A NOTE FROM US
12 days in a wild kind of love.
Our Icelandic honeymoon was anything but ordinary. When people think of Iceland, you would probably think of the cold wet #moodygram images you see in famous photos. While that is completely true, it is only a piece of the Icelandic experience. During our 12 day trip around the Ring Road, we were immersed in a landscape that was ever changing. Growing up in Michigan, Luke and I were used to one day being in freezing temps and the next day sixty degrees. Kids in school (ourselves included, guilty) would show up in shorts while snow was still on the ground. So when we decided on a honeymoon destination that was unpredictable, Iceland's weather was not something we were afraid of. If you picture a laid back "all inclusive" honeymoon... this may not be the trip for you! However, if you seek a dynamic landscape with panoramic views and amazing natural hot pots, book your tickets now.
DURATION: 12 DAYS
PRICE: 136.880 ISK OR $1,038.07 USD
RECS: MAKE SURE YOU GET WINTER TIRES AND ALWAYS GO THE SPEED LIMIT.
SERVICE: AIRBNB, BOOKING.COM, & EXPEDIA
ROAD CONDITIONS: ROAD.IS
A MORE IN DEPTH LOOK OF OUR JOURNEY ON THE RING ROAD
12 dagar í villtri tegund af ást.
Our trip begins! We had two days to pack and get Covid tested before our flight left. I highly recommend giving yourself a few days after your wedding to enjoy the wedding high and pack for the honeymoon without any stress!
We made two signs for our packs. One that read "Just Married" and the other "Next Stop, Iceland". We got lot of wanted attention at the airport. Just think free champagne and lots of strangers congratulating you. What made the signs completely worth it was when the gate agent saw our signs and gave us each an entire row to ourselves.
Stepping off the plane, it was not as cold as we thought it would be! We took the shuttle to Rent.is and picked up our rental van. We were officially van lifers for two weeks.
Clockwise vs. Counter Clockwise
We decided to go counter clockwise on the ring road. Going counter clockwise you will hit all of the popular spots first. Think Blue Lagoon and the Golden Circle. We found that we were exhausted by the end of the trip and could not imagine packing in everything at the end. What was also nice, was going from crowds to being completely alone. It was amazing to explore the otherside of the country that not as many people traveled to.
It truly is a gamble when it comes to weather and that is why some people choose to stay in a van the entire time so that they can be flexible and decide when they land in Iceland on which way to go. You can use Rode.is to learn of the road conditions throughout the country. For the most part, the entire N1 was open for us. We did run into trouble in the East when we branched off the main road. Before we left the states we made sure to ask for winter tires and thanks to those we were able to tackle some tough conditions.
Some tips if you rent a car
1. Make sure to get full insurance, we learned of a couple whose van got hit by a bird and cracked the entire windshield!
2. Always go the speed limit. Iceland is very strict and there are road cameras everywhere.
3. Fill up your gas tank each morning. In some areas you will drive miles without seeing a spot to fill up.
Our first stop was the Blue Lagoon. The drive there was absolutely beautiful. Lava fields stretched out and lime green moss covered each of them. A rainbow appeared and we were in complete shock. Rainbows and sunshine on our first day. We kept looking at each other, saying "I can't believe we're here!?".
Some tips for the Blue Lagoon
1. Remove all jewelry and make sure your swim suit does not have metal. The minerals in the water will turn any metal black!
2. Do not get your hair wet! If you get your hair wet it will become extremely dry and take weeks to get back to normal.
3. Reserve your tickets in advance as they do have a capacity and you won't be able to buy day of.
After flying for several hours, stepping into this dreamy hot spring was the perfect start to our romantic honeymoon.
This is the Airbnb we stayed in for night one. It was super cute and cozy. Located in the geothermal town Hveragerði, south east of Reykjavik. If you are headed counter clockwise on the N1, this is a great option for your first night.
12 dagar í villtri tegund af ást.
On our second day we woke up early, grabbed coffee and traveled to Kerid Crater. You can not miss this stop on your Iceland journey. Prepare to pay around $3 to visit this spot and enjoy the easy hike around the outer rim or a short hike down to the lake. From Kerid we traveled to Hraunalaug Hot Spring. The hike from the parking lot is a short groomed trail. We were prepared to run into a crowd here, but were happily surprised when it was only a few couples. One of which just got married and were taking couples portraits in the pool in the first photo. The pool off to the side was one of the warmest hot pots we swam in. We spent 1 hour here and enjoyed every second of it. When you're done head into the hut and change out of your wet swim suit! We recommend bringing a towel with you!
On our way to this spot we must of hit something because when we were finished at the spring we had a flat tire.
The Golden Circle
For those who have a shorter trip, this is a totally doable excursion from Reykjavík. The trip around the Golden Circle will take you around 3 hours. You will get to see geothermal activity, an iconic waterfall, the original Geysir and where the Eurasian and North American tectonic plates divide!
We arrived here late in the evening and hurried into this unique stay. It was a particularly windy night and the tall grass looked like rolling waves. We used the app Aurora Forecast to see if there was any probability and we had an 18% chance. Confident, we felt that this would be the night we would see the Northern Lights and parked two chairs in front of the large glass windows, drank champagne and waited for them to appear. Not even 20 minutes in and we started to see some action.
Day 3 was a big one. We traveled from Hvolsvollur to Reynisfjara! Our Airbnb was only 2 minutes from Seljalandsfoss Waterfall which was so nice. We were among the first to check out the falls and basically had it to ourselves. Put on all your rain gear because you are about to get wet when you go behind these falls! When you're done, walk over a small river and take the trail towards Gljufrabui the hidden waterfall. You will walk up a river and through a tight rock slit and inside you will find this amazing waterfall! Still to this day one of the coolest falls we've ever experienced. We did have a tough time capturing photos in there because the mist is intense. Definitely come prepared if you have a specific shot in mind.
In the afternoon we headed for Seljavallaulaug.
We were warned that this pool was not very hot and they were right. Both of us tried to get in all the way, but we just couldn't do it! In the summer this pot would be perfect, so definitely put it on your list! The drive to this spot is bumpy and you won't be able to drive all the way to the pool. Park by the large rocks and take the path. If you come early enough you will have this spot alone, just like we did. Same thing goes for this pool, bring a towel with you!
Turf Homes at Skogar Museum
Don't miss checking these out when you go to Skógafoss. Learning the history of the places you visit is something Luke and I have enjoyed doing on all of our trips. You will most likely see the waterfall and drive past the museum, but if you slow down a bit and decide to add this stop on your itinerary... we think it's worth it.
Bring your lunch and have a picnic at one of the picnic tables and have this amazing waterfall as your backdrop. If you get lucky and the sun is shining, Skógafoss puts out some of the most vivid rainbows. Just like the rest, prepare to get wet at these falls. We took the side trail and got even closer to the falls! If you have time, take the stairs up to the top of the falls and enjoy numerous hikes.
This US Navy plane ran out of fuel and crashed on the black beach at Sólheimasandur in 1973. The remains of the plane are still on this beach, and has turned into a photography hot spot. You can not drive out, you have to hike. Some people go through Black Beach Safari, an ATV company and you can ride out there. By the end of the hike you will be so jealous of those on ATVs. There are no facilities and you are pretty much on your own out there, so please go prepared for Icelands changing weather. The hike out is completely flat and well marked, but it is deceivingly long. It took us one hour to reach the plane.
If you go in the winter use these coordinates to navigate there (63 27.546-19 21.887).
Black Beach Restaurant
After the plane wreck we jumped in the car and drove along the beautiful coast to the famous Reynisfjara Black Sand Beaches. We took a coffee break at the Black Beach Restaurant before checking out the Beach. The cake in our photo translated to "The Newly Wed" cake so it was only fitting that we bought a slice. One thing to note about this restaurant is that you must be a customer to use the facilities and they do monitor this at the entrance.
If I'm the first to warn you of this, then please pay attention. This beach can be extremely dangerous and the waters have taken multiple tourist lives. The waves, also known as "Sneakers" rush onto the beach very fast. On the day we visited we had calm waters, but we could see just how fast the water rushed in even on a calm day. Check out this video to get a better understanding of what can happen.
We spent the night in the van and did not love it haha. The wind was so bad that the entire van shook us awake! So we decided to book stays in place of the nights we planned to sleep in the van and I am so glad we did. You should not van life for even one night of your honeymoon lol. After packing up the van, we started driving towards our first Glacier of the trip. Driving towards Vatnajokull National Park is so beautiful. Have your camera ready! Skaftafell has tons of hiking trails for all skill levels. Stop by the Skaftafell Visitor Center and decide what hike will be best for you and your family.
What to do at Vatnajokull National Park
1. Hike to Svartifoss Waterfall
3. Go on an Ice Cave Tour