The saga island may be one of the most “exotic” hiking destinations in Europe, despite or maybe because of its climate and geology. In one week, we drove approximately 1,400 kilometers to find some of the best hikes, while visiting both known and lesser-known sites along the way.
Among the more “touristy” highlights were the waterfalls Seljalandsfoss, Skógafoss, Svartifoss, Tröllkonuhlaup, Gullfoss and Kirkjufellsfoss. Other stops with easier/short hikes, natural points of interest and/or viewpoints were Sólheimajökull Glacier; Dyrhólaey promontory; the basalt columns, sea stacks, and beaches at Reynisfjara; Laufskálavarða moss-covered lava fields; the alien Fjaðrárgljúfur canyon; Rauðfeldsgjá Gorge; Snæfellsjökull National Park; Súgandisey Island Lighthouse; and Mount Akrafjall. And yes, we made the mandatory stop at Geysir Hot Springs. Þingvellir National Park impressed with its landscape. It is both a historical site and the place where the North American and Eurasian tectonic plates meet, or more precisely: separate.
We made two longer hikes through aweing nature, making up the highlights of our “drive and hike” holiday on Iceland. The Fimmvörðuháls Trail from Skógafoss to Þórsmörk led us past 26 (!) waterfalls, the infamous Eyjafjallajökull and Mýrdalsjökull glaciers, barren/warm lava fields, and the wild canyon-like volcanic valley down to Þórsmörk. Unfortunately, the weather did not play along, but the conditions and the 4×4 tour bus ride through river beddings back to Skóga just added to the expedition vibe of this hike.
We also highly enjoyed hiking at Skaftafell. The trail led us up from the coastal lowlands to a ridge separating two glacial valleys which are part of Iceland’s largest ice cap: Vatnajökul. We enjoyed viewing the Skaftafellsjökull glacier.
One hidden gem we hardly want to share with others is Gjáin. This weird gorge/small valley system with lots of creeks, waterfalls, and small ponds flowing and mixing in all directions, through the greenest scenery you have ever seen seemed taken out of a fairy tale.
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