Iceland Travel – Day 2 & 3 – Road Trip to South
South Iceland Road Trip – Laugar Spa and Fitness Centre, Seljalandsfoss waterfall, Eyjafjallajökull volcano, Skógafoss waterfall, Mýrdalsjökull Glacier walk, Black Beach (Vik)
(scroll down for full photo gallery)
There was an interesting postcard at the convenience store with a checklist of “things to do in Iceland” doodled on it. One of them was “getting sick in Iceland“ and I was lucky enough to check it off my list.
If you are as fortunate as I am, there are a few health care centres located in the city of Reykjavík that accept walk-ins. You may have to visit another pharmacy to get your medication.
Wasting the entire morning at the clinic left us to a debate between a ski/snowboard trip to Blafjoll, or a spa treatment at the Laugar Spa and Fitness Centre for the rest of the day. The idea of relaxing and rejuvenating eventually won due to the undesirable weather condition.
The Laugar Spa and Fitness Centre is located right in the city of Reykjavík. We chose it because it was one of the top-rated luxury spas in Iceland and the locals approved. The spa featured hot/cold Jacuzzis and 6 steam rooms and saunas, each at a different temperature. Indoor and outdoor thermal pools are Olympic-sized. The body message at the beauty centre, however, wasn’t so impressive.
Potential turn-off: Is it cool to have an iris scanner security system or does it turn you off when it takes multiple attempts to finally recognize? You decide.
Tip: Many thermal pools are closed for the winter, double-check before you go to avoid disappointment.
Depart from Reykjavík, stop by the supermarket and grab some snacks for the road. Preferably Icelandic snacks. Harðfiskur is an option, wind-dried fish with not much taste (can be eaten with butter). Skyr was my favourite, an Icelandic cultured dairy product that has a texture somewhere between Greek yogurt and stirred yogurt. If you’re brave enough, try the sheep’s head, we did not.
Drive southeast to Seljalandsfoss, a nice waterfall easy accessible from the ring road. Winter would be tricky to go behind the falls, try sliding your way in and see who falls on ice and break a bone first. Frozen waterfalls create stunning winter scenery.
Driving further east, you will pass by Eyjafjallajökull, a volcano that erupted recently in 2010. Snap some pictures and continue to Skógafoss, the bad-ass waterfall.
Skógafoss is one of the biggest waterfalls in Iceland, on a sunny day it is almost guaranteed that you will see a rainbow reflection. Sometimes, even a double rainbow. I’m sure Yosemitebear would’ve really appreciated it. Make your way up a few hundred steps to the top, the view overlooking the 82 ft. wide, 200ft drop waterfall will be worth it.
It is strongly recommended that you join a tour for a glacier walk as it can be very dangerous. The ice may seem thick and solid, but it can crack anytime. If you’re unlucky, you might even fall into a hidden crevasse.
However, we still didn’t like following the rules so we made it as far as we could on our own.
After deciding that we still wanted to live longer, we headed back to the car and continued our journey to the village of Vik (Vík í Mýrdal) to see the Black Sand Beach.
Black Sand Beach
The beach is black because the sand comes from eroded basalts (lava rocks). Try arriving in time for sunset. Watch the sun fleck the sea with gold, and catch the Reynisdranger in silhouette.
Reynisdranger are giant pillars of sea stacks that rise out of the sea. They are as high as 66 meters. The sea stacks are known as the remains of giants caught by the sun at dawn and turned to stone in folklore.
Tip: There are only a few restaurants along the beach side and most of them are closed for the winter, so if you are planning on a romantic beach-side dinner, it won’t happen.
Oh, and, didn’t I mention in my Day 1 post to get a 4×4? You don’t want to end up like this:
Photos taken with my iPhone:
South Iceland Travel – road trip to Laugar Spa and Fitness Centre, Seljalandsfoss waterfall, Eyjafjallajökull volcano, Skógafoss waterfall, Mýrdalsjökull Glacier walk, Black Beach in the Village of Vik