The Best 10 Day Ring Road Itinerary for Campervans
Don’t be deceived by the size of Iceland on a map; once you’re out and about in the landscapes it will dawn on you how big this country really is. Each valley, fjord and mountain range hold their own wealth of treasures to explore and staying out amongst it all is one of the best ways to experience it. Ten days is a great amount of time for a campervan trip around the ring road, as there’s plenty of time to slow down, make sure you’re not missing anything, and adventure off the beaten track. Read on to discover the best itinerary for ten days on the ring road in a campervan – campsites included.
Day 1 – The Golden Circle & the Secret Lagoon
199km | 2 hours 57 minutes driving
Once you’ve picked up your chosen campervan from our offices in Hafnarfjörður, it’s time to hit the road. Start off your trip in a relaxed manner, taking the Golden Circle route northeast of Reykjavik. This is the country’s most popular location for day tours from the city, so it’s going to be busy, but a great introduction to what you should expect around the rest of the country regardless.
Thingvellir National Park, Geysir and the majestic Gullfoss waterfall are the three main stops on this route; for more information on what you can see and do, read our guide to driving the Golden Circle in your campervan. After you’ve seen everything, head to the small village of Flúðir for a relaxing soak at the Secret Lagoon, a great hot spring. Afterwards, drive back down to the ring road to find a campsite. If you backtrack to the campsite at Selfoss you’ll be rewarded with hot showers and a warm kitchen area where you can cook your food. The campsites at Hella and Hvolsvöllur are a bit more basic, but you’ll be closer to the south coast for day 2.
Day 2 – The South Coast and Reynisfjara Black Sand Beach
161km | 2 hours 32 minutes driving
Set off from your campsite in the early morning to beat the tour buses to the wonderful sights along the south coast. First up is Seljalandsfoss and the hidden Gljúfrabúi inside the cliffs, then the amazing outdoor hot spring of Seljavallalaug, and finally the near-perfect Skogafoss waterfall. It’s worth spending some time here exploring along the river towards the Fimmvörðurháls Pass, and there’s also another waterfall in the next gorge over (behind the museum) where you’ll find the little-known Kvernufoss.
The second part of the day is all about the black sand beaches of the south coast. First up is the Dyrhólaey Peninsula, where you’ll be granted a stunning view over the long black sand beach stretching into the distance and bordered at the back by the glaciers Eyjafjallajökull and Mýrdalsjökull. The next detour off the ring road will take you down to the sand at Reynisfjara, the most famous beach in Iceland (mostly thanks to it being a Game of Thrones and Star Wars filming location). End your day by camping in Vik, where you can check out the beach, visit a brewery, and if you fancy, eat out at one of the handful of great restaurants.
Day 3 – Fjaðrárgljúfur and Hiking in Skaftafell
147km | 2 hours driving
Leave Vik in the early morning and make your way to the Fjaðrárgljúfur Canyon – if it’s open, that is. In recent times this fantastic location has gained so much popularity that it has had to be closed by the Environmental Agency of Iceland to protect the fragile ecosystem. Remember to always be a responsible traveller when in the country, so if it’s closed, respect the decision and move on.
You won’t be disappointed for long; Skaftafell Nature Reserve is one of the most exciting locations in the entire country. Nestled at the base of Vatnajökull, the area is a heady mix of ice, black sand and hiking trails; there’s a palpable sense of adventure. It’s also one of the best campsites in the country, so check in, visit the information centre and pick out your hiking trails for the afternoon. Most popular is the easy trail to Svartifoss, the waterfall in front of black basalt columns.
Day 4 –Glacier Hiking, Jökulsárlón and Diamond Beach
144km | 2 hours 5 minutes driving
The morning of day 4 is the perfect time to book yourself onto a glacier hike – remember to reserve your spot at least a few days in advance, particularly in the summer. If you’re not interested in getting up on the ice, you can spend the morning hiking again in Skaftafell. Afterwards, the Jökulsárlón Glacier Lagoon and Diamond Beach are just around the corner – it’s very easy to spend a couple of hours checking out both locations.
As the afternoon wanes on, visit the outdoor hot pots at Hoffell for a relaxing soak, before making your way into Höfn for the night at the campsite. If you’re looking to splash a bit of cash on eating out, Höfn is known for having the best lobster in the country.
Day 5 – The East Fjords
284km | 3 hours 59 minutes driving
After a quick stop off at Vestrahorn (one of the most dramatic mountains in the country) on the Stokksnes Peninsula, it’s time to hit the big and beautiful East Fjords. Meander through the small villages, stopping along the way for gorgeous views. This is one of the best stretches of road to drive on Route 1, so enjoy it.
Pass right through Egilsstaðir and make your way to Seyðisfjörður, a colourful and creative little village at the base of a dramatic fjord. The mountain pass itself is an exciting drive, and you might recognize the scenery from the film Secret Life of Walter Mitty. Stay in the bustling campsite for the night and check out the town. If it’s open, Nord Austur does some great sushi.
Day 6 – Hengifoss, Dettifoss & the Mývatn Nature Baths
305km | 4 hours driving
Day 6 will take you to some thundering waterfalls as you drive north in the campervan. Take the mountain pass back over towards Egilsstaðir, shooting straight through to follow the road down the southern side of the long glacial lake, Lagarfljót. At the bottom you’ll cross over to find the parking area for Hengifoss, a waterfall cascade in front of layered strips of red clay. It might look close, but it actually takes an hour and a half to reach the top of the trail from the parking area.
After you’ve come back down, it’s time to drive into the north. Make the detour up to see Dettifoss, which is the most powerful waterfall in Europe, before finishing the day at the Hverir geothermal area and the popular Mývatn Nature Baths. Camp at the edge of Lake Mývatn so you can go for some picturesque evening walks.
Day 7 – Lake Mývatn and Whale Watching in Húsavík
168km | 2 hours 23 minutes driving
One of the easier days when it comes to driving, day 7 on the itinerary is all about enjoying the sights around the lake. There’s the Grjótagjá underground cave, where a certain famous scene from Game of Thrones was filmed, the ancient volcano Hverfjall, the expansive Dimmuborgir lava field, and the Skútustaðagígar pseudo-craters.
Afterwards, make the drive north towards the village of Húsavík, the whale watching capital of Iceland. Join one of the tours that forge into the northern ocean to sight the gentle giants, and afterwards check out the Húsavík Geosea Geothermal Sea Baths, beautiful hot pots overlooking the bay. In the late afternoon, make the drive into Akureyri (stopping at Goðafoss along the way) to stay at either the campsite in the city centre or the Hamrar campsite just outside of town.
Day 8 – The Tröllaskagi Peninsula and Northwest Iceland
292km | 3 hours 54 minutes driving
Day 8 is a long one in the campervan, but if you push through, you’ll be rewarded with some time to visit the Snæfellsnes Peninsula the following day. If you don’t fancy so long in the campervan, you can always skip the Tröllaskagi Peninsula and make your way further into the northwest region.
But the peninsula is one of the most exciting drives in the country; steep mountains come right down to the rugged coastline, and the fishing ports of Dalvík and Siglufjörður each have their own uniqueness about them. And of course, on the western side of the peninsula is another of the country’s greatest swimming pools, the infinity pool at Hofsós. With incredible vistas across the fjord towards the remote Skagaströnd Peninsula, this swimming spot is hard to beat. After soaking in the hot waters for a bit, continue into the northwestern region of Iceland, known for its long valleys filled with historic farms, peaceful landscapes, and historic significance. The campsite at Hvammstangi is hard to beat here.
Day 9 – The Snæfellsnes Peninsula
291km | 4 hours 17 minutes driving
The second last day on this itinerary is going to be spent exploring the Snæfellsnes Peninsula. First up is the most famous Kirkjufell Mountain, another location made famous thanks to Game of Thrones. After you’ve got your souvenir photo, take the scenic drive around the peninsula, taking in the sights along the way. Djúpalónssandur, Londrangar, the Rauðfeldsgjá Gorge and Búðir are all highlights on the peninsula.
If you’re after a shorter route, after Kirkjufell you can cut across the middle of the peninsula on either Route 54 to the west or Route 56 to the east, both of which will take you quickly to the southern shore of the peninsula. The campsite at Langaholt Guesthouse is one of the best in the area, with an expansive paddock right next to the ocean.
Day 10 – West Iceland and Reykjavik
209km | 2 hours 52 minutes driving
For your final full day in the campervan, it’s a cruisy drive back through the Western region before arriving back in Reykjavik. Finish off the southern edge of the Snæfellsnes Peninsula before heading back into the historic west of Iceland on the way to Reykjavik. If you’re not keen on exploring the city for the day, you can make your way to the trailhead for the hike to Glymur waterfall, the second tallest waterfall in the country.
Otherwise, head back straight into Reykjavik for a taste of civilization after over a week on the road in your campervan. There’s plenty to see and do in Iceland’s capital, and a pretty fun campsite as well. If you’re not spending time in the city after you drop your camper off, we would always recommend a bit of exploring on your last day with the campervan.