Iceland: Ring Road Day 6!

Day 6 consisted of

  • Öxnadalur

  • Glaumbær (highlight)

  • Kolugljúfur (highlight)

  • Grábrók (highlight)

  • Icelandic horses

  • Deildartunguhver Thermal Spring

  • Glanni Waterfall

STOP #1: Öxnadalur - Valley views

Credits: https://guidetoiceland.is/travel-iceland/drive/oxnadalur

This is a very deep and narrow valley, around 35km long. It is a magnificent valley in the the fjord Eyjafjordur in North Iceland. Stunning peaks and rock pinnacles delineate the mountain pass.

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STOP #2: Glaumbær - Turf farmhouses galore

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One of the few remaining 18 century turf farm museums, oldest parts of it are from the 18th century. The Icelandic turf farm was a complex of small separate buildings, linked by a central passageway. It was truly a fascinating insight into the cramped living conditions of the era.

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Nearby, besides the turf farm, there are buildings from the 19th and early 20th century, including a church and a former school for housekeepers. There is also a very nice cafe called Áskaffi in a cozy old-fashioned tearoom where you can get traditional Icelandic cakes and other local snacks.

Venture slightly past the turf farms and you can sit on the bench and enjoy sweeping mountain views only slightly obscured by clouds.

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STOP #3: Kolugljúfur - Jaw-dropping canyons and rushing rivers

Credits: https://justinpluslauren.com/kolugljufur-gorge-waterfall-iceland/

Tip: Please do not get too close to the edge here as there are no barricades or clearly marked signs that prevent you from falling.

Just off the Ring Road, we drove for a few minutes down Route 715, otherwise known as Víðidalsvegur. All you can see from the road is the bridge. Walking across a bridge and towards the right, the Gorge truly is a jaw-dropping vision. This is one of the lesser-known tourist attractions which is great since you will likely have it all to yourself.

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If you dare, venture below to get a closer listen to the gushing water streams but be wary of the drop.

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STOP #4: Grábrók - craters and lava views

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Reaching the top of crater is a relatively steep climb, but a large portion of the climb is on wooden steps, so it's actually okay! Once at the top, you can circle the rim on a path and view an adjoining crater and the vast landscape on every side. It's an interesting geological feature, especially with the contrast of the moss and brown soil, but I would say the views over the surrounding area are more impressive.

It was also exceedingly quiet and windy, which gives you more opportunity to enjoy its pristine beauty.

STOP #4.5: Icelandic horses - run wild, run free!

Along your adventure on the Ring Road, you will encounter views of the horsies at various points. They are so freaking adorable but don't stop along the way unless it's a safe point. Although the horses are a lot smaller compared to normal horses, they are long-lived and hardy and tölt (even that word is adorable!) A lot of them were dispersed along the landscape, and I imagined them running wild and free, without a care in the world, how lucky!

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STOP #5: Deildartunguhver Thermal Spring - HOT HOT HOT! 

Geology buffs will go gaga here as this is Europe's most powerful hot spring, proving 200 litres per second of piping hot water. Be sure to keep your distance as you might get splashed if you get too close. Visitors will observe water bubbling up and frothily splashing against moss and rock.

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STOP #6: Glanni Waterfall

The way to the Glanni Waterfall is denoted by this sign. The Glanni Waterfall on the Norðurá River is claimed to be the dwelling place of elves and trolls. However, we noticed that this waterfall was situated near a golf course nearby an old lava flow (called the Grábrókarhraun lava field) and the hamlet of Bifröst. Glanni Falls in particular is a wide river-type waterfall that is a common example of waterfalls, but this one was uniquely segmented into at least three side-by-side drops and multiple tiers.

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