Defender Roadtrip Iceland in Summer

HOW TO ROAD TRIP THROUGH ICELAND

Why you need to go north

I have always wanted to go to Iceland, even more so since my Instagram feed is overflowing with northern lights, fluffy icelandic horses, green hills and some travel blogger at a gorgeous waterfall wearing a yellow rain jacket and a Fjällräven backpack. So when the time came we needed to make a plan where to go and how to make the very best of it.

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Unfortunately there are no northern lights in summer time, but given the more enjoyable temperatures we decided to do the camping thing and hired a Land Rover Defender with a roof top tent. While planning our route I realized that almost every guide tells you to go south. The golden circle, an area south of Reykjavík is so popular because everything is quite close to each other (Þingvellir, Geysir and Gulfoss) so you get to see „the best of“ in a relatively short time. However, what I expected to see and experience was more something like crazy beautiful wild nature and less the top 3 sights with masses of tourists in colorful outdoor-jackets blocking the view. So take this advice: plan in a few days more and make the trip north!

Northern Coastline Iceland in Summer
Northern coastline
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Rooftop tent on our Defender at the first camping spot, around 10pm

Camping is a wonderful alternative to overpriced hotels but it’s not that easy to find good spot outside of camping grounds. If you go in the summertime, pack a sleep mask because the sun never sets this far north. It got weird because I never really felt tired with the sun still shining in my face at midnight. We barely slept at all. The good thing about that is that we just kept driving and still got to see some amazing landscapes that changed about every kilometer.

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Midnight Sun in northern Iceland
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Endless beautiful views like this at Ólafsfjördur along the northern fjords

The best place to get a good sleep in summer

When you have seen the town of Akureyri, the wonderful views at Ólafsfjörður, the best whale watching in Húsavík and your melatonin levels are all messed up then you’re ready to make your way back to Reykjavík. Here you should buy a ticket for the documentary film about the eruption of the Eyjafjallajökull at the Volcano House. When they switched off the lights in the theater it got pitch black for the first time in days. Suddenly I got so tired I was struggling to keep my eyes open in the dark. Even before the documentary started I passed out and slept through the whole movie.

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There are so many waterfalls, it’s impossible to remember all their names.
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Humpback Whales come to feed in the region of Húsavík, also if you’re lucky you get to spot one of the cutest little birds, a Puffin!

TO KNOW:

  • I visited Iceland in June and as the weather can be really inconsistent a great way to go is to follow the Icelandic Meteorological Office and be flexible to change your route according to the conditions. We had sunshine and blue skies almost every day! (www.vendur.is)

TO STAY:

  • Luna Apartments Laugavegur in Reykjavik – book the Studio Art House! Hidden in the back of another small apartment house it’s a spacious loft with super cool design! (www.luna.is)
  • For the rest of the road rent a Defender with a rooftop tent: (www.ice-rovers.is)

TO EAT:

TO SHOP:

  • My Concept Store, very cool store with an amazing own cashmere collection; Laugavegur 45, Reykjavik (www.myconceptstore.is)

 

All pictures: Jessie Schoeller 

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