Rejkjavik to Akereyri -by road in winter!

Iceland Travel Blog

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Spectacular mountain scenery

 
We left Norway on 29thFeb and headed to Iceland. Wow! What an experience. I was in complete awe of the surroundings. It was certainly very different to anything I had ever experienced before.My friend lives up in the north and picked us up in Reykjavik early in the morning. Then we drove six hours through the most amazing winter mountain scenery. I have nothing but admiration for the drivers and especially my friend, as they drive in very difficult conditions in the mountains and most of the roads are without guard rails or lighting at night.
last toilet stop for six hours - at Bogarness. Windiest spot in Iceland.


Snowdrifts across the road between Reykjavik and Bogarness ( the windiest place in Iceland) make it very difficult to see just where the road lies and the snowy verge on the side of the road starts. This is isolated driving, you may not see any other cars for periods of up to an hour. In many ways, it seems that Icelanders live on the very edge of the possibilities of human habitation.
There were times that I felt like I was in the depths of Siberia or Antartica!

To this summer girls eyes, the mountains themselves were really quite beautiful draped in their curtain of sheer white. We went through three high mountain passes on the way to Akureyri and the last pass is the meanest according to my friend who has driven this road many times and in all conditions.
the road northward Highway 1
There are signs before you enter the mountain pass giving you an idea of temperature wind and snow cover on the mountain road but still you need to be a very experienced driver to cope with these conditions. Bogarness is the last toilet and petrol stop for several hours and the mountains on either side looked like a giant had sliced them with a knife. Every time I looked at the window there was a different scene.  There are several statues of significant Icelandic people, a few farms, ghost towns, and churches along the way and a very spooky haunted house where my friend has encountered an errie encounter with a spirit. They was definitely something creepy about that particular house.

Akureyri has a charming church and community arts centre with a rock collection worth seeing if you have an interest along those lines.

A geothermal powerplant that supplies the town of Akeyreyri (popn 17,000)  I was given a short tour of the power plant which had a few initial problems due to a eruption/quake when it first opened, and evidence of this can be seen in the huge rift in the surrounding rocks outside the power plant.
One of the many volcanoes.
This rift runs all the way to Akureyri many kilometres away. 
Now the plant geothermal operations drill diagonally into the earth as opposed to vertically. The results in improved output, I believe with fewer problems.

My wonderful hosts also took me to Lake Myvatn where we had lunch and Dimmiborgir. The lava rocks made the most amazing shapes and I think looked even prettier draped in snow. 
At Lake Myvatn, there is a lunch spot and a souvenir shop, with variable opening hours, but if you ask politely, they might open it up for you. The weekend that I was there, they had warned the weather conditions were not good, but on arrival in Lake Myvatn it was just fantastic.
The geothermal power plant site of 10 years of earthquakes.
They were racing horses across the frozen section of lake,
and one could see the distinctive gait so unique with the Icelandic horse. Myvatn was partially frozen and the lava rock forms around its perimeter give a special atmosphere.

On the way home, we visited Dimmidborgir (home of Iceland's 13 Jule lads (santa like elves) with its very eerie and quite beautiful lava formations draped in snow. There is a pleasnat 20 minute walk through the formations= but a warning, there are grave consequences if you leave the marked path, crevasses hidden under the snow that can't be seen. Some parts of Dimmiborgir are like a cathedral and are even named accordingly.
It is very easy to drain the battery on your digital camera her and all over in Iceland, as there are so many scenic shots. I actually took hundreds of photos.

We flew back to Reykjavik with Flufelag Islands Air Service on a Focker,for a different view of Iceland, and we saw a little of the tops of the volcanoes along the Akureyri fjord before the cloud cover blocked the mountains from sight.
Dimmiborgir
 
I did the popular "golden circle tour" on the monday before flying back to Copenhagen, and you will see a photo of thingvellir national park and the stunning scenery on the website. As you can see the weather was fantastic, but cold. We walked down to the gullfoss waterfall, but were unable to go all the way there, as my fingertips and ears were so frozen the pain was awful. I thought that cold could numb you but not cause so much pain!!!  It was a sunny day, but the wind must have taken the temperature down to minus 35 celsius. I was not dressed for those conditions. Neither was Heidi, so we had a quick look then scurried back to the tourist centre out of the wind. The waterfall was beautiful but my hands were so frozen that it was really difficult just to press the shutter on the camera.
Dimmiborgir - it means Dark castles. YOu can see why. a site for black magic, I believe.
 That was a real effort.
 
But we did not miss seeing the predictable geysirs blow its top on the Golden circle tour. But the most amazing of all was the big rift between the two continental plates that runs down the middle of Iceland. There is a photo of me standing between the North American continental plate and the Eurasian plate, you can walk right through it. Earthquakes are commonplace here and they had a big quake right after I left.
This it just outside Akeyreyri - so typically an Icelandic winter scene.
Thingvellir was the site that the Vikings picked for their Allthing ( annual conference/ parliament type meetings) many centuries ago and you can certainly see why. What an auspicious spot!!  Once again stick to the path here. We spotted a tourist trying to get a good photo off the marked path and next thing his leg disappeared down a hole. thankfully he was ok, but a reminder as to how careful one must be. A tour guide must be had if you are walking across the lava fields in winter.

Iceland has left me completely gobsmacked. There is nothing like it in the whole world and visiting in winter gives you a real impression of the edge of the world. Absolutely awesome.

As if that wasn't enough, the night before we flew out, we visited Keflavik and the Blue Lagoon. Now you have to go here at night, in winter, it is so special words fail me. I felt like I was in a Lord of the Rings movie, whilst relaxing in the warm waters, fog mist surrounding me, nothing to see when the mist parts except a wall of lava draped in snow. The water was a little hot in spots for my daughter who was 7 1/2 years old, but it was an experience neither one of us will forget.
Flying into Keflavik
Read more below.

I must go back some day....

 

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Icelandic roads are unpredictable and dangerous and it seems so, look in the background just beside the car on the road.
Our final night in Iceland was spent near the Keflavik airport at the Blue Lagoon, and that was an incredible experience. We got there about 7.30 pm and there was not too many people there.  We floated about in lovely 106 degree F water in mist surrounded by lava rocks draped in snow. Occasionally the misty cloud surrounding you would part to reveal another person in the darkness floating by in total silence.... all you could see was their head floating towards you out of the darkness!!!!!. It was quite surreal, but very relaxing. Felt a bit  like being in a Lord of the Rings movie scene.... 

An absolutely unforgettable experience.  I would visit again and again. There is nothing else quite like it anywhere in the world.  A real privelege
Spectacular mountain scenery
Spectacular mountain scenery
last toilet stop for six hours - a…
last toilet stop for six hours - …
the road northward Highway 1
the road northward Highway 1
One of the many volcanoes.
One of the many volcanoes.
The geothermal power plant site of…
The geothermal power plant site o…
Dimmiborgir
Dimmiborgir
Dimmiborgir - it means Dark castle…
Dimmiborgir - it means Dark castl…
This it just outside Akeyreyri - s…
This it just outside Akeyreyri - …
Flying into Keflavik
Flying into Keflavik
Icelandic roads are unpredictable …
Icelandic roads are unpredictable…
Kefir - volcanic crater
Kefir - volcanic crater
Quite possibly the coldest place o…
Quite possibly the coldest place …
The famous geysir - letting off st…
The famous geysir - letting off s…
There is a lot of snow at Thingvel…
There is a lot of snow at Thingve…
Awesome - there is no other word f…
Awesome - there is no other word …
The rift ripping Iceland apart!Nor…
The rift ripping Iceland apart!No…
thingvellir - what a beautiful day.
thingvellir - what a beautiful day.
You cant see much from the entran…
You can't see much from the entra…
patterns on the lava rocks draped …
patterns on the lava rocks draped…
Iceland Hotels & Accommodations review
Whilst unassuming from the outside, this hotel is comfy and welcoming. There is free hot chocolate in the homely lounge and the staff are friendly, if… read entire review
222 km (138 miles) traveled
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