Category Archives: Iceland

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Iceland’s South: The Beautiful & Wild Black Coast

Category : Iceland

The South of Iceland is known for its black beach that consist of basalt sand. It looks somehow beautiful and threatening at the same time. Anyway it is very different compared to the beaches you typically get to see. It’s a must go if you travel through that area.

The Dyrholaey Arch

The first stop on our road trip through the South was Dyrholaey arch – a huge black lava arch in the sea. It looks very impressive and probably the view is even nicer during sunset. We took a walk for 20 minutes in the area and headed back to the car. Make sure to take a windproof jacket with you as the wind force is enormous up there.

Dyrholaey Arch, Iceland

Reynisfjara Black Sand Beach

Afterwards we stepped by at the Reynisfjara black sand beach. You can drive to a viewpoint by car and enjoy the great sight. In Iceland are generally many cloudy and rainy days in September and one might think that’s not ideal for such a tour. However, many areas like the black sand beach appear even more dramatic and spectacular when there are dark clouds instead of sunshine.

Reynisfjara Black Sand Beach, Iceland

After checking out the viewpoint we went for a walk at the beach. Especially in the winter months the waves are very strong and many people drowned there already. Be cautious when you visit the beach, especially during high tide. If you get too close to the water you might get sucked into the sea.

Rocks at Reynisfjara Black Sand Beach, Iceland

Step by at the lovely small town Vik for having lunch or buying some souvenirs after you have visited the beach. Your loved ones back home might be happy about a pair of Icelandic wool socks 🙂


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Why You Should Plan Less Time for the Golden Circle

Category : Iceland

We decided to start our road trip by driving the Golden Circle route which is very popular among tourists that visit Reykavik. It consists of three main sights that are only around 40 km away from the city: Pingvellir, Geysir and Gullfoss. Some tour operator offer Golden Circle Day trips. If you’re organizing the trip yourself I recommend you to plan less time for the Golden Circle.

Pingvellir is a national park that lies in a rift valley and has historical and cultural significance. There are parking spots available very close to the rift valley and you can take several hiking routes through the whole area. You can certainly spend a couple of hours hiking here but we only wanted to get an impression of the area and chose a short track.

Pingvellir, Iceland

Our next destination was a hot spring, Geysir, just a few kilometres away from Pingvellir. It was impressive to observe the natural power pushing the hot water out of the ground every 2-3 minutes. However, due to the popularity of the Golden Circle route this area was completely full of tourists arriving in huge busses and squeezing each other next to the Geysir to cast a glance at this phenomenon. I recommend you to hike up the hill for a better view.

Geysir, Iceland

After that we visited Gullfoss, the first of many waterfalls we were about to see. Again you could park nearby the waterfall and hike there within a few minutes. That explains the masses of tourists gathering here as well. Make sure to bring your rain jacket and protect your camera because the wind carries lots of water in the direction of the hiking trail. The waterfall is impressive in terms of the water volume running down each second but in my opinion not the most beautiful waterfall that Iceland has to offer.

Gullfoss Waterfall, Iceland

Why you should plan less time for the Golden Circle

We definitely enjoyed the Golden Circle route because it reflects a part of Iceland’s scenic diversity. If you’re only staying in Reykjavik and have no possibility to drive around on your own it’s a good thing to do.

However, I recommend to plan maximum a half day for this trip if you organize it yourself. Simply because you have the chance to see much nicer places with fewer people. In our case we luckily we had enough time left to drive to Seljalandsfoss. This waterfall was the highlight of our day. It’s one of the most scenic and ‘romantic’ waterfalls I’ve ever seen. You can take a walk in the surrounding area and behind the waterfall. Try to get there early in the morning or in the late afternoon.

Seljalandsfoss Waterfall, Iceland

When we arrived in the afternoon most people already left to drive back to Reykjavik. We explored the area and took some pictures of Seljalandsfoss during sunset. Afterwards we had dinner next to this beautiful scenery – a perfect end of day one 🙂


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Our Amazing Road Trip Through Iceland

Category : Iceland

Iceland is a wonderful country that offers scenic landscapes, great hiking opportunities and a chance to watch the aurora borealis. We relaxed next to breath-taking waterfalls, discovered exiting hiking trails and managed to watch the spectacular northern lights one night. Overall we had a great time travelling along the ring road.

Iceland’s Weather: September Rain

We went there in September and the temperatures were still around 15° C at daytime. Unfortunately, it was either cloudy or rainy most of the days which made it difficult to spot the polar lights or successfully complete some of the hikes like the one in Skaftafell National Park. Nevertheless, Iceland’s landscape looks amazing during this season. And as you know… there’s a rainbow at the end of every rain 🙂

Rainbow at Fjallsarlon Glacier Lake, Iceland

 

Discover the Waterfalls

Iceland has so many waterfalls that it makes sense to inform yourself before the trip about them. It will take a lot of time to see all of them, so pick the ones that look most appealing to you. Thankfully somebody did the work for us and collected the Top 10 Beautiful Waterfalls of Iceland. My personal favourite is the Seljalandsfoss 🙂

Seljalandsfoss Waterfall, Iceland

Iceland’s Biggest Asset: It’s Scenic Diversity

Not only the waterfalls are impressive in Iceland. We particularly enjoyed the scenic diversity. This small country has everything to offer that you can think of: grassland, rocks, beaches, glaciers, lava fields, waterfalls and gush springs.

Basalt Cliffs at Reynisfjara Beach, Iceland

I especially liked the areas where different landscapes merge together.

Skaftafell National Park: Ice meets Grassland

The less known Glacial Lagoon near the popular Jökulsarlon Glacial Lagoon is named Fjallsarlon. It’s a great example for the sharp contrast of Iceland’s landscape types. Fjallsarlon is easily accessible via the ring road and you should definitely visit it when you drive through this area.

Fjallsarlon Glacial Lake, Iceland

 

The Breath-Taking Polar Lights

The absolute highlight of our trip was viewing the polar lights. Photography has its limits and the Polar Lights are an excellent example of that. In my opinion it is impossible to convey the beauty of this breath-taking phenomenon in an image. I’ve tried and I hope you like the picture. Nevertheless, I recommend you to see this yourself once in your life! You can find some advice on viewing the polar lights here (coming soon).

Polar Lights, Iceland

Rent a Car and Enjoy the Freedom

Hiring a rental car turned out to be an excellent decision because we enjoyed absolute flexibility and always had a place to sleep over night if we couldn’t find an accommodation nearby. Also we were able to reach rather remote areas and to visit the sights early in the morning before the crowds arrived by travel busses departing from Reykjavik. It’s difficult to capture popular waterfalls like the Seljalandsfoss without a bunch of people in the background if you arrive there later than 8 a. m. So either you stand up early or let Photoshop do the job 😉

Sleeping Spot near Seljalandsfoss, Iceland

 

You Have to Search for the Hidden Gem’s

Keep in mind that Iceland is not that unoccupied anymore like it was a few years ago. Especially at the popular sights near the ring road (for example at the Golden Circle) is mass tourism. On the one hand it’s good that many sights are located near the ring road. They are easily accessible and you are able to visit multiple sights per day. On the other hand almost any natural wonder loses its magic if it’s overcrowded. At least that’s how I feel as an off the beaten path traveller. It’s more difficult nowadays to discover deserted places in Iceland. Luckily it is still possible especially further away from Reykjavik and the ring road. A good example is the West of Iceland up to the Snaefellsjoekull National Park. Happy Discovery 🙂

Lost Building, West Iceland

 

Ready for your own Iceland Adventure?

Read: How to Plan a Road Trip through Iceland

 

Want to know more about Iceland?

Find Helpful Information & Interesting Blogposts on my ‘Iceland’ Page


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How To Plan a Road Trip Through Iceland

Category : Iceland

Maybe you’ve decided already to visit Iceland. We travelled to Iceland because we wanted to see the Northern lights once in our lives. Amongst Iceland there are lots of areas in Scandinavia that are great for spotting the aurora borealis. Eventually we chose Iceland because we were curious about the landscapes and the trip seemed to be much cheaper compared to other destinations.

When to go?

The first step of planning your trip is to decide when to go there. We travelled at the end of September for three reasons:

  1. The polar light season started around that time (September – April)
  2. The weather was still warm enough to enjoy spending time outside
  3. We expected fewer tourists due to off-season

During our Iceland journey we had to learn that not all of these things came true but we definitely had a fabulous time.

 

How long to stay?

The duration of your stay depends on your travel route, your travel pace and your budget. You can easily spend 4 weeks or more in Iceland without getting bored. In our case we only had 7 days available so this decision was quick to make. In my opinion 1,5 – 2 weeks would be ideal for a trip around the ring road.

 

What to see in Iceland?

Despite its size there are a lot of things to see and do in Iceland. As we had only 7 days available for our trip we decided to travel along the ring road (1.300 km) by which are some of the most popular sights. If you travel for less than a week to Iceland you should consider focusing on one area of the island or be prepared to drive around 4-6 hours a day. Have a look at my Iceland Gallery for some impressions or check out our travel route which contains plenty of sights.

 

Our Travel Route

 

How to get there from Europe?

There are a couple of ways to get to Iceland. The cheapest and most time-efficient way is probably to book a flight. We booked a flight from Frankfurt to Reykjavik with WOW air for a very reasonable price.

 

How to get around?

You have to decide whether to hire a car or go by public transportation. There are many arguments for and against both options. We decided to hire a car because it gave us ultimate flexibility to decide wherever and whenever we wanted to go. We didn’t regret this decision.

We picked a Land Rover Discovery Sport that allowed us to drive on all roads in Iceland (there are some restrictions for certain car models) and to sleep inside the boot in case there would be no campsite available nearby. The total costs including insurances amounted to more than 1.000€ for one week but considering the high hotel prices and lack of accommodation facilities in rather remote areas it was probably cheaper overall. It took as quite a while to figure out in which car we could have a good night rest (blogpost coming soon).


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