Iceland Road Trip Part 1: Reykavik and the Golden Circle

The RV Atlas Podcast
Iceland Road Trip Part 1: Reykavik and the Golden Circle

Iceland is one of those places that is simply PERFECT for road tripping! The size is manageable, the landscapes are awe inspiring, and the culture is truly amazing. And, the camping culture is particularly awesome. If an Iceland road trip is moving off of your bucket list and onto your to-do list, this post will help you plan your trip, as we share our itinerary, tips, and first-hand experiences from our recent trip.

If you can’t tell, Iceland simply knocked us off our feet, so we are bringing you a 3-part series all about our trip. Click here to find out 53 Things To Know Before You Go, then read this post to hear about the first part of our trip (Reykavik and the Golden Circle), and then check back for the next post to hear about the rest of our trip along the South Coast.

We had so much help planning our itinerary from Icelanders and those experienced visitors, and we just want to pay it forward! We hope this helps inspire you to plan your own Iceland road trip.

Use code rvatlas10 for 10 percent off a motorhome rental with Rent Easy Iceland AND free pickup and drop off from and to the KEF airport. Do not book the transportation as part of your reservation or you will be charged for it. Send an email or direct message on social media with arrival and departure dates and your pickup and delivery will be arranged from there. Our code CAN be combined with any other discounts available on their website. This is not an affiliate code and we do not earn a percentage from your reservation. We truly hope to inspire you to go to Iceland and we loved our experience with Rent Easy Iceland.

How Much Does an Iceland Road Trip Cost?

The number one question we have received about our Iceland RV road trip is: How much did it cost? We always hate to put a number on things since costs greatly vary by your own tastes, the time of year you visit, location, and so much more. But, here are some facts:

  • AIRFARE: We only paid $500 per person for airfare from JFK since we live on the East Coast. Obviously, you’ll pay more if you have to fly from the other side of the country or a more remote location. TIP: Use Google Flights to find out the typical airfare and to set up alerts if prices go up and down. We flew Delta, but we’ve heard you can find good deals from PLAY, which is a budget airline.
  • MOTORHOME RENTAL: For a ballpark figure, expect to pay around $300 per night as a very general figure.  Again, costs will vary by season and many other variables. The best way to get a cost idea is to go to the Rent Easy Iceland website and punch in some dates and options to get true costs.
  • CAMPSITE PRICES: Prices seemed to be around $20-$70 a night, with our costs more often being $40-50. So, all in with the RV rental, you are under $400 a night, which definitely near the same price or less than most hotels in Iceland. Aside from the price, road tripping in a motorhome is a great way to explore the country because you can easily move from stop to stop with your home on wheels.
  • DIESEL: We paid around $8 per gallon and got 23 miles per gallon. So, this was also a cost, but it was less than we expected.
  • MEALS: We ate out and thought the prices were quite comparable to home, so food likely won’t cost more than a usual road trip in the U.S. One great thing to note is that there are no tips. So, the costs may look high up front, but they actually aren’t. If you are looking to save money, plan to cook in the motorhome.
  • ACTIVITIES: This is another spot where costs will really vary. Some people add a lot of tours and day trips, which can be pricy. As we discuss our itinerary below, we’ll try to share some of the costs of these popular stops and activities.

If you want to hear all of the details from our recent Iceland road trip, click play on the media player above or look for The RV Atlas in your favorite podcast app. 

Blue Lagoon

Blue Lagoon

We started our journey at the phenomenal Blue Lagoon. After a plane ride, it’s the perfect place to unwind and to get your first taste of Iceland. We paid around $104 per person for the upgraded “Premium” package that included the experience, 2 drinks, showering before and after, and a bathrobe. One great tip is that there is a line for the people with the base package, and this Premium upgrade let us skip the line.

Paying for the upgrade is really just the same as paying for drinks, and the drinks were absolutely worthwhile. We tried out the juices and really enjoyed them. If you go, check out the Green is Good and the Forever Fresh! Seriously delicious! The spa has a cafeteria (grab-and-go style) or a restaurant. We opted for the cafeteria, and it was definitely better than the typical grab-and-go fare in the U.S. Think sushi, cheese platters, etc.

Yes, the Blue Lagoon is touristy. But, it truly didn’t feel like a gimmick. It offered a nice, relaxing spa experience. It was huge and beautiful. (And no, the sulfur wasn’t too stinky and the naked shower wasn’t too creepy. Don’t worry!). We definitely recommend this as your welcome to Iceland as you leave the airport. Just know that volcanic eruptions can interrupt your plans, as it has had to close on occasion.

Picking Up the Motorhome From Rent Easy Iceland

Rent Easy Iceland picked us up at the Blue Lagoon, making it super convenient to go pick up our motorhome. This wasn’t special treatment–you can get picked up, too if you use our discount code listed at the top of this post.

While at Rent Easy Iceland, you’ll get the full motorhome walkthrough from Diddi or Gardar–the brothers that own this Rent Easy Station. These two brothers are real campers themselves and they will really help you feel comfortable with your rental before you hit the road.

Reykavik Eco Campsite (First Night)

Here’s another important tip: Don’t book a campground too far from where you pick up your motorhome. Our first stop at Reykavik Eco-Campsite was maybe 20 minutes down the road from Rent Easy Iceland, and that was enough for our first busy day of travel. This campground is right in Reykavik, giving you easy access to a lot of amenities.

This campground is in Reykavik, but it’s not in the popular downtown area. So, to get to some of the more “famous” Reykavik restaurants and attractions, you would need to drive or take a cab. Since you probably won’t want to park the motorhome, we really recommend taking a cab.

We really liked the vibe of this campground and had a great stay! It was the most expensive of the campgrounds we stayed at, but we weren’t surprised since we were in the city. It’s a great place to begin and end your trip. (We opted for a hotel for our final night, though, since we had an early flight out the next morning).

Your Friend in Reykavik Traditional Food Tour

Your Friend in Reykavik Food Tour

To get an introduction to Icelandic foods, we booked a traditional food tour with Your Friend in Reykavik. If you wonder why the food in Iceland is the way it is, this tour will tell you! It’s really fascinating to hear about how the history and location affected food preservation and traditions.

We didn’t book a private tour, but we ended up being the only people on the tour, and we had a great guide. So, this ended being a really cool experience! You’ll get to try all kinds of things and will learn so much about the stews, waffles, hot dogs, fermented shark–and so much more! Plus, as you walk around the city, it’s easy to fall in love with Reykavik.

Don’t forget that you can check out this post/episode to hear more about these foods and some of our experiences, and click play on the media player above to hear us share more experience about all of the great things on this itinerary!

Breakfast at Bread and Co.

We had our first breakfast in Iceland at Bread and Co., and wow, we seriously fell in love with the breads. Everything was SO SO good! TIP: Grab some breads to go. They are the perfect road trip snack. Another tip, remember to call coffee “Americano” if you want a regular cup of coffee. Just note that they are smaller than our usual serving sizes in the U.S.

There are multiple locations, so make sure you GPS the correct location to find one near the campground.

Snorkeling at Silfra (Thingvellir National Park)

With bellies full of bread and coffee, we drove right to Thingvellir National Park, which was around an hour away in what is called Iceland’s “Golden Circle.” Stephanie had book a snorkeling tour through DIVE.ISShe did the Silfra tour, during which you will snorkel through tectonic plates, which is a truly unique experience.

The water is super clear, so you can see far underwater. You can see the tectonic plates moving. You can even drink the water! Yes, that does seem unimaginable, but it truly is sparkling clean. Plus, the landscape above water is also stunning, with snow-capped peaks (see those above!) and a waterfall hike (more on that below).

Prices start at around $200 and go up from there, depending on what options you need/add. You do wear a dry suit, and it can feel like a lot, especially if you’ve never done it. Plus, your hands do get cold since they aren’t covered in wet suit material.

Oxararfoss Waterfall Hike in Thingvellir National Park

While at Thingvellir National Park, we decided to do the hike to Oxararfoss Waterfall. It’s a mile each way, making for two miles round trip. The hike is easy enough, and the waterfall was really lovely. It didn’t end up being our very favorite waterfall, but it’s a nice way to get a taste of this national park.

Laugarvatn Fontana Geothermal Baths

Laugarvatn Fontana Geothermal Baths offer a similar experience to Blue Lagoon. We liked it even better! The price range was around $35.00 per person. You can also add on an experience where they teach you about the geothermal rye-bread baking traditions–which happen underground. We didn’t do it, but it looked really interesting.

Tips: The bread and soup bar was quite good! We paid to rent towels, and it was really unnecessary. Also, if you are looking to save money, we would pick this over Blue Lagoon, especially if you have kids to pay for, as well. You can also go to the community pools, but you won’t get a spa experience.

The Geysir Geyser

The geyser named Geysir, appropriately enough, is a very popular stop on Iceland road trips of the Golden Circle. We must confess that we were a little underwhelmed by this. Maybe that’s because we’ve been to Yellowstone. So, we definitely don’t want to diss it, but it wasn’t our favorite…especially when there are so many other wonderful things to see.

Another reason we might not have loved Geysir is because we drove a long way to get there because we went off the Golden Circle loop for other adventures. So, we may have been a bit tired! If it’s on your way or if you’ve never seen a geyser, it is worth a stop. Don’t let us bring you down!

The Old Dairy Food Hall in Selfoss

Next up was a meal at Old Dairy Food Hall in Selfoss. This was such a cool experience! The food hall is like a mall food court, but with trendier street-style or food-truck style fares. We walked around for 15 minutes trying to decide between a ton of great options. It’s nice because everyone can pick their own options and then gather together at the large central tables.

Reykjarmork Campsite in Hveragerdi (Second Night)

After a fully adventurous day, we were ready to tuck in for the night at our second campsite, the Reykjarmork Campsite in Hveragerdi. This was a charming little spot with lovely surroundings. The bathrooms and showers weren’t super clean, so that can be a turn off (luckily, we had showered at the Fontana spa earlier).

The town of Hveragerdi is pretty cool in its own right. Stop by the visitor center. You can find a marked spot where you are technically standing in two continents because of the tectonic plates. The town swimming pool also was highly recommended, but we didn’t have time to get there. We really enjoyed the Almar Bakery and had quite an experience shopping for groceries like a local at Bónus. It had Aldi’s vibes! TIP: You can press a button to change the digital display to English!!

Snowmobiling on Langjokull Glacier with Mountaineers of Iceland

Snowmobiling on Langjokull Glacier with Mountaineers of Iceland was the experience of a lifetime! It all starts with the drive. Look at the picture of the truck above–it’s really crazy! Then, snowmobiling was super fun and exciting. The guides help keep you safe, even if you have never ridden a snowmobile before. Now, they can be a little hard to drive, depending on how you place yourself and your partner. So, if you feel uncomfortable one way, try switching places!

We cannot tell you enough how beautiful it was to be on top of a glacier. We were lucky enough to have blue skies, adding even more to the beauty. As far pricing, it was around $200 per person. So, we do think this was worth it, though we know that can be expensive for a family. When traveling with our kids, we do try to pick at least one special experience whenever we can. Going as a couple gave us a little more freedom to pay for these kinds of extras.

If you want to hear us stumble through our Icelandic pronunciations and hear more details about all of these adventures, click play on the media player above!

Gullfoss Waterfall

The Gullfoss Waterfall is huge, powerful, and stunning! It’s definitely worth seeing, especially if you do the snowmobile tour since the trail is right where you get dropped off. Even as cool as it is, it still wasn’t our favorite waterfall. More on those to come in the next post! We have so much more to tell you about!

So, have you booked your flight to Iceland yet? If you’re not quite convinced that you want to take a Iceland road trip, check back to hear about the second part of our trip, which was really our favorite!

The RV Atlas Podcast
Iceland Road Trip Part 1: Reykavik and the Golden Circle

Sign Up

For Our Complete RV Stock Up List

"*" indicates required fields


Our Official Sponsors

Pin It on Pinterest

Share This

Share this podcast with your friends!