Iceland Part 2

For Part 1, see here.

Day 4: Selfoss and Dettifoss waterfalls, Krafla and Viti Crater, Godafoss, Akureyri
Day 5: Westfjords, Kaldbakur mountain, Gardens Skrúður, Dynjandi, Látrabjarg Cliffs, man-made hot springs
Day 6: Gudrunarlaug hot spring, Kirkjufell and Kirkjufellsfoss, Gerduberg Basalt Columns, Glanni Waterfall, Deildartunguhver hot springs, Tröllafossa

Day 4: Selfoss and Dettifoss waterfalls, Krafla and Viti Crater, Godafoss, Akureyri
If you haven’t noticed yet, there is a plethora of waterfalls all along the Ring Road of Iceland and I loved the diversity between them all.

Highlights:

  1. Selfoss and Dettifoss waterfalls: a mother and daughter set of waterfalls. A walk-out is set-up above Dettifoss but be careful – the mist from the waterfall made the walkway incredibly slippery!
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    Selfoss Waterfall, Northern Iceland

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    View from the walk-out of Dettifoss
  2. Krafla is an inactive volcano turned into a power plant facility.Viti Crater is located just past the power plants and would have been more impressive in the summer months. Unfortunately, the water was frozen and the walk was really muddy so we didn’t make our way around the crater. I recommend making the stop if you visit in the summer/fall.
  3. Myvatn geothermal area across from Krafla with a large outdoor hot spring pool. Worth a stop (even if it’s just for a tea and free wifi).
  4. Godafoss falls. Named after the Nordic god who designed the falls himself.

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    Godafoss Waterfall
  5. Akureyri (the capital in the north). Iceland’s second largest city at 15,000 people (Reykjavik is the largest at 200,000 which is 2/3 of the entire population of Iceland). We went for a hike in the woodland area of Kjarnaskagour. There is a free art museum (we arrived 1 hr too late to go in) and botanical gardens (again, we were too early in the season to see everything in bloom but I could imagine how beautiful and picturesque it would be in the summer months).

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    Akureyri’s church of many stairs
  6. Hvammstangi and Vatsnes. Twice a day there is an opportunity to see seals on the coastline and get up close and personal. Unfortunately we arrived too late for high tide and missed the seals and didn’t stick around. We took a long drive from the Ring Road to catch them so it was a slight disappointment!

Day 5: Westfjords, Kaldbakur mountain, Gardens Skrúður, Dynjandi, Látrabjarg Cliffs, man-made hot springs
We did a lot of driving this day (read: one person drove while the passenger napped) to get through the westfjords. A large majority of the roads were gravel roads and I let my travel buddy do all the downhill (mountain slope) gravel driving.

Highlights:

  1. Seals. We saw some, after the disappointment the night before! Luckily there was a sign with a seal so I pulled over to try to spot them. After what looked like a rock moved, I zoomed in on my camera and snapped a few pictures.

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    Ahh, the life of a seal.
  2. Stopped at a playground on the side of the road (they removed all tire swings and see-saws from my neck of the woods so we spent a fair amount of time here). We needed to stretch our legs. It’s the little things, right?
  3. Hvalfjörður Tunnel (I believe). It passes under a fjord in western Iceland.
  4. We stopped at one of the attraction signs and drove up the side of Kaldbakur mountain. We should have parked at the end of the trail and walked up since we didn’t have a 4×4 (the drive up was nerve racking to say the least!). We stopped about halfway up (EVEE, our trusty rental car, couldn’t make it the rest of the way). This was (part of) the view. Can you say breathtaking? I can.dsc_0377
  5. Gardens Skrúður. The oldest botanical garden in Iceland. Again, it was too early in the season to see blooming flowers but it was very quaint and worth the stop.

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    Gardens Skrudur
  6. Gljúfurá River Waterfall. Impromptu stop at this little waterfall on the side of the Ring Road and it turned out to be one of my favourite waterfalls on the whole trip.

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    Impromptu stop at a waterfall on the side of the road.
  7. Dynjandi. Translation “thundering noise” (a perfect description)!

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  8. Látrabjarg Cliffs (one of National Geographic’s top 10 views of the ocean and well worth the title). My favourite part were the puffins! As per the instructions on a plaque, I crawled out on my stomach (because puffins burrow into the side of the cliff making it unsafe to walk to the edge) to catch some great pictures of puffins.
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    Latrabjarg Cliffs

  9. Pit stop at the end of the day to take a dip in a man-made (but naturally occuring) hot spring. There are signs on the Ring Road that help locate these hot springs.

Day 6: Gudrunarlaug hot spring, Kirkjufell and Kirkjufellsfoss, Gerduberg Basalt Columns, Glanni Waterfall, Deildartunguhver hot springs, Tröllafossa

Highlights:

  1. Gudrunarlaug hot spring. Has a hut to change in but it’s right beside a personal residence and we got yelled at for parking next to their house. Oops.
  2. Kirkjufell and Kirkjufellsfoss. The most photographed mountain in Iceland. We took the 7 km hike around the base of the mountain to stretch our legs.

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    Kirkjufell and Kirkjufellsfoss
  3. Gerduberg Basalt Columns. You can see them from the road but they are way more impressive up close. I definitely recommend taking the detour to get up close and personal.

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    Gerduberg Basalt Columns (for reference I’m almost 5 ft 4)
  4. Glanni Waterfall. Beside a self-serve golf course.

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    Glanni Waterfall
  5. Deildartunguhver hot springs – the most powerful geothermal spring in Europe, where the temperatures reach well over 100C.
  6. Tröllafossa. Highly recommend if you have children. There was an obstacle course set up and you could follow the path from the restaurant with excerpts from “The Troll Book on plaques. This is a popular salmon river and you can see salmon jumping in July/August. Legend has it if you wish into a stone and add it to the top of a cairn your wish will come true. The highlight in “The Troll Book” was, atop a large cairn, the troll elder laid an imprint of their hand within a stone. The cairn (pictured below) was accompanied by the following: “Place your right hand on your heart and your left hand on the uppermost slab. Take a deep breath, close your eyes, and think of all the good things that have befallen you on your path through life”.
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    Trollfossa
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    “Yes, it is a long and difficult road. And life is brief and much will astray. But graceful through temptation and hardship’s road, your goal will always shine and bide your stay.”

    Stay tuned for Part 3!

2 thoughts on “Iceland Part 2

  1. Ahhh still love reminiscing on the awesomeness that is Iceland!!! All these pictures are so insanely gorgeous, and it’s only a few days worth!! Great summary/tips!

    Liked by 1 person

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