In case you missed it, you can find the first part of this post here, including places from South and East regions.
Traveling further up North and West, you’ll drive past gorgeous fjords, overflowing meadows, high mountains, low valleys and even dry lands… without a single soul around. We’re talking about more than an hour or two long drives here so be sure to pack a lot of water and food, fill up your gas tank and empty your bladder whenever you can.There was one time where we badly needed to pee but had to hold it in until we get to the closest town about half an hour later. There would still be pit stops for when you want to rest a bit from driving, but there’s nothing else apart from that. No toilet, no convenience store, no gas station. So drive prepared. :) Here are 10 more amazing places, the second part of my favorites covering the North and West Iceland — and a lot of photos in between the drive.
Mývatn is one of the places I really loved in Iceland. It’s commonly identified as the lake created by a lava eruption thousand years ago. But more than that, it’s also an area surrounded by abundant wildlife. If you’re planning to spend a few days up North, I highly recommend Mývatn as your base point. Most travelers stay in Akureyri but Mývatn has the Iceland’s countryside feel. It is also strategically near other interesting geological wonders.
We stayed at Vogafjos Guesthouse located on the Eastern shore of the Mývatn Lake. With just a few minutes’ drive, we got to Hverfjall Crater, Grjótagjá Cave, Mývatn Nature Baths (the Blue Lagoon of the North) and Námafjall Hverir. Vogafjos also have this idyllic restaurant that offers fresh homemade food, a view of Lake Mývatn and an opportunity to watch cows being milked. As guests, we’re allowed into the cowshed to pet them and try the freshly squeezed milk.
If you’re a fan of Game of Thrones, then you probably have seen this. It’s a small lava cave created by a natural crack produced by volcanic activity. There’s a beautiful blue water inside the cave that is geothermally heated. It used to be a popular bathing place but ever since the temperature of the water has risen, it’s not advisable to soak anymore.
Another awesome place near Mývatn Lake is Hverfjall, a huge circular volcanic crater that looks like where Superman’s spaceship landed. The volcano is not active anymore so travelers can safely walk around its rim that has about a kilometer circumference. It’s that gigantic and you will need a drone to properly photograph it.
The climb up the volcano will only take about 15 to 30 minutes depending on your fitness.
Námafjall Hverir Geothermal Area
Námafjall is a mountain near Lake Myvatn. At its base, there is a geothermal area called Hverir that displays a collection of bubbling mud pools, mud craters, earth fissures, and fumaroles. The ground is covered in mineral deposits that come in various colors. It’s the kind of thing that you only see in National Geographic but fortunately, in Iceland, you can get close to not just one, but several of these natural phenomena. Don’t stay far too long in here, though, as the fumes may not be good for the health. Evidently, there are no signs of plant life around.
Along the way, we also pass by this vast land of nothingness. No, we were not on Mars.
Krafla Viti Crater
Viti means hell in Icelandic but contrary to that, this place is actually calm and bright. The location is almost deserted, you won’t even think that there’s a huge, pretty water pool hiding from a distance. Though what you can’t see from the photo above is that it’s dangerously windy. The airstream is too strong; it could literally sweep you off your feet if not careful. I’m not sure if that condition is only particular to that day, please be safe and hold on to your car doors. :)
Akureyri is a city in North Iceland that is like Reykjavik. I feel like it has exactly the same vibe to it — with all the shops, restaurants, coffee shops, and branded stores. But it’s more laid back (as if Reykjavik is not easy-going) and accessible to exploring green pastures, fishing villages, and many others.
We honestly didn’t spend a lot of time here because it’s already an urbanized area (we’re after nature, of course, we’re in Iceland) but it’s still worth exploring. And, there’s a viewpoint to see the whole city from above.
Known as the Waterfall of the Gods, this is my favorite among all the waterfalls that we’ve seen. It’s stunningly massive and the water has a lovely color of pale blue-green even in gloomy weather. If these photos don’t convince you, I don’t know what will!
Here’s another one for good measure.
Skagafjörður is a wide fjord in the Northwest with lovely natural surroundings. The area is known for water rafting and horseback riding though we only had the chance to try the latter. We stayed in a dreamy cabin, enjoyed a warm bath in a natural tub and befriended Icelandic horses. It was like having a piece of Iceland all to ourselves.
Snæfellsjökull National Park and Glacier
Snæfellsjökull is a volcano with a glacier covering its peak. It’s one of the famous landmarks in Iceland and is really stunning from a distance. We wanted to reach even just a part of the summit but the first snow started few days prior so the road was closed for safety reasons. On a good weather, you can drive, hike or go on a tour to explore the glacier and the national park.
Kirkjufell or Church Mountain is one of the iconic places you’ll see of Iceland. The surrounding area has hills and waterfalls that many photography enthusiasts come here early in the day for creative shots of sunrise. We didn’t make it to sunrise though as we’re coming from Hellnar, about 45-minutes drive. Plus, the weather in Iceland calls for extra snooze and cuddles in bed.
Throwing in something special: We’ve been checking forecasts of the Northern Lights every night since day 1 but it’s always cloudy wherever we are. On our second to the last night, the clouds suddenly cleared and the magical northern lights finally took the stage. Oh, it was surreal!
I will share more about this in another time!
To end this long post, this is me twirling and feeling Iceland like there’s no one around. The sheep and cows are probably laughing at me but who cares when the world is as beautiful as this. :)
Have you picked your favorite yet? Share in the comments below.