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Five days in Iceland - Day 1 "Arnarstapi and Kirkjufell"

At the beginning of March 2018 I had the opportunity of visiting the amazing country of Iceland and do a short, five day road trip along it's southern coast

P.S. Give me a shout in the comments below if you find posts like this useful and interesting and if I should continue on writing these. Also don't be shy to suggest new locations which you'd like to find out more about.
 The map of Iceland. ©Simon Migaj photo

The map of Iceland. ©Simon Migaj photo

As this was my first trip to the land of fire and ice obviously I wanted to see as much as possible. Looking at it from a perspective this was a huge mistake as I was constantly in a rush and never actually got to enjoy any of the locations while I was there. Except for Kirkjufell.

 

Ok, let's talk about Iceland. Nowadays it's very easy to get there. You can get a direct flight to Iceland from almost any country in Europe and that's great! You do have to remember tho that Iceland is a bit more expensive then your average European country and that if you want to see more then just Reykjavik and its surrounding area, then it's better to spend a bit more and rent a car. That is what I did. I got myself a perfectly reasonable Dacia Duster, which is a lowest level 4x4, but was perfectly fine for me, even for the fact that I'd be spending three nights in it. So after flying into Reykjavik, I picked up my Lancia and started the journey.

 

When coming to Iceland there are always few places that everyone wants to see: Kirkjufell, Skógafoss, Vik, Stokksnes, Gullfoss... the list is long and I understand that you might want to see everything, but I'd suggest to give every spot one day, if you want to admire it properly, hike around it, see it from every angle. That is what I did at Kirkjufell... well, almost.

 

Map from Reykjavik to Kirkjufell

Driving to Kirkjufell from Reykjavik I wanted to visit the Snæfellsnes Peninsula as I've seen some photos of it before and wanted to experience it myself. It's an amazing place and a great drive, definitely worth visiting!

 Snæfellsnes Peninsula, Iceland. ©Simon Migaj photo

Snæfellsnes Peninsula, Iceland. ©Simon Migaj photo

Oh yea, and along the way I've seen something that I wanted to see for a long, long time! The Icelandic horses. To be honest these guys are everywhere, but they are great and very often very friendly. You have to be careful tho cause every now and then they do tend to "fight" between each other, kick and wave their heads. It's easy to get hurt by one of them, so just be mindful.

Arriving at Kirkjufell was quite something for me personally: that was the first time it actually hit me that I'm in Iceland. And I do believe it's great to go there in winter. You'll see Kirkjufellfoss all frozen up, looking like a dream! Plus it won't be that crowded, although I have to admit that when I arrived there, there were still a lot of people. Walking around that frozen waterfall, its amazing shapes and admiring the peak of Kirkjufell itself is a great experience, but it's even better when you're allowed to take it in by yourself. I walked around the waterfall for a while, took few photos and went back to my car to go to Arnarstapi.

If you google Arnarstapi right now the first image that you'll see will explain to you why I wanted to go there. The white house above the rough cliffs of the Icelandic coastline became basically an icon for Iceland. I had to see it with my own eyes and it's less then an hour drive from Kirkjufell! Believe me that the views there are well worth the trip.

This is where it all got interesting for me. I went to Arnarstapi cause my previous visit at Kirkjufell was just to scout the location, so I could take some blue hour photos later on so I got in my car in Arnarstapi and drove back to Kirkjufellfoss and wow was it a good decision! By the time I got back there everyone was gone so I had the whole place to myself.

The next images should provide the perfect explanation why you should visit Iceland in winter, cause only then you can see the magnificent aurora borealis. This was also the first time I've seen it this bright!

Now if you see an aurora anywhere and it's just a faint glow stay there. They usually get stronger with the hours passing.

 

I left Kirkjufell really late at night admiring the northern lights for a long time and it was totally worth it! From there I started driving towards Skógafoss stopping along the way for some sleep. My wake up call was quite something, but that's in the next one, which should be a bit more informative, not just descriptive.

 

Best

Simon