I wanted to start off this year with some travel pics from our trip to Iceland, last year. We had an absolutely fantastic time, and I have held onto the pictures for long enough that it is time I shared them.
Warning: Extremely picture heavy!
People often ask me when I tell them I went on vacation to Iceland, what made me choose there? The quickest answer is I saw pictures from someone else who had done a trip around Iceland, and I had been looking for our next adventurous vacation for a while, and I thought, “Why not?” I asked Greg about it, and he’s easygoing about vacations, so he was up for it.
Our itinerary included renting a camper van and driving around the entire island of Iceland, stopping to camp and sightsee along the way. Note: I highly recommend a camper van if you decide to camp, because it would have been COLD in a tent!
There is a famous road called the Ring Road that loops around the whole island, and is mostly easily traversable in any car, although we found out that parts of it may suddenly turn into gravel and dirt roads!
The entire Ring Road length is about 828 miles, so it’s best to take at the minimum 7-10 days to drive it, since there is so much to see along the way. We took 9 days total, including our travel to and from Iceland. Honestly, you could spend a lot more time there. Although after camping for 9 days, I was ready to get home to my bed and shower.
Our flight was just a hop from JFK to Reykjavik, Iceland. Philly is a closer airport to us, but we went with JFK to save some money.
Reykjavik is the capital and the busiest part of the country. It’s a nice city with a couple of vegan restaurants we tried and lots of museums, but we didn’t want to spend too much time there, since most of the things we wanted to do were along the Ring Road.
This was our first campsite. We were luckily not in a tent and had our camper van, and the amenities were decent, with showers and a nice cooking and cleaning area.
We walked around the city the first day and explored. This is a Lutheran church called Hallgrimskirkja. Good luck pronouncing that.
Iceland is rated at the top on the LGBT happiness index, and they have a street symbolizing pride, which I thought was cool.
Exploring the Ring Road:
Our journey in our cozy camper van began as we set off from the city onto the Ring Road.
Thingvellir National Park:
This is a beautiful park, which is also where Iceland’s first parliament was founded. It was one of our first stops, and luckily we got there early enough that the tourist groups hadn’t arrived, yet. The weather was absolutely gorgeous, even though we had to battle our way through gnats.
This is actually the first geyser ever described in a printed source and the first known to modern Europeans. The word geyser comes from this geyser named Geysir!
I was amazed, because it erupts every several minutes. You can wait around for it to erupt as many times as you like. There is a crowd of people waiting, and you can sense the anticipation the more it starts bubbling.
This is the top of the hill above the geyser.
Haafel Goat Farm:
There is a goat farm in Iceland that saved Icelandic goats from extinction. The country was nearing the last goats when the farm was started and the owners began breeding the goats again.
I met the goat from Game of Thrones!! The same goat that got picked up by Khaleesi’s dragon!
Game of Thrones does a lot of filming in Iceland, and this was one of the places they used.
I don’t know if I can describe how ecstatic I am to meet goats!!
They were very sweet, and would headbutt you if you stopped petting them; I want to adopt some goats.
Continuing the Ring Road:
The view is wonderful wherever you turn.
Our little camper van! We slept in the back of that! There’s just room enough for two people to stretch out.
I explained a little bit about how I survived eating vegan while camping here
, but it was definitely a challenge. I learned how to use a camping stove. We also learned that Iceland doesn’t stock black beans in their grocery stores – where are my black beans at??
Myvatn Nature Baths:
The water in Iceland smells a little like eggs, because it is geothermal, but it doesn’t smell bad and is fine once you get used to it.
There are several hot springs you can swim in, and we stopped along our way at Myvatn to take a soak.
It was extremely relaxing, like the water was giving you a warm hug and massage at the same time.
Husavik is a harbor town known for fishing and whale watching. We went on our first whale watching tour on a speed boat, and it was definitely a good choice. We saw so many whales, and we got incredibly close. Our tour guide called the big tour boat the “dinosaur.”
They gave us fun red suits and goggles to wear, and we even visited puffin island. We couldn’t get too close, but puffins are fast and cool to watch.
Sheep are everywhere! We had to drive carefully, because of the sheep that were sometimes in the road. There are actually over twice as many sheep as people in Iceland.
This was my favorite waterfall in Iceland. It was unlike any waterfall I’d ever scene! It is reputed to be the most powerful waterfall in Europe.
It was also used during the opening scene of Prometheus, which is one reason it was one of the top waterfalls on our list to see.
Camping and exploring:
After our Dettifoss trip, we made it to a campsite and I was STARVING. I ate chickpeas straight out of the can, plus some PB and apple.
We did some more hiking around after that. These mounds were built as some sort of art exhibit in the outskirts of a small town we stopped in.
We stopped at a museum where a man sold things he found and collected, like shells and skulls, and there was a dog that played fetch with an old deflated soccer ball with the visitors.
The beaches were filled with black rocks. There is a large portion of Iceland that is volcanic, so the terrain ranges from green and verdant to vast, volcanic fields.
You can walk right up to the glacier at Vatnajokull Glacier. It is slowly melting each year; we saw a huge chunk break off and float away right in front of us.
There are also large chunks of ice that float onto the beach.
I have an obsession with the sheep. They looked so adorable.
Greg asked the lady who worked at the goat farm what the deal with all the sheep wandering around was, and she told us that in the summer, all the farmers let their sheep wander, and in the winter they collect them.
I wanted a picture with the sheep, but I kept telling Greg not to get too close, because the sheep were between us and a cliff, and the last thing I wanted was to scare a bunch of sheep off a cliff.
There are countless waterfalls in Iceland. Almost anywhere you turn, you can see a waterfall tumbling down the mountains. We stopped at several of the biggest ones, like Dettifoss above, but there were so many. This one is called Skogafoss:
We definitely enjoyed our trip to Iceland, and am so happy we got to go!
Next time, our plans will hopefully involve a little bit of hotel time, because I like my amenities and would never make it on Survivor or Bear Grylls’s Man vs Wild or any of those survival shows. It was totally worth it, though, and camper vanning our way through Iceland was a fantastic time.
Next trip, who knows? I am excited to plan our next adventure, wherever we decide it is.