Iceland's landscapes are some of the best in the world!
Iceland had been on my bucket list for a long time. It almost seemed like a dream adventure that wasn't going to happen.
A few years ago the stars aligned and I started planning the trip. Like most of my trips, I wanted to see as much as I could in 7 days so planning was key. After weeks and weeks of researching the sights, I came up with a rough plan.
The Ring Road in Iceland is an extremely smooth paved road that goes all around Iceland. This is the only place that I have ever travelled that made driving so easy!
My list of things I wanted to see and do was not a short list. It included hiking up a mountain, fishing, whale watching, Icebergs, Volcanoes and trying what is considered the world's best hot dog... read more about that later! I must mention one thing before I go further, we flew by Wow Air which unfortunately doesn't exist anymore. Everything about the flight was amazing. The big seats were well worth the extra money (and not even that expensive!), the flight attendants were by far the best I have ever met and the flight was extremely smooth. Flying over Greenland added another place to visit for my bucket list.
Day 1 - Reykjavík - Southwest Iceland
The trip started by arriving at Reykjavík at 5am. Even with zero sleep during the flight, our energy level was extremely high as we picked up our camper van from Nordic Campers and set off. We chose to go with the smaller van to keep costs down and took turns staying in the camper vs in a tent.
What can I say about Southeast Iceland? It felt like we were on Mars! The landscape was completely different from what I read about Iceland. It should not be overlooked!
After a day of exploring the countryside we arrived at our campsite. We decided to have a decent meal and a beer at the restaurant in the campground. This is where I learned my first lesson, don't eat out! The food was great and the beer was definitely a nice treat. The cost however, was not good for our budget.
The campsite was like most of Iceland's campsites, essentially a big field where you find a spot and set up. This is where I learned my second lesson... bring an eye mask and DO NOT bring a bright green tent!
I should have learned my lesson when I camped in Alaska. The sun doesn't go down and you might as well have a bright light in front of your face while trying to sleep! This was to be another night with pretty well no sleep. The perk of this was watching the beautiful sky in the middle of the night.
Day 2 - South Iceland
Starting the day with no sleep for the last 48 hours was tough! But once again the beauty of Iceland makes you forget about it. Disclaimer: I was not driving and was lucky enough to be the navigator/photographer. So many stops on this day were at magnificent waterfalls that I'm not going to list because there are so many.
One of the many great things about Iceland is that you can actually go up the the sights and really experience them. Other than a few rare spots, you can venture almost anywhere you want!
One thing we wanted to do while in Iceland was go to Hot Springs to relax but I didn't want to go to the more popular ones. We ended up going to a nice relaxing spot and I was able to relax the body for an hour. This however is when the trip almost ended. With no sleep I was going between one of the hot pools to the cold pool when I slipped on the ladder and slid down 4 feet smashing my foot and leg on every step on the way down. My leg immediately turned purple and I couldn't move my foot. After considering the options I chose to keep going. I iced my foot and snugged it up in my hiking boots. This would make the trip a lot more difficult but that's what makes it an adventure!
One of the coolest spots was Diamond Beach. A beach just littered with chunks of glacier ice. I could have spent an entire day photographing ice but who wants to see that?!
Here are some other cool shots from the day.
Day 3 - Southeast Iceland
This day was another day filled with mountains, scenic views and more beautiful waterfalls. This is also that day when I went to some pretty risky spots to get some amazing photographs. From standing on the edge of the steepest cliff I have ever seen to being 2 feet from a waterfall that rivals Niagara Falls for its insane power. It was a day to remember!
Day 4 - Northeast Iceland
What do you do when you want to climb a mountain and have a broken foot? You do it anyway! Anybody that knows me knows that I'm stubborn and will not throw in the towel. The mountain wasn't anything crazy but it was a mountain nonetheless. The scenery seems to change every day in Iceland, We started venturing into the northern part of Iceland and got to see more amazing sights.
Day 5 - Dalvik
What can I say about Dalvik? It's one of my favourite towns that I have ever been to. The people are amazing, the smell of the ocean and everything seems to move a little slower there... just the way I like it. My only complaint... the forklift that was driving around beeping around 9pm, an hour after I went to sleep! And yes, my sleep schedule was all over the place during the trip!
This was the day we got to go on a fishing trip for Cod and Pollock as well as doing some whale watching.
The fishing was amazing! The whale watching was amazing and we got treated to a shore lunch at the end of the day. This was by far the best fish I have ever tasted!
Day 6 - Northwest Iceland
I had one thing in mind on this day. Going to the shark museum and eating fermented Greenland shark. Sound disgusting? It was! Imagine eating a used tire and I'm not kidding!
You're probably asking why I wanted to try it. When I travel anywhere I want to learn and try the things that locals do whether it's a must try food or something that made the country what it is today.
This is a day when we decided to stop at the local liquor store and have a couple of drinks while cooking dinner at our campsite. By cooking dinner I mean cooking a $1 mini pizza from the grocery store. A couple drinks and I was out like a light by 7:30pm!
Day 7 - West Iceland
Known as the fog day. The fog was so intense all day that there was absolutely nothing to take pictures of. With having perfect weather all week, we couldn't complain. At the end of the day we ended up back at Reykjavík to explore the city a little bit and spend the night before our flight back home in the morning.
This is where we tried what's been called the best hot dog in the world. Now I was skeptical to say the least, especially after seeing a picture of one.
I had also eaten around a dozen hot dogs from gas stations on this trip. One thing about Iceland is that you can eat good food every day from gas stations and the hot dogs are extremely good and cheap! Now, was this "world's best hot dog" really that good? In one word... YES! I don't know how they make it or even what the toppings are that were on it but I do know that it was incredible!
Words cannot describe Iceland. Save up some money, pack your bags and go enjoy it for yourself!