This was our very first waterfall in Iceland, so we were rightly blown away by its majesty. It was a torrential amount of water pouring down walls covered in soft moss. It was a right-old tourist-thing with plenty of buses surrounding it’s entrance, but that didn’t spoil its beauty at all! We were particularly in awe of how the three waterfalls (including the smaller, but still pretty, Seljalandsfoss) were so close to each other.
We had a bite of Skyr – a yogurt-type (but not yogurt!) Icelandic speciality by the waterfall in our car, cause it was raining. But got out when it stopped to walk up close to that beauty.
Here’s a fun picture:
Stop by Skogafoss
coordinates: 63.53209, -19.51163
This was our first BIG waterfall. I’ll just let the video speak for itself:
Finally arrived at Vik
coordinates: 63.41863, -19.00604
We passed so many smaller waterfalls along the way, all equally as pretty, but needed a gas top up, so we stopped by the small seaside town of Vik to head to its N1 – the petrol station and all-encompassing general store spread throughout Iceland. We stopped there also to have lunch. I thought it’d be simple, a boring meal, but it opened my eyes to the wonders of Icelandic Fish and Chips.
Eat Vik’s N1 Fish and Chips at Strondin Bistro and Bar
|add: Þjóðvegur, Vík, Iceland open: 6am to 10pm
coordinates: 63.41751, -19.00171
What a glorious meal this was! Together with Abel’s burger, it was 3,785ISK in total. Cut into squares and encased in a crisp shell, the fish – haddock or cod – was rich, dense and buttery – a world of difference from the light and flaky fish we get here. The fries were crispy and stuffed full of mash too. The bistro is within the N1 itself.
Head to the back of the N1 and visit Vik’s Black Sand Beach
Hidden behind the unassuming N1 was this glorious sight – a rush of heavy, slate grey waves crashed upon a sleek black beach. I had pin-pointed another black sand beach a few miles away, but this… this was enough. The blustery wind blew my hair all asunder. I had to hold onto the door for dear life and keep it from swinging right off the car, but once that’s all settled, and you walk onto the stretch of sand, close to the waves, you’re confronted by how beautiful the scenery is. Then you feel real jealous of the folks who live in this minute town behind some mountains. This is their daily view! Off to the side are towering cliffs and magical structures fighting against the elements, just blurred slightly by mist from the sea spray. We tore ourselves away, because we had other locations to visit.
Stop by the Vatnajokulsthjodgardur Visitor Centre aka Skaftafell Visitor Centre
Vatnajökull National Park, Skaftafellsstofa, 785 Öraefi, Iceland tel: +354 4708 300
coordinates: 64.01661, -16.96669
Vat the what? That’s the Vatnajokulsthjodgardur – aka Vatnajokull National Park. Here, you learn about the massive avalanche that created glacier lakes and about several incidents that have added to the massive Vatnajokull glacier’s history. It is actually very educational. It also is your first opportunity to shop for souvenirs – don’t do it, there are better options elsewhere. This is also where you go to book glacier walks.
Hike to have an up close look at an amazing glacier at Svinafellsjokulsvegur
coordinates: 64.00759, -16.90628
After you drive out from there, you’ll come across a very small, unmarked road in the middle of nowhere. There’s no proper name, but we suppose it is part of the glacier. Once you get to the coordinates, you’ll have to follow the very bumpy road INTO the glacier. Don’t be scared of getting lost, it’s about 5 to 10 mins in till you see the burst of grey and blue at the end of the road. Lots of tourists go there so you’ll be safe. You’ll find out more from the visitor’s centre lah. Once you get there, it is a short hike higher, to get a better shot of the glacier for those who can be bothered, I can’t. But it was still an amazing sight. You’re confronted by blue-gray stretches of ice that have simply… collapse, creating a harsh landscape of cold blue.
Continue on to Jokulsarlon the famous glacier lagoon
add: Jökulsárlón, 781 Höfn í Hornafirði, Iceland tel: +354 478 2222
coordinates: 64.04839, -16.17944
I loved this place so much. I could almost imagine mermaids, seals, polar bears and all manner of creatures living amongst the behemoths of ice. At sunset, the place was exceptionally stunning, the pinks and purples of the sky juxtaposed against the romantic pale blue of the ice and waters.
If you kept still and quiet, you could hear the ice move against each other. Each bump and gentle tap crackling with tightly reined in excitement. We saw a couple take wedding photos there (Chinese of course), a crazy guy attempt to walk into the ice and plenty of photo enthusiasts.
Jump into the Hoffell Hot Tubs
coordinates: 64.39233, -15.34302
We were exhausted from a long day and wanted to get a good soak in at a natural hot spring. So naturally we checked out the Hoffell Hot Tubs! It was a long, winding road that took us there, but we found them! They are actually owned by the GlacierWorld Guesthouse but are available for public use. It’s pretty isolated, but come with an amazing view of the glacier, and with just one small spotlight lighting up the small handful of tubs, it was just the spot for people to soak and hopefully see the Northern Lights.
|This is how dark it got at night. The tubs were still crowded with people!!
Here, hot spring water – which boasts the least amount of sulphur as compared to other natural hot springs – is piped into the tubs. The closer you are to the pump, the hotter the water. There’s also a hose that allows you add cold water into the tub in case it is too hot.
There’s a little hut off the side of the hot tubs, separate male and female changing rooms with a shared toilet (very clean!). You’ll also love the fact that they require payment through the honor system.
I loved how safe and trusting everyone in Iceland is. If you’re those idiots who look at this sign and say, “oh great! Then essentially, it’s free!” THEN GET OUT OF HERE. Their honor system required payment of 500ISK per person, which was so lovely cause where got people like that in the world?! We chucked our money in and stayed for a good two hours before hobbling back to the car. In our tub, we met plenty of interesting folk, everyone was so friendly! An old Polish couple from Canada on their golden years honeymoon and a pair of friends from one of the other Scandinavian countries. They all stayed at the Hoffell Guesthouse and had decided to stay till even later to catch the Northern Lights (didn’t turn up though). Abel and I left at about 10:30pm, it was pitch black by then!
1) Always bring your slippers! It will save your toes.
2) Bring your swimsuit and slippers in a safe and secure bag!
3) DON’T dip your hair and face into the water. Your face will get extra dry, and your hair will retain the sulphur smell for a good week. (From experience)
add: Hafnarbraut 52, Höfn í Hornafirði, Iceland tel: +354 478 1606
coordinates: 64.25832, -15.20302