Iceland’s Northern Region
Travel along Iceland’s Highway 1, commonly known as the Ring Road, and it will take you to the island’s northern territory. On the fourth day of my tour, we worked our way from the east coast to Iceland’s far north, away from the large crowds of tourists in the south. The previous day had brought snow to the mountains that we were about to traverse.
As we gained elevation, the ground was now covered in snow. We stopped for a quick picture opportunity at a turn-out where we could take in the snow covered valley. This was a different panoramic of Iceland, a whiteout perspective of a beautiful landscape in any color.
We then arrived at our first destination. Dettifoss, Europe’s most powerful waterfall. Today, the hike would be a little more difficult because of the snow covered path. In some areas, the snow had melted into small pools and some portions of the path was icy and slippery. We only had an hour to hike to the falls, round trip, so I hustled to it so I could have some time to enjoy it. You can definitely hear the power of the waterfall as it roared down the gorge.
We proceeded to make our way down the mountain to a lower elevation. The My’vatn area was our next stop. The area is dominated by a lake but it’s also a geothermal area and the location for My’vatn Natural Bath, one of Iceland’s many hot springs. The fee is only 3800 kronas and an additional 700 kronas for a towel. It was a very refreshing experience to go from 35 degrees to about 94 degrees in the water. The temperature in the lower pool was a little cooler but the view was magnificent. The Blue Lagoon maybe larger and more well-known but it doesn’t have a view like this. What the Blue Lagoon does have is higher prices and much larger crowds.
As we made our way further down the mountain, we stopped to admire Lake My’vatn and the valley below.
Our next destination was the Dimmuborgir Lava Field. The area is filled with natural works of art as the lava pushed and twisted creating caves and arches along the way before cooling and solidifying.
The last stop of the day was another beautiful waterfall. Godafoss is not as large or powerful as the others but it is one of my favorites. It’s steep in Icelandic lore as this is where the king had dropped the pagan gods in favor of the single Christian god.
Our accommodations for the night was in Akureyri, the capital of the North. In the morning, we had a three hour whale watching cruise from Dalvik. The morning temperature was about 35 degrees and with the cold fall air blowing in my face it was well below freezing. I’m glad the tour company made us wear a heavy onesie to fight off the cold. We saw multiple pods of humpback, minke, and porpoise whales swimming in the bay. The picturesque coastline reminded me of a Christmas card. It made the experience worth the effort.
The rest of the afternoon was going to be another long haul on the bus as our next hotel was in the western region. But, we stopped for lunch at one of the many fishing villages that dot the coast and we had time to wander around the town. It was a unique look at small town life first hand. I absorbed every minute of the north as I new that the next morning I would awake in the west.