Myvatn is a beautiful lake in north Iceland. The area is known for it’s nature baths, geysers, smoky mountains because of high volcanic activity.
One of the strange experience here was of hot water smelling like rotten eggs due to it’s geothermal origin and presence of sulphur in it. I had read about it before coming here, so I knew this was coming next when we were in Myvatn. The smell doesn’t seem too bad especially because suplhur is supposedly known to help in curing diseases and is good for skin.
We planned to explore Myvatn area before heading towards the west to Saudarkrokur which is a town in north western Iceland.
Geothermal Area of Hverir/Namaskard –
From our airbnb in a town called Reykjahlid in the Myvatn area, the hot springs were quite close. They are located on ring route 1 which we already noticed while entering Myvatn.
We parked near the geothermal area, and the first thing we felt here was the strong smell of sulphur(the rotten egg smell) marking a strong presence of volcanic activity in this area.
We went closer to the hot bubbling mud pots with boiling water popping out from earth’s surface. There were numerous small and large mud pools like this with smoke coming out of them.
It was like an alien land with steaming vents and rightfully being compared to Mars because of it’s barren and mysterious traits.
After spending around 30 mins here, we left to visit the next in line attraction on today’s itinerary.
The Krafla volcanic lava fields were around 10 kms away from Hverir, so we continued following the google maps navigation to it. We passed by a geothermal power plant and lava field which were quite interesting to see how efficently Iceland utilizes it’s natural resources. We drove up the hill till the crater where we parked the car just next to the rim. The volcanic crater is itself very beautiful with deep blue water. We walked a bit around it but not around the entire rim of the crater.
The view of the beautiful mountains crisscrossing each other with pipes laid out connecting to a geothermal plant below was a beautiful sight to look at. Experiencing the surreal landscape is an experience of a lifetime, with it’s ruggedness and just one road in between showing a trace of livelihood in nature’s abode.
Dettifoss is one of the most powerful waterfalls in Europe. It was around an hour drive from the Viti crater to the east side of Dettifoss.
The size of the waterfall can be guessed from the fact that it can be approached from 2 sides, which are both far away from each other. So, we had to decide which side to choose. From east side, it is possible to go closer to the waterfall but there is a very long gravel road not in a good condition. Both the sides offer different perspectives of viewing the waterfall.
The western side is the easiest to get because of the asphalt road 862 which we decided to take.
The parking is quite huge with a lot of vehicles owing to the waterfall’s popularity with the tourists. From the parking area, we took a short hike about 1 km on a well marked trail to reach the gate. We walked down the stairs to approach the waterfall. The waterfall was throwing tons of water that it was impossible to see it’s bottom because of the mist engulfing the waterfall.
We followed the path along the waterfall and got wet from the rising mist of the falls. So, a waterproof jacket is a must here as well like in other waterfalls of Iceland. The waterfall is impressive because of it’s power, beauty and magnitude. After getting some pictures at some of the viewpoints, we were back at the gate from where we entered to go down.
But, I was also a bit disappointed to see the muddy water flowing from it as it might have rained before. Though I can imagine how much more beautiful it would have appeared if the water was clean!
From the entrance of Dettifoss, we followed signs to Selfoss which is a quite a pretty sight to look at. Though it is much smaller and less powerful than Dettifoss, I somehow found it more alluring and enchanting.
There were numerous falls over the basalt cliffs cascading down into the river. It is as unique and impressive as Dettifoss despite being smaller is size. We spent some time here admiring the scenic beauty around and tried going closer to the falls but couldn’t. We could see the people from the other side who were much closer to the waterfall.
This a waterfall which can be easily spotted while driving towards Akureyri. It is one of the spectacular waterfalls of Iceland and a picture perfect stop on the way.
We parked our car and walked along a trail to reach a viewing point which was below the waterfall. We walked on the pebbles to get a selfie with the waterfall. It is beautiful waterfall and one of the biggest in Iceland. We walked further ahead to a viewing area at the top from where we could watch the waterfall beautifully splashing blue water into the stream below.
While leaving Myvatn, We visited the magnificent Myvatn lake on the way. The lake looks spectacular because of it’s vastness and the surrounding majestic ice capped volcanic mountains.
We drove around 70 kms further to arrive at Akureyri which is one of the biggest town in Iceland. There were multiple tunnels we drove in and out of to reach here. It used to be exciting while exiting a tunnel as the darkness was followed by beautiful landscapes filled with glorious sunshine as we were exiting the long dark tunnel. Not to forget is the toll for the tunnel which needs to be paid online within 2-3 hours which we actually missed and ended up paying a late fee while returning the car.
Akureyri is a charming town with beautiful snow capped mountains and pretty buildings with a port and a fishing centre. Exiting from the last tunnel into this town was like going to a fairytale land. As we were famished by now, we searched for a restaurant.
Craving for seafood, we went to Noa Seafood Restaurant. We ordered catch of the day which was a locally caught fresh seafood . The chef also showed us a picture of the (shark) fish captured on his mobile which was quite interesting.
The food and the ambiance were ideal for a quiet and relaxed lunch in this far-away town from our homeland. Surrounded by beautiful decor with unique art pieces and paintings added an extra flavor to the delicious meal which we relished wholeheartedly.
While leaving, We had a nice conversation with a girl at the counter who asked us about our vacation in Iceland and also,told us about her dream to visit the Himalayas in India which was fascinating to hear from someone in Iceland.
After having a sumptuous meal, we decided to walk towards the Church of Akureyri which was around a km away. The walk along the harbor to the church also gave us a chance to explore the beautiful city with artistic buildings which caught my attention.
A few stairs led us to the church at the top which is on a hill. The tall basalt columns of the church casted a powerful impression on our minds with it’s marvelous architecture and design.
We still had a lot of journey left to reach our next destination, Saudakrokur in North West Iceland. This was due to the face that we planned to traverse through the Trollaskagi peninsula along the coastline which was a longer route through Route 82. The shorter route through Route 1 is also an alternative route.
The drive through Trollaskagi Peninsula is scenic with gigantic mountains towering on the coast. We were enjoying the scenery but the rains played a spoilsport which did dilute the experience. Though we did managed spotting the peninsula which was a stunning view like a cut out piece from a carving. The water around the peninsula had different shades of blue making the view magical and enchanting.
It was raining incessantly by the time we reached Saudakrokur. Our airbnb was located in a farm with horses and sheeps. After a long tiring drive, there was still some excitement left to meet our hosts and check into our airbnb here as it was located in the middle of no where. There were no other houses or trace of human existence around.
The house was beautifully located in the middle of a farm. We greeted our host who welcomed us into our house. We chatted for some time and got to know more about their farm and the horses they have. As it was still raining, we decided to stay inside and have our dinner – with the ready to eat packets which we were carrying along.
It was a remarkable end to another day in this beautiful house in Iceland.
Important links for the day:
Airbnb accommodation at Saudakrokur
Link to the main blog of Iceland: Hello Iceland