#cliff

 

When driving south on the Ring Road in Berufjörður in the Eastern Region in Iceland, after passing the farm Þiljuvellir, and just before you come to the farm Fagrihvammur, you can't help noticing a small blue cliff by the shore. The name of the place is Blábjörg or Blue Cliff.  If you are coming from the south, it is not hard to miss as the cliffs are barely in view, but keep in mind that they are located a few hundred meters after you pass the farm Fagrihvammur.  The cliffs are amazing and a spectacular sight and definitely worth the walk down the steps to the beach to examine further.  

Blábjörg has been established as a Nature Reserve

The cliffs and the color stand out, even in this great scenario in Berufjörður with the beautiful mountain Búlandstindur in the background.  To spice this wonderful place, there is also a small pillar right in front of the cliffs in the tide line. But it is not only the color of the cliffs that stand out, but they are also of considerable geological importance and contribute to the geological history of Iceland. This is the reason Blábjörg has been established as a Nature Reserve.

A great place for photos

Blábjörg is a great place for photographers and for anyone to take photos for that matter.  Interestingly the area west of Blábjörg by the beach is also quite interesting and astonishing; preferably the small arch in the sea and all the cliffs around it.  In the background, you have the beautiful fjord Berufjörður and the mountains.  There are many viewpoints a photographer can discover in this place and also take advantage of the rich birdlife around the cliffs.  

Below is the location of Blábjörg cliffs on the map of Iceland

The name of the place is Blábjörg or Blue Cliff.

 

Hjörleifshöfði is a huge rock or an island on dry land, standing approximately 220 meters high above the black sand by the coastline at Mýrdalssandur in the South Region in Iceland.  The history of Hjörleifshöfði goes back as far as the Book Of Settlement.   When Ingólfur Arnarson, the first settler in Iceland, came here around the end of the eighth century, his foster brother Hjörleifur Hróðmarsson accompanied him. On their way from Norway, they drifted apart.  Ingolfur landed at Ingólfshöfði on the east side on the south shore, and Hjörleifur landed at Hjörleifshöfði, more to the west.  At that time, the shoreline was at the cliffs of Hjöleifshöfði, not kilometers farther south as it is now.  That was before the many powerful eruptions in the volcano Katla up on the top of the glacier Mýrdalsjökull, carried the sand down to the shore and extended the shoreline. To make a long story short, Hjörleifur met his fate here at Hjörleifshöfði as his slaves turned against him and killed him.  His bones are still on the top of the rock where he was buried in accordance with paganism.

Hiking around Hjörleifshöfði is a relatively light hike

A walk around Hjörleifshöfði is a time well spent. The hike is about seven kilometers and shouldn't take more than two to three hours.  It requires a bit of wading but is a spectacular walk passed the high cliffs and the two rock pillars on the south side; Arnardrangur and Lásdrangur.  Here it is nteresting to see the pillars standing on the sand and compare them to the rock pillars Reynisdrangar nearby that are constantly fighting the Atlantic Ocean. If you have more time a walk up to the Rock from the west side gives an impressive view of the south coast and the two glaciers, Eyjafjallajokull and Myrdalsjokull and much more.  It is also interesting that not so long ago people lived and farmed here on top of Hjörleifshöfði.

Hjörleifshöfði cliff on the South Shore in Iceland

The many interesting forms around Hjörleifshöfði cliff / rock in Iceland - South Shore

Hjörleifshöfði is easily accessable

Hjörleifshöfði is easily accessible from the Ring Road in Iceland.  It only takes about five minutes to drive to the parking lot on the west side of the Rock if you are driving your own vehicle or have a rent a car. It is also a great spot for a quiet stop and lunch or afternoon nap while traveling in Iceland.  

Below is the location of Hjörleifshöfði on the map of Iceland

Hjörleifshöfði is a huge rock or an island on dry land, standing approximately 220 meters high above the black sand by the coastline at Mýrdalssandur in the South Region in Iceland.

Intimidating or scary heights, none stop noise from birds, stunning sight of monstrous cliffs.  How should we describe the westernmost place you can reach in Iceland. Yes, you are at Látrabjarg, but you might as well be at the edge of the world. Látrabjarg is simply not easy to describe; it has to be experienced. It consists of four cliffs, Keflavíkurbjarg, Látrabjarg, Bæjarbjarg, and Breiðavíkurbjarg. Altogether 14 km long and the height is 441 m., and as steep as steep can get. Standing by the edge gives you a whirling sensation, which doesn't fade the longer you stay. Indeed, it will stay with you for a long time afterward. If you are near the edge with a camera in your face, don't move until you have a clear sight and the camera away from your eyes and nose.

One of the largest bird colony in the world

The cliffs are home to millions of birds, including puffins, northern gannets, guillemots, and razorbills. Látrabjarg is, indeed, Europe's largest bird cliff. The area is free of foxes, making the birds quite fearless. Especially the puffins, frequently venturing into the upper, grassy parts of the cliffs. Látrabjarg is a fantastic place to observe them in their natural habitat. But please understand the danger involved if you try to approach the edge.

Hiking is always the best and most rewarding way to travel in Iceland

Hiking along the edge is like being on top of the world. But, take care. Don't cross the white line painted on the sheer side. The dizziness may result in one fatal misstep. If you want to observe and photograph the birds, lay down on your stomach with only your head over the edge. There are some hiking trails in the southwest part of West Fjords, one of the most interesting is the one by the cliff.  If you decide to hike the Látrabjarg contact some of the guesthouses, like Hnjótur Guesthouse, and find out the best route.  Some of those trails are quite difficult but highly interesting. 

 

Látrabjarg is not easy to describe. It has to be experienced.

The mountain Trölladyngja (Troll Mountain) is quite curious. This dwarf of a mountain (only 275 meters high) consists of palagonite like most mountains in the area. Trölladyngja and its surroundings is part of the Krísuvík Geothermal Area, but only recently so. Until 1975, there was no geothermal activity around the mountain, but a few years later things started to shift and change. Today Trölladyngja is geothermally very active. It is quite apparent in the colorful south side of the mountain and its surroundings.

Next to Trölladyngja is another mountain, Grænadyngja (Green Mountain) that is a bit higher (393 meters). The two mountains are commonly referred to as "The Sisters." Both mountains are geothermally very active, and also very popular amongst hikers. Both mountains are easy to mound, even for the inexperienced hiker. Indeed, one of the most popular and beautiful hiking routes in the Reykjanes Peninsula is the hike from Trölladyngja onto Grænadyngja, through the beautiful valley running between them.

"The Sisters" rise high above the lava field surrounding them, and are easily discernible from a long distance away, i.e. from the Capital area. Close by, you will find some of the most popular attractions in the Reykjanes Peninsula, such as the Blue Lagoon, the Bridge Between Two Continents, Reykjanesviti Lighthouse, Seltún and Gunnuhver.
 

 

Below is the location of Trölladyngja mountain on the map of Iceland

The mountain Trölladyngja and her sister Grænadyngja

Krísuvík is one of the fascinating areas in Iceland. That is if you are a true lover of nature. Situated in the south of the Reykjanes Peninsula, in the middle of the fissure zone of the Mid-Atlantic Ridge, it is spectacular. It is such an active geothermal area; one cannot help but wonder: Is it here that Iceland breathes?

The area is riddled with steaming volcanic vents and boiling hot springs, framed dramatically by a range of multi-colored hill. At Seltún and Gunnuhver you will find solfataras, fumaroles, mud pots and hot springs, giving the soft soil its yellow, red and green hue.

Well-maintained boardwalks wind through the bubbling and hissing geothermal areas, with informative signage explaining all the important geological facts.

A short distance away from the geothermal fields you will discover several maars/crater lakes, created by the explosions of overheated groundwater.  The largest is Kleifarvatn and the second is Grænavatn (Green Lake), which glows in a deep green. It derives its color from thermal algae and crystals absorbing the Sun.

A few minutes drive away from this surreal landscape are the Krísuvík Cliffs with its thousands of sea birds. They nest in the rugged hillside beside the crashing Atlantic surf. All you have to do is hike along a trail to the edge of the cliffs, and you'll spot kittiwakes, guillemots, razorbills and a vast number of other species as they dive into the frolicking sea.

Below is the location of Krísuvík on the map of Iceland

The Colorful Krísuvík

 

Kleifarvatn is the largest lake on the Reykjanes Peninsula. It is situated on the fissure zone of the Mid-Atlantic Ridge a short distance from the dramatic geothermal area of Seltún.The lake is incredibly deep, 97 meters (318 feet) at its deepest point. But, its unique feature is that it has no visible surface drainage, which means there are no rivers running to or from it. Thus, the water level only changes with the ground water. Following an earthquake in the year 2000, a fissure formed at the bottom of the lake that soon began to drain. It diminished by 20 percent. Gradually though, the fissure refilled, and the lake has returned to its previous levels.

Kleifarvatn lake is a popular destination and attraction

Today, the Kleifarvatn area is gradually becoming a popular destination for hikers, joggers and bird watchers. Surrounding the lake is a comfortable trail where you can enjoy the dramatic and ever-changing landscape. The lake itself attracts the local anglers who like to fish for trout in the tranquil, colorful area.

Monster and crime scene in a famous Icelandic novel

The lake is believed to be inhabited by a monster. The serpent-like creature is the size of a large whale and has been spotted surfacing now and then. The lake is the setting for the crime novel The Draining Lake by one of Iceland's most prominent crime authors Arnaldur Indriðason

 

Below is the location of Kleifarvatn on the map of Iceland

Lake Kleifarvatn at Reykjanes Peninsula

 

Reykjanes peninsula has many interesting places and several natural wonders. In fact, one could easily spend a few days in Iceland and only visit interesting places on the Reykjanes peninsula. One of those beautiful places is Lake Djúpavatn, less than an hours drive from Reykjavík. It is a bit difficult to visit since the road is a kind of a Highland gravel road for 4X4 vehicles only. But that makes visiting the place just a bit more exciting and adventures. There are also a few interesting hiking trails in the are that take up two to four hours to hike. It is an advantage and a privilege in life to be able to drive such a short distance and enjoy peace and quiet in such beautiful places.

A small lake ideal for fishing and hiking

There is one sure way of getting your children away from the computer. Take them fishing.  Find a nice lake and it doesn't matter if it has salmon, trout or sand lance. Children simply love a trip including a fishing rod and a picnic. Djúpavatn (Deep Lake) is a popular family destination in Iceland and a perfect place for a family destination. This beautiful and tranquil lake is located on the Reykjanes Peninsula, a mere half an hour drive from Reykjavík.
In spite of its name, the lake is not at all deep, a mere 16.7 meters and its size is only 15 square meters. In fact, you can rent the whole lake if you don't want to be disturbed.

A road for a 4WD vehicle only

There was no fish in Lake Djúpavatn until 1960 when a stock of char was transferred to the lake from Þingvallavant (Lake Þingvellir), possibly because the two lakes share similar geological environments. The fish, though rather small, has now been thriving in Lake Djúpavan for 55 years.  Having a picnic by the lake is ideal, of course, but in Iceland, the weather can't always be relied upon to suit your needs. But, not to worry. There is a fishing lodge by the lake where you can have your picnic indoors.

Access to Djúpavatn is quite easy from Krýsuvíkurvegur Road Nr. 42.  A few kilometers before you come to the lake Kleifarvatn you turn to Road Nr. 421 Vigdísarvallavegur.  Here you need to keep in mind that this is one of the many roads in Iceland where you need a 4X4 or a 4WD vehicle. This is not a road for a small car.

 

Djúpavatn a beautiful and tranquil lake is located on the Reykjanes Peninsula

In Iceland, the Blue Lagoon at the Reykjanes Peninsula is becoming a landmark equivalent to Big Ben in London and the Eiffel Tower in Paris. It is a place most visitors and tourists that plan a trip and come to Iceland want to visit.  Needless to say, it is probably the most popular tourist destination in Iceland. These unique baths were discovered accidentally in the 1970s. During a construction operation at the nearby Geothermal power plant, the workers decided to use this natural pool to wash after a long and exhausting day. Soon, the word spread about the water's extraordinary qualities. It is extremely rich in silica and sulfur, thus excellent for helping people suffering from skin diseases, such as psoriasis. One gentleman from the nearby town of Keflavik fighting the disease decided to try the bath. His experiment was successful even to the amazement of some of his doctors.

A lagoon from the Geothermal Power Plant became a popular bath

During the first years, the public spas were operated at the original site. But, the natural setting proved to be too dangerous resting in the middle of a lava field. The bottom of the pool was fissures riddled, hiding some rock traps. A company was formed to build a new and safe pool.  As the lagoon became more convenient to bath in, more and more people became interested in bathing in the blue lagoon. The current pool is man-made. The nearby power plant, Svartsengi, feed the pool through water output. The water is being renewed every two days.

Recently renovated it is truly a joy to visit

Just recently the Blue Lagoon and the area around the lagoon was renovated and are now a state of the art Geothermal Pool.  The water temperature in the lagoon's bathing and swimming areas is on average 37-39°C. Apart from the public pools, the Blue Lagoon also operates a research and development facility to help find cures for other skin ailments, using the mineral-rich water.  Access to the Blue Lagoon is as easy as it gets. You go to the Road Nr. 41, which is the first road most visitors drive when in Iceland, the road between the International Airport at Keflavík and Reykjavík the capital of Iceland. About 30 kilometers from Reykjavík you turn south on Road Nr. 43 to the town of Grindavík. A few kilometers before you come to Grindavík you will see the Geothermal Power Plant at Svartsengi and the signs leading to the Blue Lagoon on Road Nr. 426.

 

 

The Blue Lagoon in Iceland