A land of fire and ice
Iceland has an ever changing landscape of volcanoes, glaciers, lava fields and geothermal springs.
We decided to do a driving holiday along the south west of the island, so we could see as much of the landscape as possible.
There are lots to see and so many amazing highlights that this became our favourite holiday of all time. We went with a company called Discover the World who arranged our flights, hire car, hotel rooms and route. Their service was great, and all we had to worry about planning our days and reaching our hotel at the end of each day (oh! and not running out of petrol).
We started our trip from Reykjavik and drove east along route 1 to Skaftafell National Park. Along the route we visited the Seljalandsfoss and Gljufrabui waterfalls which are about 30km from Skógar. Seljalandsfoss is the only waterfall if it’s kind where you can walk behind it (weather permitting). Gljufrabui waterfall is situated further down the ridge and is hidden by a narrow entrance. Entering the enclosed waterfall is a breath-taking moment and is definitely not to be missed.
We stayed at Hotel Skaftafell which stands at the foot of the Skaftafell glacier. Occasionally we would hear what seemed to be rumbles of thunder but were in fact the glacier moving. While based here we also saw the Jökulsárlón glacier lagoon where icebergs congregate before flowing out to the ocean. Some of the smaller icebergs get washed back up on the beach and you can walk among them before they melt. Just up the road from Jökulsárlón is the smaller but still very impressive Fjallsarlon glacier lagoon.While driving from Hof to Jökulsárlón you come across the impressive Kviamyrarkambur glacier.
Svartifoss (Black Falls) is a large basalt columned waterfall situated in the Skaftafell National Park and not far from the hotel. It takes about 45 minutes to climb to get to the impressive falls.
Driving back towards Reykjavik along route 1 you can see the beautiful Skógafoss waterfall. On a sunny day the spray can create an amazing double rainbow. You can climb the steps up the side of this waterfall to see the Skóga River cascading over the top of what was once Iceland’s original coastline.
Our next two night stay was at the amazing Hotel Ranga situated between the towns of Hella and Hvolsvöllur. We used this as a base to visit Eyjafjallajökull volcano, and tour the Golden Circle which included the impressive Gullfoss waterfall, Geysir and Thingvellir National Park. We also visited Hraunfossar falls which are a series of small waterfalls which cascade under a lava field. You can walk across some of the moss covered lava field.
While based at Hotel Ranga we also managed to see the amazing Northern Lights. We managed to take some photographs of these.