With fresh seafood, #vanlife amenities, the largest glacier in europe, and a bar dedicated to the dude himself, Iceland keeps calling to us.
Pro tip: Scarf all of the Icelandic seafood you can get your hands on! The island nation is awash with locally-sourced fish served up in comforting, delicious dishes often paired with a cold Viking beer at quaint pubs and restaurants. We suggest you find the small Mönsvagninn fish and chips stand in Arnarstapi. Or enjoy the fresh fish-forward menus in the picture-perfect Naustið (facebook.com/naustid) in Husavik. If you really want a unique dining experience, post up in Reykjavík. The country’s capital city is home to a vibrant nightlife, but most importantly, The Lebowski Bar (lebowskibar.is), dedicated to El Duderino himself: It boasts a rug that really ties the room together and an extensive White Russian menu.
The #vanlife movement is alive and well in Iceland, and there are several van and adventure vehicle rental companies, like Happy Campers (happycampers.is), conveniently based at the Keflavik International Airport. Whether you’re traveling in cold-weather months, or during the busy summer season, these tricked out, rugged vans have everything you need—from sleeping bags to WiFi to heaters to GPS and cookware. And campsites with well-maintained facilities exist in just about every town and city on the island. #Vanlife-ing it in this country is a great way to keep your itinerary flexible, and to have the freedom to veer off of the standard Ring Road route. Iceland is also home to a welcoming bed-and-breakfast community, so plan ahead and scatter a few stays in idyllic farmhouses and inviting cottages along the way.
It seems like everywhere you turn in Iceland, an epic outdoor adventure slaps you in the face. But if you really want to hone in on some fun, head to Vatnajökull National Park (vatnajokulsthjodgardur.is) in the southern region of Iceland. The massive 3.5-million-acre park (the second largest in Europe) is home to the Vatnajökull ice cap and it’s brimming with scenic glaciers, waterfalls and mountain peaks, including Hvannadalshnúkur, the highest summit in Iceland at 6,920 feet. The park also borders the deep, iceberg-strewn waters of the Jökulsárlón Glacier Lagoon. You can embark on a snowmobile exploration of the glacier in the winter, or kayak through the glacial lagoons in the summer. You’ll also find hiking trails for all abilities and designated campgrounds throughout the park. The drive back to Reykjavík along the coast is stacked with ultimate roadside attractions, such as the mighty Skógafoss waterfall and Vik, a charming southern coastal town known for its black-pebble beaches and picturesque cliffs that are prime for puffin sightings.