Trip to the land of the Midnight Sun
66 degrees 00′ N and 18 degrees 00′ W
Vasilis and me. Parents of a dog, named Yuri, who unfortunately didn’t make it to join us in that trip. Our dream is to see the whole world in a lifetime, together. Our trip to Iceland certainly was one of our best and most unique experiences. We tried to cover the ring road in seven days, which is a difficult plan, and we did it! We would like to share our plan and we hope it will help anyone else who wants to visit as much as he can in one week. Our camper van was for sure very helpful to that project as we didn’t have to loose time with check-ins and check-outs and we had a cozy bedroom and a nice kitchen everywhere.
Preparing our lunch
Day 1: Keflavik to Kolugljúfur – Heading to the North
We picked our camper van at Keflavik airport and started our road trip. We were surprised when we realized that Alex, the employee who helped us with all the details was Greek and super kind. Little tip: say yes to the insurance, which covers damages by gravels. It’s happening all the time in Iceland and the advice of Alex saved us a lot of money. Our first stop was at Reykholt, one of Iceland’s most important historical sites. The famous writer and political leader Snorri Sturluson, author of the Snorra-Edda lived there. Today you can see a well-preserved thermal pool from the Middle Ages, where Snorri used to bathe. He was assassinated in a tunnel, which led from the bath to his house.
Second stop at Hraunfossar and Barnafoss waterfalls. According to the legend two children drowned there when they tried to cross the river walking on a natural rock arch. The mother of these children had the arch broken down. Next stop at Húsafell. We enjoyed a lot the outdoor swimming pool. Last stop of the day in Grábrókarhraun, a lava field covered with moss with several craters. Don’t miss the excellent view from the top of Grábrók. Slept next to Kolugljúfur, a very impressive waterfall.
View from the top of Grábrók crater
Day 2: Kolugljufur to Husavik- Letting it blow off some steam!
On the road again, very excited for new adventures! First stop of the day at the memorial for Stephan G. Stephansson at Arnarstapi. Stephan G. Stephansson was an Icelandic farmer and poet who lived in this area before leaving the country to settle in USA and Canada. He was called the poet of the Rocky Mountains. Second stop at Víðimýrarkirkja, traditional turf church from 1834. Don’t miss it! After a lot of time we arrived at Akureyri, the capital of the North.
Break for a good refreshing beer! Next stop at Goðafoss waterfall, which means the waterfall of the gods. And finally arrived at Mývatn lake, situated in an area of active volcanism, not far from Krafla volcano. Don’t miss Dimmuborgir, a valley filled up with bizarre lava formations, caves, holes and pillars and Námafjall, an area with impressive bubbling mud pools, steam vents, hot boiling springs and fumaroles. Rewarded ourselves with the best break of the day at Jarðböðin, the Mývatn Nature Baths. We both agreed that Jarðböðin is a very nice place, even it’s not as well known as the blue lagoon for the moment. At the end of the day camped next to the ocean, near Húsavik.
Being part of the Dimmuborgir
Letting it blow off some steam!
Jarðböðin, the Mývatn Nature Baths
Day 3: Húsavik to Reyðarfjörður – Meeting the Gentle Giants
Started the day with whale watching! A really nice and unique experience! The trip takes at least 3 hours but we totally recommend it even if everybody is warned that there is always the possibility not to find any whales. We were really lucky and saw about four beautiful giants! Next stop at Ásbyrgi, a U-shaped valley, surrounded by dark cliffs. According to the legend that is the footprint of the horse Sleipnir. It had eight legs and was the horse of the god Odin. Spend some time at the visitors’ center. It has been a very educational experience! Next stop at Dettifoss, one of the most impressive waterfalls in Iceland. It is claimed to be the most powerful waterfall in Europe! After a long drive we arrived at Lögurinn, a lake where a monster is believed to live, called Lagarfljótsormurinn. We didn’t see it… Spent the night at Reyðarfjörður.
Gentle giant ahead
A seagull flying over the port of Húsavik
Port of Húsavík
Day 4: Reyðarfjörður to Jökulsárlón – Melting the Ice
The fourth day was a very easy day. After driving through many beautiful fjords and fisher villages we arrived at Vatnajökull, the largest glacier in Iceland. A breathtaking landscape with many glacier tongues, all have their own names and different shapes. We slept next to Jökulsárlón, a deep glacial lagoon between the glacier and the coastline. We were really amazed by the floating icebergs and more excited when we spotted two seals who we hunting. That night we agreed that the window of our camper van was magically transformed into a screen playing a National Geographic’s documentary!
Jökulsárlón, the glacier lake
Day 5: Jökulsárlón to Vik
Started the day with a boat tour on the Jökulsárlón lagoon and tasted icebergs!
Vasilis proposed to me with a unique ring made of 1000 year old ice! I was so happy and said immediately YES but then he thought about it again and asked me to wait a little bit longer until he finds a real ring to propose again in a more formal way! I believed him… ;-). Next stop at Skaftafell National Park. After a fairly simple walk we arrived at Svartifoss, which means the Black Waterfall. A very impressive waterfall surrounded by dark basalt columns, which gave rise to its name. Finished the day at Vik.
Ring of a thousand years old ice
Day 6: Vík to the Blue Lagoon- the Golden ring
Well, that was a really tough day! Started the day at Reynisfjara, a very impressive black sand beach with cliffs and caves with interesting basalt column formations. The legend says that two trolls attempted to drag a ship to land but were turned to stone as daylight broke, turning them into the Reynisdrangar rocks. Next stop at Skogafoss, one of the biggest waterfalls in Iceland and then to Seljalandsfoss, a very beautiful waterfall. One of the interesting things about Seljalandsfoss is the fact that you can easily walk behind it into a small cave.
After a one-hour drive we arrived at Geysir, a periodically spouting hot spring. Eruptions at Geysir hurl boiling water up to 70 meters in the air. However, eruptions have in the past stopped altogether for years at a time. Near Geysir you will find Gullfoss. It means the golden waterfall. Next stop at Þingvellir National Park after missing the Kerið crater… pay more attention when you drive around! It is one of several crater lakes in the area and it looks so beautiful in the photos… Þingvellir is a large lava field, situated right on the Mid-Atlantic Ridge, where the European and North American plates are moving apart. We were really impressed when we realized that we could touch Europe and America at the same time! End of the day and finally arrived at the Blue Lagoon!
Between Europe and North America tectonic plate – Þingvellir National Park
Rainbow over Seljalandsfoss
Day 7: Blue Lagoon to Reykjavik
That was the last day of our vacation and we decided to explore the city of Reykjavik. It is the largest city and capital of Iceland with a population of around 120,000. Don’t miss Hallgrimskirkja, the biggest church in Iceland, designed by the architect Guðjón Samuelsson. It resembles to the basalt lava columns of Iceland’s landscape. The construction of this church took 41 years.
Hallgrimskirkja in Reykjavik
That was our trip to Iceland! We can assure you that at the end we were exhausted but really happy with our new adventures and excited with the great world we had discovered. So we flew back to the Greek summer with the desire to return in Iceland one day!
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