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Author Topic: Iceland: "must see" places?  (Read 6731 times)
EduPerez
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« on: July 23, 2013, 02:51:48 AM »
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I'm planing a seven-day "family trip" to Iceland, and I am trying to make a list of "must see" places, mostly near the ring road; any help would be greatly appreciated.

Many thanks!

EDIT: here is the list of places I finally put in my planning (locations and descriptions extracted from the wikipedia):

Perlan - 64° 7′ 45″ N, 21° 55′ 9″ W
Perlan (English: The Pearl) is a landmark building in Reykjavík, the capital of Iceland. It is 25.7 metres (84.3 ft) high. It was originally designed by Ingimundur Sveinsson. Perlan is situated on the hill Öskjuhlíđ where there had been hot water storage tanks for decades. In 1991 the tanks were updated and a hemispherical structure placed on top. This project was largely done at the behest of Davíđ Oddsson, during his time as mayor of Reykjavík.

Hallgrímskirkja - 64° 8′ 31″ N, 21° 55′ 39″ W
Hallgrímskirkja (Icelandic pronunciation: [ˈhatlkrimsˌcʰɪrca], church of Hallgrímur) is a Lutheran (Church of Iceland) parish church in Reykjavík, Iceland. At 74.5 metres (244 ft), it is the largest church in Iceland and the sixth tallest architectural structure in Iceland after Longwave radio mast Hellissandur, the radio masts of US Navy at Grindavík, Eiđar longwave transmitter and Smáratorg tower. The church is named after the Icelandic poet and clergyman Hallgrímur Pétursson (1614 to 1674), author of the Passion Hymns.

The Sun Voyager - 64° 8′ 51.35″ N, 21° 55′ 20.32″ W
Sun Voyager (Icelandic: Sólfar) is sculpture by Jón Gunnar Árnason (1931 - 1989). Sun Voyager is a dreamboat, an ode to the sun. Intrinsically, it contains within itself the promise of undiscovered territory, a dream of hope, progress and freedom. The sculpture is located by Sćbraut, by the sea in the centre of Reykjavík, Iceland.

Landakotskirkja - 64° 8′ 51″ N, 21° 56′ 56″ W
Landakotskirkja ("Landakot's Church"), formally named Basilika Krists konungs ("The Basilica of Christ the King"), is the cathedral of the Catholic Church in Iceland. It is often referred to as Kristskirkja ("Christ's Church"). Landakotskirkja is located in the western part of Reykjavík, on the Landakot property. It has a distinctively flat top, as opposed to the standard spire. Its architect is Guđjón Samúelsson, who also built the famous Hallgrímskirkja and the Akureyrarkirkja in Akureyri.

Hraunfossar - 64° 42′ 7″ N, 20° 58′ 41″ W
Hraunfossar (Borgarfjörđur, western Iceland) is a series of waterfalls formed by rivulets streaming over a distance of about 900 metres out of the Hallmundarhraun, a lava field which flowed from an eruption of one of the volcanoes lying under the glacier Langjökull. The waterfalls pour into the Hvítá river from ledges of less porous rock in the lava. The name hraun comes from the Icelandic word for lava. The Hraunfossar are situated near Húsafell and Reykholt and lava-tube cave Víđgelmir is close by.

Barnafossar - 64° 42′ 7″ N, 20° 58′ 41″ W
Barnafoss is also known as Bjarnafoss, which was its previous name. Barnafoss is near Hraunfossar which burst out of Hallmundarhraun which is a great lava plain. Barnafoss is a waterfall in Western Iceland, about 100 kilometres (62 mi) from Reykjavík. Barnafoss is on the river Hvita in Borgarfjordur. Hraunfossar flows out of a lava field into Hvita near Barnafoss, creating a stunning scenery.

Snaefellsnes - 64° 51′ 29″ N, 23° 6′ 54″ W
The Snćfellsnes (Icelandic pronunciation: [ˈstn̥aiːfɛlsˌnɛːs]) is a peninsula situated to the west of Borgarfjörđur, in western Iceland.
It has been named Iceland in Miniature, because many national sights can be found in the area,[citation needed] including the Snćfellsjökull volcano, regarded as one of the symbols of Iceland. With its height of 1446 m, it is the highest mountain on the peninsula and has a glacier at its peak. (Jökull" means "glacier" in Icelandic). The volcano can be seen on clear days from Reykjavík, a distance of about 120 km. The mountain is also known as the setting of the novel Journey to the Center of the Earth by the French author Jules Verne. The area surrounding Snćfellsjökull has been designated one of the four National Parks by the government of Iceland.

Ólafsfjörđur - 66° 4′ 0″ N, 18° 39′ 0″ W
Ólafsfjörđur is a town in the northeast of Iceland located at the mouth of the fjord Eyjafjörđur.
The town is connected to Eyjafjordur via the 3.5 km one-lane Múli tunnel (the Múlagöng). Fishing is the main industry in the town and several fishing trawlers make their home in the town's harbor.
The municipality of Ólafsfjörđur and Siglufjörđur has merged to form a municipality called Fjallabyggđ, which literally means Mountain Settlement.

Godafoss - 65° 40′ 48″ N, 17° 32′ 24″ W
The Gođafoss (Icelandic: waterfall of the gods or waterfall of the gođi) is one of the most spectacular waterfalls in Iceland. It is located in the Mývatn district of North-Central Iceland at the beginning of the Sprengisandur highland road. The water of the river Skjálfandafljót falls from a height of 12 meters over a width of 30 meters.

Selfoss - 65°47′54″N, 16°22′57″W
Selfoss is a waterfall in the river Jökulsá á Fjöllum in the north of Iceland which drops over some waterfalls about 30 km before flowing into Öxarfjörđur, a bay of the Arctic Sea.

Aldeyjarfoss - 65° 21′ 57.6″ N, 17° 20′ 52.8″ W
The Aldeyjarfoss waterfall is situated in the north of Iceland at the northern part of the Sprengisandur Highland Road which means it is to be found within the Highlands of Iceland.
One of the most interesting features of the waterfall is the contrast between the black basalt columns and the white waters of the fall. In this, it is similar to the much smaller Icelandic waterfall Svartifoss in Skaftafell.
The river Skjálfandafljót drops here from a height of 20 m. The basalt belongs to a lava field called Frambruni or Suđurárhraun, hraun being the Icelandic designation for lava.

Dettifoss - 65°49′18.91″N 16°23′17.41″W
Dettifoss is a waterfall in Vatnajökull National Park in Northeast Iceland, and is reputed to be the most powerful waterfall in Europe.

Mývatn - 65°36′N 17°00′W
Mývatn is a shallow eutrophic lake situated in an area of active volcanism in the north of Iceland, not far from Krafla volcano. The lake and its surrounding wetlands have an exceptionally rich fauna of waterbirds, especially ducks. The lake was created by a large basaltic lava eruption 2300 years ago, and the surrounding landscape is dominated by volcanic landforms, including lava pillars and rootless vents (pseudocraters). The effluent river Laxá is known for its rich fishing for Brown Trout and Atlantic Salmon.

Húsavík - 66°03′N 17°19′W
Húsavík is a town in Norđurţing municipality on the north coast of Iceland on the shores of Skjálfandi bay with 2,237 inhabitants. The most famous landmark of the town is the wooden church Húsavíkurkirkja, built in 1907. Húsavík is served by Húsavík Airport.

Jökulsárlón - 64°04′13″N 16°12′42″W
Jökulsárlón (literally "glacial river lagoon") is a large glacial lake in southeast Iceland, on the borders of Vatnajökull National Park. Situated at the head of Breiđamerkurjökull, it developed into a lake after the glacier started receding from the edge of the Atlantic Ocean. The lake has grown since then at varying rates because of melting of the Icelandic glaciers. The lake now stands 1.5 kilometres (0.93 mi) away from the ocean's edge and covers an area of about 18 km2 (6.9 sq mi). It recently became the deepest lake in Iceland at over 248 metres (814 ft) depth as glacial retreat extended its boundaries. The size of the lake has increased fourfold since the 1970s. It is considered as one of the natural wonders of Iceland.

Svartifoss - 64° 1′ 22.8″ N, 16° 58′ 30″ W
Svartifoss (Black Fall) is a waterfall in Skaftafell National Park in Iceland, and is one of the most popular sights in the park. It is surrounded by dark lava columns, which gave rise to its name. Other well-known columnar jointing formations are seen at the Giant's Causeway in Northern Ireland, Devil's Tower in Wyoming, USA and on the island of Staffa in Scotland.
The base of this waterfall is noteworthy for its sharp rocks. New hexagonal column sections break off faster than the falling water wears down the edges.
These basalt columns have provided inspiration for Icelandic architects, most visibly in the Hallgrímskirkja church in Reykjavík, and also the National Theatre.

Vík í Mýrdal - 63°25′N 19°00′W
The village of Vík (or Vík í Mýrdal in full) is the southernmost village in Iceland, located on the main ring road around the island, around 180 km (110 mi) by road southeast of Reykjavík.

Skógafoss - 63°31′47″N 19°30′50″W
Skógafoss (pronounced [ˈskou.aˌfɔs]) is a waterfall situated on the Skógá River in the south of Iceland at the cliffs of the former coastline. After the coastline had receded seaward (it is now at a distance of about 5 kilometres (3.1 miles) from Skógar), the former sea cliffs remained, parallel to the coast over hundreds of kilometres, creating together with some mountains a clear border between the coastal lowlands and the Highlands of Iceland.

Seljalandsfoss - 63°36′57″N, 19°59′34″W
Seljalandsfoss is one of the most famous waterfalls of Iceland. It is very picturesque and therefore its photo can be found in many books and calendars. It was a waypoint during the first leg of The Amazing Race 6.

Geysir - 64° 18′ 39.11″ N, 20° 18′ 13.79″ W
Geysir (Icelandic pronunciation: [ˈceːisɪr̥]), sometimes known as The Great Geysir, is a geyser in southwestern Iceland. It was the first geyser described in a printed source and the first known to modern Europeans.[citation needed] The English word geyser (a spouting hot spring) derives from Geysir. The name Geysir itself is derived from the Icelandic verb geysa, "to gush", the verb from Old Norse. Geysir lies in the Haukadalur valley on the slopes of Laugarfjall hill, which is also the home to Strokkur geyser about 50 metres south.
Eruptions at Geysir can hurl boiling water up to 70 metres in the air. However, eruptions may be infrequent, and have in the past stopped altogether for years at a time.

Gullfoss - 64°19′34″N 20°07′16″W
Gullfoss (English: Golden Falls) is a waterfall located in the canyon of Hvítá river in southwest Iceland.

« Last Edit: November 29, 2013, 06:33:03 AM by EduPerez » Logged

francois
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« Reply #1 on: July 23, 2013, 03:27:25 AM »
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Michael Paris sells a map of Iceland with tons of locations:

http://international-photographer.com/maps/iceland/

HTH
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Francois
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« Reply #2 on: July 25, 2013, 03:24:22 AM »
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Thanks for the tip, I will have a look at it.
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mlewis
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« Reply #3 on: July 25, 2013, 04:16:30 AM »
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I've just been to Iceland.  I would recommend the following:
Skógafoss
Seljalandsfoss waterfall you can walk behind
Gullfoss
Geysir - Strokkur erupts regularly
Detifoss (where the opening of Prometheus was filmed) and nearby Selfoss
Vatnajökull National Park - Skaftafell area for walks near glaciers
Jökulsárlón - iceberg lagoon & beach
Krafla area - steaming vents, lava flows, geothermal power station, tectonic plate boundary
Mývatn area - nice lake, craters, lava formations, Mývatn Nature Baths for bathing in hot pools
Gođafoss
Ţingvellir - ancient parliament site & tectonic plate boundary area
Reykjavík
Vík í Mýrdal - black beach

Ţingvellir, Geysir, & Gulfoss are the 'Golden Circle' near Reykjavík.  Detifoss/Selfoss is not too far off the ring road.  I think the eastern side has better views but that is only accesible by gravel road which is not really an issue.  All the others I have mentioned are just off / next to the ring road.  The map already mentioned is useful.
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PhotoEcosse
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« Reply #4 on: July 25, 2013, 04:22:04 PM »
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Don't miss the wee church on the hill above Vik.
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EduPerez
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« Reply #5 on: July 28, 2013, 08:31:01 AM »
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Many thanks for the information!

As I prepare the list of places I plan to visit, I will update my first post with the location and some information of each spot, as a reference for further follows.

Edu.
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JimAscher
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« Reply #6 on: July 30, 2013, 12:40:08 PM »
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I'm planning an Iceland Air stopover in Iceland on my route from Seattle to London in October.  I need to decide how many days to spend in the stopover, principally for photographic purposes.  October, of course, is not June!  Does anyone have knowledge or experience of what the climate and photographic conditions would be that late in the year, or recommendations?  The map and guide cited above would seem quite useful.
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Jim Ascher

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Kathy
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« Reply #7 on: August 04, 2013, 11:40:28 AM »
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Hi
I visited Iceland on a photographic workshop in 2006, it is a spectacular area to visit. I will give you our 10-day itinerary as it shows what can be packed in. We covered most aspects of the Island, but we needed one of their special four-wheel drive coaches to do it all. High clearance is needed to get across the rivers if you go through the Central Highlands. Apart from the Central Highlands we found most of the roads were OK. On finishing the workshop we spent 3 nights at Grundarfjordur exploring the Snćfellnses peninsula on our own. This is a wonderful area, which can be explored easily by car and foot, and it offers most of what Iceland has to offer but in a very small area. We found accommodation good in most place and reasonably priced and I would avoid camping. 
I hope this is helpful have a good trip.
Kathy

Day 1 – From the airport along the coast to Krisuvik, which is a hot spring area, and we then went on to the Nesjavellir geothermal area.
Day 2 – We visited Thingvellir World Heritage Area Park, which has extensive tectonic fissures, calm deep water, waterfalls and lava formations. From Thingvellir we crossed Lyngdalsheidi to the Geysir geothermal area and Gullfoss waterfall. The geysir Strokkur (Piston) erupts 4-5 times per hour. From Gullfoss we continued east to Hrauneyjar, We stayed at Highland center Hrauneyjar, I think the choice is this or camping but it is worth it.
Day 3  – We traveled from Hrauneyjar to Landmannalaugar where we spent the full day in Landmannalaugar. The range of colours here offers some spectacular photography. The yellow, brown and red ryholitc formations are fascinating; these are bright yellow sulphur deposits on black lava surrounded by red clay and ultra green moss. This was the best days photography.
Day 4 –We drove across Sprengisandur to Laugarfell and on to Godafoss. Sprengisandur is a vast grey desert in between two major icecaps. Further north we drove on the banks of the river Sjalfandafljot with its spectacular waterfalls Hrafnabjargafoss. We also stopped at Aldeyjafoss and Godafoss falls.
Day 5 –We went to the fishing village of Husavik at Skjalfandi Bay. Enroute we drove past vegetated lava and went on a whale watching tour out of the fishing village of Husavik with its colourful houses and lively fishing harbour not forgetting it’s interesting museum.
Day 6 – We then traveled east over Tjornes peninsula where we stopped at Asbyrgi canyon, Hljodaklettar columnar basalt and Dettifoss waterfall in Jokulsargljufur NP. We ended the day at Lake Myvatn
Day 7 –We spent a full day in the Myvatn region. Places of interest include Hverfell, Dimmuborgir, Lake Myvatn, Leirhnjukur, and Hverarond.
Day 8 – This was a very long day of driving from Myvatn to Egilsstadir and finally to Hofn with a visit to Krafla volcano, then over Oxi pass to enter the glacier valleys of the East Fjords.
Day 9 –We drove along the south coast to the Glacier lagoon and further on to Skaftafell NP. Look out for Vatnajokull’s white ice capped peaks along with tremendous icefalls and outlet glaciers flowing down to the lowland and carving into the Glacier Lagoon. For bird photography especially puffin and Great Skua Ingolfshofdi is well worth a visit.
Day 10 – Drove along the south coast back to Reykjavik with numerous waterfalls, canyons, cliffs, glaciers, sea stacks and volcanoes.
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JimAscher
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« Reply #8 on: August 04, 2013, 12:09:28 PM »
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Kathy;  Many thanks for your most detailed, and useful, information.  I will be studying it at length in conjunction with the map referred to elsewhere in this thread.  However, you don't mention which time of year you were there.  I believe the time of year can be a key factor in any itinerary.  Many thanks, again.  jim
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Kathy
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« Reply #9 on: August 07, 2013, 06:29:14 PM »
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I was there in July for two weeks. The stand out places were Landmannalaugar and Glacier lagoon  but if time is short the Snćfellnses peninsula gives a good flavour of Iceland and it is very accessible by standard car.
Regards
Kathy
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JimAscher
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« Reply #10 on: August 07, 2013, 09:32:05 PM »
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I was there in July for two weeks. The stand out places were Landmannalaugar and Glacier lagoon  but if time is short the Snćfellnses peninsula gives a good flavour of Iceland and it is very accessible by standard car.
Regards
Kathy

Kathy:  Time will likely be short, as we'll really be on our way to visit our daughter and granddaughter in London.  We'll spend at most five days in Iceland, so the Snćfellnses peninsula sounds appropriate.  Thanks again.  Jim
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markadams99
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« Reply #11 on: August 08, 2013, 02:08:01 PM »
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I second the Snćfellsnes Peninsula. It's a 3 hour drive from the airport with a great coastline,a mystical volcano which you can descend to the centre of the earth and lovely drives and hikes.


« Last Edit: August 08, 2013, 03:15:48 PM by markadams99 » Logged

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