I feel like I’m always apologising for being late with these so maybe I just need a new schedule haha. I’m currently in London and it feels great to be back in the UK. I miss Marks and Spencer’s, the underground, Covent Garden and banoffee pie – the little things! Here is part two of Reykjavik before it gets to July and I’m months on months behind.
A majority of Iceland’s beauty is outside of Reykjavik. That’s why if you end up visiting make sure you get out of the city! I’m not sure if/how it differs in the summer but during the winter the landscape is stunning. It puts a whole new meaning to ‘walking in a winter wonderland’.
Whilst there we went on two day trips with a tour company called GeoIceland. There are tons of tour operators to choose from and I’m sure they all offer great services but we opted for them as they did smaller, more personal trips (around ten people) and were a reasonable price. We did their Golden Circle and South Coast – both of which were a lot of fun and I’d definitely recommend.
The first one we did was the South Coast – we went for the second one they offer which includes a Glacier Walk. We got picked up around nine in the morning and it was dark outside as the sun didn’t rise until elevenish. Getting out of the city the landscape turns very flat and all you can see is white with the occasional mountain along the horizon. As the sun rose the sky turned pink and everything had a pastel tint to it. After a rest stop we went straight for our hike and got decked out in the most intense outfits ever haha. I’ve done a glacier hike before in New Zealand and didn’t have to wear this much gear but I guess each country has different rules. With our snow tennis racket cramps on we went on a three hourish hike and it honestly flew by. I’m a sucker for these views and now have over a hundred photos of the same bloody mountains just because I couldn’t get enough of it. Our guide Thomas told funny stories as we walked and even cut off some ice so we could taste it – I’ll admit I asked this as a joke but everyone did give it a try haha.
By the time we finished hiking the sun was already starting to set. We drove quickly to Skogafoss – one of the main and powerful waterfalls in the south. A lot of it was frozen but there was still a constant stream that produced a cold mist. I think scenes from Thor were filmed here and it had a kind of Game of Thrones/Lord of the Rings vibe to it. It’s huge and perfect for an Instagram selfie. After Skogafoss we went to Seljalandsfoss (another waterfall), but it was pretty dark by then so sadly no photos wompwomp. Then just the drive home (although we did see some Northern Lights activity on the drive back and pulled over a few times to look at the sky).
The next day we went on the Golden Circle tour (this is considered the main thing to do). Pick up was early again and this time we pulled over to watch the sunrise. The sun never really gets high in the sky in winter and instead there is a constant pink/blue layer at the horizon for the afternoon. As a lot of the land around us was covered in snow it would reflect the sunrise colours and make everything feel like candyfloss.
Our first stop (after an initial one to get breakfast), was Faxi. It’s a waterfall that also has an old salmon run. It is shorter than Skogafoss but still really impressive. You can get up close and personal to this one and essentially jump in if you wanted. Along the roads whilst driving we would constantly see Icelandic horses and this time we pulled over to say hello. They were very friendly and insanely cute.
For lunch we stopped at Geysir and the Haukadalur geothermal area. There are around five or six (I can’t exactly remember) geysers and fortyish little hot springs. The main geyser is Geysir that erupts rarely but is also apparently where the word geyser comes from. Strokkur is another geyser there that erupts every five minutes and can be seen below. It’s an interesting place to walk around as you can get pretty close to the action compared to say Yellowstone. Just be careful when you stand for an eruption as if that smoke gets on your clothes you will stink for the rest of the day!
From there we drove to our last stop and national park – Thingvellir. Photos do not do it justice at all and I’m really not sure what to write about it. You’ll just have to take my elusive word for it I guess haha. If you imagine that national parks are normally the most beautiful places in a country – then a national park in Iceland (which is already pretty much a ten out of ten) must be way off the scale! It’s a place and a country that everyone should check out without hesitation.