1332 kilometers around Iceland - the "Golden Ring" and the capital Reykjavik (Part IV)

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In the fourth part of our report about our panel van tour around Iceland, we report on the highlights in the southeast, the "Golden Ring", the capital Reykjavik and the Reykjanes peninsula

On our panel van tour around Iceland, we are now on the south coast and on the way to Reykjavik.

After a restful night at the beautifully situated campsite next to Seljalandsfoss, we have a very relaxed breakfast before we set off and walk the short distance to a cave behind the campsite. One of Iceland's most impressive waterfalls, the Gljúfrabúi, is hidden here . The masses of water plunge directly from the rocks of the high plateau into a cave before they make their way through the valley. Fearless people take off their shoes and pants to wade through the small stream into the cave. We are glad that we have our rubber boots with us. Equipped like this, we stand in the grotto just a moment later and are once again speechless in the face of these forces of nature.

In the cave of the Gljúfrabúi waterfall

After countless unsuccessful attempts, an endless rubbing of our lenses and already soaking wet, we finally succeed in taking some pictures. Then we quickly leave the cave again, because otherwise we don't need a shower anymore today ... We walk the short distance back to our van at the campsite, warm up briefly, pack up and set off. A short detour inland lies ahead of us before we continue our route on the popular “Golden Ring”.

If you would like to find out more details about the fantastically located campsite beforehand, please have a look at our detailed description:

Click here for all further information / facts / pictures and the detailed map of this motorhome parking space

Via road 250 to the Merkjárfoss waterfall

First we drive back to Ringstrasse 1 and follow it a short distance towards Reykjavik, before we turn right onto dirt road 250. Here you are almost alone and enjoy the sheer infinity of the landscape. Our goal on this small detour is Merkjárfoss, which is also called Gluggafoss. We park in the small square below the waterfalls and walk a short distance along the river. On the left you can climb a bit up the mountain and enjoy the view over the landscape.

It is beautiful in this somewhat remote place and this dreamy area is definitely worth the detour. We can hardly believe that here - not so far from the popular ring road - we can enjoy the beauty of the landscape alone. But we want to go further and after the compulsory photo session we set off for the next stage. We continue westwards until we reach the popular “Golden Circle”.

Gluggafoss (also called Merkjárfoss) in the south of Iceland

While we are heading west again via road 261 and ring road 1, we research the further route and possible sights on this section of the route. So far, we have only planned to swing onto the "Golden Ring" and to spend the night at the campsite at the Geysir. Hardly surprising: the next highlight is a waterfall not far from the main street. No wonder, because here on the south side of the Icelandic highlands the water is looking for its way to the sea.

So we soon turn left to visit the third waterfall that day. We have no idea that there will be more of it today ... A little while later our panel van is parked and we walk the well-paved path above the Urriðafoss waterfalls. Here, just before the sea, the height differences are no longer gigantic. In return, unbelievable masses of water keep paving their way. The water has a special color here because it carries a lot of sediments from the mountains with it.

The Urriðafoss - not particularly high but nevertheless impressive due to its water masses

After a small meal in the van, which we can still relax in the parking lot by the waterfall, we set off again. Finally, we still have about 60 kilometers to go. We soon leave Ringstrasse 1 in a northerly direction, drive along roads 30, 31 and 35 to Reykholt and are now moving on the "Golden Ring".

Correctly it says in Icelandic: "Gullni hringurinn". This popular route is known to many foreign tourists as the "Golden Ring". On this route, from the capital Reykjavik, you can reach a variety of well-known attractions and sights in the south-west and south of Iceland. The original tourist route is about 300 kilometers long and takes around 4 - 5 hours to drive the entire route.

Typical landscape characterized by thermal springs in southwest Iceland

The most famous sights on the "Golden Ring" are the former Thingvellir National Park with the nearby waterfall Öxarárfoss, the geothermal area Haukadalur with the geyser Strokkur, which erupts quite reliably every ten minutes. Also included is the Gullfoss waterfall, whose German name "Golden Waterfall" probably coined the term "Golden Ring".

On our tour we first pass the dreamy and inviting town of Reykholt before we stop again a few kilometers away. To the right of the street is a small campsite with a bistro, a parking lot and you can guess it - another waterfall. We are now at number 4 ... Faxi is the really worth seeing and easy-to-reach waterfall near road 35. Amazingly, it is not so present in travel guides and other brochures, although the tourist infrastructure around the waterfall is well developed.

Almost monumental and powerful: Long exposure on the Faxi with its gigantic water masses.

We take turns with another photographer at the most beautiful photo points and use our

The highlights on the “Golden Ring” - the Strokkur and the Gullfoss

In fact, the next morning we stand alone at 6:30 a.m. on the strokkur. In the light of the bright morning sun, we enjoy its outbreak about every 10 minutes. With a bubbling on the water surface, this unforgettable natural spectacle announces itself again and again. With a loud hissing and steaming, the boiling water hisses up and down again and again, hissing up to 25 meters. Madness!!

The smaller geyser Strokkur is located next to the large geyser that gave these water fountains this name worldwide. However, it rarely breaks out. Nevertheless, here, in the Haukadalur geothermal area in the municipality of Bláskógabyggð, you can gain a moving insight into the immense forces that work inside our earth.

We could stand here for a long time and only notice two hours later how time has passed. The first day tourists are slowly coming and the area around the geyser is rapidly filling up. So we go for breakfast in our van before we drive the almost ten kilometers to Gullfoss. Here we first run a little way through the original landscape of the area, fortify ourselves in the restaurant above the waterfall and decide to work on our blog during the day so that we can take pictures of the waterfall alone and in peace in the evening light.

In fact, our plan works and in the meantime we have learned that, at least in May, between 6 p.m. and 8 a.m. even at the very popular hotspots and sights, it is quieter and you can then enjoy this place almost alone. As a result, we align our daily routine with it and tend to be active in the early morning or late evening. With our panel van we are flexible ...

After the evening photo session at Gullfoss, we spend the night again at the campsite at Geysir, because this place offers itself on our route due to the distance and location. The next morning, from here, continue on roads 35, 37 and 365 towards Reykjavik. There is still a lot to see on the way there. And so our first goal on the new morning is the next waterfall…. We had already read about this very special waterfall in some blogs, which fascinates people because of its very special blue water color. So it's off to Bruarfoss.

We reach the parking lot in the late morning, put on our hiking boots and start walking straight away. It takes 3.1 kilometers from the newly created parking lot next to the road to Bruarfoss. According to our research, the route was changed again and again due to the intervention of some land and holiday home owners and due to the steadily increasing number of visitors. In any case, we follow the signposted, well-marked and largely paved path, which also partly leads through the holiday home area. Anyway, after about half an hour we are at the bridge above the blue waterfall Bruarfoss.

For us one of the five most beautiful waterfalls in Iceland - the Bruarfoss

At the lake Þingvallavatn is the national park, which not only impresses with its landscape, but is also of great historical importance for Iceland. Already since 930, shortly after the Norwegian Vikings took over the land, people have met here every year for a thing - a democratic, legislative and judicial people's assembly. On June 17, 1944, the Republic of Iceland was also proclaimed here.

Many boards and explanations accompany you on the short paths and hikes through the national park. Here you will find the waterfall Öxarárfoss , the Silfra column (a diving paradise between the continental plates), a national park center with a campsite and of course the monumental crevices around the old meeting place. You can easily and happily spend a day here and discover all the highlights in the surrounding area on well-marked trails.

We spend the night directly on the campsite next to the National Park Center, which was already open in May and offers enough space on a large meadow. You can find more information about the campsite here:

Click here for all further information / facts / pictures and the detailed map of this motorhome parking space
The typical old houses and the wooden church in the Thingvellir National Park

The next morning we leave before breakfast to take some pictures in the morning light. After the morning photo session, we have an extensive breakfast in one of the parking lots in the national park, when a ranger knocks on our door and warns that it is forbidden to camp wild. We show him our receipt from the campsite and explain that we are only taking a break. Then he laughs friendly, wishes us a nice day and says goodbye.

But then it is already time for us to continue our road trip through or around Iceland. Today it goes to the capital, to Reykjavik. We researched campsites for a long time beforehand and found that there is actually only one campsite directly in Reykjavik. This is quite central and really optimally located, but in the end it is quite expensive.

So we want to check further options in the immediate vicinity of the city: A private campsite in Mosfellsdalur, a place in Norðurbær and the places in Mosfellsbær and on the outskirts of Reykjavik. After this "lap of honor" it quickly becomes clear: We'd rather go to the central square in the capital, because the other offers offer much less for a lot of money.

The Reykjavik skyline in the evening light

We shop properly again in one of the large supermarkets and take up our parking space in Reykjavik. After a short evening stroll by the sea, we make ourselves comfortable in the van and plan the next two days in Reykjavik.

More information, prices and details of the campsite in central Reykjavik can be found here:

Click here for all further information / facts / pictures and the detailed map of this motorhome parking space

Reykjavik is difficult to describe and stands for us in stark contrast to the rest of the natural and original Iceland. Nevertheless, you will also find many small and loving details here, which are somehow typical of Iceland and in turn give the city a very special charm. Equally impressive is the partly modern architecture, the types, forms and materials of which partly share the space with old wooden houses and fishing huts. The often colorful roofs and facades somehow round out the urban image of a modern city on a very special island.

Anyway - you can spend several days here and discover a lot. In this case, it is worth buying the Reykjavik City Card , which gives you many perks in the city. These are available for 24, 28 or 72 hours in the city.

Mini gallery Reykjavik - metropolis in southwest Iceland

We were in the old and new harbor districts, ate delicious fish and chips in one of the many fish restaurants, strolled through the pedestrian zone and the small streets in the town center, were in the excursion area of ​​the capitals at the Grótta Island Lighthouse and of course also in some penis Museum of the world. But please don't tell anyone ...

After a long time in Iceland's pristine nature, it was really good to enjoy the urban life and bustle of a big city. Nevertheless, after two days we are also glad that it goes out again - to the coasts, the beaches, in short - to the enchanting landscape of the island.

Since we are well on schedule, we decide not to follow Ringstrasse 1 in a northerly direction in order to finally continue to circumnavigate Iceland. Rather, we take an additional day and consciously take a detour or rather a small lap of honor in the south of Reykjavik. The landscape to be found there would be left out if one stubbornly followed the ring road or the "Golden Ring". So - compass on the south and off we go ...

Worth every detour alone: ​​The beautiful lighthouse of Reykjanes on the southwestern Cape of Iceland

We follow road 41 towards the airport and later turn onto 43 to Grindavik. On this route you will also find the world famous "Blue Lagoon" - one of the most popular hot spots in Iceland. We leave out the overcrowded as well as overpriced tourist attraction because we want to visit somewhat more isolated and quieter hotpots in the north, which we report on in a separate post:

HOTPOTS IN ICELAND - THE 9 MOST BEAUTIFUL HOT SOURCES OF OUR TOUR

In Grindavik we turn right and drive from here to a very special bridge: The bridge between the continents actually connects the two continental plates of America and Europe over a clearly recognizable trench. A striking point and therefore also a tourist highlight in Iceland. Conny takes a lot of effort in our picture and lifts the bridge - a classic motif of this scenery.

Isn't Conny really strong ... ??

On road 425 we drive a bit back to the southwestern Cape of Iceland. On the Reykjanes peninsula you will not only find the associated lighthouse, but also another extremely impressive thermal area and very bizarre rock pillars in the surf of the Atlantic. First we drive into the parking lot right on the cliffs of the coast. From here you already have a unique view over the rocks and the high cliffs with the countless breeding grounds for sea birds.

We follow the well-marked and paved paths on a small loop through this magnificent landscape.

The cliffs and rocks off the southwest coast of the Reykjanes peninsula

You can also go from here to the nearby Reykjanes lighthouse or to the hot springs in the Gunnuhver thermal area . The environment seems somewhat surreal here - the old lighthouse high above the sea and the hot boiling water and the steam that stinks of sulfur.

The steam and hot springs in the Gunnuhver thermal area

Some of the boards tell you more about the region and you can also read about the legend of Gunnuhver, after which the hot springs are probably named. We are considering whether we should stay here until sunset or drive the last few kilometers to the next photo opportunity on the south coast. After a short research, it becomes obvious that there is even a free campsite there and so we make our way to Strandakirkja .

The sublime lighthouse of Reykjanes on the peninsula of the same name

We still have about 50 kilometers ahead of us before we reach the romantic church by the sea. The coastal landscape is extensive and open, rarely interrupted by a single farm. In this respect, only a few other tourists get lost here - perhaps a reason for the owner to fill his campsite with the free offer. Obviously, he lives only from buying some things from him in the kiosk or using the chargeable facilities. In any case, the overnight stay or the parking space itself is free of charge.

We also present this place on the picturesque south coast in the area of ​​the parking spaces of Iceland :

Click here for all further information / facts / pictures and the detailed map of this motorhome parking space

After we settle down and have something to eat in the evening, we walk along the small street by the sea to take some pictures of the small, old wooden church in the last light of the day, which has been resisting wind and weather here for a long time.

The next morning we finish the stage with our breakfast along the south coast of Iceland, enter the city of Akranes into our

In the evening after a nice walk along Strandakyrkja in the south of Iceland
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Conny and Sirko

"Yes, we love this country ..." - this is how the Norwegian national anthem begins, and yes, we too - Conny Sirko - love this country, the inhabitants, the magnificent landscape, the peace and tranquility that we have there and throughout Scandinavia Find. We have traveled north more than twenty times - at different times, in many regions and in all variations. The idea for this homepage came to us last year, because it gives us the opportunity to write off our permanent wanderlust for the north and hopefully inspire you to do so. So: heading north!

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