20 Aug Happy Campers Iceland Road Trip – Part 2: Our Itinerary Day 1-5
Out of the countries that we have visited so far, Iceland is one of our favorites. There is something about the otherworldly and diverse landscape mixed with the fantastic opportunity for adventure that draws us in. This was our second time in Iceland, so we wanted to do things a bit different than we did on our first visit. So, when the opportunity to partner with Happy Campers came up, we were ecstatic. Plus, we would be combining forces and traveling with two of our good friends, Evan and Hilary from Pure Adirondacks—what could be better?!
Our Happy Campers road trip itinerary would see us venturing up into the Westfjords before continuing on to complete the Ring Road circle and end in Reykjavik.
We held quite a few Skype planning sessions with Evan and Hilary prior to our trip, and we were all counting the days until departure. While we didn’t have an itinerary that was set in stone, we had a rough idea of several places we hoped to visit. We also had a very loose schedule we needed to follow in order to make it back to drop the van off early in the morning on day 11. So, with that, here is a breakdown of our adventures from the first half of our trip.
When we landed at Keflivik airport, we met up with Evan and Hilary and were picked up by the Happy Campers shuttle. Soon, we were whisked away to the Happy Campers rental facility. We were greeted by a bright and cheery office, friendly staff and a van that was shiny, clean and ready for adventure. After checking in, picking up extra supplies and taking a look at the map, we went out for an introduction to our new home.
Our first stop was the nearby grocery store, Bonus, to stock up on food, since the plan was to cook most of our meals on the road. We loaded up on snacks, sandwich supplies, pasta, coffee, drinks and some breakfast items.
Most of our first day was spent driving north to the Westfjords, and of course, we couldn’t resist stopping for some photos along the way. Eventually, we made our way to our first night’s campsite in Flókalundur. Next up, we cooked some Good To-Go meals for dinner and then went on a little adventure to a nearby waterfall.
Our views at the campsite that first evening were overlooking the water—definitely not a bad way to start the trip!
Day’s driving distance: 374 km / 232 miles
Campsite Location: Hotel Flókalundur Campground
Campsite Fee: 1,400 ISK per person
Campsite Amenities: Toilets, showers, dishwashing facilities
To start off our first full day of road tripping, a visit to the nearest hot pot was in order. We drove the short distance to the Hellulaug hot pot, and spent some time relaxing in the rock-lined spring right next to the ocean. We had the place to ourselves and the natural setting made it feel like we were in our own little paradise far from the rest of the world.
Next up was the Látrabjarg Bird Cliffs to go searching for puffins—these bird cliffs are home to large puffin colonies, so we were hoping for good luck! This was one of the experiences on our itinerary that I was most excited for. Puffins have always been one of my favorite animals, as can be confirmed by my well worn plush puffin that I carried around as a child. I was giddy with excitement as we set off on our hike along the cliff’s edge. While the hike provided some of the most spectacular landscape views I’ve seen, we didn’t find any puffins.
It wasn’t until we were just about to leave that Evan said he saw a puffin hanging out not far away. Of course we had to check it out—I crossed my fingers, walked with baited breath and hoped the puffin was still there. As luck would have it, we were able to lay along the cliff and watch multiple puffins just inches away from our faces! I was so excited and couldn’t stop smiling at the adorable birds popping in and out of their homes.
After prying ourselves away from the puffins, we jumped back into the van and continued on to our next camping stop, Patreksfjörður.
Day’s driving distance: 154 km / 96 miles
Campsite Location: Patreksfjordur Camping and Tourist Information Center
Campsite Fee: 1,300 ISK per person
Campsite Amenities: Toilets, showers, full kitchen
Most of day three was spent driving and stopping for photos. We were working our way though the Westfjords, and unfortunately, we didn’t have time to stop much throughout the drive. One of the main stops of the day was at the huge waterfall called Dynjandi.
We scurried up the trail next to the cascading falls, and walked all the way to the uppermost viewpoint. The waterfall was so powerful that we could only have our camera out for a few seconds at a time because the mist was so intense! It was a gorgeous waterfall and also happens to be one of the most iconic waterfalls in the Westfjords.
After stopping at yet another waterfall alongside a quiet fjord, we decided that it seemed like the perfect spot to set up camp for the night. Instead of making our way to a campsite, we parked near a bridge and spent the night next to the gorgeous waterfall and fjord. We only saw a few cars the entire evening, and it was surreal to spend a night in such a remote part of the island.
To wind down our evening, we spent down time enjoying the camper. We played a few rousing games of Bananagrams and were pleasantly surprised that we could fit the table and two chairs inside the camper!
Day’s driving distance: 250 km / 155 miles
Campsite Location: In the wild next to a bridge and waterfall at the end of the fjord, Skötufjördur
Campsite Fee: Free
Campsite Amenities: None!
Starting the morning with a hot pot is always a good idea, and thankfully in Iceland, there is never one too far away. Since the Drangsnes hot pots weren’t too far out of the way, we couldn’t resist going for a dip. Unlike the more natural hot spring that we stopped at earlier in the trip, these were actual tubs that were fed with spring water. But, that didn’t make them any less scenic, as they were set amidst the rocks and overlooking the sea.
We spent a decent amount of time soaking in the serene setting before driving straight through to the adorable town of Siglufjordur, where the campground was smack dab in the middle of town. We made dinner and played frisbee before heading out for a walk along the city streets.
Siglufjordur is a super cute, small town surrounded by mountains on three sides and water on the other. It used to be a hub for herring fishing in the 1950’s, but now there are no more herring in the waters near town, which means Siglufjordur lost one of its main sources of commerce. Now, it is home to several small shops, a few restaurants and bars, and a couple of museums. We also found a youth center with volleyball courts, giant yard chess and other lawn games that were utilized by locals the entire evening.
Day’s driving distance: 514 km / 319 miles
Campsite Location: Siglufjordur Campsite
Campsite Fee: 1,125 ISK per person
Campsite Amenities: Toilets, showers (for a fee), dishwashing facilities
It seemed as though the first half of our trip was spent mostly on the road—while we didn’t do too many activities, we did go on some fantastic random hikes, found plenty of scenic waterfalls and stopped for photos around almost every corner. We were soaking up van life and enjoying the scenery of the Westfjords.
But, that all changed on day five when we made it to the northern portion of Iceland. Day five was filled with one activity after another. We started the morning off with breakfast at a small bakery in Siglufjordur before heading over to the Herring Era Museum for some info on the town’s history.
The museum shows you what life was like during the town’s herring boom with exhibits about the fishing boats, the herring processing and the living quarters of the herring workers and fishermen.
After learning about herring and Siglufjordur, we drove through the one lane tunnel to Húsavík—yes, one lane! It was a bit terrifying as we didn’t really know the rules about who should pull over when two cars met, but thankfully it all worked out fine and we came out the other side unscathed. We arrived in Húsavík, and then we set up camp in the campground a short walk from downtown.
Every night thus far, we had cooked dinner in the camper van, but tonight we figured we would head to Gamli Baukur for dinner. Micah ordered the BBQ chicken and I tried the fish soup. Both meals were delicious and I loved my seafood filled soup—it was the perfect meal to switch up our routine!
Since we were in one of the best whale watching spots in Iceland, we couldn’t resist heading out on a whale watching boat. We signed up for the last tour of the day with North Sailing and departed on the Nattfari boat at 8:00 p.m.
The water was calm as we set sail, and we hoped that we would be fortunate enough to spot whales. Well, we were definitely lucky—in addition to a gorgeous midnight sun, we spotted at least seven whales throughout the course of the evening. And, when it was time for the boat to head back to shore, we were served delicious hot chocolate and warm cinnamon buns!
We loved sailing with the whales, but after all that excitement, we couldn’t go to bed just yet. Because we were on the northern edge of Iceland, we decided to head out to watch the midnight sun skirt along the ocean right above the horizon. It was fascinating to have 24 hour sunlight and we really enjoyed the colorful skies as the sun was “setting” right above the edge of the horizon.
Day’s driving distance: 169 km / 105 miles
Campsite Location: Húsavík Campground
Campsite Fee: 1,400 ISK per person
Campsite Amenities: Toilets, showers, cooking facilities, washing machine (for a fee)
Stay tuned to learn even more about our adventures in our Happy Campers camper van:
Happy Campers Iceland Road Trip – Part 1: Camper Van Tour
Happy Campers Iceland Road Trip – Part 2: Our Itinerary Day 1-5
Happy Campers Iceland Road Trip – Part 3: Our Itinerary Day 6-10
Happy Campers Iceland Road Trip – Part 4: Cooking on the Road
Happy Campers Iceland Road Trip – Part 5: What to Pack for a Camper Van Road Trip
Happy Campers Iceland Road Trip – Part 6: Logistics, Expenses and FAQ’s
Special thanks to Happy Campers for providing us with a complimentary rental. As always, all opinions are our own.