Welcome back friends, today we are going to conclude the story about our journey to Iceland, describing in particular the last two days, when we reached Reykjavík from Akureyri. For those who are visiting our blog for the first time, you can find here the first and second parts.
The two maps below show the full journey and the specific part we will illustrate in this post.
Day 7: From Akureyri to Miðhraun.
It was sad to leave Akureyri, a town that literally made us fall in love, but it was time to pack so, after breakfast, we left towards the west of Iceland, driving through the famous ring road. The seventh day was probably the most challenging because we spent many hours in the car, doing only few stops when the view caught our attention.
The first stop was Glaumbær, a museum of an ancient peat farm and cultural heritage. It is a complex of wooden houses with a grassy roof, connected by a single central corridor. The place is worth a visit; in fact, the beauty of the surrounding landscape leaves you speechless; we arrived at mid-morning and the sun was lighting up the mountains and many horses and sheep were grazing free in the meadows. The colourful houses with the grassy roof of this site are typical of this country.
Resuming our journey by car, we headed to Stykkishólmur, a small fishing village on the Snæfellsnes peninsula. In our itinerary’s planning we had noted down an amazing restaurant in this little town with an unpronounceable name, Sjávarpakkhúsið, where we had lunch. The restaurant is furnished in a perfect marine style with dark wooden chairs, light blue walls and paintings with references to the sea. The food is delicious and the fish is so fresh!
Later we reached the Icelandic municipality of Grundarfjörður. Being big fans of the series Game Of Thrones, we were anxious to finally admire another famous location in this TV series: Kirkjufell. The characteristic shape of this mountain, however, is revealed only once you reached the parking lot; in fact, while we were approaching in the car, we kept asking ourselves “but … are we sure this is the right place?” … “it does not look like the one from the movie” … “have we gone the wrong way…?”. We had high expectations of this place and we expected Kirkjufell to be clearly more impressive, but the mountain is only 463 meters height. Anyway, it is worth to be visited and photographed; in particular, there is an observation point, reachable by a short path, from which you can admire the mountain along with three small waterfalls and the stunning scenery that opens up in front of them.
The next stop was Skarðsvík Beach, a beach of golden sand (a rarity in the country), made even more beautiful by the turquoise colours of the water and lava rocks. After a short walk we went back to our undefined itinerary; this part of the Island does not offer any famous points of interest, so we let ourselves be inspired by the most evocative places. From the window we saw the Saxhòll volcano along the way and then we arrived at Dritvik Djúpalónssandur. This is another volcanic beach made with dark rocks of the strangest shapes. In this place the shipwreck of an English fishing boat occurred in 1948; some remains of the ship are still on the beach, deliberately left to commemorate the victims of that tragedy. A little further on, there is Londrangar, another volcanic rock formation located on the beach and eroded over time.
The next stop was Búðakirkja Black Church, a small black church with white windows, in perfect Nordic style, surrounded by mountains and the ocean… what an enchanted place! We walked on a path to reach the beach and to take some pictures of the church from as many angles as possible. Also, we were lucky because we had the pleasure to attend an Icelandic wedding and, later, to witness the photo shoot of the bride and groom!
At that moment we were hungry but soon we realized that in the area there was no restaurant. The nearest supermarket was 40 km away, so we decided to reach our last holiday accommodation near Miðhraun, the Lava Water Accommodation. It is a farm that offers the possibility to stay in the Guesthouse or in one of the near terraced houses; we chose this last solution. Our house was new and equipped with a large open-plan living room-kitchen, a bathroom, two bedrooms and a laundry room.
After settling down, we, Elisa and Giulia, went exploring the area on foot; we tried to take some pictures of a flock of sheep that was right in front of our accommodation, until we have been almost attacked by one of them who was probably trying to protect his little lambs! Frightened, we ran away bent over with laughter!!
After a quick dinner with the leftovers of what we had bought in Akureyri, Elisa had a brilliant idea: trying the hot springs of Landbrotalaug. A little hesitant, we wore the swimsuit under the clothes, we put the towels in the backpack and we headed to this mysterious place found on the internet. These baths surrounded by nature, without artificial constructions, consist of a shallow “hole” with water at 38 Celsius degrees; however, the space is limited because only two people can immerse together at a time. Arrived there, despite being 11 p.m., we found out that there was still a queue (Do you know that the Icelanders use hot pools, the so called “hot pot”, to relax and have a conversation?). So, we walked into the marshes (we cannot tell you how hard it is but, above all, what a bad feeling it is to do it with slippers on your feet!) and, by chance, we found another warm pool, wider and definitely less crowded. Without scare, we immersed in the water, immediately feeling a pleasant sensation of warmth. Surrounded by an impressive landscape, with the pink sunset sky reflected on the pond and mountains and meadows around, we felt grateful for this unforgettable experience! Back at home, we went to the laundry to wash our shoes because they were completely covered with mud!
Day 8: From Miðhraun to the Blue Lagoon
The day after, the last one of our vacation, we packed our bags and started again our trip by car. Passing through Borgarnes, we stopped at the Café Brák and we had breakfast with some good waffles and brioches.
Arrived then in Reykjavík, we went to Perlan where we had the pleasure to meet an Italian friend of ours who lives in this country (Hi Giada!!). This modern property features a panoramic deck and an Icelandic wonder museum, a planetarium, a gift shop, a bar and a restaurant. Unfortunately, the grey day did not let us see the city from above, what a pity!
Around lunch time, we went back to explore the streets of Reykjavík and we decided to try some street food; we spotted a stand and after 15 minutes of queue we finally tasted their famous Hot Dogs!
With a full stomach, we reached the final stage of our journey: The Blue Lagoon. These artificial pools, known all over the world to be one of the best SPAs, are immediately recognizable thanks to their blue-milky waters (we will write a dedicated post to better describe this topic in the future). Left our luggage in the car, we brought with us only the backpacks with the clothes and the tickets we had booked months before. At the entrance we received a bracelet that opens/ closes the lockers and it’s used for the purchases within the structure, paying conveniently at the exit.
Wearing costume and bathrobe, we took the camera with us to take some pictures, but damnit… it was so hard! Externally there were 6 °C, it was cloudy and very windy… we held up 15 minutes but then, chilled as never before, we ran to leave our cameras to be able to finally relax in the hot water! What a nice feeling! The Blue Lagoon was quite busy, but the pool was large and dispersive. You can take the first drink for free, so we decided to try a fruit centrifuge; we spent the following two hours to bask in the warm water, exploring every corner of the Blue Lagoon and chatting. The evening ended with a hot shower, a dinner at the Lava Restaurant (annex to the Blue Lagoon) and the wait at the airport; that night we took the flight back to Italy.
Thus, this is the end of our trip to Iceland that we can summarize in 8 highlights:
- 4 friends
- 8 days of vacation, the last week of May
- outdoor temperatures between 2-18°C
- € 2500/person
- 2000 km travelled
- 30 hours by car
- more than 40 natural attractions visited
- memories of infinite beauty etched in the heart forever
We hope to have made you want to leave and explore this wonderful country; we loved it and no doubt it falls into our top 3 destinations to be seen at least once in a lifetime.
See you soon with our next adventure!