We’ve said it before, but Iceland was a real highlight.
The landscapes were so beautiful, so different to what we’re used to seeing, and so different from each other even within the country.
We also loved the fact it was still kind of quiet. There are tourists (weirdly a lot of French), but it’s not ‘Italy in the middle of summer’ kind of busy. You can still enjoy some quiet time.
In total for our 7 days in Iceland we had budgeted $1,300, excluding the van and as usual excluding flights. We had also pre-purchased Blue Lagoon tickets, so this wasn’t included in the spending budget either.
Our van cost us $1,500 for the 7 days.
All up we could have spent less than $2,500 for the week if we didn’t do the snorkling ($360), yet we’re really happy we did it as it was an unforgettable experience.
Things to know
- Iceland is really expensive. Looking at most cafe and pub menus in Reykjavik, a main meal starts around $25-$30 and goes up from there. A beer below $10 simply doesn’t exist (we paid $26 for 2 pints in our second campsite. Brutal!). Camping or campervan is the way to go to save on food and accommodation.
- Weather is unpredictable. We woke up one day to the bluest sky and ended the day with the biggest storm and freezing weather. Weather turns quickly so be prepared to add or remove layers multiple times a day.
- You need to drive with your lights on at all times. Because of the above, it’s the law to keep your lights on when driving, even when it’s sunny. Also, roads are well maintained and pretty straight so not really dangerous, until it starts pouring rain.
What we would have done differently
- Maybe spend a bit less time in Reykjavik and drive a tiny bit further East to Hofn. It would have been a longer drive back to Reykjavik but propabably worth seeing a couple more glaciers.
Overall we had an absolute blast and loved our week in Iceland. We thought the van life would be challenging, but it actually wasn’t bad at all as we got to define quickly what was going where and it became routine.
We would love to come back one day in winter and go around the island in the ‘monster trucks’, the big vans with enormous wheels that you see touring around the island. Driving in winter would be a whole different ball game!
- Thingvellir camp-site on the golden circle. Not many amenities but a beautiful area. We couldn’t find where to pay but we’re pretty sure we were meant to pay something. Oops. Click here for more info.
- Skjol camp-site on the golden circle. Showers, restaurant, electricity but nowhere to cook hot food (because they have a restaurant). We paid 3,400 ISK for the night (about $38 AUD including showers) and $26 for 2 beers 😳 Click here for more info.
- Vik camp-site on the south coast. Not the best camping but ok for just one night next to the main road. They have a common room where you can bring your own stove, cook and eat at the table, and charge your devices. We paid 3,500 ISK for the night including showers ($40 AUD) Click here for more info.
- Svinafell camp-site. Next to the glaciers. It has got a few showers, a big common area with fully equipped kitchen. It is next to the glaciers so it’s quite cold but a very pretty area. We paid 3,400 ISK for the night including showers ($38 AUD) Click here for more info.
- Reykjavik camp-site. It’s a very big camping with a lot of car spaces. It has a common room with power plugs, fully equipped kitchen (with loads of condements etc), laundry ($14) and is 3km from the city. There are only 3 showers though, which isn’t really enough for the number of people staying there. It’s also the most expensive camp-site we stayed at. 4,800 ISK/night ($55 AUD), as it’s the nearest to the city Click here for more info.
A bite to eat
- As we only ate out once, we can only recommend Svarta Kaffid for the best soup in town. Count around $70 bill for 2 soups and 2 beers.
- Trolls Expeditions were great to use for our Silfra fissure snorkelling ($360 AUD for 2 people). They also do Ice cave tours, glaciers tours, day tours and sightseeing. Definitely recommend.