I have been wishing to visit Iceland for many years because everybody described it as a country with wonderful landscapes and a peculiar desolation of the volcanic places.
7-day trip to Iceland visiting Pingvellir National Park , the springs of Geysir , Gullfoss, Selyalandsfoss and Skogafoss waterfalls, the lava field Myrdalssandur , the basaltic rocks of Dverghamarar , the Vatnajokull glacier, Svartifoss waterfall, the Jokulsarlon glacial lagoon , the town Hofn , Stokksnes , Museum Steinasafn Petru , the village Moorudalur , the Dettifoss waterfall , the Asbyrgi Canyon , the town of Husavik , the lake Myvatn and its lava surroundings ( Dimmuborgir , Stora – Viti , Leirhnjukur , Hverir ) , the Gothafoss waterfall, the town of Akureyri , the peat houses Museum , Glanni waterfall, Reykjavik .
I considered reasonable a one-week trip to make a thorough visit but I was wrong.
Considering that you usually do not go back to visit countries already seen , preferring the new ones, I think that two or three more days would have been necessary for a more complete visit.
Pingvellir National Park, Gheysir, Gullfoss waterfall, Seljalandsfoss waterfall and Skogafoss waterfall
Iceland welcomed us with a cold, rainy and windy day.
We visited the Pingvellir National Park crossed by the great rift that separates the European tectonic plates from the North American one.
Inside there is the Alþingi (Althing) which is the place where the Vikings founded the first Icelandic parliament.
Geysir is the place that gave its name to all geysers in the world. We covered the area meeting bubbling pools, very colourful springs, smoking holes and the Strokkur, a fountain geyser that erupts every five minutes.
Gullfoss (Golden Falls) waterfall is spectacular and, for the double jump of the water , is considered the most famous of Iceland. Under the wind and the rain we stopped to admire the high Seljalandsfoss waterfall that spouts in the lake below; it is suggestive the path that runs on its back side.
Then we visited the last waterfall, Skogafoss; the water jump is very high but nothing to do with the spectacle of the previous two waterfalls .
Dyrholaey Cape, puffins, lava expanse of Myrdalssandur, basalt rocks of Dverghamrar and Vatnajokull glacier
With a strong wind and pouring rain, we arrived at the Dyrholaey Cape.
The sea was very rough, sand and rocks were black, the sky was full of dark gray clouds. This spectral landscape was softened by the presence of the colorful puffins which live in this Natural Reserve of.
We crossed a vast expanse of lava sand, called Myrdalssandur. Furthermore , where the lava flows are more ancient, the lava fields are covered with moss and take the name of Eldhraun.
We stopped to admire Dverghamrar (Dwarf Rocks), large basalt columns shaped as organ pipes. We also began to see the Vatnajokull glacier, the largest in Europe, with its manifold and long ice tongues which even gets to lap the road.
Svartifoss waterfall, Vatnajokull glacier and Jokulsarlon glacial lagoon
We climbed a trail until we reached Svartifoss waterfall, whose water spouts passing among beautiful black basalt columns.
Then we stopped to admire other ice tongues of the glacier before arriving in Jokulsarlon a glacial lagoon which we sailed using an amphibious ship.
We were fascinated by the lively birds flying over the beach in front of us, which was full of chunks of ice as it was the sea where young people were bathing.
Hofn, Stokksnes, purple Alaskan lupines and Stodvarfjordur
Arriving in the small town of Hofn we found the first pale sun and wide views of the glacier. Quite close we stopped in Stokksnes to admire peaks of rhyolite, a volcanic rock that has a variety of different colours, all pastels.
The purple Alaskan lupines are very beautiful.
We continued until Stöðvarfjörður to stop and visit the Museum of Minerals and Native Plants of Steinasafn Petru.
Desert of Iceland, Moorudalur, Dettifoss waterfall, canyon of Asbyrgi e Usavik
We left the coast to visit the north-eastern hinterland.
The landscape is barren with small hills, the existing vegetation is little, very low and only close to watercourses. This is why the region is called the Desert of Iceland.
We made a short detour to Moorudalur, a small cluster of houses where we could see the first peat houses.
It is spectacular the canyon where Dettifoss waterfall spouts.
A few kilometers further there is the impressive Asbyrgi canyon where you can clearly see how big could have been the great cataclysm which originated the canyon.
We reached the first town since we left Reykijavik: Husavik .
It is beautiful the harbor and the bustling tourist life that characterizes the town. It owes its importance to the possibility of whale watching and, in fact, there are many agencies that offer trips out to sea.
Myvatn lake, lava field Dimmuborgir, Stora-Viti crater, Leirhnjukurvcrater and Hverir solfataras
Myvatn lake is strewed with “small islands” (called pseudocraters ) shaped as craters which had been originated by eruptive phenomena.
In the eastern part of the lake, there is a huge lava field called Dimmuborgir, whose translation is: “dark castles”. In fact, you can see numerous lava formations, some shaped as columns, dating back to over two thousand years ago.
Following an equipped trail which crosses the Leirhnjukur crater with coloured solfataras (fumaroles that emit sulfurous gases). In the distance, we could see several lava flows that differ one to the other according to the intensity of their black colour. The blackest ones are the most recent .
Finally, Hverir solfataras welcomed us with fumaroles and coloured fields of sulfur deposits, not to mention the boiling mudpools.
A landscape … worth of Dante!
Godafoss waterfall, Akureyri, museum of peat houses, nice horses and Glanni waterfall
The beautiful waterfall Gothafoss is large and powerful.
Then we reached Akureyri, Iceland ‘s second city .
We admired the typical houses and the beautiful and modern cathedral.
It is quite interesting the Museum of peat houses, especially their interiors.
On the way to Reykjavik we stopped to visit a horse farm; the splendid horses deserved some photographic shots. Proceeding we could admire other beautiful panorama and the last scenic waterfall: Glanni waterfall.
Reykjavik: the cathedral (Hallgrimskirkja), Sun Voyager (Solfar), Concert Hall and Perlan
We managed to visit, even if hastily, the capital; we reached it in the afternoon but were favored by the sun that never sets (our last day in Iceland, we found a clear sky).
We visited the modern cathedral (Hallgrimskirkja), and the equally modern sculpture of the Sun Voyager (Solfar).
Then we saw the ultra-modern Concert Hall covered with glass panels.
Finally, the small wooden cathedral of 1848 and the first Icelandic parliament before which stands a huge block of rock split in half, it is the Black Cone, a Monument to Civil Disobedience .
I conclude with a wonderful picture of Perlan (a viewpoint) made with the telephoto lens at four in the morning .