After a very wet trip in the east of Iceland, our journey continued onto the north where we hoped to see some seals – and maybe even some whales – from the coast. Unlike the east, there were actually quite a lot of people in the north due to the cruise ship port at Akureyri, which is also one of the largest cities in Iceland outside the Reykjavik area.
Day 5 Ásbyrgi Canyon to Blönduós
- Ásbyrgi Canyon
- Krafla volcano
- Lake Mývatn
- Godafoss waterfall
Waking up to fog again, day 5 started with a walk into the canyon and the weather made the place look extremely eerie. If the weather had been better, we might have ventured further but we just knew that we would get soaked through. On the way back to the car park, we also found what would have been a perfect camping spot for the night before. There was even a picnic bench and a BBQ (although it also would have been illegal). Oh well.
Ásbyrgi Canyon in the fog
Back on the road, we headed up north on the 85 to hopefully catch a glimpse of the seals, and with a bit of luck, some whales too. We had already decided before our departure that we wouldn’t go on a whale watching trip because it would have added a significant sum to our budget. What’s more, Freckles and the twins had already had the chance to see whales in the Vancouver area about 10 years earlier.
Driving along, we stopped at Mánárbakki, which is a hamlet with 1 farmhouse and a folk museum, but we just wanted to find out about whale spotting opportunities. A friendly farmer told us that you can sometimes see them, but it is quite rare. Disappointed but not discouraged, we continued on the road with our faces pressed against the glass of the car windows until we reached Húsavík.
Húsavík was not a planned sightseeing stop but the town was quite nice so we stretched our legs, had a look inside the cute church and even went for a coffee and pastry in Helmabakarí. This café/bakery was so nice and the pastries were delicious – we would definitely recommend stopping if you are passing by. We were also tempted by the big loaves of bread for around 600ISK, which made for a much tastier sandwich than what we had been eating from the supermarket.
Pastries in Húsavík
Belllies full again, it was down towards Krafla volcano but not without stopping at the boiling lake on the left on the way and taking a look at the randomly placed hot shower on the right. We also saw the Hverir pools, which seemed to be popular with coach trips. We didn’t visit here, but it looked very similar (but not quite as good) as the pools we had seen in the south part of the island.
Outdoor shower in Iceland
Arriving at Krafla volcano, we very quickly decided that it had not been worth it. Had the weather been better the previous days, it would have been a great hike around the rim of the volcano. But the rain had made the clay earth beneath our feet so sticky that it was near impossible to walk in, never mind get our shoes off afterwards!
We decided to have lunch and spend more time at Dimmuborgir and Lake Mývatn in the afternoon. There are several walks you can do around Dimmuborgir depending on how much time you have. We did a couple to make it a longer walk, but if we would have had the 8 hours necessary, we would have liked venturing further in. Apparently some native folk people live in the area, though you have more chance of seeing them in December when they are preparing for Chistmas. Maybe we will pop by to say hello if we ever go back to Iceland in winter.
Driving along the banks of Lake Mývatn, the next stop was Godafoss waterfalls. We were really surprised at how blue the water was here. It was also one of the only waterfalls where you can get really close to the water and experience the full force! Careful though, slip on one of the rocks and you could easily fall in…
We got to Akureyri in what felt like no time. It was the biggest town we saw in the north of Iceland and it even has a Cruise ship port, which explained all of the tourists we had seen earlier in the day. Akureyri is a good place to stock up on petrol and go to one of the few Bónus supermarkets outside of Reykjavik (somehow all of the biscuits had gone missing again!).
Driving along the fijord to Akureyri
Akureyri is a big town so we knew that wild camping was not going to be possible in the immediate area. The plan from here was to carry on driving until 7pm, then start looking for somewhere to sleep. Once again, it was difficult because we were mainly in a valley with private land. In the end, we found what can only be described as a picnic spot surrounded by trees about 15km outside of Blönduós. It was not the wild camping spot we had in mind, but we appreciated the picnic bench to sit on.
Making breakfast near Blönduós
The adventure continues – read the rest of our posts dedicated to Iceland!
When did we go?: September 2016
Currency: Icelandic Krona (ISK)
Language: Icelandic, but English widely spoken