Iceland pure nature
Day 1 – Keflavik
It started on the plane. We were going from Spain to Iceland, and our flight was leaving at night. The night sky was so clear that, through the window we could see Northern Lights. We saw lights moving in the sky, not as bright as the photos on internet, but magical. We thought all Northern Lights would be the same, but it is not the case as the flashes we saw did not shine as much. It was late and we were sleepy, but it was like a dream. When we landed, we picked up what would be our new home, a Renault Kangoo camper van. We had ten days on the island, ahead of us, ant it started very well.
Day 2 – The Golden Circle
We decided to travel the ring road the opposite way, instead of clockwise, so our first stop was The Golden Circle, but first, we had to buy some supplies as we did not find anything on the way. The whole trip we had to cook in the van and just had a fire to cook, so we bought the easiest things to do, such us rice, pasta, sausages, soups and tasted typical food from Iceland, such as dried fish. The food is more expensive than our country, especially meat. For breakfast, sometimes we went to gas stations, where they invited us to some coffee after showing the rental car card. Most gas stations, had tasty ham and cheese croissants at a reasonable price and very delicious.
With a full stomach, we went to Þingvellir. In this place you can leave the camper van at a parking lot and walk for about an hour through the crack of tectonic plates. It is exciting because I could imagine how these plates collided. There was a beautiful waterfall and the hike was very wonderful and easy to do.
After this, we went to Geysir and Strokkur. In this site there was plenty of fumarolas with boiling water but there was one that was especially awesome, Strokkur. The geysir shoots out an incredible water-jet, about 20 meters high, every 4 – 10 minutes. It can be a bit dangerous, if you get too close as the water is too hot. Some of the fumarolas smelled a little sulfur, but nothing compared to other areas that we saw later on, where the smell was lot worse.
We then went to Gullfoss. A spectacular waterfall that, in our opinion, occupies the second place in the ranking of best waterfalls of Iceland. If it had been a sunny day, the rainbow would have reflected on the waterfall and it is very beautiful. You can also do a short route around the waterfall. In this place we met some Spaniards, who asked us if we could take a picture, we saw them almost every day during our trip. We could have watched the waterfall for hours, but our trip had to continue. There were a lot of beautiful sites waiting for us, and our trip had just begun.
Day 3 – Landmannalaugar
That night we slept at the Leirubakki camping, because we had to take a bus to Landmannalaugar. The bus trip, took about 2 hours, but the views were worth it. The path crossed rivers and some of them were not exactly small!! There, we thought about doing a route of about 5 hours, but we were unable to follow the indications correctly, so finally, the route lasted 3 hours. The views once you got to the mountain were spectacular. You are surrounded by mountains of different colors, colors that you have never seen before. For us, Landmannalaugar is a must see. Also when you finish the route, for which there is no need to be very prepared, you can swim in a river with hot water. We didn’t dare to wear the suit because it was very cold, but then, we regretted not taking a dip.
To finish the day, that night we saw Northern Lights again. About 11 pm we could see green lights moving in the sky. This time, they shone a bit brighter than the previous ones, but still not as shown on the internet. A pity we don’t have any photo of this because in our camera looked all black. After an hour of watching them, we went to sleep because it too cold and it had been a long day.
Day 4 – Black sand beaches
That day we had planned to see the waterfalls of Seljalandfoss and Skógafoss. These do not disappoint, The first, was a very high waterfall where you could even walk behind. We recommend wearing waterproof clothing because you will get wet. There is a short walk in which you can see two more waterfalls. Truly beautiful. At Skógafoss, you can go up, where the waterfall begins, and go for a nice walk along the river bank. Further down, there are tables and chairs where you can eat with this amazing background made of all the waterfall.
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On the way to the cliffs of Dyrhólaey, we saw a lot of cars and vans parked, so we decided to stop and see what was there. We started to walk, and walk, and walk, following people, and after an hour, or so (we did not have clock), we discovered that the path led to a wrecked and abandoned plane, in the middle of the beach. Following the people, was certainly a mistake, because it was not worth the long walk to see that, although we took this curious photo.
The cliffs and the beach of Dyrhólaey and Vik were worth it. The beach has black sand, and the sea has curious structures of lava that cannot be described with words. Definitely a spectacular place.
Day 5 – Jökulsárlón
The tour we had prepared for that day, was Skaftafell. In this park we did the route of about one hour, to see Goðafoss. This is the waterfall that occupies the first position in our ranking. The shapes of the stones around it make it unique. We spent a long time admiring and contemplating the views. Although we weren’t tired of watching it, we had to continue with the wonderful trip. Near the waterfall, there was an indication of another route and we took the path. We walked about another hour, to arrive at a viewpoint of the Skaftafellsjökull glacier tongue. After this route, we did another one, shorter than the previous, that took us to the glacier lagoon, where you can see the end of the glacier. The ice and the black sand, offers an amazing grey landscape. It’s a very quiet place, where we were alone and could listen the ice breaking.
The next stop was Fjallsjökull glacier and after Jökuláarlón lagoon. In this place we lived a magical moment, that we will not forget in our life’s. It was dusk, and the sky was a bright orange. At the bottom, were the snow covered mountains lay, the glacier lagoon reflected the beautiful orange sky light. We were alone, surrounded with icebergs and at that moment, a seal came out to greet us. At first, it scared us a little bit, as it was very close, but after a while, when it returned to the water, we could see it swimming with its friends. We couldn’t take it a good photo, I need a better camera…
Day 6 – Dettifoss
Until now, the weather had been nice, but the following days it started to rain. We traveled along the ring road, trying to see East fjords, but there was a lot of fog and it wasn’t visible, so that day we decided to spend it travelling to Dettifoss. Fortunately, when we arrived there, it stopped raining and we could see the mighty waterfall of Dettifoss. The amount of water that it leaks is incredible, and how close you can get to it. We took a photo to capture this moment. We did a short route, of about half an hour to see Selfoss, another beautiful waterfall in which we saw an amazing sunset even it being cloudy. You can see it in the photo that appears to be Photoshop, but is not.
Day 7 – Mývatn & Goðafoss
That day, we had planned to do a route in Ásbyrgi cliffs, but it was raining too much and the road was so bad that we decided not to go. We continued along the ring road and stopped at Krafla volcano. Inside it, amazingly there is water. We wanted to walk around it, but it started raining a lot and so we ran to the camper van. We had to put a clothesline on the roof of the van to lay the wet pants and shocks as our clothes were soaking!
After we went to Hverir, an area that looks like another planet. There are pits with boiling mud and some of them, leaked out smoke with a lot pressure, you had to be careful. This was the place that smelled terribly. There was a lot of sulfur on the floor and an odor of rotting. All this said, it was definitely worth stopping at for a while to see the alien like landscape.
Another thing we went to see was Dimmuborgir, a place with rock formations. You could go for a walk and admire these peculiar formations, very similar to the cliffs, but on earth. Then we went to see Goðafoss. The third waterfall in our ranking. It was big and lovely because the water is a very nice blue. Every waterfall had its charm.
Day 8 – Akureyri
Another day had past and we were still anxious to visit more places. We stayed in Akureyri. There we discovered a swimming-pool that is great. In Iceland the pools are open all year, because they have hot water, with different temperatures. Before entering the pool you had to take a shower with soap, this is a very good option for people travelling in camper vans that don’t have a shower. It’s great as they are not expensive and when it is cold or raining it is very comfortable. In Akureyri we tried the best fish and chips that we have ever tasted. The fish was very fresh and juicy. They fished every day. Near Akureyri, there was a village where you could see the Icelandic typical houses, with grass roofs.
Day 9 – West Iceland
That morning it was raining and we went to Hvitserkur, a big structure in the sea, near the beach, with very curious shape. We saw it very quickly, trying our best not to get wet. After this, we went to Hraunfossar and Barnafoss. We waited in the camper until it stopped raining, and when we could, we saw this waterfall that is short and spans the river bank. The water of the river seems white and is surrounded by green, brown and orange vegetation, the combination of the colors made it different to the others, we liked this.
Day 10 – Snæfellsnes Peninsula
As there were some excursions that we did not do, because of rain, and having only one more day, we decided to go to Snæfellsjökull. Another glacier. It was a a bit far, but as we liked Vatnajökull so much, we though that it was a good idea. However, when we arrived at the glacier, there was a lot of fog and we could not see barely anything, but to our surprise, in Arnarstapi, there was a wonderful route, at about one hour, in which you could admire many beautiful cliffs, so in the end, it was worth going to.
After that we went to Glýmur, an amazing place where you could do a route which was a bit more complicated, as you had to cross a river through a tree trunk with a rope to get through, and then, climb a steep slope, but at least not for too long. The effort was worth it once you were at the top and could see the views of the West fjords, and between two high mountains, a large waterfall with a lot of green vegetation and rocks. As this was our last day we did not mind getting wet, we only wanted to enjoy that unique moment.
To finish the day we visited Reykjavik, we walked into town, saw the high cathedral and had dinner. There was a lot of people and a fun festive atmosphere.
In summary, there is overwhelming nature in every corner of Iceland. If you like waterfalls and nature, it is a must go, the camper van, although it wasn’t very big, the bed was very comfortable, and you could fit in well to cook and wash dishes. As you can use camping’s, and the swimming-pools to take a shower it was all we needed. There are public toilets in almost all tourist sites and they are very clean with plenty of toilet paper. And with the free Wi-Fi in the van we had internet through all the island.
To us, it was precious and a very much worth it. I am sure we will be back!!
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