Isolation is the perfect word to describe Iceland. You look to the right and see nothing but rocks and mountains. You look to the left and see exactly the same thing. You might look ahead and see 3 sheep, but that was it. Join me on my journey where I explore the land of goblins and fairies, volcanic landscape and glacier climbing!
Our journey began on the 17. 07. 2014 in Reykjavik, the capital city of Iceland. Here we rented our jeep and set off for our holiday. My parents had decided that for this holiday we would not have a tour guide, instead, take a jeep and drive wherever we wanted by ourselves. Be it though rivers or mountains!
We started by making are way to “the golden circle” which is basically a huge ring road that goes once around Iceland. Whilst traveling on this road, there are 3 main attractions/places to go to. The first, is to see the fountain geyser Strukkur. In case you are not familiar, a fountain geyser is a hole in the ground filled with boiling hot water reaching the temperatures of 100 degrees Celsius, that erupts every 5-10 minutes, into the sky, and in this case, reaching up to 40 meters in height!
The second event we went to see is the waterfall Gullfoss. A 32 meter tall waterfall with 2 drops. Translated it means “golden falls” which is absolutely true as it is a startling view. The murderous beauty truly takes your breath away.
The third event we went to was Pingvellir. This is the exact location where the European and American tectonic plates meet. It was also here, where the first democratic parliament of Iceland was found in the in the year 930.
But the thing that will stay in our memories forever is the atrocious hike we did to Laugarvatn, a hot spring river to bath in. Now don’t get me wrong, the hike would have been great with the beautiful landscape and then the unforgettable feeling of lying in a warm river, only that we decided to do this hike with pouring rain and strong wind. It was the type of rain that would soak through your clothes all the way to your underwear. And once we got to the river, getting out and trying to dry yourself with a towel in the pouring rain was also not the easiest.
But after already becoming blown away by the incredible landscape and the feeling of being on another planet, this got further enhanced as we made our way north on the kjölur road going straight through the middle of Iceland. That’s because, this is in the middle of the wilderness, only nature and maybe one or two other tourist crossing our way.
Whilst traveling on this road we did a couple of stopovers. The first being the hot spring in Hveravellir.
It is a haunting thought to bath in a pool which is heated by the earth itself but also great regarding that the weather in Iceland isn’t always the nicest.
On the way of the highland road we also did a stopover in Kerlingarfjöll to take a hike. This is the hike that we refer to as the mud hike. You can go to the top to see the glacier front surrounded by incredible mountains and it would have once again been really nice, if it would have been nice weather. Let’s just say that at the end of this hike we had to wash our rain gear and clean our shoes as we were covered in mud.
We eventually came to the end of the highland road and reached the city Akureyri, the main city of the north, containing a huge harbor.
The next day, we made our way from the city Akureyi to the Myvatn area. This was packed with adventures and tours that we also conquered. The first being visiting the “Godafoss” waterfall also referred to as the “waterfall of the gods”.
We continued to Namaskard, an area covered by steam vents, boiling hot springs and vapor jets. This was one of the most artistic views I have ever seen and the most disgusting smell I have ever smelt. Since the ground was a mixture of sulfur and mud, the smell of rotten eggs immediately crawled up your nose as soon as you opened the door of your car.
Our next stop was to Krafla. Here we went to walk over the lava fields of the caldera volcano, which last erupted in 1984. This field is still steaming today even though the lava hardened over 30 years ago. It was a very strange feeling to walk over something so deadly but also really cool.
It was also here where we went to swim in a big public lagoon.
Following the lagoon, we went to the biggest waterfall of Europe, the “Detiffoss”. This cannot be described in words. Seeing such masses of water so close to you is indescribable. What makes the Detiffoss even more petrifying, is its color. Due to the tons of gravel the water picks up, the waterfall seems to be black.
After seeing the Detiffoss, we decided to go on a hike nearby, on the hafragilsundirlendi trek. This was super nice and adventurous! We were walking through a valley surrounded by gigantic rock walls and came across an astonishing lake where clear ground water clashed against the gravel water, giving off an astonishing color show.
We continued our journey and took the highland road F88 and F910 to Askja. The first thing we did in Askja was to go on a hike to the see Öskjuvatn, a crater. To do this, we had to first walk over the explosive crater Viti, translated meaning hell, covered by snow.
Finally, we drove to Husavik, another small city in the north known for its whale watching tours. Then we slowly made are way back to Reykjavik. To do so we took the Sprengisandur route, again going through the middle of Iceland.
Once we got to the end of the road, we did a couple of things such as a hike on Pórsmörk a mountain where you could see the Vatnajökull glacier, we looked at the Seljalandsfoss waterfall with a beautiful rainbow, and then we stopped at Landmannalaugar where we hiked to see the colorful mountains.
After that we took the golden circle ring road again and drove to the glacier lagoon Jökulsarlon. This was one of the coolest things we did. It was a beach where icebergs where stranded that where broken from the glacier. These were so big that you could even climb on them or go inside.
But the actual event we were all waiting for was to climb the walls of the Vatnajökull glacier covering the summit of the 700,000 year old stratovolcano. We faced the immense, ice blue glacier and climbed a 30 meter high wall using only a pickax in both hands and spike shoes. This was so exhausting but so spectacular and something I will never forget.
The amazement didn’t stop there though. On the next day we went to Dyrholaey, which is a black beach and the home to Atlantic puffins! They were so adorable. Here we also went to Reynisdrangar to see the columnar basalt caves.
We continued are way back to the south of Iceland and did another stopover in Pakgil, to do a really nice hike to an amazing view of a glacier tongue.
And the last but not least danger we set out to do is climbing into the volcano crater Thrihnukagigur. This volcano is the world’s only volcano that can be explored from the inside. The volcano last erupted 4000 years ago and it is safely dormant. It takes 6 minutes to get to the bottom of it, as it is 200 meters deep. (the statue of liberty could easily fit in there). We first had to hike through a seemingly magical land, where goblins and fairies were watching us secretly. Once we arrived, we were led to a hut where we got fashionable yellow overalls and helmets. To get into the volcano we had to take a small, slow lift, which made the surprise even greater because as soon as we went past the funnel and came into the actual volcano, everyone’s mouth dropped. It was incredible. Thousands of different colors were surrounding you occurring through all of the different minerals in the rock. These were further enhanced by lights to give you the maximum intensity. It was truly miraculous, and a great way to end the holiday.
I hope you enjoyed reading, if you did leave a comment!