Whilst there are so many places to get lost exploring in Iceland that you could spend weeks touring the country on a motorhome rental road trip, it's still possible to get a satisfying taste of the country on just a three-day self-drive tour. After all, many of the island's most famous sights are less than 200 km (2.5 hours) from the capital of Reykjavik.
There are numerous scenic routes you can take on a three-day motorhome rental road trip, and while some allow you to get lost in the quietude of Iceland's nature, others give you a cocktail of nature and culture. All of them, however, allow you to sample the joys of living on the road in one of the world's most beautiful countries.
For first-time visitors looking for a memorable introduction to Iceland, this is the ideal trip to take. Read on to discover where the top two routes would take you on your three-day road trip in your very own campervan or motorhome rental.
For the two itineraries mentioned in the content, the approximate driving distances are as follows:
Reykjavik and the Golden Circle - The total driving distance for this itinerary is roughly 300 km (186 miles), including stops at Thingvellir National Park, Geysir, Gullfoss Waterfall, and Reykjadalur Thermal Bathing Pools.
Reykjavik to Vik - The total driving distance for this itinerary is approximately 385 km (239 miles), covering sights such as Skogafoss, Solheimajokull, Reynisfjara Beach, Vik, Seljalandsfoss, and a ferry trip to the Westmann Islands.
Please note that these distances are approximate and may vary depending on the specific routes taken and any additional stops or detours made during the trip.
Itinerary 1: Reykjavik and the Golden Circle
This route circumnavigating the Golden Circle from Reykjavik is perfect for those who want a whistle-stop tour of Iceland's most famous sights. From Reykjavik's Rainbow Road to the tectonic plates at Thingvellir, the raging Gullfoss Waterfall, and more, it has it all. By the end of the three-day road trip in your motorhome rental, you'll have had a satisfying taste of Iceland's extraordinary natural wonders.
Day 1: Reykjavik and the Northern Lights
First things first! You'll collect your campervan or motorhome rental either from Keflavik Airport or Reykjavik (via a free transfer) and meet your home for the next few days. After a swift and simple signing-over process, you'll be ready to hit the road and start your three-day road trip around Iceland's famous Golden Circle.
The route begins in the cool and colourful capital of Reykjavik, a city known for its delicious Icelandic cuisine, boutique shopping, and eclectic nightlife. Spend your first day exploring the city's highlights like the Reykjavik Cathedral and Perlan Museum, shopping in its fashion-forward stores, and getting a taste of Icelandic culture in its restaurants and bars.
If you have a couple of hours to spare, be sure to book a rejuvenating thermal spa experience at the Sky Lagoon, located 10 minutes from central Reykjavik. As a favourite Icelandic pastime, there's no better way to soak up the local culture! As the evening draws in, pack up your camper and get ready to drive out of Reykjavik in search of the Northern Lights, one of the rarest and most awe-inspiring spectacles of nature on Earth. Once you spot them, park up in a quiet place where you are alone with the universe as you watch those enchanting green lights dance across the sky.
Day 2: Thingvellir National Park and Geysir
Enjoy the feeling of waking up slowly in your camper or motorhome rental without the noise of the outside world disturbing you. Don't forget to open your doors or even sit outside with your morning coffee and make the most of being parked amongst nature.
When you're ready for more adventure, pack up and continue along the Golden Circle to Thingvellir National Park, just a 48-kilometre drive from Reykjavik, soaking up the scenery along the way. When you arrive, be prepared to see more of Iceland's exceptional beauty on its scenic trails which lead you between the Eurasian and North American tectonic plates.
Next, you'll head 60 km further into the Icelandic lowlands to seek the world's first-discovered geysers, some of which spurt boiling water up to 100 feet from the ground. Although they might take up to 10 minutes to reach boiling point and shoot towards the sky, the anticipation and excitement for the next geyser eruption never waivers because it will take your breath away every single time.
This evening you won't have to look far to find somewhere to park overnight because there is a campground beside Geysir itself. Instead, you can spend quality time in your home on wheels and soak up Icelandic vanlife.
Day 3: Gullfoss Waterfall, Kerid Crater, and Reykjadalur Thermal Bathing Pools
Get ready to see more of Iceland's must-see sights today, starting with the Gullfoss waterfall which is just a 10-minute drive from Geysir. This short but powerful stepped falls is one of the most photographed in the country, so most people think they know what to expect when they arrive. However, nothing can prepare you for the majesty your own eyes will capture.
After reaching Gullfoss, you'll slowly begin your return journey as the circular route swings back toward Reykjavik. En route, stop for a small and soft climb to the rim of Kerid Crater, one of Iceland's most stunning crater lakes, to hike the circumference and enjoy the generous views it offers of the rugged Icelandic landscape.
Whether you are travelling in a motorhome rental with all the modern luxuries or a small and simple camper, there's nothing better than a long hot bath after a few days on the road. The Reykjadalur Thermal Bathing Pools is, therefore, the perfect stop to complete your journey back to Reykjavik. This natural hot springs surrounded by hills and mountains is a wonderful setting to relax your muscles and reflect on your favourite moments of this short but spectacular Icelandic road trip itinerary.
Itinerary 2: Reykjavik to Vik
Starting in the Icelandic capital of Reykjavik, this itinerary takes you along the South Coast route to Vik. To do this, you'll join the Ring Road, the main highway encircling the country, which is packed with magical wonders of nature. Along the way, expect to see everything from elegant waterfalls to dramatic black-sand beaches. If you are looking for a scenic road trip, this one's for you.
Day 1: Reykjavik, Skogafoss, and Solheimajokull
After transferring you to Reykjavik, your car rental company will introduce you to your home on wheels for the next three days. After the grand tour and signing ceremony, you'll be ready to take it for a spin. But first, take some time to wander around the city and get a feel for Icelandic culture before you drive far away from civilisation.
Since the city is really small, you can see highlights like Reykjavik Cathedral, the Sun Voyager Sculpture, and Harpa Concert Hall, and get a taste of Icelandic cuisine at a local restaurant in one morning. With a full belly and full heart, you'll be ready to take your campervan or motorhome rental on its first big adventure in the afternoon.
Destination: the Solheimajokull glacier.
The two hour (165 km) drive will be one of the most scenic drives you've ever experienced. To make the most of your time at Solheimajokull, book a late afternoon glacier hiking tour which allows you to appreciate its splendour up close and to the full. The glowing blue pack ice and its tremendously strange shapes will truly astonish you. After a full day of adventure, you'll be more than ready for a sound night's rest at Skogafoss waterfall where the sound of the splashing water will immediately send you to sleep.
Day 2: Reynisfjara Beach, Vik, and Seljalandsfoss
Enjoy waking up with the Skogafoss waterfall in view from your bedroom window as you sip your morning coffee in your camper this morning before another full day of adventure. First, you'll drive just 35 km east to Reynisfjara Beach, Iceland's most impressive black sand beach.
Set against a craggy cliffscape adorned by hexagon basalt columns that twist and curve to form immense caves, the beach will leave you feeling inspired and humbled by nature's abilities.
Next, continue to Vik, the largest settlement on the South Coast, to get a glimpse into life in rural Iceland. On the way, stop at Vik i Myrdal Church which sits atop a nearby hill to gawp at the views of the settlement and beach below. Once you arrive, stop for some of the freshest seafood you'll ever have at a local restaurant before heading to Skaftfellingur Museum to learn all about the region's maritime heritage.
Afterward, you'll hit the road once again and turn back west towards Reykjavik, stopping at Seljalandsfoss waterfall for a few pictures before settling in for the night at the neighbouring campsite.
Day 3: Westmann Islands
Wake up bright and early today because you'll be catching an early morning ferry to Heimaey, the only inhabited island of the Westman Islands archipelago, so that you have ample time to explore this wild and wonderful destination. From hiking the Eldfell Volcano to mountain biking, sailing, and ATV tours across the island in search of lush landscapes and rare wildlife like whales and puffins, there are so many exhilarating adventures to be had on Heimaey.
While you're there, be sure to discover everything the island has to offer, from heritage museums to whale sanctuaries and even a local brewery, as well as delectable restaurants. It's the perfect place to spend your last afternoon in Iceland before picking up your campervan or motorhome rental and driving it back to your car rental company.
Book Your Iceland Motorhome Rental with Northbound
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