This post focuses on Day 1 (Thingvellir National Park, Kerið Crater, Strokkur / Geysir) of our Ultimate Itinerary for 2 Weeks / 14 Days in Iceland.
If you’ve just starting planning for your vacation or holiday in Iceland, check out our Iceland planning and resources post.
NOTE: Our itinerary outlines activities and drive times. Everybody has different eating habits so stop for groceries and food as needed. Picnic areas are suggested when extraordinary, otherwise eat where and when you want. We rarely ate out and instead enjoyed yogurt and fruit for breakfast, prepared quick lunches and snacks throughout the day, and cooked a hot meal every evening at the campground.
Iceland Itinerary Day 1 Summary
|Arrive KEF + Duty Free Shopping||1 hr|
|Pick up Kuku camper + Grocery Shopping||2 hr|
|Drive||45 min||Picnic lunch at pull-out near park|
|Ƥingvellir National Park||3 hr||750 ISK parking fee|
|Kerið crater||45 min||400 ISK per person entrance fee|
|Strokkur / Geysir||45 min|
|Skjòl Campground||accommodation||1775 ISK per person including showers; pizza available|
|Total = ~ 10 ½ hrs|
Iceland Itinerary Day 1 Details
Day 1 Activities
Arrive Keflavík International Airport + Duty Free Shopping
An early morning arrival might be exhausting but it also allows for a long, full day of exploration. Remember to stop at the Duty Free Shop in the airport to purchase any items, mainly alcohol, that you may wish to consume during your stay.
TIP: Use the duty-free allowance calculator to determine the maximum allowable purchase quantities.
Pick up Kuku camper + Grocery Shopping
If you selected Kuku Campers as your rental agency, you’ll know what to expect based on our post about renting a 4×4 camper from Kuku Campers.
Nonetheless, once you’ve picked up your vehicle, get to the nearest grocery store for supplies. Our Iceland map includes a layer (Dining, Groceries, and Vínbúðin) that contains the location of all Bónus supermarkets. Bónus is the budget supermarket; if there’s no Bónus nearby try to find a Krónan supermarket.
TIP: Bring some groceries or snacks from home. Think granola bars, coffee, soup mix, peanut butter, etc.
Ƥingvellir National Park
Once you’ve stocked up on supplies, it’s time to hit the road! From the Kuku Campers office it is a 45 minute drive to Thingvellir National Park.
TIP: There are a few pull-outs with nice scenery close to the Thingvellir National Park entrance. It’s probably noon by now and you’re likely getting hungry. These pull-outs are perfect for your first quick picnic in Iceland!
Parking at Thingvellir National Park costs 750 ISK. Pay machines are located in the lots and in the visitor center. Many people avoid paying the fee by parking further away. There are many ways in which we’re frugal but, IMHO, it’s worth supporting national parks wherever you travel. These funds support the park and allow for us to have these wonderful experiences. There are many other ways to save money whilst traveling.
TIP: The pay machines require you to enter your license plate number. Write down your license plate number to avoid having to return to your vehicle.
Highlights of Thingvellir National Park include:
- The visitor center, located at Hakið, contains a new exhibit and offers a view over the nearby fault.
- Thingvellir National Park was inscribed as a World Heritage Site in 2004 for its cultural and historical significance. From 930 AD to 1798 a two-week open air parliamentary assembly was held here annually. Remains of the assembly booths can be seen today at Lögberg (law rock).
- The park is an active volcanic area; a fissure zone. A feature of the park is a major rift which demonstrates intercontinental drift.
TIP: It is possible to book in advance and go snorkeling or scuba diving between the tectonic plates. If that’s too adventurous for you, you can watch the divers enter the water at Silfra.
- Thingvellir Church and the adjacent farm illustrates historical and agricultural ways of life.
- Water features: Lake Ƥingvallavatn is the largest natural lake in Iceland and it is outstanding to learn that precipitation takes 20-30 years to reach the lake from the Langjökull glacier. The Ӧxarárfoss waterfall is one of many beautiful waterfalls you’ll see on your Iceland vacation.
TIP: Plan to spend approximately 3 hours to walk the entire park and take in the sights.
Another 45 minute drive will take you from Thingvellir National Park to Kerið crater. The entrance fee is 400 ISK per person. Walking around the crater as well as down to the bottom of the crater can be done in 45 minutes.
Strokkur / Geysir
Yet another 45 minute drive will take you from Kerið crater to Strokkur / Geysir. Although other geothermal areas are larger with more diversity, Geysir is special because it is the first geyser ever discovered.
FUN FACT: Yellowstone National Park contains over half of all geothermal features in the world and also has the largest concentration of geysers in the world.
Spending 45 minutes at Strokkur / Geysir is ample time to walk through the geothermal area and observe Strokkur geyser erupt multiple times.
Day 1 Accommodation
Skjòl Campground is only a 5 minute drive from Strokkur / Geysir. You’re likely exhausted and this nearby campground is ideal for the first night.
TIP: Skjòl Campground is on the camping card.
The campground, like most in Iceland, is an open field and you park wherever you want. However, this campground is unique because there’s also a hostel as well as a restaurant that serves great made-to-order pizza. If you’re too exhausted to cook the first night, the pizza is a nice option.
Without the camping card, Skjòl Campground costs 1775 ISK per person including showers. The bathroom is all-gender with approximately six stalls and is located in an area attached to the restaurant. The showers are located behind the restaurant. Two camping sinks and a water hose are available near the bathroom.
TIP: The showers at Skjòl Campground are only open from 9:00 – 23:00. Don’t pay for showers if you won’t be able to use them.
TIP: Skjòl Campground offers coupons for 20% off the entrance fee to the Secret Lagoon (a Day 2 activity).
There are two campgrounds at Thingvellir National Park and the fee is 1600 ISK per person. There are 3 hours of driving + activities on the Day 1 itinerary after Thingvellir National Park. So, if you choose to end your day at Thingvellir Campgrounds there will be 3 additional hours added to your Day 2. However, if you do not have a 4×4 vehicle, it will not be possible to do the afternoon activities on Day 2 so you’ll have the bandwidth.
Iceland Itinerary Day 1 Map
Day 1 covers points 1 – 6 on the map layer Our 2 Week / 14 Day Itinerary.
Other layers include additional points of interest, accommodation (camping and hotel), and dining/groceries. Most of these points have a description and a link for more information.
September 2 – 3, 2018