Winnaar TBA met best Roadtrip “Southwest Iceland”
I spent one week road tripping Southwest Iceland and it was one of the best travel experiences I ever had. Everywhere I drove the landscape was simply magnificent. I don’t think there is a country with more scenic roads than Iceland.
One moment you’re driving through a lava field on your way to a waterfall, the other you’re driving along snow capped volcanoes and glaciers. With only 300 000 inhabitants, you’re never stuck in traffic. It’s a true pleasure to drive the Icelandic roads, even the bumpy dirt roads leading to gorgeous hidden gems on this fantastic island! This is my detailed one week Southwest Iceland road trip adventure!
Southwest Iceland Road Trip
Area: Most western point of this road trip is Snaefellsnes peninsula, most eastern point is Jökulsárlón
Hotels/Appartments: I stayed at places that were quite affordable according to Icelandic standards (no hostels). I always had my own bathroom, often a kitchen so that I could cook my own meals (going out for dinner is expensive in Iceland) and I chose these places according to the route that I had planned beforehand.
Duration: 7 nights, 6.5 days
Total kilometers: 1732 km
When did I go: mid May
Things to see & do: hiking, hot springs, glaciers, waterfalls, geysers, sight seeing in Reykjavik,…
Practical tips: rent a 4×4 if you want to do this road trip / Read Everything you need to know about driving in Iceland
Day 1 Keflavik Airport – Hvolsvollur
Where did I stay: Borg Apartments (book here)
Total driving time: 2 hours
Total kilometers to drive: 145 km
Stops: Netto Supermarket
I arrived around 15.00 at the airport. About an hour late, the rental car person picked me up to get my car. He explained he had to save a couple who got blown away from the road. The distances in Iceland are quite big so that’s why he was so late. He warned me that there were two big dangers on the road in Iceland; the unpredictable wind, which can get really strong and blow you off the road if you don’t respect the speeding limits, and Asians…
That last one cracked me up, but he was actually serious and added that 80% of the accidents in Iceland happen with Asians. So I had to watch out when I saw them. I don’t know if that figure is really true, but every time I saw Asians in a car, I started to smile, thinking back at his comment (I have to admit some of them were actually really bad drivers, but every nationality has some of those!).
After signing the necessary paper work, I was off to my first stop, Hvolsvollur. Since it was already around 17:00 when I could finally start driving, I knew I wouldn’t be able to do much anymore that day. But the trip to Hvolsvollur was already pretty spectacular and a great way to get a tiny idea what Iceland is like. On the way I stopped at the Netto Supermarket at Selfoss to get food and drinks for the next days.
Along with the Bonus supermarkets, Netto is a “low cost” supermarket where you can find all your necessities at a reasonable price. I arrived around 19:30 at Borg Apartments, so I decided to just cook dinner and have a quiet night since it was raining and I was tired of flying and driving. I wanted to be fresh the next day to explore. But the Icelandic elves had other plans with me apparently…
This may sound crazy but I truly believe the place I stayed at was a bit “haunted”. When I was watching TV in the living room, the light in the hallway switched on for no reason… twice! When I was lying in bed to sleep, the light switched on in the hallway again! So I turned it off and decided to close the bedroom door. I swear this was spooky. Especially when you are in a country with such a folklore.
Icelanders will not always admit it, but they do believe in elves or the hidden people. (They even alter building plans when they discover elf rocks. They don’t risk destroying these rock formations.) So I guess this was their way to welcome me…
Day 2 Hvolsvollur – Hof
Where did I stay: Hof 1 Hotel (book here)
Total driving time: 4,5 hours
Total kilometers to drive: 289 km
Stops: Gluggafoss, Seljalandsfoss, Gljufrabui, Skogafoss, Dyrholaey, Reynisfjara beach, Laufskálavarða , Fjadrargljufur, Foss a Sidu, Dverghamrar, Skaftafell
I woke up early, so around 7.00 I was already driving road 261 surrounded by the most stunning landscape and in front of me the snowcapped peaks of Eyjafjallajökull. Ten minutes later I stood in front of my very first Icelandic waterfall, called Gluggafoss (Window Falls). This waterfall is rather unknown but I found it worth exploring. Not only because no one else was there, but also because it consists of different levels, which makes it so special.
The river created several holes and tunnels in the soft palagonite bedrock, through which the water flows. Icelanders call these “gluggar”, meaning windows. It’s situated near the T-junction of roads 261 and 250.
Then I drove to the Ring Road to the next stop; the popular Seljalandsfoss. Since it was still early there were only about 5 other people. What makes this waterfall so awesome is the fact that you can walk behind it. For a waterfall addict like me, this is absolute heaven!
Make sure to wear your waterproof clothes when you decide to go behind Seljalandsfoss and use the right camera protection because you are going to get really wet!
I knew I would find a small canyon with another waterfall called Gljufrabui a little further from Seljalandsfoss. So I did the short walk together with two American guys, who I just met and who were heading there as well.
Arriving at the canyon we discovered that we had to walk through the river to the waterfall. So waterproof shoes are a must here! (I was wearing Timberland boots and they did an awesome job!) A good rain jacket and waterproof camera gear are recommended as well (got to love GoPro!)!
I have to say it was a surreal sight to see the waterfall flowing down in this cave-like canyon!
After getting soaked I returned to the car and drove to Skogafoss waterfall, another famous Icelandic waterfall. There were more people here, but no big crowds. You can climb all the way up to the top of the waterfall. I especially loved the rainbows the mist and spray of the waterfall created.
From there on I drove to the Skogar museum to park the car to hike to Kvernufoss waterfall. But when I asked the locals about it, they said it is on private property and the owners didn’t like the fact that people go there and ruin their land. I wanted to respect that so I didn’t go, even though I truly regretted it.
With the puffins on my mind I continued my Southwest Iceland road trip to Dyrholaey. Driving the 218 is quite a challenge. Especially the part where you need to drive up the steep dirt roads to the lighthouse. There was a lot of wind on top! I thought my car door would fly off when opening it!
Even though it was already mid May, there were no puffins to be seen. I was a bit disappointed because of that, but the sights were incredible. I especially liked Kirkjufjara beach.
Next stop was Reynisfjara beach (Black Beach). I decided to eat my lunch there and then explored the beach and the Hálsanefshellir cave. I loved the basalt formations at the Hálsanefshellir cave and the black sand. Never did I see anything like it before.
I saw a lot of warning signs for sneaker waves, so I was a little surprised that there were still people who got their feet and pants wet. The Icelandic beaches aren’t nice peaceful beaches where you can take a safe walk (even though they are pretty). You always need to be aware of the sneaker waves.
These waves suddenly come ashore with an enormous speed and strength and drag you into the ocean. There were already several victims in Iceland, people who got dragged into the ocean and never came back alive… So never turn your back to the ocean, that is the number one rule on the Icelandic beaches.
I knew I still had to drive a long way. So after driving 50 kilometers I paused at Laufskálavarða. It wasn’t in my plans, but I passed it and decided to take a short stop. Once there was a big viking farm named Laufskalar, but it got destroyed by lava during the eruption of the Katla volcano in 894 (It still is one of the most dangerous volcanoes in Iceland, waiting to spew its lava).
Nowadays you can see a field of countless small stone cairns in a huge lava field. In the old days traditionally everybody passing by Laufskálavarða for the first time, added a stone to a cairn at Laufskálavarða for good fortune on their journey through this dangerous area. These stone cairns have piled up for the past millennia.
30 kilometers further I reached a parking lot near Fjadrargljufur. There were some warning signs saying the road was closed, so I had to walk about 20 minutes to reach the Fjadrargljufur canyon to discover the canyon was closed…
This made me a bit sad. Especially when I heard from the police lady standing there to avoid people entering, that it was closed because nature needs to recover due to tourists going off path.
I can’t understand why you destroy nature, while visiting such a gorgeous place! I guess the perfect Instagram photo these days is more important than taking into account that nature here is vulnerable. That you need to handle it with care; meaning staying on path!
She was so nice to allow me and a few other travelers to walk to the bridge, so we had one beautiful view of the canyon. I took some photos, burned the scenery into my memory and then returned to the car.
I continued my Southwest Iceland road trip to Skaftafell but first I stopped at Foss a Sidu, a 30 meter high waterfall and Dverghamrar (dwarf cliffs). Dverghamrar is a basalt column formation right next to the Ring Road.
Columnar basalt forms through the cooling of lava and a build-up of contraction forces. According to folklore dwarves and elves live inside, so I didn’t dare going off the path. You don’t want to mess with these supernatural beings (and I also wanted to avoid another evening with a light game like the previous night).
My last stop of the day was Skaftafell. From the parking lot you can start hiking to the famous Svartifoss waterfall. The hike takes about 30 minutes. But it took me longer since I stopped a lot on my way to take pictures of Hundafoss(another waterfall) and other beautiful sights.
The Svartifoss waterfall is a spectacular waterfall surrounded by (yet again) basalt column formations. I sat there for a while before I decided to return to the car.
Then I drove to Hof 1 Hotel, discovering their restaurant was closed. I was too tired to step back into the car to drive to the nearest restaurant (which was still quite a drive), so I was lucky that I brought instant noodles with me. The room had a water cooker so I could prepare my dinner, relax and sleep.
Day 3 Hof – Jokulsarlon – Hella
Where did I stay: Hotel Kanslarin (book here)
Total driving time: 5 hours
Total kilometers to drive: 335 km
Stops: Jokulsarlon, Diamond Beach, Fjallsarlon, Svinafellsjokull, Skaftareldahraun, Hjorleifshofthi
After an excellent early breakfast I continued my Southwest Iceland road trip and drove straight to Jokulsarlon, the glacier lake. On my way I discovered the landscape here consists mostly of black cliffs and glaciers. Actually the landscape often changes while driving through Iceland. I had seen green fields, lava fields, cliffs with numerous waterfalls, snow capped volcanoes and mountains and now it was all black, rough and glaciers.
When I stepped out of the car, I couldn’t believe my eyes. This was the first time that I saw ice bergs in real life. They had different colors like white, green and blue. The sound of the seagulls and other birds was overwhelming and the wind ice cold! I walked along the glacier lake keeping my eyes focused on the water surface and the ice bergs and there he was! A seal!
I knew seals were living here, but didn’t really expect seeing any. I thought they would be lying on the ice bergs but there were none to be seen. So when I saw his little dark brown head peeping out of the water, I literally started jumping in the air! Then I started to prepare my photo camera and he disappeared back under the water surface.
Noooooo! I hadn’t filmed or taken a photo yet! I also started realizing I must’ve looked a bit weird jumping up and down, but apparently no one had seen it. So there I was, armed with my camera, ready to shoot a seal, with no seal to be seen anymore.
A Spanish girl passed me and I started talking to her in excitement, telling her I saw a seal. My enthusiasm seemed to be contagious because she decided to join me in the search for the seal, also armed with her camera. I really enjoyed our conversation and excitement every time the seal decided to pop up. I laughed so hard! We both got our shots and said goodbye.
Then I drove a little further to Diamond Beach. Just like Black Beach you need to watch out for sneaker waves here! Diamond Beach is also black and covered with huge ice rocks that look like diamonds.
The contrast of the black sand and the ice is very photogenic and fantastic to watch. I saw someone who climbed onto an ice rock to get a picture. A few seconds later he was surrounded by the icy sea water, not able to get off the melting ice rock. Everyone was looking at this thrilling sight. Luckily for him the water returned back to the ocean after a while and he was able to reach drier sand again. Like I said before; never turn your back to the ocean in Iceland…
After returning to the car, I drove back in western direction. The next stop was Fjallsarlon. This is another glacier lake, that is lesser known, so less crowded than Jokulsarlon. I didn’t see any seals there, but it was very quiet and nice to explore.
I stopped at a parking lot with a magnificent view of a glacier to eat my lunch. The rest of the road trip I hadn’t really planned that day. On my way to Hella I discovered I could visit a glacier called Svinafellsjokull. Even though its parking lot only lies about 2.6 kilometers from the Ring Road, it took me about 20 minutes to get there.
The road to the parking lot is a dirt road in very bad shape. So I was lucky I was driving a 4×4! The bumpy ride was worth it though, because the glacier is a fantastic place to visit! I saw parts of the glacier falling into the glacier lake which made an awesome sound.
After getting off the dirt road, I drove about an hour before reaching Skaftareldahraun in the Katla geopark. I was in need of a stop and the sight of the lava covered with green moss had made me curious the day before. So I wanted to explore this area for a while.
Apparently this landscape was formed by one of the largest lava flows that took place on Earth in recorded history. The eruption lasted eight months. This resulted in 12 km3 of basalt lava flowing onto the surface, covering about 565 km2 of Iceland! This was again one of those mystical places that really impressed me.
Then I decided to drive to Hjörleifshöfði. This is a 221 meters high headland and a place of great history. At the top of the Hjörleifshöfði cave is a landmark named Hjörleifshaugur. This is where Hjörleifur, one of the first settlers of Iceland, is believed to have been buried. I thought the drive to the parking lot was pretty cool. You drive through a black sandy landscape following the trace of previous cars.
(There is no actual road) I was able to hike up the headland for a while, but once I almost reached the top to visit the grave, I had to return due to the massive gusts of wind that prevented me to breathe.
Back down I decided to visit the cave, but guess what? The road to the cave was closed due to Game of Thrones recordings! I hesitated for a while to go there on foot to have a sneak peek. But then I decided to return. I didn’t want to disturb the crew of my favorite TV series. So I drove back to the Ring Road to Vik to have a burger at the N1 gas station.
When I entered the restaurant no one was to be seen behind the counter, where you had to order your meal. But there was a bell with a sign stating you had to ring the bell if no one was there. I hesitated for a while because I felt like it could be a bit too intrusive. But then I did it anyway. What happened next was actually a bit hilarious.
As soon as I rang the bell, a guy with an enormous smile appeared in a split of a second asking how he could help me in a very enthusiastic way. When I looked around the whole restaurant was staring at me, amused. I had to laugh and then I ordered my dinner. While I was eating my burger I had the time to observe the guy behind the counter and I loved him! He was so funny and friendly to everyone!
After dinner I drove straight to Hotel Kanslarin and had a good night sleep.
Day 4 Hella – Selfoss
Where did I stay: Skálatjörn Guesthouse (book here)
Total driving time: 4,5 hours
Total kilometers to drive: 261 km
Stops: Þjófafoss, Haifoss, Faxafoss, Gullfoss, Geysir, Urriðafoss
The next morning I took road 26 to explore more inland. On my way I passed a lot of farm land and horse farms. My first goal was to reach Þjófafoss. This waterfall is a true hidden gem. After driving for about 44 kilometers on road 26 I found the dirt road on the left, leading to Þjófafoss. It took me a while to reach the waterfall, because the road is in very bad condition, leading you through the lava field.
I even thought about returning at a certain point, a little afraid that I would destroy my tires. But when I checked my app, I found out I was almost there and I continued.
The view of Þjófafoss, the blue-green river and the Burfell mountain in the back didn’t disappoint at all. It was simply gorgeous and I had it all to myself! I took so many photos! I sat there for a while to enjoy the view and then I drove back to road 26.
After a while also road 26 changed into a wide dirt road. I was so glad when I reached the intersection with road 32. So I could finally drive a normal road again! But not for long! I took the side road to Haifoss, which resulted in an even worse dirt road.
But the “normal” car in front of me continued so I just followed it. If they could do it, I certainly would be able to drive that horrible road with my 4×4! I drove through a river and there were some very bumpy situations. But in the end I made it to the Haifoss parking lot! All sweaty from the heavy steering work and concentration that was needed to drive that dirt road!
When I stepped out of the car together with the boy and girl who drove in front of me, everyone started to laugh and talk about the road condition. What an adventure that just was! We talked for a while and then I headed off to the edge of the cliff with an amazing view of the Haifoss and Granni waterfalls.
I had already seen some snow while driving the dirt road, but I was still surprised seeing that many ice and snow at the foot of both waterfalls! I met a couple with a small child that I joined to hike down to the foot of the waterfall.
The hike was a bit slippery, but not too hard. I stayed down for a while taking pictures and then I met the boy and girl from the car in front of me again. We hiked back up together telling about our travel adventures and life. I really liked them.
When I reached the car it started to rain so that made it even more difficult to drive the dirt road back to road 32 again. The river I had crossed before had grown wider and deeper, so I have to admit at that time I was praying to be able to cross it safely (even though I’m not religious and I don’t know how to pray :D).
Back on the 32 it really started to pour with rain so I decided to drive straight to Faxafoss with only one stop; a gas station to get some gas and eat lunch (I was still able to eat from all the stuff I bought on the first day at the Netto Supermarket). I only stopped at Faxafoss for about 5 minutes since it was still raining hard and then I continued to one of the most famous waterfalls of Iceland; Gullfoss.
It was the first time during my Southwest Iceland road trip that I had to search for parking space. There were so many people here! But Gullfoss is part of the famous Golden Circle route. Which is the most touristic route of Iceland. So it wasn’t a big surprise.
The rain changed to melting snow on my way down to this massive waterfall. But that didn’t get me less wet. The raw power of Gullfoss really impressed me! The sound and spray of this waterfall conquers here! I got hypnotized by seeing the water splashing down into the canyon of the river Hvita. I could stand there for hours in awe watching the water disappear.
The rain stopped and it was time for the next Icelandic wonder; the geysers! The geyser park is only 10 kilometers away from Gullfoss, so after a short drive I parked my car and headed straight to Strokkur. While walking to this active geyser I saw him exploding for the first time.
That was such an awesome sight! But also a little funny because at the same time there were a few people who were on the wrong side of it, who got totally soaked (it was very windy there, so the wind blew the steam/water to the path). I chose a safe place to stand beside the geyser, pressed my recording button and waited until it would erupt again.
The first time it exploded while I was so close, I jumped in the air because it took me by surprise! The lady beside me who was taking photos with a tripod smiled at me and said she jumped the first time as well. I focused on the boiling water surface, so I would know when the geyser would explode.
Right before the geyser exploded, a massive bubble was formed and that way I knew when to get ready to take photos and record a video. I stood there for almost an hour, amused by the people waiting with excitement to see the geyser explode. Then I explored the rest of the geyser park. I loved the contrast of the ice on the surface and the boiling water.
Then it was time for my last stop. After driving for about 50 minutes I arrived at Urriðafoss. Visitors often skip this waterfall. It may not look spectacular, but it is formed by the Þjórsá river falling off the margin of Þjórsárhraun lava field (360 m3/sec), which is the largest lava field that flooded on Earth since the last ice age! Most of the water comes from Hofsjökull, Vatnajökull and Tungnafellsjökull glaciers.
Then I headed to Skálatjörn Guesthouse, about 7 kilometers from Urriðafoss. This goat farm was my home for the next night of my Southwest Iceland road trip. The lady of the house was super nice and she showed me the goat stable.
The goats were so cute! I even got to hold a baby goat! I regretted not staying here for longer because she was so nice, the location so pretty and the studio was perfect as well! She even gave me an Icelandic beer to enjoy my evening!
Day 5 Selfoss – Snaefellsnes
Where did I stay: Grund i Grundarfirdi (book here)
Total driving time: 4,5 hours
Total kilometers to drive: 292 km
Stops: Kerið crater, Þingvellir National Park, Sjavarfoss, Glymur, Selvallavatn, Kirkjufellsfoss
Ready for another day of adventure on this Southwest Iceland road trip! I woke up early again and under a clear blue sky I headed to Kerið crater, about 30 minutes from the goat farm. There were only 3 other people there, so that was perfect to take photos. I walked down to the crater lake, but didn’t do the complete tour around the crater, because I knew I had still quite some places to visit that day.
Then I drove to the most famous park of Iceland; Þingvellir. What makes this place so interesting is that it is actually a rift valley. This rift valley is created by the North American and Eurasian tectonic plates that are being pulled apart at a rate of 2 centimeters per year. Which makes Þingvellir the visible site of the mid-Atlantic Ridge! How cool is that! Þingvellir is also a very important historical site. Viking settlers chose this place in 930 AD to be the meeting place of the Alþingi, the world’s oldest parliament.
My first stop at Þingvellir was the Oxararfoss waterfall. While walking the path along the canyon I discovered stories about the places I was passing. Here people got hanged and drowned. I really loved reading these stories. Walking through the canyon also made me feel small and realize that Iceland is such a wonderful powerful place. Here you can still feel nature rules all.
After spending a few hours at Þingvellir it was time to drive to Glymur. But first I stopped at Sjavarfoss to have lunch. This small waterfall was the perfect background to just sit and relax for a while. Then I continued my road trip to Glymur.
How I was looking forward to meet this massive waterfall, that drops down in a huge canyon! I parked my car and at the beginning of the hike a lady told me it wasn’t possible to do the hike to the waterfall because the log hadn’t been placed yet, so you weren’t able to cross the river. What a disappointment!
I decided to hike to the river to see what my options were. There I met some guys who hiked the other path along the river. They showed me their pictures of the view from this side of the river. I wasn’t impressed and since it started to rain, I decided it wasn’t worth the trouble because the hike took at least 2 hours and the sky looked very threatening. How I would’ve loved to see Glymur in all its glory from the other side of the river and canyon. But it was impossible to get there. So if you ever want to hike to this waterfall, you will need to go during the Summer months.
I continued my journey to Bogarnes. A small town where I filled the gas tank and my stomach with a delicious cinnamon pastry. I went to the Bonus supermarket to buy food and drove off to Snæfellsnes peninsula! Icelanders call this part of Iceland “mini Iceland” because this part offers everything that Iceland has to offer. So I couldn’t wait to explore! On the way I stopped to admire the views at Selvallavatn and Kolgrafafjörður and the last stop of that day was Kirkjufellsfoss!
I think everyone these days knows what Kirkjufellsfoss is. This waterfall became famous because it was used as a location in Game of Thrones. It is also a beautiful place because it is surrounded by fantastic mountains such as the unique triangle shaped Kirkjufell mountain.
The sun was shining at the time so I sat here for quite a while, enjoying a conversation with an Asian photographer who said he preferred grey skies to take pictures, because now the contrast was too big. But I loved the blue sky, the green Kirkjufell mountain and the sea in the back.
My stay for the night was pretty cool! The Grund i Grundarfirdi apartment had a huge window with a view on the Kirkjufell mountain and the sea. I made dinner in its huge shared kitchen and enjoyed my evening sitting in front of the window.
Day 6 Snaefellsnes – Hveragerði
Where did I stay: Hver apartments (book here)
Total driving time: 4,5 hours
Total kilometers to drive: 311 km
Stops: Kirkjufellsfoss, Buðakirkja, Arnarstapi/Gatklettur, Londrangar cliffs, Djupalonssandur
On the sixth day of my Southwest Iceland road trip the weather was very gloomy. I drove back to Kirkjufellsfoss and had to admit the Asian photographer was right. My photos showed more details now.
I loved the vibe this weather created and drove to Buðakirkja via road 54 that took me through the mountains and the snow! What an amazing sights I saw while driving there!
After about 40 minutes I arrived at the small black church called Buðakirkja. A lava field surrounds this church which made it look surreal. I also found it a bit spooky, so I didn’t stay that long.
I drove further to a town called Arnarstapi. There you can hike along a fantastic coastline. Gatklettur is probably the most famous rock formation you can find here. Hundreds of seagulls surrounded me and I loved watching the waves splashing against the rocks. I had a burger for lunch at Stapinn and then my Snæfellsnes adventure continued.
I stopped at Londrangar, about 10 minutes from Arnarstapi. Londrangar is actually a remnant of a crater consisting of ancient basalt volcanic dikes sticking out of the sea. There I did another coastal walk.
It was such an impressive sight to see all the seabirds flying beneath me, surrounded by the massive cliffs and the waves crashing into them. Unfortunately there were no puffins among them.
My last stop at Snæfellsnes was Djupalonssandur, the Black Lava Pearl Beach. This place had such a mystical vibe! It was as if the dragons of Game of Thrones could appear at any time. The rock formations surrounding the beach were so dramatic!
The sneaker waves looked even more threatening than the ones at Black Beach. I loved walking on this beach between all these angry lava rocks.
And then it was time to drive all the way back to the South. I enjoyed the views on the way but I was so glad when I arrived at Hver apartments at the town called Hveragerði. After 6 days, the driving, the early mornings and the cold weather started to become exhausting.
Day 7 Hveragerði – Reykjavik – Hveragerði (Reykjadalur hot spring)
Where did I stay: Hver apartments (book here)
Total driving time: 1,5 hours
Total kilometers to drive: 99 km
Stops: Reykjavik, Reykjadalur hot springs
That morning I slept a little longer and then I drove to Reykjavik. Because you can’t go to Iceland without visiting its capital city, right? I was thinking of doing a whale watching tour, but the weather was so cold, windy and rainy that I changed those plans.
I parked my car at the parking lot of the Bonus Supermarket, situated north, just outside the town center. Paying for parking space would’ve been expensive and Reykjavik is difficult to drive with all these one way streets. So this was the easiest and cheapest solution!
Reykjavik isn’t a big city. I walked along the ships for a while before I entered the city center. There I found a cute Christmas shop, where it is Christmas all year round! I visited the Hallgrimskirkja, Reykjavik’s most famous church and I wandered through the colorful streets.
I had a quick bite at Rustik and returned to Hveragerði, because it was raining too hard to really enjoy the city.
What was I going to do for the rest of the day in this bad weather? The owner of the apartment had told me about hot springs not far from the village. So I decided to go there. If the weather turned out to be too bad, I could always return, but then at least I had tried. So I drove the car to the parking lot where the hike to the Reykjadalur hot springs starts. There were quite some cars, so at least I wasn’t the only nutcase that had decided to hike in this weather.
The beginning of the hike was quite pleasant. I passed some warm streams, boiling water pits and steamy holes in the ground. But once I passed the first hill the wind got stronger and stronger. The people that passed me by from the opposite direction were grumpy and didn’t even say hi! Only at the beginning of the hike I had met two guys who assured me it was great to jump into the hot springs.
The hike became a struggle the more I advanced. But seeing the steam behind the hill, I decided to continue the hike even though the wind lifted me from the ground twice! On my way I met a girl and a boy from Poland. The girl lived here and said the hot springs were nice. So we continued the hike together.
Arriving at the hot springs about an hour later, another struggle began! I had to undress in the icy wind because there were no cabins. Luckily I was already wearing my bikini, but I was fighting with my clothes and bags against the wind to make sure nothing would fly away. To avoid my shoes and clothes from getting wet, I put them in plastic bags that I had taken with me. I put everything away and at a temperature of only 3°C I ran in my bikini into the warm water.
Lying in the warm water was bliss. I enjoyed the warmth on my skin for about 20 minutes. But when it started to pour with cold icy rain, hurting my face and eyes, I had enough of it. Undressing in this weather was hell, but I don’t know what I would call the next part…
I ran out of the water which hurt like hell in this icy rain coming from a heavenly 40°C. The wind felt like it was burning my skin and then the real struggle began… Which was actually hilarious. Because at this point a lot of people were leaving the water and were starting to yell and scream, all desperate to put on their clothes as fast as possible. I laughed so hard at this situation! Everyone was fighting with their bags and clothes against the wind and the cold.
Then it was smart and fast thinking time! First I put on my thermal top, so I could take off my bikini top. Then I put on my fleece jacket, so my upper body could start to warm up. Then I discovered my stretch pants got soaked so it took me about 10 desperate minutes of fighting, cursing, pulling and jumping to put them back on! (I kept my bikini panties on, because my pants was wet anyway) The struggle was real and hilarious! Everyone was laughing hysterically at their misery.
Once I was dressed again in my wet clothes I started to return back to the car. Suddenly I understood why no one had said hi to me on my way to the hot springs. Everyone was just concentrating on keeping warm and returning to the car! I don’t think I ever hiked that fast! But once I arrived at the windy hills again, it was a fight against the stormy winds. The wind lifted me from the ground several times. Lucky that I didn’t fall off the hills. The hike seemed to last forever. So you can imagine how glad I was to reach the car!
Arriving back at the apartment I took the longest and hottest shower ever in history. This felt so good! The rest of the evening I was busy with hanging up my clothes and jacket to dry. Because the next morning I had to catch my flight back to Belgium. I was feeling so content and proud of myself that I did go through with that hot spring adventure! Some may call me crazy, but at least I ended this Southwest Iceland road trip with a bang!
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Bron: www.press.soundofc.be / World Wanderista – ingediende case: IJsland
Best Roadtrip – gesponsord door Audi