Iceland: The Northern Spell

Jun 28, 2013
Unfortunately the time was up for us at the East Fjords and we got back on the ring road towards the north and new adventures. After leaving the fjords behind, the landscape started changing drastically and we started to understand why someone would call it the place from outer space. It’s hard to even begin to describe the uniqueness of this area and especially the pace it keeps changing.

The first stop of the day we made at the Dettifoss- the most powerful waterfall in all Europe. In order to get there, we had to take off of the ring road and follow a gravel road for about half an hour and quite honestly it looked like entering a desert rather than getting closer to any waterfall. But as we got to the parking, we could just see the huge spray of the water shooting into the air and only a few steps down we started to perceive the magnitude of this place; there wasn’t only the voluminous waterfall but also a long, beautiful canyon that continued as far as we could see. Talking about unexpected


After taking in the views (and getting splashed by the water in the process) we carried on with the remaining stretch and arrived to Mývatn- an area that lies on the volcanic zone and is known for its distinctive and peculiar landforms. We had no idea what we were in for as we spent the next two days exploring this remarkable area; mountains in different shades of red, sulfur ponds, boiling mud pools, steaming ground, hot springs inside of caves, countless cones and craters (even popping out of the Lake Mývatn!), lava pillars, turquoise crater lake, endless lava fields and things I can’t even put into words! (Flipside: the infamous tiny midges are plenty in some places around the lake but they don’t bite…)

Looking inside the hot spring cave (problem: water was too hot & rocks had been falling from the ceiling!)
Mud pools and steam vents
Walking on the steamy grounds

Walking around the area of Mt. Leirhnjukur (central volcano) you could just see the ground being extremely hot and at times it was indicated to stay on the footpath due to the boiling temperatures of the ground. In fact, we learned that the earth crust here is only three kilometers thick and the lava chamber is so close beneath us- no wonder it gets steamy!

We ended the excitement filled day in the northern blue lagoon (Mývatn Nature Baths), which is a bit smaller than its southern counterpart but even more so you could get the authentic feel of it and almost touch the nature around you…

{iPhone shots from the Myvatn Nature Baths}
Our little hut overlooking a huge lava field

After a goodnight sleep in our lava field hut, we still had a few places to check out before heading towards the northern capital- Akureyri. Weather-wise the day started out with pretty nice as we wandered around the Dimmuborgir’s lava pillars, but by the time we reached the Mt.Hverfjall’s crater, the rain was coming down hard! But as we all know, there’s no such thing as bad weather there’s just the wrong clothing, right?

We still managed to get glimpses of sun later on as we got around the lake and marvelled at the beauty of this extraordinary corner of the world. A lunch and a failed volcano summit push later we decided it was time to get on the road, and so we were Akureyri bound. 

Driving around the lake

By now it was more than clear to us that an hour drive in Iceland would never take just an hour, and before we knew it, we had already pulled over to a yet another waterfall- namely the Goðafoss (you would think we had had enough of those already but no…). 

The rest of the route went by really quickly and as we approached the northern capital the moonlike backdrop had turned into snow-capped mountain range, green pastures and dazzling blue fjord that unfolded in front of us. This town sure knows how to make an unforgettable first impression!

{A special thank you to Rachael for providing us some photo material from the places we lost almost everything!}

The fact that it was a Friday night was just an icing on the cake and we were excited to find out what the northern runtur would be made of…


Mývatn Area:

- We stayed in the small cottages that were really simple, and still rather expensive (but so is the entire area), but it was enough for one night. We were able to use the shared facilities.

Road Information:
East Fjords – Mývatn: 240km, 3hrs
Mývatn – Akureyri: 100km, 1h15min


  • Rachael said...

    I like how we were trying to justify swimming in that! TAKE ME BACK! :D

    I loved Myvatn blue lagoon too! Good idea :)

  • Emma said...

    We might get snowed in there right now...;) But hey, at least the water would be few degrees cooler! But on principle I'd go back to any hot spring anytime!

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