Day Two of Driving Iceland’s Ring Road: Glaciers, Icebergs and the Magic of Jökulsárlón

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After an amazing first day of our Ring Road adventure, we woke up bright eyed, bushy tailed and excited to continue on with our journey.

As it turned out, our first stop of the day was just a 20 minute drive away! I must admit, this is part of the fun of a road trip through Iceland, you are never far away from something beautiful and/or noteworthy, which really does help to break up any longish drives.

Sólheimajökull

Sólheimajökull is a smaller glacier (at least by Icelandic standards) but it is a popular one due to its accessibility. It isn’t far off of the road and it is extremely easy to walk right up to the glacier without a tour and without paying any entrance fees.

It isn’t the prettiest glacier in the world thanks to the heavy smattering of volcanic debris that is covering it, but I kind of liked it that way – it made it more dramatic!

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Fjaðrárgljúfur Canyon

Our next stop was Fjaðrárgljúfur Canyon. Located about 90 minutes from the glacier, this canyon is 100m deep and over two kilometres long! It is possible to actually do a trek along the entire length of this canyon, but most people choose to simply admire the views from the walking path, which is what we opted for, and the views certainly didn’t leave us wanting!
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Kirkjugólfið

Kirkjugólfið is one of those stops that the internet made me think was necessary, but was honestly not super exciting. This small patch of hexagonal rock is only a few metres wide and though it’d be cool if you’d never seen such formations before, if you find yourself in Iceland, there are certainly more exciting and astonishing places to see!

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Svartifoss

Svartifoss is yet another wondrous Icelandic waterfall, and is certainly worth a stop when road tripping along the south coast of the country. This waterfall differs from the many (seriously, so many) waterfalls in Iceland due to the many rock columns which surround it.

Visiting Svartifoss gave me serious flashbacks to when I visited the Giant’s Causeway, the Isle of Staffa and of course, Reynisfara beach, which we had only visited a day earlier!

This waterfall is a little bit more out of the way than other ‘falls, but it is well worth the short trek to get there! Also, it is a great excuse to stretch your legs after a longer stretch of driving.

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iceland-travel-blog-ring-road-self-drive-south-coast-travelling-the-world-solo-female

Diamond Beach

After Svartifoss, it was time to do something that I’d always wanted to do in Iceland but had somehow always missed.

Diamond Beach got its name due to the many icebergs that spill out of a nearby glacial lagoon (keep scrolling) and wash up on the black sand beach. These ‘bergs look like diamonds, and boy is it a beautiful sight to see.

The contrast between the clear (or blue) ice and the volcanic sand is mesmerising, and is a wonderful spot to make whilst driving around Iceland. Just make sure to take care when getting up close to icebergs, those waves can cause relatively sturdy looking ‘bergs to get pulled out to sea – you don’t want to be climbing all over one when this happens!

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Jökulsárlón

Our last stop of the day was at the utterly incredible glacial lagoon of Jökulsárlón.

This was not the first time I had visited Jökulsárlón, but I thought a lot more of it the second time around! The first time that I visited involved an enormous tour bus, a time crunch and a far too sunny day which caused a lot of glare that made all my photographs, well, pretty uggo to be perfectly frank.

On this second visit we had time to do what we liked, a much smaller crowd to contend with and a beautifully overcast day which made for some really beautiful lighting.

Visiting this unique lagoon is completely free, however if you are so inclined there are boat tours available to take you out onto the water. If you think that you’d like to do a boat trip you should be aware that there are two different types of tours available. There are larger boats (cheaper) and smaller boats (more expensive) – and you should absolutely choose the more expensive option! These smaller boats can get much closer to the ‘bergs, and you won’t have a bunch of strangers packed in like sardines with you.

After we were all done enjoying Jökulsárlón, we drove onwards for a little while longer until we arrived at our lodgings for the night – Kálfafellsstaður Guesthouse.

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This day of exploring is a big and exhausting one, so once arriving at your accommodation you will want nothing more than a hot shower, dinner and an early night – which is exactly what we got.

Stay tuned for the next blog in the Iceland Series for more waterfalls, canyons and maybe even a whale or two!

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THE  LOWDOWN

Getting to Reykjavik: The capital of Iceland is well connected to Europe and North America through Keflavik airport
Getting to Jökusálón: Jökusálón is about a 3 hour drive from Skógafoss not including stops, so this is certainly a big day of driving
Car Hire: We rented a small car through Blue Car Rentals as they are competitively priced and trustworthy
Kálfafellsstaður Guesthouse: A basic but comfortable guesthouse, private rooms start at $280/night, click here for more
Camera: Images captured with an Olympus OM-D E-M1 in conjunction with the M.Zuiko 12-40mm f/2.8 and M.Zuiko 12-40mm f/2.8 lenses
Remember: This guesthouse doesn’t really allow self catering. We sweet talked our way into being allowed to make noodles, but usually this is a no-no. Be prepared to venture a little out of town for dinner!

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20-something year old Australian backpacker writing her way around the world.

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