ARRIVAL, TECTONIC RIFT, DRAMATIC CLIFFS, HOT SPRING, BLUE LAGOON.
After a nice and relaxing bath in the warm and healing waters of the Blue Lagoon we drive to Reykjavik, Iceland´s capital, and check in to Hotel in Reykjavík. I will pick you up up at the airport when you arrive in Iceland. From the airport we drive for about 10 minutes to the nearby fishing village of Keflavik where we stop at a nice hotel for breakfast. After breakfast we drive around the Reykjanes peninsula heading for The Blue Lagoon. On our way there we stop at “The Bridge between two Continents”. Here a bridge has been put up between two sides of a rift in the ground. One side of the rift is on the American Tectonic plate while the other is on the Eurasian Tectonic plate. We also stop at Gunnuhver, one of Iceland´s most powerful hot springs and Reykjanestá where the rough surf hammers very dramatic sea cliffs.
NATIONAL PARK, GEOLOGICAL WONDER, DRAMATIC HIGHLANDS, GLACIER, LAVA CAVE, WATERFALLS
This full day of interesting things starts with a drive from Reykjavik to Iceland´s first National park and World Heritage area Thingvellir. This is where the heart of the Icelandic nation beats. Many of the most important events in Iceland´s history have taken place there. This is also a place of stunning natural beauty and a geological wonder. After a short walk (10 minutes) down one of the areas canyons we head inland towards the dramatic and desolate highlands. The road we use is one of the highest roads in Iceland and it crosses between two glaciers. Our next destination is Langjökull ice cap. Our vehicle is specially designed to drive on rugged roads and when we get to the ice cap we deflate the tires and attempt to drive ON the ice.
Next stop is Surtshellir lava cave. This is one of Iceland´s longest lava cave. Before reaching the cave we have lunch in the form of a traditional lamb soup, something Icelanders have been eating since the settlement, in a nearby small café. This soup is very delicious and nutritious. Armed with headlamps we descend into the lava cave and explore its formation. Close by (about 15 minute drive) we stop at Hraunfossar waterfalls. These are most likely the most picturesque and interesting waterfalls you have seen. Our hotel for the night, Hotel Budir, is locates right on the coast of Snæfellsnes peninsula. This is one of Iceland´s best hotels and the location and views are simply stunning. Here we stay overnight with a possible stroll on the yellow beach after a nice dinner.
SNÆFELLSJÖKULL GLACIER, BEACHES WITH SMOOTH PEBBLES AND SHIPWRECKS, HIKES, SEASIDE CAFE
Snæfellsnes peninsula has many things to offer. It is very easy to spend a good day in the area exploring the sights and doing short or long hikes. A nearby fishing community of Arnarstapi is the start of a very nice 1-1,5 hour hike along the coast. High cliffs, thousands of birds and a nice path take you from Arnarstapi to Hellnar, another even smaller fishing outpost. At Hellnar we find THE most interesting small café/restaurant in Iceland. This is the perfect place in the perfect location for a perfect seafood soup. Other sights to see at Snæfellsnes are Snæfellsjökull glacier. According to Jules Verne´s novel Journey to the Centre of the Earth the opening the characters used to get into Earth is on top of this old and ice covered volcano. Another very interesting spot is the Djúpalóns sandur beach. Here the rough surf has spent the last thousands of years grinding the lava rocks into small and super smooth pebbles. If you want you can spend hours looking for that “perfect pebble”, it is there somewhere. After spending the day exploring the peninsula we head back to Hotel Budir for dinner and some rest
HVALFJORDUR, GEYSIR HOT SPRINGS, GULLFOSS WATERFALLS, URRIÐAFOSS WATERFALL
It is time to head to the southern part of Iceland. After about 2 hours of driving from Hotel Budir we are in Hvalfjörður fjord north from Reykjavik. We drive around the Hvalfjörður fjord onwards to Reykjavik. The Hvalfjörður area is very rich of history and played a big role in WW2. From Hvalfjörður we drive to the Geysir hot spring area. This is the home of the original Geysir hot spring that all the other hot springs in the world get their names from. Strokkur, Geysirs smaller brother, erupts every 6 minutes spouting boiling water 35 meters into the air. From Geysir we head to the most beautiful waterfall in Iceland, Gullfoss. You have the chance to walk right down to the edge of the waterfall to really feel the power of the water as it tumbles down 60 meters in two steps into a deep canyon below. From Gullfoss we head to our hotel for the night, Hotel Ranga close to the south coast of Iceland. On the way we might stop at Urriðafoss waterfall if time allows.
LANDMANNALAUGAR, VESTMAN ISLANDS
Today we have an open day. The possibilities include a trip to Landmannalaugar in the highlands or a trip to the Vestman Islands that are located just 10 km off the south coast of Iceland. Landmannalugar is an area of stunning natural beauty, the perfect place for a two hour hike and a soak in the warm river flowing through the area. The Vestman Islands are a very active area volcanically. This is a cluster of islands with about 4700 people living on the largest island Heimaey. In 1973 the volcano on Heimaey island erupted. The lava flowing from the volcano ended up burying a third of the town. It is very interesting to walk around the town and see the partly buried houses at the edge of the solid lava field. This is often referred to as The Pompeii of the North. In the afternoon we head back to our hotel.
THORSMORK VALLEYS, RIVER CROSSINGS, BLACK SANDS OF THE SOUTH COAST, WATERFALLS, CLIFFS, EYJAFJALLAJOKULL GLACIER
In the foothills of Eyjafjallajökull we find Seljalandsfoss waterfall. This waterfall is unique because it is possible to walk behind the water as it tumbles down 60 meters from the top of agent sea cliffs. This is truly a new perspective on waterfalls. The walk takes roughly 10 minutes. Now we head into the rugged mountains and valleys of Thorsmork. To get there we must travel by a rough gravel road and cross many rivers. Some of the rivers can be very large so this is where the specially modified Super jeeps come in very handy. Thorsmork is a perfect area for long or short hikes. Once on the road again we pass Eyjafjallajökull volcano on the south side of it. During the 2010 eruption all the farms in this area had to be evacuated due to heavy ash fall. In fact this whole area was covered by a thick layer of black ash. The south coast is close by. This is one of the most dramatic places in Iceland. Pitch black sands and rough surf capture everyone´s minds. This is our next destination. We drive all the way to the beach to allow the passengers to experience the magical power of this unique spot.After a good night´s sleep and breakfast at Hotel Rangá we head east towards the volcano Eyjafjallajökull. Eyjafjallajökull is an active volcano and the last eruption was in 2010. This eruption affected air traffic all over the world as small particles of ash were projected into the jet stream and carried over the Atlantic ocean to Europe. Close to Eyjafjallajökull we find another large icecap called Mýrdalsjökull. This icecap rests on top of another active volcano named Katla. Katla usually erupts every 100 years and most of the eruptions in Katla have been very large. Sólheimajökull, a small outlet glacier, flows to the south from Mýrdalsjökull and has carved a big valley into the mountains. We approach this glacier in the vehicle and a short 10 minute walk takes right to the edge of the glacier for a closer look at this frozen giant. Truly an amazing sight. Then it is back to Ranga.
HVERAGERÐI VILLAGE, FARMLANDS, REYKJAVIK
Today we start working our way back to Reykjavik. The road leads through the flat farmlands of South Iceland. After driving through the green farmlands for a while we get to the small village of Hveragerði. Hveragerði is famous for its many green houses and vegetable production. This town also has a rather large hot spring park in the middle of the village. This is a perfect place to stop and explore the hot springs and shop in the world´s best bakery The Hot spring Bakery.
From Hveragerði we drive for about 45 minutes to Reykjavik. Estimated time of arrival in Reykjavik is around 2 pm. This gives you plenty of time to check in to your hotel and to check out the local galleries, museums, cafes and shops.
Day 8. Optional
MORNING ACTIVITY, TRANSFER TO AIRPORT, AFTERNOON DEPARTURE.
It is possible to choose from different ways to spend this last morning in Reykjavik depending on what you did the day before. Whale watching, horseback riding, bicycle ride around Reykjavik, soak in one of the local swimming pools and hot tubs, looking at museums, galleries or shops in Reykjavik or simply by relaxing and enjoy being in this beautiful capital. In the afternoon I drive you to Keflavik Airport in time for your flight home.
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