Reykjavík, Iceland’s capital city was my base for the trip I took to this magical island in September. I stayed in the ODDSSON hostel which was buzzing with backpackers and had a friendly vibe. It took around 20 minutes to walk into downtown Reykjavík from the hostel where I found cafes, restaurants and gift shops. The wooden and brick colourful buildings of the town gave it a quaint look as I was strolling around.
I’d recommend a walk around the harbour, with views across the water to a backdrop of mountains and working fishing boats moored up in between the whale watching vessels. Another must-see is the Hallgrimskirkja church. It’s a Lutheran parish church, named after the Icelandic poet Hallgrímur Pétursson, most famous for his collection of poems – The Passion Hymns. The concrete building pierces through the skyline much higher than anything around it and is quite spectacular.
Arriving at Gullfoss, the rain which had been hammering down all morning, let off to allow for a beautiful mix of dark, menacing clouds and jets of bright, glorious sunlight beaming down onto the waterfall. The sheer power and volume of the water rushing down this crack in the earth is enormous. The rumbling sound and the spray coming from the falls is completely immersive, you can feel with all your senses the true force of nature. After getting a good soaking from the waterfall itself, the heavens decided to once again open and drench me to the bone! It was worth it though.
Geothermal area of Geysir
Geysir, meaning geyser in Icelandic, is the name of the geothermal area and the geyser within it. Geysir (the original geyser) was once the star of the show here but now in its old age erupts infrequently, letting its younger counterpart Strokkur take the leading role, erupting every 4-6 minutes. The land around the geysers is scattered with boiling hot pots and amazing colours of reds and yellows. I found the erupting geyser impressive but it was the beauty and uniqueness of the landscape which really made this place special for me.
Thingvellir (Þingvellir) National Park
The Alþing (Althing) is the site of Iceland’s first parliament. Starting with the Viking settlers this place was used from the 10th to 18th centuries to settle disputes and pass new laws. And as if the history of the place wasn’t enough, the site sits on a Rift Valley caused by the separation of two tectonic plates!
Silfra is a fissure created by the separation of the North American and Eurasian tectonic plates cutting through Iceland. It fills with glacial water that has been filtered underground for decades through hardened, porous lava rock. This makes it one of the clearest bodies of water in the world with up to 120 meters visibility, it also tastes super fresh to drink! Dive.is runs snorkelling and scuba diving trips to experience the crisp, clear crack in the earth. Having the privilege to snorkel between two continents is definitely a tick off the bucket list.