Travelling Iceland’s Ring Road in April Without Breaking the Bank
This guide is based on a two-week trip in April 2022. Iceland is known for vast landscapes and extreme weather. Please take all necessary precautions regarding weather, driving and hiking in remote areas. I plan to add to this guide in the coming weeks, so stay tuned for more!
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Paved roads in Iceland are flawless. Gravel and dirt roads are hit or miss – sometimes they’re better than American Highways and other times it’s like you were driving on Mars. Be prepared to drive in multi-lane roundabouts on roads that resemble freeways near Reykjavik. If you’re generally following the itinerary below, we drove 2488km so be sure to factor the cost of gas into your budget because gas is not cheap in Iceland.
Drive (near) the speed limit. An officer got me going the opposite direction with a radar, turned around and pulled me over. Definitely deserved it but my goodness was it expensive. Wouldn’t wish that on anyone!
We got a Subaru Forester from Rent.IS but it was rented through the Reykjavik Cars website which assigns you one of several companies in exchange for being one of the cheaper sites. You’re able to reserve a specific type of car though so it seemed worth it for us. We were very glad to have rented a Forester, but it looked like the Duster is the car of choice for rental 4WDs in Iceland. Pick a car with the highest ground clearance as possible within your budget.
Apparently, most insurances do not cover wind doors so seriously hold them when you open the door!
Try the Skyr Yogurts. It sometimes comes in a milk carton and comes in different flavors.
If you don’t want to buy cereal or granola bars for breakfast, bakeries are your next cheapest option. That includes grocery store bakeries which have pretty high-quality croissants for cheap, though beware if you’re vegetarian – they love to stick ham inside them! Actually read the labels!
On that same thread, as vegetarians we had absolutely no issue finding food just about any town we visited – even ones with a single restaurant. Oomph vegan meat is their version of Beyond or Impossible and it’s pretty great.
Hours of Operation:
Things are not open all day and often open later than you expect. Even places that sell coffee/tea sometimes open after 10AM. A lot of shops opened at 12 or 1PM and some closed by 4. Also, one of the shops I was really hoping to visit was closed on the weekends… So, just check that your itinerary aligns with the shop owner’s schedule or see if they open on request.
Depending on when you visit Iceland may vastly impact your experience. Extreme weather might also delay your pre-booked stays. For this reason, we chose hotels with flexible policies on arriving a day late or fully refundable in extreme weather/delays, but we were lucky to not need to change our plans.
April can be cold, rainy, windy, snowy, foggy and warm – we experienced all of these conditions so pack well, but don’t overdo it – we managed with carry ons and a shared checked bag. That said, it was completely worth it and we would do it again!
We used the following websites daily to check the weather and road conditions:
Below are a few items we used on our trip that we recommend. More to come!
- Frogg Toggs Rain Suit, or as we liked to call them, our marshmallow suits. Absolute life savers: https://amzn.to/3Rj8q4Q (women’s) https://amzn.to/3WNTDjS (men’s)
- Scarpa Maverick Mid GTX Hiking Boots: https://amzn.to/40hy6CO
- Sportneer Crampons for traction on snow & ice: https://amzn.to/3HcSaxG
- Canon EOS M50 Mark II camera: https://amzn.to/3HKDqHC
- Leki Collapsible Trekking Poles (fits in checked bags): https://amzn.to/3DPaFHN
For flights, I recommend a combination of Kiwi and Google Flights. Kiwi is especially good for originating at two different (but nearby) airports to find a deal and for flexible date searches, but I do like Google Flights for price tracking.
For hotels, we try to use direct sites as much as possible because it makes it easier to reschedule/cancel if needed but we did use Booking.com a lot on this trip.
Below is a map that gives an overview of the route we took but I recommend viewing the full guide on Wanderlog to all our stops with notes: https://wanderlog.com/view/bmrysxsvkx/iceland-in-two-weeks-guide/shared