We knew that this was going to be a relaxing day with not many important sights to see on our way to Reykjavik from Vik.
About 30 minutes drive out of Vik on route 1 brings you to this glorious water called Skógafoss.
Dropping 60 meters with a width of 25 meters, Skógafoss makes a thunderous sound because of the high volume of water. Perhaps a major reason why the falls was so popular was that it was very easy to access. Including a lot of tour buses, the presence of camping also helps its popularity.
But it was a very flat and tame scramble along the river’s banks that led us right up to the wall of water. Getting so close to the base of such a large waterfall was quite rare.
The official path climbed alongside the cliffs surrounding the recess containing the falls to yield precarious top down views of not only the waterfall but also the view towards the Atlantic Ocean as well. This trail also continues further up the Skoga River where there are many more waterfalls.
Nearby is the town of Skógar, with an interesting open air museum, a church, several farm houses from different periods in Icelandic history, and a modern building for exhibitions.
Skógar Folk Museum
Price: adult/under 16 ISK 700/free
Time: museum Jun-Aug 9am-6.30pm; May & Sep 10am-5pm; Oct-Apr 11am-4pm; café Jun-Aug 10am-5pm; May & Sep 11am-4pm
The vast collection was put together by Þordur Tómasson who visits the museum often with his old church organ.
[View of Skógar from top of Skógafoss]
[Skógar river falling down to Skógafoss]
This protected 25 meter outdoor pool is one of the oldest swimming pools in Iceland and was built in 1923 and it’s free! The water is always 37°C throughout the year.
Located not far from Seljavellir, the construction was headed by Bjorn Andrésson Berjaneskoti, who received the Ungmennafélagið Eyfelling for the work. Courses in the pool were initiated as part of compulsory education in 1927. The pool is cleaned once every summer. Prior to that, it is often covered with thick ice, requiring care.
The 2010 eruptions of Eyjafjallajökull filled Seljavallalaug with ash. In early summer 2011, a group of volunteers gathered to clean the pool with loaders and excavators.
Turn off the ring road (No.1) into road 242 marked Raufarfell. It’s just past Þorvaldseyri (The Iceland Erupts exhibition). You drive until you see a sign that says Seljavellir but if you follow that road you get to a new pool that was built later where you can park. From the car park you walk for 15-20 minutes towards the bottom of the valley and in the end you will see the pool peaking behind a corner. You can’t see it until you get to it so if you think you’re going the wrong way you probably aren’t. You will have to jump over a little stream and the way is a bit uneven but it’s an easy walk and everyone should be able to do it.
[Trail leading to Seljavallalaug Pool]
Just a few meters from Skogar is the visitor center of the 2010 volcanic eruption of Eyjafjallajökull. One of the smaller ice caps of Iceland, it is situated to west of Mýrdalsjökull and the ice cap covers the caldera of a volcano with a summit elevation of 1,651 metres (5,417 ft).
We stopped by the visitor center to get a stamp in the Postal Stamps Travelogue book.
[Eyjafjallajökull Visitor Center]
[Eyjafjallajökull stamp on Postal Stamp Travelogue book]
Just about 10 km from Seljavallalaug pool on route 1, take a right on road 249 to reach this 40 metres high waterfall – Seljalandsfoss. A foot path behind the falls allows you to have a 360-degree view and get wet by standing under the falls.
From Seljalandsfoss, it was a direct drive to the third sight-to-see (other than Geysir and Gullfoss) in the Golden Circle – Þingvellir National Park.
Situated on the banks of the lake Þingvallavatn, the largest lake in Iceland (84 sq. km.), the old Icelandic parliament (Alþingi) was founded here in the year 930. Since 1928 the area is a National Park and Þingvellir is a large lava field, situated right on the Mid-Atlantic Ridge, where the European and North American plates are moving apart.
Although the actual European- and American- sides are 7 km apart from each other, we decided to be on the American side of the plate.
[North American plate of Þingvellir National Park]
[Far off mountain is formed on the European plate of Þingvellir National Park]
[North American plate of Þingvellir National Park]
It was the last destination on our circle around Iceland before we reached Reykjavik at about 8pm. After checking in to our guesthouse, we headed out for dinner and strolled around the city center for a while until calling it an early day.
|Eric The Red Guesthouse
[Day 8 route – Vik to Reykjavik]
Note: All values in USD, unless otherwise mentioned, are approximate and based on the exchange rate at the time of publishing. Each cost is for one adult. The exchange rate at the time of publishing is assumed to be USD 1 = ISK 114.
|Eric The Red Guesthouse||$58.50||€45 Per person, one night|
|Fuel||$87.72||ISK 10,000 for the day|
|Dinner in Reykjavik||$23.53||ISK 2683 per person|
|Groceries||$7.90||ISK 900 for Coffee, biscuits, water, snacks, etc.|
|Total Costs||$117.65||Per person|
|Overall Costs||$4,853.54||Per person|
« PREVIOUS – Day 7
Skeiðarársandur, Hildishaugur, Kirkjugolfið, Stjornarfoss, Systrafoss, Dyrhólaey, Reynisfjara, Sólheimajökull.
Vík to Reykjavík
Skógafoss, Seljavallalaug Pool, Eyjafjallajökull, Seljalandsfoss, Þingvellir National Park.
Day 9 – NEXT »
Blue lagoon & tour of capital city.