Iceland Photo Epic Part 1 of 4
Today we are taking you on part one of our tour of Iceland. In this we will be featuring photos and stories documenting the sights near Ring Road 1 which encircles the island with a 1,332 kilometer (828 mi) band of pavement. The ring road is famous for its countless tourist sites, some of which will be covered here.
Let's start our journey closer to home to the capital city of Reykjavik which is home to about 65% of the total inhabitants of Iceland (if we don't count the sheep) which means even during the tourist season there still aren't that many people around you.
The Strokkur geyser sits on an extremely active area spanning several hundred meters in all directions and is home to hot-spring rivers, pools of boiling hot water rich with minerals, as well as other smaller geysers and steam vents. The main attraction pictured above erupts once every 6-10 minutes with bursts of water and steam shooting up between 15 and 30 meters with some eruptions being much bigger or smaller. The site often is crowded with onlookers so you need to get very creative if you want photos without people. In the photo above the surface tension of the water is just about to be broken by the eruption.
Note: Whenever you are visiting geologically active sites such as this remember to take great care of yourself and where you step but also of those in your group including children and pets.
Moving just to the northeast from the Strokkur geyser area we come to another landmark of the typical Iceland tour known as Gullfoss. Gullfoss waterfall is only a few kilometers up the road from our previous stop so it is well worth seeing both in the same day. The waterfall itself lies in a very unassuming location on what appears to be just a flat plain with no possible way for there to be a spectacular waterfall. It is only when you start to feel the spray on your face and hear the churn of the water below that you get a sense for the size and power of the waterfall.
The waterfall and geyser areas are located so close to each other and are a short enough distance from Reykjavik that almost every tour stops at these sites. For the least crowded adventure plan your visit a little bit later in the afternoon or early evening after most buses have already left back to town.
Back on the open road heading east towards Vik and beyond brings us sights of massive glaciers inching their way down the mountain and pulling dark volcanic rocks with them which eventually is deposited on the beaches to make the famous black sand beaches.
All of the above photos are from the southern section of the island between Hella to the west and Hof to the east. It is absolutely amazing scenery to see this ice coming down from the high mountains that has been making the slow journey for thousands of years. The stark change from the green plains on the western side of Iceland makes you think that you've traveled to a completely different country but instead you've only driven for a couple of hours. Iceland is living up to its reputation as a island of truly epic landscape diversity.
That is it for the southern portion of Iceland along the Ring Road including some of the most famous sites you will see on your venture to this beautiful land. Join us next time for a journey deeper into the heart of Iceland.