6 Dec 2017: North Iceland – Hverarond (Lake Myvatn), Godafoss, Akureyri
Our adventures continue in the frozen North. I’m usually a huge fan of snow, but not particularly so in Iceland as that would have meant overcast skies, which in turn means no aurora. But since we had no control over the weather, all that’s left is just to enjoy whatever came our way.
Breakfast was instant noodles with… Icelandic black caviar! Pretty strange combination but it turned out alright, I guess. Caviar’s usually too salty to eat on its own, so with the noodles it was quite okay.
I can’t even pronounce the name of this place… Skútustaðagígar. What’s found here are pseudocraters at the southern shore of Lake Myvatn. The craters were formed by steam explosions
There were quite a few tourists (Russians, I think) already here. All part of tour groups.
Not much to see in winter and in the dark.
Next stop is Höfði. When we arrived, there was no one here – just a snowy wonderland full of trees (it’s actually pretty difficult to find so many trees in one spot in Iceland).
Höfði is known for its lava pillars:
We hung out here for about an hour, before setting out for the other sights in the area. It was actually getting pretty late already (about 10.45am), but the sun still wasn’t totally up yet.
While driving out onto the main road, we saw the impressive Hverfjall crater. It was a bit too dark to capture a good photo though.
The whole place was like a frozen wasteland – very few cars, dark and cold.
Our next stop was Dimmuborgir (‘black forts’). We were supposed to see plenty of strange lava formations here.. but due to the heavy snow it was getting a little difficult to walk, and we didn’t have much time here.
Dimmuborgir is actually somewhat famous for the Yule Lads, which is some kind of touristy stuff that we didn’t particularly care about. Supposedly it is hard to locate them as they “hide” in caves.
We finally got a better view of the Hverfjall crater. Usually I would have hiked right to the rim of the crater, but due to a lack of time and treacherous conditions in winter, it was impossible to do it.
The roads in North Iceland were icy most of the time.
Next stop was Hverir: a geothermal spot noted for its bubbling pools of mud & steaming fumaroles emitting sulfuric gas.
It was extremely windy here – it was hard to even open our car door. One word of advice is to hold the door tight and steady while getting out of the car – the gale force wind could blow the door right off.
Our final stop was the Grjótagjá cave. We were supposed to be able to see a cave with clear blue water; however, there wasn’t much to see here as everything was snowed in.
Lunch on the car: an assortment of hams and skyr, as always.
Our last nature stop before heading to Akureyri was Godafoss, a major attraction in the North. Yes, it’s “yet another waterfall”, but all waterfalls in Iceland are distinctive in their own way, and worth seeing.
Godafoss (Waterfall of the Gods) was small (compared to other major Icelandic waterfalls) but charming – definitely well worth a stop.
Back on the icy road – this time to Akureyri for the night. It was just about 3pm, but the sky was already getting dark. In deep winter, daylight hours are as much as 30 – 45 mins shorter than South Iceland.
Approaching Akureyri, the capital of the North. It has a population of just 18000 though – a town by most measures but it’s the 2nd largest city in Iceland.
Before entering Akureyri, we stopped at The Christmas garden – Jólagarðurinn, about 10km outside the city. It’s basically a big store selling all sorts of Christmas souvenirs year-round, even in summer. It probably feels more at home in winter though.
The snow was falling pretty hard here.
Snowy residential streets:
Brynja, a supposedly legendary ice cream shop in Akureyri.
Last stop before going to our hotel: grocery shopping! There are a few supermarket chains in Iceland, but Bonus is by far the cheapest. This particular branch was huge!
Our accommodation for the night was Town Square guesthouse ($89). A very cosy place and one of the few guesthouses in Iceland during our trip where we managed to meet so many travellers in one place.
Dinner was a series of pre-packaged traditional Icelandic stews, pizza, salmon and fries.
This entry was posted in Europe, Honeymoon, Iceland