EXPLORING THE NORTH OF ICELAND

Hello, after long time of silence I decided to share a bit of my experience of traveling across Iceland during summer. I am currently spending 4 months of summer in Iceland, working and traveling across the country to explore the nature and its wonders. This is my view of the Northern part of the country that I explored during my 4 free days.

First to mention 4 days is not enough to explore all north has to offer, especially with hitchhiking and hiking for half a day, but it is truly enough to see highlights of Husavik, Myvatn and few more.

How the trip worked:

I left Jokulsarlon (the place I work at) in the evening and reached East fjords in a couple of hours. Where I stayed with my 2 lovely friends who joined me for a half of the trip. So trip started with a lot of driving and mountains followed by another mountains and lakes,rivers and springs.

First stop.

From the relaxed morning we decided to take the old road called Oxi or 939 which has brief canyons with various unexpected waterfalls on the way, as well as turquoise green rivers floating along the road. This road has advantage of saving a lot of time going directly to the closest city Egilsstadir (which was our stop for gas and food) as well as allows you to see a bit of the in-land of the countries interior. After doing some shopping in Egilssadir we continued our trip towards our first stop – Dettifoss.

                       

from fjords to Egilsstadir to Dettiffoss.

Deal with Dettiffoss is kind of tricky. Since you always drive on the main road in Dettiffoss area you have to choices: first turn to the right and you find yourself driving on the gravel/dirt road for quite a while while you reach East side of the waterfall. Second choice is keep on driving for next 5 km and then turn right and in a way shorter drive you reach opposite side of the waterfall. While both side are pretty spectacular, I would recommend to choose longer road and as a reward you get endless hike following the fall and also no security protecting you to go as far as you feel like.

Side one

 

Side two

 

 

If you choose to skip first turn and turn in the second turn you will also be able to go 700m hike and reach Selfoss waterfalls that follows up Dettifoss. That is also very pleasant and interestingly structured waterfalls.

After filling your eyes and soul with endlessly falling water and noise of the continues thunders there are two choices where to be heading next. Since most of the North Iceland highlight is in the circle you can go both ways. This time we chose to visit Asbyrgi canyon, where you can hike for 3 hours (both ways) and see the canyon from above or go inside the canyon itself and experience quite rare thing to Iceland – that is forest. Asbyrgi canyon is very nice place just to take a walk or camp, and enjoy small forest with blueberries and green ponds.

Inside the canyon

 

 

After visiting Asbyrgi we headed way up, to reach Husavik, where I planned to stay the night and say goodbye to my lovely friends since they were going back to work next morning. On the way to Husavik highway offers nice view of the coastline and some of the hidden cliffs that were a good find. Here is some of the photos from the view while driving towards Husavik.

Since Husavik has a port with fishermen all around we decided to go for a fancy dinner in the fish restaurant by the port, where we were welcomed with a warm atmosphere and delicious lobster rolls and skewers.

After filling up with delicious food I waved goodbye to my amazing friends that drove me all the way to Husavik and spent amazing time exploring with me, and with my backpack in my hands I began lonely North adventure.

First thing to do: Find camping

Second thing to do: Put up the tent

Third thing to do: GO WHALE WATCHING!

I accomplished all of 3 things and took a late night sailing boat to the deep water, to see some lovely giants jumping in and out the water around the boat.

Have to say that evening sails without rain is one of the best experiences you can get. Romantic sunsets in from of your eyes with huge whales swimming around you and calm sea reflecting the sun and clouds. An evening ended up with some warm tea in the camping and chatting with the travellers from all around the world. Husavik is full of tourists who come here mostly for the whales.

Next morning I decided to explore whales even more and took a speed boat to see them from the arms reach. If you only have one choice of the boat – speed boat is the one to go for. You see not only whales but also nesting puffins on the cliffs and fling all around small islands.

Puffins puffins everywhere

To finish up Husavik adventure I have to say that whales are pretty amazing creatures and it is worth to see live how they play in the deep waters and how sublime they move in there.

After amazing experience with whales I packed my things and headed down to the highway to start my hitchhiking, and not even second passed I was picked up by the lovely Icelandic man, with his big car heading exactly where I needed – Myvatn!

On the way we stopped in the Icelandic greenhouse where he goes every week to pick up fresh vegetables for his guest house in Myvatn. Despite the fact that he goes 100km for vegetable he also smokes fishes, that is why he was driving with 1000 kg of salt in his trunk. So the hitching turned out into pretty exciting experience hearing stories about Myvatn and my lovely driver’s life spent around the lake, fishing and growing sheep. After arriving to the Myvatn and saying goodbye to my driver I found another nice camping to drop my things and go see what Myvatn has to offer.

Myvatn is the village where you can find a few nice hikes and hot spring caves as well as the spectacular lake itself. After I made myself a hope in the camping and my tent was back in action, I decided to do a hike to the crater Hverfjall. It was not the easiest hike I have done, and not the shortest one for sure. But on the way to Hverfjall you also pass beautiful caves of Grjotagja.

On the way to Hverfjall with my travel friends.

Grjotagja caves from inside.

Grjotagja from up.

Reaching Hverfjall after 2 hours hike.

Crater from above before sun goes down.

Some of the interior of the myvatn surroundings.

Best reward you can get at the end of 5 hours hike! Thank you Myvatn.

Since evening hike to Hverfjall took the last energy drop from me and especially my feet, I treated myself with stone oven baked pizza in the middle of nowhere and some warm tea. Went to sleep already thinking about hot natural baths in the morning. Yes! that is also in Myvatn. So I packed my things and got a short ride from Icelander to the natural baths where I took my time and enjoyed hot waters for an hour or two. After being treated very well in Myvatn I needed to start heading back home. My hitchhiking experience could not get better because I got back home in one day, what is quite unusual for such a long distance back.

It took me 3 different cars, a lot of interesting conversations with drivers and amazing sunset ride through the fjords and mountains.  Going back through old road I mentioned before was hectic experience since the fog was so strong you cant see anything in front of you, but at the end of the road 100km from the home the sun was shining bright showing off mountain peaks to everyone!

Serpentine fog magic.

 

There comes the sun with rainbows and lovely clouds.

Camper hitchhiking perks!

And that’s how my trip ends, with a lot of new experiences, meeting people, whales and landscapes you can dream about. North is one of the nicest places here to experience and if the sun shines all the time, there is nothing you can wish for more!

Be happy, and keep on travelling,

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