Europe

Route along the southern coast of Iceland in one day from Reykjavik

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The title of the article makes it very clear. The third day of trip to Iceland we decided to make one route along the south coast of Iceland. The goal was to get as close as possible to the experience that we really would have liked to do: tour the island along the circular route or "Ring Road". As usual, that day we wake up very soon. Although it was mid-March, at six in the morning it was already day and that allowed us to have many hours of sun to do the excursion.

But when you consider visiting the southern coast of Iceland from Reykjavik The first question that assails you is: how far do you go? After meditating we decided to go by car from Reykjavik to the lava fields of Eldhraun and from there return to the capital stopping in the most beautiful enclaves of the route. For another trip the Vatnajökull, Jökulsárlón and Fjallsárlón glaciers will be pending, as well as the Svartifoss waterfall, which fell too far to do in a single day from Reykjavik.

Weekend cottage near the lava fields of Eldhraun

And why did we go from Reykjavik to Eldhraun? Basically because in mid-March at six in the morning it is quite cold and, although at that time there are fewer people in the points of interest, we thought we would enjoy more visits with less extreme weather.

The "Ring Road" is the main road in Iceland and runs around the whole island. It only has one lane per direction, but what really surprised us is that it hardly has a shoulder. And that is a mess because it is more difficult to stop taking pictures along the way. And look that there were many moments in which we would have stopped. Iceland's landscapes are lush in its aridity and feeling of loneliness. It's almost like walking on the moon. In fact, the Apollo XI crew went there to prepare for a lunar mission. Eye to the data.

There was little traffic at that time in the morning, so three hours later we found the detour to access the Eldhraun lava field. We leave the road to enter an unpaved road, but still passable. On the sides, solidified lava fields covered with a kind of hard moss that has colonized the ground to create a beautifully strange landscape. We advanced as we watched the lava fields until we reached the end of the road.

There we left the car and walked along the roadside. We stopped until we almost caressed the moss. The organism that grows in lava is very fragile and takes many years to develop. This lava field was created during the eruption of the Laki volcano in 1783 and, although more than 230 years have passed, the thickness of the moss is barely a few millimeters, so do not step on it or mistreat it. Interestingly, this was taught to us in another remote place: during the Beagle Channel Navigation at travel through Argentina.

Parking on Vík beach

Forty minutes from there in the direction of Reykjavik is Vik and Myrdal, bucolic populations that are the entry point to Reynisdrangar and Dyrhólaey. This part of the coast is famous for black beaches, basalt columns and puffin colonies (puffins) that inhabit its cliffs between June and August.

We enter Vík with the car and drive to the end of the town where the beach car park is. There we left the car and walked towards the seashore. Far away in the sea, next to Reynisfjara, stand a group of basalt pillars of sixty-six meters high, the famous Reynisdrangar.

Reynisdrangar's petrified trolls

The legend says that some trolls tried to drag a three-masted ship towards the coast during a night storm. The task took them longer than expected and when the first rays of sun came out, the trolls were petrified. Icelandic folklore is rich in stories of trolls, elves and other mythological beings, and even today there are people who believe in it. And those who do not respect him.

We got back in the car to take the 215 road and go to the famous Reynisfjara Black Beach. From the beach we had another panoramic view of Reynisdrangar, although I have to tell you that I liked the one on Vík beach more. Anyway, the visit to the black beach of Reynisfjara is a must if you do a route along the south coast of Iceland, since there you can see a wall of beautiful basaltic columns whose composition reminds us of the organ of a church and that inspired the architect of the Reykjavík Hallgrímskirkja church. At the opposite end we can observe the famous rocky arch that crosses the water of Dyrhólaey, our next stop.

At the end of the road 218 we will be at the top of the cliff and from there you can see more closely Dyrhólaey, although the best panoramic view you will have from Reynisfjara beach. This is a high point where they usually inhabit and nest the puffins between mid-May and mid-June, so on those dates it is usually closed. The view from there was impressive, but the wind blew a lot, so that it even made us fear for our safety, so we quickly returned to the car and continued with our route. Next stop: Skógar.

Actually, we would have liked the next stop to be the remains of the DC plane which crashed on the black beach of Sólheimasandur in 1973. In winter the only way to access it is with a 4 × 4 or hiring a quad excursion, since the road is quite impracticable. The second option is to walk from the main road to the beach for an hour, but the path is still difficult and with a fibula in the process of recovery it was not a plan to make the goat in excess. So we headed to the town of Skógar.

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