After an eventful couple of first days travelling through the south of Iceland, the second part of our trip would take us to the east. It would also be the part of the journey when we found out that we had been more than lucky with dry weather until this point, because from here on in we had plenty of the rain Iceland is known for!
Day 3 Skaftafell to Fáskrúòsfjöròur
On day three we woke up still in the south of the island to visit Skaftafell waterfall before continuing on the ring road. The east of Iceland is mainly known for fijords, but on the way there are plenty of glaciers to discover.
With Frog at the wheel and no real plan, we started following a glacier tour van as we figured that it would know exactly where to go. But what seemed like a really good technique backfired when it took a road reserved for private tour vehicles only.
Oh well, we continued a bit further and turned left at a sign for Fjallsárlón, where there is a fairly secret glacier lagoon. It looks like most people go straight for Jökulsárlón because it is more well-known, but we can tell you now that they are missing out!
Fjallsárlón Glacier Lagoon
Fjallsárlón Glacier Lagoon was one of our favourite spots because it just felt so wild. It was also perfect for taking photos with basically no effort – the symmetry in the perfectly still water was just dreamy and the natural colours were just out of this world. Of course, we did stop by Jökulsárlón and loved how it was different because it has more distinctive icebergs. It is easy to get there, just turn left before the white bridge. It is just off the ring road!
Jökulsárlón Iceberg Lagoon
We actually stayed in this area for a while and walked down towards the black beaches where some enormous chunks of ice get dumped by the water. We were also able to spot a couple of seals playing in the water, which then headed towards the lagoon. We were a bit disappointed we didn’t get chance to see any there earlier, but keep your eyes open, seals do go up there!
Black beaches at Jökulsárlón
If you have read our previous post, you will know that until this point we had been very unlucky with gas canisters. By this point we hadn’t had a hot meal in over 48 hours, and we can tell you that when it only gets as warm as 12 degrees, you really miss hot food! So our next mission was to buy the right gas canister at Höfn and stock up on fruit and biscuits (who knew boys could eat so many?). Mission complete, we found the most perfect picnic table just around the corner from the Netto supermarket and had a real feast.
Bellies full, we were feeling revitalised and ready to stop at Stokknes (turn right just before the tunnel), a spot Twin 2 wanted to check out because he had seen some cool photos on Instagram. What we didn’t know was that the place with the cool photos is part of an open-air museum you have to pay to get into. We decided that we were not that bothered, so just enjoyed the views of the surrounding sea and mountains.
Twin 2 taking photos near Stokknes
The next stop was Djúpivogur, which we had heard was nice but torrential rain started as soon as we drove into the fjord area. We could hardly see anything! Feeling optimistic, we decided to have a coffee in a café and hope that the rain would die down a bit…but that didn’t happen. Even after a coffee and a free refill (which is normal in Iceland), the rain continued to come down and it was going to be a very wet night ahead of us.
The rain coming in over the fijords
The rain and the speed at which it was getting dark made finding a camping spot extremely difficult. In the end we decided that it was best to give wild camping a miss this time and try some camp sites in Breiòdalsvík and Stöòvarfjöròur. Both of these towns do have small campgrounds, however they only have toilet facilities. We figured that if we were going to pay to put our tent up, we at least wanted a hot shower. So onwards we went to Fáskrúòsfjöròur, which had very good facilities for about the same price.
Day 4 Fáskrúòsfjöròur to Ásbyrgi Canyon
- Ásbyrgi Canyon
After a cold and wet night in the tent, we really appreciated a hot shower the next morning! At this point it was still very foggy, so after enjoying the leftover pastries from the day before, we drove along the fjords to Egilsstaòir and asked about hikes in the area.
Driving along the coast in the east of Iceland
Thankfully the weather was much better away from the coast, so we were able to hike up to Hengifoss. Although it is the second tallest waterfall in Iceland, there were very few people there so the hike up and down was very pleasant. There are two waterfalls on route, but the tall one is right at the end – don’t worry, the climb is worth it!
Hengifoss waterfall – The second tallest in Iceland
We continued to Dettifoss on day 4, a waterfall that was highlighted on our map and seemed worth looking at on our way to Ásbyrgi Canyon. Because Gulfoss is a lot more well-known and easier to get to, we didn’t really know what to expect. However, if there was ever an impressive waterfall, Dettifoss is it. It is the fastest-flowing waterfall in Europe and you can really see it. After a short walk through a desert-style landscape, you reach the edge of the canyon and it just hits you. The noise, the spray, the speed – everything is just mesmerising.
There are 2 ways to get to Dettifoss – either via the 864 or the 862. We didn’t know much about either so we just went for the 862 as an online itinerary suggested. This was a huge mistake! If you want to continue to Ásbyrgi Canyon afterwards, you really need to take the 864 because the 862 from Dettifoss is just awful. We don’t think it is considered as an F road, but with so many pot holes, it really should be.
Views from the 862 road in Iceland
Arriving at Ásbyrgi Canyon, it became clear that the only surrounding land was private and it was going to be difficult to camp again. We had a scout around but ended up sleeping at the campground instead. We were disappointed to be doing so, but sometimes you just can’t help these things…
Wait, this isn’t the end! If you’re interested in reading more about Iceland, take a look at the other posts in this series.
When did we go?: September 2016
Currency: Icelandic Krona (ISK)
Language: Icelandic, but English widely spoken