Travelling Iceland – Part 2: Black Sand Beach, The Blue Lagoon & The Northern Lights

This is the second part blog about our adventure in Iceland, you can read the first part here.

On our third day in Iceland, we set off towards Vík í Mýrdal, a seaside town further south of the island, where we would be stopping overnight at Icelandair Hotel Vik. Of course, we had plenty of stop off’s on our agenda, with the first being Kerið Crater; a huge volcanic crater lake.

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Kerið Crater

Everything else on our itinerary for the day was technically not part of the Golden Circle, but all well worth the detour, especially if you’re planning to stay inVík.

Next on our route was Seljalandsfoss Waterfall, conveniently located right by the road that we were on (Route 1), so we didn’t need to take any detours to access it.

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Seljalandsfoss Waterfall

The further south we drove, the less snow there was. We passed over a hill and suddenly there was no snow at all! The contrast in scenery was incredible. At this point, we were very close to the seafront and the Sólheimasandur Plane Wreck, which was next on the agenda.

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Sólheimasandur plane wreck

For those who may not have heard about it, Sólheimasandur Plane Wreck is an abandoned plane wreckage of a Super DC-3 aeroplane that crashed in 1973 on Sólheimasandur black sand beach. Luckily all crew survived, but the wreckage remains, making it a dream photography location.

It is well worth the visit, but note that it requires (the longest) 4km walk to the beach, as no driving is allowed. We weren’t aware of how long the walk was, but we didn’t mind so much as it wasn’t that cold in comparison to other areas we’d visited, but we were walking a total of 45-50 minutes and that’s at a good pace… so if you have the time to do the walk, it’s well worth it.

When we finally made it back to the car, we headed for our last destination of the day; Reynisfjara Beach also known as The Black Sand Beach.

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Reynisfjara Beach

Funnily enough, it wasn’t too long before we were back in snow-covered land and soon we were hit by our first snowstorm. Driving can be tricky in snow, even with a four-wheel drive, so it’s best to take your time and even pull over if you have to until the weather eases. There’s a saying in Iceland “If you don’t like the weather in Iceland, just wait fifteen minutes.” This holds true… Some of the time.

We made it to Reynisfjara Beach once the storm quietened down. This beach is spectacular, with black sand, sea stacks and rock formations similar to those of The Giant’s Causeway in Northern Ireland.

(For any Game of Thrones fans, Reynisfjara Beach features in season 7.)

On day four, we needed to be up bright and early to make our way to The Blue Lagoon, which was a good three hours journey away. But first, we mad a quick stop off at Skógafoss Waterfall to take some photos in the morning light.

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Portrait at Skógafoss Waterfall

Some people say that The Blue Lagoon is a tourist trap, I must admit that it is on the pricey side, but it’s just one of those things that you’ll only ever do once. You’re basically at a spa, so it’s worth splashing out on.

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With our algae face masks on at The Blue Lagoon

We went for the comfort package, which includes a silica face mask, algae face mask and a drink – it’s safe to say that our skin felt silky smooth afterwards! One tip for The Blue Lagoon is don’t get your hair wet. This is because the silica in the water can dry out your hair. They do warn you about this and recommend putting conditioner in your hair before entering the water. I followed these instructions but still managed to get the ends of my hair wet and it felt like straw in the days that followed… So you’ve been warned!

We spent that night (New Year’s Eve) in Fosshótel Reykjavík – there was a mix-up with bookings and we were bumped up to a suite, which had fantastic views of the city. We rang in the New Year watching fireworks at Hallgrímskirkja and drinking wine!

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Fireworks at Hallgrímskirkja on New Years Eve

Our final day in Iceland was basically a chill out day – we had a super early flight the following day and we needed to drop back the car hire.

We stayed at the Aurora Star Airport Hotel at Keflavik Airport, which was a convenient two-minute walk to the airport. What was also good about this location, was that on the opposite side of the hotel was a huge patch of land with no light pollution – perfect for trying to spot the Northern Lights.

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Portrait with the Aurora Borealis

This was our last chance to try and catch them again – the forecast was low – but we set out that night with the hopes of catching a glimmer of them. In the first shot I took, you could see the faintest glimmer of the lights and within 20 minutes, we could see them in the sky with our own eyes – so amazing and the perfect end to our trip!

If you haven’t read it yet, you can find the first part of this blog here. If you’ve any questions regarding Iceland, please leave a comment and I’ll do my best to answer! 

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