With a landscape formed by thousands of years of volcanic activity, its Arctic Circle location, and its adventurous roads that take you across lava fields, volcanos, and glacial rivers, Iceland is purpose-built for road trips. So much so, that many are seeing the country by campervan. Not only do they have the perfect vehicle for trekking across the country, but they have a place to spend the night. You can do this too.
Campervan Hire in Iceland
Iceland’s amazing rugged terrain is best seen using a 4 x 4 campervan. This will make the Highlands accessible to you, allowing you to savor Iceland at its exciting best and here you will be off the beaten track exploring.
Iceland offers a range of campervan hire companies with many offering collection from the airport or the capital city of Reykjavik. You can get your hands on a good range of vehicles from basic off-roaders to the proper fully-fledged campervan that is like driving a mini-home around the country. This is perfect if you want that little bit extra space. It is worth checking out reviews and doing your homework when hiring a campervan in Iceland, as the better the offering, the better your road trip will be.
Start with Campervan Reykjavik as they have a solid reputation for service and for offering a quality vehicle.
Now you have your campervan, where to go?
The Icelandic Highlands and Beyond
Once you have your campervan, at some point you should head towards Akureyri, the ‘Capital of the North.’ Although the city has only 20,000 inhabitants, it is packed full of amazing places to see and things to do. It is also makes for a great base to see the Highlands and all of the fantastic places it offers.
Some of the things you can do and see in Akureyri include:
This is a very popular activity, and there are tour providers that take you to the most exciting and scenic spots. You will be enthralled but your surroundings which you’ll view from horseback. The better providers will give you a two-course meal and after dinner, why not stroll on the beach or soak in a hot tub?
Cetacean species are common in this part of Iceland, and there are several tours where you can enjoy finding whales, dolphins and other magnificent creatures. Minke and humpback whales are the most common, together with dolphins and harbour porpoises.
Now and then you might see a blue whale or orca, which is even more amazing.
Laufas Turf Homes
To get a flavor of life in Akureyri, there is no better example than the Laufas Turf Homes. Originally built into the hills in 1865, the homes were renovated in the 20th century, and now around 20 people live here.
It seemed Icelanders in the 1860s appreciated the natural insulation building into existing hills gave you. Well worth your time.
No visit to the Iceland Highlands is complete without stopping in Landmannalaugar. It is off Road 1, and you will need a 4 x 4 to negotiate the terrain. Once you are here you are will be enthralled by the Fjallabak Nature Reserve which translates to ‘Mountain Back’.
This is very apt as the valley is encircled by mountains of purple, reds, and other exotic and strange colors. This is due to the elements that comprise the mountains. Here, sulphur, iron, moss, and rhyolite are present which conjure these striking colors.
While you’re here ensure to visit the mysterious lava fields, especially the one at Laugahraun, Hrafntinnuhraun, and Namshraun. The rock formations could be from an alien landscape!
Other delights include hot springs, the Graenagil Canyon, and the beautiful lake called the Ugly Puddle!
There are a number of excellent hiking tours for all levels. Make sure you take one when you are here.
Head southeast, and you will find yourself in the beautiful fishing town of Hofn and Europe’s biggest glacier, Vatnajokull. It is around a five-hour drive from Reykjavik.
It is a town that offers adventure, and you can take a remarkable ATV tour of the glaciers. You can see the mystical Jokulsarlon glacial lagoon and see bits of icebergs floating on the water. These have broken away from the Breidamerkurjokull Glacier. You can take boat rides across the lagoon in the summer months.
For something more sedate why not visit during the Lobster Festival at the end of June, or visit the glacier exhibition. You may simply want to soak up the laidback vibe.
If you want to see the Highlands and have an off-road adventure come in the summer, fall months. The F-roads will be open and with your 4 x 4 campervan you can access the whole country. Seeing the Iceland sunset is something to behold.