North Iceland: Volcanoes and Waterfalls

North Iceland

The drive from the Eastern Fjords took about two and a half hours and finally we started seeing signs to some interesting things. We had a list of things we wanted to check out. Since it was Jason’s birthday I let him make the plans for the day. Our next three days would be spent in north Iceland before reaching the Westfjords. The Myvatn area was so different from the south or eastern parts of Iceland. There is a lot more geothermal activity around north Iceland and you can’t really miss it. There was steam coming out of the ground from everywhere! It was similar to Rotorua in New Zealand in that aspect.

Myvatn

Our first stop was at Hverir which is located below the volcanic mountain of Námafjall. We noticed lots of cars in the car park and decided to have a look. It was very cool just seeing the steam coming out of these vents. The sulphur smell was horrendous though and after a quick wander around we headed back to the car.

North Iceland Hverir

Beautiful weather up north at Hverir

Since we had missed out on Kerid back around the Golden Circle, I was so desperate to check out Krafla. Krafla is a cauldera and is about 800m high and 2km in depth, it has been used as a source for geothermal energy since 1977. I was not disappointed with our visit to Krafla, how many times in your life do you get to stand on the edge of a volcano?

North Iceland

Krafla crater on beautiful day

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Just for an idea of the size.. I’m standing on that flat piece in the middle of the photo.

As part of Jason’s birthday present I had made a plan for a stop off at the Myvatn Nature Baths. It was a spa day and we got in a nice hot shower afterwards (these were a luxury when living in a campervan for 12 days). So we went straight to the Nature Baths ditching any other hikes that were on the ‘might do’ list and pampered ourselves. We spent about an hour and a half going from the hot pool to the warm pool and decided we should find an awesome camping spot before sunset. We found an epic spot at Hild Cottages where we were overlooking the lake.

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Watching the sunset over Lake Myvatn from the campervan

It was a beautiful evening, we got to cook an amazing dinner and we popped some champagne! Camping? We were definitely glamping!

That night was spent looking out the windows of the campervan for the Northern lights. The hours started to go by and we wondered if they were ever going to come out. Eventually they decided to show themselves. In the excitement, I ran outside in just a t-shirt and pajama pants screaming (sorry neighbours, you know you wanted to see them too) and proceeded to set up my camera and snap some shots. The lights stayed around for about 15 to 20 minutes before disappearing but it was magical. This ended up being our only night seeing the lights.

North Iceland

Northern Lights over Lake Myvatn

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More Northern Lights over Lake Myvatn

Maybe it was the great weather or that we saw the Northern Lights or because it was our birthday weekend, but the Myvatn area was one of the highlights of my trip.

Chasing Waterfalls

We woke up early the next morning, my birthday was going to be spent chasing the waterfalls of north Iceland. This meant a lot of driving today since we were going to back track and check out Dettifoss, Asbyrgi Canyon and continue on towards Husavik. There are two roads to Dettifoss, we took the first road we saw which was road 862. We were the only two people on our side of Dettifoss at about 9am, and it was amazing. After snapping a few shots of Europe’s most powerful waterfall, another couple appeared and we decided it was time to head to Selfoss. We walked down to Selfoss, the shape was just stunning and the sun rising behind it made it look really beautiful.

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Long Exposure photos at Dettifoss. It was so cold, there was frost on the ground.

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Good morning to you too Selfoss!

From here we got to experience our first proper F-road (thanks google maps!). Road 862, or Dettifoss road continued for about another hour until we reached Asbyrgi canyon. We decided to drive to Asbyrgi to check it out and then decide if we wanted to walk around. We drove as far into the canyon as we could and decided we had to take a walk and explore. Walking through here really made you feel small.

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Our path through Asbyrgi Canyon

After lots of shouting to hear our echoes (thank goodness we were the only ones there) we hopped in the car and it was onwards to Húsavík. It was a beautiful little town but we didn’t stay long. I was eager for the next two waterfalls on our list Goðafoss and Aldeyjarfoss.

So we took road 85 after we left Húsavík and joined back onto road 1, where we took an early right turn and headed to Aldeyjarfoss down road 842. Road 842 then turned into road F-26 and I think we were on someone’s property by then, but we followed the signs and parked. We walked for about 15 minutes down a slope and across some rocks and finally found the waterfall we were looking for. Aldeyjarfoss remains my favourite waterfall out of the whole trip. It was so secluded (yay no tour buses!). There were the basalt columns that we saw at Svartifoss on Iceland’s south coast. It also had the bluest glacier water we had seen anywhere. The contrast of the bright blue with the rocky landscape made it spectacular. Here’s the picture for proof.

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Aldeyjarfoss in all its beauty

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I sat here chilling for a little while enjoying the beauty of the waterfall

We headed back to Goðafoss after this beauty and also got some amazing shots. This waterfall was absolutely stunning as well. It had a horseshoe shape with the same bright blue water.

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Goðafoss was absolutely stunning

It was about 4.30pm when we left Goðafoss, we drove until we found a little picnic area where we pulled over and cooked and slept for the night.

On the road to the Westfjords

Today we were driving towards the Westfjords, not many tourists make it out this way so we were excited. Our first stop of the day was at Hvítserkur, which according to legends is a petrified troll, it just looks like a rhino to me. After seeing a few more Icelandic horses we had officially entered into the Westfjords.

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A giant rhino looking rock, Hvítserkur

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This guy look like he came straight from shooting a L’Oréal commercial

22 Comments

  • Ilana October 31, 2016 at 5:06 pm

    Everything looks like a beautiful dream! I definitely should travel to Iceland soon! 🙂

    Reply
  • Amanda October 31, 2016 at 5:45 pm

    I am so incredibly jealous! Iceland has been my dream vacation for a while now and seeing all of this just makes me so much more excited for it! Thank you for sharing this experience 🙂

    Reply
  • Savannah Ivy October 31, 2016 at 5:50 pm

    Oh Iceland is on my list! This is great to have as a reference guide! It sounds like you guys had an amazing time. I’d love to see the Northern Lights for sure!

    Reply
  • Alison October 31, 2016 at 6:09 pm

    Gorgeous photos! Iceland has been on my “travel bucket list” for a while, and this definitely adds fuel to the fire. 🙂 The post was really informative, and the natural baths sound incredible. Does everyone wear their suits underneath? Or did you have to do some sneaky changing? Or were there not many people – so it didn’t really matter? Whatever the answer is, I’d love to try!

    Reply
    • Stace October 31, 2016 at 7:58 pm

      Oh there were girls just walking around naked. It was crazy, no real privacy unless you change under a towel!

      Reply
  • Riah October 31, 2016 at 6:20 pm

    Such beautiful photos!! Iceland looks amazing!

    ❀Riah
    The Wanderful Soul Blog

    Reply
  • arita October 31, 2016 at 7:51 pm

    Ohhh Iceland is pure magic , I sooo wanna go there one day <3

    Reply
  • Rachael Lum October 31, 2016 at 11:57 pm

    Iceland always amazes me…it’s so beautiful! Did you drive yourselves around? Is that the easiest way?

    Reply
    • Stace November 1, 2016 at 5:55 am

      Yes we did! It was super easy to get around. We didnt get lost at all! We planned our roadtrip based on what we wanted to see and had it mapped out before!

      Reply
  • loudysdream November 1, 2016 at 9:36 am

    oh my god the photo of the giant rhino is so impresive i really want to go there . the pictures are amazing

    Reply
  • Maggie November 1, 2016 at 9:37 am

    Love the photos! What a beautiful places. The Northern Lights are at the top of my list of things to see, but I’m waiting until my daughter is a bit older to do so. Iceland is definitely the place to be this year!

    Reply
  • Sara Essop November 1, 2016 at 10:26 am

    Stunning pictures! Seeing the Northern Lights is one of the main things on my bucket list. I’d love to see the waterfalls too , and try out the nature baths.

    Reply
  • Clare November 1, 2016 at 1:06 pm

    North Iceland looks beautiful. It’s on my list to go back in summer and do a road trip around it. I can’t believe how many stunning waterfalls there are 🙂

    Reply
  • Soumya Nambiar November 1, 2016 at 1:10 pm

    I have been putting off Iceland for so long and now every other day I am reading a post on how gorgeous it is. What to do? It is quite expensive for us to fly from India. Hopefully soon. Your pictures are gorgeous and I really loved the crater. Did you stay in a camper van all these days? I would have run out screaming if I saw the lights too.

    Reply
    • Stace November 1, 2016 at 3:02 pm

      Yes we stayed in the campervan the whole trip!

      Reply
  • Rashmi & Chalukya November 1, 2016 at 3:04 pm

    Wow!! amazing we loved those northern lights. Very nice pictures and we would love to be on the edge of that volcano 🙂

    Reply
  • Sheri @ A Busy Bees Life November 1, 2016 at 3:47 pm

    This is so incredible. I have my bucket list published on my blog and the Northern Lights are number one on my list. Can’t wait until I see them. Loved this post and all your pics.

    Reply
  • Maja | Mexatia November 2, 2016 at 4:02 am

    I am still fascinated the scenery like this really exists! The crater seems so small in the first photo, but then when I saw the following… I must see that in person. Thank you or sharing.

    Reply
  • Sophie Nadeau November 2, 2016 at 8:35 am

    Sun stars in photos are one of my favourite things! These photos are simply stunning- they look like something out of a movie! The Northern Lights are definitely something I’ve always wanted to see…

    Reply
  • JM November 2, 2016 at 9:28 am

    I really need to save up so i can travel to Iceland. too far from where i live but it is full of wonderful places to see so i must go. The Northern lights looks really magnificent and i am dying to see it.

    Reply
  • Iceland Winter Video and New Years Eve Travel Tips November 25, 2016 at 9:35 am

    […] the lesser explored northern part of Iceland. Full of more amazing waterfalls and volcanoes this guide to Northern Iceland will firmly cement it on to your […]

    Reply
  • Janie April 21, 2017 at 6:59 pm

    Beautiful photos! The crater looks absolutely gorgeous! Great post, looks like you had a wonderful time! 🙂

    Reply

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