My Iceland Top 5
This list of Iceland top 5 experiences and sights are not ranked by favourite, as it was hard enough to choose just 5. In fact, my Iceland top 5 ended up being regions, so I could include more… I mean really the whole trip was my favourite, but for the sake of this post, just 5…
1. The West Fjords
Google states that only approximately 10% of visitors venture into the West Fjords, which is understandable but also wonderful. It can be kept as the gem that it is. The West Fjords boast such opposing landscapes that every moment is nothing short of dramatic. The roads wind over mountains, around the numerous fjords and past small villages. I don’t think I put my camera down for more than a few seconds during the days we spent here. Expanses of where ocean meets sky, mountain meets ocean. If you can work the West Fjords into your itinerary, I highly recommend it. This is one of the parts of Iceland that remain on my travel list – until next time.
2. The South Coast
When I say the South Coast, I really mean the whole South Coast, from Reykjavik to Hofn. The sights here are so dense, this section of Iceland could be a trip in itself. From moss-covered lava fields to stunning waterfalls to glaciers stretching out from atop the mountains and to barren and empty flood plains; it only takes a few kilometers for the landscape to change into another world completely. This is the part of Iceland to visit if you have a limited time to travel, as it gives you a teaser taste of what the country has to offer.
3. The drive from Höfn to Egilsstaðir to Borgarfjörður Eystri
There was not a lot to stop and do in this area, or anything specific to see, it was just a very beautiful and peaceful coastal drive. The roads were quieter, it was easier to stop and snap a few photos. The weather we had that day also played into the drive – it seemed as though we were chasing the sun. The clouds were initially hanging low over the mountains with only the base and the top in view. As we ventured further the clouds lifted, creating moving shadows and pockets of brilliant light and colour along the mountains. We took ended up taking the 96 off the ring road (1) then the 92, which had us driving up over a mountain into a lush valley that reminded me a little of Switzerland. This area is full of drives up over mountains with unknown views on the other side.
4. Whale Watching
If you are in the North of Iceland, whale watching is a must. We went whale watching out of Hauganes, just outside of Akureyri. The boat was an original oak fishing boat, beautiful in itself. We were provided with warm overalls, given hot coffee and Icelandic treats. The guides were knowledgeable, friendly and whale tracking experts. The whales were so close to our boat that you could see their silhouette under the water before surfacing, hear and feel the spray of the water out of their blowhole. There was also the option to try your hand at ocean fishing – simply let the line out until it hits bottom, bob the line and boom – fish! Then of course you have to reel in all the line you let out. Most people on our tour caught a fish and took it home to cook up later that night.
5. Lake Mývatn Area
Is another planet entirely. While most other parts of the island are green or snow/ice covered, the Lake Myvatn area is barren and Mars-like with its red dirt, black lava fields and sulphuric steam vents. Home to most of the islands geothermal activity and therefore the geothermal power plant Krafla, which looks like a space station with its red domes and piping. There are pockets of hot springs with contents varying from a beautiful pale blue resembling the Blue Lagoon to grey clay like substance bubbling and boiling. I recommend having a minimum of 2 days in this area, as there is so much to see and do. Just be careful to stay upwind from the steam vents – that sulphuric smell is nauseating.
Honourable Mention to my Iceland Top 5: Sheep!
Those daredevil, versatile and fluffy fluffy sheep. They are everywhere – you have your typical in a field sheep, by the ocean sheep, on a crazy steep mountain, how do they get there and how are they going to get down sheep, playing chicken on the road sheep. Not to mention their horns, and how perfectly white they seem to remain, even after sleeping in the mud.
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