ICELAND: Fire, Ice, and Everything Nice
January 11, 2019
Waves crash on lava rock, kaleidoscope banks surround bubbling hot springs, columns of steam spiral skyward, waterfalls tumble down cliffs and canyons. This is the Land of Fire and Ice—Iceland—the most breathtakingly beautiful, scenic, and diverse destination I have ever visited. A stunning location for my unforgettable, 10-day honeymoon road trip this past October!
Being our honeymoon, it seemed super appropriate to travel on what is commonly referred to as Ring Road, Iceland’s famous Route 1. There wasn’t a single spot along this road that wasn’t interesting or beautiful. I honestly don’t know how my husband didn’t drive off the road at every turn because the scenery is incredible, rugged, and distracting—Black sand beaches, quaint towns, rugged cliffs, volcanoes, glaciers, hot springs, mountains, fjords, moss-covered lava fields, waterfalls, lambs roaming the countryside, and Icelandic horses frolicking in fields.
These places are as stunning as their names are impossible to pronounce. Here are our top spots to see in Iceland in the order we visited them.
Gunnuhver Hot Springs and Reykjanes Lighthouse
Where the North Atlantic Ridge rises from the ocean, you’ll find hundreds of craters, lava fields, and black sand beaches. Be sure to visit the two gems of the Reykjanes Peninsula. At Gunnuhver Hot Springs, a light rain fell and steam rose from mud pools and steam vents as we watched the sunrise over this otherworldly landscape. It was a beautiful and peaceful way to welcome our first morning. Dominating a nearby hill, the famed white Reykjanes Lighthouse keeps watch over the rocky coast. Watching the waves crash against the black lava rock shore and giant cliffs was incredible.
Sensory overload! Bubbling mud pools. The hiss and and splash of steam escaping vents in the rocky earth. Banks in hues of red, yellow, and green surrounding these hot springs, contrasting with the crazy silver blue of the water. You won’t be sure if the beauty or the thick smell of sulphur is taking your breath away. Every step along the wooden walkways is stunning.
Glymur Waterfall Hike
It was raining, very windy, and a fairly steep climb, but the views of this majestic waterfall plunging an incredible 650 feet down moss-covered, black canyon walls was worth every minute. The main route on the east side of the falls was closed due to high water, but not to be deterred, we took the trail less traveled on the west. What an unbelievably mind-blowing view of the second-tallest waterfall in Iceland.
Iceland is renowned for its natural beauty, so it’s no wonder that this incredible church in the heart of Reykjavik somehow resembles a towering cliff. Inside, white columns stretch heavenward in gothic arches. We took the elevator to the top and took in the 360-degree view of Iceland’s picturesque capital city.