Thursday, July 9, 2015

Day 2 - West Iceland - Waterfalls, Lupines, Hot Springs, and Craters

This was an amazing day! We were met early in the morning at Guesthouse Aurora in Reykjavik by a driver from Enterprise Rent-a-car who took us to their office. We picked up our Kia Rio and drove over to Iceland Unlimited's office to meet with Linda, our travel agent. She answered our questions and gave us a large map highlighted and labeled with sights to see. We set our GPS and we were on our way!  Here is how to recreate our adventure...

West Iceland - Lupines, Waterfalls, Hot Springs, and Craters

Sunbathing at Glymur waterfall
Our official first stop on Day 2 was to see Glymur Waterfall. This is the tallest waterfall in Iceland. Along the way, we stopped to admire the fields of lupine and roadside waterfalls. When we arrived and the trailhead, we grabbed our cameras and headed out. Mistake!!! We had no idea that the to get to the waterfall, we had a multi-km hike up-hill to the view. Doh!  I highly recommend this hike, but come prepared with water and hiking shoes/sneakers. The view did not disappoint. Not only was the waterfall beautiful, but we also got to gaze down gorges, climb into caves, and sunbathe on cliffs (little did we know this sunshine was rare and we would never sunbathe again). 

Glymur Waterfall - Tallest in Iceland

After returning to the car, we ate some road snacks that served as our lunch and drove to Hotel Hafnarfjal- our lodging for the night. Tragically, the hotel has lost our reservation, but deeply apologized and within minutes had set us up at not extra cost at a nicer hotel in town- Hotel Borganes (in the town of Borganes). 

Since it wasn't quite dinner yet, we decided to see a couple more sights . We drove toward Hraunfossar waterfall and stopped at Reykholt- a historic site and unique church. From there, we drove to the Hraunfossar waterfall. These are a cascade of beautiful falls that flow into a cloudy blue river. We were able to walk around the falls and admire them from the viewing platform (easy-unlike Glymur). They were beautiful. 

Back in the car, we drove to Deildartunguhver Thermal Spring. This isn't a hot pot to swim in, but rather, a geothermal power plant. Visitors can cautiously stroll through the steam and observe the boiling streams of water exiting the ground. 

Deildartunguhver Thermal Spring

Our last stop on the way back to Borganes was to Grabrok crater. We were able to hike up stairs (short but a butt burner) up to the craters edge and admire the surrounding volcanic view. It's definitely worth a stop. 

Grabrok Crater

Back in Borganes, we headed to dinner at The Settlement Center restaurant. The meals were delicious (I had a scrumptious seafood chowder) and the staff friendly. 

We settled back at our hotel for some rest after a long and fulfilling day of exploring. 

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