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I love whales and I think that they are incredible creatures.
My biggest wish is to see them alive .
So when we planned our trip to Iceland , first thing on my „to do“ list was Whale watching.
I searched a little and decided to go on a Express Whale and Puffin tour with elding.is
I was very excited about this and nervous.
We took the expensive tour with the Rib boat. I thought that with that tour we would have a better chance to see the whales and be able to come closer to the animals.
We came there early because we had to put on equipment: goggles, life vest, overalls.
12 people can get on the Rib boat.
The weather was great, Sea was really calm.
First we went to see puffins. We spend a little time around them. I expected more.
Then we went to look for the Whales.
The ride on the Rib boat was fun and not as close as scary as a thought it would be.
On the beginning it was fun and later I just got sleepy from the waves and wind.
We saw some white beaked dolphins so we stopped and watched them, trying to get some pictures.
Then, after a while we went further in pursuit for the whales.
But didn’t see any. Not one. No whales. Such a disappointment for me.
I don’t know if I was more disappointed or sad. I think sad.
It was over to fast and we were heading back to main land.
It was nice watching the Reykjavik from the sea.
But I wouldn’t do it again, maybe on a normal boat. It wasn’t so special and much more expensive than normal boat.
I know that they can’t guarantee you to see whales, but when you see on they website 92% sighting success – then you have to think whether you have such bad luck?
Maybe some other time in some other place I’ll get my wish come true.
Golden Circle is popular tourist route and great route to do if you don’t have a lot of time in Iceland.
You can do it in a day. We spend around 10 hours on this tour, but slow and easy.
You can do it much shorter.
There are bus tours that do the Golden Circle tour, but the best way to do it is to Rent a car.
For this tour you don’t need SUV, you can do it with a small car, like we did.
(At least in summer)
The three primary stops on the route are the Þingvellir National Park, the Gullfoss waterfall, and the geyser Strokkur.
But there is much more to see on this route like Kerið volcanic crater, Faxi waterfall and Secret lagoon.
The Golden Circle is relatively easy to drive yourself because the roads are well maintained.
We rented a car with lavaauto.is , you can contact them on facebook or through they web page.
They respond quickly and you can easy arrange everything .
We had only good experience with them which was good because that was the first time we rented a car.
We headed at 9 A.M. and our first stop was Þingvellir national park.
The entrance to the park is free, but you need to pay for parking.
Þingvellir lies in a rift valley that marks the crest of the Mid-Atlantic Ridge and the boundary between the North American and Eurasian tectonic plates.
The continental drift between the North American and Eurasian Plates can be clearly seen in the cracks.
Scuba diving has also become popular at Silfra Lake as the continental drift between the tectonic plates made it wide enough for divers.
Place is good for hiking and you can see a Öxarárfoss Waterfall.
There is also Þingvallavatn, the largest natural lake of Iceland.
We spent 3 hours there.
After we went to the Geysir – Geothermal area.
Here is parking free and there is also no entrance fee.
There are around thirty smaller geysers and hot pools in the area.
The most famous one and biggest that erupts is Strokkur.
Strokkur erupts to heights of up to 30 metres every few minutes.
After watching him erupt a few times we took a walk around the area to see the smaller ones.
Then we drove to the Gullfoss Waterfall.
O my God! Just beautiful! I loved it.
It looks great and powerful and you can get pretty close to it.
Definitely something you shouldn’t miss. Pure nature power.
There is also a souvenir shop and restaurant.
On this route there is one more waterfall , not so big but also really beautiful.
That’s Faxi waterfall. The waterfall is full of salmon and is a great spot for fishing.
You can get all the way to the waterfall , closer then to Gullfoss.
Now was the time for little relaxation so we went to Secret Lagoon (Gamla Laugin).
An old renovated swimming pool located next to an active geyser which provides all the water for the pool.
The scenery is beautiful and it’s not crowded.
Secret Lagoon natural hot springs are located in the small village called Fludir.
There is also a little Geysir which erupts.
There is a entrance fee for the pool, but the parking is free.
We took time to enjoy here because we were nearly done with the tour.
There was the last thing on our way to see and that was the Kerið – Crater.
There is a entrance fee to see the crater.
Keri ð is a volcanic crater lake in Grimsnes.
It is believed that Kerið was originally a cone volcano that erupted and emptied its magma.
Once the magma was depleted, the weight of the cone collapsed into an empty magma chamber, later to be filled with water.
It looks great because of the red volcanic rock.
That was our Golden Circle tour.
And now back to Reykjavik.
When I started planning my trip to Iceland, my friend from work told me that there is one place I have to visit there and that is Vestmannaeyjar or the Westman Islands.
If you have a car you can go there with the ferry from Landeyjahöfn.
We rented a car only for the Golden Circle so for the Westman Islands we took a tour from Reykjavik.
We reserved a tour online with Gray Line.
This tour takes you from Reykjavik to Landeyjahöfn harbour and with a Herjólfur( ferry) to Vestmannaeyjar island.
It took us appr. 1 hour 40 minutes to get to the harbour and then appr. 40 minutes with the ferry to the biggest island of Vestmannaeyjar – Heimaey.
The Westman Islands are a group of 15-18 islands, depending on how they are classed, and about 30 skerries sand rock pillars, located off the mainland’s south coast. The islands were formed by submarine volcanic eruptions .
The islands are named after Gaelic slaves who had been captured into slavery by Norsemen. The Old Norse word Vestmenn, literally “Westmen”, was applied to the Irish.
Population on the island is around 4000.
The other islands are uninhabited, although some have single hunting cabins.
Vestmannaeyjar came to attention in 1973 when the Eldfell volcano erupted, which destroyed many buildings and forced a months-long evacuation of the entire population to mainland Iceland.
The area is very volcanically active.
Surtsey island was formed in a volcanic eruption which began 130 metres below sea level, and reached the surface on 14 November 1963.
It was studied by volcanologists during its eruption, and afterwards by botanists and other biologists and today only scientists are allowed to the island.
When we got to the Heimaey first we went to a boat tour with Viking tours.
It was a great tour around the island enjoying the view on the rocks, many different seabirds that nest in the Cliffs.
At the end of the tour they took us to cave Klettshellir where the Captain played the saxophone in the natural echo of the ocean cave.
We saw Puffins and many other seabirds.
After the tour we had a free time for lunch and then we went to a bus tour around the Island.
We had a great tour guide Alfreð, he was very funny and he gave us lot of facts and stories about the Island and the eruption and Vikings.
After the bus tour we went to visit Elheimar museum . Visitors get a glimpse into people’s lives on Heimaey before the eruption.
The highlight of the exhibition is the house, the home to Mrs. Gerður Sigurðardóttir and Mr. Guðni Ólafsson and their 3 young children. They were forced to leave their home in the middle of the night. A few days later their home had drowned in ash and lava. After being buried in ash and lava for over 40 years, house has now been excavated and shows how cruelly nature treated the homes of so many islanders.
After the museum we had a free time on the Island so went to the Sæheimar Natural History Museum and Aquarium.
It’s a small museum but the best thing about it is that the owner rescues birds and they have alive Puffin you can see up close.
After this island I’ve definitely confirmed that the islands are always worth a visit.
There is always something beautiful about them, the nature, the people, the animals.
Just something special. 🙂
Finally a short vacation for me. Only 5 days but fantastic destination.
As I always say : Better to travel a bit but not to travel at all.
I went to Iceland!
It was necessary to save a lot for this trip but it was worth it.
The cheapest ticket we found was from Zagreb to Vienna to Oslo to Reykjavik.
Lot of stops, but it was the cheapest and the longest wait we had was in Oslo – 8 hours.
In Wien we had only 40 minutes layover.
When we came to Oslo airport we went to find a place to sit down and maybe rest a little until our flight, which was in the morning.
We bought a Beer and we sat down.
In front of us was a big „penis statue“ which was very interesting, oddly and funny, because lot of people came to take a picture with the statue in various poses. 🙂
After a while two guys came to sit beside us and we heard a familiar language so we ended up talking until morning.
The guys were very nice and interesting so the time passed very fast.
If they are reading this I’m sending them big regards – Bojan & Ivan :), maybe we’ll meet again some day.
We came to Reykjavik around 09:00 AM.
We took a Flybus to the main bus station and from there we went with Straeto bus to our rented apartment which was in Búðagerði.
We left our stuff and went to Skarfabakki pier.
We bought a ticket to the boat and went to Viðey Island.
Viðey is the largest island of the Kollafjörður Bay in Iceland, near the Reykjavík.
It is the location of the Imagine Peace Tower, which is a “Tower of Light” built by Yoko Ono, in memory of John Lennon.
The Church in Viðey is one of the oldest in the country.
There are also many birds there.
Island can be explored both on foot and by bike.
It’s great for a short visit.
After visiting the Island we took a Sculpture and Shore walk from the pier to the Harpa.
That was our first day in Iceland.