I was traveling to Iceland in autumn, right after my birthday, for seven days. Holidays are the presents you can make to yourself and this one was just perfect. My best travel companion was up for a new adventure when she sent me the offer for this trip and asked twice maybe three or four times. How could I have resisted it? I signed up for the plan, drew some potential road maps, set some destinations and we could only gaze at pictures in astonishment until leaving. Read here How to Plan Your Trip to Iceland.
Hot 38 degrees water, heated steam, blue-ish , green-ish color from the Silica, Algae & Minerals brought from the underground, few saunas, and water jets. All in an Icelandic natural panorama. How great it is to be able to just disconnect! You’ll have a mud mask included, but you can pay for more, or even add a massage.
Blue Lagoon is amazing, you’ve probably seen tons of pictures on the internet. To be honest, I’ve read contrary reviews before going there. It’s too expensive, too touristic, too overrated, there are better options. It is expensive, true that, but I don’t regret at all those 50 Eur for the ticket. This is close to the airport and the capital city, so will be handy to pay a visit.
Make sure you bring towels and flip flops. And don’t be surprised or shy when they’ll ask you to shower naked before getting into the pool. Read about this common practice here. Oh, and don’t forget to buy your ticket online – you’ll have to choose for the access hour. This is a good option to organize the access to the spa, so not all the people will stay in a queue in the same time of day.
If you want to understand a bit of their spa culture, remember that Icelanders go to natural hot tubs and swimming pools as we go to the bar. Due to the volcanic activity within the land, hot water is so common there that they use it everywhere: for the pools or to heat the cities.
Going into the west means huge waterfalls, alluring fjords and dramatic cliffs. Overall, it’s very quiet and less visited by tourists. There are a few fish villages and towns where you can stop and wander. As a curiosity, Jules Verne used Sneffels (Snæfellsjökull National Park) as the setting for his well-known book “Journey to the Centre of the Earth”.
Firstly, we stopped in Borgarnes city and we saw a whale shot by chance. You never know, maybe it needed to feed some local stomachs or it got stranded on the shore.
In the west we saw our first waterfall in Iceland, called Bjarnarfoss: huge, close to a nice house and surrounded by large empty fields. Sheep were around. We were simply amazed. What I didn’t know at that time is that I’ll have plenty of waterfalls and I’ll be constantly wowed!
Rauðafeldsgjá is the first canyon I’ve seen in the country. You barely realize there’s a canyon, but you’ll find a plate in the parking lot with details. Go in and explore the narrow paths, it’s a short stop and it’s worth the walk.
Arnarstapi is a small village, a must stop on your route, especially due to its cliffs. We’ve walked along the coastline although it was heavy raining and I’ve got wet to the skin. Gatklettur rock is a well-known attraction and it means “the rock with the hole in it”. I admit I didn’t find it, but I enjoyed the remnants of a large crater, Lóndrangar rock formation, you can spot it if you walk along the coast. Pretty close is Hellnar fish village, which seemed abandoned to me.
We’ve reached Kirkjufell Mountain and Waterfall at dusk. It’s said to be one of the most photographed areas and you can imagine why.
It’s probably the most famous route, but you can’t go to Iceland without seeing the geysers, the wonderful Þingvellir National Park, or Gullfoss waterfall. If you don’t spend too much on every stop, you’ll also have time for Kerið Crater Lake.
I’ve been eager to reach Þingvellir National Park once I’ve heard it’s the place where you can dive in between the two tectonic plates: Nord American and Eurasian. If you thought Iceland was so magnificent with its natural beauties, let me also tell you that Iceland is divided by Mid-Atlantic Rift. This is the only place in the world where you can see it above sea-level, so the feeling of walking in this National Park is hype.
Historically, Þingvellir, which translates directly to “the fields of parliament”, represent an ancient form of Parliament. Starting 930 AD, men gathered here to discuss and take decision collectively.
After a few hours in the park, the next stop was at the geysers. The hot springs in this area spout from time to time and while the Geyser is barely active, the show is stolen by Strokkur. It erupts once in a few minutes and reaches more than 10meters.
Make sure you evaluate as good as possible the distances between the landmarks. When we’ve reached Gullfoss waterfall it was almost sunset. Gullfoss is atypical: it’s a two flow-stages waterfall, very large and kind of fury. The river flows so fast that it can fill 60 transportation containers in ONE SECOND. Can you imagine?
Read the second part of my trip in Iceland here.