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11.3.2024
Ann Bernevega,

Iceland blog: The trip around Iceland

Iceland is usually at the top of everyone's list when you ask a question “What's your dream country you would love to visit?” and so it was for me.

26.2.–11.3.2024

From the youngest age I had been hearing about how beautiful and unreal the island is and this year I finally got a chance to visit it during my two months internship in Reykjavik.

Thankfully my schedule was not too busy and I could include a two week trip around the whole Iceland in a clockwise direction. My internship bosses were kind enough to lend me their equipment that I could use to film video footage and were supportive and helpful throughout the whole journey.

My first goal was to actually get the car that I would be driving for the next fifteen days. The problems occurred from the very beginning – I needed to give my credit card information and I just don't simply have one. Thankfully my boss once again came to my rescue and allowed the rental to use his card instead. When everything was finally sorted out, my first day of the trip officially started.

The first destination was Reykjadalur Valley – around an hour long drive from the center of Reykjavik. Unfortunately, the weather was not on my side that day and there was a true blizzard going on. But Iceland is beautiful in any weather – because of the rain/snow, the mountains were extremely foggy and truly stunning. I took a few photographs but I didn't risk flying my drone or using my video camera as I didn't want them to get wet.

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I had troubles with parking, the app I used did not detect me leaving the parking lot. I had to spend several hours trying to solve the problem and call customer service because I didn't want to pay a fine (they are way too high). In the end, I spent around two hours there and had to be relatively quick in other locations so I didn't have to drive during the darkness. I made a quick stop at Selfoss to grab some food and buy some essential wires and then headed to Urriðafoss. It was the first major waterfall that I visited in Iceland and it surely didn't disappoint. As the ice was melting, the water streams were so strong! A truly unforgettable experience. 

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I decided to quickly visit Gaukshöfði and its surrounding scenery. Unfortunately because my car was just a city car and was not really meant for exploring mountains and especially during winter, my driving was strictly restricted. I almost got stuck on the steep slope while trying to get to Gaukshöfði but thankfully I managed to climb the mountain and got a chance to witness the majestic view from the very top of it. 

With my time running out, I started heading towards Reykjavik to spend the night there. On my way back I saw so many beautiful landscapes and met a few friendly horses.

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The next day started with another unfortunate event – my car got stuck in snow and had to be rescued. Mostly it was my own fault, I shouldn't have driven roadside when the weather is not ideal for that. I learned my lesson the hard way, the rescue cost around 500€ and left me absolutely devastated.

Because of that setback I had to be quick once again and decided to firstly visit Gullfoss – a stunning and strong waterfall.

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That place was definitely worth a visit, I don't think that I have ever seen a waterfall that beautiful and enormous. 

I also took a quick look at Thingvellir National Park but because of the weather conditions (there was a blizzard going on), I decided not to go there. Places like natural reserves are mostly accessible in summer unless you are well prepared.

My next destination was Grundarfjörður - a small town up North from Reykjavik. I didn't expect to see anything extraordinary on my way there but ended up witnessing the most beautiful landscapes I have ever seen in my life. I was driving around Hvalfjörður – a 30 km long fjord. Just take a look at it yourself:

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The sunrays coming from the heavy clouds made everything look pink and in contrast with blue mountains and sea, the landscapes looked like they were out of this world. I have never in my life seen anything like that, truly a once a time experience. I had to stop every 5 minutes to snap a picture or a video. Hvalfjörður is definitely my favorite place in the whole of Iceland. 

Slowly but surely I managed to get to Grundarfjörður and stayed the night in a small hotel there. I didn't choose my room to have a mountain view but I got extremely lucky and had a view of Kirkjufell Mountain.

The next day I drove around the city for a while, grabbed some food in a local restaurant and headed to Kirkjufellsfossar - one of the most popular waterfalls in Iceland. There were a lot of tourists and most of the paths were closed due to the weather conditions but I managed to get some pretty good photos. Photographing waterfalls with a long exposure is one of the most satisfying things ever.

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I also took a look at Bjarnarfoss but unfortunately it was fully frozen and I couldn't get close to it.

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My final destination for today was a hotel in West Fjords and driving there was one of the hardest parts of my journey. The road was in awful condition and the driving was just a game of avoiding potholes. Maybe if I had a bigger car I could have driven faster, but since I only had a city type of car I had to go at the speed of around 30 km/h on a 80km/h road. Thankfully I met only around 10 cars on my way so it wasn't an issue.

On my way I stopped several times to fly my drone and take photos of magnificent landscapes. I especially enjoyed Ljósufjöll – an unexpected gem of Iceland. 

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I reached my hotel only late at night, the drive there was extremely tiring and challenging (especially since my accommodation was practically in the middle of nowhere).