Our amazing roadtrip in Iceland ended with the discovery of the Northern fjords and their lovely fishermen villages: a lovely day under the sun but also a day rich in misfortunes…
DAY # 9: NORTHERN FJORDS
After two days in the Lake Myvatn region, we continued our way around Iceland. But once again, nothing went as planned… We thought we were going to end our trip with the Snaefellsness peninsula, north of Reykjavik, but as Road 1 was closed for several hours that day, we had to make a detour via the extreme north of the island. So we got to explore the Northern fjords under a beautiful sun, which was not initialy planned.
GREAT SURPRISE EFFECT WITH EYJAFJORDUR
We left Storutjarnir after a good night of sleep. The weather was lovely, we were happy. We continued our way and shortly after leaving the hotel, we had this incredible view! We were facing another fjord: Eyjafjordur. At that point of our trip, we were experts at taking pictures from the car…
We learned that this fjord measures some 60 meters and that it is one of the longest fjords in Iceland with on one side the Actic Ocean, on the other, the city of Akureyri, the biggest city in the North.
This view was just breathtaking…
It is fortunately very common in Iceland to find spots by the road to make stops and enjoy the view. We didn’t think twice and made a stop to enjoy this gorgeous panoramic view. We were so lucky with the weather, we could not believe we were in Iceland.
BACK TO CIVILIZATION IN AKUREYRI
We started seeing the city of Akureyri on the other side of the fjord. It looked quite big to us compared to all the “cities” we had previously seen. Since we left Reykjavik, we had felt that we were in the middle of nowhere. It felt good to see a “big city”.
BUCOLIC ATMOSPHERE ON ROAD 821
We decided to go out of road 1 and turned on road 821 to further explore this fjord. We drove further in and enjoyed this lovely buccolic and peaceful landscape. We thought it would have been the perfect spot for a picnic…
STROLLING AROUND AKUREYRI’S LOVELY HOUSES
We then went back to Akureyri and decided to stroll around the town to see these beautiful and colorful houses. We loved the peaceful atmosphere of this little town by the fjord. Strolling around was really pleasant.
A DETOUR VIA THE ARCTIC OCEAN
We then continued on road 1 but a few kilometers after leaving Akureyri, we realized that the road was closed. A police lady – who apparantly was in a bad mood – confirmed that Road 1 was closed and that we could either wait for two hours or make a detour via Siglufjordur in the north. We looked at the map and realized that it would be quite a big detour… But we didn’t feel like waiting for two hours… So we decided to head north: it would be the occasion to see the Artic Ocean!
BEING STUCK TWO HOURS IN A TUNNEL: CHECK
Everything was great until we reached a strange tunnel. There was only one lane and no traffic lights. Cars coming from our direction had to park on the side when a car was coming from the other direction. Usually this works perfectly well on this road with little traffic.
But we quickly realized that there was something unusual. All the cars coming from our direction were parked on the side, letting an incessant flow of cars pass from the other direction. We were already in the tunnel and were forced to park on the side as well, not fully understanding what was happening.
The other drivers (all were two-meters-high Icelanders) looked quite agitated, going in and out of their cars… We ended up asking one of them what was happening and we were explained that we were stuck in the middle of a giant traffic jam as the policemen were redirecting everyone this way. As we didn’t have the priority, we were doomed to let people coming from the other direction pass as their was no traffic light. Cell phones were not working in the tunnel… We were stuck. Strangely all the engines were running creating a very unpleasant smell, it was humid and dark, there was water running down the sides of the tunnel…
We were stuck there one hour and then finally someone managed to call the police and they arrived to fix this traffic mess!
FEELING AT THE WORLD’S END IN SIGLUFJORDUR
After being stuck an hour in a tunnel and fighting claustrophobia, all we wanted was to walk around in the open air! So we made a stop in the little village of Siglufjordur that we really enjoyed. There was a peaceful atmosphere in this fishermen town and we felt as if we were at the world’s end. We loved it!
ROUTE 76, OR THE SCARIEST DRIVE OF OUR TRIP…
After a long pause in Siglufjordur and a delicious fish soup, we continued our way. But we didn’t know that the worst part was yet to come… We arrived on the scariest road: on one side the cliff, on the other side the Artic Ocean and … nothing. In each curve I had the feeling we were going to fall right into the ocean… “Let’s go slowly, ok ?”… Fortunately, the weather was nice! We didn’t dare imagine driving here in the middle of a storm.
“SELF-CHECKIN” EXPERIENCE AT THE NORTH STAR HOTEL IN STADARFLOT
After several long hours on the road, we finally reached our hotel. But our bad luck of the day was not over yet… We discovered the self-checkin process at the North Star Hotel: after making your reservation you receive an email with a code and your room number. With the code you open a little box that contains the key. All you have to do is take your key and enter the room.
But it was not that easy for us: the little box was empty! After unsuccessfully trying to open the door with all the keys we found at the reception desk, we started paniking. Another couple of travellers were having difficulties as well: they had never received the precious email with all the info. There was a number to call in case of emergency but our phones didn’t work in Iceland. There was also an email address and we finally sent a message (fortunately we could freely access the hotel wifi) but we feared the message recepient would not rapidly check his emails…
Much to our surprise, he arrived 15 minutes later! He confessed that there had been a mistake with our reservation and that the room we had tried to enter was already occupied! He gave us another room. All we wanted to do at that point was to rest!
The hotel is located on Hvammstangi, 531 (probably the only building at Stadarflot…)
We paid 69€ the night and had our own bathroom.
For once breakfast was included!
There was a large gaz station in front of the hotel with a buffet-style restaurant.
More info here.
DAY #10: HRAUNFOSSAR WATERFALL
On day 10 we were tired and we had no desire to spend the whole day in the car. We totally abandonned our plan to go to Snaefellness peninsula as it would have required spending many hours in the car again. We started heading towards Reykjavik instead and made a stop on the way at Hraunfossar waterfall that looked nothing like the other waterfalls we had seen before.
We walked along this strange river flanked by dozens of little waterfalls and then headed back to the car. We arrived in Reykjavik in the afternoon.
DAY #11: LAST DAY IN ICELAND
On our last day in Iceland, we walked around the capital that we only had briefly seen on our first day. At first we were planning on taking a tour from Reykjavik to Landmannalaugar Park as the roads to get there were still closed when we arrived but at that stage all we wanted to do was rest and be outside the car. We looked for good addresses in the capital and spent our day in restaurants and cafés (all the more as we were there during the Euro Cup). The next day, our plane would take off at 6:00 a.m.
So this is the end of our amazing roadtrip around Iceland. Yet there is one last article to come with all the tips I found when I was preparing this trip…
#5 East fjords
#6 Lake Myvatn
#7 North fjords
#8 Info & tips