Secrets Of The Ring Road: Iceland’s Epic Road Trip (Complete Guide)

Ring Road Iceland
Guide to Driving Iceland’s Ring Road
Ring Road, Iceland

There’s nothing quite like an Iceland road trip. Especially when driving past incredible volcanoes, icebergs, waterfalls, and magical northern lights on Iceland’s Ring Road!

Iceland is has opened its borders for tourism again with COVID-19 testing on arrival at Keflavík International Airport, but it’s still closed to Americans.

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

Lurking around every bend a stunning new Icelandic landscape reveals itself.

Renting a car and self-driving Iceland on the Ring Road exposes you to bubbling geothermal springs, sparkling rainbows, beautiful horses, icy glaciers, massive waterfalls, and rugged mountains day after day.

If you’re lucky, you may even catch the magic of the northern lights too!

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

In this travel guide I’ll help you get the most out of a self-drive ring road adventure. Learn how to prepare, where to stay, and the best things to see!

This Ring Road itinerary is completely free! I’ve worked hard putting it together for you. If you find it useful, I’d appreciate if you use my affiliate links when you book hotels, rental cars or activities. I’ll get paid a small commission, at no extra cost to you! Thanks.

Ring Road Iceland Travel Map

How To Use This Map

Above you’ll find a map of my itinerary for Iceland’s Ring Road. Click on the top left of the map to find separate layers marking the route and points of interest. You can hide and show different layers, or click icons on the map to see the names of places I mention in this travel guide. “Star” the map to save it to your own Google Maps, or open the map in a new window for a larger version. Enjoy!

Driving Iceland’s Ring Road In 2020

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 10 days in Iceland, with 7 full days to drive the Ring Road itself.

Looking back I wish I had spent an extra few days on the Ring Road.

While 7 days is possible, you’ll be moving non-stop, and will probably miss a few highlights. Especially if you have a bad-weather day.

Because the weather is definitely a factor in Iceland, with sudden snowstorms common in the spring, fall, and winter.

Campervan Rental in Iceland
My Happy Campers Van
Iceland Road Trip
A Peek Inside the Van

Rental Car Or Campervan?

The best site to book your rental car is with Discover Cars. They search both local and international car rental companies to help you find the best possible price. This is the easiest way to rent a car for driving in Iceland.

There are bus tours that drive the route, but a self-drive tour is the better way to go in my opinion. You can stop anywhere you want, for as long as you want, giving you complete freedom.

I drove the ring road in Iceland while living out of a Happy Campers van. The major benefit to renting a campervan is that it covers your accommodation.

My van was equipped with a fold-down bed, sink with running water, electric cooler, gas grill, battery-powered heating system and a large solar panel.

UPDATE: Since writing this article, Iceland implemented new laws that restrict where you can spend the night in a campervan. You can no longer pull over and spend the night anywhere. You must park at campgrounds.
Planning Your Ring Road Adventure
Planning Your Ring Road Adventure

Planning An Iceland Road Trip

Where To Start From

Most travelers start their Ring Road drive from Keflavik International Airport, others spend a few days exploring Reykjavik from a hotel first. You can drive the route in a clockwise or counterclockwise direction, but I recommend driving counterclockwise to hit the most touristy parts of Iceland first.

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 about $300 USD.

Groceries In Iceland

Stock up on groceries before you leave for your road trip, because food in Iceland is expensive. There’s 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 some general 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.

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 7-10 day itinerary with highlights you shouldn’t miss, good places to stay for the night, plus a few adventure activities that must be booked in advance.

My Iceland Ring Road Itinerary

DAY 1: The Golden Circle

Golden Circle Iceland
Strokkur Geyser on the Golden Circle

The Golden Circle is a short 1-day road trip that starts from Reykjavik which I covered in a separate article. This 300 km (190 mi) route covers many beautiful Iceland landmarks in a short period of time, so it’s perfect for people on a long layover.

It’s a good place to start a longer ring road adventure too because the attractions are some of the most visited in Iceland. I’d recommend getting these out of the way first before heading out into the more remote (and less crowded) parts of the country.

Thingvellir National Park

The location of Iceland’s first Parliament, and where the North American & Eurasian tectonic plates are slowly splitting apart from each other. You can spend a lot of time here, walking the trails. This is also where Silfra is, where you can go snorkeling or scuba diving between the plates.

Geysers At Haukadalur

An impressive geothermal area featuring two natural geysers that erupt on a regular basis. Churning boiling water that smells like eggs. You don’t have to wait long to see them go off either!

Gullfoss Waterfall

This wide & fast-moving river turns a corner and falls 100 feet into a huge waterfall, producing thick mist & frequent rainbows. From here most people turn around and head back to the Ring Road, or to Reykjavik.

Where To Stay On The Golden Circle

DAY 2: South Coast To Vik

Seljalandsfoss Ring Road Iceland
Exploring Iceland’s South Coast

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.

Skogafoss Ring Road Iceland
Rainbow at Skogafoss 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.

Iceland Ring Road Activities
Ice Climbing Glaciers in Iceland

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.

Sólheimasandur Plane Crash
Visiting 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. The plane has been used in a bunch of music videos making it famous.

You can park your car and hike out to the plane on foot and explore what remains. Check out my detailed directions if you’d like to see this famous spot first-hand!

Iceland Black Sand Beach
Black Sand Beaches

Reynisfjara Black Sand Beach

Often referred to as the world’s most beautiful black sand beach, Reynisfjara is a must-visit location for travelers. This wild, rugged beach was created by lava mixing with ocean water. I wouldn’t recommend sunbathing on this beach, but you will get some amazing photo opportunities here. From the black beach itself to the cliffs, caves and basalt columns, Reynisfjara is very impressive.

Where To Stay Around Vik

Puffin Hostel
The Barn
Hótel Kría

DAY 3: Iceberg Lagoons & Ice Caves

Jökulsárlón Iceberg Lagoon
Jökulsárlón Iceberg Lagoon

Fjaðrárgljúfur Canyon

This majestic canyon came to life approximately 9,000 years ago as a result of progressive erosion. I was thrilled by the opportunity to walk inside this narrow, winding canyon. However, if you want to avoid wading through water, I suggest enjoying its natural beauty from the walking path above Fjaðrárgljúfur Canyon. Be aware that the path is steep, but the view is more than worth the effort.

Svartifoss Black Waterfall

The black basalt columns that flank the narrow flow of water from Svartifoss (aka the “Black Waterfall”) will make you feel like you’ve discovered an alien planet. Depending on whether you want to take the direct or more circular route, you can expect to walk for at least 2 miles to reach it. You can’t enter the actual waterfall area, but you’ll get close enough for great photos.

Jökulsárlón Iceberg Lagoon

Breiðamerkurjökull glacier is slowly melting, with giant blue-tinted icebergs breaking off and floating into a large lagoon called Jökulsárlón. The ice collects on its shores, while some pieces continue on and drift out to sea.

Jökulsárlón glacier 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 beach nearby, where some icebergs get pushed on shore due to waves.

Ice Caves on the Ring Road
Exploring Crazy Ice Caves

Hidden 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 ice caves can be difficult and treacherous to reach, so you’ll need to hire a guide. For safety reasons, you can only visit them in the winter too (starting in November) when the ice has hardened up and the risk of collapse is low.

Where To Stay Around Hofn

Hotel Höfn
Aurora Cabins

DAY 4: Egilsstaðir & The Eastern Fjords

Mountains on the East Coast
Mountains on the East Coast

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 the 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. Most people stop to spend the night in the town of Egilsstaðir.

East Iceland Ring Road Trip
Cool Bird Watching Hut

Sheep & Reindeer Spotting

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 the sheep will be fenced in, but in the summer and fall, they roam free through the countryside.

Northern Lights in 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.

Where To Stay In East Iceland

DAY 5: Myvatn & More Waterfalls

Boiling Mud Pools in Iceland
Hverir Mud Pools at Myvatn

Icelandic 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 a 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.

Powerful Dettifoss Waterfall
Powerful Dettifoss Waterfall

Dettifoss Waterfall

Dettifoss [MAP] is the largest waterfall in Iceland (and Europe) by water volume. Imagine the visual and auditory impact of more than 132,000 liquid gallons rushing past you every second! It’s equally beautiful and overwhelming.

Most tourists go to the waterfall’s west side, but the east side is even better for photos. If you have the time, it’s definitely worth a stop. It’s very impressive, but also very dangerous if you get too close to the edge. Especially if the rocks are wet. Be careful!

Godafoss Waterfall

Godafoss Waterfall is famous for several reasons, including its impressive width of almost 100 feet. More importantly, if you go here at night during the right time of the year, you can photograph the Northern Lights over the water.

It doesn’t originate from a very tall height, but Godafoss has width and power that reminded me of Niagara Falls. This attraction is known locally as the “Waterfall of the Gods” due to an Icelandic legend involving Norse statues and the area’s conversion to Christianity.

Ring Road Activities Geothermal Vents
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.

Where To Stay Around Myvatn

Hótel Laxá

DAY 6: Akureyri & North Iceland

Flying over Erupting Volcanoes
Flying over 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 there and was spewing huge rivers of molten rock.

Flying over an erupting volcano had been on my bucket list for years, and I’m so happy I got to witness the power and fury of nature up close like that! For scenic flights over the volcano I used Booking a small plane is MUCH cheaper than a helicopter.

UPDATE: The Holuhraun Eruption ended February 2015. There are currently no erupting volcanoes on Iceland, but you never know when the next will be!
Whale Watching around Akureyri
Whale Watching around Akureyri

Whale Watching In Iceland

Because I was waiting for the weather to clear up for my volcano flight, I didn’t have a chance to go whale watching in Iceland. But it’s a very popular thing to do at the fjords around Akureyri. Whale season is from June to October.

Apparently, you can spot bottlenose, humpback, and minke whales. You can learn more about whale watching in Akureyri here.

Where To Stay Around Akureyri

DAY 7: Snæfellsnes Peninsula

Kirkjufellsfoss Waterfall in Snaefellsnes
Kirkjufellsfoss Waterfall in Snaefellsnes

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.

Snæfellsnes is where you’ll find Kirkjufellsfoss, the most photographed waterfall in Iceland just West of the town of Grundarfjörður.

Búðakirkja Black Church

One of my favorite things about Iceland is that’s it’s easy to leave the hustle and bustle of big city life behind. Búðir fully embodies this sense of wonderful isolation by having only two structures in the entire hamlet: a hotel and a tiny church named Búðakirkja. This black church sits inside a lava field, and it also has a lot of green space behind it. Be careful not to fall into any of the big holes that dot the grassy landscape.

Where To Stay On Snæfellsnes

DAY 8-10: Explore Reykjavik

End the Ring Road in Reykjavik
Spend Time in Reykjavik

If you made it back to Reykjavik and have a few more days to spare, there’s plenty of things to do in Iceland’s capital! Reykjavik is a vibrant city full of cool street-art, great nightlife, modern architecture, and some pretty weird attractions too.

Hallgrímskirkja Church

Iceland’s Hallgrímskirkja Church towers over Reykjavík and is the tallest church in the entire country. Naturally, this has made the expressionist architecture one of Iceland’s most popular tourist attractions. The two most noteworthy aspects of the church are the beautifully detailed statue of Leif Eiríksson and the huge, mechanical pipe organ. Make sure to take the elevator up to the top for some very cool views of the city.

Harpa Concert Hall

The glass facade of this modern Icelandic building is really impressive. Harpa Concert Hall is worth touring even if there are no performances during your visit. But if you’re lucky, you may be able to catch one of the Iceland Symphony Orchestra’s weekly concerts there. At night the whole building pulsates with colored lights, putting on a show of its own.

Tjörnin Pond

This natural geothermal pond in the middle Reykjavik attracts geese, swans and ducks year-round, along with picnicking families and couples looking for a romantic walk. Locals call the pond the “Biggest Bread Soup in the World” due to all the bread that’s offered to the birds. A little environmental tip is to offer seeds instead of bread, which is healthier for them.

Swimming in the Blue Lagoon!
Swimming in the Blue Lagoon!

The Blue Lagoon

While not technically in Reykjavik, you can’t visit Iceland without a dip in the famous geothermal Blue Lagoon. It’s located about an hour away from the city center, closer to the international airport. Visiting the lagoon is expensive, but worth it.

The Blue Lagoon is not REALLY a natural lagoon, it’s actually man-made using surplus water from the nearby geothermal powerplant. But bathing in the warm mineral-rich waters surrounded by Iceland’s dramatic volcanic landscape is still fun!

Where To Stay In Reykjavik

Ring Road Driving Tips
Old Abandoned Bus on the Ring Road

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 at least 10 days so you don’t feel rushed and have time to relax, maybe spending a few days in one spot. I also recommend saving a day or two to explore the capital city of Reykjavik too.

Best Time To Visit Iceland

The best time to visit Iceland and drive the Ring Road depends on what you’re after. For the best weather, the summer high season of June, July, and August is good. But the shoulder season of September & October has fewer tourists, shorter days, and better chances to see the northern lights!

Bathrooms & Showers

How do you shower if you’re in a campervan? Well most towns have heated public swimming pools that you can visit for $3-$6 USD. Or, you can pay to use a shower at one of Iceland’s many campgrounds. Sponge-baths work too! Regular bathrooms are available at most tourist attractions, restaurants, and gas stations.

Checking The Weather

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

Stay Safe Out There!

I recommend visiting the website to stay updated on Iceland’s weather, road conditions, and take their short online driving test to make sure you’re prepared for a safe & happy road trip.

Iceland is one of the most amazing countries I’ve ever visited, I think you’ll feel the same way after spending a week driving the Ring Road! ★

Travel Video! Iceland Ring Road Adventure

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(Click to watch Ring Road Adventures In Iceland! on YouTube)

Travel Planning Resources For The Ring Road

Packing Guide

Check out my travel gear guide to help you start packing for your trip.

Book Your Flight

Ready to fly? Here’s how I find the cheapest airline flights.

Rent A Car

Discover Cars is a great site for comparing car prices to find a deal.

Cheap Accommodation

Learn how I save money booking hotels & vacation apartments.

Protect Your Trip

Don’t forget travel insurance! Protect yourself from possible injury & theft abroad. Read why you should always carry travel insurance.

Recommended Guidebook: Lonely Planet Iceland
Suggested Reading: The Little Book Of Hidden People

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Tips for driving the Ring Road in Iceland. My complete itinerary and travel guide!
Tips for driving the Ring Road in Iceland. My complete itinerary and travel guide!


I hope you enjoyed my guide to the Iceland Ring Road! Hopefully you found it useful. Here are a few more wanderlust-inducing articles that I recommend you read next:

Any questions about driving Iceland’s ring road? Are you planning a trip? Drop me a message in the comments below!


Hi, I’m Matthew Karsten — I’ve been traveling around the world for the last 10 years as a blogger, photographer, and digital nomad. Adventure travel & photography are my passions. Let me inspire you to travel with crazy stories, photography, and money-saving travel tips.
Matthew Karsten
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Comments (316)

  1. 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..

    • 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,

    • 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.

  2. 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 [email protected]

    • It’s possible, but winters in Iceland are cold & snowy, and Route 1 can become impassible for a few hours due to snowstorms, at least until the plows eventually come by. You’re better off with a 4×4 in the winter.

  3. 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.

  4. 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.

    • 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 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.

    • Hi Gabs – My family (Husband and 3 teenagers!) are looking to travel around the same time in 2017. Can you tell me the tour company you used to set your self drive tour and accommodations??


  5. 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.

    • 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.

  6. 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 [email protected] if it sounds like our schedules might overlap!

  7. Hie matt..thanks for the lovely 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 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 ?

  8. 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

  9. 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.

  10. 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 !

  11. 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!

  12. 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.

  13. 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!

  14. 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?

  15. 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?

    • 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.

    • Hi, no it is not true anymore. Those who drive a campervan, motorhome or any kind of motor vehicle are not allowed to stay overnight outside of a designated campsite. So, you can’t just pull over and sleep anywhere as it is stated in your article.

  16. 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!

  17. 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 :)

  18. 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.


  19. 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: [email protected]

  20. 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))

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

    • 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.

  22. 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.

    • 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”.

  23. 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!

    • 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.

      • This is super informative and makes me really look forward to our trip in September. Photographer going on a honeymoon…Good to know one can do all of what you saw without 4×4. Thanks!

  24. 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!

  25. 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

  26. 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. [email protected]

    • 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.

  27. 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.

  28. 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

  29. 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 !

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

  30. 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!

  31. 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?



  32. 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.

  33. Hi,

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

      • 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 :)

        • 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)

        • 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!


        • 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.

  34. 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. :)

    • 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! :)

      • 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! :)

        • 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! :)

  35. 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.

  36. 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.

    • 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.

      • 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.

    • 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

  37. 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

  38. 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

    • 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?

  39. 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?

  40. 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!

    • 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.
      Email: [email protected]

  41. 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

  42. 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)?

    • 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! [email protected]

  43. 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?

    • 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.


    • 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

      • 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

        • 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.

      • 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!

      • I will do the Ring Road early March, 2017 for a 7 day clockwise trip. I took the Golden Circle trip last December 2015. I am looking for one other person to share transportation cost, my estimate is no more than $300 each. Hostels are the preferred overnight lodging.

    • 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.

  44. 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.

  45. 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!!

  46. 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!

  47. 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.

  48. 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.


  49. 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?

    • 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.

  50. 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.

  51. 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.

  52. 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 :)

  53. 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.


  54. 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!


      • 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.

  55. 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!

  56. 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!

  57. 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?

    • 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! :-)

  58. 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 ?


    • 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.

  59. 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!!!

    • 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!

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

  61. 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!


  62. 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!

  63. 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!

    • 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!

  64. 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?

  65. 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.


    • 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?

  66. 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

  67. 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?


  68. 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!

    • 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.

  69. 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?

  70. 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.

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

    Tell me, is camping in January any good?

  72. 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!

  73. 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

  74. 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.

    • 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!

  75. 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

  76. 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?

  77. 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

  78. 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!

  79. 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!

  80. 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

    • 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.

  81. 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!

  82. 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.

  83. 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?

  84. 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?

  85. 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!

    • 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.

      • 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?

        • 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.

  86. 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?

    • 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.

  87. 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!!

  88. 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.


    • 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.