In early May, we were headed back to Alaska from a two week Euro trip and decided to take a long layover in Iceland. What method of adventure travel did we use? A campervan of course! We rented from Kuku Campers and had a great time exploring the Golden Circle outside of Reykjavik. The Golden Circle is a two-lane highway that’s just under 200 miles long that has amazing tourist “attractions” optimally spaced out. I’d say they planned it but they couldn’t have since they’re all naturally occurring wonders.
Our first stop off of the plane was Þingvellir National Park where we saw beautiful trails, waterfalls and their original parliament. From there we went on to see Strokkur Geyser, one of the world’s most active and reliable geysers, shooting 15-20 meters into the sky every 5 or so minutes. After that, we went to the Gullfoss Waterfall, which is a massive waterfall fed by Iceland’s second largest glacier. We also visited the famous Kerið Crater, surrounded by beautiful red volcanic rock. We ended our last night in Iceland and our last night on an amazing, but exhausting, trip at the relaxing Blue Lagoon. The Blue Lagoon is Iceland’s most iconic hot spring that has been commercialized into a spa experience. We opted for the upgraded package and received a Silica Mud Mask and a Green Algae Mask. We sipped strawberry champagne, bathed in warm geothermal waters, exfoliated our faces and stood under the pressurized waterfall. It was a perfect end to the trip but beware of the silica! The silica in the water made my normally healthy hair dry and frizzy for days. I highly recommend wearing your hair up, ladies.
In Alaska, you can pretty much park anywhere you want in your campervan (unless it’s designated no parking). In Iceland, that is not the case. The first night we found a beautiful spot next to a lake in Þingvellir National Park. We cooked our dinner as we watched the sun set and quickly laid down to rest after a long day of adventuring. About 40 minutes later (while we were deep in our REM sleep), park rangers were knocking on our rangers telling us we could not stay there. Can you believe it? We were in the middle of nowhere but Iceland sure follows the rules. They were nice enough to point us in the direction of a campsite about 15 miles away where we relocated for the evening. The next night, we parked in a designated campsite to avoid any run-ins with the international law.
Overall, we are very fond of our time in Iceland. We described it as if Alaska and Hawaii had a baby: A cold, scenic volcanic island. We came back from Europe with a ton of memories and a renewed love for our great state of Alaska. There’s no place like home!