Road Tripping Iceland | 10 Insider Tips for a Northern European Nature Adventure
Road Trip Adventure Iceland Gay Couple Insider Tips – The first big challenge before our 21-days Road Trip to Iceland actually began, was the planning. Asking travel guides, books, blogs, and official websites was not really satisfactory concerning the length of our trip, choice of our rental car, the planning of our gay-friendly accommodations and assembling our camping equipment. Traveling Iceland in general but especially in late summer and early autumn makes good preparations necessary. Why? Since Iceland is called for a reason the country of fire and ice and for us, also the country of wind, especially between two seasons and the differences between West and East Iceland and South and North Iceland.
If you are planning to survive and enjoy the very different and rough nature of Iceland, we as gay couple travel blogger collected all our tips out of our own experiences to start a camping road trip around Iceland prepared the most proper way. Food, the relation between nature, animals, humans and the impact
of tourists and foreigners on the island’s balance, we traveled with one premise: respect the nature, landscape, and peace of the country as silent explorers taking nothing home than memories and the positive influence on us world explorers. Enjoy our Road Trip Adventure Iceland Gay Couple Insider Tips and see the Icelandic World through a couple of men’s eyes.
#1 When to go? How long to stay? What to see in Iceland?
Iceland was our third big trip together and marks our first gay travel together for our gay couple travel blog. We love exploring, nature, and adventures off the tourist’s tracks. Therefore, the most northern country in Europe was the perfect destination for us. It is a perfect place for nature lovers, photographers and caused by its spaciousness not overcrowded yet, especially in the eastern and northern parts of Iceland. For us, a road trip Iceland offers the right mix of city life in Reykjavik, endless wide nature without any humans and exciting adventures throughout the country all year long! Best is in any way to come back again to see Iceland during several seasons. Late Autumn, Winter, and early Sping are the best time for Northern Lights nights, ice caves, and deep wintry landscapes.
Late Spring and Summer are perfect times to spend outside with star-bright nights while camping, adventures on an Icelandic horseback, wild glacier water rafting and more. But how long do you wanna stay in Iceland? Well, it depends on what you wanna see. Stopovers are a very common way of discovering the West part of Iceland including Reykjavik, Sæfelsness, and the Golden Circle. Although you can easily drive around the island in about a week with short stops along the Iceland Ring Road A1, if you really want to BE in Iceland, plan more time. Don’t underestimate the beauty of Icelandic nature. Even 21 days on the road were not enough for us crazy gay travelers. And there is nothing more powerful than sitting in the middle of nowhere listening to the wind.
#2 Do you need a 4×4 All-wheel Jeep to drive in Iceland?
We rent a car via the German Website Check24.de. It was easy to book and protected by the company’s premium protection service. The point why we are highlighting the car insurance is: the Icelandic Car Rentals are really expensive, especially the car insurance. Do you need an ash/dust/sand insurance? Do you need a 4×4 Jeep? How good is the quality of the roads? We get all those the question a lot. And there is no right or wrong. But keep in mind in which time of year you are planning your trip? Do you wanna drive into the highlands of Iceland? Or all the way up to the North part of Iceland? The road condition of the A1 Ring Road all the way to Höfn (South Iceland) are very good, at least during Spring, Summer, and Autumn and there are almost no dusty and sandy parts to cross. If you are planning to drive gravel roads and mountain ways, a 4×4 and extra insurance should be mandatory. Only for the Ring Road, you don’t need an All-Wheel vehicle. Even most of the gravel road parts of the A1 in Eastern and Northern Iceland are good enough to drive on. But as soon as you want to have more freedom to discover official off roads on top of mountains or to the beach, for instance, we would recommend to chose a 4×4 Jeep or similar. For some inspiration, check our article “Top 13 Highlights of our Iceland Road Trip” >
We were really really happy with our 4×4 Land Cruiser from Toyota by the way for all our adventures during our 21-days road trip. Additional to that, we were able to sleep in it during bad weather conditions. Furthermore, most of the rental car companies in Reykjavik offer free pick-up services from your chosen hotel in Reykjavik. If they don’t tell you, just ask for it while making the rental car reservation for Iceland! Before starting your road trip Iceland, take your time to get to know your car and to get familiar with all the little technical secrets. Special Attention while driving: Sheep are everywhere! Keep an extra eye on the street between April until End August/beginning of September. There are mostly 3 of them together: a mom and two lambs who always want to stay together, even while crashing your car when running over a busy street!
#3 Camping in Iceland and how to get Camping Equipment!
Your first question might be: isn’t it too cold for camping in Iceland, especially in September? And you are right to ask this question. Prepare for cold weather, even in late Summer or Autumn and decide for a sleeping bag isolated for less than 0° Celsius and warm underwear. The nights can get really cold, windy and wet, depending on where you are planning to stay. Now you might wanna know if you have to bring your sleeping bag, tent, chairs, kitchen utensils? No worries, you can bring it. Alternatively, you have various options here in Iceland to rent your complete
camping equipment. Although we brought our own tent and some of the kitchen stuff, we rented the most important extras in Reykjavik before starting our road trip at Iceland Camping Equipment Rental in the city center of the Icelandic capital. We were more than happy with the rented gas cooker including attachment, an electricity transformer (to charge computers, electric kettle etc.) and an emergency pack. Feel free to rent everything you need for your adventure. The staff was super friendly and the camping equipment in good shape for a reasonable price.
#4 Where to buy affordable food and groceries in Iceland?
Isn’t it all about Bonus? 😉 Well not everything, but in Iceland, one of the most expensive countries in Europe, it sometimes is. If you are looking for a place where you can buy affordable and good quality food and groceries keep watching for a pink piggy bank. Why? The name of the. You will recognize the most favorable supermarket chain “Bonus” and its mascot all over the country. Of course, there are more shops, stores, and malls in Iceland than just this one brand. But we always found everything we needed for a nice and delicious camping dinner on our gas cooker in the Icelandic discounter Bonus. And please leave nothing behind after eating in nature. Do the world and Icelandic nature a favor: Plastic and other trash has to be stored in your car and disposed of in designated areas only.
#5 How to fill your car at the Gas Station in Iceland?
It might sound easy, but it is a tricky one. Not all gas stations are open 24 hours a day or accept debit or maestro cards. But since not all Europeans have a Credit Card with a Pin Code, the payment of your fuel is going to be complicated. Especially because gas stations have an automatized payment system at the pump even during daily opening hours. On one hand side, that means you can fill your car all around the clock 24/7 with a valid Credit Card plus Pin Code. On the other hand, if you don’t have a pin, you are basically in trouble. The alternative: a tank card. One important thing if you get the offer to buy a tank card which you can refill and use as a Credit Card alternative: these cards are only for one Chain. Means you have to keep an eye on the cars’ fill level if you don’t wanna have to stop in the No-Man’s-Land somewhere between all the sheep. In general: Iceland is a country where you do payment by card mostly. Credit or Maestro are both valid and conventional payment methods. Cash is of course also excepted but not necessarily needed.
#6 Stay Connected (if you want to) with Wifi by Síminn
Plenty of websites offering you SIM cards for your phone for good conditions. Bute the most important requirement is the reach all over the countryside. Of course only if you have to, for example for blogging but also for real-time maps for driving, if you wanna save the money for a navigation system. We decided for a SIM Card from the Icelandic Phone Company Síminn in our old phone with an option to create an own Wifi Hot Spot for several devices. Handy for work, pleasure and of course, social media!
#7 What to do in a Hot Tub & Public Bath in Iceland?
First of all: it is all about hygiene before feeling comfortable. Since the majority of the facilities are chlorine free, the Icelandic people have strict rules about how to behave before, during and after enjoying the hot water heated up by nature. When you enter the bath, put off your shoes first in the hallway. You can leave them on the shoe rack without any problems, trust the Icelanders. Then enter the changing areas separated by gender, undress and put your stuff in your locker. Take your bath clothes and your towel and have a shower before entering the pool area. While the pre-shower, you should be naked (!) and wash every part of your body, especially feet, hands, armpits, genitals, and hair. You will find everywhere detailed visual and written manuals. It is obligated to wear swimwear in the steam room, hot tub and pools. After the relaxing part, have a shower again and, this part is the most fun part, dry your bath clothes in the spin dryer for about 5 seconds at least! Good to know: All year long the Icelanders are joining their luxury of nature heated swimming pools. It was quite an overcoming to run almost naked only dressed in our swimwear from the changing rooms to the outdoor pools and hot tubs. It was sooooo cold but no local resident was shaking like we did 😀 Once you are sitting in the hot steaming pools it is simply a pleasure to talk to everyone and enjoy the relaxing time. Public pools are areas to meet locals and even discuss business. Simply a must do when in Iceland.
#8 Camping & Sleeping: Everywhere in Iceland?
Good and important question. First of all, don’t forget that you are in Iceland, a country trying to bring tourism and nature in a reasonable balance. Although we also struggled with the overnight guidelines sometimes a bit, you are actually allowed to a maximum of one night to camp where ever you are as long as it is no private property or you asked the owner before doing wild camping. It is difficult to find a spot for your camp on nonprivate properties along the coast because most of the land is fenced. When you are doubting if you are allowed to park your car or build up your tent at your current location, just drive to the next village or town to camp on an official campsite before destroying nature or harm private property. Almost all villages are offering a well-maintained campsite with showers, toilets, and kitchen facilities for around 10-15 € per person per night. But still, once a while a night wild in nature in your personal nature hot spot is simply a good decision, for example, to enjoy the best Icelandic sunset. Enjoy it. Don’t forget: If you are planning to sleep in the car: book the right size for your body dimensions. 😉
#9 Be prepared for the changing Icelandic Weather!
Iceland is a rough nature country. Be prepared for beautiful clear air, intense colors but rapidly changing weather conditions. During our trip, we had days with 22°C in the morning with the sunshine and 5°C with hard nonstop rain and hard wind around noon and storm in the evening while building up our tent. The weather could change sometimes within minutes, sometimes during half a day. Stay on the save side by dressing windproof like an onion and you will enjoy the most intense natural environment you have ever seen.
#10 Most important Iceland Articles:
- Our Gay Couple City Trip Reykjavik >
- Exploring the Golden Circle of Iceland >
- Discovery of the Black Beaches in Iceland’s South around Vík >
- Hiking on Ice and Waterfalls at Skaftafell National Park >
- Drive all the way up along the rough East Coast of Iceland >
- Explore the famous Lake Mývatn in central North Iceland >
- Enjoy the beauty of a Road Trip along the North Coast of Iceland >
- Get stunning views over the Snæfellsnes Peninsula in West Iceland >
- Our 13 Top Highlights of our Iceland Road Trip >
#EXTRATIP from Karl: Free Coffee!
You know by now that Karl loves Coffee. And of course, after a rough night in a car, even more. If you feel the same, he has a tip: Do order a normal filter coffee in an Icelandic restaurant of Café and get free refills for a great wake up in the morning! 🙂 Enjoy Iceland!
More Travel Article about Iceland:
Road Trip Adventure Iceland Gay Couple Insider Tips
If you are looking for white beaches, warm and stable weather with the sunshine, shopping malls, and restaurants during your holiday, we have to disappoint you. If you are into untouched nature, stunning views, incredibly friendly people, the cleanest and clearest air and sunsets so beautiful and clear you couldn’t even imagine they are exciting, then Iceland is the perfect choice for you. We are certain we can support your holiday planning with our top Gay Couple Insider Tips for a Road Trip Adventure Iceland. If you have any more question about Iceland, feel free to drop a line here on our blog or on our social media channel. Enjoy Iceland, the country of fire, ice, and wind!
Karl & Daan.
Enjoyed reading? Give us your like!