So the morning was extremely interesting mainly because when we went to bed, the weather had been maybe 5 degrees + lots of rain. When we woke up however…
That’s right! Snow on the ground 🙁 We weren’t too concerned at the time, and as we continued to drive east. It got much warmer. So at this point i’m going to tell you what we had planned vs what we actually did.
The Original Plan
- Drive to LANDMANNALAUGAR ( 3h drive from our hotel)
- Hike for 2 hours, enjoy the cool hot springs
- Drive to our next hotel (3h drive again)
So we got up super early, had a sandwich and we were on our way. The rain however got really bad. It’s also worth mentioning that the road to LANDMANNALAUGAR is extremely rocky. Tourist websites (and i think there was even a sign at one point) clearly indicate that you need a 4WD car in order to get there. That’s right little Toyota Yaris’ of the road, you won’t make it. The roads are super narrow, they’re really steep and there’s holes everywhere. We drove for an hour in before deciding that the weather would be so bad, we wouldn’t be able to hike anyway. So we turned around and did everything we had planned for tomorrow instead.
The New Plan
- Skaftafell – A national park, awesome hiking routes
- Jökulsárlón – Glacier Lagoon Beach
- Getting here is simple. Go east on ring road and you’ll see plenty of signs for it
- Skaftafell -> Jökulsárlón
- Leave skaftafell and continue east bound on ring road
- You could look for signs, or just look to your left and see the giant pieces of ice floating, it’s pretty hard to miss
Since we had to change our schedules on the spot, we only did the quick 1.5km ish hike. It brings you to this cool waterfall. I forgot the name but honestly you won’t either if you go to Iceland, there’s about 20 waterfalls to visit, and they all end with the word “foss”. We didn’t spend too much time here other than the quick hike. It was raining like crazy so we just went to our next destination.
This glacier beach was one of highlights for this entire trip. Overtime the glaciers in Iceland break apart and slowly float into a body of water. The end result is just breathtaking and i was really happy i brought my camera just for this one place. This place was so awesome, i actually made a second visit the next day.
Note: On the way way here, there’s a couple of stopping points on ring road (clearly labelled). It’s before the bridge and the main tourist center. These little stopping points have like hiking markers that allow you to go up a “hill” (maybe 800m) which have a great view of the place. I highly recommend it. I don’t have any pictures from there though because it started hailing. (Hailing in Iceland is a metaphor for giant ice meteors hitting your face)
After the death hail stopped, we went to the tourist center to check it out. There we had a quick snack. Some type of jelly donut and hot chocolate with rum. That’s right! Hot chocolate with rum is a common thing there (It’s also like 10 bucks)
We signed up for a tour where these vehicles that turn into boats and drive into the water. It was about 45 minutes and the tour guide stops in the middle to tell you how the glacier was formed and other cool things. The overall experience was amazing. I wouldn’t highly recommend the tour but it’s sorta cool if you have some spare time on your hands and just wanna get a closer view of the giant pieces of ice.
- Name: Hali Country Hotel
- Cost: 98 Euros
- Review: In some ways I can say this was the most “humble” hotel I stayed in. It had a shared bathroom, shared kitchen, just a private bedroom. And for some reason I enjoyed this one sort of the most. We got pretty lucky because our building has 2 bathrooms, but we only had 3 rooms occupied, and we were the only ones in the “East Wing”. So we got a private bathroom. The other 2 groups were also super friendly and we all in the great chat as they cooked dinner. Room includes breakfast, and the hotel has a museum inside free for all guests, which was pretty fun!
No options around this area for food (no supermarkets, no restaurants) so we ate at the hotel. Nothing fancy here. I got some salmon, gf got some veggie nuggets and we had skyr for dessert. Yes, the bill was like $120 CAD in total, don’t ask me how.