Happy Friday! I hope you are doing well! I’m so excited to share the first part of my Iceland travel diary with you! We took an overnight flight from Chicago on May 5th and landed on May 6th at Keflavik International Airport. During our stay, we explored South Iceland, spending each day low-key, allowing time to wander where we saw fit. We wanted to thoroughly enjoy our time and see where the sights took us. Here’s what we did during our first three days in South Iceland:
IceRental 4×4 picked us up from the airport and handed over our car. Once we picked up our car, we set out to Basendar, which is the remains of a saga age fishing village that was destroyed by a tidal wave in 1799. After driving for a little while through many different terrains, we ended up at Krysuvikurberg in Reykjanes. The cliffs stretch for 4km and are home to 57,000 seabird pairs in summer. We then drove on a teeny tiny little road with scary drop-offs to Seltún. Seltún is a geothermal area with mud pots and fumaroles (an opening in or near a volcano, through which hot sulfurous gases emerge). The reserve was so nice because they had boardwalks that we followed through the area, but I must say, I could hardly stand the eggy smell of sulfur – it was SO strong! We then made our way through the Reykjanes area, getting out to take photos when the landscape was unreal and then drove to Reykjavik. We spent some time walking around the little shops, exploring the neighborhoods and finished the evening going to mass at Mariukirkja. For accommodations, we spent the night at Lambastadir Guesthouse and enjoyed our stay. If you’re visiting, I recommend staying here – the guesthouse is located on a beautiful piece of land with farm animals and the drive to get there is stunning!
On day two, we woke up and ate breakfast at the guesthouse. We had a simple breakfast and then drove to Seljalandsfoss. We immediately saw the waterfall from the car and before we even parked, I knew this would be one of my favorite sights. We parked the car and hopped out, stunned at just how huge this waterfall was. We threw our waterproof gear on and walked a little ways to the waterfall. After taking it all in from the front, we took the treacherous route to walk behind the waterfall. The rocks were soaking wet and slippery, so if you visit, remember to wear sturdy shoes. After we made our way out from behind the waterfall, we walked a short ways to Gljúfrabúi. To get to the waterfall, you have to walk through some water and step on a few loose/slippery rocks. Once we made our way through the gushing water, we were at the foot of the waterfall! We each climbed up on a rock at the foot of the water and soaked it all in. It was one of the most amazing experiences I’ve ever had! After spending several hours there enjoying the waterfalls, we went ahead and checked into Hotel Anna. Though a bit old fashioned in terms of decor, Hotel Anna was both mine and Gary’s favorite place we stayed. They had a sauna, hot tub, self-service tea station, and a restaurant. Plus, our room was huge, so we had plenty of room to spread all our gear out. It was the day of our one year wedding anniversary, so we had a nice dinner at their restaurant – the food was absolutely delicious! The employees were so nice there – we felt so comfortable and welcomed.
We started our third day eating a great breakfast at the hotel and then drove to Skógafoss. The views on the way to the waterfall were so beautiful. The mountains with the clouds so low reminded us of Kauai! We pulled into the parking lot of Skógafoss and I was immediately in awe – it was breathtaking! We then hiked up the stairs to the top of the waterfall and spent some time at the lookout. The views from up there were absolutely incredible. While we were on the lookout, we noticed a gate that had a path, so we decided to follow it – I’m so happy we did! We spent hours walking by immense waterfalls and streams of water. The views reminded us of Lord of the Rings! Plus, the sunny and warm weather just added to the amazing views. After we made our way back down to the car, we drove to Dyrhólaey. Once we made it to the top of the cliffs, the change of weather was insane. It was absolutely freezing and the wind was blowing so hard – I was terrified I was going to be blown off the cliff! We saw the lighthouse at the top, the black sand beach, and the arch. We didn’t stay there very long because it was really freaky being so high with just a tiny two-foot tall metal rope to keep from falling off the edge. We then drove over to Reynisdrangar black sand beach. The beach was so beautiful – we walked in the basalt caves and saw the rock formations that stick out of the ocean! We then drove out to Hrifunes Guesthouse where we spent the night. We stayed in these little houses – they were so cute! All of the employees there were so friendly and accommodating. Our shower drain wasn’t working, so we called and the manager dropped what she was doing and came and fixed it for us! Overall, I highly recommend staying there!
Make sure you come back next Friday for Part 2!