Land of fire and ice

Hverir, Iceland

Iceland is a beautiful country best to be explored on a road trip. If offers magnificent everchanging landscapes and a weather that can switch between heavy rain and bright sunshine within minutes. It is an island far in the north on which you should dress according to the onion principle as temperatures can very between eight and 26 degrees within a distance of 50 kilometers. And you need to prepare for either extremely long or short days; during my stay the sun went down shortly before midnight and came up at three o’clock in the morning – but it was never really dark at night.

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Sky Lagoon

Sky Lagoon, Reykjavík

When you’re at Reykjavík and searching for the right spa to relax you have a tough choice to make. You can drive by car to the Reykjanes peninsula and visit the famous blue lagoon (Bláa Lónið). They market it as one of the wonders of the world, but actually it is just a (beautiful!) lake in a volcanic environment filled with water from a geothermic plant. If you want to skip this often overcrowded place you should have a look at the sky lagoon directly in the capital city. It was opened in 2021 and is located directly at the shore.

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Icelandic Phallological Museum, Reykjavík

Don’t call it a penis museum. Yes, it contains a very large phallological collection and the museum doesn’t take itself too serious – but the museum has a scientific background and is not like this special museum at Amsterdam visited by giggling teens. The museum presents 284 phalluses and aims to have one from every mammal living on Iceland. They’re struggling a bit with conserving a human one in good shape, but they’ll probably solve this issue.

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Hvalfjarðargöng, Reykjavík

When you’re travelling from Akureyri to Reykjavík or vice versa you need to pass the Hvalfjarðargöng, an impressive road tunnel under the Hvalfjörður that is nearly six kilometers long. It feels like being shaped as a giant V with a maximum inclination of 8.1 %. Until it was opened you had to go be cay around the fiord making the trip 50 kilometers longer. That’s why there was a ferry boat connection from the harbor of Reykjavík to Akranes.

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Hafragilsfoss, Iceland

Ready for a last waterfall before returning to the capital city of Iceland? The Glanni is a smaller waterfall close to Bifröst. After leaving the ring road you’ll discover a parking area and a short walk will bring you to a viewing platform close to the waters. If you don’t only want to look from up above a tiny path leads you through the forest down to the water.

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Volcano climbing

Grábrók, Bifröst

Shortly before reaching the village Bifröst on the ring road of Iceland you’ll see the high Grábrók crater next to the road. It is an excellent opportunity for a rest as the former volcano is part of a nature protection zone and nice wooden steps lead you up into the crater. Well, it is a bit painful but it looks more horrible than it really is – and the views on the area are beautiful from up there.

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Kolugljúfur, Víðidalstunga

The northwest of Iceland is a region with only a few touristic sights. Between Akureyri and Reykjavík you normally drive long passages without many stops. A good opportunity for a rest and maybe a picnic is the Kolugljúfur canyon. It only needs a short detour from the ring road on road 715. There the Víðidalsá river is running through a deep canyon and the Efrifoss waterfall (which is part of the Kolufossar) sends its waters into the deep.

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Hofsstaðir, Iceland

The Hofsstaðir gistiheimili is a guesthouse in a remote location close to Sauðárkrókur. From the rooms you’ve got nice views on the valley and the river which spreads with different river arms pretty wide. On arrival you’ll bet at a round place with a restaurant and the reception as well as different small houses surrounding it. Hofsstaðir was one of the hotels I enjoyed most: every room has two terraces with chairs to sit outside and the armchairs inside were really cozy.

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Skógarböð, Akureyri

One of the traditions I created while travelling on Iceland was to spend the evening hours in geothermic spas. And fortunately Akureyri has a good option for that: the Skógarböð or forest lagoon. It is located on the other side of the fiord and you need to cross it on the dam. Directly when this connection reaches the other side there is the entrance to the spa. Its unique feature is that it is within a forest, letting you relax in hot water between the trees.

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Flower power

Botanical garden, Akureyri

There is nothing better than a botanical garden if you want to rest a little bit. And the botanical garden of Akureyri is a very good example for that: it has wonderful flowers, can be entered free of charge and there is even a coffee bar (the Laut) in the center of the garden. You can discover 400 local plants and 6,000 plants from all over the world (from polar regions and high mountains) in the garden.

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