Iceland Off Track
Travels Off Track undertakes a number of travel projects each year and document the places, experiences and people through photos, videos and a travel blog. Our passion is capturing our beautiful world through photography, to tell stories of the lives of the people we meet, and to share some extraordinary locations. Our aim with Off Track is to get to the places mainstream tourism and travel miss. We believe the adventure of travel is not just about going abroad but seeing your environment in new ways, with the traveller’s eye.
Our latest Off Track project is Iceland. Although it becomes a more popular tourist destination, there is lots still to see that tour groups do not find. So armed with our hired jeep, maps, cameras and a drone we spent 9 days exploring as far as we could, had some great experiences and captured some amazing landscapes.
Day 1 (Monday 30th April) – Reykjavik
Hallgrímskirkja church, recognisable from The Game of Thrones. Then for a walk around Reykjavic to get our bearings, and really the centre is not that big. On the waterfront we were impressed by the Harpa concert hall, with its shimmering glass façade inspired by the Icelandic landscape. On the way back into town we found a Punk Museum housed in a former Gents public toilet. Even the old toilet cubicles had exhibits as well as all the fittings in place. The entrance is down steps littered with graffiti and Punk memoralilia, and with Punk Rock blaring out of old speakers. The owner is a genuine Icelandic punk from the late 70s, who has great stories to tell.
The evening was spent at a local outdoor hot spring, soaking with the neighbourhood in their favourite relaxation pastime. It is perfect to lounge in hot water when it is cold outside. Some take a cold plunge after, but the air was quite cold enough. You soon realise that Iceland is very expensive, especially for food. We had Fish and Chips and a couple of pints for £70.
Day 2 (Tuesday 1st May) – The Golden Circle
This day was an ambitious travel day, as we planned to hit up 6 locations. We left our beautiful apartment early and headed for the “Golden Circle”. The Golden Circle consists of Pingviller National Park, the geysers at Haukadalur and the Gullfoss waterfall.
On our way to the waterfalls, we spotted some Icelandic horses near the road and had to stop by to take some pictures. They all wanted to be pet. Soon other people left their cars to be with them.
Our day took about 10 hours and brought us to some of the most famous Icelandic landmarks in a single day; the beautiful Pingvellir National Park with a stunning lake, the Gullfoss waterfalls at the edge of the highlands where Hvitá river plunges down 32 meters in two steps. The world famous Geysir, which gives geysers world wide their name. The most active geyser is Strokkur, which erupts about every 7 minutes. We ended up at the Kerid volcanic crater, where you can walk all round and look down into the abyss. Fortunately it is not active at the moment. After our expensive meals before we stopped by a local KFC for dinner!
Day 3 (Wednesday 2nd May)— Viking Museum & the Blue Lagoon
First we visited the Viking World Museum near Keflavik airport to see a full-scale replica Viking ship that actually sailed from Iceland to Canada and the U.S. You can learn about Viking history and Norse mythology. Outside there is a replica Viking village.
Next, we headed to the Blue Lagoon, the famous hot pools which, because of the silica in the water, are a vibrant light blue. We booked in advance, and included silica and green algae face treatments. It was all it was cracked up to be and worth the money. It was so beautiful, a great temperature and included a free drink from the poolside bar.
Next we went to the nearby Krýsuvík geothermal area, where dramatic red, green, and yellow coloured hills frame an expanse of steaming volcanic vents and boiling hot springs. A boardwalk winds through the bubbling and hissing.
Day 4/5 (Thursday 3rd/Friday 4th)— Two-Day trip. South Iceland
Day 1. First to Raufarholshellir Lava Tube kitted out with crampons and helmet. Then a long drive to Seljalandfoss waterfall. You can walk behind the falls (be sure to wear a good raincoat and rain pants). After walking behind the falls, follow the path a few hundred meters further to Gljufurarbui waterfall in a hidden valley. Continue on to Skogafoss waterfall in Skogar. You can climb up the side of the falls to get a view from the top.
We continued to Dyrhólaey, a stone sea arch where puffins nest. You’ll need to drive up a steep, narrow dirt road to reach Dyrhólaey. We got some close up views of these cute little puffins.
Day 2. A real highlight to see the icebergs at Jokulsarlon, then to Diamond Beach where small pieces of broken iceberg sits like diamonds on the black sand. Next to to Reynisfjara a black sand beach with amazing basalt columns, caves and sea stacks.
Overnight at Hali Country Hotel
Day 6 (Saturday 5th May) – Reykjavik
Rest and fun in Reykjavic. Bars, Nightlife…. Including the Phallogical Museum, a museum dedicated to the penis.
Day 7 (Sunday 6th May)
I headed to the Solheimasandur plane wreckage. I was a 5 mile trek, but drive and the walk were definitely worth it.
Day 8 (Tuesday 8th May): Kirkjufell, Snaefellsnes, Hellnar and Lanjokull Glacier
To the north west. The route takes you through the long 3.5-mile Hvalfjordur Tunnel. We headed to the Hellnar sea cliffs, overlooking strong waves. Nearby there is an impressive sea arch, and a basalt column covered in birds.
Next Kirkjufell, an impressive looking mountain that means “Church Mountain” We mainly wanted to see the famous spot with the triple waterfalls in front of the mountain. It is a very popular spot for photographers.
Then we continued our circular drive with a late afternoon to the Hraunfossar and Barnafoss waterfalls. Finally, we headed to the Lanjokull Glacier, ignoring the road closed signs and drove as far as we could and felt safe.
Day 9 (Tuesday 8th May) – Reykjavic
A relaxing day in Reykjavic with a visit to the Perlan where there is a full scale replica ice tunnel and restaurant with panoramic views. Then a final hot pool to prepare us for travel.
Day 10 (Wednesday 9th May)— Depart
Sony a7r mkiii
24-105 G master lens
Gimbal Osmo 2