UPDATE 2012 - Apparently this church has since burned down.
This church is close to Grindavík and was built in 1857. It is unlocked and contains a small donation jar on the front table. Bibles in icelandic are also located for reading along with a guest-book to sign in. It looks small from the outside and feels even smaller on the inside. Enjoy.
PARKING - FREE
ADMISSION - FREE
Kleifarvatn lake is a lake in Krýsuvík. It is the largest lake on the Reykjanes peninsula, covering an area of 8 km2. Beneath the lake are the fissures of the Mid-Atlantic ridge.
Something is killing the fish in lake Kleifarvatn. It is believed to be caused by hydrogen sulphide which has found its way through cracks in the bottom of the lake. This is believed to have started after the earthquake in this area in year 2000 when the water level lowered one meter in one year.
There are hot pool areas in Krýsuvík close to Kleifarvatn and beneath the lake.
By the lake the rocks are made of sandstone, making it quite an interesting area.
Seltùnshverir geothermal area is the main mud pool area in Krýsuvík. Like all these geothermal areas in Iceland Seltùn is amazing.
The colours here are just out of this world, you will see different nuances of red, grey, yellow, white, silver, brown - all in one area - with steam coming up from all over the place. And mud pools boiling and simmering in all directions.
This area is relatively big and there are wooden paths and view platforms, so one can walk straight throught the area and up to the view platform to get a fantastic look over this multi-coloured area. One just has to visit to see it, there is no describing what nature is offering here.
There is a parking lot here and from here there are hikes up to the mountains in this area.
Take care as the sulphur is poisonous, and one can get a nasty headache and nausea if too much of it is inhaled. There used to be sulphur mines here until 1880 as sulhpur was a popular commoditiy in the 13th century and onwards.
The heat here is 80-100 degrees C, so let us keep to the market trails and pathways.
There are guided tours to Seltùn.
Just before you reach the main mud pool area in Krýsuvík, coming from the south, on your right hand side there are two big mud pools. They are called Fúlipollur or Foul pool as they stink.
They look man made, but they are not. I find them amazing really, how the landscape can all of a sudden turn into a geothermal mud pool area like this, with two big holes in the ground. The colours here are amazing, red, grey, dark grey, silver and white and you can see the mud boiling.
There is steam coming up from the mud pools, this awfully smelling sulphur steam. I hate the smell of it, but love going to these areas as they are like out of this world.
Take care as the sulphur is poisonous, and one can get a nasty headache and nausea if too much of it is inhaled. The heat here is 80-100 degrees C, so let us not go too close to the mud pools.
Grænavatn lake - or The Green lake is right by the road in Krýsuvík, maybe a 10 minutes drive from the mud pool area there.
I stopped by this lake as it has got this most amazing colour, I could not believe that this colour was for real. It is not green per se, more out of this world blue and reddish.
The lake is in an explosion crater, but such craters often have lakes in them, see my tips on Landmannalaugar and Kerið in Grimsnes.
I have made a special page on Keflavík with several tips on what to do there and on hotels there. Keflavík is the largest of the 3 towns known as Reykjanesbær with a population of 14.137. The other towns are Ytri- and Innri-Njardvik and Hafnir and they were joined together in 1994.
Keflavík is a lovely town only 10 minutes away by car from the Icelandic international airport "Flugstöð Leifs Eiríkssonar" and sometimes before going abroad with the early morning flights I stay over at one of their Keflavík hotels. There are a lot of guesthouses, a cinema and a main street with nice shops. Its closeness to the Nato-base (evacuated in 2006) and the airport made it a booming town as well. It is often called Bítlabærinn "Beatles' Town" because a very popular Icelandic sixties rock band lived there. In Reykjanesbær there is a Waterworld (Vatnaveröld) with a 50 m indoor-swimming-pool and an indoor water park for the family.
Among the things to do in Keflavík is visiting Viking world museum/Smithsonian museum with its exact replica of a viking ship, visiting an evacuated NATO base where Icelanders are now building up a new "town". And in a cave by the ocean you can visit The Giantess in the Black cave. There are also several museums here. Have a look at my tips on my Keflavík page for more photos and tips.
The Blue lagoon is only 15 minutes away from Keflavík.
A lovely town which I visit often.
Vogar village in Vatnsleysuströnd is a small village by the ocean just before you reach the turn off to Grindavík and The Blue Lagoon. The inhabitants in this village are ca 1.126. The settler here was a kinswoman of our first settler Ingólfur Arnarson, Steinunn the Old.
Vogar is a typical small Icelandic village with a school, a kindergarten, a swimming pool, a community centre, a sports center, a hotel, a golf-course and a library to name some. And of course health-service and a police man, even though it is so close to Keflavík and Njarðvík (Reykjanesbær).
There is a lovely park in Vogar and a harbour. If you go down to the shore you will see the memorial for seamen, which ever little hamlet in Iceland has got. And by the shore there is lava with fissures in it and on a sunny day it makes for quite a lovely walk.
By the Vogaskóli school there is a rock of 450 kilos but the story goes that Jón sterki Daníelsson from Storð (born in 1771) carried that rock a long distance. Jón Daníelsson was Iceland´s strongest man and the rock now stands by the school as a monument for Jón.
There are two lighthouses in Garðskagi on Reykjanes. The smaller lighthouse was raised on the edge of Garðskagi peninsula in 1897 and is 12,5 meters high and was thought to be especially good in fog.
The bigger lighthouse was built in 1944 and is the highest lighthouse in Iceland, 28,6 meters high. The reason for another lighthouse being built was that the ocean was eroding more and more of the shore, so that lighthouse is a bit further from the ocean. Both the lighthouses have been closed when I have been visiting, and the smaller lighthouse is now preserved.
This is a very popular place here in Iceland and between the two lighthouses there is a camping place. The shore here is white, which is rare for this area and only in a few places in the West of Iceland can one see white beaches. And the view here is so beautiful.
There is a District museum next to the lighthouse and in front of it are two ships on display and it is possible to go onboard even when the museum is not open.
There is also a restaurant here and a gallery (see my tip on the gallery). But this area is also a good picnic area. And a very popular place amongst bird-watchers.
There is a town here called Garður with 1.477 inhabitans.
After the drive from Grindavík through this wilderness the next village is the lovely fishing village Sandgerði. There is something so likeable about this village, I cannot put my finger on it, but I love visiting this village.
The inhabitants in Sandgerði are ca 1.672 and the museum here is Fræðasetrið or The Nature Centre. There are also small galleries here and a walk through Sandgerði makes for a lovely walk.
Sandgerði is only a couple of km away from Keflavík with 7.991 inhabitants, and the international airport. If you drive north on road 45 there is the village Garður and the lighthouses (see my next tip).
Hafnir village is one of the small villages on Reykjanes with a population of only 87 people. Together with Keflavík and Njarðvík Hafnir is now called Reykjanesbær. Hafnir used to be a thriving, big hamlet, but with new fishery technology people moved to other villages in Reykjanes.
The oldest church in Reykjanes is in Hafnir and is called Kirkjuvogskirkja church. It dates back to 1861 and behind it remains of a settlement lodge was found by excavation in 2002.
In front of the church there is a big anchor (see my last photo) which came from a deserted ship, Jamestown, which landed by Ósabotnar in 1881. It was a huge ship full of fine wood which was used for building timber houses in the vicinity.
Grindavík is a hamlet with ca 2.830 inhabitants. Despite it being so small it is one of the most important fishing towns in Iceland.
Grindavík has got a church, a swimming pool, a golf course, horse-rental, 5 restaurants and a hotel and there are many interesting things to visit in this area. There is also The Icelandic Salt Fish Museum (650 fm2) which displays the story of salt fish production which has been really important for the Icelandic economy.
5 kilometres west of the town-centre, is Grindavík's main attraction, The Blue Lagoon, visited by almost all tourists who visit Iceland, and frequented a lot by us Icelanders as well. See my tips here on The Blue lagoon and on my Iceland page. I created a special Grindavík page when I started out on VT, as The Blue Lagoon belongs to Grindavík, but the tips got kind of lost on that page. That is why I moved them to my Iceland and Reykjanes pages.
There is a lovely little old house in Grindavík, called Gestahús Einars in Garðhúsum. It is 135 years old and serves as a small Information center and there is Icelandic embroidery for sale.
In 1627 some Algerian thugs came to Grindavík and more places in Iceland and kidnapped a lot of Icelanders and sold them into slavery :(
The Blue Lagoon is in Reykjanes peninsula and is the most frequented tourist attraction in Iceland. It is on the National Geographic list of 25 wonders in the world and the only spa on the list. More than 80% people visiting there are tourists. It is located in Grindavík town close to Keflavík airport. It is actually a discharge from the geothermal power plant, but good as such as it has healing qualities and works wonders on psoriasis and eczema. The geothermal sea-water comes from very deep wells and the temperature is ca 36-39 degrees C, hot in some places and colder in other places.
Apart from that it is a really relaxing experience. The lagoon has 2 steam-baths and a sauna, an outside massage area, a small waterfall underneath which you can stand and enjoy the massage of the water. There is a café inside and outside where you can go get water and refreshment/beer and as you leave there are two restaurants and a shop and as you go through the restaurants and up the stairs you can have a scenic view of the lagoon from the roof (see my next tip on The Blue Lagoon with more pictures of the scenic view).
There is also a hotel next to the lagoon.
The lagoon has constant flow so it doesn't get dirty, I have heard a lot of comments on that, but don't worry, every day there is new fresh water. You can feel that the water is much hotter in some places, that is where "new" water is being added to the lagoon. In those places the water gets even too hot at times. And if it is cold outside it gets really steamy there at times, like you are lost in a fog ;)
You get a blue bracelet when you arrive and with that you enter and cannot leave without it. The refreshments you might buy here are charged to that bracelet. Be aware to lock the lockers with your bracelet, I have seen people having problems finding out how to lock the lockers. There is a kind of disc in the middle of the lockers and you put your bracelet up to it and this is how the lockers lock and open.
You can rent towels and bathing-suits at the lagoon, and bath-robes, which is essential when it is cold outside as you have to walk a very short distance outside from the door to the lagoon and it can be freezing. I would recommend that to foreign visitors renting a bath-robe.
After your stay in the lagoon don't forget to use the white conditioner provided in the shower. If you don't you wont be able to comb your hair and it will stay unmanageable and hay-like for days. VERY IMPORTANT. The women you see in The Blue Lagoon with their hair in a bun are most likely Icelandic, as we have all had the experience of unmanageable hair after our first visit to the lagoon.
And one more thing, the silica destroys swimming suits!! I have had two of my swimming suits destroyed there, so it is better to wear a bikini. But this is only if you go there often, it doesn´t happen after just one visit.
The white silica mud is supplied in wooden boxes around the lagoon and you can take some and apply to your face while at the lagoon. You leave it on for 10-15 minutes until it is dry and it acts as an exfoliant.
The opening hours are: 1st of September - 31st of May 10-20 daily. And 1st of June - 31st of August 8-21 daily.
The entrance fee to the lagoon is 30 Euros (October 2011) as 80% of visitors to the lagoon are tourists. The price for Icelanders has tripled in ISK since our króna fell, which is a shame as we have almost stopped going there because of this. So we are now given discounts on winter season passes, which I have bought (October 2011) as I didn´t go to the lagoon at all since October 2008 when our króna collapsed.
There are six bus trips daily from Reykjavík to the Blue Lagoon and three bus trips to Keflavík International airport every day of the year. Bus fare from Reykjavík center to the Blue lagoon and back plus entrance to the Blue lagoon is ca GBP 39 for one if you buy the tickets with f.ex. Reykjavík Excursions.
Read more: http://forum.virtualtourist.com/forum-247851-1-Travel-Reykjavik-1-forum.html#ixzz1qeLSD3Xs
Road directions to the Blue lagoon (they changed the road in 2011): Coming from Reykjavík drive for 38 km on Reykjanesbraut high-way until you see a sign for Grindavík (road 43). Turn right and you enter a round-about and follow the road to Grindavík and now you see the first sign for The Blue lagoon which is 10 km away from the high-way. Turn right after 8 km on the road to Grindavík onto the road leading to The Blue lagoon. Drive for 2 km and turn left for the lagoon.
I add this tip here and on my Iceland pages as well.
On Reykjanes peninsula you will notice planet spheres by the road between Reykjanesviti light house and the Bridge between two continents. They depict different planets and it is quite surreal seeing them there.
These planet spheres were placed here when the museum Power Plant Earth was opened up in 2006. At that museum you get to know all about the Big Bang Theory, the creation of the universe and our solar system.
The planets have been placed on the peninsula according to scale and distance from the sun - I found 4 of them.
Just west of The Bridge between two continents there is a very strange rock formation, it is quite amazing and I don´t understand how it doesn´t fall down. I will add more information about these rocks if I happent to come across them, but until then here are photos of this strange phenomenon.
Reykjanes peninsula lies on the Mid-Atlantic Ridge and here you can see the ridge above ground. The best-known place for that is Þingvellir national park though, but a visit to Reykjanes is well worth it to see the ridge.
A bridge has been built on the ridge and is called The Bridge between two continents or "Brúin á milli tveggja heimsálfa" in Icelandic. The bridge was built as a symbol for the connection bewteen Europe and North-America and I remember how we Icelanders used to scoff at this idea, but it has turned into a very popular spot here in Reykjanes.
There is easy access to the bridge and it is right by the road, with a parking lot and information signs. In the middle of the bridge is a sign saying "Miðlína - In the footsteps of the Gods - midline". And on one side is "welcome to Europe" and on the other side is "Welcome to America" :)
You will see that some people have written their names in stones on the bottom of the bridge.
You can get a certificate at the Reykjanes Information Center that you have walked between two continents :D