We continue our journey through Iceland. We leave Reykjavik (for the moment) and we are going to explore the south of the island.
The first stop today is the Seljalandsfoss waterfall, from which we were separated by 125km.
Seljalandsfoss is a 60 meter high waterfall through which the Seljalandsá River flows. If you wear a raincoat you can go behind the waterfall.
Parking costs 700 ISK (€5). Since we didn’t want to start paying so early and time is money… from outside the car park it looks very good.
We continue our way this time towards the Skógafoss waterfall.
Skógafoss is located in the course of the Skógá river and has a height of 60 meters and a width of 25.
According to legend, the first Viking settler in the area, Þrasi Þórólfsson, hid a treasure in a cavern behind the waterfall.
From one side of the waterfall there are some stairs with a few steps: 400! Here we find a platform to see the waterfall from above. There are also spectacular views of the entire area.
On the eastern side of the waterfall, a hiking trail leads to the Fimmvörðuháls pass between the Eyjafjallajökull and Mýrdalsjökull glaciers. Then it goes down to Þórsmörk on the other side and continues like the famous Laugavegur to Landmannalaugar.
We go down the 400 steps again and we are on our way to the next destination: the Arch of Dyrhólaey.
Dyrhólaey Arch is an impressive stone arch located on a peninsula at the western end of Reynisfjara beach. It was formerly known among sailors as Cape Portland.
Reynisfjara Beach was listed in 1991 as one of the ten most beautiful non-tropical beaches in the world. In 2021 it was rated the sixth best beach in the world. The truth is that it does not invite you to take a bath, but the beach is really spectacular.
This is a perfect place to watch the famous puffins in summer. You will easily see them flying and perched on the surrounding rocky walls.
From here you can see the basalt spires of Reynisdrangar, which we will go to later.
As there was no time to lose, we returned to the car to visit the next point: Reynisdrangar. These are basalt columns found at the other end of Reynisfjara beach.
A popular tale tells that three trolls, Skessudrangar, Landdrangar and Langhamrar; they spent one night dragging a three-masted ship ashore. How the task took longer than expected, without realizing the night came to an end. With the rising of the sun, they were turned into stones along with the ship. Those stones are known today as Reynisdrangar.
It must be pointed out that these stones continue to keep the names of the three trolls.
At this end of the beach is also the Hálsanefshellir cave. It is one of the most popular caves in Iceland located at the foot of the Reynisfjall mountain and is surrounded by basalt columns. It is quite a spectacle of nature.
At this time a little gazuza was beginning to enter but we wanted to wait until we got to the city to eat. But next to the parking lot there was a pylsur stall.
The pylsur are hot dogs or hot dogs and are quite an institution in Iceland. Somewhere I have come to read that they are a national Icelandic dish. They are everywhere: street stalls, supermarkets and even gas stations. The truth is that they are very tasty and are very “cheap”.
The pylsur cost us 450 ISK (€3.20) and it was enough to kill the bug.
Already with a calm stomach we prepared to go to Vík í Mýrdal. It is a small town located in the municipality of Mýrdalshreppur and is the largest urban center within a radius of 70 km. It has about 300 inhabitants…
We drove into town and left the car in the Reynisdrangar Overlook parking lot. From here we have another magnificent view of the “trolls” from the other side.
Enjoying the beautiful scenery we set out to find somewhere to eat. We chose the Halldórskaffi restaurant, very close and with good opinions. We had a burger and an Icelandic style lamb sandwich which was to die for. They also had some cakes that looked spectacular, but there wasn’t much room between the food and the pylsur. The meal cost us 5,780 ISK (€41.14).
After lunch we went to a supermarket in Vík í Mýrdal to buy something for dinner and breakfast.
After the purchase we set off for the next point with an unpronounceable name: Fjaðrárgljúfur, 68 km away.
On the way, passing through one of the innumerable lava fields carpeted by moss, we passed a place with several parked cars. We decided to investigate.
It’s called Eldhraun. There is an informative poster where it explains a little about the history, evolution and information about the moss. There is also a small, very stony trail. In it you will destroy your feet, ankles and shoes.
IMPORTANT: DO NOT STEP ON THE MOSS. There are signs but still people step on it.
After the brief stop we got back on the road and arrived at our destination.
Fjaðrárgljúfur is an impressive canyon about 2 km long and up to 100 m deep near the village Kirkjubæjarklaustur. It was created by the erosion of the Fjaðrá River that flows from the glaciers.
The trail is uphill but not difficult. At the end there is a viewpoint walkway with a transparent floor to admire the Mögáfoss waterfall.
The pity is how little accompanied the time. It was raining sideways due to the wind and it was very, very uncomfortable.
Return to the parking lot. A relief in the services, it must be said that in almost all the car parks there are toilets and back to the road.
Next destination: Svartifoss.
On the way, as always, we stopped to take photos of the spectacular landscapes. But there was one where we almost slammed brakes on. It is a tiny waterfall, little more than a waterfall. What was striking was the beautiful decoration that formed in the landscape.
We continue the way making some stops to delight ourselves with the landscape formed by the tongues of the Vatnajökull glacier. With 8,100 km² it is the largest in Iceland and the second largest in Europe after Austfonna in the Svalbard islands (Norway).
After a while we arrived at the parking lot of the Vatnajökulsþjóðgarður visitor center (Vatnajökull National Park).
Vatnajökulsþjóðgarður is the second largest national park in Europe with more than 14,000 km². This is 14% of the total area of the island. It is second only to the Yugyd Va National Park in Russia with almost 19,000 km².
After paying and without wasting time, we started the climb towards Svartifoss. The route is about 2 km in which most of it is uphill, but it is bearable.
About half way we come across Hundafoss, a 25 m high waterfall.
The name of the waterfall is derived from the Icelandic word “hundur”, which means dog. The name comes from the fact that, during the flood of the river, sometimes the dogs from the farms would float out of the waterfall.
We continue climbing and finally we reach the jewel in the crown: Svartifoss.
Svartifoss is one of the famous waterfalls in Iceland. It is not because of its height (20 m) or because of its flow. It is because of the spectacular setting in which it is located. It is surrounded by hexagonal basalt columns. These basalt columns have inspired Icelandic architects, such as the Hallgrímskirkja church in Reykjavík.
With the time it was (around 8 pm) there was hardly anyone. Only two girls who took several photos of us (and we of them). So it could be seen very calmly.
Here we finished our tourist visits. Now to the accommodation. We had hired a Guesthouse in the city of Höfn, 136 km away.
On the way something happened to us with which you have to be very careful driving. There is a road sign in Icelandic that we have seen before. We didn’t realize what it was for until now.
On many roads there is a kind of bird that, being on the edges of the road, when frightened, ALWAYS flies towards it. He does it very slowly so it’s easy to take them over.
Here there was a section where we ran over two (the only ones we hit in Iceland). No matter how careful you are, it is almost inevitable due to the large number of birds there are. It is witnessed by all those who are dead on the ground.
We call them the suicide birds.
After almost two hours of walking, around 10 o’clock in the “night” we arrived at the accommodation. With such good luck that the reception closed at 8… what now?
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In what appeared to be the main room there was a doorbell. we play. A lady with the appearance of being very angry (we screwed up her lever) comes out and she tells us that we don’t have a reservation there.
After several checks it turned out that our accommodation was another one that was in the port with a quite similar name. A thousand pardons.
We go to the good one and there we were able to enter.
Today it’s time to hike a glacier.
We get up very early, with a lot of wind and rain and we go to the starting point of the excursion. We had hired her more than a month in advance at Civitatis.
From the starting point we reached the end of the road. Although calling it a path is being benevolent. From here you have to walk about 1km to the end of the glacier. It is one of the languages of the gigantic Vatnajökull.
There they equip you with crampons and… ala!, to walk on the ice. The guide, Haukur, was very nice and gave us a lot of information about the geology and history of the area and the country.
If you are interested, you can contract it through the Civitatis website:
After the spectacular excursion, we returned to the starting point for the car and we set off for Lake Jökulsárlón.
Jökulsárlón, located at the southern end of the Vatnajökull glacier, is the largest and most famous glacial lake in Iceland. It is relatively recent since it appeared in 1934. In 1975 it had doubled in size due to the acceleration of the melting of the glaciers.
Its main characteristic is that icebergs abound, which break off from the tongue of the Breiðamerkurjökull glacier.
On the lake it is possible to kayak among the icebergs or take boat trips.
In the parking lot you have a couple of food stalls. You have one of fish & chips and another of pylsur and lobster sandwiches. Needless to say, we took a well loaded pylsur… which cost us 650 ISK each.
After the hot dog, we crossed the road and headed to Diamond Beach, the beach of diamonds. It is a black sand beach into which the waters of Lake Jökulsárlón flow. In addition, along with the water, the remains of the iceberg end up in the sea and on the beach. The arena is littered with numerous small ice stones, with what looks like a field of diamonds.
I thought that because it was summer we would only find big icebergs, but no, the beach was full. It is a true marvel.
We leave this marvel behind and head west. Among other things, we were separated by 5 hours of road to the accommodation.
An hour after setting off, we decided to stop for a sandwich at a viewpoint. It was next to the wrong accommodation from the night before. There were beautiful views but, with the terrible wind, we ate inside the car. Salami sandwich from the supermarket.
On the way to the city of Egilsstaðir, at a certain moment, the navigator tells us to take a detour, with 124 km to go. That road was pure mud. It couldn’t be there. It turned out to be one of the many dirt roads we were going to take. Being the first, with rain and a lot of fog, we were scared.
After traveling 21 km along that infernal road, we finally reached a paved road. At that junction there was a sign indicating that we only had 44 km left to Egilsstaðir. We had saved 60 km around here.
We arrived in the city 20 minutes after the supermarket closed. We buy, refuel and continue on our way. Our destination: the Stuðlagi canyon.
Stuðlagi Canyon is located in the valley of the Jökuldalur glacier and contains the largest number of basalt rock columns in Iceland. This marvel was submerged under water until 2009 when the dam for the Hálsón reservoir was built.
It can be visited from both banks. On the west side we have a platform from which you can see the canyon wonderfully.
Between the tremendous cold and the rain we could hardly rejoice with the landscape. We climbed the million steps to the parking lot and ate more salami sandwiches.
After the banquet we set out for the lodging. For tonight we chose Síreksstaðir Farm Holiday. A farm in the middle of nowhere, literally. “But it was cheap.” €99 private room with shared bathroom and breakfast. It was really fine.
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