Mario Breaks Down How He Hitchhiked And Camped His Way Around The Ring Road In Iceland!
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18th Jul | 4 min read

Mario is 30, unemployed, and currently volunteering on different environmental projects. He is passionate about animal rights and environmentalism. He likes getting out of his comfort zone while traveling, pushing himself towards rough experiences that have taught him a lot about himself. Mario feels the most creative when he’s hiking up in the mountains. You can follow his adventures on Instagram @1derlost.

What Inspired Me To Do The Ring Road

The diversified landscapes and natural elements that one can find all around Iceland. Encircling ice, rock, water, and fire, the ring road is an experience on its own.

How I Planned For The Trip

I booked the flight from Ireland (since it was a cheaper connection) about a month before. My flight to Dublin was less than 50 euros, so I decided to travel to Ireland for a week before catching the plane to Reykjavik. 

I did not book hotels, since my plan was to camp around the Ring Road. Campsites could be fully booked sometimes, so we had to wild camp at times. 

Same with rental cars, since we moved around by hitchhiking. Funnily enough, in one of our many treks around the mountains of Laugavegur, a nice Italian couple offered us to pick up their rental car and return it to civilization at their final trek destination. So we did have a rental car at some point but will elaborate on this later on.

For the trip I packed, a water canteen, sleeping bag, rucksack, mat, winter clothes, trekking clothes, camping stove, cookware, and food (rice, lots of nuts).

Our Itinerary For The Ring Road

We thought it would take us long so we did not plan at all. We would just depend on the kindness of other tourists who gladly picked us up on their way. But we did want to start doing a 4-day trek in Laugavegur, So we started going south from Reykjavik.

We did the whole trip in about 15 days. It can be done in less time, but we wanted to trek a lot. Some say you can do it in one day, but that would be a terrible experience. A week should be fine to enjoy it the most if you have a car!

I Met So Many Travelers On The Trip

I first met Ilana, a young Israeli backpacker, through Couchsurfing in Reykjavik. She was also willing to explore on a budget and we decided to travel together.

We met tons of travelers and locals every single day since we were hitchhiking. People from all over the world. I remember I was picked up by a Chinese family while crossing some rivers on the way to Thorsmörk. The rivers got so deep that they had to turn around and left me stranded in the rain. About half an hour later when I was contemplating crossing the icy waters on foot again, a nice rough Icelandic man with his two teenage boys decided to give me a lift. I ended up spending most of the day with them, on unknown treks that led to secret waterfalls. It was great.

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Food You Can’t Miss Out On In Iceland

As a vegan traveler in a rough weathered country like Iceland, it was difficult finding food on the way. We relied basically on cooking our own food on the camping cooker. Nevertheless, for those vegan travelers out there do not miss Gló on your stay in Reykjavik, an award-winning restaurant with fresh and healthy options.

My Favourite Memory From The Trip

As I mentioned before, we wanted to do the Laugavegur trek. It was a long day trying to hitch the few rides that would adventure so high in the mountains, away from the safe ring road. When we finally managed to get to the basecamp we were crushed to find out we had to turn around. The rangers told us that we were not wearing snow-appropriate clothes and that our jeans would get wet resulting in us freezing to death.

So on the way back we were really disappointed. We sat on the rocks for a while when a nice italian couple spotted us and approached us. They had parked their car near the first camp where most people left their cars. They needed someone who would pick it up and take it near where their trekk ended in Thorsmörk. We were astonished when they gave us their keys. They said that we could leave in a gas station near Hella 5 days later. We ended up having a car for 5 glorious days and we explored most of the ring road with it before returning it to them.

Expenses For The Trips

Our biggest expense was food and camping sites, which were not cheap by the way. About 16 euros for the night.

My Advice For Anyone Doing The Ring Road For The First Time

Definitely do the Laugavegur trek and visit the Landmannalaugar region. At some point you will get tired of visiting the hundreds of waterfalls along the way, but don’t miss Seljalandsfoss and Svartifoss. And of course, don’t miss the Great Geyser and the glaciers.

Also go in the summer months, and watch out for the black flies!

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