#iceland

 

Valagjá is a name of a volcanic crater located near the mountain road Landmannaleið in the southern part of the Icelandic highland.  The geological term for the crater is maar, and it is a similar phenomenon as a few other craters like Víti, Grænavatn and the nearby Hnausapollur and Ljótipollur, but without the water.  The meaning of the term maar is actually an explosion crater.  Although Valagjá might not be a major attraction, it is an interesting stop for visitors that are not in a hurry and are interested in geology and landscape as Valagjá is actually more than one crater.

Landscape like you can envision at the planet Mars

Arriving at Valagjá, you get the feeling of a distant place and isolation.  The surrounding seems lifeless, as vegetation is struggling.   It is a landscape of sand, volcanic ash and mountains.  But interestingly there is color in the lava, which gives it a more mystical atmosphere.  A walk along the brim gives you a better overview but remember to have your hiking shoes on.  This is a harsh landscape and a bit difficult place to walk, but a short hike is worthwhile.

Landmannaleið road

When you drive from Reykjavík, and you plan to drive (Dómadalsleið) Landmannaleið it is recommended that you rent a good 4X4 vehicle.  On the southern part of the Ring Road, you look out for the road Landvegur Nr. 26 after you pass the bridge on the mighty river Þjórsá.  You need to drive approximately 50 kilometers north, and by the mountain Búrfell, you take a right turn on Landmannaleið mountain road Nr. F225.  About 15 kilometers drive will get you to a split on the road with a sight pointing to Valagjá, which is only about two kilometers from this intersection.  When you have made your stop it is recommended to go back on F225 and continue on Landmannaleið and along the way you can stop at some fascinating places like Rauðifoss, Ljótipollur and of course Landmannalaugar.

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Below is the location of Valagjá on the map of Iceland

Arriving at Valagjá, you get the feeling of a distant place and isolation.

One of the fascinating museums in Iceland is The Herring Era Museum or Síldarminjasafnið in Siglufjörður in the Northern Region.  The museum is also the largest maritime museum in Iceland.  The herring era spans more than five decades of the 220th century, and herring and the catching and processing of herring were the driving force behind the buildup in Siglufjörður.  It was the central herring town and in the thirties and the forties one of the most populated towns in Iceland. Today it is more like the icon town of the herring frenzy.

One of the fascinating museums in Iceland is The Herring Era Museum or Síldarminjasafnið in Siglufjörður in the Northern Region.

Although the landscape, natural wonders, geology, and geography are among the main attractions in Iceland, adventure tours, museums and other interesting things to do also play a role.  In all of the regions in Iceland, you will find interesting tours related to hiking or adventure connected to interesting local things like an island, an old volcano, an ice cave, and a seal colony.

When in the Eastern Region you should not miss the fabulous and unique museum at Stöðvarfjörður.

 

Although Rjúkandi is one of only a few waterfalls you can see from the Ring Road in Iceland (Road nr. 1), many visitors do not stop by Rjúkandi or tend to stop by that waterfall.  One reason is the fact that along the way at Lower Jökuldalur valley in the Eastern Region between Egilsstaðir and Akureyri there are many “road side” waterfalls running down the slopes.  Rjúkandi just seems like one of many if you don’t take the time to walk the short path to view this beautiful attraction.  The waterfall Rjúkandi is a lovely waterfall and most defiantly a place to stop by.

Take the short path to the Rjúkandi Waterfall

Rjúkandi is part of a stunning landscape at Jökuldalur valley in the Eastern Region; some attractions that are yet to be discovered.  Attractions like Stuðlafoss and Stuðlagil are places you should also consider. Through the valley lies the magnificent river Jökulsá á Brú that used to be a large glacial river running through the many small gorges hidden in the old Jökusá á Brú long canyon. Ysta Rjúkandi river is a spring fed river, one of many that today feed the beautiful river in the canyon after the glacial river was moved to Fljótsdalur valley in a massive dam project at Kárahnúkar.

On the Ring Road in Iceland just before you hit Skjödólfsstaðir

The waterfall Rjúkandi in the Eastern Region in only less than hour away from Egilsstaðir on the Ring Road nr. 1 in Iceland.  You can stop by the parking lot, and the walk up to the waterfall takes a few minutes. The parking lot is located by the road just before you reach the farm, restaurant, and accommodation at Skjöldólfsstaðir.  You also get a great view at the viewing panel in front of the waterfall, to the Jökuldalur valley.   If you want to get a view of the upper and lower waterfall you can climb a bit up the slopes. 

WHAT KIND OF CAR FITS FOR AN ICELAND ROAD TRIP?
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Below is the location of Rjúkandi waterfall on the map of Iceland

Rjúkandi is part of a stunning landscape at Jökuldalur valley in the Eastern Region

 

A combination of a short hike and a waterfall is always a delightful and enlightening experience.  You get your bloodstream moving as you walk along a river upstream and you get to see a stunning waterfall.  Fardagafoss is the perfect example of this kind of outdoor activity and as such a good option for families and children traveling in Iceland.  It is an outdoor activity with an adventure and takes about one to one and a half hour.  Great option if you are traveling the ring road in the Eastern Region and need to release some energy before continuing in the car. Even along the way up the gully, you can see another beautiful waterfall, Gufufoss. And the path by the waterfall seems harder than it actually is.

Fardagafoss and the stories

In addition to the natural phenomenon, the waterfall also has a remarkable story and a mysterious cave behind the falling water.  For centuries a troll lived in the cave behind the waterfall and guarded Fardagafoss until the cave collapsed.  Although you can still walk behind the waterfall and still see what remains of the cave, in the past the cave was much bigger and deeper.  It was even thought to have a tunnel going through the mountain all the way to the fjord Seyðisfjörður.  The story of the troll makes the waterfall even a better option for families and people traveling with children.  It is not only a waterfall but also part of a mystical folklore. 

Fardagar refers to old laws and regulations

The name refers to the period from May to end of June when, in the past people bound by law to live in one place particularly one farm, had the permission to change their home address and place of residence.  It may seem strange today, but it was part of an agrarian society in need of labor stability.  But at Fardagar you had a short window to move to another farm, and the waterfall is named after that time.  And Fardagafoss and Gufufoss are located just five kilometers from the town Egillsstaðir in the Eastern Region and one of the places you should visit if you are in the area, or at least if you are planning on visiting the beautiful fjord and town Seyðisfjörður

WHAT KIND OF CAR FITS FOR AN ICELAND ROAD TRIP?
Read this important article written by a local expert before you choose a car.

Below is the location of Fardagafoss waterfall on the map of Iceland

Fardagafoss is the perfect example of this kind of outdoor activity and as such a good option for families and children traveling in Iceland

Even if your main objective when traveling in Iceland is to see natural wonders and beautiful landscape, it is also worth it to stop at some of the beautiful and charming towns and villages.  For those who are traveling by car, an obvious option is to stop at one of the many camping sites in a town or a village around the shoreline.  Most of the towns and villages offer good overall services for tourists and most of the also offer a museum or an adventure tour.   It is also common to come across a fine restaurant and a good café in most small towns and villages.

Needless to say, almost all of the communities around the shoreline are set in a stunning landscape surrounded by beautiful mountains.

Although nothing but, this beautiful maar or volcanic crater bears the name ugly as a name.  Ljótipollur translated means ugly puddle or ugly pound.  But most craters that have lakes within them are exceptionally scenic and photogenic.  Ljótipollur is no exception with its read and vegetated slopes and visible lava layers at the brim.  Maars are usually quite deep as the water originates in ground water below and do not have any creeks into or out of the lake, only underground.  Most often craters with small lakes have this beautiful turquoise blue lake which gives the crater an enhance value for photographers.   All such craters are great attractions for photographers.

Ljótipollur crater is quite accessible

Like its neighbor Hnausapollur, the meer Ljótipollur is part of the Veiðivötn volcanic fissure system.  It is easily accessible from the mountain road Fjallabak Nyrðri F208 only a few kilometers from Landmannalaugar. And like all natural wonders in the highland of Iceland, only accessible during summer.  If you are going to visit Landmannalaugar, you might want to take the hike from the camping area to Ljótipollur and enjoy the magnificent lava and rhyolite mountains along the way in a peaceful manner. The crater is around 1.5 kilometers long, and the brims are quite high.  The form makes it a bit difficult to capture in one shot son prepare yourself with a 12 to 15 mm lens on the camera.

The view from Ljótipollur is also spectacular

One advantage of driving up the short distance from F208 to the brim of Ljótipollur is the view.  Although the elevation from the road is less than 100 meters, the view to the east and south is spectacular.  All this adds to the photo opportunity, as the view is also a great background to the many colors by Ljótipollur.  Red lava rocks, layers of lava, green vegetation and turquoise blue water on the lake. 

WHAT KIND OF CAR FITS FOR AN ICELAND ROAD TRIP?
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Below is the location of Ljótipollur on the map of Iceland

Ljótipollur is no exception with its read and vegetated slopes and visible lava layers at the brim.

People have different reasons when visiting a country like Iceland with such a high selection of natural wonders, stunning landscape and fascinating history.  Often the tour is organized to see the most popular places that have gained the most attraction. Places that have even become landmarks in the worldwide flora of attractions on an international scale.  The good thing about Iceland is the fact that there are many places that are highly attractive that few people visit.  Many of these locations are interesting from a geological perspective and as a landscape to experience. Some are even famous for their connection to history and folklore.  Most of those places are fantastic places to visit for photographers and people interested in landscape photography.  Places that are different and have a lot to offer. One such place is Hnausapollur.

Hnausapollur is on the road Sigölduleið to Landmannalaugar

Like most volcanic craters that have small lakes within its boundaries, Hnausapollur is a maar, formed and erupted about 11 thousand years ago. Usually, the reason for the lake within the crater is the depth of the that goes down to subsoil water or ground water. This combination of water, crater, and vegetated brims is usually a beautiful sight where colors interact fabulously. Similar maar volcanic craters in Iceland are Grænavatn and Víti in Askja. Hnausapollur also has another name, often called Bláhylur because of the turquoise blue color of the water. It is a highland lake in an altitude of about 570 meters above sea-level. You might think that this a remote place, but don’t be surprised if you see someone fishing down in the crater. The lake is packed with trout although quite difficult to catch.

Located on the Icelandic highland road Fjallabak Nyrðir

Hnausapollur might not be one of those natural wonders in Iceland worth a particular trip to the highland.  But if you are traveling on the Highland road Fjallabak Nyrðri or visiting Landmannalaugar on F208 it is a must to stop by Hnausapollur.  It is the next door neighbor to its similar brother bearing the awful name Ugly Pound or Ljótipollur.  Both extraordinary sights and perfect for photographing.

WHAT KIND OF CAR FITS FOR AN ICELAND ROAD TRIP?
Read this important article written by a local expert before you choose a car.

Below is the location of Landmannalaugar on the map of Iceland

Hnausapollur is a maar, formed and erupted about 11 thousand years ago

Iceland is a paradise for photographers.  The motives and natural wonders all around the country are almost infinitive. But apart from the motives, there are also other important factors involved.

Capturing Hjálparfoss waterfall

Natural wonders are by far the most appreciated and the most popular attractions in Iceland.  When you are traveling and taking a vacation, it is priceless to have the option to stop by a beautiful waterfall, a rare sight by a lagoon or to view a hot spring with boiling clay and blasting steam.  But while driving it is also priceless to have a spectacular view of mountains or drive through a beautiful fjord.  Although natural wonders are the main attractions in Iceland, some places and areas can stand alone as a spectacular scenic drive.

Five most interesting scenic drives in Iceland

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