DAY 4 : SNAEFELLSNES TO KEFLAVIK
It was overcast day but dry, but the glacier had disappeared in cloud. I had originally wanted to do an Orca/Whale watching trip with Laki tours but the wind was too strong and ‘boats were aff’ as we would say.
THE NATIONAL PARK SECTION
Headed for the National Park area, at the tip of the peninsula. Overall, this was our least favourite area. Neither of us was hugely impressed with the landscape. Too many lava fields and a shore ringed with low charcoal cliffs. Perhaps it would have looked better if the glacier and mountain had been on show but it wasn’t anywhere near as attractive an area as Vatnajokull. Strolled an unusual stretch of small golden sand beach at Skarosvik where a Viking grave had been found. We followed a road down to a lighthouse but the wind made it quite unpleasant to wander around for long, really buffeting, then retraced our steps to make for Hellnar.
HELLNAR AND ARNARSTAPI
Hellnar is a very small fishing village .We had coffee in pleasant Primus Café and I finally forked out £6 (!) for a tiny piece of below average carrot cake. A thin coating of icing and a fairly tasteless sponge, not living up to the girl behind the counter’s hype about how good it was. Ah well…couldn’t leave Iceland without sampling some café ‘home baking.’
We walked part of the coastal path to Arnarstapi but it was underwhelming. Lots of lava fields and charcoal rocks and small cliffs. A lot of the time , the path seemed to keep us hidden from the sea and the expanding views down the south coast.
Retraced our steps and made for nearby Arnarstapi, a small settlement with a pleasant harbour and nice views down the coastal mountains. It really was blowing a gale now and bitterly cold, though we were well – dressed up for it.
Oddly, it was once we were technically outside the National Park secition that the scenery improved again. Enjoyed a stroll down to Djupalon Beach with its dramatic rock outcrops and Lifting Stones where fishing crews tested the strength of new recruits. Nice spot.
BUDIR AND THE SOUTH COAST
I was really keen to see Budir, which we had originally booked into, a charming old hotel in a wild and lonely spot (my favourite kind!) beside a lovely wooden church .It’s right on the coast beside some golden sand beaches. The colours were so unusual – golden sand, almost orange, with black lava outcrops.
Lots of Red Knots and and seals. I liked this area a lot with its mountainous backdrop. Had excellent coffee in the friendly hotel and oddly, it was the same price as the cafes, despite the posh surroundings.Spotted a Ptarmigan as we left, just sitting quite the thing on raised bit of moorland.Beautiful birds.We only see them in Scotland above 600 metres.
Stopped off at another small golden beach further down the coast with lots of seals and read the info board on the mass murderer that once lived in this area, in ages past. He used to murder travellers that he put up for the night.
Then we rejoined the road we’d taken yesterday and headed back for Keflavik. Thrilled to spot a sea eagle just beyond Borganes, quite near the road.
GARDOUR LAST NIGHT
Truly awful rush hour traffic at 5pm through Reykjavik, it took us forever to get through it. Then on to Gardour and the large apartment we had booked for our last night. Picked up food again at the local Bonus supermarket.
The village was a bit of a straggly settlement though it was right beside the wild, wind whipped ocean, so got a big tick in my book. Two lighthouses were a short walk away. It was blowing a real gale now and extremely cold but quite bright – always the main thing. The apartment was £120 a night, which was actually great value for a family as it slept about eight people! Huge but it was all we could get in this particular spot. It was pretty spartan and charmless but fine for one night and very clean. We’d wanted to book places this trip where we could self cater, as the eating out prices had frightened us a bit. This place was perfect too because it was only 15 minutes drive to the airport and we had an 9am flight next morning.
I wandered the coastal path for a bit after another spicy chicken and peppers dinner and admired the views towards Snaefellsnes across ocean. Gannets and skuas hunted over the surging sea in a buffeting wind. But I find the wind quite exhilarating beside the ocean too .
What a fantastic experience our 4 days had been. Lovely people, stunning country. Wouldn’t have done any of it any differently. It was an exploration trip – a ‘seeing if we liked it’ kind of experience. And we did. A lot. More than enough to go back.
ICELAND IN 4 DAYS Day 1 To Jokulsarlon Lagoon
ICELAND IN 4 DAYS Day 2 Skaftafell to Gullfoss
ICELAND IN 4 DAYS Day 3 To Snaefellsnes