But one country that we keep dreaming about exploring with an RV is Iceland!
Just to give you some background, we spent five days in Iceland at the beginning of October 2012. They were five fantastic days, but although Iceland is a relatively small country and we were on the go the entire time, we didn't really see very much of it. Five days is enough for a taste of Iceland, but it was a delicious taste that only made you want to go back for more.
There is a ring road going around Iceland.
It's almost 1,300 kilometers (800 miles) to drive the ring road!
People who have done it say that you can comfortably do the ring road in a week. That's not nearly enough time in our opinion, which is why we think Iceland is perfect for an extended RV vacation. If you don't have enough time, you need to take minimum 10 days because we know from experience that you will want to be stopping every few minutes to take a photo.
That ring road is a paved road. But branching off from that paved road are a lot of unpaved roads that take you to the many peninsulas where you can explore. And often you will be the only person around for miles.
It is truly a boondocker's paradise.
When we were there in 2012, we spent a lot of time in the western part of the country, including a day doing a bus tour of the the Snæfellsnes Peninsula. This is one of the areas that we could easily return to with a motorhome and spend four or five days in that area alone.
Iceland's Snæfellsnes Peninsula.
An important part of your planning needs to involve choosing the best time of year to RV in Iceland. Iceland is located just south of the Arctic Circle, and so late April through mid October is the best time to go. Still, be warned that even in mid summer, the nights will be chilly.
It's expensive to eat in restaurants in Iceland, so even though it's not cheap to rent an RV in Iceland, you will save a lot of money by being able to cook your own meals. And it'll be convenient too, because often you'll be in the middle of nowhere when you want to eat! There are in fact some relatively inexpensive restaurants in the city of Reykjavik though. We found a couple of restaurants that served Thai food and were reasonably priced.
Iceland's currency is the Icelandic Krona. As with any other country that we visit, you can get your local currency at an ATM machine either at the airport when you land or in the main city of Reykjavik. You'll also get the best exchange rate by doing it this way.
The city of Reykjavik, Iceland.
A big part of Iceland's economy is now related to the tourism business. Overnight stays by international visitors have doubled in the last five years, so besides driving around and exploring in an RV, there are a lot of other organized activities that you can take part in.
A popular attraction is the man made Blue Lagoon...a geothermal spa located in a lava field in the southwestern part of the country. The hot water in the lagoon is actually the output of the geothermal power plant located nearby. After the water goes through the turbines, it passes through a heat exchange unit to provide heat for a municipal water heating system. Then the water is fed into the lagoon for recreational users to soak in. It's not a "natural" pool by any means, but it's still a very busy attraction.
Another very popular thing to do is to go on one of the whale watching tours in Iceland. This was one of the highlights of our trip, and we enjoyed the day out on the water.
Ruth, watching for the whales off the coast of Iceland!
Iceland is for everybody. Those who want to adventure can do some exciting things. Our son was there in June and he did an excursion inside a volcano!
Just because we like to boondock doesn't mean that everybody does. Good thing, because there are over 200 campgrounds in Iceland. Most of them don't require that you make a reservation, giving you complete freedom to adjust your schedule as necessary. Besides being able to camp for free almost anywhere in the country, there are official paid campgrounds with electricity and water available in almost every town or village and at most attractions.
Iceland is consistently ranked as one of the safest countries in the world, and almost all Icelanders speak fluent English as a second language. They say that car theft is virtually none existent, and so it's your choice, but not really necessary to take out theft insurance for your rental vehicle.
We look forward to an RV adventure in Iceland. The country is a photographer's dream, with different landscapes and waterfalls around every corner. We think RV'ing would be the best way to see the country!