Iceland’s Ring Road – Day 1

Mt Stapafell with Snæfellsjökull volcano in the background - Iceland
Mt Stapafell with Snæfellsjökull volcano in the background

When I first thought about going to Iceland I didn’t know what to expect. The decision was out of the blue. I just wanted to go somewhere remote. I was not ready for the stunning beauty of this country.

Most places claim to be unique, but few places deserve this tittle. Iceland is one of them. The so called Land of ice and fire is like no other place on earth. After 15 days in this amazing country I left Iceland with a heavy heart, but Iceland never left me. Someday I will return.

The Iceland’s Ring Road

I travelled through the Iceland’s Ring Road during a unforgettable week. I decided to take a tour offered by Touris — a local Tour Operator. Normally, I would recommend to rent a car and explore by yourself, but taking this tour was the best decision I made. It was very well organized and the guide had a vast knowledge of the geology of the area and of the Icelandic Sagas.

Snæfellsnes peninsula

On the first day in the morning, we headed to the Snæfellsnes peninsula. The first stop was the adorable Stykkishólmur town and it’s harbour. After a cup of coffee and some pictures we hit the road again.

Stykkishólmur Town - Iceland

Stykkishólmur Town

After that, we stopped at the Djúpalónssandur beach at the foot of the Snæfellsjökull volcano. We crossed the ancient lava fields until we reached at the black stony beach.

Stones in Djúpalónssandur beach - Iceland

Stones in Djúpalónssandur beach

Rock formations in Djúpalónssandur beach - Iceland

Rock formations in Djúpalónssandur beach

Djúpalónssandur beach with Snæfellsjökull volcano in the background - Iceland

Djúpalónssandur beach with Snæfellsjökull volcano in the background

We continued driving around the Snæfellsnes peninsula with the Snæfellsjökull volcano on the background. The last stop was Hellnar. We walked the path that follows the coastline between Hellnar and Arnarstapi. It’s a pleasant 1 hour walk along the Hellnahraun lava field and the beach. We admired the bird cliffs and the strange rock formations. At the end of the path, we arrived at the fishing village of Arnarstapi at the foot of Mt. Stapafell and Snæfellsjökull volcano.

The Snæfellsjökull volcano is famous due to the novel Journey to the Center of the Earth by Jules Verne. There, the protagonists find the entrance to a passage leading to the center of the earth.

Fishing village of Arnarstapi with Mt. Stapafell and Snæfellsjökull volcano in the background - Iceland

Fishing village of Arnarstapi with Mt. Stapafell and Snæfellsjökull volcano in the background

Arnarstapi coast - Iceland

Arnarstapi coast

Arnarstapi coast - Iceland

Arnarstapi coast

Borgarnes Village

On the way to Borgarnes, the guide filled our imagination with the astonishing tales of the icelandic sagas. The guide told us the Egil’s Saga, written by Snorri Sturluson, and how this saga is connected to the history of  Borgarnes. When we arrived we visited the Settlement Center that tells the Saga of The Settlement of Iceland and Egill Skallagrimsson, Iceland’s most famous viking and first poet. It’s a shame they don’t allow us to take pictures.

Deildartunguhver Thermal Spring

After seeing amazing beaches, ancient volcanos and lava fields we thought nothing could surprise us during the rest of the day. Then we arrived at Deildartunguhver, the highest-flow hot spring in Europe. It was sensational to see the power of nature. The water emerges from the ground at 97 °C. The pools of bubbling boiling water are accompanied by dense sulfur clouds of steam.

Deildartunguhver Thermal Spring - Iceland

Deildartunguhver Thermal Spring

Hraunfossar and Barnafoss Waterfalls

Hraunfossar, which means “lava falls”, is a very special series of waterfalls. The turquoise blue water that seems to appear out of nowhere comes from a melting glacier. Hraunfossar demonstrates why Iceland is so utterly beautiful. The waters gently flows from a lava field formed when a volcano erupted under the glacier Langjökull.

One of the waterfalls in Hraunfossar is named Barnafoss. The name means “Children’s waterfall”. The origin of its name lies in an old Saga that tells a history about two children that fell in this waterfall and drowned.

Hraunfossar Waterfalls - Iceland

Hraunfossar Waterfalls

Reykholt

After a day of adventures a nice dinner and a warm bed expected us. We spent the night at the Fosshotel Reykholt.

For more information about the Hotel go to http://www.fosshotel.is/hotels/fosshotel-in-the-west/fosshotel-reykholt/

For more information about the tour go to http://www.tour.is/longer-tours/country_life_-_7_days

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