Iceland

Roadtrip in Iceland – #3: Waterfalls day

After a day exploring the famous “Golden Circle” east of Reykjavik, we continued our adventure in Iceland and discovered some gorgeous waterfalls…

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DAY #3: WATERFALLS DAY

Iceland is filled with waterfalls! We saw hundreds during our tour of the island! Many can easily be seen from the #1 Road and they all look different! They never ceased to impress us! The ones that are located on the South road, between Selfoss and Vik, are the most famous because they are easily reachable from the capital. We thought however that many other waterfalls that were not as popular were equally beautiful! We learnt that all words ending with “foss” were waterfalls names…

So this third day was full of surprises and beautiful natural sites. Unfortunately, it was also the beginning of a storm that would last 3 days and that would prevent us from seeing all we wanted to see in the south. We were planning on going to Vik to explore the black sand beach in Dyrholaey as well as the basalt columns in Reynisfjara, but the rain had decided otherwise…

Our program initially:

Visit Keldur traditional village and its buildings covered with grass

 Discover the Seljalandsfoss, Gulfrafoss and Skogafoss waterfalls

 Stroll around the Dyrholaey and Reynisfjara beaches (black sand and basalt columns)

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 VISITING KELDUR TRADITIONNEL VILLAGE

Our day started with a bright sun and blue sky, but unfortunately the weather can change very quickly in Iceland. There is a saying that goes: “if you don’t like the weather, just wait for five minutes” (unfortunately for us, the rain went on for more than 5 minutes…).

We first headed towards the traditional village of Keldur, located half way between Selfoss and Seljalandsfoss waterfall. To get there, we left Road 1 and followed a gravel path that was narrower and narrower as we were getting closer. We were alone on the road and the landscape was beautiful with snowy peaks in the backgrounds and these lovely purple flowers all around us.

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When we arrived, we discovered a bucolic landscape, that could have been the setting for another fairy tale: small houses, a little river running in the middle of huge pastures, wild flowers…

IMGP1452IMGP1457We found out that Keldur was one of the oldest farms in Iceland. The traditional buildings of this little village made of stone, wood and coevered with grass date as far back as the 12th century!

Unfortunately when we arrived, we were stopped by a locked gate… A sign gave the entrance fees but no opening hours and no one was there to give us any information…

So we just looked at the cute little church and houses from the gate…

WALKING “BEHIND” SELJADANDSFOSS WATERFALL

We then continued towards the first waterfall of the day: Seljadandsfoss. It is impossible to miss it when driving south as the waterfall is directly visible from Route #1! We spotted it from far away, it was quite impressive. Route #1 is definitely full of beautiful surprises! Unfortunately, as a consequence, the site is visited by many tourists…

The sky was starting to look menacing when we arrived but it was still not raining at that point…

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The specificity of Seljadandsfoss waterfall is that you can walk “behind” it. We put on our raincoats and waterproof pants for this walk. We were also happy to have mountain shoes which had a good grip as the area behind the waterfall was very slippery.

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We then followed the little river as we were looking for the second waterfall on the site and once again, the landscape reminded us of a fairy tale: the grass was bright green (no wonder with all the rain…), the wild flowers…

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BEING SPLASHED BY GLUFRAFOSS WATERFALL

After walking 5 minutes by the river, we arrived at Glufrafoss waterfall which is located in a very unique setting. The water falls down into a sort of circular open cave! We had never seen anything like this! To get there, we followed the river inside the cave and through a narrow passage, jumping from one rock to the other not to get wet. We arrived at the foot of the waterfall and gazed at this incredible show! We were happy to be wearing waterproof clothes!

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HIKING BY SKOGAFOSS WATERFALL

Skogafoss was the third waterfall on our list that day and it was another beautiful surprise. We thought we were going to stay no more than 30 minutes there and we ended up hiking by the waterfall for two hours!

We started exploring the site at the foot of the waterfall The sky was getting more and more menacing, it was windy and cold. In spite of the weather conditions, the show was really impressive!

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The top of the waterfall can be reached via a series of stairs on the right of the waterfall. We gathered our strnghts and started climbing the stairs that would lead us some 62 meters higher. The effort was well worth it as the view from the top was beautiful!

It was also the starting point of an amazing hike and we had no idea about it before we started walking by the river…

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We discovered a succession of waterfalls, more beautiful the ones than the others.

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As we ran across hikers who were coming from the other way, we found out that the hike was 26-km long in total! Some brave hikers were carrying their tents and backpacks to camp on the way!

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We continued to follow this winding landscape. “Let’s stop at the next waterfall”, we would say. And then once we had reached it: “well maybe the next one”…

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At one point, we talked to a hiker who had walked the whole hike and who told us that we were very close to the waterfall that he had most liked during this hike… So we continued to the next waterfall which was totally different from the ones we had seen up til then and we were glad we had gotten that far.

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After a two-hour hike, we decided to go back the other way as we were starting to feel the first drops of rain – and as we were starving… We walked back to the foot of the waterfall and went to the only restaurant of the site where we had a sandwich that seemed incredibly delicious as we were so hungry… When we went out of the restaurant, it was pouring down…

DYRHOLAEY AND REYNISFJARA UNDER THE RAIN

As we were convinced that the rain would stop (we decided to have faith in the islandic saying about the weather), we continued as planned towards Vik to explore the black sand beach of Dyrholaey and the famous basalt columns of Reynisfjara.

Unfortunately, we were wrong. It is from the car and under a crazy rain storm that we glimpsed at the Dyrholaey cliffs from the distance. A few brave – or crazy – visitors dared walking to the beach. We didn’t not and decided to drive back to Selfoss where we would spend another night… Hopefully we will get to see the basalt columns some day…

NEXT…

Unfortunately the next day – and the one after – it was still heavily raining… We wrapped up ourselves in our waterproof coats to try to explore the Vestmann Islands…

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#1 Reykjavik

#3 Waterfalls

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