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Junge Frau geht während ihrer Island Rundreise an ihrem Off Camper vorbei und lacht mit verkniffenem Gesicht in die Kamera
Junge Frau geht während ihrer Island Rundreise an ihrem Off Camper vorbei und lacht mit verkniffenem Gesicht in die Kamera

Iceland round trip 10 days - Discover Iceland by campervan

Julia - Praktikantin bei CamperBoys
Article from Julia

Your Iceland round trip in 10 days: Is camping in Iceland worth it? Here are the best tips for a round trip through Iceland full of natural spectacles.

Okay, first things first: a round trip through Iceland by campervan can be a pretty damp and fresh affair, even in summer. But also one that guarantees you all that, which certainly contributes to the Icelanders are among the happiest people in the world. Namely: geysers, springs & waterfalls. Mountains, lava landscapes & volcanoes. Glaciers, fjords & beaches. And maybe even an elfin encounter or two? We present our favourite route for your campervan or hire car round trip through the land of fire and ice, which you can travel in at least 10 days.
Camping Island: Ein Campervan auf einer Straße in grüner Berglandschaft auf Island

Travelling around Iceland by campervan: is it worth it?

The journey from Germany to Iceland is quite a long one. Although it's not just young travellers who can expect a lot of `When will we finally be there?` along the way, it's anything but a crazy idea to drive to Iceland from Germany in your own or a rented campervan. Especially if you plan to spend a little more time in the country. There is one main reason for this: Iceland is also pretty expensive - and this applies not only to hotel prices, but also to hire cars or camper vans. So if you are planning a round trip through Iceland in 10 or more days, the money you save on a rented campervan often makes up for the higher price of the ferry crossing and the extra days of hire. Equipped with your own kitchen in the camper, you'll also save a lot on food (if you're planning to stock up on food in Germany, you should take a look at the rules for importing food to Iceland). And what's more, if there's one country where being close to nature is paramount, then it's probably Iceland - and it's a well-known fact that the best way to experience it is by camping.
Blick aus dem Fenster eines Campers auf die Straße und Berglandschaft im Hintergrund bei einer Rundreise durch Island

Camping in Iceland: Travelling from Germany

If you decide to travel to Iceland from Germany in a motorhome, you can ideally include a stopover in Denmark, for example in beautiful Aarhus. If you hire your campervan in Hamburg, it is a good 500 km (approx. 5 1/2 hours) directly to the ferry departure harbour in Hirtshals, from Hanover by camper about 650 km (approx. 7 hours) and from Berlin by campervan just under 800 km (approx. 8 1/2 hours). From there, the Norröna ferry operated by Smyril Line takes you to the destination harbour of Seyðisfjörður in the east of Iceland with a stopover in Tòrshavn on the Faroe Islands (insider tip: Smyril Line is currently giving away a ferry crossing for two people to Iceland in 2024 on its website). The sea crossing takes around 48 hours, but the restaurants, on-board cinema, swimming pool and entertainment facilities make it easy to pass the time. As the ferry only runs once a week and camper pitches are limited, you should book well in advance. Prices vary depending on travelling time, vehicle size and cabin category. You can find more detailed information about the ferry to Iceland here.
Island Rundreise 10 Tage: Junger Mann streckt sich auf seinem Campingstuhl vor einem Off Camper am Ufer eines Sees

FAQ: Important questions & tips for your round trip to Iceland

🌤️ What is the best time to travel around Iceland?

The ideal time to travel to the volcanic island is during the rainiest and warmest months in the country between the end of May and August. This is also when you have a particularly good chance of seeing as much of the island as possible, as the midnight sun means that the sun never sets. Even in summer, however, the weather in Iceland is quite unpredictable and the temperatures are fresh. In addition to swimwear for the hot springs and a sleeping mask, you should pack warm and windproof clothing, sturdy shoes, a rain jacket and a waterproof backpack cover should not be missing from your packing list. The rainy season between October and March also has more to offer than just rain and cold. Namely the chance to experience Iceland without large crowds of tourists - and to see the Northern Lights, frozen waterfalls and ice caves! It is important to note, however, that only a few campsites on the island are open all year round and some roads are closed in winter. If you don't mind a bit of unstable weather and want to avoid the biggest crowds of tourists, April or September might also be suitable months for travelling.
Der Seljalandsfoss Wasserfall in Island beim Sonnenaufgang: So beeindruckend kann eine Rundreise durch Island sein

⛺️ Is wild camping allowed in Iceland?

Wild camping in Iceland? No way! Although Icelanders themselves are camping fanatics (for most, it's almost a tradition to go camping with their friends and family in summer), but wild camping outside of designated campsites with a camper or motorhome is unfortunately not permitted - unless with written permission from the landowner. The corresponding law was passed by the Icelandic government in 2015 to protect the island's nature in view of the increasing number of tourists.

🚐 Are there any good campsites in Iceland?

Fortunately, there is no shortage of campsites in Iceland as an alternative to wild camping - especially as they are often nestled in idyllic landscapes. Most campsites are open from April or May to September or October, but a few are open all year round. When looking for the right campsite for you, you should bear in mind that the standards at campsites in Iceland vary greatly. Some are equipped with showers, kitchen, washroom and Wi-Fi, while others only have toilets and washbasins and sometimes not even hot water or electricity. You can find a helpful overview with detailed descriptions of many campsites here.
Campingplätze Island: Drei Schafe vor einem Campingplatz auf Island, auf dem ein Off Camper zu sehen ist

🐶 Is Iceland suitable for a holiday with your dog?

We love dogs. And: At Off there are amazing dog campers. That's why we'd really like to be able to tell you something different but: unfortunately, Iceland is not the ideal destination for a camping trip with your favourite four-legged friend. That's because the country has strict rules for travelling with pets. Not only do you need a licence from the Icelandic Veterinary Authority to enter the country, but your pet must also be quarantined. In this blog articles you can find out which places are suitable for a campervan trip with your dog.

⏰ How long does it take to complete a round trip through Iceland?

How much time you should allow for your round trip to Iceland depends on how much of the country you want to get to know and how intensive your trip should be. To visit the highlights of the island, you should plan at least 7 days: In the so-called Golden Circle in the south-east of Iceland, for example, you can discover many of the top attractions in a short time. For an actual round trip through Iceland, however, we recommend at least 10 days. This way you can travel around and explore the entire island along the Ring Road, which takes you past the most amazing sights.
Ein leerer Straßenabschnitt auf der Island Rundreise in 10 Tagen direkt am Meer mit imposanten Bergen an der Straßenseite

Iceland round trip 10 days: Highlights & campsites in Iceland

Round trips are always great. But islands are especially great for travelling around - like Iceland! The most popular route to explore Iceland therefore takes you around the island once on the 1322-kilometre ring road. We have put together an Iceland round trip for you on this route, which leads you to the most worthwhile stops the country has to offer in 10 or more days. Depending on how much time you can spare, you can of course skip stops or add others. Our round trip starts and ends in Seyðisfjörður, where the ferry harbour is located. However, if you're flying to Iceland and starting in Reykjavik, you can simply start the route on day 6. So: Off we go! 🚐
Island Rundreise 10 Tage: Screenshot der Google Maps Route auf Island mit dem Camper

Iceland Round Trip Day 1: Waterfalls Detifoss, Sellfoss & Hafragilsfoss

Arriving by ferry in Seyðisfjörður in the east of Iceland, you set off in a northerly direction. The first natural spectacle awaits you here with one of the largest waterfalls in Europe. However, if you want to recharge your batteries despite the relaxed programme of the first day, you can of course make a stopover at the Seyðisfjörður Camp Site and start the round trip the next morning when you're feeling rested. Within around 2 1/2 hours from Seyðisfjörður, you can reach the Jökulsárgljúfur canyon, where three waterfalls are waiting to be marvelled at:
✔️ Dettifoss is the most famous of these: fed by the river Jökulsá á Fjöllum, 193 cubic metres of water per second are plunging 45 metres into the depths over a width of 100 metres.
✔️ Selfoss, which you can visit on the way to or from Dettifoss.
✔️ Hafragilsfoss, which is also worth a visit, but a little tricky to reach - might rather be suitable for adventurers.
⛺️ Campsite tip: Ásbyrgi campground
Der Dettifoss Wasserfall auf Island in grüner und steiniger Landschaft: Ein Highlight auf der Island Rundreise!

Iceland Round Trip Day 2: High temperature area Hverarönd & Lake Mývatn

Continue westwards to the high-temperature area of Hverarönd, which is part of the active Krafla volcano system. Space fans will be thrilled (sensitive noses less so due to the smell of sulphur), as a visit to this area will probably make you feel more like you've landed on Mars than in Iceland. You probably won't find any aliens here, but you will find steaming, bubbling and hissing craters and mud holes, between which you can walk on footbridges and marked paths.
The region around Lake Mývatn, which many locals describe as the most beautiful area on the island, is also characterised by volcanic activity. Your bucket list for the area could look like this:
✔️ The Dimmubogir lava field with its tufa formations - maybe you'll spot an alien after all? 😉
✔️ The Jarðböð thermal spring or Mývatn Nature Baths, with its mineral-rich thermal water.
✔️ The Grjótagjá cave, which served as the backdrop for Game of Thrones: a must-see for fans of the series - and actually for everyone else too.
⛺️ Camping tip: Vogar Camping
Die Höhle Grjótagjá auf Island mit klarem, türkisblauen Wasser

Iceland Round Trip Day 3: Goðafoss Waterfall & Whale Watching

On the way to the next stop on our Iceland round trip, you can take a detour from the ring road to Goðafoss waterfall - the waterfall of the gods. We'll keep our fingers crossed that the gods are in your favour. Because if so, the glacier-fed waterfall may be a bright blue colour - but it is always impressive, regardless of the mood of the gods.
In addition to natural highlights, you also have the chance to meet some very special sea creatures in the north of Iceland: Whales! With a bit of luck, you might spot humpback, sperm, minke or even blue and killer whales here. The following locations are suitable starting points for a whale watching tour:
✔️ Akureyri
✔️ Húsavík
✔️ Hauganes
Whale Watching auf der Rundreise in Island mit dem Camper: Die Flosse eines Wals ragt vor einer Bergkulisse aus de Meer

Iceland Round Trip Day 4: Vestfirðir Peninsula

From the place you have chosen for whale watching, you now have to cover a somewhat longer distance. The destination: the west coast of Iceland. Similar to the east, a landscape of hundreds of fjords awaits you here - with small villages and natural highlights hidden in between. Here we advise you to do what very few tourists dare to do: Take heart and deviate from the ring road 😉. Because the Vestfirðir peninsula offers the following highlights:
✔️ A horseback ride in Icelandic landscapes. And on a real Icelandic horse.
✔️ The Dynjandi waterfall, which consists of several waterfalls and plunges 100 metres into the depths.
✔️ The Latrabjarg cliffs, where millions of birds nest in summer - your chance to see a puffin.
Island Urlaub Rundreise: Zwei Papageientaucher sitzen an den Latrabjarg-Klippen

Iceland Round Trip Day 5: Snæfellsnes Peninsula

The campervan or rental car round trip continues with the next peninsula. Snæfellsnes is often described as `miniature Iceland` because it combines the country's scenic diversity in a small area. So day 5 of your holiday means: Pure Iceland! What is there to see on Snæfellsnes?
✔️ Kirkjufell, the most photographed mountain in Iceland - a different kind of church mountain (that's the English translation of Kirkjufell)!
✔️ Djúpalónssandur: A dark beach formed by a volcanic eruption. You can go for a great hike there.
✔️ Ytri Tunga Beach: known for being home to seal colonies in summer (as a little reminder of how cute they are, here's our favourite emoji: 🦭).
⛺️ Camping tip: Campsite Ólafsvík
Ein Must-see auf der Island Rundreise ist der Kirkjufell, der bekannteste Berg Islands, grün bewachsen neben einem Wasserfall

Iceland Round Trip Day 6: Capital Reykjavík

After that much nature, perhaps it wouldn't hurt to get a taste of the city air again. So let's head to Reykjavík! Over 200,000 inhabitants - almost two thirds of Iceland's entire population - live in the metropolitan area surrounding the island's largest city. It is also the northernmost capital city in the world and offers you the chance to get to know Icelandic culture and the Icelanders even better. What should not be missing from your bucket list:
✔️ The Hallgrímskirkja church and the Harpa concert hall. Because these are the city's landmarks.
✔️ The world-famous Blue Lagoon thermal baths or the geothermal beach Nauthólsvík. Because splashing around always puts you in a good mood.
✔️ Typical Icelandic food in the city's restaurants and snack bars. Did you know that hot dogs are almost like a national dish in Iceland?
⛺️ Campsite tip: Mosskógar Camping
Bunte Häuser in Reykjavík, der Hauptstadt von Island, von oben fotografiert mit Meer und Wolken im Hintergrund

Iceland Round Trip Day 7: Golden Circle

From Reykjavík, our Iceland round trip continues with the Golden Circle, probably the most famous panoramic road in Iceland, which connects many of the island's most famous sights. You can either visit all these highlights in one day or take a little more time and plan two days. A little tip on the side: as the most famous sights on the island are also the most popular, it is advisable to start your exploration tour early in the morning. These are the must-sees on day 7 of your round trip:
✔️ The Sifra Fissure in Thingvellir National Park: this is where the continental plates of Europe and America meet. And as crazy as it sounds, you can actually dive between the continents here.
✔️ The Haukadalur geothermal area: The Great Geyser (the most important geyser in the world) and Strokkur (the most active geyser in Iceland) are located here. Also impressive: the crater lake Kerið.
✔️ The Gullfoss waterfall: The `Golden Waterfall`, which gives the Golden Circle its name and rushes through a rugged canyon 32 metres into the depths.
⛺️ Camping tip: Reykholt Camping Site
Der Golden Circle auf der Island Rundreise: Ein sprudelnder und dampfender Geysir in karger Landschaft auf Island

Iceland round trip day 8: Highlights of the south coast

Further along the south coast of Iceland, even more impressive waterfalls await you - including one with a `special feature` (more on this below). The beaches in the south of the island may feel more mystical than the Caribbean, but they should definitely be on your list of must-sees in Iceland. In order to not only visit all the stops, but also experience them, it is also a good idea to plan two days instead of one if you have a little more time. These are the highlights of the south coast:
✔️ Seljalandsfoss waterfall: one of the few waterfalls in the world that you can see from the back.
✔️ Skógafoss Waterfall: Another of the most beautiful and widest waterfalls in Iceland, which leads you to great hikes.
✔️ The beaches of Sólheimasandur with its plane wreck as one of the most popular photo motifs on the island & Reynisfjara with its black sand (Caution: Be sure to follow the signs on Iceland's beaches, as beware of the dangerous and unpredictable `sneaker waves`).
✔️ The canyon Fjaðrárgljúfur, with a depth of up to 100 metres and a length of 2 kilometres. If an elf doesn't flutter across your path here, we don't know where else 🧚‍♂️
Eine Sehenswürdigkeit an der Südküste beim Camping Island: Der Strand Reynisfjara mit Vulkan Sand

Iceland Round Trip Day 9: Skaftafell National Park

Next on our Iceland round trip is the south-east coast with Skaftafell National Park. This is located at the foot of Europe's largest glacier, Vatnajökull. If you feel like you've had enough of waterfalls, we can understand. But let us assure you: it's worth it. It really is. And the same goes for the glaciers and glacial lakes. Your bucket list:
✔️ The Svartifoss waterfall, also known as the Black Waterfall due to its black basalt columns.
✔️ A guided glacier tour across the impressive ice plateau of Vatnajökull, which you can book at the national park visitor centre.
✔️ A kayak tour on the glacial lake Jökulsárlón and a walk on Diamond Beach: here, crystal-clear chunks of ice lie in the black sand even in summer.
⛺️ Camping tip: Skaftafell tjaldsvæði
Diamond Beach als Highlight der Rundreise Island: Eisbrocken liegen im dunklen Sand am Strand, während im Hintergrund die Sonne untergeht

Iceland Round Trip Day 10: Via the East Fjords back to Seyðisfjörður

Wow, that was quick! The Iceland round trip is slowly coming to an end and it's time to head back to the ferry via Höfn towards Seyðisfjörður. Before your return journey, you can marvel at the fjords again as you drive along the east coast and make further stops if you like. Waiting for you:
✔️ Lake Lagarfljót, where - according to legend - a monster lives: your last chance to see a magical creature on this holiday!
✔️ The East Fjords that you pass on your journey: just stop where you find it most beautiful and enjoy your last hours in Iceland to the fullest.
✔️ The Litlanesfoss and Hengifoss waterfalls - only two more..why not, right?
Die Island Rundreise 10 Tage führt auch an den Ostfjorden vorbei: Hier sieht man einen Fjord neben einem grünen Bergrücken, der teilweise noch mit Schnee bedeckt ist

Our conclusion on our campervan or rental car round trip through Iceland

Geysers & fjords, glaciers & volcanoes, mountains & beaches, lava fields & waterfalls - the island of fire and ice has it all for adventurers. On our Iceland road trip, you can explore the nature of this fascinating country in just 10 days - and perhaps set the record for the most visited waterfalls in the shortest amount of time. Oh yes: And if you haven't come across an elf, you might have to believe a little harder on your next visit to Iceland. Just like the Icelanders - because after all over half of the Icelandic population believes in the little creatures. Soooo...camping in Iceland? Off we go!

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