Visit waterfalls and the coast (southeast of Reykjavik)
On our second (or first full) day we took a land journey to visit the beautiful Icelandic landscapes, such as waterfalls and black sand coastal areas, southeast of Reykjavik (about a two-hour drive).
There are so many waterfalls in Iceland, just like there are so many large lakes in Sweden. Seljalandsfoss is one of the most popular waterfall and natural wonders in the country.
This waterfall drops about 60 metres and is part of the Seljalands River, originating from the volcano glacier Eyjafjallajokull. There is a small cave behind the waterfall that guests can walk into.
Eyjafjallajokul Glacier and Volcano
Eyjafjallajokull is one of the country’s smaller ice caps located in the south of the island. It covers the caldera of a volcano 1,700 metres high, and has erupted frequently since the last Ice Age.
This volcano erupted in 2010 and 2011 and though they were relatively small eruptions, they caused enormous disruption to air travel all over western and northern Europe, specifically in April 2010. Volcanic ashes covered large areas of northern Europe, and about 20 countries closed their airspace, affecting about 10 million travellers.
This waterfall is situated on the Skoga River in the south of the main island and is one of the largest waterfalls in Iceland, measuring 25 metres wide and a drop of 60 meters
.After the coastline receded seaward (currently it is about 5km from Skogar), the former sea cliffs remained intact and parallel to the coast over hundreds of kilometres, and together with some mountains it has created a distinct border between coastal lowlands and the Highlands of Iceland.
Formerly known as Cape Portland, Dyrholaey is a small peninsula located on the south coast of Iceland, close to a village called Vik.
The view from this peninsula is simply majestic, where to the north is the big glacier Myrdalsjokull.
The view to the east is the black lava columns of the Reynisdrangar come out of the sea.
To the west you can see the whole coastline in the direction of Selfoss.
This black sand beach lies between the Dyrholaey peninsula and Mount Reynisfjall
It is famous for its beauty and striking scenery, but is also well known for its dangerous crashing waves.
On the beach and west of Mount Reynisfjall is the cave Halsanefshellir, where striking columnar basalt formations can be seen.
Reynisdrangar are basalt sea stacks situated under the mountain Reynisfjall. It was formed when magma cools slowly and cracks into columns, normally hexagonal, as the surface area is reduced.
The columns always stand perpendicular to the cooling surface. The different forms of these columns might be the result of a cross-section of an ancient volcano, small magma chambers and lava sills.
Sunset right outside Reykjavik
Aurora Borealis (Northern Lights)
Aurora Borealis, at many times referred to by northern lights or sometimes polar light, is a natural light display in the sky, seen predominantly in the Arctic and Antarctic regions. They are produced when there is an interaction between the solar wind with the earth’s magnetosphere. The resulting ionization and excitation of atmospheric constituents produces light of varying colour and complexity.
I highly recommend that you go with an experienced travel guide, as we did. Furthermore, it is best to bring a proper camera and not rely solely on your smart phone if you want to take pictures.
Our first sighting of the lights was not very clear to the common eye.
However, with a camera and an abundant amount of patience, we were all able to capture the lights on our second evening in Iceland. It was truly spectacular!
We were also informed that these lights are easier to find when we there are no clouds and we are as far away from Reykjavik as possible.
We started our hunt for the aurora borealis around 9Pm, and after two significant sightings, we returned to the hotel past midnight.