Iceland – Mývatn, Borgarfjörður eystri, Seyðisfjörður, Vestrahorn, Jökulsárlón, Vatnajökull National Park, Vík, Skógar & Þórsmörk

Aldeyjarfoss waterfall in North Iceland was an unexpected highlight. We actually had to backtrack to visit it on a 4wd accessible road and were very glad we did as it was spectacular! Then it was off to explore the rest of Mývatn – Skútustaðir pseudocraters, Höfði Peninsula on Lake Mývatn, Hverfjall Crater, and the Krafla geothermal area. From Mývatn we drove to the waterfalls of Selfoss and Dettifoss before making our way to the highest farm in Iceland at Möðrudalur where we spent the coldest night of the trip. The next morning we thawed out on our hike to Stuðlagil Canyon, a recently discovered Instagram star. From the canyon, we made our way to Borgarfjörður eystri where we got to spend hours with Atlantic puffins! The drive out to the East Fjords was insanely beautiful and we had many roadside distractions along the way (waterfalls, reindeer, turf roofed houses). Seyðisfjörður has the reputation of being the prettiest village in the East Fjords so despite the inclement weather, we revisited the scenic town, with a visit to Gufufoss and Fardagafoss along the way. Our original plan was to hike out to the majestic waterfalls of Hengifoss and Litlanesfoss but the bad weather just couldn’t justify the effort to get out there so instead we drove onward to the stunningly gorgeous Vestrahorn mountain on the Stokknes Peninsula. Since we camped here, we received two free tickets to visit the beach (it is private property and the land owner has been charging visitors 800 ISK per visit). Next up on our itinerary was a visit to Jökulsárlón glacier lagoon, Diamond Beach and Fjallsárlón glacier lagoon. After our fill of icebergs, we hiked Múlagljúfur Canyon which is home to Hangandifoss Waterfall, one of our favorite waterfalls of the trip. Our next big activity was a 6 hour hike on Falljökull glacier with Artic Adventures. This glacier is part of the Vatnajökull National Park and we were equipped with crampons and an ice ax along with a block on instruction from our experienced guide. This was another highlight of the trip and we were very glad we had signed up for this optional activity as it was mesmerizing spending time on the glacier. After the glacier, we hiked out to Svartifoss waterfall and paid a visit to Núpsstaður turf farm and church before a midnight visit to Fjaðrárgljúfur Canyon. In retrospect, we should have waited to visit the canyon as our photos didn’t come out as well as we would have liked in the limited light. But it was cool visiting without a horde of other tourists milling about! The next day, we visited Vík, the southernmost village of Iceland. Here, we enjoyed the views from the church, lamb soup at the Soup Company, and the Reynisfjara black sand beach and basalt columns. From Vík we made our way to Skógar where we visited the museum and discovered the less visited waterfall of Kvernufoss which is another waterfall that visitors can hike behind. No one else was here, and this waterfall was far better than its more popular neighbor of Skógafoss. The next day was a brilliant sunny day and we took full advantage of the beautiful weather to do the waterfall section of the Fimmvörðuháls Trail. This 4.2 mile hike (one way) took us past 26 different waterfalls and we took our time admiring each one. The last time we hiked Fimmvörðuháls, we were carrying heavy rucks and were in a rush to make it to Þórsmörk (Thórsmörk) before nightfall, so it was a much nicer experience to do this hike at a relaxed pace. After our long hike, we explored several man-made cave houses on the south coast as well as the waterfalls of Gljúfrabúi and Seljalandsfoss. The good weather we had didn’t hold up and we experienced a full day of torrential downpour which we took advantage of to do absolutely nothing other than catch up on some sleep, recharge our batteries and spend the afternoon at a thermal pool in Hella. From Hella, we signed up for a ride out to  Þórsmörk with Volcano Huts who outsourced it to a local operator called Southcoast Adventure. Amazingly, the two of us had our own private ride out to Þórsmörk in a super jeep (we had expected a bus but few tourists were venturing out to the interior this early in the season). We had been advised not to attempt driving our own rental vehicle through the raging Krossá river and this was solid advice considering the day we arrived and the day we left, two different tourists’ vehicles had to be rescued from the river! As we had been warned, damage incurred while crossing a river nulls one’s insurance in Iceland so the drivers were left with a very hefty bill…so not worth the risk of driving ourselves! The day we arrived to Þórsmörk, the weather turned bad (rain and fog) as we hiked the first 6 km of the Fimmvörðuháls Trail from the Básar campsite to Heljarkambur but the views were still mesmerizing. Phew, we accomplished a lot during this section of Iceland and we still have a third of our trip left to explore this amazing country. Stay tuned!

Becky at the lovely waterfall of Aldeyjarfoss The basalt column waterfall of Aldeyjarfoss is worth the remote journey to get there It was a snowy, winter wonderland on our drive out to Aldeyjarfoss! Off the beaten path waterfall of Hrafnabjargafoss A curious ewe with her two lambs; near Hrafnabjargafoss One of several Skútustaðagígar pseudocraters; Mývatn View of Mývatn from a pseudocrater The lava pillars of Kálfastrandavogar as seen from Höfði nature preserve on Lake Mývatn View of Hverfjall, a giant circular explosion crater near Lake Mývatn View of Lake Mývatn from Höfði Peninsula A view of the surrounding volcanic countryside of Hverfjall Crater, visible after an easy 20 minute hike to the top of the crater Horse painted shed near Lake Mývatn Steam rising from the ground near Blue Lake; Mývatn Becky at the Krafla geothermal shower Krafla volcanic region Víti crater lake Krafla power station Sulfur spring; Leirhnjúkur Lava formations in the geothermal valley of Leirhnjúkur Volcanic rocks covered with snow and moss; Leirhnjúkur Fumaroles at the Krafla caldera; Leirhnjúkur Hófur crater; Leirhnjúkur Icicles at Leirhnjúkur lava field Selfoss waterfall Rainbow over Dettifoss waterfall Gorgeous views as we drive on Ring Road (Route 1) Turf roof gas station at Möðrudalur Farm View of the restaurant/bar and bathrooms at Möðrudalur campsite Möðrudalur Farm is the highest farm in Iceland. The lowest temperature in Iceland was recorded here. We were the only ones tent camping on a freezing night in June! Turf roofed toilets and laundry facilities; Möðrudalur campsite A gorgeous sunset at midnight; Möðrudalur campsite A herd of reindeer just off Ring Road Scenery on our drive out to Stuðlagil Canyon Stuðlagil Canyon became famous due to Instagram. This hidden canyon wasn't discovered until 2009 when the Kárahnjúkar hydro plant became operational and the water level decreased The basalt rock columns combined with this glacial river make Stuðlagil Canyon a hidden gem To get this view of Stuðlagil Canyon, we had to hike 90 minutes each way! Rjúkandi waterfall in the Valley of Jökuldalur The beautiful turf church of Geirsstaðakirkja Friendly horse saying hello Snapshot on the spectacular drive to Borgarfjörður eystri; East Fjords A beautiful drive out to remote Borgarfjörður eystri More stunning views on our drive out to Borgarfjörður eystri This quaint little fishing port is home to thousands of Atlantic puffins; Borgarfjörður eystri After not seeing a single puffin at Latrabjarg cliffs, we were thrilled to see hundreds of them at Borgarfjörður eystri An Atlantic puffin stretching its wings A puffin with its beak full of sand eels; Borgarfjörður eystri A puffin carrying sand eels to feed its hungry chick A puffin sticking out its tongue 10,000 puffins nest at Borgarfjörður eystri each year. Spot their burrows in this photo (hint: the tiny mounds of dirt); Borgarfjörður eystri This cute red turf house called Lindarbakki is only inhabited during the summer months; Borgarfjörður eystri Puffin mural on a building in Borgarfjörður eystri A solar powered vending machine on Rte 94 - one of east Iceland's must see stops! A herd of reindeer in Reyðarfjörður Gufufoss waterfall A rainbow colored street in Seyðisfjörður Houses in Seyðisfjörður A thirty minute hike to reach the scenic Fardagafoss waterfall Towering mountains of the East Fjords East fjord scenery on an overcast day Snow capped mountain; East Fjords A dramatic drive weaving in and out of the fjords of Eastern Iceland Fossardafoss near the Fossá River Gorgeous scenery on our drive through the East Fjords The dramatic landscape of stunningly gorgeous Vestrahorn (also known as Vesturhorn or Stokksnes) Another vantage point of Vestrahorn Mountain A lovely reflection of Vestrahorn Mountain on the black sand beach Remains of a viking village film set; Vestrahorn Striking a pose at Jökulsárlón ice lagoon Zodiacs keeping ice from forming; Jökulsárlón Diamond beach - where iceberg fragments collect on a striking black sand beach Massive iceberg fragments on Diamond Beach Peering into an iceberg fragment Icebergs from Jökulsárlón lagoon drift out to sea Múlagljúfur canyon Becky posing next to her favorite waterfall in Iceland, Hangandifoss The last turf church ever built in Iceland, the pretty Hofskirkja (one of only 6 turf churches remaining) We had a great time on our 5.5 hour glacier tour of Falljökull glacier led by Artic Adventures guide Mark McInerney Other hikers exploring Falljökull glacier The gorgeous Falljökull glacier Glacial waterfall on Falljökull glacier Resting in an ice cave; Falljökull glacier Robby checking out Falljökull glacier, an outlet of Vatnajokull (Europe's largest glacier) Mesmerizing hues of Falljökull glacier Three happy hikers (Marko, Becky and Robby); Falljökull glacier Svartifoss waterfall in Skaftafell National Park We loved the dramatic clouds above this mountain range Núpsstaður turf farm Núpsstaður turf church Foss á Siðu waterfall, a 30 meter tall waterfall just off Ring Road on the south coast Fjaðrárgljúfur canyon Stjórnarfoss waterfall was a short walk away from our campsite in Kirkjubæjarklaustur Systrafoss (the Sisters' Falls) waterfall; Kirkjubæjarklaustur Icelandic horses in Kirkjubæjarklaustur Skaftareldahraun lava field Robby in a field of lupine The pretty waterfall of Uxafótafoss on the outskirts of Vík í Mýrdal The pretty church of Vík í Mýrdal Robby enjoying Icelandic lamp soup at The Soup Company; Vík View of Vík í Mýrdal from a hill overlooking the town Hálsanefshellir Cave on Reynisfjara Beach Robby on the basalt columns of Reynisfjara Beach Kirkjufjara beach Sea stack on Kirkjufjara beach Gorgeous scenery abounds on the southern coast of Iceland The turf house at Skógar Museum Becky at Kvernufoss View from behind Kvernufoss, the hidden waterfall of Skógar Skógafoss is one of Iceland's biggest waterfalls at 60 meters tall and 25 meters wide Fosstorfufoss, one of 26 waterfalls found on the 4.2 mile waterfall section of the Fimmvörðuháls trail Becky hiking the Fimmvörðuháls trail for the second time! Skálabrekkufoss is the 8th waterfall encountered on the Fimmvörðuháls hike Kæfufoss waterfall We spent 3 hours hiking next to this gorgeous canyon to discover the next waterfall; Fimmvörðuháls Trail View of the canyon looking back towards Skógar The mighty waterfall of Króksfoss, one of the most impressive on the Fimmvörðuháls Trail Another view of Króksfoss thundering down the valley One of the last waterfalls on the Fimmvörðuháls trail The last of 26 waterfalls just before the bridge over the Skógá River; Fimmvörðuháls trail An ewe relaxing with her lambs; Fimmvörðuháls Trail A house built into Drangurinn Rock Rútshellir Cave A portion of the Skarfur VE 127 ship embedded into the mountainside near Steinahellir Cave Spectacular waterfall visible from the Ring Road on the south coast Robby and a puffin Gljúfrabúi (Canyon Dweller) waterfall View from behind Seljalandsfoss waterfall Seljalandsfoss waterfall - quite possibly Iceland's prettiest waterfall Catching up on some much needed sleep on a rainy day; Hella A thermal pool was the perfect place to escape the rainy day; Hella Fantastic geologic formations are everywhere in scenic Þórsmörk Robby hiking the Þórsmörk portion of the Fimmvörðuháls Trail Even though it was an overcast day, Becky still enjoyed the views around gorgeous Þórsmörk Robby on the steep Fimmvörðuháls trail; Þórsmörk The weather took a turn for the worse and a thick cloud engulfed Þórsmörk Becky trying to avoid stepping in mud; Fimmvörðuháls Trail in Þórsmörk We hiked nearly 6 km from the Básar campsite to Heljarkambur (Hell's Ridge) before turning back due to the limited visibility; Þórsmörk video lightboxby v6.1

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