Must-see Iceland spots

Discussion in 'Travel' started by tklancer, Jun 11, 2003.

  1. I know questions about Iceland have been asked before, and I've
    looked at them, but my question is slightly different. I've got two
    weeks in Iceland coming up (6/24-7/7), but I'm not sure where I
    should go in the country. So, with an eye towards landscapes and
    miscellaneous nature photography:

    What are the absolutely can't-miss, must-see, you-haven't-seen-
    Iceland-if-you-haven't-seen-x spots? General advice is also welcome
    (cheap car rentals, if such a thing exists in Iceland?), but I'm
    mostly looking for top 10 type stuff.
  2. hmmm.... a tricky one. But being Icelandic and interested in nature and photography I feel I should bee able to come up with (at least some) advice.

    My first advice is get out of Reykjavík.

    One of the most popular (and exploited) spots are Gullfoss (a waterfall) and Geysir (yeas, it is a Geyser). A third destination often coupled with the two former in a round tour (called the golden circle I think) is Thingvellir which is an area near Reykjavík with magnificent views and nature, you’ll understand (I hope) when you get there. Of these three places I recommend the last mentioned. The others are nice, but in my opinion a bit too exploited. Another thing you’ll be certain to hear about is the blue lagoon. Been there once, it’s nice, but bear in mind that it’s not natural, it’s just the waste from a nearby power station.

    Now to my real tips.

    If you like hiking (and if you do you really should hike there) I’d recommend a hike between Landmannalaugar and Thorsmörk. It’s a 3-4 days relatively easy walk and you see a wide spectrum of landscape on the way. There are buses to and from both places and possibilities of overnight in (primitive) huts on the way. There are guided tours as well and if that is something for you I recommend the following agencies (I have no personal interest to these what so ever)

    If you’re not the hiking type I recommend that you rent a car, preferably a jeep, and drive to Landmannalaugar and/or Thorsmörk. on the way you can pass by Thingvellir. If you drive to Thorsmörk, don’t stay at Húsadalur (one of 3 places to stay there), that is if you want a decent chance of a quiet night. I can further recommend that you drive on to Skaftafell, which is a national park at the root of the glacier Vatnajökull. And, once again, if you are in to hiking (and have a tent) I strongly recommend that you hike from there in to the valley Kjós which is truly one of the natural pearls of the country. There are no man made facilities in there (ie Kjós, there are good facilities in Skaftafell) and only a tiny spot with grass suitable for camping. The park wards only allow but a few at a time to camp in there and if you are interested you can either talk to them in Skaftafell or call before you arrive there. In Skaftafell on the other hand there is a huge camping site and a hotel (or is the hotel near by, can´t really remember). If you drive to Skaftafell be sure to stop at the waterfall Skógarfoss (south of the glacier Eyjafjallajökull) and just prior to that (when driving from Reykjavík) to stop, and bathe in a very old swimming pool at Seljavellir (road 242 from the main road). The pool is tiny and kind of in the middle of nowhere and is generally not known to the usual tourist (I hope it is still functional).

    ...well I think it is time to stop, feels like I could go on forever.

    All the above places are in my opinion picturesque, including the swimming pool.

    a few last advice

    bring warm (and waterproof) clothes.
    don’t ever eat the fermented shark, whatever your told

    Would be happy to meet you in Iceland and give you the advice in person, but I´m living abroad at the moment so...

    ...have a nice trip
  3. Weather should be great for you; in fact, you should be able to shoot around the clock since I don't think the light will not be out of the sky.
    I second the votes for Þingvellir, Skógafoss, and Skaftafell. Also, I recommend stopping at Seljalandsfoss (beautiful waterfall just off the Ring Road), Kirkjubæjarklaustur (neat little town on the Ring Road with somne beautiful scenery nearby), and Fjaðrárgljúfur (a really cool canyon not far off the Ring Road, but the rock road is a little rough so I wouldn't take a rental car too far up).
    Finally, if you're driving to Skaftafell (and I highly suggest that you do), keep driving to the real can't-miss location near the southwest corner of the coast, Jökulsárlón. This is the iceberg lagoon that I am willing to bet you've seen in photographs (or in "Tomb Raider" or the latest Bond film, or a recent Cadillac commercial, or in recent Hummer 2 commercials).
    I certainly wouldn't say I have the best Icelandic scenic photos, but if you like you can check out where I've been for ideas of what you'll see along the Ring Road:

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