This week we’re taking a close look at WIT Agent Wailana’s trip to Iceland early October. Today we continue along the Ring Road to Vik.
The Ring Road is a convenient way to see all the major sights of Iceland—well-paved and well-signed. The southeast drive from the Golden Circle to Vik, the southernmost town of mainland Iceland, is lush, green, with rolling moors and gorgeous snow-capped mountains.
Be sure to stop on the way to see some of Iceland’s famous waterfalls—most notably which are Seljalandsfoss and Skógafoss. As you’ve probably figured out by now, foss is Icelandic for waterfall. Iceland’s abundance of glaciers produces summer melts that feed into countless rivers, leading to some of Europe’s largest and most powerful cascades. These three waterfalls get a lot of tourist traction as they are only 1-2 hours’ drive from Reykjavik.
Seljalandsfoss is a picturesque waterfall that drops 60 meters from the cliffs on the former coastline. These falls offer a dirt trail that leads behind the waterfall for a rare view—be forwarned, however, that the path tends to be rocky and slippery.
Skógafoss is easily spotted from the Ring Road, and like Seljalandsfoss falls from the dramatic cliffs where mountain and lowlands meet. Skógafoss is perhaps the most rectangle of waterfalls I have ever seen—the falls drop 60 meters down in seeming perfect lines. According to legend, the Viking Þrasi Þórólfsson buried a treasure in a cave behind the waterfall. A local boy found the chest years later, but was only able to grab a ring before the chest disappeared again. You can climb the side of the falls for some great panoramas of the coastline—or continue a bit farther for a chance to see a second waterfall (shown below). Leading up from this vertical trail is also a popular trail to Fimmvörðuháls Pass, which hikers use to access the two glaciers Eyjafjallajokull and Mýrdalsjökull.
Vik (or Vík í Mýrdal) is a nice harbor town—the only real town on the south coast between Reykjavik and Hofn, so chances are you’ll stay there. With a population of only about 300, it remains one of the sleepiest towns, cupped adorably in a nest of mountains. Just west of the town is famed for its nestings of puffins in the summer, the black sand beach Reynisfjara, and two basalt rock stacks suspended in water that, legend has it, are petrified trolls. I slept at the affordable and charming Hotel Puffin, with stacked wooden rooms resembling a college boarding house. They also provide a fresh and delicious breakfast for their guests. Be sure to stock up on food and gas before you leave in the morning—there’s no stations for a few more hours!
Stay Tuned for Wednesday: Skaftafell and Jökulsárlón!
Thinking about a trip to Iceland next summer 2014? Call 503-224-0180 or email firstname.lastname@example.org to chat with one our agents! Wailana would love to share with you more insider tips about traveling to Iceland!