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Iceland: Rough Corner of Europe II. – To the Swimsuit – VIDEO

Published: 20.1.2023
We were travelling around the island to get to know it better. We set off to the east from Reykjavik. First we are headed to Þingvellir park (Thingvellir). The park is listed in UNESCO’s world heritage program.

This place is known mostly for one of the oldest parliaments. It was founded in 930 AD and it was called Althing. Only in 1798 its assemblies have been happening in the capital. Þingvellir National Park is above the line separating two tectonic plates therefore this area is active. North American and Eurasian continents are drifting apart couple of millimeters each year. The volcanic scenery here is impressive. Rivers, lakes, and mountains add to the overall scenery. We saw the sun first time in Þingvellir so we wanted to idle a bit. Only then we realized how soft moss there was.

 landscape surrounding the Þingvellir NP

Another interesting place you shouldn’t miss on Iceland is the famous Strokkur geyser. The geyser area is right along the road. You cannot miss it. The places where mud springs onto the surface also raises steam. There are lakes with hot water along the way.

 Strokkur geyser

Wind carries away steam so fast that it is really difficult to capture the geyser in the moment you want. Strokkur geyser is irregular. However, it is springs frequently enough every visitor can enjoy it. First light blue dome is formed and than water burst through it couple of meters high.

 Strokkur geyser dome

Couple of kilometers down the road to the east there is the king of Icelandic waterfalls – Gullfoss. Upper cascades start mildly but the lowest is really massive. Water flows to a crack in the rock. From the right angle you can see beautiful rainbow the contours of which are nicely visible in fog of water. We also attempted to see the Rainbow Mountains (Landmannalaugar). The road was close in this season. On Iceland once the road is closed you really cannot go through.

 Gullfoss waterfall

We are approaching to Hveragerði town. We shop there at Bonus supermarket (as we implied in the last part there are not too many places where to do your groceries). We are looking forward to our first natural hot spring in Reykjadalur valley. The hot Varma river is also there.

 activity after an hour walk in the valley

The instructions were clear – park at Hot River Café and go up to the mountains. Once you find the café you cannot get lost. It takes about an hour and half to get to the hot river from the parking lot. The Varma River is reachable only on foot. Therefore, there are not crowds.

  idyll outside civilization

The road goes along the river canyon. There is still something interesting to see. Somewhere smoke raises from the ground. It comes from mud and acid lakes of various size. It hasn’t take long before learning that we arrived at our destination (by seeing people in the river). It is windy here. We don’t look much forward to changing into swimsuit. However, we talked to an Icelander who recommended us a better place to take a bath. It is a confluence of warm and cold water so everybody can find a spot which is the best. And, it is a place where you can swim for hours.

colorful mountains near the confluence

Young people camped along the river. This place really impressed us. At the end of our journey on Iceland we would go there one more time to stay over night. Also, there are great options to do some trips into the surroundings. You can at least get a glimpse of the atmosphere surrounding the Rainbow Mountains. Even here mountains are veiled in different colors. Here you can often feel natural forces at play, for instance bubbling puddles, or smoldering places.

 locals like to set up tents on the confluence of cool and warm water

Next week you can learn about how our journey continued.


GPS: 64°18'48.2"N 20°17'56.5"W (Stokkur geyser) 

Text, photos and video: Martina Brožková

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