Jan Kraus
17 August 2022photo story4 min read

Iceland Highlights - Part Five

With this tempo of updates, I will probably not finish my Iceland series soon. But I keep trying. In this part, I cover the next part of the trip around Iceland’s Ring Road, driving further east, visiting beautiful beaches, a Viking village, a glacier lagoon and more stunning views.

Jökulsárlón Glacier Lagoon

Somewhere in the middle of the southern shore of Iceland lies the Glacier Lagoon Jökulsárlón. The lagoon is a part of Vatnajökull National Park and is situated at the Breiðamerkurjökull glacier’s head.

Jökulsárlón Glacier Lagoon, Iceland
Jökulsárlón Glacier Lagoon, Iceland

It’s a major attraction along the Ring Road, so the place can’t be easily missed.

There is an ample parking next to the lagoon, and you can book boat tours to get around and see the glacier’s iceberg chunks closer.

Jökulsárlón Glacier Lagoon, Iceland
Jökulsárlón Glacier Lagoon, Iceland

Jökulsárlón Glacier Lagoon, Iceland
Jökulsárlón Glacier Lagoon, Iceland

View of Breiðamerkurjökull glacier from Jökulsárlón Glacier Lagoon, Iceland
View of Breiðamerkurjökull glacier from Jökulsárlón Glacier Lagoon, Iceland

We’ve booked a boat tour on the lagoon. It’s around 30 minutes cruise, definitely worth it if you’re there, and I recommend booking in advance (just google the operators).

My only concern (or complaint) was that they were using old vessels, which probably burn a lot of cheap and poor-quality diesel fuel. Please don’t complain about climate change made by others if you’re not willing to make changes on your side.

Vatnajökull Glacier

Panoramic View on top of Vatnajökull Glacier, Iceland
Panoramic View on top of Vatnajökull Glacier, Iceland

Vatnajökull is the largest glacier in Europe and of course, I wanted to visit it. We’ve booked a snowmobile excursion, but I’m not sure if it is a must-have experience. The glacier is definitely impressive by the size and area it covers but you can’t really see that when you’re on top.

A view on Vatnajökull Glacier, Iceland
A view on Vatnajökull Glacier, Iceland

Vestrahorn Mountain

The first chapter of this section starts with Versrahorn Mountain. It is a stunning, 454m high scree mountain in southeast Iceland, not far from Höfn.

View at the road towards Vestrahorn Mountain, Iceland
View at the road towards Vestrahorn Mountain, Iceland

While not tall, it offers dramatic views because it rises sharply, almost from sea level. The morning we arrived there was quite moody, with many clouds. It provided a unique view of the area with some spectacular highlights created by occasional rays of sunlight.

View over Vestrahorn Mountain slopes from level 0
View over Vestrahorn Mountain slopes from level 0

The next photo is, by far, my best and favourite image from the whole trip. The bottom part of the mountain was covered by clouds, creating this natural highlight of the rough, sharp rocks it’s made of.

Dramatic view of Vestrahorn Mountain ridges
Dramatic view of Vestrahorn Mountain ridges

A short ride a little bit further along the bay, towards the shore reveals another excellent spot for views: curly, black sand beach in front and a fantastic panoramic view of Versrahorn.

Panoramic view of Vestrahorn, Iceland
Panoramic view of Vestrahorn, Iceland

Viking Village Movie Prop

Right at the footsteps of Versrahorn also lies a small Viking village. It’s not an actual settlement but rather a movie prop set built for the purpose of some TV series and movies. You have to get a ticket from the nearby café, but the visit is worth it, especially if you are a photographer.

Viking Village Movie Prop in front of Vestrahorn Mountain, Iceland
Viking Village Movie Prop in front of Vestrahorn Mountain, Iceland

The village set is just 10-15 minutes from the parking spot.

Viking Village Movie Prop in front of Vestrahorn Mountain, Iceland
Viking Village Movie Prop in front of Vestrahorn Mountain, Iceland

When we visited it, there was a crew working on some movie set, so perhaps that’s why some props were set up in the open, and it looked like a real place!

Viking Village Movie Prop in front of Vestrahorn Mountain, Iceland
Viking Village Movie Prop in front of Vestrahorn Mountain, Iceland

Riding East

For couple days our base was near Hof, which allowed us to explore the southern shore and the outskirts of Vatnajökull National Park.

Highlight views from driving Ring Road in South East Iceland
Highlight views from driving Ring Road in South East Iceland

The mountains are rough, sharp, and shaped by nature and elements. Sparse grass and moss covering bare rocks just add a few highlights to them.

Highlight views from driving Ring Road in South East Iceland
Highlight views from driving Ring Road in South East Iceland

The ride towards the east of Iceland is long. The road navigates the shoreline following around multiple bays, sneaking between the ocean and hills and mountains of Eastfjords.

Highlight views from driving Ring Road in South East Iceland
Highlight views from driving Ring Road in South East Iceland

Just be aware. The stunning views will seriously blow up all estimated driving times.

Highlight views from driving Ring Road in South East Iceland
Highlight views from driving Ring Road in South East Iceland

Highlight views from driving Ring Road in South East Iceland
Highlight views from driving Ring Road in South East Iceland

Aaaaaand that’s the end of part 5 of the Iceland highlights…
Next week I’ll cover more impressions from Eastfjords and from drive through Northern Iceland.

Entry published on 17 August 2022 under #photo story, #photography, #iceland, #travel, #waterfalls, #glaciers.
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