*Warning! LONG POST FULL OF WEST ICELAND PHOTOS!!*
So, after a night stay at Hlemmur Square Hostel in Reyjavik, we were fetched by Arctic Adventures on the bus stop just beside our place. I booked the hostel using hostelworld and the place was quite near the restaurants (but a little expensive!) and a 10-15min walk to the nearest grocery(BONUS! yes it is called Bonus).
The mini bus of Arctic Adventures came a little late but because we were the last ones to be picked up (Bus stop 10!). By the way, make sure to check which bus stop the tour will pick you up and normally they require you to give that info as they just don’t pick up anywhere in the capital. It was a mini bus for 10-15 people max. Our driver/tour guide was Svein and he was the first Icelandic person I knew. He’s quite cool with the time restrictions, told us a stories about his country and gave us a lot of travel tips. You must remember that time is really important when you travel in Iceland during winter as the day is only 4 hours and you need to catch the sunlight so as early as 5am you are already on the road because most places are far from each other.
Okay! So The Snaefellsness Peninsula is a 2-hour drive up north from Reyjavik since the capital is located on the south west coast of the country. We visited a lot of places that have significance in the history and culture of the vikings.
We had a little detour (on our second day! i don’t really remember if 1st or 2nd day but I think it was second when the rain just poured the whole day), a hike up to a mountain and I wasn’t really prepared at all. The mountain was very steep and the rain was pouring down that we had to wear our waterproof gears which in the end I still ended up wet with the boots I have! They say that the giants used to lived there, as there was a cave once you got up on the mountain. But we discontinued going in further the cave due to the strong flow of water and the rain just won’t stop.
We visited a geothermal plant and we then proceeded to see an old bath used centuries ago by a famous historiographer in Iceland!
The highlights of our West Iceland tour were the following:
Barnafoss – the children’s falls with a tale of two children who drowned tragically and were never found. Despite the sad story, I became a small kid in this place staring and wondering how this can be so magical!
Hellnar – the rain was really pouring down when we strolled the national park and some daredevils just can’t stop having good photos.
Kirkjufell – last place we saw but the rain and the darkness descended with not a trace of sunset
Djúpalónssandur – the black sand beach at Snæfellsjökull National Park where Game of Thrones were shot. The rain never ruined our day!
BONUS Part 1! We also went down to an ancient lava tube called Vatnshellir Cave which is being protected as well and thus, you can only go down here with a guide. (We managed to use our student IDs and we got a few discount! not bad!)
BONUS Part 2! We also saw some of the finest horses in Iceland! well we visited on family owned farm and they were so friendly and hospitable! they even gave us free coffee/hot chocos and cookies!
After some time being with the people I got to know some travellers who I still keep in touch with through social media! 🙂
During summer, it is possible to circumference the whole island by car. However in winter, it is harder to go to the North and it can get pretty expensive on tour as you need those cars/trucks with good tires as the weather in Iceland can change in few minutes and the northern part has more tedious weather. But, if you can manage it by renting a car on your own, north Iceland (especially Akureyri town) really offers a lot of different winter activities from what I read in the lonely planet.
Oh by the way, we didn’t see the Northern Lights in our 5 day stay in Iceland. It was really sad, no sun activity, and if there was, the sky was too cloudy!
On the positive note, I still enjoyed this West Iceland trip (and the whole ICELAND trip!!).
Next blog: the numerous waterfalls and Thingvellir National Park!