EXPLORING ICELAND

Iceland has been on my bucket list for as long as I can remember - even before it became such a popular travel destination. I have always been attracted to Icelandic music and wanted to see the places that inspired my favorite musicians. This March I finally got a chance to visit Iceland with my husband, Tom. And this trip has been everything I had ever hoped for and even more.

 

At first, we wanted to stay in Reykjavik for the duration of the trip and go on daily excursions and tours from there. Instead, we ended up booking a self-driving tour around the south of Iceland from Hey Iceland. The tour package included a rental car and hotel reservations in several different towns and villages. I'm glad we chose this option because we had a lot of freedom to go places we wanted to go and we got to stay at the cutest bed and breakfasts in the middle of nowhere - it was a lovely experience!  Out of all the places we stayed, our favorite was the rural and romantic country-style Hotel Anna. It’s a small hotel with only a few rooms, but amazing views of the surrounding mountains await you just outside its walls. 

 

We spent our first day in Iceland driving along the Golden Circle, a popular tourist route that takes you past some of the most amazing sights in central Iceland - Þingvellir National Park, the Gullfoss waterfall, and the geothermal area in Haukadalur where you can see the Strokkur geyser shooting a column of water up to 30 meters into the air every 5-10 minutes.

 

Our second day there was rainy, and we couldn't even get out of the car for a second without getting completely soaked. We still managed to see some things though. For example, we explored Vik, a village in the south of Iceland. Despite its small population of only 318  inhabitants, it is the largest settlement in the area. Vik is famous for its black sand beach as well as the basalt rock formations that stick out of the sea, known as Reynisdrangar. According to legend, there were three trolls who were pulling a three masted ship into the shore, but they were caught at dawn by sunlight and turned into rocks.

 

Towards the end of the day, the rain stopped and we managed to check out the 65 meter tall Seljalandsfoss waterfall and the breathtakingly beautiful Skógafoss. Both of them are absolutely stunning - even better in real life! 

On day three we headed to Jökulsárlón - a large glacial lake in southeast Iceland filled with large chunks of ice. The drive there took a while but was definitely worth it. The glacier lagoon looks surreal and it's definitely one of the biggest highlights of our trip.  

A couple of pictures of our favorite Hotel Anna, where we stayed for two nights during our trip.

A manager from one of the hotels we stayed in advised us to drive to the Fjadrargljufur Canyon. For some reason, we hadn't read much about it while preparing for the trip, but I'm so glad we took our time to drive there. Fjaðrárgljúfur is a massive canyon, about 100 meters deep and about two kilometers long. You can park your car closeby and then do a little hike to the top of the canyon.  There weren't a lot of people around when we were there and we felt like we were on top of the world. Oh, Iceland, how did you become so gorgeous?

 

 

On our way to the Fjadrargljufur Canyon, we drove through the Eldhraun lava field, which was created in one of the most devastating eruptions in recent history, the Lakagígar eruption (June 1783 - February 1784). The lava field is covered with moss and the landscape looks unreal. 

On our last day in Iceland, we wanted to visit one of the infamous hot springs. The famous Blue Lagoon was completely booked and out of the way, so we chose to go to the Secret Lagoon, Iceland's first public swimming pool, situated in the geothermally rich countryside not far from the Golden Circle route. This hot spring is not as popular as the Blue Lagoon and not as crowded. 

 

We saw a lot of Icelandic horses in the area that day. They are the cutest creatures in the world, and we enjoyed spending some time with them.

We spent our last half day in Reykjavik. This city has a very unique look with lots of graffiti and colorful houses. We walked around for a little bit, had coffee at Reykjavik Coffee Roasters and a lovely brunch at Haust restaurant and then headed to the airport. 

This was such an incredible trip, and I hope to go back to Iceland soon to see all the places we still haven’t seen. Until next time, Iceland!