After a day and night in Reykjavik we made our way out into the countryside by car. As soon as you leave the city you quickly start to realise how sparsely populated Iceland is and how beautiful the country is.  The driving can be a little bit hair-raising as the weather changes so quickly and the roads can be icy, but the scenery is absolutely spectacular!

SONY DSC

SONY DSC

We stayed in a remote area called Laugarvatn in a beautiful wooden lodge.  The house was stunning with fantastic geothermal heating, one of the best features in the accommodation in Iceland, meaning once inside you will never be cold! The house was surrounded by decking and had lovely views of mountains and countryside, the ideal location for viewing the Northern Lights if you’re lucky enough to be treated to a show!

SONY DSC

SONY DSC

SONY DSC

From this central location we were able to visit lots of the Golden Circle features. The geysers are well worth a visit with incredible displays and a chance to see ‘the original’ geyser. We enjoyed walking around this amazing area which feels like the surface of the moon, but the freezing rain meant we couldn’t stay out too long! There was a lovely cafe there thought to buy a hot chocolate to warm back up.IMG_20150406_153744

SONY DSC

SONY DSC

Gulfoss is well worth a visit, this waterfall is incredibly large. It has many viewing platforms from where you can see the falls from many different angles. Some of the paths were closed when we visited as they were completely frozen still. These falls are the most spectacular we have seen based on the sheer size. We were even treated to some icy hailstones while we visited to make the visit even more memorable!

SONY DSC

SONY DSC

SONY DSC

Whilst driving around Iceland we enjoyed all of the small experiences, including seeing wild ponies, remote buildings, churches and visiting geographical features such as crater lakes. Around every corner there seemed to be a surprise.

SONY DSC

SONY DSC

SONY DSC

SONY DSC

SONY DSC

One of the highlights of our visit to Iceland was our snorkeling trip which we booked through Dive.IS. We met the guides at Silfra where we first glimpsed the gap between the two tectonic plates.  We had been advised to wear thermals and woolen socks for the experience. The guides then gave us thermal suits to put on and then a dry suit complete with balaclava and gloves. The whole ‘dressing’ experience takes a little while, but means the only part of you that’s exposed in the water is a small part of your face.

SONY DSC

SONY DSC

As you wander over to the entrance ladder you get to cross the road and see the snorkellers crossing sign!

SONY DSC

As you enter the water you feel the shock of the 2 degree water hit your lips and just around your mouth, but these soon numb to the pain as you are in awe of the incredibly clear water! This water comes direct from glacial melt appearing from under ground and you can taste this if you take a gulp whilst swimming along.  During the half hour snorkel we were able to oggle at huge underwater caverns and freshwater fish. The experience is incredible, but by the end we were frozen! However, we decided we hadn’t had enough of the cold water and then jumped from a ledge into a deep pool to finish our experience off!snorkeling fissure3

snorkeling fissure5
snorkeling fissure7 snorkeling fissure9

We were grateful for the hot chocolate and biscuits which were waiting for us in the car park to defrost us before we changed out of our suits.

Nearby to Silfra we found a beautiful waterfall sitting between the tectonic plates. It was amazing to see such huge geographical features right in front of your eyes.

SONY DSC

SONY DSC

SONY DSC

SONY DSC

Near our accommodation was a wonderful geothermal spa called Laugarvatn Fontana. This was a wonderful trip where we were able to spend time in pools of different temperatures relaxing after our long day. One of the best features was being able to run from the pools into the lake it sits on, however, we had to be careful as most of it was freezing cold but there were odd hot springs bubbling up and you could easily burn yourself if you ran in the wrong part!IMG_20150405_185540

On our next day we headed further South and East to Seljafoss waterfall. The journey there was stunning travelling along deserted straight roads until the waterfall appears on the edge of a mountain out of nowhere.  Whilst we visited we experienced snow, sun and rain but it all added to the awe and wonder.

SONY DSC

SONY DSC

This waterfall is amazing when you view it from in front as it is so tall and was spraying in the wind, but the experience got better when we adventured on the path behind. We were all drenched by the end but it was worth it to hear the roaring water and look out through the mist.

SONY DSC

SONY DSC

If you follow the path further round from Seljafoss you will find another hidden waterfall which you can venture to through some boulders.

SONY DSC

We enjoyed some Icelandic hot dogs whilst at Seljafoss, the cheapest food around!IMG_20150407_132338

From here we travelled towards Vik where we found another, much busier waterfall. It was beautiful, but we didn’t stay so long after having explore Seljafoss. Instead we went in hunt of the country’s oldest hot spring swimming pool nestled in the foothills of Eyjafjallajökull the volcano.

SONY DSC

We found it up a track where we followed a stream through a valley, until we reached the pool, this location is stunning, surrounded by snow-covered mountains. There are changing rooms here, though they were pretty gross! We were able to swim in the black water, that colour from all of the volcanic ash from the eruption which stopped all of the airplanes. This was a once in a lifetime experience.

SONY DSC

SONY DSC

SONY DSC

For our final day, after fresh snowfall, we drove to the Blue Lagoon.

SONY DSC

SONY DSC

SONY DSC

SONY DSC

We had booked tickets in advance which was worth doing so we knew we could get in to the time slot we wanted before having to travel to the airport. The Blue Lagoon is not a natural phenomen but instead uses geothermally heated water from the power station. However, it is incredible. You are surrounded by a moon-like landscape and the water is a mesmerizing blue colour. Around the pool are face masks to use which make for lots of fun. Although the experience is quite costly, it is definitely worth the price!

CAMERA

SONY DSC

CAMERA

CAMERA

CAMERA

SONY DSC

iceland 2

CAMERA

We had an amazing trip to Iceland, the land of waterfalls, hot springs, and the most changeable weather known to man, we just wish we had longer there!