11 Days Alone in Iceland - Part 4

It’s getting hot this time! From volcanic craters to highly thermal active areas to one of the most beautiful thermal baths in Iceland!

After a refreshing detour to Seyðisfjörður, which you could read about in last week’s blog, we continued along the east coast to the north. This was the longest we ever spend on the road on one day, even though there are enough beautiful spots that invite for a break. Over 500 km, with a 2-hour break in Seyðisfjörður and some short stops at random, beautiful waterfalls and cliffs on the way. Late in the evening, we arrived at Dettifoss, Europe’s second strongest waterfall after the Rhein Falls. It’s situated in the north-east of Iceland in Vatnajökull National Park. Under the (almost) midnight sun and surrounded by the typical, otherworldly landscapes of Iceland, it really was a magical experience!

Dettifoss 2
Dettifoss, Europe's 2nd strongest waterfall
Dettifoss
Dettifoss, Europe's 2nd strongest waterfall

It's getting hot!

Still thrilled from this experience, we continued towards the lake of Mývatn to find a campsite for the night, as it really started getting late. Passing by Hverir, a highly thermal active site which we’ll come back to, we drove over a mars-like landscape down into a valley, were the sun (I think it was actually midnight already) hit us through clouds of geothermal steam.

Midnight Sun
Midnight Sun and Geothermal Steam

The excellent tablet that’s included in every rental car from CampEasy navigated us to the nearest campsite in no time (no, this post is not sponsored – they were just amazing ;). After another good night’s sleep – we slept heavily during our whole trip – we went back to take a closer look at Hverir. With it’s bubbling mud pools and geothermal chimneys, it’s quite a show. The trails around are marked, one as well up to a mountain top close by, which is definitely worth visiting. From here, it’s just a short drive to Krafla, a volcanic caldera that measures 10 km in diameter.

Krafla

On the way, we passed the famous “Shower in the middle of nowhere.” It actually is fully functional, even though we didn’t have the time to actually test it. Something we’ll definitely make good for next time! Between the shower and the crater lies Iceland’s largest geothermal power station, which has a whopping 60-megawatt capacity – enough for about 50.000 homes! To be honest, we weren’t all that impressed by the caldera. But it’s a beautiful view from up there! At 11am, we had to head on to what I was looking forward to – the “Mývatn Nature Baths“! Due to COVID, opening hours were reduced here too, but we were ready when it finally opened its doors at 12am. It’s quite a bit smaller than the Blue Lagoon, and there’s no fancy restaurant. Despite that, we actually liked it a liiiiittle better. It’s just a bit cozier and offers a beautiful view of the landscape that lies behind. We spent over 3 hours here and could have stayed even longer, but – there’s just so much to see and experience yet!

 

Hverir
Hverir

After relaxing in the thermal bath, embedded in this mars-like landscape, for longer than intended, vi finally continued along the north coast of Iceland. Our next destination was what became one of my personal favorites – Goðafoss, the “Waterfall of the gods”! It’s a wide waterfall, only about 12m high, and different from all other waterfalls we had seen so far. Again we were utterly alone, and finally, there weren’t a ton of signs prohibiting the use of drones (which were at all other famous waterfalls – but more to that next week). We took tons of photos and drone shots and spent some time just enjoying the solitude and stunning view. When we finally left, it was time already to find the next camping ground. This time there actually were some more people; seemed to be a popular place for Icelandic camping tourists, stretched along a big and strong river. No reception, but like always toilettes, showers, and a sink. And again, a wonderful night!

Godafoss

Follow us next week to – of course – more waterfalls, the “Capital of the North”, a hidden hot spring and a mountain road definitely worth noticing! Leave a comment and check my social channels as well to find even more interesting information and stunning views of Iceland and Norway.


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Bernd Luff

German freelance photo- and videographer, content creator, and social media manager living in Arctic Norway.

This Post Has 4 Comments

  1. Jamie Boucher

    Your photography is incredible, but the landscapes! WOW! Iceland looks so incredibly beautiful. I’m sure your disappointed your trip to Brazil was cancelled, but the opportunities Corona Virus has provided for us all to travel closer to home has been amazing.

    The hot springs and waterfalls are so beautiful! Hoping I get the chance to discover Iceland like this in future!

    Jamie Boucher | Bristolian Abroad

    1. Bernd Luff

      Thank you so much Jamie, I’m really glad you like it! I’m still just a beginner with photography, but in the stunning surroundings I live I figured it’s the best way to share my passion 🙂 And I totally agree – due to Covid many of us experienced our own backyard in a whole new way!
      The hot springs were actually my absolute favorite – would be amazing if we had them in arctic Norway too! I’ll definitely go back to Iceland during wintertime, just to sit in one of the hot springs while surrounded by ice and snow! I wish you all the best, hope you can go there soon too! It’s so absolutely worth it, priceless!

      All the best to you, take care!

  2. Heather Hogton

    It’s so interesting learning about Iceland from your blogs Bernd. I had only thought of seeing the lights there. Now I want to experience all the waterfalls so beautifully described and photographed. You seem to have picked the perfect time to visit.

    1. Bernd Luff

      Thank you so much Heather, I’m glad you enjoy our little series! Yes, Iceland is way more than northern lights. Waterfalls, mind-boggling landscapes, and not at least my favourite, the hot springs! It was definitely the perfect time to visit, despite the weather. We’ll never be able to have most places there all for ourselves. The very few other tourists were mostly Icelandic, and most of the time we didn’t see anyone at all. I definitely want to experience Iceland during winter next time, must be amazing sitting in one of the hot springs between snow and ice. I’m sure you’d love them, Heather!

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Alone in Iceland – Part 4