South Iceland has very volcanic and a “new” nature, that constantly changes due to eruptions. East Iceland is full of glaciers. Well, in North Iceland and West fjords are the “old” kind of nature. If you have ever been to Norway, North Iceland is very similar to it. With all the cliffs and high fjords… There are definitely things not to miss.
If you are interested in dwarfs and tales, you need to visit a town called Raufarhöfn. It is one of the remote villages up in the north. And if you like Stonehenge, well there is something arctic henge nearby. Same as Stone Henge, it also points to sun the way it would cast shadows in a precise location. It is said that it is there due to mythology, each stone is supposed to be named after dwarf. Otherwise, nobody knows what or why it is standing there. Sort of like Stone Henge of the north.
Waterfalls and other natural wonders
Aldeyjarfoss – one of the massive waterfalls when visiting the north. It is considered the most beautiful one in the north, but you already have a lot of waterfalls to compare it. This waterfall is framed with long basaltic columns that give it a very special look. And it is entirely possible to drive your way to it since it is very close to the road.
Askja – a massive crater in the north part of Vätnajökkul national park. There is bright blue water in it and all of it is surrounded by volcanic stones. This crater was probably created in an Ice age and you can still spot the eruption nearby. This place is a popular bathing place, but be careful because the road could be very slippery when it is rainy weather. To this place, you can easily navigate your self from the main road number one.
This lake is a very popular area to visit. It is in the north eas part, between Husavík and Akureyri. Here would be a good idea to take a bath in one of the natural hot springs. For example, there are a Grjotagja crater hot springs, nice and steamy, like the scene from Game thrones, where was this place used as a movie location to a steamy scene between Jon and Ygritte. There are also hiking paths in the area, where you can see the rocks such as Dimmuborgir rocks formation, great for hiking. But if you were more up to the crater, don’t get sad, there is Hverfell crater mountain formation, where you can hike up and see how everything else is very small.
Asbyrgi – this is one of my favorite places in Iceland. It is a canyon, great for hiking up and having the best view. This formation, however, is very special. It is formed in hoof and so it is said that this is the place where Odin’s horse step. In it’s surrounding, you can also find a waterfall Dettifoss.
Namafhall – this is one of the few volcanic areas in the north. You will be walking around steaming rocks, moody baths, and natural hot springs. Keep your swimwear near you, you will need it.
Cities of the north
Husavík – this is the whale watching capital of Iceland. Every day, you can go and sit on the boat to spot a whale. These boats respect the massive sea mammals, so they will go close but not too close to abuse the animal. At the same time, most of the companies have a policy that if you won’t see a whale, you can try it again on the next boat. They also have warm clothes, so you won’t get too cold when you are far on the sea.
Akureyri – this is the oldest town in Iceland and at the same time the second biggest town in the country. Visit there their Lutheran church, Akureirarkirkja – it is something completely different then you will see in Reykjavík or elsewhere in the country. Also, there is a hill peak with sky trail if you are visiting in the autumn or in the winter.
North Iceland and West fjords are great to see but difficult to travel due to big travel distances between the fjords. Either way, don’t miss it.
Dynjandi – Cascade waterfall that is so beautiful your eyes will hurt. You can hike around it and see how massive it actually is. It is also close to the road that leads between the fjords, so you don’t have to worry about hiking too far.
Látrabjarg – one of the biggest cliffs in Europe. And also one of the biggest bird watching places in Iceland. The cliff is 14 km long and almost half kilometer high. Birds come here in huge numbers and often sleep here as there are no foxes around this place. Look out for the edge, the fall is high and it can get slippery.
Valagil – Valagil is a very high waterfall that is made from layers upon layers of lava. You can spot it from the distance. Some say that it is named after falcons that nest nearby.
North Iceland and West Fjords are definitely one of the most interesting areas that there are in Iceland, even though it might be hard to travel between them. The rule is that if you have a car, you will be always alright. Hope you like this little guide through a different part of Iceland, I will continue with Reykjavík and some general advice and itineraries.