Kvernufoss waterfall is a beautiful 30 meters high waterfall kind of hidden away in South-Iceland, yet so close to the road.
The hike to Kvernufoss is only 20 minutes by a river into a gorge. It is an easy hike and only in a couple of places one has to walk up on a hill looking down into the gorge.
It is very close to Skógafoss waterfall, which is amongst the most beautiful and most visited waterfalls in Iceland.
The hike starts from behind the museum of Skógar and one has to climb a fence by walking on stiles. Then the hike leads one into a gorge, Kvernugil, by a lovely river, Kverna. Horses were grazing in the golden winter sun while we were hiking to the waterfall, which made it much more magical. There was a strong icy wind, which at one point almost blew me into the gorge.
Being there alone was so lovely. It is possible to walk behind the waterfall, but it was way too icy when we visited. And icicles were falling from the cliff.
Jökulsárlón is a glacial river lagoon in S-Iceland on ring-road 1. It is a breath-taking experience visiting the lagoon, like out of this world. It is one of Iceland's greatest wonders of nature. I say "wow" more than once here no matter how often I visit.
The glacier's name is Breiðamerkurjökull and huge blocks of ice (more than 1.000 years' old) are constantly breaking from it and large chunks of iceberg float in the lagoon. The lagoon only appeared "recently" or in 1935 and has grown to ca 14,8 km2 due to the melting of Icelandic glaciers. It is the lowest point below sea-level in Iceland. The lagoon is getting larger and moving closer to the ocean. The river used to run 1,5 km to the ocean before 1950, but now it is much closer and seals swim from the ocean up to the lagoon and rest on the icebergs there.
And remember that only 1/10 of the iceberg is visible, which makes this an even more thrilling experience.
There is a restaurant by the lagoon and the company Jökulsárlón offers boat-trips on the lagoon. On their website they have added "Questions and answers" which explains more about the boat-trip.
The James Bond film "Die another Day" was filmed here.
The second weekend in August every year there is a firework show there after dark. It started as a farewell party to the staff working there, but is now a big show and ca thousand people attend. The fireworks light up the icebergs and the lagoon with brilliant colours. The entrance fee is ISK 500 and the resque team in Hornafjörður is in charge of the show.
I have added a video from Jökulsárlón and a travelogue with more photos from this breathtaking place. And a webcam of Jökulsárlón.
You can stop on both sides of the bridge and go towards the oceans as well where the icebergs meet the Atlantic ocean, which, I must confess, is a bit scary, I don't want to be there at high tide.
Some of the icebergs have an astounding bright blue colour and one can follow them from the Jökulsárlón glacial lagoon and down to the ocean. The ice chunks by the ocean make for very good photo opportunities.
Lómagnúpur mountain is a big mountain, which stands 688 meters above sea-level, almost like an omen west of Skeiðarársandur. It is the south end of the mountain called Björninn "The Bear".
In 1780 a big chunk of the mountain fell off and you can see the rocks on the sand nearby. It is in between Kirkjubæjarklaustur and Skaftafell before you start on the long drive of Skeiðarársandur.
The Saga of Njáll speaks of a dream Flosi on Svínafell had when he saw the giant of Lómagnúpur step out of the mountain. Yes, almost every mountain in Iceland has its troll/giant, but the giant of Lómagnúpur is one of the 4 supernatural beings/powers which protect Iceland. The giant holds an iron pole in one hand and is depicted in Iceland's code of arms (see my last photo of the code of arms).
If you get a chance step out and have a look at Lómagnúpur while driving on the south-coast. It is just mesmerising and a little scary at the same time. It is also possible to hike up on Mt. Lómagnúpur and it is said easier than it looks. I must confess that I am find the mountain too forbidding to hike on it ;)
Dverghamrar is just an amazing place here in Iceland and there are so many good photo opportunities here.
The surroundings are so beautiful and when we visited it once in November the low morning sun shed a goldish red light on the cliffs surrounding them with even more mystery.
One can climb up on the rocks and have a photo taken. There are also protruding columnar basalt where it is fun to take photos like the one where it looks like you are holding up the columnar basalt so it won´t fall over :) And who knows, one might even catch a photo of a dwarf in the background.
Foss á Síðu - foss meaning waterfall - is a beautiful waterfall only 10 kilometers east of Kirkjubæjarklaustur in S-Iceland on ring-road 1. The waterfall falls from a lake called Þórutjörn. You can walk up to the waterfall and the lake.
The waterfall is right by the ring-road 1. You can turn into the farmer's driveway and drive straight up to the waterfall.
The waterfall is not that large like so many other waterfalls here in Iceland, but there is something special about it and the rock formations surrounding it. So it is well worth a visit while driving in this area, especially as it is by the ring-road and easily accessible.
In winter time the watefall looks quite different, but the frozen version of it is beautiful as well (see my photos).
In Kirkjubæjarklaustur there is a very strange natural columnar basalt formation which looks like a tiled church floor, thus the name "kirkjugólf". It is 8 fm2 and looks like it is man-made. But it is actually the top of many vertical basalt columns which have been abraded by the surf and glaciers.
It stands there alone with grass all around it very close to the road, it is just amazing and hard to believe that it wasn't man made. It is surely worth a visit and you can walk on it. There is a parking space close to it and a path leading to it.
In the olden days the Vikings thought this was a man-made church-floor (there were some Irish monks here when the Vikings arrived).
The church-floor is a natural history site.
In winter time when it is frost and snow one can only see a part of the church-floor. We went there in very cold weather and the path was frozen solid.
There is a lovely waterfall by the town Kirkjubæjarklaustur called Systrafoss "Sisters' waterfall". It is special in that there are two equal waterfalls side by side, almost running like two white rivers down the mountain. The source of the waterfall is the lake on top of the mountain, Systravatn or "Sisters' lake".
You can only see the waterfall when the lake is overflowing. When I visited in 2008 the waterfall couldn't be seen at all. And in November 2013 the waterfall was totally frozen, but never the less beautiful in the golden/red morning sun.
There is an easy hike up the mountain Klausturfjall from the waterfall to the lake on top of the mountain, with steps taking up up to the top. It is a little more rocky though as you get close to the top. It is well worth visiting the lake as well as the view from the top is beautiful (see my photos).
The Icelandic word "Systur" refers to the nuns who lived in a convent in Kirkjubæjarklaustur. And "klaustur" is the Icelandic word for a convent. These names go way back to 1186.
There is a view platform above Skógafoss waterfall and there are 527 steps leading up to the view platform! I have only been up there once and it was so windy and frosty that we had to hold tight to the railings so it was a challenge going up there.
It looks quite different seen from above and the view from here is amazing. But I prefer visiting it from below, that in itself is a breathtaking experience. So if you don´t feel like walking up 527 steps then you are not missing much - in my opinion.
Skógafoss has always been my favourite waterfall in Iceland and I have fond childhood memories from my travels here with my family.
Close to Vík by Mt. Reynisfjall there is an awesome cave, Hásanefshellir cave, with lovely columnar basalt.
Sitting on the columnar basalt makes for a very good photo and most of us do that. I had a photo taken like that in November 2013 and it was so windy and frosty that we could barely take a photo as our hands were like icicles. And we could feel the columnar basalt vibrate so we were not at ease being there with the roaring Atlantic ocean by Reynisfjara next to us.
Note that Reynisfjara is very dangerous due to extreme currents and unpredictable waves. So never go close to the ocean. There have been several fatalities there. I can tell you that I don't feel comfortable visiting the beach. There have been incidents when tourists have camped in the cave, which is forbidden as the approach is cut off at high tide. I refer to my tip on warnings and dangers in Iceland.
But even though there are now danger signs there on 20.06.13 a tourist tried swimming in the dangerous ocean and was in trouble there for half an hour. He finally was able to get on shore by Hálsanefshellir cave and was stuck there and had to be resqued by the resque team and a helicopter.
But this place is so worth a visit and just outside of the cave there are the three rock formations, Reynisdrangar, but seen from this side they look completely different to what one sees by Vík.
The sand/beach is pitch black here as it is grounded lava from the volcanic eruptions in this area, the dreaded Mt. Katla and other eruption sites beneath Vatnajökull glacier.
On the 16h of November 2013 some 100 tonnes of columnar basalt collapsed in the cave, it was lucky that nobody was in the cave at the time. Here is the story on the collapse in Hálsanefshellir. It is only in Icelandic, but there is a photo of the collapse. The collapse was from the east side of the cave, not from where have taken my photos on the west side.
Gljúfrabúi waterfall is 40 meters high and in front of it is a big rock (Franskanef) almost covering it so it is difficult to see the lower part of the waterfall. It is located in S-Iceland almost next to the famous Seljalandsfoss waterfall.
It is a different experience from Seljalandsfoss as you walk right behind Seljalandsfoss, but right into Gljúfrabúi, so you will get drenched. It is best to wear wellington boots and maybe a rain-coat as the water is cold. You can either wade through the ravine which is easy, and fun, or walk up the rock which is in front of the waterfall.
In November there was not too much water in the river so I jumped on the rocks in the river and walked straight up to the waterfall. The rocks were icy so it was a little ricky though. But an awesome experience as it is very mystical so close up to the waterfall.
It is difficult taking photos when inside as the light shining from above is too bright.
Gljúfrabúi waterfall's real name is Gljúfurárfoss and local people call it Hamragarðafoss.
Gullfoss is the best known waterfall in Iceland and on the Golden-Circle bus tour. It is breathtakingly beautiful, 33 metres high, with two cascades, the first one is 11 metres high, and the other one is 22 metres high and they fall into the 2.5 km canyon which is 70 m deep. Gullfoss actually means the Golden waterfall (gull-gold, foss-waterfall).
The waterfall runs in the river Hvítá (White river). It is possible to walk right up to the waterfall where you can stand on the ledge. It will make you drenched but it is a breathtaking experience. But be careful as the path gets slippery and fatal accidents have happened here. You can then walk up the stairs to get a better view from above and to visit the information center there.
Gullfoss is state property. The recent history of the waterfall is quite interesting and startling at the same time, as it could have been used for a hydroelectric power station, as it was contracted to foreigners by the farmer who owned this land. His daughter, Sigríður í Brattholti (1871-1957), put up a fight to save Gullfoss and threatened to throw herself into the waterfall. This is a long story but Sigríður saved Gullfoss and we are really thankful to her for that, and now it belongs to the Icelandic nation. She has now got her statue by Gullfoss and Sigríðarstofa is on the upper level to commemorate her fight for Gullfoss.
Please note that the roads to Gullfoss and Geysir are not cleared of snow on Tuesdays and Saturdays during winter times.
If there is too much snow and ice the path to Gullfoss is closed. I have visited Gullfoss both in October and November and then the path was closed as there was too much ice.
On the upper level is also an iformation center and a restaurant which makes excellent icelandic kjötsúpa "meat broth".
Have a look at my Gullfoss travel-page for winter pictures and a travelogue Gullfoss travel page
And here is a webcam of Gullfoss.
Is one of the most beautiful waterfalls in Iceland the waterfall is located on the north, along the famous Ring Road No.1 and is about 12 meters high and 30 meters wide if you come here with a car there is a large car park and from there you walk in a minute to the waterfall
The view of the waterfall is excellent if you stands on the side of the parking lot
Make sure you got enough time, and walk to the left side of the waterfall not only is it a nice walk, you also have a fantastic beautiful view from the falls, around the area you can go down to the platform and from there you have also a good view of the lower part of the falls
Apart from whale watching, horse riding is another good option for tourists passing through the town of Husavík, its a good opportunity to come across the rugged Icelandic breed and also get to do some sightseeing on horseback at the same time
The area offer different tours, it depends what you like to do, there are dozens of tour agency where you can book your trip, price vary what kind of trip you want to do
We have gone with North Sailing Husavik for a whale watching tour, the trip is approx 3 hours it was not very cheap we pay 58 euros each, but it was worth the price, the weather was not very warm, we arrive late in the afternoon and one thing we have looked directly is to join the whale watching group tour, we haven't wait too long as there were boat that almost full
At the foothills of this spectacular volcanic mountain is an expanse of hot springs called Hverarondor Hverir that are known for their changing variety, you may also find a number of fumaroles, mud pools and mud pots that all seem to be boiling with relentless energy, the gigantic size of the mud craters is what makes you go ‘wow’ at the sight of them however, if you give a thought to the high temperature range, it does not appear an impossibility altogether, the constant emission of the fumes has made the ground utterly sterile and acidic, unfit to sustain any floras and faunas, you must bear in mind that the fumes can be harmful for humans as well
The smells is horrible and unbearable if you are sensitive my advice stay away from it, I sometimes get headache if I stay too long in the place
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