#lake

 

In Iceland, Snorrastaðatjarnir, or the Shorrastaða Ponds, is a spectacular place to observe bird migration during spring and autumn. This fertile and beautiful spot is shaped like a bowl. It lies just off the main road on your way to the Blue Lagoon, is a resting place for the thousands of birds moving between countries and continents. Part of the Nature Conservation Register, it has always been a popular picnic and outdoors area for people living in the towns around the Reykjanes Peninsula. 

Snorrastaðatjarnir has three major ponds that were all formed by rift valleys. Their biosphere is quite rich, and it is a rare child who doesn't love catching sand lances and water beetles in the pond.

The flora in this unique bowl in the middle of a lava field is quite diverse. It is heathery and sports a variety of moss species. You might even find candlesnuffer moss. Here you are also likely to spot endangered wildflower species, like blue moor grass and herb paris. This area is practically the only place on the Reykjanes Peninsula where you will find woods. The most prominent tree is birch, growing tall and straight as the area is sheltered beneath tall fault walls.

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Below is the location of Snorrastaðartjarnir on the map of Iceland

Snorrastaðatjarnir, or the Shorrastaða Ponds

 

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.

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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. Kleifarvatn lake and the area around the lake is also a great place to view the Northern Lights.

Kleifarvatn and the area around the lake is a great place to see the Northern Lights

Kleifarvatn and the area around the lake is a great place to see the Northern Lights

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

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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.

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Below is the location of Djúpavatn on the map of Iceland

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.

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Below is the location of Blue Lagoon on the map of Iceland

The Blue Lagoon in Iceland

In the Icelandic nature, everything has a name, every mountain, every valley, every canyon, fissure or even crack.  And almost behind each name is a story. The most southern tip of the Reykjanes Peninsula is a spectacular place to visit. A highly active geothermal area of mud pools and steam vents boiling practically under your feet – if you dare to walk the wooden planks crisscrossing the area. Indeed, here is where you find the biggest mud pool in Iceland, Gunnuhver – or Gunna hot spring.

The hot spring got its name from one troublesome ghost, Gunna.

Just before dying the woman Gunna had a fight with the local sheriff, Wilhelm whom she hated. When she died, their dispute had not been solved. Still, Wilhelm attended her funeral. Suspiciously the next day he was found dead; his body bruised and blue, his bones broken. His remains were taken to the Útskálar church where the priest, Gísli, had to fight Gunna the ghost throughout the night as she was determined to drag the sheriff to Hell.  Gunna the ghost did not succeed and went absolutely bonkers. Wilhelm‘s widow suddenly died an unexplainable death, people traveling the peninsula got lost, died or went mad. Everyone knew Gunna was to blame. She refused to stay dead – and was quite visible. Life on the Reykjanes peninsula became unbearable.

Finding a way to get rid of the ghost

Finally, two farmers, with some spiritual knowledge, decided to get the priest at Vogósar, Erik, to bust the ghost. Knowing Eric would be reluctant, they decided to bribe him with quite a potent poteen – which he was known to like a tad too much.  After listening to their plight, the priest gave the farmers a rope with a knot on one end. He told them to give the unknotted end to Gunna; the knotted end would trundle and drag her to a place where she would get stuck forever. The farmers did as they were told and the last sighting they heard of Gunna the ghost was when she plunged into the hot spring. They declared her dead, the peninsula became safe from her misconducts and gave the hot spring her name so everyone would know where Gunna met her final fate.

Gunnuhver in the Reykjanes peninsula, not far from the International airport in Iceland was once a beautiful little hot spring.

A few months ago Gunnuhver started to change its mood and became a bit angry and aggressive. The hot spring became louder and started to expand to a larger area. In a few days, Gunnuhver had consumed part of the platform intended for viewing its beauty and started to splash hot clay and boiling dirty drizzle all over the place. Although a bit calm these days, the former pretty little hot spring is considered quite dangerous. As we can see, there are still photographers that are prepared to take the risk on some of the platforms that Gunnuhver has not consumed, yet.

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Below is the location of Gunnuhver on the map of Iceland

Gunnuhver is a highly active geothermal area of mud pools and steam vents on the Reykjanes peninsula

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