“We're coming to Iceland for our honeymoon in mid-September 2017. We would love to experience the nature and landscape of this country and so being out in the country is our top priority. We'd like to drive the Ring Road! For accommodations, we'd like to rent a camper, but also stay in a cabin for a couple of the nights along the route.”
Chris McCarty, a local specialist from Iceland, helped this traveler put together a customized itinerary.
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Trip planning highlights
12-Day Ring Road, including Westfjords
Summary of the trip planning conversation
Welcome to kimkim! I’ll work with you to put together a great custom itinerary for your trip. Here's an idea for how you could spend 2 weeks on the Ring Road. It's written up as if you were to stay in hotels/towns along the way to evenly space the days, but with a camper, your schedule is a bit more flexible. Please take a look and let me know what you think, and then I can work to put together a custom trip itinerary for you based on your feedback.
Thanks so much for the quick reply! We've been looking at our schedule for the trip, and we plan on being in Iceland from 9/11/17 - 9/23/17 (includes travel). We know we definitely want to drive the Ring Road with a camper van, do a lot of hiking, a whale watching tour, and a horseback riding + Northern lights tour! We're pretty high energy and like doing a lot with our time, and are so excited to explore this country. Your 8-day itinerary looks like a great start! We love the amount of detail you put into these!
When you say "includes travel", do you mean that you will probably arrive sometime the morning of 9/12? That would give you about 12 days, which is a great amount of time. I can find some camper van options for you. Most options have a bed in the back and cooking supplies, but do not have a toilet or shower. One option would be to stay in a guesthouse every 4-5 nights or so a couple times to give yourselves a bit of a break from the car if you like.
With 12 days it would be a little bit much to add on the Westfjords and the Snaefellsnes Peninsula and still do everything else, was there a particular area you really wanted to spend more time (or an area you could go through more quickly?)
1. I think we'd like to do the camper van the whole time, with maybe a couple Airbnb stops along the way. I think that's a good point since there won't be any running water!
2. We're aren't too familiar with what the particular geographic regions can offer, so we're turning to your expertise! I was thinking of providing a few activities that we're really interested in and see how that shapes the route. I think the ability of doing these activities also depends on the weather there in September, which again I'm sure you have a better handle on! So here goes: whale watching tour, Icelandic horseback riding half-day trip, sea kayaking in Isafjordur, and of course any way to soak in the Northern Lights!
3. We definitely want to pack in as much as hiking as possible. We're not afraid of long day hikes. But for the sake of time, we can do mini hikes about the route to get in as much landscape as possible!
Here's a start outlining the 12 days, with a lot of options for what to do each day (including some great hikes): https://www.kimkim.com/tp/m2MLDoMk
One great hiking experience you can do is to do a long day to Hornstrandir in the Westfjords (accessible by boat), it's one of the most remote areas of the country, with no permanent residents (there are also some good ideas around the mountains near Isafjordur as well). It would probably be hard to do that and the kayaking, since they are both half to full day activities (you could do the kayak and then a hike on your own)
Thanks for sending over this detailed itinerary! So much good information here! A couple questions for you:
1. We would love to do the hiking you recommended in Hornstrandir. On which day would you recommend doing that?
2. On Day 5 in Isafjordur, you listed several options on how to spend the day. Is the hiking option (Kayaking the calm fjord waters or longer kayak between fjords or to Vigur island to see birdlife and sealife) an all-day event? I ask because I see the Icelandic horse trip listed here as well and these are both activities we'd love to do.
3. What's the weather like there in September? What kind of clothing would you recommend bringing?
4. Do you have a recommended map/guide of Iceland/the Ring Road that we could use while there?
5. Who do you recommend to rent the camper van from?
6. For securing tickets for some of these events, for example the whale watching tour on Day 7, how far in advance should we book?
Here are some answers to your questions:
In the current Itinerary, you have 1 full day in Isafjordur (plus a half day on the day you arrive). The Hornstrandir trip is a full day activity, but you may be able to do kayaking the next morning before you start driving to Akureyri (maybe the shorter kayak trips are better in that case), I can check on the times for that day if you want to look into that option.
You should bring layers and waterproof outer layers. You can expect rain at times (weather can change quite a lot), and high winds at times as well. I recommend always bringing a few extra layers in a backpack with you when hiking.
I can put together a google map for you with all of the sights/stops, will that work for you?
For the whale watching, I can help you with that reservation if you like, we have a good partner in Husavik that has great tours on boats that are good for the environment (carbon neutral boats).
We've finally had a chance to look over the info you sent. It all sounds great! We would love to take you up on creating the Google Map, looking into the timing for the shorter kayaking trip the following morning, and the Húsavík whale watching tour. Thank you so much for all your help, we really really appreciate it!
Hi again, just wanted to check in to see how your trip has been going so far. Have a great rest of your trip!
Thanks for checking in! We just left Isafjordur and are on our way
to the Icelandic Museum of Sorcery and Witchcraft! The trip has been truly
amazing so far, and the itinerary you gave us is full of information in
a helpful but not overwhelming way like travel books are.
Great that you had a good trip to Hornstrandir, must have been amazing.
On your drive, there are a few areas worth checking out: Sudavik has a small arctic fox center with 2 foxes behind the building (next fjord over), and there is a 2km hike to a waterfall at the end of that fjord. There are also some hot pools before you reach Holmavik at either Heydalur or Reykjanes which is just as you leave the fjords driving area (there is also a salt factory there called Saltwerk, and you may have seen their products in stores).
Have a nice trip!
We loved Chris's attention to detail when planning our trip. He really sought our unique experiences for us, and crafted a wonderful itinerary. Each day was a good balance of sight seeing and experience the culture through food and museum suggestions. So many things we would have missed if it weren't for his suggestions and guidance - we are so glad we went with kimkim for planning our honeymoon!
Chris is GREAT! He was extremely attentive with all of our questions and concerns about anything regarding the schedule, booking day trips, even suggesting what to wear! We could not have gotten a better experience from our trip, and it's all thanks to his great itinerary.
Our trip was absolutely perfect. I wouldn't have changed a single thing about our route, durations of stays, or destinations. Chris was so helpful throughout the entire process and kimkim made our honeymoon unforgettable. Would highly recommend and use again!
We wouldn't have had nearly as amazing of a honeymoon if it weren't for Chris's endless help! Thank you!