Note: This blog post is part of a series documenting a two-week road trip through Iceland. To view the collection in full, click here. For individual posts in this series, please head to the bottom of the page where the individual links are located. Thanks for reading!
Northern Iceland stood in stark difference to the western region. The north featured more quiet, sloping landscapes, full of farms, fields and distant mountains.
Home to Europe's most powerful waterfall, Vatnajökull National Park, Lake Mývatn, whale/bird watching, river rafting and geothermal pools, it does share some features with other portions of the island – but the biggest difference that stood out to me and Chelsea was the overwhelming sense of isolation. If you want to experience Iceland without the crowds, head north.
The standalone rock formation you see below is a remnant of a volcanic plug – which wouldn't be standing if it weren't for concrete reinforcements at its feet. The drive to Hvítserkur from Búðardalur was a long and quiet one, filled with farms and endless rolling hills.
After a brief overnight in Akureyri, we made our way to one of the more famous waterfalls in Iceland: Goðafoss. We were fortunate to see it in its pre-snow beauty – only a couple weeks later it was laced with a cover of snow and ice. Beautiful either way.
We explored from vantage points above and below the waterfall. From there, we headed to Mývatn.
Lake Mývatn and the surrounding area is one of the strangest places I've ever been to.
The lake itself was initially formed over 2,300 years ago from a basaltic lava eruption, and the entire area (which is roughly 1,700 square miles) is a protected nature reserve.
Around the corner from Mývatn, you'll find Hverir. And by find, I mean smell.
The overwhelming smell of rotten eggs gives way to a Martian landscape – or, at least, what Mars looks like in my head. Hverir is a large geothermal field full of pools of boiling mud, hot springs and whistling chimneys of steam.
Once you get past the smell, it's lovely. Hell, maybe the smell makes it lovely. To each their own.
The beast: Dettifoss. Reported to be Europe's most powerful waterfall, Chelsea and I didn't think much of it as we were walking to it. We've seen many waterfalls thus far, how much larger can this one be? My gosh were we wrong.
It's not the tallest waterfall I've ever seen, but the combination of raw power, noise and mist flying out from this thing made me scared to even go near it. We viewed it from the West bank. I kept my distance.
From Dettifoss, we pressed on towards the East coast and our next stop: Egilsstaðir.