Tag Archives: waterfalls

Iceland: 5 Easy Day Trips Around Reykjavik

Taking advantage of free stopovers in Reykjavik with Icelandair? Don’t know what to do with your extra time? Here are some suggestions for a few days in the capital city.

Strokkur (c) Emil Kepko, Creative Commons

GOLDEN CIRCLE

This classic day trip takes you out to the most accessible sights in Iceland. Stop at Geysir and Strokkur hot springs, then check out the powerful Gulfoss waterfall. Visit Thingvellir, the site of the oldest functioning parliament in the world. Your visit will also include a visit to the Nesjavellir power plant (weather permitting) and the charming village of Hveragerði.

Northern Lights (c) Steve Hicks, Creative Commons

NORTHERN LIGHTS

Don’t miss the exceptional opportunity to view and photography the Northern Lights! Only available from September to April, this tour will take you on a mysterious night trip far away from the city’s lights.

Blue Lagoon (c) Sarah Ackerman, Creative Commons

BLUE LAGOON

Only have a day’s window in Reykjavik? Head to the Blue Lagoon, one of the most valuable tourist destinations in Iceland. The Blue Lagoon lies between Keflavik airport and Reykjavik, allowing easy access for folks on layover. Bathe in warm waters or enjoy a spa mud treatment surrounded by lava fields and snow-capped mountains.

SOLHEIMAJOKULL GLACIER

Embark an adventure with an expert guide to hike and ice climb on this magnificent glacier! Explore the rugged terrain with provided ice axes and crampons—beginners welcome! View some spectacular ice formations on the glacier tongue, from crevasses, sink holes, and jagged ridges. Once you’ve had your glacier adventure, stop and admire Skogafoss, one of Iceland’s largest waterfalls.

Jökulsárlón (c) Shadowgate, Creative Commons

JOKULSARLON

Take a full day tour to South Reykjavik and the stunningly gorgeous Jokulsarlon glacial lagoon. Enjoy a scenic drive past picturesque villages, through the vast desert of Skeidarasandur, and pass Iceland’s biggest volcano, Oraefajokull. At the lagoon, you’ll enjoy a boat ride through the ice lagoon. This tour is seasonal, operating from 1 May to 31 October.

WIT Agent Wailana will be heading to Iceland next week. Stay tuned to her first hand account! Summer airfares are now open on the nonstop Seattle to Reykjavik! For more information booking a holiday in Iceland, call 503-224-0180 or email info@witravel.com. Did you know that you can book free multi-day stopovers in Reykjavik? Yes! Call us to find out how!

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Iceland: Land of Ice, Land of Waterfalls

In Iceland, waterfalls are as ubiquitous as the fish. Known as foss in Icelandic, these gliding cascades can be found all over the island’s dramatic landscapes. Be sure to check out these top 10 beauties on your next trip!

Did you know? Over 80% of electricity in Iceland is generated in hydroelectric power stations.

Gullfoss (c) Andrea Schaffer, Creative Commons

Gullfoss. Haukadalur, South. Iceland’s most famous waterfall, its powerful waters sweep down over two levels, before plunging quite dramatically below into an abyss. Just one hour and thirty minutes from Reykjavik, it remains one of the more popular destinations on the Golden Road.

Skogafoss. Skogar, South. One of the most accessible waterfalls, visitors stopping on the Ring Road can experience the majesty of Skogafoss from the misted base as well as from the top. It’s “classic” rectangular shape has caught the eye of photographers for years. You can usually count on a single or double rainbow on sunny days. Legend has it that the first Viking settler in the area, Þrasi Þórólfsson, buried a treasure chest filled with gold coins in a cave behind the falls. They say that a local boy one retrieve a ring from the water—the ring was later used for the church door at Skogar. Perhaps on one sunny day you yourself will spot gold glittering through the water!

Svartifoss. Skaftafell National Park, East. This waterfall descends from striking basalt cliffs. These blackened cliffs and their hexagonal corbels have been carved out over centuries that have inspired Icelandic architecture like the Halgrimskirkja in Reykjavik. It recalls to mind Muqarnas, the traditional Islamic stalactite corbel found in madrasas and mosques.

Svartifoss, (c) MindsEye_PJ, Creative Commons

Dettifoss. Vatnajökull, Northeast. Dettifoss is Europe’s most powerful waterfall. The wild glacial-melt waters of Jökulsá á Fjöllum have carved the massive canyon Jökulsárgljúfur where you can find the 44m waterfall as well as 3 other large ones.

Goðafoss. Mývatn, Northeast.  The legend goes that when Iceland voted to become Christian, an Icelandic Goði, or chieftain, Þorgeir, threw his Norse deity idols into the massive Goðafoss waterfall.

Goðafoss (c) MindsEye_PJ, Creative Commons

Haifoss. Þjórsárdalur, South. At 122m, Haifoss is the island’s second tallest. The falls drop into the Þjórsá River and the wide and stunning Þjórsadalur Valley.  Set against the beautiful and haunting landscape off the Icelandic Highlands, it remains off the radar for most travelers. Be prepared for some rough driving!

When to Go? The best time to see Icelandic waterfalls in all their glory are the warmer months, June to August.

Planning a trip to Beautiful Iceland for Summer 2014? Call 503-224-0180 or email info@wittravel.com. Next month, you can ask Wailana when she gets back for some firsthand tips!

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Top Roads of Australia and New Zealand

In anticipation for our evening Down Under (see post), we are moving from the lovely, diverse country of Argentina to feature our fun friends in the South: Australia and New Zealand. For the next two weeks, tune in to hear about these incredible, adventure-filled destinations! This Week: Top Roads of Australia and New Zealand.

Great Ocean Road

The Great Ocean Road runs westward from Torquay (near Melbourne) to the small town of Warrnambool in Victoria, and features some of the world’s inspiring coastal scenery along Shipwreck Coast. Dubbed an Australian National Heritage, the track covers 243 km (151 mi), and was built as a memorial by returned soldiers between 1919 and 1932. Hug the coast through seaside resorts, dune-colored cliffs, and the lush canopies of Otway National Park. See koala, kangaroos and emus at Tower Hill. There are ample panoramas of oceans and parks to enjoy: the Bay of Islands, Point Addis, Teddy’s Lookout at Lorne, to name a few. Don’t miss the magnificently carved limestone and sandstone rock formations seen at The Grotto, London Arch, Loch Ard Gorge and the Twelve Apostles. If you go in winter, you may be lucky enough to spy whales and their calves off of Logan’s Beach in Warrnambool. Total driving time: 5 hours. Recommended tour time: 1-2 Days.

photo by Edwin.11

Golden Highway

The Golden Highway, or State Highway 84, runs between Dubbo and Newcastle in New South Wales. The road takes you through the foothills of the Great Dividing Range, fertile Hunter Region wine valleys and a series of remarkable national parks. There’s plenty to do on this inland route: wine and cheese tasting; olive oil tasting; golfing; visiting a rodeo; and checking out the Dubbo Observatory. More of an adventurer? Don’t miss the chance to spelunk in the Wellington Caves, picnic in the 140 hectares (346 acres) of the Hunter Botanic Gardens, bird-watch in Pilliga Forest or stargaze in Warrumbungle National Park. Total driving time: 5 hours and 30 minutes. Recommended tour time: 2-3 Days.

photo by Aidan-Sally

Rainforest Way

The Rainforest Way is a circular series of roads that extends through South East Queensland to New South Wales. It passes through a number of National Parks and runs along the extinct volcano Mount Warning. A road for naturalists, visitors can explore the rural landscapes of the Great Dividing Range, wander through rainforests in Lions Road, or take a scenic drive through the Tambourine Circuit. Stop by Minyon Falls that drops over 100 meters (328 ft) or drive out to Tweed Range and its 919-m high (3015 ft) Pinnacle Lookout onto the rim of Mount Warning’s magnificent caldera. Total driving time: Varies. Recommended tour time: 3-5 Days.

Southern Scenic Route

The Southern Scenic Route connects Queenstown to Dunedin in New Zealand. Officially opened in 1988, it remains a relatively unknown tourist road that exhibits some spectacular natural attractions of the islands—beaches, mountains, lakes and forests. Some amazing sights are Fiordland National Park, Te Waewae Bay, Purakaunui Falls, Otago Coast Forest and the tiny fishing village Taieri Mouth. There are ample activities on offer in the area, from camping, mountain biking, fishing, spotting wildlife (seals, seabirds, dolphins) and chancing on the Maori tribes in the South. Total driving time: 3h30-4 hours. Recommended tour time: 1-2 Days.

Planning a Trip to Australia and New Zealand? Willamette Intl Travel works with clients to customize any itinerary to suit their needs and check off that bucket list! Call us at 800.821.0401 or email info@wittravel.com.

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Argentina/Brazil Feature: Iguazu Falls

Iguazu Falls (a.k.a. Iguassu or Iguaçu) is a remarkable and natural collection of waterfalls located on the borders of Brazil, Paraguay and Argentina. Spanning over 2.7 kilometers of 275 cascading falls and with an average flow of 1.750 m3/s, the falls are an extraordinary add-on to any Latin American itinerary. To view the falls in their complete glory, they must be seen from both Brazil and Argentina. The Brazilian side offers a sweeping, grandiose panorama while the Argentine side offers a closer, more in-depth look.

photo by Phil Whitehouse

Tours. Trips to the waterfalls utilize trails and catwalks. You can also book a boat tour or a trip to the bird sanctuary. There are also options for helicopter flights, river-rafting, rappelling, visits to the hydroelectric Itaipu Dam, or hikes through the subtropical forest to the base of Salto Floriano. You can also take a cruise into the heart of the falls.

Entry and Transport. Journeys by land can be difficult, so it’s recommend to fly in from Sao Paulo or Buenos Aires to one of the towns on either side. Transport to and from the falls is by frequent bus or rental car. On the Argentine side, car is generally recommended because it allows for flexibility in traveling from your hotel to town, and farther to Brazil.

Where to Stay?Guests can either opt for the large Brazilian town of Foz do Iguacu or the small Argentine town of Puerto Iguazu. Within the park itself, there are only two properties: The Sheraton and the Hotel Das Cataratas.

The Sheraton: If there is one item you should splurge on in your Iguazu itinerary, it’s the Sheraton on the Argentina side. Guests can book rooms and suites with jungle and falls views over a private balcony. The new spa features a sauna, steam room, whirlpool, and an adjoining gym. Situated just 10 km from Puerto Iguazu airport and 20 km from Puerto Iguazu town, this hotel is a recommended option with unforgettable morning views of the falls.

Hotel Das Cataratas: A traditional luxury hotel with gourmet dining and an outdoor swimming pool. Perched on top of the falls on the Brazilian side, this is a gorgeous location, with an observation deck on the roof. They also offer excursions and activities bookable through the hotel.

Visas. Be advised that visas are required for US passport holders to visit Brazil—not available at the border, these must be arranged beforehand. EU passport holders typically do not need a visa.

Willamette Intl Travel offers customizable itineraries to Iguazu, and surrounding sites such as the Pantanal National Park, Buenos Aires, or Rio de Janeiro. We can arrange guided tours, cars, or hotels at your convenience. Phone us up or email us and we can discuss what itinerary works for you.

photo by Phil Whitehouse

Interested in visiting the majestic Iguazu Falls? Call us at 503.224.0180 or email info@wittravel.com.

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Filed under Argentina, Brazil, South America, Where in the World is the WIT Client?