Reykjavik and West Iceland

by Colleen Morrow in


Iceland is gorgeous.  

After a mostly uneventful flight to Reykjavik (I was just filling out forms for a lost bag when EDP found our second bag on the wrong baggage carousel) we arrived at our hotel very, very late into the night and settled down to sleep right away.

In the morning, we enjoyed a lovely breakfast (I assume the pineapple and cantaloupe were local?) and then headed off to explore the city. We wandered for a while, enjoying the ducks and swans in the Tjörnin before heading up to Hallgrímskirkja, with its gorgeous organ. From there, we headed to the National Gallery before it was time for hot chocolate and a cookie (sandwich, if you're EDP) and a stroll up the main shopping street in Reykjavik. 

After dinner, we tried to catch the Northern Lights.  They had been so active the day of our arrival, they shut the lights off in the city so people could see them better. Sadly for us, we arrived well after that and on our hunting expedition, despite being active, the cloud cover and light pollution in the city made them impossible to find.  

This morning, we headed out for the first day of our ring road trip. We started in West Iceland, stopping only a few times for photos, though the scenery is positively breathtaking at times. The lava fields are incredible and the mountains are beautiful. Our first stop was at Lóndrangar in Snæefellsjökull National Park. There are two enormous rock pillars that are what's left from an enormous crater made out of basalt. Locals say elves use the lava formations as a church. We didn't see any elves but the pillars were stunning. 

From there, we continued driving to Kirkjufell, a mountain that is one of the most photographed spots in Iceland. We followed some sheep on the way there for a bit before they veered off the road for a snack, we thought maybe they were on vacation and heading there, too, but alas, we must have departed before they arrived. The mountain is very different than what you'd expect.  It's a light brown colour and very steep with many small cliff faces as you ascend. The waterfalls by the mountain were also very beautiful, falling over rocks onto black sand. 

From there, we headed into Stykkishólmur, a charming fishing village. We wandered up to Súgandisy, a basalt island with dramatic views of Breiðafjörður, the bay. It's amazing how the quickly the landscape changes, we could see lots of islands and fjords and they all seemed to be different. 

Tomorrow, we head towards Mývatn. It's a long driving day so we'll be at it early. Sadly, the cloud cover tonight is worse than last night so there's pretty much no chance of seeing the Northern Lights tonight. Cross your fingers for us that tomorrow is better! 

Sólvar sculpture, along the waterfront in Reykjavik

Sólvar sculpture, along the waterfront in Reykjavik

Somewhere along our drive today. I think maybe just outside of Borgarnes? 

Somewhere along our drive today. I think maybe just outside of Borgarnes? 

The pillars at Lóndrangar  

The pillars at Lóndrangar  

The waterfall at Kirkjufell

The waterfall at Kirkjufell