Bardarbunga Be Damned, I’m Traveling To Iceland!

By the time this post goes live, barring any volcanic eruption/disruption from Bardarbunga, I should be en route to JFK Airport to meet my roadtrip partners in crime. I almost hesitated to write about my plans for traveling to Iceland because it would be the saddest thing ever to have to say OH JUST KIDDING if I couldn’t go after all.

But I am too darn excited not to share, so I will!

My 2 weeks in Iceland slice up nicely into 3 segments: A 2-part roadtrip and a multi-day trek, sandwiched between a couple of days in Reykjavik. I will be rocking leggings and wool the entire time, as the temperature is unlikely to top 50F even at midday. We’ll be camping most nights in tents and sleeping bags (the most frugal option, naturally). The whole affair is quite literally the polar opposite of my day-to-day life in NYC and I am THRILLED about it.

As you might have guessed, I won’t be traveling to Iceland solo – it’ll be a group of 3-5 of us at any given time, which I’m feeling really good about. As long as I have ample opportunity to go a little photo-crazy without judgment, I’ll be content.

Traveling to Iceland to camp

Photo credit: Photo Guide

So here it is: my upcoming 2 weeks of traveling in Iceland —

Roadtrip Part 1: Northern Iceland (30 Aug – 3 Sept)

Becca, Karolina, and I arrive in Reykjavik late Friday night, 8/29. We’ll pick up our 4WD rental car at the airport, head into Reykjavik, and crash for the night at a hostel. In the morning we’ll stock up on supplies and hit the road heading north, clockwise around the Ring Road.

Westfjords

Westfjords Iceland

Photo credit: Ren A on Flickr

“Wildly scenic” is how most sources describe this region of Iceland, and after all I’ve read about it I’m apt to agree. From the pink sand beach at Raudasandur to dramatic views and hot pools in the cliffs of the Strandir Coast, I’m completely down to explore some fjords.

North Iceland

Myvatn Iceland

Photo credit: Ken Koskela Photography

The north of Iceland is riddled with volcanic landscapes, including the mud pots and steam vents by Myvatn and the craters at Krafla. It’s also said to be the best place in Iceland to go horse riding, so if I can get over the Italian Horse Riding Disaster of 2007, maybe this will happen.

East Iceland

Puffins in Iceland

Photo credit: Mike Reyfman

The east is less renowned than most other regions of Iceland, but you know what it has the most of? PUFFINS. So, there’s that. It’s also got some cute little fishing villages that we might check out.

Roadtrip Part 2: Southern Iceland (4-7 Sept)

You might remember my newfound travel companion from our jaunt to Colombia earlier this year, yes? The night of 9/3, we’ll pick Nicki up at the bus stop in Hofn and become a foursome for the remainder of the roadtrip.

Southeast Iceland

Jokulsarlon Iceland

Photo credit: Sarah Marino Photography

Skaftafell National Park dominates the southeast, and we plan on hiking, chasing waterfalls, and combing the iceberg-laden lagoon of Jokulsarlon nearby. We may also luck out and get to do a glacier hike or climb, providing the volcano isn’t erupting while we’re in the area.

South Iceland

Reynisfjara, Iceland

Photo credit: Seattle’s Travels

Of all the bizarrely spectacular sights in Iceland, I think I might be most excited to frolic around the south coast. In my mind, I’m chasing an image of a black sand beach with mossy green cliffs and basalt columns. I also anticipate getting completely soaked by roaring waterfalls (hello, newly-purchased and/or borrowed rain gear!).

Southwest Iceland

Gullfoss Iceland

Photo credit: Allt om Reykjavik

Not that any of Iceland is heavily trafficked, but compared to everywhere else we’ll visit, the Golden Circle is bound to have the highest concentration of tourists due to the popular day trips from Reykjavik. But alas – we’ll hit up that waterfall and geysir and see what the fuss is about.

And we’d be remiss to skip the famous Blue Lagoon, wouldn’t we? I’m half-expecting it to be a total tourist trap (and hence a drag), but I know I’d regret not doing this so IT’S HAPPENING.

Reykjavik (7-8 Sept)

Reykjavik, Iceland

Photo credit: Over Stuffed

We’ll briefly become a group of 5 once Johna joins us in Reykjavik on 9/7, before Karolina heads home on 9/8. We’ve rented an AirBnB in the center of town which has *6 beds* and a washer/dryer which we’ll undoubtedly take advantage of.

About all that’s on my to-do list in Reykjavik is hang out in coffee shops and check out the local street art. Which, let’s be real, is not much different from how I spend my weekends in Brooklyn.

Laugavegurinn Trek (9-12 Sept)

Every time I’ve gone to type the name of this trek I’ve had to consult google, without fail. I hope to conquer both the spelling and the 34 miles of this hike in due time!

Laugavegurinn Trek in Iceland

Photo credit: nexttriptourism.com

Laugavegurinn is the crown jewel of my Iceland trip – the thing I’ve built it around. As it’s only accessible from mid-July to mid-September, we had a very specific timeframe in which to plan our travels. Becca, Nicki, Johna, and I will be hiking for 4 days from Landmannalaugar to Thorsmork, staying at huts along the way that we booked months ago. I am slightly concerned at how I’ll fare carrying 4 days’ worth of food and gear in a mediocre backpack the whole time, not to mention having to ford deep streams with said pack and thousands of dollars’ worth of camera equipment.

But I’m sure I’ll push through the pain and stress once I have hot springs and volcanic highlands and canyons distracting me. I MEAN LOOK AT THIS NONSENSE.

Landmannalaugar, Iceland

Photo credit: Beautiful Places to Visit

Reykjavik (12-13 Sept)

We won’t even have a full 24 hours back in the city, but I’m super stoked to be staying at Kex Hostel this time around. It’ll be lovely to recover for a bit before heading home on our 5pm flight to NYC on Saturday, 9/13.

Northern Lights in Jokulsarlon, Iceland

I can die happy if I witness the Northern Lights! Photo credit: Northern Lights Academy

Follow Along With Me!

To get an idea of where I’ll be heading, check out my Iceland Pinterest board. I’ll be posting updates from the road whenever possible, so be sure to follow along for your daily dose of Iceland envy!

You can find me on Facebook (@FrugalFrolicker), Twitter (@lindsaypunk), and Instagram (@frugalfrolicker).

Here’s to #hotpoolhopping and #puffinparties!

Lindsay Buckley is the photographer and travel blogger behind Frugal Frolicker. She's a New Yorker currently based in Sydney, Australia, documenting outdoor travel experiences Down Under and beyond. Follow along with Lindsay's travel photography on Facebook and Instagram, and be sure to sign up for the monthly Frugal Frolicker newsletter!

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  • Sooooo glad that the trip is able to happen for you!! Those pictures are jaw dropping. Now I understand why everyone’s been talking about Iceland lately. Can’t wait to follow along and hear how it goes!!

    • lindsaypunk

      AHH me too! I definitely felt like lots of travelers have been venturing to Iceland in recent years and that maybe by now it’s been overdone, but it doesn’t feel touristy at all here. There is hardly anyone at all in the north (as in: we probably passed a couple of cars on the road PER DAY). The south is where all the tour buses stop, but it’s not so bad. Nothing changes how gorgeous Iceland is!

  • That looks incredibly exciting! Ever since I had a brief stint in the country last summer, I knew that it is a place that I longed to return to! Cannot wait to read about your exciting adventure :D

    • lindsaypunk

      Oh man, you have GOT to come back here! I think Iceland is best done in week-long roadtrips. If I were to do it again, I’d have done just one week here now and focused on either the north or the south, then one week some other trip to do the other half of the country. There’s so much to see that after awhile it’s almost TOO MUCH beauty!

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