T-Boz, Chilli, Left Eye (rest in peace, girl): I love you, and I love your music. In fact, you were my very first concert (add Hammer & Boyz II Men–and you better believe that show was nothing short of amazing). But even the most talented and spirited divas make mistakes from time to time. In the case of Iceland, TLC, I’m sorry to say it, but you’ve got it all wrong. Forget everything TLC has told us and go ahead and chase those waterfalls. Every single one of them. Because they are downright wonderfall. That’s right, I went there.
We traveled to Iceland for a week with friends, the amazing and witty brother duo, Bryan and Brent. Let me say that a fair share of the photos included in this post (and all future Iceland posts) are from the incredibly talented Brent Mullins. He is quite the photographer and should be hired to accompany your next travel adventure immediately. Seriously, he’s that good…added bonus: he’s funny AF and you will be crying laughing for days.
Back to our trip…immediately following our arrival in Reykjavik, we picked up our rental car, grabbed some breakfast and much-needed coffee, and began exploring the Golden Circle, a popular route in South Iceland, covering about 300 kilometers looping from Reykjavík into central Iceland and back.
First waterfall sighting: Gullfoss (Day 1): Ninety minutes from Reykjavik
Gullfoss, also known as the Golden Waterfall, is gorgeous and powerful to say the least. While not the most powerful or largest waterfall in Iceland, it was by far the most forceful foss (I’m somewhat fluent in Icelandic in that I know about three words–one being foss = waterfall) that we saw along our route.
But holy foss was it cold and windy! Our time there was cut short due to freezing temperatures and bone-crushing winds.
Day 2 of waterfall stalking: Seljalandsfoss/Gljufrabui and then Skogafoss
Seljalandsfoss and Gljufrabui (adjacent to one another)–easily my favorite waterfall experience of the trip. About ninety minutes south of Gullfoss along route 1.
At first sight, Seljalandsfoss doesn’t look that particularly special. It’s about sixty meters high with a narrow cascade. Sure, it’s pretty; but it pretty much looks like your typical run-of-the-mill waterfall. The remarkable part of this waterfall is the foot path behind it at the bottom of the cliff where you can walk behind it. It’s breathtakingly beautiful–and WET! Be prepared to get drenched! Have I mentioned that Iceland is not the most conducive of places for good hair days?! Hence the hat. Oh that hat. I wore the $h*t out of that hat. Every. Single. Day. Namaste.
Right next door to Seljalandsfoss is the mystical and downright magical Gljúfrabúi falls. It’s partially hidden behind a large cliff and can be seen in all its glory by wading the river into a narrow opening in the cliff. Navigating this narrow and slippery path can be a bit tricky–nothing crazy, but you will want to wear waterproof shoes (preferably boots) to protect you from the rocky river bottom and slippery stones. It is just so awe-inspiring in there–cannot recommend it enough. One of my favorite experiences of the trip.
About twenty minutes away is the stunning and arguably Iceland’s most recognizable waterfall, Skogafoss. Climbing the 370 steps to view the falls from the top is absolutely worth it; it let’s you see just how powerful and thunderous these falls really are.
It was snowing the day we visited Skogafoss, which really made for a spectacular setting. This waterfall is a must-see on any Iceland itinerary.
Svartifoss: Our final waterfall sighting:
One of the many amazing attributes of Iceland is its ever-changing landscape. About an hour before arriving at Vatnajökull National Park, we were in the tundra surrounded by a gorgeous glacial lagoon. It’s incredible to think just how drastically the scenery changed in less than sixty minutes.
An easy and scenic 45 minute hike (1.8 km) through the park ends with this beautiful reward:
It’s no surprise that Iceland has become one of the hottest destinations. Flights from New York and the D.C. area are non-stop and less than five hours long. The country is extremely safe, hospitable, and of course absolutely stunning. My advice: go soon…before it becomes even more popular than it already is!
Planning Your Icelandic Adventure:
*Renting a Car (great and reputable car company right outside of the Reykjavik Airport):
*Where did we stay along the Golden Circle? Mostly at bed and breakfasts and small country inns. There are limited options along the Golden Circle and many of the accommodations are pretty simple, yet simultaneously welcoming and warm. We mostly used airbnb and booking.com for reservations.
And last but certainly not least, if you’re looking for some fantastic photography and an equally good time: