A Whirlwind Weekend In Southeast Iceland – What To Do And Where To Go
So Europe has stayed amber, in what seemed like somewhat of a surprise countries were actually taken off the green list rather than added on as many people had anticipated in the run up to the announcement on the 4th. Anyway, enough about that. Seeing as there isn’t going to be any change till June 24th it made it very easy to choose Iceland as the first choice for a travel blog which we’re going to start writing about some of the wonderful places we can take you to at CT4N Travel.
The land of fire and ice as it’s called has a lot to offer, during our own 5-night trip we managed to cover off some of the best that Iceland has to offer. The southeast of Iceland has a large number of the tourist spots on the island including the famous Golden Circle, The Blue Lagoon and the capital Reykjavik but, there are so many beautiful places to immerse yourself in nature and wildlife. In this blog we’ll take you through how you can see the best Iceland has to offer and only have to book a day or two off work!
Most flights into Iceland land at Keflavik Airport which is about 45 mins drive outside of Reykjavik. For travelling round Iceland we would recommend you rent a car, we say this so that you can do things at your own pace and fully enjoy each place (there are a number of bus tours and similar you can take around many of these destinations however).
Blue Lagoon – 20 minutes south of Keflavik and 45 mins from Reykjavik, the Blue Lagoon is a geothermal spring which offers the ultimate relaxation experience to all who go. It’s proximity to the airport makes it best to do at the start or end of a trip, but we think it’s a great way to unwind from a flight. The most famous of the number of geothermal springs across Iceland (one of the many benefits of being a volcanic island) The Blue Lagoon allows you to experience the lagoon itself, which also has an in-water bar, and you can do a spa day and stay in the hotel.
Reykjavik – The Icelandic capital has a great feel to it and houses a number of museums in a variety of weird and wonderful topics from Perlan, which uses virtual technology amongst others to give you an insight into the country’s geology and flora, to a Phallological museum. The highlight for us however, is the Hallgrimskirkja. A visually distinctive church in the centre of the city with a 73 metre tower which offers a 360 degree view of Reykjavik. Reykjavik can be done in a day or so, doing different bits at the end of a day is a great way to round out an evening. There's also a thriving nightlife in Reykjavik and if you're not looking to spend too much there's many a happy hour to take advantage of.
Thingvellir National Park – 45 mins drive from is Thingvellir National Park. Thingvellir has a mixture of history and nature and was home to the general assembly from 930 AD to 1798. However it’s the nature side of the park which is truly breathtaking. Thingvellir sits on the boundary of the Eurasian and North American tectonic plates and is the reason for Iceland having so many natural phenomena. Knowing that you will be stood underneath where new earth is being created is an interesting feeling to say the least.
Haukadalur Geothermal Field – This is true for all of Iceland to be fair but there’s nothing like watching a geyser erupt in person (perfect for a slow mo video as well). Haukadalur is home to Geysir and other geysers and hot springs of varying sizes and they erupt at varying intervals from some that erupt minutes apart to some much larger ones that haven’t erupted for years.
Gullfoss – The third of the ‘golden circle’ Gullfoss is only 10 minutes from Haukadalur. Not only that but they share the same water source the Langjokull glacier. We can tell that it sounds like there’s a common theme going on, but Gullfoss’ power is something you can’t truly comprehend until you’re stood some 40 feet above it (We couldn’t believe how close we were). Such is the force that sometimes it even generates its own rainbows from the spray and yet it used to be a popular spot for rafting!
Whilst in Iceland there is an excellent opportunity to see the Aurora Borealis more commonly known as the Northern Lights. This can only be seen in the winter however, from September to April so plan accordingly. To have the best chance of seeing them you’re best staying outside of Reykjavik, as the light of Reykjavik makes it much more difficult to see them.
Reynisfjara Beach – For day 3 why not head out further to the south east. It is right off the ring road and there is a carpark very nearby. For an Englishman a black sand beach isn’t something you see everyday, something cinematic almost. That is certainly what the producers of Game of Thrones thought as it was used during filming for season 7. Along with the black sand of the beaches there’s also basalt columns on the cliff faces and magnificent sea stacks just off shore.
Solheimajokull glacier – Whilst in the area there’s the opportunity to take a walk on a glacier. Solheimajokull is 30 mins back towards Reykjavik from Reynisfjara and is easily found just off the ring road. Part of the Myrdalsjokull icecap, Solheimajokull is one of the most popular glaciers in Iceland and is dotted with crevasses and the occasional ice caves. Whilst most people walk, there are also a number of walls which can be climbed by ice axe that are available on some tours. This is a must see, not just because of its stunning scenery but because unfortunately due to global warming the glacier is receding by 50m (The length of an Olympic swimming pool) each year so it’s something you should do while you can.
Skogafoss waterfall – Another 5 mins back towards Reykjavik stands Skogafoss, one of the largest and most iconic waterfalls in Iceland. This also is a popular site for Movie and TV producers alike and is equally beautiful when viewed from the top and bottom alike. There are also a number of waterfalls nearby most of which are along the Fimmvorduhals trail which takes you along the Skoga river and between two glaciers, one of which you may have just been on or about to go on, Solheimajokull. On the drive back to Reykjavik there are a great many more waterfalls our personal favourites being Gljufrabui and Seljalandsfoss.
Well that about wraps the blog and my highlights for a long weekend in the south east of Iceland, just writing this has made me consider going back and doing these and other spots across Iceland we haven’t discovered yet. If you’re thinking of booking your own Iceland holiday, don’t forget to check out our deals and offers through the book now button or get in contact with us to see how our friendly team can make this a reality.