Europes most powerful hot spring
Historic place of Reykholt
Visit the village of Reykholt
Borgarfjörður and the Highland home Day Tour
After I have picked you up at your Hotel or Guesthouse at 8:00 we head North enjoying the scenic Hvalfjörður with its stunning combination of natural contrasts. Our first stop is at the barracks for naval base during the Second World War
Hvalfjörður (Icelandic: Whale–fjord) is situated in the west of Iceland between Mosfellsbær andAkranes. The fjord is approximately 30 km long and 5 km wide.
The name Hvalfjörður is derived from the large number of whales which could be found and caught there. Until the 1980s, one of the biggest whaling stations in Iceland was located in this fjord. In the past the fjord also contained a large number of herring fisheries.
During World War II, a naval base of theBritish and American navies could be found in this fjord. One of the piers built by the United States Navy was later used by the Hvalur whaling company, until commercial whaling was shut down in the 1980s.
Until the late 1990s, those travelling by car had to make a long detour of 62 km around the fjord on the hringvegur (road no.1), in order to get from the city of Reykjavík to the town of Borgarnes. As of 1998, the tunnelHvalfjarðargöngin, which shortens the trip considerably, was opened to public traffic. The tunnel is approximately 5,762 m in length, and cuts travel by car around the fjord by about an hour. The tunnel runs to a depth of 165 m below sea level.
The innermost part of the fjord shows an interesting mixture of volcanic mountains and green vegetation in summertime. At Botnsá f.ex. lupins are to be seen, different sorts of other flowers and moss, as well as small forests of birchwood and conifers. The area displays a good example of the planting of forests, a project that has been going on in Iceland for some years.
As we go to our next destination we have to drive along Svínavatn, pass Dragháls and the beautiful Lake Skorradalsvatn. Shortly after, we will come to our next stop Deildartunguhver
Deildartunguhver is a hotspring in Reykholtsdalur, Iceland. It is characterized by a very high flow rate for a hot spring (180 liters/second) and water emerges at 97 °C. It is the highest-flow hot spring in Europe.
Some of the water is used for heating, being piped 34 kilometers to Borgarnes and 64 kilometers to Akranes.
A fern called the “deer fern” or “hard fern”, Blechnum spicant, grows near Deildartunguhver. This fern grows nowhere else in Iceland.
From Deildartunguhver to our next stopReykholt is only 5 minutes’ drive
The village is situated in the valley of the riverReykjadalsá, called Reykholtsdalur.
Here lived in the Middle Ages one of the most important persons in Icelandic history: Snorri Sturluson. He was a famous poet and politician whose records of the Old Norse language and mythology of medieval Iceland are invaluable to modern scholars. He lived and died here. Remains of his farm and a bathroom with hot pot and a tunnel between the bath and the house can still be visited.
Reykholt was at this time one of the intellectual centers of the island and had for many years one of the most important schools of the country. Today, the village has 60 inhabitants, a school centre and a library concentrating on the works of Snorri Sturluson. A statue of Snorri byGustav Vigeland can be found here. Archeologists are still working here and finding medieval remains. In the vicinity, Japanese scientists are doing research on the wonders of the aurora borealis (the famous northern lights).
Our next stop is about 20 km from Reykholt, the lava waterfalls Hraunfossar, one of the most interesting natural wonders on the island.
Hraunfossar (Borgarfjörður, western Iceland) is a series of waterfalls formed by rivulets streaming over a distance of about 900 metres out of the Hallmundarhraun, a lavafield which flowed from an eruption of one of the volcanoes lying under the glacierLangjökull. The waterfalls pour into the Hvítáriver from ledges of less porous rock in the lava. The name hraun comes from the Icelandic word for lava. The Hraunfossar are situated near Húsafell and Reykholt and lava-tube cave Víðgelmir is close by.
Literally a stone’s throw upstream from Hraunfossar, there is another waterfall calledBarnafoss. Its name, the waterfall of the children, comes from an accident which is said to have taken place here in former times. There was a natural bridge over the waterfall and two children from a nearby farm fell to their deaths crossing the river on the bridge. Afterwards, the grief-struck mother had the bridge destroyed.
From Hraunfossar we carry on to Húsafell where we can buy something to eat (in the summertime) and continu to our next destination Surtshellir where we will look at the opening.
Surtshellir is a lava cave located in westernIceland. He is approximately a mile in length, it is the longest such cave in the country. While mentioned in the medieval historical-geographical work Landnámabók, Eggert Ólafsson was the first to give a thorough documentation of the cave in his 1750 travels of the region. It is named after the fire giantSurtr, a prominent figure in Norse mythology, who is prophesied to one day engulf the world in the fire of his flaming sword
Being of volcanic origin, the walls of the interior are composed of vitrified layers ofmagma and basalt. The roof of the cave is about 10 meters high at the highest point, and the tunnels are around 15m broad at their greatest width. The floor is covered in a perpetual sheeting of ice and fallen fragments of solidified lava, and large ice speleothems are common within the cave. The height of the roof is highly variable throughout the cave, and at the latter extremities is only 2–4 m.
In the 10th century, the cave and the passages that lead out from the main cavern were used as hideouts for outcasts and bandits who would steal livestock from the farmers and shepherds living in the area. Evidence of their existence has been found in the form of the bones of sheep and oxen eaten for food in several of the tunnels; one of the same tunnels had also been fitted with a human-made door.
The cave itself has long been a source of superstition for the Icelanders inhabiting the nearby mountains. Eggert Ólafsson recalled having been warned by locals of the ghosts that were said to dwell within and was assured that his party would be killed by them if they were to enter. Surtr himself was said to have once lived within the cave and, being a fire giant, to have been the causeof the cave’s creation.
Surtshellir is in close proximity to another lava cave, Stefánshellir, with which it forms a complex referred to as the Surtshellir-Stefánshellir system.
From Surtshellir we head south to one of Iceland´s highest and most austere interior roads, called Kaldidalur (The Cold Valley). Kaldidalur runs along the western side of the Langjökull glacier where we will stop with an opportunity for a unique encounter with mother nature.
After a long driving through Kaldidalur our next destination is Þingvellir
Þingvellir is a place in southwestern Iceland, near the Hengill volcanic area. Þingvellir is a site of historical, cultural, and geological importance and is one of the most popular tourist destinations in Iceland. It is the site of arift valley that marks the crest of the Mid-Atlantic Ridge. It is also home toÞingvallavatn, the largest natural lake in Iceland. Parliament or Alþingi was established at Þingvellir in 930 and remained there until 1798. Þingvellir National Park was founded in 1930 to protect the remains of theparliament site and was later expanded to protect natural phenomena in the surrounding area. Þingvellir National Park was the first national park in Iceland and was decreed “a protected national shrine for all Icelanders, the perpetual property of the Icelandic nation under the preservation of parliament, never to be sold or mortgaged Þingvellir is listed as a UNESCO´s World Heritage site From Þingvellir we go to Reykjavík again and think about all the beautiful places we have seen and hopefully all the beautiful photos we have framed.
REMEMBER: If you want to stop on the way to take pictures. Then we stop with a smile.
Prices are per tour not per person – up to 3 passengers.
Please note we don’t provide extra passengers to fill up the 3 passenger quote, the tour is private to your group. If more than 3 passengers contact us for quote.
In Reykjavík / Reykjanes from hotel or guesthouse around 8:00
Meals, Entrance fees
Lunch can be bought on the way.
10 – 12 hours.
All dates all year round
During the winter this route can be altered so that instead of driving through Kaldidalur and Þingvellir we will head back through the small town of Borgarnes and via the underground tunnel in Hvalfjörður to Þingvellir.
Short, easy walks on the sites visited. Recommended to dress warm because the weather in Iceland can change in the matter of minutes