Expect the Unexpected in the Land of Ice.
- Hamragardar Campsite
- Camping at Skaftafell
Waking up to a waterfall view out the back of your camper van is a great feeling. Getting caught in a snowstorm in it —not so much. On our second day, what started in the morning as fluffy, innocent flakes falling from the sky, turned into a dense flurry that greatly hindered visibility for several hours, although it didn’t hinder our adventure.
Our first stop was to go check out Seljandsfoss in the light of day. It has a path that goes along the back of the waterfall. We didn’t take it, as it looked a bit icy, but the waterfall was deserted and was a relaxing start to the day.
A short drive took us to Skogafoss. If you’re starting to see a pattern here, everything that ends in ‘foss’ is a waterfall. This one had a small hike up steps built into the hillside that led to a viewing platform that is not for the faint of heart, but lends a bird’s eye view of the fall — literally. You can watch the Arctic terns nesting below along the cliffs that hug the waterfall.
…And then there was the snowstorm. I would highly recommend having experience driving in snowy weather for road tripping in Iceland’s winter. We did, thankfully. Here are Iceland’s snowstorm driving basics: turn on hazards and high beams, go super slow but avoid stopping if other cars are still driving (so you don’t end up stuck), and finally, breathe – all of the Icelandic drivers on the road do this regularly, so follow them to get through it.
We drove from Skogafoss to Vik, in the snow and stopped in a parking lot in town to wait out the storm. When it was over, we ventured on like the snow never bothered us anyway.
Dverghamrar was our next stop and a short walk from the main road led us to the unique basalt stacks that are the legendary home some of Iceland’s dwarfs and elves. They are fun to climb on and seek out these mystical beings. Sadly, they eluded me.
Our final stop of the day was Svinafellsjokull in Vatnajokull National Park. We hiked along cliffs overlooking the foot of the massive glaciers that mark this region. The whimsical shapes of the icebergs, and crevassed foot of the massive blue glaciers made this area feel otherworldly. We spent a long time walking and gazing at the glaciers as the sun started to set before taking our leave feeling awestruck. This was also a beyond the wall filming location for Game of Thrones.
Evening took us to Skaftafell campsite where we cozied up in the front seats and had sandwiches for dinner with a snow-capped mountain view and an incredibly starry night.
See Also: Day 3