Northern Iceland with a Camper

vanlife iceland- northern iceland with camper

My vanlife road trip around Iceland continues- and I’ve started to explore the north. Here’s my day to day diary.

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Iceland Day 5- this was unexpected!

I stared at the map, feeling frustrated. I need to be in Husavik on Tuesday morning… and there just aren’t enough hours to do everything I want to do on the way.

This is the problem with having fixed points in your road trip. It creates a level of stress to be somewhere by a particular time and date. Which means organising and planning your schedule, leaving no time for unexpected delights you might find along the way. 

It’s one of the reasons I haven’t booked any campsites- I have no clue where I’m going to end up each night. 

Thankfully, the problem is easily solved. I phoned the expedition company and asked to change my booking to Thursday, which gives me 2 extra days to see all the things along the way. 

I set off on a four hour drive with a few highlights to see. First stop- boiling mud. After several hours of driving, I made it to the Hverir mud pools. These are like something out of a children’s movie- the colours are so bright but the smell is horrific. I could still smell it hours later- definitely bring a mask with you! 

On the way to my next stop, Dettifoss waterfall, I stopped to pick up a female hitchhiker. It turns out, Yulia (I hope I spelt that right!) is as crazy as me! 

She travels alone, mainly hitchhiking and couch surfing. She’s visited 70+ countries this way and has plans to go to Iraq in a few weeks. 

Chatting to her was fun and made the trip to Dettifoss even more enjoyable- it’s lovely chatting to fellow travellers about their experiences around the world. 

Dettifoss was fantastic- SO much power. Expect to get very wet though, especially if you want photos of the rainbow 🙂

Ended the night in a campsite by the lake, which sounds lovely but the reality was midges. LOADS of midges. Funnily enough, I enjoyed the view from inside my van!

Day 6 & 7 of vanlife Iceland

I’ve got a new mission- discovering the best spa lagoon in Iceland.

I decided to accept this mission and work on it very hard… by spending a LOT of time over the past two days soaking in deliciously warm water. 

The two I’ve tried so far were very close to each other: Forest Lagoon in Akureyi and Geospa in Husavik. Forest lagoon was beautiful, modern and sleek, whereas Geospa was a little older. 

However, the infinity pool and incredible view of the Geospa was magical. Apparently they see whales there really often but sadly I didn’t see any during my visit. Guess I’ll just have to go back. 

Other notable moments of the past two days include:

  • Visiting the Christmas shop near Akureyi (it’s decorated for Christmas all year and it full of gifts and treats.)
  • Laufás Museum and heritage site. I enjoyed this more than I thought I would. The turf houses were fascinating, as was the little church. All in all, worth the detour to learn a bit about the history and culture of the area. 
  • Godafoss waterfall– named for the gods! 
  • – Grjotagja Lava cave- famous from GoT & created between two tectonic plates!

Also visited a campsite which has its own hot tubs right on the beach (one of them is a viking ship!) and am currently in a campsite just down the road from my next adventure- whale watching!! 

Thankfully, the weather seems to be playing nice and the sea is flat calm, so I hope we will be successful in seeing the whales. Check back tomorrow to see if I do! 🙂

Day 8- I saw WHALES!

I can’t even begin to describe how incredible today was. It was just… awesome. 

It started with whale watching. I was a bit anxious about the rib choice (seasick and not a big fan of deep water) but it was AMAZING. The weather was sunny and sea was calm as we headed out. 

First stop, puffin island, where I saw hundreds of the tiny black birds swimming, flying, nesting and diving. 

Then we went out into the great blue to try to find whales. I hadn’t really thought of it before (after all, these creatures are HUGE) but it was a little like trying to find a needle in a haystack. 

And WHAT a needle we found. 

After only 10-15 minutes, we found a rare blue whale, then a hybrid whale (blue whale and fin whale) and then finally a SLEEPING humpback whale. 

Seeing them like that, in their natural habitat, was incredible and something I’ll remember forever. If you go, definitely do the rib tour- you get so much closer to the whales then the bigger boats- and can get there faster.

After this epic start (and a crepe to warm up!) I headed off to something else I was excited about- a hot spring waterfall. This is a fairly new attraction, and is currently still free, although that’s set to change in the future.

But, for now, it’s a warm water pool at the top of a waterfall, which you can sit in. It was magical- especially when I had it to myself. 

After about an hour here, I set off on route 1 towards the western fjords. The previous section of route 1 from Egilsstadir to Akureyi was underwhelming, but this section towards Laugerbakki was INCREDIBLE.

So many views and vistas- I stopped about 7000 times, which is why the journey took much longer than the 3 hours Google had decreed. 

I also did another detour to Kolugljufur Canyon, which I hadn’t even heard about before today. I almost didn’t bother, as it was off the main route, but I’m so glad I did.

There was a great waterfall there and a canyon caused by a female troll called Kola. Whether you believe in trolls or not, you cannot deny the canyon was beautiful and I enjoyed playing with the drone there. 

The campsite for the night is in a field… which would be fine except it’s supposed to rain all night. Let’s hope I can get out safely in the morning! 

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