This past summer, my daughter and I went on the most epic adventure imaginable. I’ve already written about most of it and have linked each day’s post below in chronological order. In this post, I provide an overview for those who may be entertaining going to Iceland one day themselves. I’m happy to answer questions in the comments section.
For the visually curious, I took a ridiculous number of photos (slideshow linked here) and videos (linked here).
While it has been on my bucket list for a few years now, I’ve had a number of folks ask, “Why Iceland?“
Iceland is an enchanting land of endless wonder that will leave even the most well-travelled person awestruck. It captivated my soul to the point that as soon as I left, I was brainstorming how quickly I could return.
But neither talk nor pictures can really capture all that is the land of fire and ice. I mean, where else in the world can you find glaciers, 10,000 waterfalls, fjords, canyons, hot springs, boiling mud pots, glacier lakes, active volcanos, black sand beaches littered with what look like giant diamonds, insane rock formations, geysers, surreal mountain peaks, smoking fumaroles, turf houses, endless fields of bluebonnets, basalt columns, lava fields, ice caves, the Aurora Borealis, wild gorges, hot springs, puffins, sheep, horses, more than 20 species of whales, elf houses, geothermal pools, and continental tectonic plates that you can stand (or snorkel) between all within an island smaller than Colorado?
Even during Covid, getting to and getting around Iceland was a lot easier than I would have imaged. It’s a 5-hour flight from Boston and most of the main routes are easy to drive. To be safe, we stuck primarily with the Ring Road. And I’ll tell you, it was so gorgeous and most everything was so accessible that even if you never got out of your car, the trip would be worth it.
We went in July so that we could have maximum daylight (it never really got dark) and so we’d have the best chances at good weather. We rented a small camper van primarily as a backup for nights we could not find accommodations. Our entire time on the ground was just under 12 days. We covered about 1,200 miles over 32 hours’ worth of drive time. Those days broke down to doing the Ring Road in 6 days, the Snaefellsnes Peninsula in about 1 day, Reykjavik 1+ days, hiking to see the volcano 2 different days and the Golden Circle in 1+ days.
We avoided most gravel roads, the F roads (which require 4-wheel drive) and anything that seemed a little too remote for a mom and her 15-year-old daughter to attempt in a simple camper van. This meant that we missed out on the Highlands and the West Fjords all together. I also set aside 2 days in Husavik to ensure that we saw whales and 2 days at the end for our re-attempt at the volcano. Since each only required 1 day, we opted to check out the Golden Circle. Had I to do it all over again, I would have used the extra days to tour the Highlands via a professional guide instead.
Finally, total trip costs will vary based on individual preferences, itineraries and the economic climate at the time you choose to go. We definitely could have saved a lot had we optimized our use of campgrounds. Had we eaten out less and not bought souvenirs, we could have saved a little more. But having been unable to travel for most of the preceding 18 months, we were aiming for maximum enjoyment and it was worth every penny!
Day 1 Two Girls Versus a Volcano – Round 1
Day 2 Hitting the Ring Road: Westman Islands/Skogafoss/Seljalandfoss
Day 3 The Ring Road: Vik to Hofn
Day 4: The Ring Road: East Iceland/Hofn to Egilsstadir
Day 5: The Ring Road/Diamond Circle: Egilsstadir to Husavik
Day 7: The Ring Road/Snæfellsnes Peninsula
Day 8: The Ring Road: Snæfellsnes Peninsula to Reykjavik
Day 9: Two Tennessee Girls Vs. a Volcano – Round 2
Day 10 & 11: Iceland Bonus Days: Reykjavík & The Golden Circle
2 People/12 overnights in Iceland
- Ring Road, Snaefellsnes Peninsula, Reykjavik and Golden Circle
- $1065 Iceland Air – booked early May
- $717 American Air – booked mid-May
- $1916 Camper Van Rental- booked 2 months out, two person simple sleeper
- $1902 Hotels/Camping Fees – camped 3 nights, rest in hotels ranging from 2-5 star
- $1,055 Food – includes groceries but mostly eating out
- $240 Gas – diesel, 13-gallon tank, logged 1,200 miles
- $453 Blue Lagoon/Westman Ferry/Husavik Whales/Parking/Museums/Tolls/Taxis
- $180 Souvenirs
- $112 Covid Tests (Return only)
- $7640 Total