Right after landing on the Reykjavik airport, we picked up the car and started our Iceland adventure!
Our first stop was Thingvellir National Park. After that, we headed to Landbrotalaug Hot Springs. We stopped there briefly and headed in the direction of Hvítserkur– location of our first hotel. To get there, we drove along the Vatnsnes peninsula. The views were breathtaking. We hoped to see the seals as it is the best place in the whole of Iceland for seal spotting, but it was pretty late in the night. It was already around 11 pm, and the sunset was happening through the whole journey on the peninsula. Just incredible.
So let me explain why we picked those locations 🙂
Thingvellir National Park
It is the only UNESCO World Heritage Site on the Icelandic mainland. What makes the place unique is that most of the significant happenings in Icelandic history took place there. It is where Iceland converted from pagan to Christianity, where they declared independence and got the first president. The name Þingvellir translates directly to ”the fields of parliament”. During the Viking Age in 930, Iceland’s very first parliament, the Althing, was established there, and assemblies were held at this location until 1798. Therefore it is the original site of the ‘world’s longest-running, still ongoing parliament!!!
Another fantastic thing about this National Park is that it is the only place on earth where you can see Mid-Atlantic Rift above the sea level!!! You can stand on the edge of the North America tectonic plate and look at the Eurasian plate! The rift valley in between contains Þingvellir.
The Langjökull glacier water fills a lot of ravines created by tectonic movement with crystal clear water. It filters it through the lava rocks, making it pristine.
The most famous ravine is called Silfra. The visibility of the water within it exceeds a hundred meters, placing it in the top 5 best dives sites in the world. The temperature is around 2C so to be able to dive you need dry suit certification.
There are many companies offering diving or snorkeling in between the tectonic plates. It is on my to-do list. Sadly, I did not manage to do my drysuit certification before going to Iceland so will have to dive in Silfra again in the future:)
Þingvellir was also a location for Game of Thrones! Several scenes got filmed there!
Almannagjá gorge was a location of Bloody Gate, which leads towards the Eyrie.
The lake Þingvellirvatn, Iceland’s largest natural lake was used as the bay from which Arya leaves Westeros to head for Braavos.
Landbrotalaug Hot Springs
I have picked this spot as I wanted to try some natural hot spring places and it looked cool on pictures. Well, apparently you can’t believe everything you see on the internet:P Suprise, huh? The hot spring was super tiny and was used by two people who just started their Instagram photo session. They did not intend to move from there any time soon 🙂
There was another shallower one, next to the pipe but the water was brownish, so we decided to skip it too.
Another reason why we did not take a dip was that we got discouraged by people from the local shop. They said that the springs are in no way regulated. There is no exchange of water so there might be some bacterias and in generall it is not sanitary.
Regardless, the place looked beautiful, so we enjoyed the views a lot.
Hvitserkur known as the Troll of Northwest Iceland is a 15-meter tall cliff jutting out straight from the sea. There is a legend saying that it is a petrified troll that got caught by the sunlight when he went to rip the bells of the church apart.
Sigríðarstaðir beach is right next to the Hvitserkur. We were told it is the best place to see seals. It is because the sea changes into the lake. The seals are chilling around on the beach next to the narrow canal where it is super easy for them to fish. Those lazy bastards! 🙂