Day 5 consisted of mindblowing waterfalls, post-apocalyptic landscapes of volcanic and geothermal features, as well as landscapes that basically resembled Mars.
- Dettifoss (highlight)
- Krafla & Viti (highlight)
- Námafjall (highlight)
- Lake Mývatn
- Goðafoss (highlight)
STOP #1: Dettifoss - most powerful waterfall in Europe
One of the most impressive waterfalls in Iceland and claimed to be the most powerful waterfall in Europe, Dettifoss is a true power of nature. Only 45m high and 100m wide, water thunders over its edge every second, resulting in a spray plume that can be seen 1km away. The beauty and sheer power are all combined in complete display at this amazing waterfall. Wild and fierce, the milky color of the waterfall was caused by the massive river fed by the sediment-rich meltwaters of the huge Vatnajökull glacier.
STOP #2: Krafla & Viti - geothermal area, mud pools, craters, green lake galore
Credits: Iceland Moon Travel Guide
The Krafla lava fields are home to Viti, one of the most famous craters in Iceland. Viti is vast, about 300m in diameter, exposing interesting formations that resulted from lava flows and water over time. This area is a reminder of how active this island has been, with spectacular eruptions resulting in the reshaping of land. Tourists flock here to get a glimpse of the crater, hike around the area, and soak in the alive hot springs and mud pools.
Formed during a huge volcanic eruption in 1724, the eruption continued for 5 years, and Viti's bubbling cauldron of mud boiled for over a century. Viti (hell in Icelandic) is a dirt-brown crater revealing a secret when you reach its rim-green pool of floodwater at its centre, reminiscent of Crater Lake in Oregon.
STOP #3: Námafjall - Mars on Earth
Credits: http://icelandaurora.com/photo-tours/namafjall-hverir/ & https://justinpluslauren.com/namafjall-hverir-geothermal-area-iceland/
Námafjall is a mountain near Mývatn in the North East of Iceland. The mountain is close to the Kraftla volcano and located right in the middle of a geothermal area. Hverir is a hot-spring area at the base of Námafjall. There is a collection of steam fumaroles (which emit sulfuric gases - I sweat, it was magnetic to watch clouds of smoke emanate from these vents), some bubbling mud pots and varied reddish-grey color landscape. I imagine it would work beautifully against a sunset sky, and for aspiring photographers, you can find possible compositions and backgrounds from all angles. Honestly, it smelled like rotten eggs, but I guess that is part of its appeal.
STOP #4: Grjótagjá Cave - that kinky GOT cave
Games of Thrones fanatics will know that this is the location where Jon Snow *cough* lost his virginity to Ygritte. It is basically an awesome gaping fissure within a 45℃ water-filled cave. As it is private property, visitors are prohibited to bathe here. Owners allow public to visit and snap shots. When the sun filtered through the roof cracks, the cave was illuminated and it looked magical. Please pardon the blurry shots but I guess they add a somewhat mystical quality :P (it was quite challenging to take good photos here).
STOP #5: Lake Mývatn - Magical volcano on lake
Tip: Mývatn Nature Baths in the area is North Iceland's answer to the Blue Lagoon. An impressive man-made hot spring, it contains a huge amount of minerals, is alkaline and is well-suited for bathing. The steam baths are constructed straight on top of a geothermal area and the sulphur-free steam emerges through holes on the floor.
An undisputed gem of the Northeast, Lake Mývatn is starkly beautiful and so diverse! It consists of a worldly terrain of spluttering mudpots, weird lava formations, steaming fumaroles and volcanic craters, set around a bird-filled lake. Views of Viti Crater from the lake (where else do you see something like this?!) make this a truly remarkable window into natural scenery.
STOP #6: Goðafoss - Waterfall of the Gods
The heavenly waterfall Goðafoss rips right through the Baroardalur lava field along Route 1. Smaller and less powerful than some of Iceland's other waterfalls, it is still truly one of the most otherworldly places in the world.
Just standing there soaking in the thundering sound of water rushing around me, I was just blown away and felt mightier than the Gods.
My friend posted photos of Goðafoss in winter, which were really spectacular as heavy snow blanketed the banks of the river and larger than life icicles alternated with the rushing water across the falls.