They say “go big or go home,” but on my last day in Iceland, I decided to go big before I went home. The day began at 8am and didn’t end until after 2am, and in between, there was an insane amount of beautiful scenery. I’m not sure if this day or the day I spent touring the Golden Circle was better, but, why choose? Both were amazing. Iceland is amazing.
The day began with two waterfalls. First up, Seljalandsfoss, which is 60 meters high and which you can even walk behind. It rained during the duration of our visit here, so I burrowed myself into my raincoat and made the best of it. When in Iceland…!
For our second waterfall, we stopped at Skógafoss. Here, we came across a couple who had just gotten married by the waterfall! It was pretty badass to see a bride wandering around in a big old gown, no coat, in the pouring rain and waterfall mist. As for the waterfall itself? Gorgeous, again.
Around lunchtime, we headed to the town of Vik. We stopped at a supermarket here and picked up food for lunch. I always love browsing at grocery stores in other countries – it’s such a fascinating slice of everyday life – and this was no exception. Before we left this town, I was able to get a shot of the ubiquitous Alaskan Lupine, the beautiful, blueish purple flower that seems to line EVERY road here. It’s technically considered an invasive species but, boy, is it pretty!
As we drove to our next destination, we passed by some truly gorgeous scenery, including a flood plain that had all kinds of plants growing on it (including those Alaskan Lupines I so loved). Eventually, we wound up in Skaftárhreppur, where we saw a lava field. It’s hard to explain what the landscape even looked like – just utterly unique and cool.
Next up, we stopped at Diamond Beach. Here, if you’re lucky, you can see glacier chunks that wash ashore. There weren’t too many when we visited, but the beach was still beautiful.
From the beach we made our way to Jökulsárlón Glacier Lagoon, which was one of the (if not THE) highlights of the day. I had signed up for a boat tour in the lagoon here, which I envisioned as a ferry boat that would gently weave its way among the icebergs. What I didn’t realize? It would actually be a speedboat that I sat perilously balanced on the edge of, clinging to a rope as we rocketed over waves at a mildly terrifying speed. It was totally not the kind of thing I would normally do, and if I had known what it would be like, I probably wouldn’t have signed up for it. I’m glad I didn’t know, though, because it wound up being really cool. The glaciers are just stunning, and it felt like a once in a lifetime opportunity to jet all around them!
Around dinner time, we stopped at Skaftafell, which is a wilderness area inside Vatnajökull National Park. The purpose here was mainly grabbing a meal, but I made time to wander around a bit after dinner to check out the surrounding scenery – which was beautiful, naturally.
Our final stop of the day, which we didn’t reach until after 11pm, was Reynisfjara Black Sand Beach. Because the days are so long in Iceland, we could admire the beach in all its glory even late at night.
After poking around at the beach, we made our way back to Reykjavík. By the time we arrived in town, there were only a few hours left before I had to wake up and head to the airport. It was a crazy, exhausting, LONG day, but honestly a little sleep deprivation was more than worth it. Iceland, you are a stunner.