Tag: South Iceland

Blue Lagoon – Geothermal Spa in Iceland

There are lots of great places to visit in Iceland, but high on the list of popular tourist spots is the Blue Lagoon geothermal spa.

Grindavik on the Reykjanes Peninsula in the southwestern part of the country is where you will find the lava field where the spa rests. The Blue Lagoon is very nicely situated, and is just 13km from Keflavik International Airport, and just 39km from the city of Reykjavik, making it easy to see why so many flock there.

Blue Lagoon Iceland

The geothermal waters of the spa get their start well below the surface. We are talking 2,000 meters down, which is where freshwater and seawater collide at extreme temperatures. Holes are drilled so that the geothermal power plant in Svartsengi can use that power to deliver electricity and hot water to the surrounding area.

Silica and minerals mix with the water as it heads to the surface, at which point it is a relaxing 38°C (100°F).

The blue water of the lagoon

The composition of the geothermal water is truly unique, with 3 active ingredients – Silica, Algae, and Minerals – all in play. The distinctive blue color of the water comes when the silica reflects in the sunlight. The summer months show little bursts of green in the water, too, as the direct sunlight multiplies the levels of algae in the water.

Despite these colorful bursts, the water is in fact while. If you were to scoop up the water in a clear glass, you would see that it is indeed milky white. It is the sun that is responsible for the shade of blue you usually see.

Blue Lagoon Iceland

Keep in mind

While the water delivers a number of great benefits, there are some things you need to keep in mind:

  • Drinking water is crucial, as spending any a lot of time in the warm water can lead to dehydration.
  • Your hair will not be harmed by the lagoon water, but it will dry it out. Keep your hair soft and silky by using conditioner before and after your dip.
  • The water can have an adverse effect on certain types of jewelry, so remove it all and keep it in a private locker before jumping in.
  • It’s very cloudy under the surface, so goggles and underwater cameras really serve no purpose.
  • When the sun is out, there can be some real glare that comes of the water. We recommend that you always pack sunglasses.

Blue Lagoon

Good to know

  • No matter the time of year, the water temperature sits at 37-40°C (98-104°F).
  • There are 6 million liters of water in the lagoon.
  • No cleaners required here, as the water renews and self-cleanses every 40 hours.
  • At its deepest point the lagoon goes down 1.6 meters, but the average depth is 0.8-1.2 meters deep.

Blue Lagoon - Iceland

If you are in the area and have a few hours to spare, you really need to find a way to get to the Blue Lagoon. This is a popular last stop for many on their way to the Keflavik airport, as it’s much less expensive and time consuming that making the round trip from the capital city.

Iceland Travel Guide Team – Reykjavík (Iceland)

Þingvellir National Park

Þingvellir is one of the national parks that are on the northern shore in Iceland. Furthermore, it is one of the oldest existing parliaments in the world, which makes it important in Icelandic history. Þingvellir is also labelled as a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

Þingvellir National Park

Þingvellir is important because of its history yet it is also famed for its unique geology and natural features. The Almannagjá canyon is found here between two tectonic plates, which provide a visual display of continental drift. Tourists love coming to Þingvellir to fish and scuba dive.

Various fish and other water creatures are found in Iceland’s biggest lake, Þingvallavatn, since the regular influx of groundwater allows the condition of the water to remain good. This lake is said to be home to the largest brown trout and chair that is available in the world.

Þingvellir National Park

Travelling to the National Park

There are several ways to get to the national park, which is about forty-five km northeast of Reykjavik.

First, you have to get on road no. 1 and head north to leave Reykjavik. Once you have passed the town of Mosfellsbaer, you will then take the first exit on your right when you reach the roundabout. This will put you on road no. 36 heading towards Thingvellir. This is the main route to reach the national park, and during the winter season, it will be clear for driving.

Alternatively, if you are visiting during the summertime you could head towards Hveragerdi/Selfoss on road no. 1. Once out of Reykjavik, turn left on road no 431 and follow it until you get to road no 435. This road will allow you to see some scenic areas of Iceland such as the Hengill volcano, where you can see amazing views of Lake Thingvallavatn. When you get down the mountain, you will want to make a left turn on road no 360 and drive approximately 11 km and turn right onto road no 36. This road will carry you about 8 km and then you will see the visitor’s center of the national park.

Þingvellir National Park

When taking this route – road no 435 – remember that it is closed during the winter because of snow. You should always make sure you check the conditions before driving this route too.

Iceland Travel Guide – Reykjavík (Iceland)

What You Need to Know About the Westman Islands

Vestmannaeyjar is known for its exotic birdlife and volcanic activity. This region of Iceland is an archipelago, which has fifteen islands. Heimaey is the only island where people live yet 2400 enjoy calling it home. They are also known for having the second largest fishing station in all of Iceland, therefore fisheries are the main industry on the island.

To arrive at Heimaey you have to travel via the ferry, which is thirty minutes from Landeyjahöfn and it is approximately five miles from the mainland. If you are travelling from Reykjavik, you can book a flight via Eagle Air.

Heimaey

A Bit of History

During the year 1973, the Eldfell volcano erupted and 400 houses were covered in lava and ash. Some thought the event would cause the locals to move yet many came back and rebuilt their homes and communities.

Eldfell Volcano

Vestmannaeyjar is known for their birdlife. Currently, they have the largest puffin colony, which consists of millions of puffins.

The Present

Since the incident occurred in the seventies, Heimaey archipelago has fascinated the world. Tourists come each year so they can look at the Eldfell Volcano and see the mess that it left behind. Additionally, there is the Eldheimar, a spring, that visitors love going to. When approaching you will see the colorful roofs and you will be amazed to notice you can see into some of the buildings. Some establishments and homes still look like they did the day the volcano erupted. You will see plates on the table, dishes in the sink, and more. You may be a little spooked but it is an amazing thing to experience. If you decide to go to the onsite museum, you are definitely going to experience things that you will never forget.

Eldfell Volcano

Make sure you stop by the Eldheimar information center so you can learn about Surtsey. This is one of the youngest and most southern islands. It originated during an underwater eruption that took place from 1963 to 1967. It serves the purpose of a living laboratory.

There is also a museum in Vestmannaeyjar that you will want to stop by too. You can get there by ferry and it is open year round. It is the perfect attraction for you to view during the day.

Heimaey

Travel Guide Iceland Team – Reykjavík (Iceland)

Seljalandfoss and Gljúfrabúi Waterfalls

Iceland is full of beautiful waterfalls. Located in caves, mighty, surrounded by basalt columns or possibility to visit from the inside; all of which provide a unique experience for the traveler who can enjoy each of these peculiar waterfalls.

There is an abundance of beautiful waterfalls in Iceland. They can be found everywhere. Guarding the entrance to a cave, flowing in between towering basalt columns and sometimes even flowing through lava fields. Each one has its own story to tell, providing a unique experience to its visitors.

Seljalandfoss waterfall iceland

Today we would like to point you in the direction of two of our favourites waterfalls: Seljalandfoss and  Gljúfrabúi

Seljalandfoss

Seljalandfoss is one of the most photographed waterfalls in Iceland, so in all likelihood you have seen a picture of it somewhere before. What makes Seljalandfoss so special is that you can walk around it. Descending from a height of 60 metres into a pool that is encircled by a footpath gives one the opportunity to view the world from behind its crystal clear waters.

Seljalandfoss

Located 30 kilometres west from Skógar, Seljalandfoss can be easily reached via the Ring Road. It is clearly signposted as you drive through the town of Selfoss. In the vicinity you can find various other must-see natural wonders. Glaciers, black sand beaches as well as other waterfalls are all a short drive away.

Seljalandfoss

The cliff that the waterfall flows over was once part of the coastline of Iceland. The escarpment seems to wind its way throughout Southern Iceland, and may well include the cliff over which the majestic Skogarfoss waterfall flows over, slightly further to the East.

Gljúfrabúi

Hidden treasure just a few steps away from the famous, and crowded, Seljalandsfoss. Of the vast number of impressive waterfalls Iceland has to offer Gljúfrabúi is a very special one. Even if you might get wet try to get into the canyon and look up.

A short distance from Seljalandfoss lies one of the Iceland´s hidden treasures – Gljúfrabúi. This 40 metre high waterfall has to be among the most special in Iceland, and as you can imagine that is no mean feat! The only problem is you might get a little wet trying to see it…

Gljúfrabúi

Gljúfrabúi owes its mystique not only to the deep chasm it falls into but the large boulder that obstructs its view, making only the top of it visible from the ground. The boulder is called Franskanef and legend has it that it is inhabited by Huldufolk – the hidden folk. It is possible to climb Franskanef and see the waterfall from above. There is a chain to help you with your ascent, but care must be taken and it certainly isn´t for everyone.

Alternatively one can wade the river in the canyon at the base of the waterfall and view the waterfall from there. Depending on the time of year the rocks can be quite slippery, so do go carefully.

Whichever way you choose this hidden waterfall is well worth the effort and a photo opportunity not to be missed! Gljúfrabúi is a protected natural monument and is now owned by the municipality of Rangárþing eystra.

Travel Guide Iceland – Jón & Jón