). I would like to share the cost and rent a car! :)

        Reply
        • Patrick
          May 31, 2016

          Hey Hector
          We’re three young guys (me and two girls) going to iceland from the 30th of june to the 6th of juli. We’ve got a car but need someone who can drive it. My licence isn’t valid long enough to rent a car, but I’m able to drive it, that’s the only problem.
          Would be nice if we can count on you! :)

  47. Akhil Gautam
    March 14, 2016

    Thanks for your wonderful blog, I am planning for a vacation with my wife in May 2016 for 8 days and information you shared will really help a lot.

    Reply
  48. Hetal
    March 9, 2016

    hi
    What a great post with breathtaking photography ! I plan on driving the Ring Road in Iceland in beginning of June with my daughter. If anyone is interested in joining us, please leave a reply. It would be nice to have company and share costs.

    Reply
    • Anne
      March 18, 2016

      Hi Hetal,

      When in June are you going? I will be driving the Ring Road with my sister in early June. Depending on your travel dates we would consider sharing costs.

      Reply
      • Karan Garg
        April 25, 2016

        Hi Anne

        I’m reaching Iceland on 28th May and will be there till 7th June. I’m traveling solo so looking for someone to share costs and I badly want to do the ring road.

        If you’re interested do let me know.
        FB: facebook.com/kgarg18

        Reply
    • Sue
      March 18, 2016

      Hi, Hetal. Did you find travel companions? My sister and I will be in Iceland between arriving on June 4th (morning) and leaving on June 11th (evening). If these days fit your plans we may be able to arrange something. Sue

      Reply
  49. Mari
    March 8, 2016

    Hi – – what an inspiring read – thank you! Can you offer places to stay in a campervan? Are the campervan parks full? Do you need to reserve your spot in advance? I would prefer to stay off the beaten track …but not sure if that is allowed in a campervan. Thanks in advance for you advice

    Reply
  50. Emma
    March 3, 2016

    What type of adapter would you recommend purchasing for charging my phone/laptop??

    Reply
  51. Massimo
    February 24, 2016

    Great post, Matthew! So glad I came across it. I will visit Iceland in the second half of May (15 to 23 of May) and planning to check most if not all destination you describe. I would not mind inviting travel buddies to join since I will travel solo for all or part of the trip and maybe share petrol cost?
    If anyone is interested pleaase leva a reply

    Reply
    • Natalie
      March 18, 2016

      Hi, I plan on going June 23 to July 3. Perhaps our dates could match if your plans change. :)

      Reply
    • Maegan
      March 24, 2016

      Hello :) My boyfriend, dad, and I are thinking about going in May as well. haven’t decided on dates yet. Originally thinking May 22 – 28. A little upsetting the ice caves will be unsafe to explore this time of the year :( Are you planning on staying in hotels along the way and just renting a car?

      Reply
    • Jitka
      June 7, 2016

      Hi Massimo, I am planning to go from 11th-21th. Flying from Geneve. Are you still looking for some travel buddies? my mail: jitka1@hotmail.com

      Reply
  52. J Spack
    February 22, 2016

    Thanks for the great tips Matt – extremely helpful! If taking 10 days to do the ring road during shoulder season, are there places along the route where you recommend staying for 2 nights?

    Reply
  53. Emma Duke
    February 21, 2016

    This post was super helpful! I am going to Iceland at the end of May/June and am driving around the ring road. I used a bunch of your tips on places to stop/stay the night for my itinerary. Your pictures made me so excited to finally explore this gorgeous country! Thank you so much for the help!

    Reply
    • Karan Garg
      April 25, 2016

      Hey Emma

      I’m reaching Iceland on 28th May and will be there until 7th June. I’m traveling solo so looking for someone to share costs and I badly want to do the ring road.

      If you’re interested do let me know.
      FB: facebook.com/kgarg18
      Email: karan.garg18@gmail.com

      Reply
  54. George
    February 17, 2016

    Hi Matt. I am thinking of doing a road trip round Iceland this summer. Since I am bringing photo equipment I wanted to ask you this. Do you find adequate a car charger to promptly charge all you photo gear? Plus cell phones, laptops , wifi portable hard drives etc

    Reply
  55. Margarita B.
    February 15, 2016

    Awesome pics Matt and thank you for the tips! My sister and I are planning a 7-10 day trip to Iceland in August and this got me even more excited about it! How much did the trip cost you overall (not including the flight)?

    Reply
    • Min
      June 8, 2016

      Hey Margarita! My name is Min and I am a college student/photographer based in Boston and I am also planning a weeklong trip in Iceland in August! I am looking for people to travel with and split costs for car rental and gas if you are interested please shoot me an email! minks96@gmail.com

      Reply
  56. Lisa
    February 8, 2016

    Hi Mathew,
    Thanks for your detailed post. I am traveling by myself in April for 8 days, as a single woman I am a little worried about driving for long stretches of unoccupied road. (Eg what if I do hit a sheep! etc) How many hours a day were you actually driving? I am guessing it could be done in aprox 3-4 hour per day if you divide up the 24 hours it takes to drive the ring road but am wondering if in reality if you spent more time per day in the car. I am wondering if you spent pretty much all day everyday in you own company, or if you had much opertunity to interact with locals and other tourists at various sights. Also any experience as to how the happy camper van measures up to the kuku campers?

    Reply
    • Sanat
      February 9, 2016

      Hey Lisa, I am planning to visit Iceland and also by myself. Actually, I was looking for a travel partner. Let me know if you are interested.

      Thanks

      Reply
    • Julie
      February 14, 2016

      I’m also planning to visit iceland by myself. I can’t decide on dates! Anywhere between march and June! But I will most likely be renting a vehicle as well

      Reply
      • Massimo
        February 24, 2016

        I will visit too for 10 days 14/25 May and looking for up to 2 travel partners, following Matthews route. anyone interested in joining? Care rented is a Mitsubishi Pajero

        Reply
        • Maggie
          March 9, 2016

          My boyfriend and I will be visiting Iceland from May 16th to 23th. We are planning on doing the whole Ring loop in 7 days and most likely camping. We would be happy to hook-up with more travelers.

      • Aaron
        March 20, 2016

        Hello Julie,

        Myself and two friends are visiting Iceland from April 28- May 6th. We have a vehicle booked and are planning on camping throughout the circle. Let us know if you’d like to join!

        Reply
      • Ron
        March 28, 2016

        I will be there from April 29th to May 8th. Would gladly like to share a road trip, and car rental.

        Reply
      • TAli
        April 18, 2016

        Hey, Ill be there from 4/26 to May 2nd, planning on renting a car to explore. If you wanna join, feel free to email me (cmaster007@gmail.com)

        Reply
    • Lori
      March 13, 2016

      Hey Lisa,
      I am going to Iceland for a quick visit, April 15 – 19. Wish it were longer. When will you be there? I will also be traveling by myself.

      Reply
    • Sz
      March 20, 2016

      Hi Lisa, I will be Travelling alone too. let me know if you are interested to travel together.

      Reply
  57. Helen
    January 29, 2016

    We are in iceland for a couple of days in end of May. With renting a car for two from reykavick to vik and return with a walk/visit on the Myrdal glacier, how many hours would you say it would take? I recognize they are huge variables as far as how much time you spend on glacier and walking on beach. Do you think it could be done in 9-10 hours including back to reykavick? I assume road in that area is paved? Thank you.

    Reply
  58. Bianca
    January 20, 2016

    Just stumbled on to this. Great guide. I am heading to Iceland in July and will be bookmarking this for tips on getting around the sights. Thanks!!

    Reply
  59. Mark
    January 14, 2016

    Hey,

    Thinking about driving the ring road in March, do you think that would be a decent time to go?

    Reply
  60. Josefina
    January 9, 2016

    Hey Matthew!
    Great article!
    We are planning our Ring Road Tour on November and I was junst wondering how much was the diesel cunsumption of the Campervan per 100km! Just to have an idea of how much money to put aside for fuel. Thanks a lot!

    Reply
    • Matthew Karsten
      January 9, 2016

      Hey Josefina, I spent about $300 USD in gas to drive around the Ring Road.

      Reply
  61. Sue. M
    January 4, 2016

    Hi Matthew,
    It was great reading your article, we are planning to do a 2 week road trip in Iceland, and we’re REALLY excited!! Our last road trip was the Scotland North Coast 500 back in June 2015, and we’re always looking for the next great road trip. This article really helps!!

    Looking forward to more :)

    Best Regards.

    Reply
  62. sandra
    December 21, 2015

    Hi Matt,

    I will be heading back to Iceland early this September and driving from KEF to Lake Myvatn. I have 6 days and nights and planned on heading right out of the airport up then backtracking spending a few days between before heading back to KEF. Do you think a small Chev. Spark will be suitable for this time of year up there, or should I go 4×4?

    I will be spending a few days up in Myvatn and then taking in the western area on my way back.

    Thanks,
    Sandee

    Reply
  63. Candace
    December 12, 2015

    Thank you for writing such an in-depth article! This is so helpful.

    In regards to the Happy Camper van, are you allowed to park and sleep anywhere on Ring Road? Are there designated camping sites/fees you have to pay?

    Reply
    • Matthew Karsten
      December 13, 2015

      There are many little pull-offs for you to park & camp, no charge. Just make sure you’re not in anyone’s way, and not too close to the edge of the road. Some small towns have proper campgrounds with bathroom facilities if that’s what you’re looking for.

      Reply
  64. Sylvia
    December 4, 2015

    Matthew,
    Awesome read and wonderful photos! I am considering a trip to Iceland the last week of January. 3 adults and 2 kids (5 and 7) used to traveling around Europe, arriving in Reykjavik on Sat morning, staying till Friday morning. Loop road trip is out of question but I would appreciate your suggestions on side day trips. Golden circle, south, north? What are a must and what should I skip? There are so many tour companies that it’s hard to decide. Thank you.

    Reply
  65. Brandon
    November 30, 2015

    Hi Matthew, Do you recommend booking stays ahead in the small towns?

    Reply
  66. Ion
    November 29, 2015

    I did a photo-shoot in Iceland and I did half of this itinerary, such a great country and great people, will go back and follow Matthew’s tips soon.

    Reply
  67. Deborah
    November 23, 2015

    Preparing for our 5 day trip in Iceland this summer, we found your article really (!) useful! I think we managed to see most of what you recommended + a few more specials we spontaneously found on the road. We were also amazed to see that, traveling on a budget with friends, you don’t necessarily have to become poor when you take a little care how you spend your money…

    If you’re interested, check out how our road trip went. We really considered it the holiday of a lifetime :)

    Thanks again!
    P.S. Love your photos :)

    Reply
  68. Danielle C
    November 7, 2015

    Hi Matt!

    Want to do the Ring Road this March/April. I know the ice caves are no longer open in April because of safety and conditions, but I was wondering your advice on the weather and general enjoyment of a trip during the early spring.

    Thanks!

    Reply
  69. dipali
    November 3, 2015

    Amazing article ! Really helped me to plan my Iceland Trip :-)

    Reply
  70. SHAN
    October 20, 2015

    Hello Matthew! I just got back from Iceland and i want to give you a big big thank you for your Ring Road itinerary. Except for the helicopter ride to see the volcano and going to Little Iceland, i did everything as per your recommendations and i did it in 7 days! I got to see so many many great sights! Thanks a lot. You make my Iceland trip an awesome experience!

    Cheers!

    Reply
    • Matthew Karsten
      October 20, 2015

      Awesome Shan! Great to hear you had a good time in Iceland.

      Reply
      • jasna
        April 29, 2016

        Hey Matthew,

        I am doing your advised Ring road!! Yay! With my wing man son 11 year old this June/July. We will do pretty much as you recommend however, I am little bit confused as where to spend the 4th night. Day 4 and Day 6 you never mentioned where to spend the night. We will not have the camper. So this is important or I will be stuck in some sand or ice somewhere … alone with my son. Don’t want to do that to him :)

        Please recommend.
        Thanks,
        Jp

        Reply
  71. John O'Hara
    October 18, 2015

    Hi Matt,

    Great stuff here! Do you know if there are automatic happy campers? Or are they all manual? I dont know how to drive stick. Thanks!

    Reply
  72. Emily
    October 13, 2015

    This is probably a super obvious question, but where did you go to the bathroom? And approximately how much did the trip cost you in gas? We’re curious about the camper way of doing the trip, but we have no idea how to approximate the amount of diesel it would take. Thanks so much!

    Reply
  73. Lorena
    October 2, 2015

    Hello Mathew! Great, great, great, briefing, thank you for sharing… I am doing the ring road from Nov 7th – 14th with another friend… Do you think I must rent a 4×4 or can we make it with a smaller car?

    Reply
    • Matthew Karsten
      October 13, 2015

      I was able to do it with 2 wheel drive & studded tires in the snow up North, but there were no major storms. If you get hit by a big storm, that might not be enough. Or it will take some time for them to clear the roads first.

      I can’t tell you what the weather will do on your trip though! :-)

      Reply
    • Sonja Tiberi
      June 16, 2016

      Did you do this trip? We are thinking the first week in November this year! Please let me know…Thanks!

      Reply
  74. Taylor Merrutia
    October 2, 2015

    Great post, epic photography.
    Im planning a 8 day (on the ground) trip in last week of October 15. Do you suggest camper may be too cold ? or may it be better to hire a car and staying in cheap hotels/hostels along the way ?
    Obviously will try to get a bigger car preferably 4×4, but how much of the ring road can you actually get off, and ‘need’ a 4×4 ?

    Cheers.

    Reply
    • Matthew Karsten
      October 13, 2015

      Happy Camper vans have a low-power heating system built in for overnight. But you’ll still want a warm sleeping bag.

      There are back roads to venture off all over the place, but you don’t need to drive them to have a good time. You can usually drive the Ring Road without a 4×4, depending on the weather. Snow storms do happen though.

      Reply
  75. Jill
    September 23, 2015

    Hi Matt. Great article and it brings back wonderful memories. My daughter and I just returned from Iceland. All of the information we received highly suggested we skip the Ring Road since we only had 5 full travel days. We chose to give it a shot regardless and so very thankful that we did. (The recommendations suggested staying in Reykjavik and focusing on the south and east.) It was quick and alot of driving and I’m sure there were sights that we missed, but we had the fantastic opportunity of meeting many true Icelanders and had amazing experiences. As we often travel long distances in the US, it was nothing for us to be on the road for 10-12 hours at a time. Even on the foggiest days when we couldn’t see the mountains or cliffs from the road, it was still an awesome trip. We did have to forego guided excursions to give us full days of sightseeing, but it was worth it. I feel bad for anyone that makes the trip to Iceland but believes they can’t do the Ring Road in less than a week. It was well worth the “car time”. I’m not an overly organized person, but I plotted each guesthouse and the sites in between. We ran from 8am to 8pm but it was absolutely doable!! Iceland is an amazing and magically country!!!

    Reply
    • Matthew Karsten
      October 13, 2015

      Wow Jill! Can’t believe you drove the ring road in 5 days. That’s a lot of driving.
      Glad you had a good time though!

      Reply
  76. mohammad
    August 28, 2015

    hi matthew,
    you’r topic is very very fluent and general.it includes everything about Ringroad.
    now i can travel there with open eyes !!
    cheers bro

    Reply
  77. Brent
    August 25, 2015

    Hey Matthew.

    That is one of the best blogs I have read, your photos are amazing and are beautifully supported by your writing style.

    BTW…Love your Instagram account!

    Cheers

    Reply
  78. Stella
    August 13, 2015

    Hi Matt, great tips and post you have here! Thanks for that!

    I will be doing a road trip in Iceland this November and I would like to ask how challenging is the drive from Lake Myvatn to Snaelfellness? (We will skip Akureyri) I looked at google maps that it’s about 500km away. Considering the weather conditions in winter, it could be dangerous. How long did the drive take you? Look forward to hear from you. Thanks!

    Reply
  79. Tim fraser
    August 12, 2015

    How do I hire a Commercial Van on iceland

    Reply
  80. Joost
    August 9, 2015

    Hey Matthew,
    I’m making the ring road trip in November with the Happycamper. Do you think the optional gravel protection is necessary?
    Great blog btw!

    Reply
    • Matthew Karsten
      August 10, 2015

      Hey Joost, I didn’t have a problem with gravel.

      Reply
    • Griet
      August 23, 2015

      Joost, die optie is allen maar verkoopstechniek. Ik deed heel de Ringweg met mijn gewone VW-bus. Geen enkel probleem. Zoveel gravel is er ook niet op de ringweg.VEEL minder dan je zou denken.
      Ga niet met je happy camper door rivieren rijden, je krijgt een boete als je gesnapt wordt (en dat gebeurt wel eens, want emergency moet er af en toe eens uit het water halen) en je garantie vervalt. Succes in november!

      Reply
  81. Jared Huntley
    July 25, 2015

    Amazing post Matthew and even more amazing photos! Recently returned from Iceland in May and can’t wait to return! Didn’t get to the Westfjords and missed out on some other sights.

    Did you visit the Ice caves near Vatnajökull glacier? Did you go with a guide? Was it worth travelling in the dead of Winter?

    Reply
  82. Roxanne
    July 22, 2015

    Hello Matthew!!

    I’m planning to head to Iceland with my boyfriend in September, and we were thinking of renting a campervan. I was wondering, how cold does it get overnight? as we were planning on sleeping in the campervan.

    thanks!!

    Reply
    • Nicholas
      June 26, 2016

      I am keen to know this as well. Does the low-power heating system built in for overnight sufficient? Is it safe to sleep in the campervan middle of the road?

      Reply
  83. Veronique
    July 14, 2015

    Hi Matthew,
    In a week we ‘re starting our roadtrip in Iceland.( the ringroad + Westfjords)
    I’m so excited to start this experience.
    I have a little doubts about what to take with me about clothing.
    Can you give me some more tips?

    Greetz, Veronique

    Reply
  84. hamish
    July 3, 2015

    Hi

    great article

    I will be travelling the ring road for 10-12 days in october and just want to know how you go about showering if you have a camper that doesnt have a shower?

    Hamish

    Reply
  85. Asma Ahmed
    June 23, 2015

    Hi Matt, awesome post and stunning photos! I’m hoping to get out to Iceland this year, depending on Happy Camper availability. I’m deciding btw early September, mid October or late October/early November. I’ll be traveling alone and love a good adventure. Any advice on best time to go (availability of things to do, access on roads, enjoyable weather)? Thanks so much!

    Reply
    • Matthew Karsten
      June 24, 2015

      I loved October/November because there was no one else there. The summer can be busy with tourists. Plus, I lucked out with awesome Northern Lights. There was some snow (especially up North) but not too much.

      Reply
      • Asma Ahmed
        June 24, 2015

        Happy Camper booked, October it is. Thanks, Matt!

        Reply
        • Matthew Karsten
          June 24, 2015

          Awesome! Have fun and say hello to them for me!

  86. Phil Bentley
    June 20, 2015

    We – 2 couples – will be in Iceland 1-16 September 2015. We have a motor home 3-16 September. Do you have a printed guide book for RV travel on the Ring Road?

    Reply
  87. Yee Hua
    June 19, 2015

    Hi Mattew, nice post and awesome pic. Am planning to go iceland early of october. May i ask if happy camper need gas or diesel? How much you use for gas? Thanks.

    Reply
  88. Shawn Sherlock
    June 7, 2015

    Awesome read and awesome photos! I just wanna go ahead right now.

    Tell me, is camping in January any good?

    Reply
  89. Ricard
    June 1, 2015

    Hey there-this is the best account of the full tour I have seen online. In a perfect world, we would all have 2 weeks. My wife and I will have exactly 6 full days-leave Reykjavik on a Thurs. morning the first week of Sept. 2015 (so weather will probably not be an issue) and need to be back by Tuesday evening for a flight the following Wed. morning. Thus, any real concerns about doing 800 miles in 6 full days (130 miles a day)? In looking at your map, it appears there are 5 pretty natural overnight stops-Vik, Hofn, Egilssadir, Akureyri and Grundafjordur before arriving back for a last evening in Reykavik. I understand there will probably be trade offs on what to see and do but that is life. Also, we will staying in each locale at a hotel or Airbnb or a bed and breakfast or something like that so we plan to book in advance. Thanks!

    Reply
  90. Mauriã Sabbado
    April 12, 2015

    Hey Matthew,

    Great blog and pictures.
    Im on that dilema of going to 6d or sony…u for sure inspired me to incline more to the sony side.
    Wich countries did u visit using the sony a7 ? so I can see all of them :)
    Greetings from Brazil
    Mauriã

    Reply
  91. Megan Terry
    April 10, 2015

    Hey there! Thanks for this great post. I just booked my airfare for an early September 2015 trip. Unfortunately I’m limited to 7 days (although 7 FULL days that don’t include the days I’m arriving or departing). I hadn’t even considering a camper but Happy Camper looks awesome. Can you give more details on Iceland logistics with the campers? Was it truly easy to just park wherever? Any guidance on showers/bathrooms? Trying to decide if it’s a good option for a lone female.

    Reply
    • Matthew Karsten
      April 10, 2015

      Hi Megan! Iceland is literally one of the safest countries in the world, top 10 I think actually (much safer than the USA). There are tons of places to pull over and park for the night. You’ll find hostels and guesthouses along the route where you can pay a bit to use a shower/bathroom. Little towns for picking up basic food, gas, etc. The Happy Camper vans have running water (you can refill the water tank at gas stations for free), so I was able to shave & wash up every morning too. Have fun on your Iceland road trip!

      Reply
    • Ashley
      May 26, 2015

      Hey !

      Very Cool I am also camp vanning it Mid September alone as well :D

      Reply
  92. Emi
    March 24, 2015

    I’m planning on visiting Iceland to do a half marathon in August. I’m traveling out August 18th thru August 26th, however, the half marathon is right smack in the middle of the week (poor planning). Do you have any suggestions regarding renting a car and traveling Ring Road for a few days then returning to Reykjavík for the race? Would I still be able to see a good bit doing that? Thanks
    Emi

    Reply
  93. Jeremy
    February 22, 2015

    Hi Matthew,
    Great website, with lots of helpful information for my upcoming trip to Iceland. I am headed to Iceland in early April for 2-weeks. I have rented a car (not a 4×4) and was wondering the best direction to start my trip…clockwise or counter clockwise?

    Reply
  94. Gilli
    February 22, 2015

    It was a privilege to meet you here in Iceland Mathew, thank you for sharing this post, I often get questions from foreigners for tips about the ring road, from now on I will send them to this post :D
    Blessings from “N” Iceland

    Reply
    • Matthew Karsten
      February 22, 2015

      Hey Gilli! Great to meet you as well, and thanks for showing us around. I’ll be back soon!

      Reply
  95. Stillwater
    February 22, 2015

    Great Blog Matt! I found your info and tips on Iceland to be the best so far. Great and easy layout and you had some suggestions that I have yet to find on the web. And your photographs are amazing.

    I’m going solo for 14 days in mid July so I can include Heimaey and the West Fjords. I have a laid back itinerary and I’m using the Lonely Planet guide. I have a # of questions I hope you don’t mind answering:

    Would you have any other suggestions on what else to use besides Lonely Planet? I also just started looking into the Volcano tour which sounds like a blast (pun intended). Definitely seems worth it.

    Did you try a Zodiac tour at the Glacier Lagoon? And the ice cave looks unreal. Can only be viewed in the winter months, eh?

    And finally, I’m not using a 4×4 or off-road vehicle during my road trip. I’ve read that for the most part an off road vehicle is not necessary. What do you think? Thank you!

    Reply
  96. Marie @ EuroTripTips
    February 19, 2015

    What a great post, Matthew! I was in Iceland last June and it was fantastic, but way too short of a stay in hindsight. I can only wish to be as lucky as you were with the Northern Lights next time I return!

    I also wrote a post on road tripping in Iceland: http://www.eurotriptips.com/dos-and-donts-of-an-iceland-road-trip/

    Reply
  97. Mike of Mapless Mike
    February 17, 2015

    This is awesome! I am planning on stopping in Iceland either this summer when I head back to the US from Spain or this fall when I head back to Spain from the US. Thank you for putting together such an informative and inspiring post!

    Reply
  98. Nur
    February 16, 2015

    Perfect introduction to Iceland travel. Thank you. Practical question: When using the camper car, I imagine there are ample stops with toilets along the way, but where did you shower?
    Thank you

    Reply
    • Matthew Karsten
      February 16, 2015

      I didn’t. heheh. I happened to be alone on this road trip (Kiersten left earlier), so it wasn’t a big issue. However you could always jump into the iceberg lagoon!

      I did give myself a quick sponge bath using the van’s sink every morning.

      Reply
  99. Jess
    February 16, 2015

    I am in the process of booking a stopover in Iceland on the way back to the States for this summer, which I was super excited about until seeing your series on Iceland. I’m still super excited(!), but now I think the return trip may need an entire week stopover to drive this magical route. Terrific work!

    Reply
  100. Hannah @Getting Stamped
    February 16, 2015

    It’s official I have to get to Iceland in 2015….we did a campervan around New Zealand and loved it but never thought Iceland! Great post and route ideas for us.

    Reply
  101. Erick
    February 14, 2015

    PERFECT timing my man. Been thinking of heading over. WOW Airlines has some great deals out of the East Coast.

    Reply
  102. Duang
    February 14, 2015

    It’s the best article so far i have read!! we are going to do the ring road on March 14-20, our plan is very similar as yours!
    Is it worth to visit ice cave?

    Reply
  103. Noah
    February 13, 2015

    Fantastic article! I’m doing a trip to Scandinavia in April with 3 days in Iceland. I had planned to take the Golden Circle bus tour, but now I wish I had more time to rent a car and drive! I’m planning to spend two days out of Reykjavik, so perhaps I’ll do part of this tour. How good are the odds of seeing Aurora Borealis in mid-April?

    Reply
    • Matthew Karsten
      February 13, 2015

      Hey Noah, you can totally still rent a car and drive the Golden Circle on your own. It’s not difficult, and only takes 1 day. As for the rest of it, a decent 2 day trip would be to drive down to Vik and back.

      Reply
  104. Amanda
    February 13, 2015

    I didn’t realize you could get into the ice caves in October! That’s good to know – I may end of planning a trip back to Iceland later this year (I’m thinking November), and I definitely want to see the ice caves!

    Reply
    • Matthew Karsten
      February 13, 2015

      It depends on the weather, but usually late October or early November is when they start taking people to the caves. They need to make sure they’re safe first. Technically I visited the caves in November.

      Reply
      • Lauren
        July 15, 2015

        Hey Matt,
        Great article. We’re going to follow your route. Do you know if we are able to see the caves on our own? Without guides?

        Reply
        • Matthew Karsten
          July 15, 2015

          Not unless you’ve been there before. They often change every year, and can be quite difficult to get to. The glacier is enormous. Even then, they can be very dangerous if you don’t know what you’re doing. For example, one cave was ok to explore, another one nearby was not. I wouldn’t have been able to tell the difference.

  105. Andres Rios
    February 13, 2015

    I’m planning on taking the ring trip the first week of November. I REALLY want to see the northern lights. What’s your opinion on the time of year I’m going? Are our days going to be to short by then to be able to experience and enjoy the rest of what Iceland has to offer?

    Reply
    • Matthew Karsten
      February 13, 2015

      Hi Andres! I’m working on another article all about finding the Northern Lights, but fall is a perfect time to visit for them. The aurora becomes more frequent, and your chances of good weather are better than in the middle of winter. Sure the days are short, but you actually get REALLY long sunrises and sunsets, perfect for photography.

      Reply
  106. Brendan van Son
    February 13, 2015

    Dude, awesome pics. I really need to get back there! Such an amazing country. I’m glad you linked up with Happy Campers, that van looks amazing. I hope you got to live in a Van down by THE RIVER!!

    Reply
    • Matthew Karsten
      February 13, 2015

      Oh yeah. I was living in a van down by the river every night!

      Reply
  107. travelFREAK
    February 13, 2015

    Matthew, you’re rockin’ that camera! Your photography is stunningly beautiful! Thank you for sharing your experience!

    Reply
  108. Emma
    February 12, 2015

    So many amazing sights, I can’t wait to visit Iceland.

    Reply
    • Matthew Karsten
      February 12, 2015

      It’s a bit overwhelming for sure Emma. You want to see everything you possibly can on a road trip through Iceland!

      Reply
  109. Hugo Cura
    February 12, 2015

    Hey

    Nice reading, as usual.

    The first thing that crossed my mind is that 7 days is was way too short and rushed. Glad you mention 10 days is the way to go. I actually did it in 15 but included Heimaey (awesome), the Westfjords (awesome ++), more of the East fjords and a lot of things up north that you missed.

    I wasn’t that lucky for the volcano sightseeing flight as mine got canceled :(

    Did this in September and as you mention is a great time to go in terms of costs and the roads are pretty much empty. Also, no snow on the plateau/mountain pass towards north and myvatn.

    Cheers

    Reply
    • Matthew Karsten
      February 12, 2015

      Thanks Hugo, jealous you got to see the Westfjords. I’m planning on checking them out next time I visit. Would also love to trek through the interior of the country for a few days.

      Reply

Leave a Reply