Finally, I moved on with treating pictures from Iceland and therefore I can also publish this second part of our Iceland Road Trip (if you haven’t seen the first part which also includes some practical advice, start your reading here). In this post, you will travel with me to the Southeast to see the surrealist glacier lagoon, some stunning and moody waterfalls or the black beaches. And we will also meet some local horses. 😉 Enjoy!
The first stop of our fourth day in Iceland was in a random spot on the road from Djúpivogúr to Höfn, greeting the local horses. Did you know that the Icelandic horse has developed from a type of horse that came hundreds of years ago with the first settlers from Norway to Iceland which is now the only place in the world where this type of horse has been preserved? I told myself these look rather like ponies than horses and this is probably why.
Then we arrived in a surrealist landscape of the glacier lagoon Jökulsárlón. You can either take a boat tour or just walk around the shore (that’s what we did). Although freezing, we were fascinated by the luminous blue icebergs that calve from the glacier and float through this lagoon towards the sea. These large pieces of ice can spend up to 5 years in this lagoon while being shaped by the wind, they get smaller before they arrive via the river to the sea. The lagoon is a result of climate change – it did not exist 100 years ago and yet nowadays it measures about 25 sq km, is about 260 meters deep, and is still growing! Due to its dimensions, apparently, only 10% of the icebergs are visible above the water level. If you are lucky and spend some time here, you may also see some seals.
Some of the small icebergs stay at the river mouth where they lay on a black sand beach. Some remain light blue as they reflect all the colors of the specter except blue, while some of them are transparent and shining like diamonds when the sun shines through them, and this is why this place is called Diamond Beach. Amazing place and together with Jökulsárlón, this was one of the places we probably liked the most from the whole Iceland!
We then drove to Skaftafell National Park and did a hike to the stunning Svartifoss Waterfall (also known as Black Falls) surrounded by hexagonal lava columns. From there we walked up to the viewpoint over Skeiðarársandur and then continued down to see the turf-roofed farmhouses Sel.
In the evening, the Aurora Application showed us that we were in the best spot to observe the Aurora Borealis, although there was a decent cloud coverage. We went for a walk and did not see anything, just light clouds!!
On Thursday, we started the day by hiking on the edge of 100 m deep Fjaðrárgljúfur Canyon which was close to our guesthouse and on our way.
Then we drove to the Blacksand Beach Reynisfjara close to Vik. It may seem that I took only B&W photos but no, those are the real colors friends! At the end of the beach, there are two photogenic sea-stacks rising off-shore from the sea and if you want to approach them, you will pass by few small lava caves that line the beach and alternate the wall made of hexagonal basalt columns. There are very strong waves so visitors must be really careful not to get taken by them. We saw also some relics of dead fish and other animals. A bit scary atmosphere here, but a paradise for photographers.
From Reynifsjara we continued to see two amazing waterfalls: Skogafoss and Seljandsfoss. Skógafoss is a 62-meters tall waterfall that lies near Skógar Museum and if you have time, you can visit both. We rather opted for a short hike that started by climbing the steep staircase and consequently the trekking path lining the river lead us to the foot of the waterfalls.
Seljandsfoss for me is one of the most beautiful waterfalls we saw in Iceland. Similarly to Skógafoss, the waterfall is just a few steps from the parking and so it is kind of hop on hop off, but this one is really worth seeing, and you even can walk behind the falling water as the path leads beyond through a large cave-like space. Just be aware that you might get wet here, and so as your camera, my long exposure pictures came out with drops of water but this illustrates perfectly the reality. 🙂
As the sun went down, we drove to the hostel near the Thingvellir National Park where we had sleeping arranged for that night and which was ideally located to observe Aurora Borealis, if only there were no clouds (again!). The circle of our ring road trip has been slowly closing as the two other days were spent within the Golden Triangle and Reykjavík, but this will be for another post, hopefully soon.
– END OF PART II –
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