When you think about Iceland you always “know” that it’s “somewhere far away” and “hard to get” and “always cold” and “super windy”. The last is true, by the way, but not always 🙂
For us everything started with the dream. One evening sitting in the pub I asked my friend about his wildest dream and almost without thinking he told me that it was to see the Northern Lights one day. Such idea couldn’t be easy forgotten and in a week we started our research. What are the Northern Lights? Where can you see them? When? How often? What do you need for it? In what countries can they be found? What do they look like in real life? And finally, all roads led to Iceland and March.
During all that research it appeared that many of our more or less close friends wanted to see the Northern Lights and not so many had already seen it. And when the number of people who wanted to come with us reached more than 5, it became obvious that the trip needed serious planning, a lot more than just “Iceland” and “March”. Having decided that more people mean more fun, we started to make our trip real.
The first and the most important thing was transport and the second were hotels. Apart from Northern Lights you can see a lot of amazing natural places in Iceland if you don’t have to stick to bus schedules and can save time by using your own transport.
We seriously considered the option with renting a car (or two) and booking hotels/hostels along our way, but it turned out to be much more expensive than we expected and we couldn’t be sure that we wouldn’t change our plans during the trip because of weather conditions or our common decision to see something unplanned. So having considered all pros and cons of the car-and-hotel option we decided to choose the second one and rent a camper van.
The main reason was that it was like our own little house on wheels and in the end it fitted us perfectly:
- it had enough space for 5 people to travel comfortably,
- all the things we needed were always with us and in the right places (it’s important thing for photographers),
- we could sleep inside (it was just enough to know where the winter camp grounds were and we could arrive there as late as we needed it),
- and the most amazing thing was that it already had a gas stove, sink with running water and even a small fridge – all you need to have your meals at the most beautiful spots that you can find!
We also decided that with such good kitchen facilities we can make our trip even less expensive by buying dried tracking food in Ukraine and in the end it appeared to be very convenient for all of us.
After that things fell into place with astonishing speed: plane tickets were purchased, camper vans were booked, food was bought and packed, schedules were scheduled, plans were made and our team consisting of 9 adventurers was ready to explore Iceland and admire the Northern Lights 🙂 With arriving to Iceland our March 2017 began.
Since then we, like experienced Iceland travelers, were in Iceland once more. And this year everything became easier: we were already familiar with Happy Campers and their camper vans, we knew exactly where we wanted to watch the Northern Lights, where it would be good to spend more time and where amazing photographs should be taken. And this March we experienced simply amazing weather! All days of our trip were sunny and clear, and the landscapes in such light were incredibly beautiful. It seemed that we were meant to return to Iceland, and everything welcomed us here 🙂
Although we travelled only along the Southern part of Iceland, we saw soooo many totally adorable places!
So there is our list of the favorite places in Iceland from both trips that we are sure we never forget:
We can bet that you have never seen so many waterfalls in one trip as you can see here in Iceland. Moreover, all of them are huge, with enormous amount of water and simply beautiful. It seems that you can spend the whole day just watching this falling water. However, among all three of them we liked the most:
Skogafoss – amazing power, it looks like the wall of water falling from above the cliff.
Seljalandsfoss – the great thing about this waterfall is that you can walk around it and watch it from behind. It’s cool experience, especially if the path isn’t frozen and you have a reliable raincoat 🙂
Gullfoss – amazingly huge waterfall with two terraces. The amount of water in it is beyond any imagination! However, in winter you can watch it only from the higher view path, because the lower one is closed.
By the way, here we saw our most beautiful Northern Lights! The sky was painted in deep green and the lights were moving surprisingly fast! It’s impossible to believe if you have never seen them with your own eyes 🙂
From water to fire: Iceland is famous for its geothermal areas. Haukadalur valley is the main area where you can see eruption of real geyser and it’s not far from Reykjavik. This place is the home for geyser Geysir, which name gave the name for all the geysers in the world. However, now it looks like a big blue pool (the last time Geysir erupted in 2000). Nevertheless, here you can admire the geyser Strokkur, which, when we were there, erupted every 5 minutes. 🙂
Natural pools – great way to relax in hot water, especially when everything else is covered with snow 🙂 Our favorite hot spring became the one in Hveragerdi geothermal area. There is the whole hot river there! By the way, there are a lot of baths and you can change the temperature of water by moving up and down the river.
Lava fields – astonishing landscapes covered with green moss. We have never seen anything like this and couldn’t stop taking pictures 🙂
Glacier Lagoon – is a big lake with icebergs any shapes and forms. There are a lot of people here, too. That’s why it’s much better to come here in the early morning or stay till dark. The landscapes there are magical like nowhere else, and be sure that you’ll want to spend there some time exploring ice formations.
Here, on the other side of the road, is another beautiful place – Diamond Beach. The icebergs from Glacier Lagoon meet the ocean and come to the shore at shining pieces of ice, which look beautiful on the black sand. Visiting is strictly recommended!
Black Sand Beaches are definitely the jewels of Iceland. You can find a lot of them along the South Coast of Iceland, but we strongly advise to spend some time at Reynisfjara Beach. With its enormous basalt rocks, silver Atlantic waves and many birds nesting on the cliffs, this beach is a must-see location for travelers.
Here we saw our best sunset in Iceland. It was beautiful with the golden ocean waves and Dyrholaey arch seen in the distance.
Dyrholaey is a sharp rock with a lighthouse on it. It’s the southern point of Iceland and it was the southern point of our trip. From here, you can see the ocean far below and the beautiful black sand beaches in the distance.
And horses! We met them on our way back to Reykjavik and stopped to have a better look. They are so cute and sooo different from the horses we used to! No one wanted to leave without a few pictures with them 🙂
In the end, no one of us left Iceland disappointed. It has so much to offer for travelers: from breathtaking landscapes and unique natural places to hot pools and variety of wild life. Great roads and comfortable camper vans made our way easy and pleasant, and sunny weather ensured that we could spend a lot of time at each location. It was a great trip, maybe one of the best we had. Anyway, there are still a lot of things here left to explore (North of Western Fjords, for example). And we are sure that we will return here one day 🙂