Iceland - Camper Vans

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griddles
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Iceland - Camper Vans

Post by griddles »

Looking for any recommendations or thoughts about doing a campervan trip to Iceland. Thinking 10 days with me and my wife. We have flown through Iceland before but never been beyond the Flughotel. Planning on April from Denver, but haven't booked anything yet due to... Well you know.

Any different companies, no miss destinations or side trips. I think the only thing we really want to do is a glacier trip while they still exist.
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Scott P
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Re: Iceland - Camper Vans

Post by Scott P »

I have only been in July, but it is my understanding that most (maybe all) the roads in the interior are closed that time of year so you will have to stick to areas at or near the coast (without a snow machine at least). The Ring Road is open year round so you can still circle the island that time of year. It would be wise to go with a 4wd that time of year even on the Ring Road.

Unfortunately I know nothing about camper rentals there, but looking online they are a lot cheaper in April than summer.

As far as sites to see and glacier trips, I have no idea which ones are accessible that time of year. Maybe Skaftafell for glaciers? You would have to research which roads will be open

People do climb Hvannadalshnúkur in April so for sure you could get to the glaciers around there.
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peter303
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Re: Iceland - Camper Vans

Post by peter303 »

I drove the Ring Road in late May, before the summer tourist crush. We had snow showers in a northwest high area. There was continuous snow on the ground in the northeast. A bicycle elevation map shows these high areas to be about 2,000 feet. The weather felt like Summit County at that time of year.
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angry
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Re: Iceland - Camper Vans

Post by angry »

I did a 12 day trip in May 2018 and all roads were open. I drove the entire island with no problem and rented a camper van for the duration through Camp Easy. Highly recommend!
https://campeasy.com/
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Kiefer
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Re: Iceland - Camper Vans

Post by Kiefer »

griddles wrote: Sun Dec 19, 2021 10:43 pm Looking for any recommendations or thoughts about doing a campervan trip to Iceland. Thinking 10 days with me and my wife. We have flown through Iceland before but never been beyond the Flughotel. Planning on April from Denver, but haven't booked anything yet due to... Well you know.

Any different companies, no miss destinations or side trips. I think the only thing we really want to do is a glacier trip while they still exist.
Like Peter & Scott said, a lot of the roads in the north will either be closed or hazardous in April. Been there three times, once in March, late April & for a few days in September.
If you're going in April, the weather will be iffy. Count on wind, rain the southern half of the country and maybe some snow/sleet in the north. Many places will be closed in the north, especially in the Western Fjords. So plan on being a bit self-sufficient. Akureyr was a cool town with hot springs and from what I remember, everything was open. Take your time on the Ring Road. There's too much to see in only a few days. We did it in three, it was too short.

There are basically no roads in the interior. Unless you have your own off-road vehicle, and I'm sure a camper van wouldn't qualify, don't attempt driving in. All the car rental places at Keflavik will tell you no off-road driving. It's kind of like a 'no-mans land.' Glaciers, rough roads, multiple stream crossings and from what I've been told, some wicked weather. Though taking a camper van would be a great way to go! Second time I was at Gulfoss, there were 8-10 vehicles (they looked like a weird cross between a Jeep Wrangler & and a Mitsubishi Montero) airing their tires down for a trip into the interior. Can't say I wasn't jealous!

Reach out if you want any info on anything there (money/expenses, places to visit/avoid, people, petrol etc.). It's my favorite place in the world (better than the USA), and the people are AMAZING. I almost moved there 5-6 years ago. Planning on going back hopefully, next summer.
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griddles
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Re: Iceland - Camper Vans

Post by griddles »

Thanks for the information so far. I'm aware that the weather can be iffy, but I guess that's why it's shoulder season (went to Glacier a few years ago in mid September. It was both on fire and snowing). We would be well prepared for the weather. Just thinking of what to do other than just drive around the ring road.
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Re: Iceland - Camper Vans

Post by peter303 »

The reason for driving the Ring Road is each side of the island is like a different country. The west is the main city. The north are fishing villages and geothermal formations. The east is where the cliffs meet the sea like the California coast. The south has glaciers and volcanoes. Catch every waterfall you can. They are amazing.

When we returned the Hertz rental car, they lifted it into air and examined the underbody for off road damage. Perhaps we looked too scruffy and devious. I'd presume they are gps tracking.
curt86iroc
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Re: Iceland - Camper Vans

Post by curt86iroc »

peter303 wrote: Mon Dec 20, 2021 5:31 pm The reason for driving the Ring Road is each side of the island is like a different country. The west is the main city. The north are fishing villages and geothermal formations. The east is where the cliffs meet the sea like the California coast. The south has glaciers and volcanoes. Catch every waterfall you can. They are amazing.

When we returned the Hertz rental car, they lifted it into air and examined the underbody for off road damage. Perhaps we looked too scruffy and devious. I'd presume they are gps tracking.
did the same for us. i drove the road over the course of 10 days back in 2007. absolutely amazing experience...
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Jon Frohlich
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Re: Iceland - Camper Vans

Post by Jon Frohlich »

There are 4x4 camper vans in Iceland that are allowed on highland roads. They are expensive but you aren't paying for hotels so it would even out somewhat. One of my dream trips is renting a 4x4 Defender to drive across the highlands.

https://www.gocampers.is/our-campers/4x4-camper-2-pax

I've also done the ring road as a 7 day trip. I don't recommend doing it much faster as you'd be pressed for time and would likely skip some things. I thought after leaving Jokulsarlon (iceberg lagoon) and Skaftafell that the tourists dropped off dramatically and it was far more uncrowded. I really loved Egilstaddir to Akureyi as it was mostly very empty and gorgeous.
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walipriest
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Re: Iceland - Camper Vans

Post by walipriest »

My wife & I drove the Ring Road in September, using a KuKu camper van (Kukukcampers.is). 9 day trip, fantastic experience! On a recommendation, drove clockwise from Reykjavik; glad we did, as the sights got progressively better each day. Shoulder season caveat: even though campsites listed that they'd be open until October, several closed early, just because! (https://happycampers.is/campsites-camping-in-iceland/) Hit as many hot springs as you can -Hauganes, Djupavogskorin, and Reykjadalur were our favorites.
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sooshee
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Re: Iceland - Camper Vans

Post by sooshee »

I've done a 19 day campervan trip using Kuku Campers. This was back in September 18. Definitely had a smooth overall rental experience, had a Renault Traffic van which gave us (two of us) plenty of room for that big of an adventure. At that time Kuku was one of the cheaper companies, but from research I've done recently for a third trip back to Iceland, that is not the case anymore and their rates are sometimes higher than other companies. We drove 2300 miles and touched nearly every bit of the country aside from the highlands (aside from a day trip into Landmannalaugar utilizing the bus system). (I did a second trip solo in Dec 2019/Jan 2020 but I just had a 4x4 SUV and chose to stay in guest houses for that trip.)

Happy Campers is also very highly reviewed, and they have a branch of budget vans called Cheap Camper Vans (creative name there!)

In April you'll really be tied to more traditional roads like the Ring Road. F-roads in the interior will not be open (and are for 4x4 vehicles only. Some campervan companies do offer 4x4 rentals though you will still have to be smart on the F-road routes taken, some remain really off limits to anyone besides those with very specialized off road vehicles), and some mountain passes could still be quite iffy, especially in more remote regions like the Westfjords and northeasatern fjords.

My biggest advice for Iceland is get off the beaten path and don't get caught up in those travel blog lists of "places you must go" that tend to have a very touristy feel and definitely are not gear towards anyone with outdoorsy leaning ways. Legit the Blue Lagoon is not worth it - there are so many better, natural hot pots for free to spend time at! I highly recommend the Westfjords if possible, and I also really enjoyed my time in the northeast fjords as well.

For a glacier hike, I had a positive experience with Troll Expeditions in January 2020. I did an ice climbing tour on Solheimajokull. I am very happy I opted for ice climbing vs. the typical glacier walk as it seemed to attract a different crowd than tourists in jeans and sneakers trying to walk on a glacier.

Iceland is one of my favorite places in the whole world so definitely reach out for itinerary ideas or anything else! I'll talk about Iceland all day long if given the opportunity :-D
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griddles
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Re: Iceland - Camper Vans

Post by griddles »

Thanks for all the information. Got some things to look into over the holidays. One of the big reasons for asking here is to get away from those social media famous places that actually have a power plant in the background or some such thing.
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