If you want to visit Iceland in a relatively affordable way, I’d recommend a road trip with a camper. Because Iceland isn’t actually cheap!
Iceland, the little country in the middle of the Atlantic which was almost unknown until a decade ago, has experienced a phenomenal boom in the last few years thanks to its government’s efficient marketing. The things that really struck me were: that the sun never sets in summer, that the landscapes change so quickly that you want to stop every 15 minutes at the side of the road to take pictures, and that I never managed to remember more than the first letter of each place name. Everywhere else I’ve been you can travel for hours just to admire a single waterfall, a single glacier, a single fjord, a single volcano or a single beach; however in this country just look from one side to the other and you will see it all! Do you suffer from torticollis? Come to Iceland and it will disappear!
The Highlights of Our Road Trip in Iceland
Jökulsárlón and Diamond Beach at sunset
It’s where the edge of a glacier meets the sea. The ice blocks crack when they come in contact with water – you can hear them – and the pieces are scattered all along the shore of the beach.
The hot springs
We would bathe once a day, and sometimes up to 3 times a day! It was our guilty pleasure and a way of pacifying the children who were not remotely interested in admiring the beautiful landscapes. These “hot pots” are found everywhere, in both towns and more secluded areas. Some are free of charge, others cost money. See for yourselves in our photo album!
There are a number of places where you can admire these magnificent little birds. We chose to see them at the extreme west of the country ( which is also the most western point of Europe) at Látrabjarg.
The Westfjords region
This peninsula is situated in the north-west of Iceland. It is renowned for being the most remote part of the country, and the most difficult to access! Between the winding paths surrounding the fjords and the stony roads of the high mountains, we managed to survive and our photos bear witness to the beauty of the landscapes. Only in part however, as they only truly reflect a tiny part of the beauty of this region. You really have to live it to believe it!
For a better preparation
We travelled over 3000km. After the touristic region of the Golden Circle, near the capital, we took the number 1 road – more commonly known as the Ring Road – which runs all the way round the island. On the 5th day, we reached the Westfjords, the north-western peninsula of the island and we stayed there 3 days. On the final two days, we had the opportunity to visit the beautiful peninsula of Snaefellsnes and the capital, Reykjavik.
Due to the extortionate price of hotels across the island, we opted to rent a super cool camper van from rent.is. We certainly didn’t go unnoticed in our camper covered in stickers, but we didn’t once regret our choice as in addition to having all the necessary comforts, we were able to stop and sleep without worrying about time constraints. The camper van was well equipped, with everything necessary to camp and cook, such as sleeping bags, pillows, fridge, table, chairs, stove and crockery. A heating system connected to the diesel tank kept us warm at night and we recharged our devices thanks to the many USB ports. Wifi was also included which was super handy for connecting to the outside world and making a quick search on places to visit. The 12V to 110V power inverter I bought before we arrived allowed me to charge my computer.
We bought provisions in Bonus supermarkets and ate in the van. We visited hot springs which often had shower facilities so we were easily able to keep clean. We used service station toilets, where we were also able to top up our water and wash the van for free. The camper van got pretty dirty in a short space of time due to all the gravel roads.
It was between 6 and 15 degrees Celsius during our trip to Iceland and it made me think of the advert for Nordic clothing which says that they’ve been waiting for summer forever. You might not believe it, but our Icebreaker clothes made from merino wool meant we did not have to do any washing. In fact, I wore the same t-shirt for 9 days and 9 night, and it still smelt clean at the end! These light clothes kept us warm at all times – I strongly recommend them!
There are two places in Reykjavik where you have to queue to eat.
Baejarins Beztu Pylsur : For 450 ISK ( 4 USD) – you won’t eat for less than this by the way – you can enjoy a delicious Icelandic lamb hot dog. I can safely say I’ve never eaten such a delicious hot dog in my life. It’s a nice change from beef / pork/ chicken sausages!
Icelandic Street Food : This is THE #1 recommendation on TripAdvisor for Reykjavik. You can eat traditional Icelandic cuisine based around lamb and seafood. You can eat at your leisure as they will replenish your plate at will. The friendly owner warmly welcomed us and served us little sweet cakes and each of our little ones received a small present. Before we left, he offered beer to everyone! He even gave out soup to passers by. Incredible, this little gem of a restaurant! Now we understand why the queue is always so long!
I think Iceland may be the most expensive country in the world. All in all, our trip cost:
- 419,100 ISK (3,255 USD)
- 46,567 ISK (362 USD) per day
- 11,642 ISK (90 USD) per person per day.
|Expense Category||Amount Spent|
|Flights||82,200 ISK / 638 USD|
|Campervan hire||198,600 ISK / 1,542 USD|
|Gas||72,500 ISK / 563 USD|
|Eating out||14,600 ISK / 113 USD|
|Groceries||27,500 ISK / 214 USD|
|Activities||23,700 ISK / 184 USD|
|Total||419,100 ISK / 3,255 USD|
In a nutshell
|Dates||2018-05-29 to 2018-06-08|
|Number of days||9|
|Cities we visited||Reykjavik|
|Inbound||Montreal to Keflavik by plane|
|Outbound||Keflavik to London by plane|
|Mode of transport||Camper van|
|Distance travelled||3000 km|
|Number of photos taken||2200 (244 per day)|
|Currency||The Icelandic Krona (1 USD = 129 ISK)|
It was necessary to pay this country a visit as photos on the internet have made me dream for a long time now. We have now achieved this dream! It was the first destination on our world tour. Our next one is the United Kingdom!
Keep reading our great travel stories by browsing through all our destinations!
Browse through 15,000 of our most beautiful travel photos sorted by destination and download them for free!
I would also like to take this opportunity to share with you the summary of our exceptional world tour as a family!
To learn some techniques to improve your travel planning skills, have a look at our our travel tips:
- How to book flights at the lowest price ?
- How to enjoy free hotels nights with credit cards ? (for Canadians)
- How to make the most of your travel points? (for Canadians)
- Which credit card to carry when traveling ? (for Canadians)
- How to travel with carry-ons only ? Our lightweight travel gear list
- How to build an itinerary for a world tour ?
- How to estimate a budget for a trip around the world ?
- How to enhance your photos with Lightroom?
- How to start a travel blog ?