Vikings, Waterfalls and Hot-springs in West-Iceland

I joined a friend of mine on a 13-hour Viking, waterfalls and hot spring tour in West-Iceland. I visit this area often and wanted to know what this guided tour was like. We left Reykjavík at 9 am and headed for Hvalfjörður fjord. 

Our first stop was by the beautiful salmon river, Laxá in Kjós. Laxá in Kjós is one of the best salmon rivers in Iceland. Here we stood on the one-lane-bridge trying to spot some salmons in the river. We would regularly have to get off the bridge as anglers were coming in on their jeeps with their fishing gear to catch salmons early in the morning.

Vikings, Waterfalls and Hot-springs in West-Iceland

Our next stop in Hvalfjörður was at the small waterfall by Fossárrétt roundup. We made a short stop by the waterfall and took some photos. Fossárréttis a preserved area, which is very lovely to visit.

Vikings, Waterfalls and Hot-springs in West-Iceland

After having driven in sunshine through the beautiful Hvalfjörður fjord we reached Borgarnes town. There is an excellent exhibition in Borgarnes at the Settlement Centre (Landnámssetrið) which depicts one of the heroes of our Sagas - Egill Skallagrímsson in Egilssaga or the Saga of Egill.

Here we made a stop to visit the exhibitions - the entrance fee to the Settlement Centre was included in the price of the tour.

There are two exhibitions here, one on the Settlement of Iceland until the establishment of Alþingi, the old Viking Parliament in 930, and the other one on the Viking Egill Skallagrímsson, both of them equally interesting. 

Vikings, Waterfalls and Hot-springs in West-Iceland

The exhibition is excellent, really professional and well made. Kjartan Ragnarsson is the curator of the Settlement Centre and he has also erected 9 big cairns around Borgarnes and Borgarfjörður to mark interesting sights in the Saga of Egill. 

I have tracked down all the cairns and written another travel-blog on all of them - Saga of the Viking Egill Skallagrímsson, the Settlement Centre & the 9 Cairns in West-Iceland. Vikings, Waterfalls and Hot-springs in West-Iceland

Now it was time for lunch at Fossatún. Fossatún is such a fun place and one can get such good photos with the trolls. The owner of Fossatún, Steinar Berg, has written 3 books on trolls and has erected several trolls from his stories, which take place in Borgarfjörður. 

In my photo above you will see Grýla, the worst troll of them all.

Vikings, Waterfalls and Hot-springs in West-Iceland

The waterfall by Fossatúnis called Tröllafossar or the Fall of the Trolls. It is a small waterfall/rapids in the salmon river Grímsá.

The waterfall is lovely and the surroundings are just magical with all the trolls.

Vikings, Waterfalls and Hot-springs in West-Iceland

Our next stop was at Deildartunguhver geothermal spring, which is the most powerful geothermal spring in Europe - providing 180 l/sec of 97° hot water! 

There is a whole lot of steam here, making it difficult to take photos. But I stood there long enough, drenched from the steam, to get a relatively good photo of the colourful rocks in Deildartunguhver. There is a new spa by Deildartunguhver, called Krauma spa.

Here we picked up people from the tour, which started at 1 pm from Reykjavík.

Vikings, Waterfalls and Hot-springs in West-Iceland

Our next stop was at Reykholt, which is one of the most historical sites in Iceland. It was the home of the Chieftain Snorri Sturluson (1179-1241) from 1206-1241.

Snorri was a great historian and one of the richest and most powerful men in Iceland during the turbulent Age of Sturlungar.

Vikings, Waterfalls and Hot-springs in West-Iceland

You can read more about Reykholt and Snorri in my travel-blog the Historical Reykholt in West-Iceland & Snorri Sturluson - the most influential Icelander.

Vikings, Waterfalls and Hot-springs in West-Iceland

Our next stop was by the beautiful waterfall Hraunfossar - the Lava Falls. These falls are almost 1 km wide and consist of countless springs of subterranean water, which wells up from the edge of the lava field Hallmundarhraun. They join the roaring glacial river, Hvítá in Borgarfjörður, which has got the most amazing blue colour.

Another much smaller waterfall next to Hraunfossar is called Barnafoss or Children's Falls.

Vikings, Waterfalls and Hot-springs in West-Iceland

By now it was getting very windy and cold and the sun had gone, so I sought shelter by the big truck, which was driving us around. Our next stop was at Húsafell, where I bought food at their store for the rest of the journey on the Kaldidalurhighland road.

Vikings, Waterfalls and Hot-springs in West-Iceland

The road turned into a very bumpy gravel road. This is the road leading to Langjökull glacier and the new ice cave tunnel on which I have written another travel-blog. The weather had changed into fog followed by heavy rain.

The tour guide took the group on a short hike to Langjökullglacier in the rain, but I opted out and stayed on the bus with another girl, who didn't feel like going on a hike in the rain. That is why I only have a photo of the group leaving ;) The hike to Iceland's second largest glacier took ca 40 minutes all in all.

Vikings, Waterfalls and Hot-springs in West-Iceland

Our next stop was at the highest point of the trip where we added a rock to a big cairn. The rock is supposed to be bigger than your fist. So everybody got out of the bus into the rain and fog and searched for a rock bigger than their fist and placed it on the big cairn! This is one of a very few places in Iceland where it is allowed to add rocks to a cairn.

From there we drove through Kaldidalur valley and made a "technical stop" (toilets) in the national park Þingvellir. We then walked from Nikulásargjá rift up Almannagjá rift and met the bus at Hakið. 

Vikings, Waterfalls and Hot-springs in West-Iceland

At Þingvellir you will see the tectonic plates above ground, and Almannagjá marks the eastern boundaries of the North-American tectonic plates. It is rare to see the tectonic plates above ground, so Þingvellir is a remarkable place.

The Vikings established their parliament, Alþingi, here at Þingvellir back in 930.

Vikings, Waterfalls and Hot-springs in West-Iceland

Þingvelliris located some 50 km away from Reykjavík, so this was our last stop on this wonderful tour. This tour covers so many sights in my country and I thoroughly enjoyed it. Unfortunately, this tour is not available anymore, as parts of it have been merged with the Into the Glacier tour.

If you want to join a guided tour check out West Iceland Highlights Private Tour and West Iceland Upper Borgarfjörður Region. Or you can rent a car and visit these wonderful sights in West-Iceland yourself.

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