Day 7, FRI:
Vatnajökull National Park and the South
We explore Vatnajökull National Park which covers about 14% of Iceland, making it Europe's second-largest national park in terms of area after Yugyd Va in Russia. The park offers amazing contrasts in landscape with glaciers, moors, mountains, birch forests, glacial rivers, brooks and sandy out-wash plains. We explore the region of Skaftafell that is nestled below Iceland's highest peak and the second-biggest stratovolcano in Europe, the 2,110-meter high Hvannadalshnjúkur. We walk close to one of the many glacial tongues in the area – a Kodak moment. We cross a sandy desert and drive along the south coast, always between the sea, rugged mountains, glaciers, and waterfalls. We see Eldhraun, "fire lava", an enormous and incredibly beautiful lava field which was created by the year-long Laki eruption in 1783. This eruption was devastating for Iceland. The years that followed are referred to the "misty times", due to the volcanic ash lingering for a long time in the air. The world-famous Reynisfjara shore, near the village Vík, is widely regarded as the most impressive black sand and pebble beach in Iceland and features an amazing cliff of regular basalt columns resembling a rocky step pyramid. The area has an abundant birdlife, including puffins, fulmars, and guillemots. Iceland's past comes alive at the Skógar folk museum with its turf houses. Next stop is the 62-meter high Skógafoss waterfall, often harboring a rainbow. We travel along the famous Eyjafjallajökull glacier and volcano and visit the narrow and 65-meter high Seljalandsfoss waterfall with a trail that leads behind the fall. You must be prepared to get wet! We continue our journey through the biggest agricultural area of Iceland to our overnight location in South Iceland.
Driving distance: 340 km/211 mls