Day 5: Húsavík whale watching Iceland

Day 5 was a day with a mix of feelings; we woke up early morning when we were already quite tired from the road, but for a very exciting reason, whales watching. The rest of the day was a 500 km trip to the Snæfellsnes peninsula, where we planned to spend our next morning.

Day 5 itinerary:

  1. (09:00) Húsavík
  2. (14:30) Akureyri
  3. (20:45) Ytri Tunga
  4. (21:30) Accommodation: Traðir guesthouse

Húsavík

  • Free parking behind the church.
  • WC and food were available.

One hour from our night accommodation, we had our whale-watching excursion booked. The whale watching was a last-minute decision when we already had our accommodation in Akureyri booked. That is why we didn’t sleep directly in the city the previous night. To reach Húsavík, we went one more time through the Vadlaheidargong Tunnel Toll

After the lovely experience and before hitting the long route ahead, we had our packaged lunch at a table with a nice view behind the church.

Whale watching

Some of the links on this post contains affiliate links. If you click through and purchase something we may receive payment. Although all these recommendations are based on our personal experience.

Where can you see whales in Iceland?

Most tours are offered in HúsavíkAkureyri, and Reykjavík. During our research before our trip, we read that Húsavík has the most excellent chance. Hence, we chose this localization for our tour. Still, many people have had excellent luck also in Reykjavik or Akureyri. Remember you need to be patient because it might take time to see one, or you can not spot one on all the tours. So, the best of lucks to you!

When can you see whales in Iceland?

The best months are between June and August, but in general between March and November.

Which kind of whales?

Humpback and minke are the most common seem in Iceland.

Which kind of tours are offered?

Traditional boats, kayaking, and speed boat tours.

Where can you book the tours?

You can head to the port depending on the city in which you decide to have the tour. You will find different whale watching companies with other packages to choose from. But since this is a top-rated attraction for tourists, we recommend doing your research in advance and book your favorite tour, so you don’t miss it due to already sold-out tours.

Viator offers a selection of tours, choose the one you like the most, book it and fit it into your schedule. Below this line are a few direct links to some companies:

Our whales watching experience with Gentle Giants Husavik

Our reservation was for 9:45, so we arrived like 45 minutes before. As indicated in our confirmation email, we had some time for parking, photos, and collecting our tickets at the ticket center 30 minutes before the tour. After collecting the key, we head down to the marine to start the boarding of the boat. During the boarding, we were offered some extra suits (in different sizes), which we didn’t plan to take at the beginning. Still, during the tour, we found that it keeps us warm and protected from the wind.

We chose the GG1 whale watching tour for 9441 ISK (63€/ $75, the price for August 2020, we used a discount code) for each one, a 3 hours traditional tour with an English speaker specialized guide, warm overalls, and raincoats if needed. Also, if not whales are seen (dolphins included) on tour, you are welcome to join free of charge another GG1 tour depending on availability.

The first hour of the tour passed without much activity, apart of a couple of dolphins.

But anyway the landscape and the ocean made us feel relaxing and enjoy.

During the last hour, we were lucky and spotted a few whales. The guide was also very nice to explain everything about the process and how they are not allowed to stay too long around the same whales, so they are not disturbed. So remember to keep yourself safe and good luck in your tour!

Akureyri

  • Free parking.
  • WC and food available.

To be honest, the city requires at least a full day to visit and relax in it from the road and is our recommendation if you have more time. But since we were shorted of time and chose to have a half-day at Snæfellsnes peninsula, we just did a quick stop for ice cream. But here are some helpful links about what can be done in Akureyri:

Ytri Tunga

  • Free parking.
  • Not WC or food available.
  • Time spent there: 30 minutes-1 hour.

Tired of a full day of driving, we reach the Snæfellsnes peninsula just in time to see the sunset on this beautiful beach, which is home to many seals and with a great view of Snæfellsjökull. The seals can seem very close to the shore, so please enjoy this magnificent moment to see them in their natural habitat without going too close and disturb them.

Sunset at Ytri Tunga

Accommodation: Traðir guesthouse

We got a perfect location for the night, less than 5 minutes from Ytri Tunga, and next to the see at Traðir guesthouse. During aurora season, it is a perfect spot to enjoy the magic.

  • Free parking 
  • Free WiFi
  • Shared bathroom and kitchen.
  • Restaurant, Bar/Lounge, and Coffee shop/Café
  • Our experience: We paid 94 euros for one night in a small room for four people. The bathroom and kitchen were shared with another room. Still, they also offer a kitchen and bathroom to a camping site that was possible to use too, bigger and more comfortable. Even though it was not the most modern room and was tiny, just the feeling of sleeping next to the sea adds excellent value to the place. The lounge area was very friendly and well equipped to have a perfect end of the day in a cozy room.

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Day 4: North Iceland

It was not the early wake-up we initially plan, but even though it was beautiful. We get ready without losing any time since 400 km and a few stops were expecting us during the day. So, we had breakfast, pack our lunch, have a look at the beautiful horse from the farm, and head our way to north Iceland.

Some of the links on this post contains affiliate links. If you click through and purchase something we may receive payment. Although all these recommendations are based on our personal experience.

Litlabjarg guesthouse
Litlabjarg Guesthouse
Litlabjarg guesthouse
Litlabjarg Guesthouse

Litlabjarg Guesthouse

Day 4 itinerary:

  1. (11:30) Dettifoss
  2. (14:15) Krafla
  3. (16:30) Hverir Mývatn
  4. (17:15) Grjótagjá cave
  5. (18:30) Goðafoss
  6. (20:30) Accommodation: AK Apartments
Day_4_trip_map

Dettifoss

  • Free parking.
  • WC.
  • Not food available.
  • Time spend there: 45 minutes-1 hour.

Two hours after we departed from the cozy cabin where we spend the night, we arrived at our first destination of the day: the most powerful (by-volume) waterfall in Europe. This magnificent waterfall flows from the Vatnajökull glacier

Dettifoss can be seen from the East or West; we recommend choosing one side since it’s a long path, around one hour from one side to the other. For any specific reason, we choose o visit the east side, which has a bumpy, non-paved road to reach the waterfall. Later we found that the west side has a paved road with much easy access. So if you have a 2W car, the easier and most convenient option is to take the west route, and if you have extra time, do a quick stop at Selfoss.

At the end, we stayed 30 minutes more to have lunch in a table nearby the parking lot.

Road to Detifoss from the East side
Detifoss from East side
Detifoss (you can see some people in the viewpoint from West side)
Detifoss, Iceland

Krafla

  • Free parking.
  • Not WC or food.
  • Time spend there:30 minutes-2 hours.

We arrived at our next destination one hour from Dettifoss and a 10 minutes detour from the Ring Road.

Our plan was to visit the volcanic crater with the intense blue water. Still, once we were there, we realized it was also possible to see the lava fields. So if you are up just for the crater, 30 minutes should be enough to visit it (you should double the time if you want to walk around).

However, if you’re going to see the lava fields, you will need to add one more hour since you will need to walk to access the lava field area.

One crucial detail is that the area has many bugs, so consider bringing a head net for a more comfortable visit.

Krafla crater
Krafla lava fields

Hverir Mývatn

  • Free parking.
  • Not WC or food.
  • Time spend there:30 minutes.

On our path back to the Ring Road, we immediately reach Hverir, a geothermal area with mud pots near Mývatn. This was an area we were looking forward to visiting since all the images we saw looks like they were from another planet.

The smell from the pots is not the best due to the sulfur, but walk around this area is an exciting experience, full of different colors.

Hverir Mývatn
Hverir Mývatn

Unfortunately, we couldn’t visit Mývatn Nature Baths. We decided last minute, and it was already fully booked. So if you really want to relax in the spring, remember to book in advance.

Grjótagjá cave

  • Free parking.
  • Not WC or food available.
  • Time spend there: 15 minutes-30 minutes.

With another 10 minutes detour, you can reach this ground cave. It is a geothermal pot, but bathing it is forbidden, and the water temperature can reach 50° C/120°F. So this would be a quit stop that we would recommend only if you have time to spare.

There are two small entrances to the cave that can be pretty crowded. It has become a popular destination in the last few years due to a famous scene in the Game of Thrones TV show, between Jon Snow and Ygritte.

Grjótagjá cave
Grjótagjá fissure

Goðafoss

  • Free Parking.
  • Fast food on the other side of the street.
  • Souvenir shop with WC.
  • Time spend there: 1 hour.

After 45 minutes more driving, we were in one of our favourite waterfalls in Iceland.

Goðafoss is one of the most spectacular waterfalls in the country, with a width of 30 metres, falling from a height of 12 metres .

We visited it from the westside, but it is also possible to go down to the river on the east side.

From Goðafoss to Akureyri, one of the roads includes a tunnel toll (Vadlaheidargong Tunnel Toll). If you took the route as we did, you could save up to 16 km (9 miles) of travel. The toll price starts at 1500 ISK* (~ 10€/ $12) for vehicles under 3.5 tons and can pay it online with your car’s plate number and a credit card. You can do it before crossing the tunnel or 24 hours after driving through it via tunnel.is. If a trip has not been paid 24 hours after traveling through the tunnel, you can’t pay on veggjald.is and a toll bill with an added collection fee will be sent to the bank of the registered owner of the vehicle.

Accommodation: AK Apartments

For the night, we chose AK Apartments at Akureyri since it was 30 minutes from our last location of the day (Goðafoss).

  • Street parking 
  • Free WiFi
  • Private bathroom and kitchen.
  • Our experience: We paid 88 euros for one night in a studio apartment for four people. The apartment was comfortable, modern, and in excellent condition. Small for four people, but just for one night was ok for us. The kitchen was well equipped. The only thing we were disappointed about was that they say they include a Hot tub as a room amenities, but this is shared with the other apartments and was already closed for the time we arrive.

*All the prices shown in this post are from August 2020.

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Rating: 1 out of 5.

Day 3: What to do in South-East Iceland

Our Ring Road Trip to East Iceland continues with another sunny day. Unfortunately, since the long-distance traveled and the number of places we visited during Day 2, we didn’t have time to see a couple of places. However, since our accommodation for Day 2 was close to these missed places, we decided to start Day 3 by visiting them after early morning breakfast.

Day 3 itinerary:

  1. (09:00) Diamond Beach
  2. (09:45) Jökulsárlón
  3. (15:00) Egilsstaðir
  4. (17:00) Hengifoss
  5. (20:30) Accommodation: Litlabjarg Guesthouse

In this itinerary, we skipped some places because we didn’t have time. But if you have more time, you can visit GufufossSeyðisfjörðurStuðlagil Canyon, and Vök Baths.

*All the prices shown in this post are from August 2020.

Diamond Beach

  • Free parking.
  • WC at Jökulsárlón.
  • Food is available at Jökulsárlón.
  • Time spend there: 30-45 minutes.

Diamond Beach is one of the most visited attractions in Iceland, and for excellent reasons.

The name derives from a large number of icebergs of various sizes that are scattered on the beach. The black sand (of volcanic origin) helps to accentuate the contrast with the ice blocks. On the shore, the ice blocks come from the icebergs of the Jökulsárlón glacier lagoon.

This spot is perfect for photographers and nature lovers. So, don’t forget your camera! It is frequent to see seals from the shore since the beach it’s their home.

If you are lucky during winter, it’s possible to see the northern lights from the beach. The forecast can be checked at vedur.is, or you could ask at your accommodation.

Jökulsárlón

  • Free parking.
  • WC.
  • Food available: Jökulsárlón Café.
  • Time spend there: 1 hour (2 hours if you go for one of the tours).

Jökulsárlón is an enormous lagoon filled with giant ice blocks that have broken free from Breiðamerkurjökull glacier. With the floating icebergs, this place is a magnificent scenario to take pictures. Because of its beauty, this lagoon is one of the most famed and visited attractions in Iceland.

If you like, you can take a boat tour (for adults 5900 ISK/40 EUR/46 USD*) on the lagoon and sail among the massive icebergs!

Jökulsárlón glacier lagoon
Jökulsárlón glacier lagoon
Jökulsárlón glacier lagoon

Egilsstaðir

  • Free parking.
  • WC.
  • Food is available.
  • Time spend there: 1-2 hours.

Around 4 hours drive from Jökulsárlón glacier lagoon, you can find Egilsstaðir, the largest town in East Iceland and the main center for service, transportation, and administration. It is, therefore, an ideal place to refresh and rest for those who are traveling around Ring Road. 

Unfortunately, we didn’t have time to walk the town, but we stopped in Egilsstaðir to stretch our legs, fill the car tank, and have lunch at Skálinn Diner. In fact, this was the only restaurant we had planned to stop and eat in.

You can found more information about Egilsstaðir at this link.

They are two main routes to reach Egilsstaðir. The shortest one requires a 4x4W car and can be a bit challenging for new drivers.

Hengifoss

  • Free parking.
  • WC.
  • Not food available.
  • Time spend there: 2.5-3.5 hours.

Hengifoss is one of the most known landmarks in East Iceland. It is a beautiful waterfall with a high of 128.5 meters. 

The hike to Hengifoss starts from the parking lot, where you enter directly into the trail. The walk is a gradual climb uphill, approximately 2.5 km long (each way) and about one hour (if you are well-trained). Because it is a bit difficult some benches have been put up to rest and enjoy the view.

After about 1.2 km along the trail, you will reach Litlanesfoss waterfall. Unfortunately, Litlanesfoss is not visible from the road like Hengifoss is.

From Egilsstaðir town, two roads lead to the parking lot (approximately 35 km long on both). We took route 931 towards Hallormsstaður Forest. Continuing in the same direction, after crossing the bridge, the parking lot for Hengifoss will be on your left by the T-junction.

At Hengifoss, we were surprised when we saw a small box with a notebook and a pen inside. We wrote that we were there and left our mark inside that notebook.

Some of the links on this post contains affiliate links. If you click through and purchase something we may receive payment. Although all these recommendations are based on our personal experience.

Accommodation: Litlabjarg Guesthouse

For the night, we chose a guesthouse not so far from the Hengifoss waterfall (one hour driving). This accommodation is located at Hrafnabjorg, and includes:

  • Parking included.
  • Shared: kitchen, tables, chairs, bar, refrigerator, microwave, heat boiler, freezer and dishwasher.
  • Shared garden and BBQ facilities.
  • Free wifi connection.
  • Two shared showers and bathrooms.
  • Our experience: We paid 79 euros for a room for 4 people, which we found comfortable and with everything we needed for the night. We also had a private terrace (in the picture below, the one on the right). The guest house has 5 rooms, and all of them were full that night, but this wasn’t a problem for us. We didn’t feel cramped at all there.
Litlabjarg Guesthouse, Iceland

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Day 2: Iceland South Coast, Road Trip from Vík to Höfn

After the rainy day from Day 1, we were surprised to wake up in the perfect sunny and clear sky day.

We had an excellent breakfast in the barn, we cook some food for the road, and around 10:00 am, we hit the road one more.

breakfast in canvas glamping Iceland

Our plan for this day was the most relaxed in terms of travel time (~ 4 hours) and driving distance (~250 km/150 miles) planned from our Airbnb nearby Vík to Höfn. From the first moment, we prepare ourselves for detours or cut some destination depending on how much time we have left. If you check our post Day 1: Ring Road Itinerary, via the Golden Circle, you will see our last stop was Skógafoss waterfall, that we arrive there already late at night, that we were tired and soaking wet. But thankfully, this magnificent waterfall was just a 20 minutes detour, so we decide to come back and enjoy it one more.

*All the prices shown in this post are from August 2020.

Skógafoss waterfall, Iceland
Skógafoss waterfall, Iceland

Day 2 itinerary:

  1. (12:00) Dyrhólaey
  2. (13:30) Reynisfjara
  3. (15:00) Vík
  4. (17:00) Fjaðrárgljúfur Canyon
  5. (19:00) Skaftafell
  6. (21:00) Svínafellsjökull
  7. (22:30) Accommodation: Guest house Reynivellir
Day 2 of the ring road trip Iceland

Dyrhólaey

  • Free parking.
  • 4×4 recommended.
  • WC.
  • No drones allowed.
  • Not food available.
  • Time spend there: 30 minutes-1 hour.

Half an hour from Skogafoss, you can find Dyrhólaey lighthouse. A beautiful view over the sea is not the only thing this destination has to offer. You will be able to see a black sand beach, white peaks from Mýrdalsjökull glacier, volcanic rock formations, and if you have good luck, even Puffins.

It can be very windy, so might your steps when you are closer to the border of the cliffs.

Reynisfjara

  • Free parking.
  • WC and restaurant.
  • Time spend there:1 hour-1:30 hours.
Reynisfjara, Iceland
Reynisfjara, Iceland
Reynisfjara, Iceland
Reynisfjara, Iceland
Reynisfjara, Iceland
Reynisfjara, Iceland
Reynisfjara, Iceland

Twenty minutes ride, we found the most famous black sand beach in Iceland. This might not be a destination to go swimming, but it has many to offer. From the moment you enter, you will be captivated by the number of puffins flying over the basalt columns. This beach is also home to Reynisdrangar, the basalt stacks that stick out of the sea. And one of the most pictured spots in Iceland.

Reynisfjara beach, Iceland
Reynisfjara beach, Iceland
Enjoying the Reynisfjara beach, Iceland

The waves from Reynisfjara can be very high and dangerous, so be alert during your visit.

Vík

  • Free parking.
  • WC and restaurant.
  • Time spend there:1 hour.

In the area nearby Vík, you have not only Dyrhólaey and Reynisfjara, but the central city, ten minutes from the last destination, has many beauty to offer. From the most classic picture from the back of the church to cozy restaurants and exhibitions.

Honestly, we didn’t spend as much in the city as we would like, but we took the time to stop, refill the car, take some pictures, and have lunch with a perfect view of the classic red roof Vík í Mýrdal church.

Fjaðrárgljúfur

  • Free parking.
  • WC.
  • Not food available.
  • Time spend there: 30 minutes-1 hour.

From what we read, this was one of the hidden gems of Iceland. But in recent years, after the popular music video, I’ll Show You, from Canadian musician Justin Bieber, was filmed in this location, many people discovered this hidden spot one hour from Vík.

Fjaðrárgljúfur, Iceland
Fjaðrárgljúfur, Iceland

Skaftafell

  • Parking fee with automatic machine*: 400 ISK (~ 2.70 €/ $3 ).
  • WC and cafeteria
  • Camping area.
  • Time spend there: 1.5 – 2 hours.

One more hour on the road, and we reach our next destination. Skaftafell National Park was even better we were expecting. With a 30 minutes hike, you can reach Svartifoss waterfall. On the way there, you will also find Hundafoss, another beautiful waterfall that you can admire while you rest from the first part of the hike. While you walk to the top, you will be able to catch a magnificent sunset or sunrise if you visit it during the right time window. This National Park has many other trails to offer if you are looking for a more challenging hike.

Skaftafell, Iceland
Skaftafell, Iceland

Svínafellsjökull

  • Free parking.
  • Not WC or food available.
  • 4×4 recommended.
  • Time spend there: 30 minutes.

Getting already late night and on the way to our guesthouse, we decided to do one more stop, just 15 minutes from the national park. Thus, Svínafellsjökull glacier tongue was the perfect close to the day. Moreover, it offers us a preview of what we expect the next day while we border the main glacier Vatnajökull in our way to Egilsstaðir.

Please be careful, this area has claim lives, and you will need to climb up around some slippery rocks.

Some of the links on this post contains affiliate links. If you click through and purchase something we may receive payment. Although all these recommendations are based on our personal experience.

Accommodation: Guesthouse Reynivellir

For the night, we choose a guest house one hour from Svínafellsjökull and passing by Jökulsárlón, which was our first destination from day 3 in the ring road. Reynivellir was even better we were expecting. We arrive in the middle of the night, so at first, we couldn’t really appreciate what we had around. Immediately after arrival, we refresh and enjoy some light dinner with some hot cocoa in a very cozy living room, sharing with other people. Still, we arrive such late at night that everyone else was already in bed.

To our surprise, the following day, we found this beautiful view from our balcony.

If we had a regret was not to take our breakfast seating in the terrace by the morning sun with the perfect view.

  • Parking included.
  • Shared: kitchen, tables, chairs, bar, refrigerator, microwave, heat boiler, freezer, baking oven, free coffee machine, and wifi connection.
  • Two shared showers and bathrooms.
  • Our experience: We paid 96 euros for a room for 4 people, which we find comfortable and with everything we needed for the night. Because we arrive out of reception time, we had to come to the other property a few meters after the house to pick up the keys. All this is also indicated in the confirmation email and the indication to find the property.

Tours

Two of the most exciting experience you can have in Iceland is an ice cave tour or a glacier hiking. In the area between Vik and Höfn, you have two glaciers perfect for this experience, Solheimajokull and Vatnajökull. Check a few of these tours at Viator.

Check our Day 2 adventure in Youtube

Iceland the ultimate guide

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Packing list Iceland August (FREE printable checklist for Iceland trip)

Usually, a summer packing list should be short, with shorts, dresses, and swimsuits at the top, but this is not the case when you travel to Iceland. The weather can go from wind to rain to “warm” (12°C-18°C/55°F-65°F on average) to cold, or any other combination, during the same day. So maybe the most crucial it is to dress in layers and be prepared for any change in the weather.

But there is not just cloth that you need to pack for Iceland, there are other essentials you should consider bringing with you. We will present you with a complete list of clothes and essentials based on our experience for a week road trip visiting Iceland during the summer. To be better prepared, you should check the weather forecast, the length of your trip and pack accordingly to your circumstances. Don’t forget to subscribe and get our free printable list for Iceland clothes and essentials for Summer. Now available in English, Spanish, and Italian.

Iceland summer packing list

Some of the links on this post contains affiliate links. If you click through and purchase something we may receive payment. Although all these recommendations are based on our personal experience.

Footwear

Reyfnisjara
  1. Hiking/Waterproof shoes: If you want to pack just one pair of shoes for your trip, hiking/waterproof boots should be the ones to select. Most of the things to do in Iceland include long or medium hiking, so proper shoes should be your priority. Because of the high rain probability, it is in your best interest to use ones that are also waterproof. The best recommendation is to take your most comfortable hiking boots or try new ones a few days in advance. You will need to spend long hours in those shoes, so you better be sure you can handle it.

Women:

Men:

  1. Trainers: If you don’t want to spend some money on boots, walking shoes can be a good option. There are even many brands out there that also offer waterproof walking shoes. But walking shoes can also be packed as the second pair of shoes for a more relaxed day or when you might like to rest from heavy boots. For example, to spend a day in Reykjavik, Vik, or to visit the Blue Lagoon
  2. Flip flops: Of course, you won’t use it to visit any city or go hiking, not even probably to visit any beach, but you will probably need it to visit the hot springs. There are a few springs in Iceland, not just the Blue Lagoon. There are even some small natural pools along the road which are free. Flip flops are the easy option to get in and out of it. Also, if you spend the night in a guesthouse or camping with a shared or outside bathroom, having flip flops to hand will be the most comfortable option. Definitely, you don’t need an expensive one, the ones from the 1 €/$/£… store will do the job. But remember, some of these places can be slippery, so walk with care to avoid any accident.
  3. Socks: As we mentioned before, there is not crazy cold weather in summer, that you would need some merino wool socks or use two pairs of socks, but you would need some comfy socks for the boots. If you plan to hike a glacier or go in one of the caves, we recommend you pack one of your good winter socks. The most important is to take socks that are larger than the high of your boots, so they cover you for any friction. Try to get the ones for specific outdoor activities since this will help with the moisture if you don’t have good breathable shoes. If you are going for a few days best to take one for each day, and if you plan to stay longer, you can take a few and wash them.

Bottom

  1. Hiking pants: If you want to visit Hengifoss, Skatafell, or many other places in Iceland, you need to hike, and we all know the best way to do it: comfortable and appropriate clothes. Like in many other parts of this list, we have to repeat: you should arm for a waterproof one or a water resistan. As you will see in writing on many souvenirs on Iceland: If you don’t like the weather just wait five minutes. Most hiking pants will offer enough protection for the temperature of the summer. Still, if it is too much for you, you can always wear leggings or thermal pants underneath.

Adidas Terrex Multi Pant Men from:

Adidas Terrex Trousers Women from:

  1. Waterproof pants: Ok, with this, we go a step further, and we know more of the time they are no pretty, but this trip is not to Paris or Rome, so keep comfortable and prepared for the weather should be the priority when you are packing. Now is a good time for a history of our trip. When we were looking for accommodations, we found these super cute tends. In the comments, we read that it cannot be the best option on rainy days since it can get very humid inside, and the hitter is just on the bed. But anyway we give it a chance because it looks like a very cool idea. We guess you already know where the history is going. Yes, we were so unlucky that the day was the only day of rain during our entire Ring Road trip. So the night was not the most comfortable one. We were initially freezing since we were soaking wet from a non-stop rain day, but once we when to bed, the hitter did its job and warm, even more, we were expecting. But if this doesn’t convince you that you need the best possible waterproof, let us give you one more reason. We were for days drying clothes all around the car while we were on the road since we made the mistake of not take all the kinds of possible waterproof garments.

CMP Rain Trousers Waterproof 10.000 Mm Women from:

CMP Rain Trousers Waterproof 10,000 Mn Men from:

  1. Leggings: Well, we think we all agree there are few clothes more comfortable than leggings (maybe just PJ). You should pack one and alternate it with your hiking pants. If your stay is more than a week or you will not take any other kind of pants, you should consider bringing one more.
  2. Shorts: At the beginning, we didn’t think we would need it, but the weather turns to be warmer we were expecting, and some of us regret not to pack one comfy short for some days with no long hikes.
  1. Sweat pants: We know this is not an option many people would include, but for us was a very comfy option. Also, for example, after the Blue Lagoon was a bit cold and we felt so relaxing, there was nothing better than getting in the comfy clothes to end the day.
  1. Jeans/trousers: We didn’t opt for this option, and honestly, we didn’t need it, but if you plan to have dinner at night in one of the restaurants in the city (Reykjavik or Akuyeri), some more presentable clothes might be a good idea. In most of the restaurants around the road, you will be presentable enough with your hiking clothes.
  2. Thermal pants: This is another optional. It will depend on how much resistant you are to low temperatures. But for us, that are born in the Caribbean, we didn’t felt the need to use one, but you can always pack one to be on the safe side. Also, if you plan to hike the glacier or go to one of the caves, wear appropriate winter clothes as thermal pants is always the best option.

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  1. Shirt: This should be your base layer. One shirt for each day works for us for a week, but just take the usual amount you take for a trip. For example, a few days during our trip started a bit cold, but around midday/afternoon, we were already in our base layer. You can substitute it for a long sleeve.
  1. Hoodie/sweater/fleece jacket …: This should be your second layer. We personally recommend whatever keeps you warm and comfy, and you can wear under your outwear jacket. In the picture below, you can see we didn’t take a specific case, but just the ones that work better for each one. Of course, fleece is the predominant one since we all know how comfy these are. Some days, it was not cold enough to use a layer on top of this one.
  1. Waterproof jacket: Another essential to wear in Iceland. Should we go over how important this is again? … Maybe one last time … This should be the first thing to pack, next to your boots. It will cover you for the rain, for the wind, and combined with your hoodie/sweater/fleece… from the cold. Of course, we will always try to keep our expenses low for our trips, but for the rain jacket, you should expend a bit and try to buy a good one that is durable and will keep you warm and dry during the trip.

HE NORTH FACE Resolve Jacket Women from:

THE NORTH FACE Stratos Jacket Men from:

  1. Jacket: So we should say this is totally optional since the hoodie/sweater/fleece … with the waterproof on top was more than enough to protect us from the low temperatures, but some of us also took an extra jacket, in spacial the downs one, since this is very easy to pack in a backpack.
  1. Thermal long slaves shirt: As the thermal pants are optional, and we didn’t need them.

Accessories

  1. Hat: Now, writing this post and looking at the trip pictures, we realize we use our beanies more than we remember. Some days were because it was a bit cold and others to help control the hair from the wind.
  1. Gloves: If we don’t remember wrong, we pack our gloves, but honestly, we didn’t use it one. But since gloves don’t need too much space, we recommend packing them just in case, particularly if you are planning to camp.
  2. Sunglasses: A must that you should not forget.
  1. Scarf: Better be cautious than have to expend a lot in one latter in Iceland. As for gloves, we didn’t need to use them. But it might be the case for you that you had a colder day or night. So we will especially recommend the ones that can be used as a headband. These 2 in 1 are very helpful when you don’t have too much space to pack a heavy scarf. They are also very comfortable for hiking or outdoor activities.
  2. Swimwear: For sure, you should not forget this. Even if you are not planning to visit the Blue Lagoon or other geothermal baths that need to be paid for, there are some free hidden hot springs around the road that you probably wouldn’t want to miss. Unfortunately for us, we weren’t lucky enough to get an empty one, but we wish you the best of luck in the chase of a hidden spring in Iceland.

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Other essentials

  1. Waterproof backpack/Backpack rain cover: Like everything, this is your option, but since you will frequently need to pack camera gear, money, or other essentials while you are visiting the different attractions and because the weather in Iceland can be unpredictable, it is better to be ready and avoid to end with something important cover in water.
  2. Towel: Since we slept mostly in guesthouses, we didn’t really need one for our daily cleaning. Also, for the Blue Lagoon, there is one include in the entrance price. But if you will stay in a camp area, you better have your, and if you plan to relax in one of the free hidden hot springs on the road, you will need your personal one. We strongly recommend the quick drying towel since they will quickly occupy less space in your bag than a regular towel.
  3. Waterproof phone case: If you want to bring your phone to the spring and relax inside, you will need to get a waterproof case with you. You will end with some blurry pictures and videos, but hey, at least it is something.
  4. Water bottle: Iceland is a perfect reflection of how beautiful mother nature is, so let contribute a bit, and don’t forget to bring your reusable water bottle. You can drink tap water everywhere in Iceland. You will also want to take a bottle with you during hikes, so better bring the one you know will fit in your backpack. We bought a big bottle of water during our first grocery in Reykjavik before hitting the road to refill our individual bottles when we didn’t find where on the road.
  5. Charging accessories: We are sure you will want to take photos of videos everywhere, so you can come back one day to the pictures and remember how beautiful this trip was. So be sure every day to have your phone in full battery. It will be good to have too a fully charged external battery. If you are going on a road trip, you can get one USB car charger. Also, remember in Iceland, plugs use the standard European plug with two round prongs, so be sure to bring an adapter if necessary.
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  1. Head net: It was just one place where we were missing not to bring one of this net, Krafla. What saves us from enjoying the place without finish with our mouth covered in bugs was our masks (COVID times) and sunglasses.
  2. Thermal bottle: If you are a coffee or tee lover, you don’t want to forget this. It will help you to keep you warm and awake during the road.
  3. Reusable folding cup: If you want to have the coffee or tee on the road, you better have some cups to do it. The reusable and folding one helps you to save space in your luggage.
  4. Lunch box, with reusable cutlery: Honestly, there was more weight in our backpacks from food than for clothes. This was the tip that most help us to save money in Iceland and afford this trip. So yes, we pack our lunch almost every day and have a perfect lunch each day in a beautiful location by the road.
  5. Food: This will need a whole post about all the food we bring with us, but anything you can get to cook there will help keep your budget low.
  6. First aid kit: Lucky for us, we didn’t need it. So we have a perfectly safe trip, but it is better to be prepared if you will be on the road, far away from the city, to have some first aid medicine and bands. You can also install Döff app to contact the emergency service if you need help, without making a phone call.
  7. Photography or video gear: I think I don’t need to mention this, but whatever photography or video equipment you have will be essential in Iceland.
  8. Refreshing kit: Most hotels and guesthouses will have the basics for cleaning, but best to bring a few extras, like suncream and moisturizer. One more tip we didn’t know before our trip: conditioner, shampoo, and shower gel are included in the Blue Lagoon entrance price.

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Money and currency in Iceland

The official currency of Iceland is the króna (krónur in plural), sometimes called the Icelandic crown (sign: kr and the international code: ISK). Everything we can tell you about it is that no even one time in our week there we touch or see a bill or coin. This doesn’t mean you can not use cash; it is just that cards are accepted everywhere, and this was the option we choose. For all we have heard from other experiences, you probably will only need cash to pay in some public restrooms (the ones we use didn’t need it).

Cash or card?

Some of the links on this post contains affiliate links. If you click through and purchase something we may receive payment. Although all these recommendations are based on our personal experience.

If you want to use the cash, you can exchange directly in your country before the flight to Iceland (in this case, the best option is to change it directly in your bank since it will offer you the best rates) or once you are in Iceland you can:

  • Withdraw money from the ATM directly in Icelandic crown. You will probably need to choose to extract the money with the exchange rate from the ATM bank company or use your bank exchange rate, which is perhaps the best option.
  • Or exchange your bills at banks or hotels (you will find a better exchange rate at banks).
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You can check here the current exchange rate. But this can differ a bit from the one in hotels and banks, so check first the rate in your hotel and near banks, so you can compare and use the one that provides the best rate. If you want to withdraw from an ATM, the best option is to check your bank’s current exchange rate. This also applies if you you’re going to pay by card.

Some cards (like Revolut) offer you a live exchange rate in their app or website. This card allows you to create a pocket in a specific currency that you can change in advance. When you pay will be debit directly from the pocket in that currency. This has some benefits since you will have previous knowledge of the exchange rate. Also, it can help you to save money if you set a budget for the trip.

Payment at Gas stations (important for US cards )

To use the card in some gas stations, you will need to use a card with a 4 digits pin. If you don’t have one, you can contact your bank about this or get one prepaid card online like Revolut (also available in the US). Your other option will be to get one gas card from N1 gas stations or supermarkets; the disadvantage would be that you will need to fill your tank always with the same type of station. You can check here for more information.

Tips to save money in Iceland

  1. Hotels are great but wake up in the middle of nowhere in a guesthouse when you are traveling in Iceland is a fantastic sensation. When booking an accommodation, don’t use only one website or app; check different ones. Our favorites: Booking.com, Hotels.com and, Airbnb.
  1. Don’t waste money on bottles of water. Water in Iceland is very safe to drink from the tap.
  2. Bringing some cans and fast food will save you a lot of money to cook your meals. Most of the accommodations count with a kitchen with all the supplies you will need (like oil, salt, and pepper). There are long roads without restaurants or cafes, so having a packaged food is the best option.
  3. Some foods like yogurts, milk, fruits, or cheese are best to buy fresh from the supermarket. Check Bonus supermarket for the best deals (just have in mind their opening times, which change depending on the day of the week but in general, it close around 18:00 or 19:00).
  4. Buy alcohol in the Duty-Free from Keflavík Airport.
  5. Prepare a good plan for your trip in advance. This includes not only accommodation and transportation but also meals and a schedule of daily activities.

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Rental Cars in Iceland airport and Reykjavik: Blue Car rental Iceland

There are plenty of car companies at the airport to choose from. The myriad goes from the well-known ones, like Sixt, Enterprise, and Hertz, to local companies like Blue Car Rental Iceland. All of them offer a shuttle bus nearby the P2 parking, but if you prefer to walk, it’ll take you less than five minutes to their airport offices.

From the rental offices to Reykjavik is around 45 minutes with usual traffic. There are no tolls on the way. Another favorite option is to visit first the Blue Lagoon on the way to Reykjavik (a 20-minute drive from KEF Airport).

Some of the links on this post contains affiliate links. If you click through and purchase something we may receive payment. Although all these recommendations are based on our personal experience.

When we want to rent a car, we usually use one website to search for a vehicle with our preferences within different companies. The most used for us are Skyscanner and Rentalcars.

Are cars automatic in Iceland?

There are many filters you can check when you are looking for a car, but four of them are indispensable in Iceland:

  • Don’t forget to check cars with unlimited mileage. This will allow you to travel without distance restrictions.
  • Very important to check which type of car do you prefer, manual or automatic. There are automatic cars, but they are more expensive, and if you plan to go on the F-roads, we recommend getting a manual car. Some of the icelandic roads can be very challenging, so you would like to completely control your car engine. 
  • In Iceland, many roads are classified as F-road. You are only allowed to access this road in some specific cars (usually 4×4). We recommend using a 4×4 vehicle for visits outside Reykjavik, so you are not constrained to the sites you can visit. If you want to visit e.g., Dyrhólaey, Svínafellsjökull, or F570 in Snæfellsjökull, a 4×4 is recommended or mandatory.
Road to Dyrhólaey
Road 864 to Dettifoss (East Side)
  • Fuel Policy is something that you need to keep in mind. If you choose “same to same,” you need to agree with the rental company on the amount of fuel you need to bring back the vehicle. Gas stations work differently in Iceland; you should have a card with a 4 digit pin number or a gas station card for more of the stations. The gas company will hold a preselected amount of money from your card (we never choose more than 10 000 ISK). After the purchase, you will be charged just for the amount you use, and it can take time to see this reflected in your card statement. Have a look at this video for more tips.

Tip 1: The car price change depending on the number of days you choose. Check different alternatives before making a final decision.

Our experience with Blue car rental Iceland

We stayed in Iceland for seven days. Of these sevens days, we spent one day in Reykjavik. We came from Germany and Italy, and one of our flights was too late. So our first thought was to rent a car at the airport. Because of the considerable time difference between our flights, we decide to rent it in Reykjavik the next day. The next thing we noticed was that most car companies charge us an extra fee if we want to pick up the car directly in the city, except one, Blue Car Rental. Since they don’t work 24 hour, there is a key drop-off service out of working hours without any additional cost (just remember to take a car video or pictures at the beginning of the rental and after if you drop it without a personal inspection). So in the end, we pick up the vehicle in their city office and return it to the airport for no extra fee.We also found a discount code for this company which came perfect for our budget (If you want help searching for a code don’t hesitate to contact us). Additionally, free cancellation is possible, which is very important in these times. In conclusion, we pay 69795 ISK (~ 470 €/555) for six days with the included insurances.

Canvas Glamping

Tip 2: Together with the agent from the car company, you should do a thorough check out. This will prevent you from paying for any previous damaged. The best option is to take a video during the inspection.

All about driver’s license. How to drive on Iceland roads?

Do you know if your driver’s license works in Iceland? Do you need an international driver’s license? What if your driver’s license is not in Latin characters? For this other important information when renting a car in Iceland, keep reading:

  • Before traveling to Iceland, ensure you have a valid driver’s license. You need to have a valid license older than one year to drive on Iceland’s roads. Also, to rent a car, you need to be at least 20 years old for a passenger vehicle or 23 to rent a 4×4 or all-wheel-drive vehicle.
  • If you have a valid driving license with a license number, a photograph, a valid date, and in Latin letters, in that case, you won’t need an international license. If this is not the case, you will have to apply for an international license.
  • Do you know how to drive in Iceland? You need to check the transit rules in Iceland. This is very important since some roads can be challenging. It is common to find animals on the road (sheep actually outnumber people in Iceland!) and single-lane bridges. Sometimes you will need to drive under extreme weather conditions. Don’t forget to check the videos and flyers on road.is website to better understand the rules, speed limits, and signs.
  • You can check road.is website or Iceland Met Office for the weather condition and safetravel.is for road information (sometimes unusual weather conditions can lead to the close of some roads).
  • Many webcams at different points of the road shown the weather condition.
  • The most important is to avoid an accident and remember that fines in Iceland are costly, starting at 70 000 ISK (~ 475 €/565 $). There are several traffic cameras around the road.
  • Headlights are required around the clock while driving.
  • Install the Döff app to contact the emergency service if you need help, without calling.
  • You can submit your travel plan in safetravel.is so someone can reach in case of a problem.

Insurance

The appropriate insurance for your car is a crucial topic that you need to consider. You would like to maximize your coverage, keeping your budget to the minimum. We spend a long time checking the insurance policies offered by the rental companies and evaluating if it was worthwhile or not to get one. Our decision: as we mentioned before, the Icelandic weather is unpredictable and dangerous sometimes, causing damage to the cars (flying doors are not uncommon), so we decided to take full liability coverage. We recommend you to do so and make cuts in other areas (e.g., shop in the supermarket and cook your meals). In this way, you can focus entirely on enjoying the scenic views. Blue Car Rental includes in the base price most of the insurances.

Camper-vans

Camper-vans are another perfect way to visit Iceland. We will not cover this topic here. You can check Indie Campers and Camp Easy for more information. We consider renting a van, but because you need to park the van in specific camping areas that can be crowded sometimes, we decide to spend the nights in guesthouses.

For more ways to get to Iceland International Airport or Reykjavik, check our post: Best ways to get from Iceland International airport (Keflavik) to Reykjavik downtown. You will find there the most popular and well-known alternatives as well as the cheaper ones that most people don’t know.

Iceland the ultimate guide

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Shuttle Bus to and from Iceland International airport (Keflavik) to Reykjavik downtown

Shuttle buses are always a comfortable and easy option to choose from. Most airports have several options that can be quickly booked in advance or directly at the airport. Shuttle buses, unlike public transportation, have fewer stops, which allow you to arrive faster at your destination without spending too much on a taxi. They also offer luggage space to travel more comfortably without the weight of heavy bags. Which shuttle buses are available at Keflavik International Airport (KEF)?

Tip 1: Several shuttle bus companies worldwide offer lower prices if you book your seat in advance.

1. Flybus

Flybus is one of the companies that offer you the best price if you book the ticket in advance. Otherwise, you can get tickets at the airport in their kiosks, but not on the Flybus. The costs for booking in advance (taken from the Flybus website in March 2020) are:

  • For children up to 11 years old – free of charge.
  • Young people from 11 to 16, from 11.6 € (14.04 $). A round trip ticket from 21.55 € (26.08 $).
  • Adults over 16 years, from 23.07 € (28.07 $). A round trip ticket from 42.86 € (52.14 $).

Flybus buses at the airport are located just in front of the terminal building. It has regular departures to the city approximately 35 minutes after each arrival, also for delayed flights. The trip to the principal stop, BSÍ Bus Terminal, takes about 45 minutes and has two more intermediate stops in Hafnarfjörður, and Garðabær.

Here you can check the BSÍ Bus Terminal location.

You also need to check the localization of your accommodation and decide what you would like to do once you arrive at BSI Bus Terminal. You can walk or transfer to a small bus that Flybus offers for transportation to selected hotels, guesthouses, and designated bus stops. These small buses are also provided for passengers going to the Youth hostel, Laugardalur camping area, and the Reykjavik domestic airport. You can check here their pick up and drop off locations. Take into consideration that from the bus terminal to some parts of the downtown, it is uphill. If you carry heavy bags, we strongly recommend you check their drop-off locations.

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Reykjavik City aims to keep the small-scaled city center a pleasant and safe place for everyone. Therefore, it has added a new regulation that tour operators on larger vehicles can no longer enter some areas. Most hotels in the restricted area are within a 5-10 minute walking distance from a bus stop. However, if your destination is within this area, you can check for the bus stop closer to your accommodation.

Flybus passengers can carry two bags per person, weighing a maximum of 23 kg (50 lbs) each, and take aboard one carry-on item. Additional luggage will be loaded as space allows for an extra charge of 1000 ISK (~ 7 €/8 $) per item. Bicycles can also be transported if space available for a cost of 2500 ISK (~ 17 €/20 $). If you are traveling with more luggage than is estimated per person, send an e-mail to:

or call the main BSI Bus Terminal office to make appropriate arrangements before your arrival.

If you would like to use Flybus for transfer from Reykjavik to the airport, you will need to go to the BSÍ Bus Terminal. You can also book for an extra cost a pick up in one of their pick up stop. You will need to do so the evening before departure by calling the last phone number or in the reception of your hotel.

You can change or cancel your booked date free of charge by e-mail or phone at least a day before the scheduled departure.

All this information was extracted from the Flybus website in March 2020. For more updated information, visit their website. Also, don’t forget to check the FAQ tab at the bottom of their website.

2. Airport Direct (with Blue Lagoon transfer)

Airport Direct service desk is located at KEF Airport arrivals hall. They have agents on-site to help you with the booking process and a self-service kiosk. In addition to the Reykjavik transfers, they also offer connections to the Blue Lagoon. Their buses are located right in front of the airport terminal. Blue Lagoon buses are white and blue. The ones going to Reykjavik are orange.

Tip 2: Blue Lagoon is one of the most popular destinations in Iceland, and in our opinion, a most-go. Be sure to book your ticket in advance.

Airport Direct have different transfer options:

  1. Airport Direct Economy: 45 minutes trip with fixed scheduled bus transfers and a stop in the way at Hamraborg. The ride ends at their Reykjavik Terminal.

The price from their website as of March 2020:

  • Infants up to 2 years old, free of charge.
  • Children from 3 to 13, from 11.47 € (14.04 $). A round trip ticket from 21.55 € (26.08 $).
  • Adults (14+), from 22.95 € (28.07 $). A round trip ticket 42.86 € (52.14 $).
  • Suppose you are staying in the restricted area in downtown Reykjavik. In that case, you will need to get off at the bus stops closer to your accommodation. After the stop in Reykjavik Terminal, Airport Direct offer a drop-off with SmartBus to your accommodation for an extra 7.23 € (8 $).
  • You are allowed to take one bag per person with a maximum weight of 23 kg (50 lb) in the luggage compartment. Extra bags and odd-sized baggage (as bicycles) can be transported if space is available for an additional fee. The prices can be checked on their website during the booking process.
  • If you are traveling with more luggage than the included per person, make the appropriate arrangements sending an e-mail to:

or calling their main office

Tip 3: Book a flexible ticket for an extra 1.99 € (2.41 $) so you are entailed to a seat on the next available bus if your flight changes for some reason.

  1. Airport Direct Premium: Door-To-Door minibus transfer that gets you straight to your accommodation without changing buses. Runs according to schedule. The price from their website in March 2020 starts at 43.79 € (52.88 $) per person. Remember to book a flight delay guarantee, so you avoid purchasing another ticket in case of delays.
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Airport Direct also offers private transfer, luxury private transfer, and charter transportation for groups larger than 9 people.

All this information was extracted from their website in March 2020. For more up-to-date information, visit their website. Also, remember to check the FAQ post under more info.

For more ways to get to Iceland International Airport or Reykjavik, check our post: Best ways to get from Iceland International airport (Keflavik) to Reykjavik downtown. You will find in the post the most popular and well-known alternatives and the cheaper ones most people don’t know.

Iceland the ultimate guide

Rating: 1 out of 5.

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