Iceland’s Ring Road – Day 6

Hálsanefshellir Cave - Iceland
Hálsanefshellir Cave at Reynisfjara beach

It was my sixth day on the Iceland’s Ring Road. We spent the day travelling through the south coast of Iceland. Along the road, we found some beautiful beaches and waterfalls. We also visited part of the gigantic Vatnajökull National Park.

The Iceland’s Ring Road is a lonely journey. Apart from a few cars you may encounter on the road, or a few fellow tourists you may pass by on a hiking path, there’s no one to disturb your peace. Until this day we were very lucky to have almost every stop and every tourist attraction just for ourselves. But today was a busy day. I believe the places near Reykjavík tend to be more crowded — bear in mind that “crowded” for the Iceland standards is when you have more than 10 people at the same place.

Vatnajökull National Park

The Vatnajökull National Park is immense, occupying approximately 14% of the Iceland territory. We visited the Skaftafell area. The bus left as the Skaftafell camping site. From there we started our hike to the Svartifoss waterfall. It was an easy and pleasant walk. Although the trail elevation is only 140 meters, the view is stunning. The Svartifoss waterfall is one of Skaftafell’s best known attractions due to its basalt column walls. The name Svartifoss means Black waterfall.

Svartifoss 

Distance: 2 km (4 km round-trip)
Walking time: 2 h
Route difficulty: easy

Svartifoss Waterfall - Iceland

Svartifoss Waterfall

Back to the bus, we continued through the Iceland’s Ring Road until we reached the Skaftafell Visitor Centre. Instead of hiking to the Skaftafellsjökull Glacier we took a special bus to take us there. It saved us some time, but I would have preferred to walk instead. We only made a quick stop to take some pictures and left.

Skaftafellsjökull Glacier

Distance: 2 km (4 km round-trip)
Walking time: 1½ h
Route difficulty: easy

Skaftafellsjökull glacier - Iceland

Skaftafellsjökull glacier

Vík

Vík is the southernmost village in Iceland. We stopped there to go to the Víkurprjón Wool factory. The store has a huge variety of woolen products and Icelandic souvenirs. After some shopping, we still had a little time, so we went to take a look at the beach close by.

This black volcanic sand beach is strangely beautiful. I had never seen anything like that before. On the horizon we could see the basalt sea stacks situated under the mountain Reynisfjall. They are called Reynisdrangar

Legend says that the stacks originated when two trolls dragged a three-masted ship to land unsuccessfully and when daylight broke they became needles of rock.

Monument to the memory of drowned seamen on Vik beach - Iceland

Monument to the memory of drowned seamen on Vik beach

Reynisfjara Beach

Following the ring road, the next beach after the village of Vík is the Reynisfjara beach. In this black sand beach there’s a sea cave formed by regular basalt columns, the Hálsanefshellir Cave. To enter the cave you must be careful not to get trapped during the high tide. After exploring the cave, I could not resist the urge to climb the basalt columns for a nice photo.

The image of this beach is still stuck in my mind after many years. Whenever I remember of Iceland, and my favorite places during this trip, my mind keeps coming back to this beach again and again. I’m not sure why, but it left a deep impression in me.

Reynisfjara Beach - Iceland

Reynisfjara Beach

Reynisfjara Beach - Iceland

Reynisfjara Beach

Hálsanefshellir Cave - Iceland

Hálsanefshellir Cave at Reynisfjara beach

Seljalandsfoss Waterfall

The Seljalandsfoss waterfall is like no waterfall I have ever seen. It’s not a powerful waterfall, and at a distance it doesn’t seem much; but when you came close, you discover that you can walk behind the waterfall. How cool is that? There’s a muddy path that allows you to circle behind it, so you can see and photograph it from every angle. It’s a wet experience, lucky for me I had my waterproof coat on.

Seljalandsfoss Waterfall - Iceland

Seljalandsfoss Waterfall

Eyjafjallajökull Visitor Centre

Next stop: the Eyjafjallajökull Visitor Centre. There we saw a 20-minute film about the volcano eruption in 2010. The film shows how the people of Þorvaldseyri managed to secure their properties during this tough time. These families lived for generations at the foot of Eyjafjallajökull volcano. I can only image the terror when the volcano underneath the glacier finally woke up. The film was very interesting. It made me think how frightening is to have a volcano as a neighbour.

Eyjafjallajokull Visitor Centre - Iceland

Eyjafjallajokull Visitor Centre

Skógafoss

Skógafoss is a powerful waterfall 60m tall and 25m wide. This waterfall is very popular among the tourists because of its raiwbows. Due to its height the waterfall produces a heavy mist — It’s impossible to come close without getting wet. This allows the waterfall to produce consistently, a single, a double or even a triple rainbow on sunny days.

Skógafoss Waterfall - Iceland

Skógafoss Waterfall

Hotel Örk

We spent the night at Hotel Örk. The hotel is pretty nice. Like all the previous hotels we stayed, this one has a restaurant and a bar. It also has a pool, a sauna, a spa, and even a golf course.

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

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