The west fjords. It’s an especially isolated and empty part of Iceland. The wilderness hits you when you realise you drive past one car per hour.
Today we are both completely time disoriented. It’s such a strange feeling when the daylight is permanent. After driving for hours, we arrived at Hellulaug – a tiny hidden geothermal pool.
In truth, it wasn’t so easy to track the natural pools that we’d researched online before coming to Iceland. This time, however, we succeeded.
First, we set up our tent at a campsite nearby and waited until 2 am to have it for ourselves. It was beginning to rain but we went there anyway, all drunk and happy. We were SO EXCITED! The water was so clear and the perfect temperature.
I’d like to tell you we were soaking in the warm water and looking at the northern lights above, but it was foggy and rainy. Just like in the picture.
Around the pool, there isn’t actually any space to keep your things dry. Soon we were running back to the tent in our wet clothes.
We woke up at 12 pm and it had been raining heavily all night. I actually peed myself while sleeping ( I can’t believe I’m writing this here but hey, why not share the embarrassing stuff too?). I’d like to think it was because of the wet clothes…or maybe I had a bad dream? Anyway, at least we ate a good breakfast – pasta with sundried tomatoes and pesto.
By the time we got to Raudasandur, a red sand beach, it was already evening. It could have been so beautiful if it had been sunny. In its own way, it still was. So basically the weather decided for us – we were skipping the Westfjords nearly altogether.
It felt so good to be getting out of there. We were craving some sunshine.
Next, heading south to Reykjavik and the Golden Circle. We found one campsite, decided we’d sleep in the car. After tossing and turning for some time, we eventually returned to the campsite because it was just too uncomfortable in our tiny vehicle.
Yet another cloudy, gloomy morning. Next on our list was Glymur – another waterfall. I guess visiting Iceland is all about ticking all the waterfalls off your list. The hike was a real adventure – steep climbing and crossing rivers.
We couldn’t actually see the waterfall itself as it was too foggy, but the surroundings were enough for me. Violet flowers and streams all the way. Just stunning.
We drove to our first stop of the Golden Circle, Þingvellir. Frankly, we were both surprised just how ordinary everything looked; nothing amazed us. Geysir and the whole famous geothermal area were much more worth our time. The weather still hadn’t changed though. I guess it would have looked even more spectacular with the sun shining.
After that, we began looking for a campsite. We were unsure which one to choose – they were all so expensive! We decided on the one further away (scroll to the ‘useful info’ to see why). To pay, I had to put the money in a red mailbox because the reception had already been closed.
We woke up with rain once again. Had a massive breakfast of beans, tomato sauce and bread and went into the hot tub, which really helped us get warmed up for the whole day.
Then, we saw Gullfoss waterfall (another part of the Golden Circle). Again, I can’t say much because the weather disappointed us. ‘It’s time for a reward’ – we both agreed. The Blue Lagoon was our plan for the next day.
We chose a campsite in Grindavik – only 20 minutes by car to the pools. It was really impressive – the kitchen spacious, fully equipped and the bathrooms clean and heated. We did our laundry for free, too!
We woke up at 6 am and before 7 am we were already at the Blue Lagoon. It was probably one of the best things here in Iceland (I will do a separate post comparing Blue Lagoon and Myvatn Nature Baths!).
We stayed there for a good few hours before going to clean our car and driving to the campsite in Reykjavik. As the evening came, I got more and more stressed about our hike in the mountains. I’d had enough of camping for 10 days straight and being uncomfortable all the time.
And the next 4 days..? 55 km of hiking, sleeping in the cold, dragging all of our heavy stuff with us…just no.
‘I don’t want to do this’ I thought to myself.
Then we talked about it calmly and I felt much better. Little did I know it would be the best part of our trip.
A big day was ahead of us…
The last part of the Iceland Diaries series will be about our hike in the mountains. Definitely the most interesting part for me! Stay tuned 🙂
- Don’t make visiting Þingvellir (which is part of the famous Golden Circle) a priority. That’s our honest opinion. There are places far more beautiful to see in Iceland. After seeing the whole island, this place simply didn’t seem spectacular
- With the rest of the Golden Circle – well you just had to be lucky with the weather. We weren’t amazed because the fog and clouds covered everything
- When sleeping around the Geysir- choose the campsite further away. It’s cheaper (1500 ISK per person) and a swimming pool and a natural hot tub are included. Cottages are available, too
- If you’re visiting the Blue Lagoon, the campsite in Grindavik is a superb place to stay. Visitors leave leftover food in the big kitchen and there’s a dining area, too. Free showers are another bonus!
- Remember to fill your gas tank every time you come across a petrol station. Running on empty in the west fjords isn’t a good idea – we passed just two in the whole region.
That’s it for part 3. For me, these few days of the trip were still extraordinary, despite the slightly depressing atmosphere there 🙂 . Would you ever travel to the west fjords, considering there’s not much to do there?