Iceland Travel Diary: Chasing Waterfalls
If you want to see Iceland, definitely rent a car. A lot of waterfalls and landmarks are spread out in countryside with miles of nothing but a handful of farms in between. Which also makes for a gorgeous drive. The place we rented our car from literally had a sign that said “The scenery is beautiful in Iceland, but please keep your eyes on the road.”
A note on car rentals: My friend and I are both under 25, and we were able to rent a car no problem. My friend booked it through Skyscanner, which is also a great site for cheap flights and hostels. I’ve used it a few times and it never lets me down! Just keep in mind that gas in Iceland is really expensive - it cost us about $100 USD to refill our tank.
When we weren’t in Reykjavík, we were basically driving around chasing waterfalls. And craters and mountains and all the other beautiful landscapes in Iceland that look straight out of a Star Wars movie. Here are some of the spots we hit during our short trip:
We parked in a parking lot area (for free) and walked/hiked about 40 minutes to the cave area. It had recently rained, so the river was a bit flooded, and we weren’t wearing the right shoes to walk through it to the actual waterfall. So if you want to see the waterfall (which is the second tallest in Iceland), bring legit hiking boots! We weren’t trying to hike that much, we just wanted to see the pretty sights.
We definitely got some gorgeous views just walking up until the river. So it wasn’t a loss at all!
The Kerid Crater is one of the most beautiful things we saw and photos just do not do it justice. It’s sort of more beautiful from up above - the water looks green and glassy, but when I walked down to the shore it was less exciting. There is an entrance fee of about $3 USD, but I felt like it was worth it. Most of the spots we visited didn’t have fees, so I was okay paying this one.
We spotted this gem on the side of the road while driving somewhere else and pulled over to see. It was a small, beautiful waterfall. There are also some ruins next to it that might be Viking, but I couldn’t find any conclusive information on that particular spot and there wasn’t any signage.
As the name may suggest, Geysir is a geothermal field of active geysers. The most famous geyser, Strokkur, erupts every 5-10 minutes and can go up to 130 feet in the air. I was not expecting it to be that high and actually got taken off guard when we saw it erupt the first time. My yells of surprise and delight are pretty audible in this video (as is the wind, so make sure your volume isn’t too loud before you hit play).
One of the most popular tourist attractions in Iceland along the Golden Circle, has a couple different viewing areas that allow you to see the waterfall in all its glory. It’s a pretty spectacular sight to see.
Sejalandafoss was probably one of my favorite waterfalls we went to. It was also the longest drive - it was much farther south than the rest of our destinations. There was a parking fee - I think $7 USD - but it was more than worth it to see this beautiful waterfall. We were actually able to walk up and behind it, which was very cool and slippery but incredible. Again, another Star Wars reference - the land around it was so lush that I just wanted to quote Rey and go, “I’ve never seen this much green in the whole galaxy.” Not exactly true, but it was the most green I’d seen in Iceland.
Laxa i Kjos is a gorgeous spot we stumbled upon while driving somewhere else. Apparently it’s a bucket list fishing spot. Fishing isn’t really on my radar, but I’m glad we saw it and could take some pretty pictures.
Okay, this is probably what you were waiting for. Definitely one of the most famous tourist attractions in Iceland, the Blue Lagoon is a geothermal spa and all-around super fancy place. It honestly felt like one of those exclusive mountain resorts in a James Bond movie, except with a lot more people.
We booked the cheapest package, “Comfort,” which got us each a free drink and free mud mask. Honestly, it was still an amazing experience, so you can still have a great time without getting the extra fancy package. Once you check in, you can stay in the water as long as you want. We stayed in a little over an hour - it is pretty warm and sunny. It’s like being in a hot bath, which is wonderful, but eventually you do start to prune and get a bit overheated.
The lagoon is manmade and they have strict hygiene policies, so you have to shower before you even get in. Warning to my fellow pale folks: you can’t exactly put on sunscreen, since you have to shower directly before getting in the lagoon, so be careful about sunburning. I got a little pink.
I hope you enjoyed this little Iceland overview. Check out my first post about Reykjavík and let me know what you loved about Iceland if you’ve been! And if you haven’t, tell me what you would want to do there.