Day 4 – Our Ring Road trip around Iceland in a camper van
Day 4: Djúpivogur – Sveinstekksfoss – Breiðdalsvík – Seyðisfjörður – Tvísöngur – Gufufoss – Ásbyrgi – Dettifoss – Hverir – VÍTI
This day we started in Stafafell Campsite. Even though a few more people arrived overnight it was still pretty quiet. And actually, you could definitely feel that we were away from the main tourist tracks by this point.
Calum woke up incredibly early, around 6am (as he did most of the mornings), so he ended up sitting outside, sunning/drying himself for a few hours, so I could sleep for a bit longer which I am very grateful for. Once I woke up, we made breakfast and showered (first proper shower in 3 days…) – it was amazing!!
We actually ended up driving lots on this day but the weather was great the whole day (I’m sorry for talking about weather so much, but it does play a very important role while traveling in Iceland).
The very first stop was a little town of Djúpivogur. If I remember, correctly we mainly stopped there to get petrol but ended up driving around for a bit. It was lovely in a sunshine!
After this we quickly stopped at Sveinstekksfoss waterfall, which again looked amazing in the sunshine. Just look at colour of that water! The drive by this point was amazing – we listened to music very loudly, chatted and truly enjoyed the experience.
For a coffee break we stopped at a little fishing town called Breiðdalsvík. It looked absolutely idyllic, hiding between fjords. We had more coffee, more snacks and headed up North.
My trusty KeepCup
We decided to take a little detour from the main road A1 and headed East to Seyðisfjörður, a beautiful port-town. There was a big cruise ship stopping over when we visited so the town felt very lively. We saw a few good looking restaurants there too. However the main reason we came here was to visit Tvísöngur – big concrete domes, it’s an art object and creates amazing echo when you step inside – “Once inside the stark industrial domes, visitors will find that they have each been designed to resonate at different harmonies as the wind blowing in off the cliff rushes through the openings. The collective effect is almost as though the wind itself is playing a giant instrument”.
We had our lunch on a picnic bench overlooking fjords and colourful buildings. On our way back to the main road we stopped at Gufufoss, which is yet another amazing waterfall.
Next 3-4 hours we spent driving. The majority of the main road is actually great, but when we turned off North to visit Ásbyrgi Canyon, we regretted not getting 4×4. So if you are visiting, prepare for a bumpy ride! Ásbyrgi is a horseshoe shaped canyon, about 3.5km in length and 1.1km wide, which is a part of Vatnajökull National Park. We strolled around for about an hour, and I’ve read somewhere that, the greenery in the canyon is the closest it comes to forests in Iceland. The place is so tranquil yet somehow you fully expect a t-Rex to jump out around the corner.
And then our biggest disappointment/mistake happened…we were trying to get to Dettifoss, which is one of the most spectacular waterfalls in the world (the most powerful waterfall in Europe anyway). And there are two ways you can reach it, basically there are two roads that go parallel to each other and they meet at Ásbyrgi, so we travelled up on the East side and the plan was to go down the West side. Dettifoss is nestled somewhere in the middle. So when we were only 20min from it, driving along the West side, the road suddenly stopped and turned into a swamp…so we had to turn around and drive all way back North and then down again, which added 2 hours to our journey. It was around 9pm when we finally reached Dettifoss. I don’t think we spoke for the majority of that detour as both were simply sad and disappointed in google maps and life in general.
BUT when we finally arrived – Dettifoss didn’t disappoint. Phenomenal! We also stopped at Hafragilsfoss prior which was also great. Dettifoss is famous for being featured in a lot of movies, like Prometheus. Because it was pretty late and we were pretty tired by that point, we didn’t spend a lot of time admiring the waterfall and decided to drive back to the main road and try to find a place to sleep.
The plan was to drive to Mývatn and try to find a spot to stay overnight there. We were hoping to be able to stay somewhere hidden near the road but every single bit of free road or land had signs warning that it is strictly prohibited to camp or stay overnight. It was weird because we didn’t see such aggressive messages anywhere else in Iceland, but near the Mývatn lake.
Hverir geothermal area
I have starred Hverir geothermal field on google maps without knowing what it was really. AND it was insane!!! It doesn’t look like planet Earth at all and smell of sulfur is mad. Definitely worth a short stop just to marvel on a field of bubbling earth – the smell won’t let you stay long anyway…the whole area has a very distinctive odor to it, so be prepared. You do get used to it eventually, but again something I have never experienced before. But Hverir was probably one of the most photogenic places in Iceland.
Next we very quickly drove to see Viti, which is a huge crater left after a volcanic eruption. Again, something you don’t see every day. And in all honesty, my favorite part was driving through Krafla geothermal power plant – seeing steam escaping through Earth was mesmerasing.
And then finally we gave up on trying to find somewhere free to stay, so ended up going to Bjarg Campsite, it was just after 11pm and the campsite was packed. But we managed to find a little spot and after having our dinner and a bit of bourbon, we went to sleep. The next day was my birthday and we ended up having a little lie in. But on that later.