Iceland is a nation abundant with natural beauty and exciting opportunities for adventure. During peak season, many famous sights can become crowded with tourists.
Renting a campervan is one of the best ways to avoid crowds and discover Iceland’s hidden gems. Here are a few routes that will take you off the beaten path:
Some of the best places to see Iceland’s stunning landscapes are found on the Snaefellsnes Peninsula, which encapsulates just about everything this incredible country is known for in a tiny area. From crashing coastlines to hot springs, basalt columns to glaciers, volcanoes to waterfalls, and much more, this region is a must-see destination on any trip to Iceland.
If you’re lucky enough to be here during the summer, you can spot puffins and northern fulmar on Londrangar Cliffs. These cliffs are unique because they’re surrounded by lava fields and the sea, providing an incredible sight. They’re also a popular nesting site for puffins and northern fulmar, so it’s an excellent place for bird-watching.
The nearby village of Hellnar is a great place to stop and grab food or drink if you’re hungry or stroll along the beach and rock pools. The cliffs here are some of the highest on the island, and it’s an excellent place to spot seals in June and July.
Heading further west on Route 54, you’ll find Kirkjfellsfoss waterfall. This is a pretty spot in its own right, but it’s also a fantastic vantage point to view the famous mountain of the same name. It’s also a good idea to bring some hiking boots here, as there are some trails to explore nearby.
If the photo of the mountain road in Seydisfjordur above gave you pause, the view from Route 94 leading to Borgarfjordur Eystri will undoubtedly make you stop. This is one of the most terrifying drives in Iceland and is worth the risk if you are a camper-van Iceland traveler up for some adventure.
It is easy to take this detour off of the Ring Road, and it only takes about half a day from the overnight town of Egilsstadir to reach this small coastal village and puffin viewing site. The village is home to a famous hiking trail leading to the top of a high cliff overlooking the coast.
However, the most popular attraction here is a series of viewing platforms built into the side of the cliffs where you can get up close to puffins without harming their burrows. This is also a very safe and easy puffin-watching location in Iceland.
While you are there, it is also easy to enjoy the fjords and trails in the area. This is an excellent spot for hikers and anyone looking to escape the busy tourist areas of the country. The Borgarfjordur Eystri area is a fantastic remote and peaceful getaway choice.
The cliffs of Latrabjarg are one of the world’s most incredible bird-watching destinations and a must for nature lovers. It’s the most westerly point of Europe, home to millions of puffins and other seabirds such as fulmars, guillemots, and razorbills. The puffins here are incredibly tame and perched in low grasses on the edge of the cliffs.
The walk along the cliffs is breathtaking, but it’s important to remember that these massive rock formations’ edges are unstable and can easily give way under your weight. It’s also essential to stay a safe distance from the edge of the cliffs to avoid being swept away by a strong wind gust. Bring some warm clothing if the weather turns cold is also a good idea.
You can spend a day here, but for the best experience, planning a more extended trip to the Westfjords is recommended.
If you’re interested in staying in the area for a few nights, we recommend stopping in Patreksfjordur, Talknafjordur, and Bildudalur villages. These are great spots to explore on foot and have a range of restaurants, accommodations, and services. The local museum in Patreksfjordur is also worth a visit.
While most travelers only explore the Ring Road and other popular attractions, you can immerse yourself in Iceland’s sweeping landscape by traveling into the highlands. These vast and sparsely populated areas are home to awe-inspiring vistas, waterfalls, volcanoes, hot springs, and rugged coastlines. Exploring this region is best done by car with a 4×4 SUV or by joining one of the many tours available.
The most iconic highlands destination is the Snaefellsjokull Glacier National Park, which features a majestic glacier that rises out of the earth and is a breathtaking sight. You can hike to the famous Fjallsarlon Glacier Lagoon and visit the lava fields of Vatnajokull. Located on the south end of the Vatnajokull glacier, this stunning lagoon is filled with floating icebergs and offers incredible views. You can also take a boat tour and learn more about the glacier from the guides that are on hand.
The unique routes for camper van travel in Iceland can be found in the Highlands, a region that covers much of the country’s interior and is home to majestic mountains, glaciers, and lava fields. To reach these remote parts of the country, you will need a four-wheel drive vehicle and should pay close attention to road closures before heading out on any drives. The best time to see the Highlands is in summer, from June-August.