Welcome to part 2 of our epic 2 week Iceland road trip. If you missed part 1 Reykjavik to Vik check it out first.
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Day 6 – Glaciers, Lagoons & Diamond Beaches
We got as close as we could before we came face to face with an F road. Our car being a 2WD could go no further.
We were still a few kilometres away and could have walked the final distance but as we had a long day ahead of us we decided to continue on.
I did wonder if there was another way to get there as a lot of people seem to visit it and don’t mention having a 4×4.
Along the drive I spotted a funky looking waterfall so we pulled into the town of Kirkjubæjarklaustur and parked up to take a closer look. The waterfall turned out to be called Systrafoss.
We found a path through the woods to the top where there were amazing views over the town and beyond. You can get so close to the top of the falls, it looks just like a waterslide!
After our extended detour we continued on our drive. Once we got closer to Skaftafell the scenery changed to include glaciers.
We kept stopping to admire the views even though we were getting closer and closer.
Eventually we made it to the National Park and saw a shortish hike to the bottom of Skaftafellsjökull glacier. We decided to do this one over the waterfall hike as we were pretty much waterfalled out and had never seen a glacier up close.
According to the sign it was a 3.7km round trip which should take 1-1.5 hours. I think this was measured to the visitors post at the ‘end’ of the trail, but you could actually go a lot further than this right down to the edge of the glacier so it took a lot longer than we expected.
Once down there we spent our time taking it all in. It is such an amazing sight to behold, the sheer power of nature at work.
The hike back seemed to take forever, but that’s always the way when you have seen the path before!
Next up we programmed ‘Mares’ our sat nav for Fjallsárlón Glacier Lagoon.
She had a right laugh on us and sent us down a horrible gravel track where we came to a ‘bridge’ which no longer existed.
There are lots of pull ins as you reach Jökulsárlón where you can park up and walk over the hill to the lagoon.
I’d recommend driving right up to the bridge like we did as this was an excellent vantage point. You can see the glacier pieces breaking off and floating out to the ocean.
Jökulsárlón and diamond beach was my favourite spot in the whole of Iceland. It was beautiful.
Once we had taken enough photos of the lagoon side we headed over to the beach side.
Ohmigoodness, even more beautiful. The chunks of ice washed up on the beach literally sparkle in the sun, hence the name Diamond beach.
We spent a very long time here just enjoying the views. Once the sun started to go down we decided to head to our hotel. On the way (which was back the way we came) we did quickly stop at Fjallsárlón for a quick peek.
Our hotel Fosshotel Glacier Lagoon was absolutely stunning. It looked like something out of grand designs.
We checked in and wanted dinner but our options were so limited. As it was in the middle of nowhere we only had the hotel restaurant. We literally couldn’t afford anything on the menu! Absolutely ridiculous prices!
We had to settle for the bar menu and we had club sandwiches and chips for £20 a pop. They were rather nice though to be fair.
Once we had eaten we settled into our room for the night. The room was amazing like the rest of the hotel, we would definitely recommend it.
Day 7 – Reindeers, Incredible Scenery & Icelandic Horses
Today we had another long day of driving up to our little cabin near Egilsstaðir.
There’s not a lot along the drive up the east fjords, just the amazing scenery to keep you amused.
On the way up we stopped at Jökulsárlón Glacier Lagoon again and took a walk on the other side this time, but we decided yesterday’s spot was much better.
Our home for 2 nights was a place called Stomur Cottages, which was a collection of 3 tiny cabins on a farm. We arrived at our cabin pretty early on in the day, probably early afternoon. This gave us some much-needed chill time.
We had a nap; actually that was just me!
Then we spent the best 20 minutes just watching the man in next doors cabin not realising how to lock the door! His other half had wandered off on a walk thinking he was going to be right behind!
Once the neighbours were back we headed off ourselves down the drive to visit the horses. They were very friendly!
We could have walked further to the nearby lake but we were in the mood for a rest day so we just headed back to our cabin to make dinner and chill.
Day 8 – Fjord Towns Galore
Today we had the whole day to visit the east fjord towns. I had planned to visit Seyðisfjörður and Mjóifjörður but the road to the latter was unfortunately impassable due to bad weather conditions.
I was pretty gutted as there was a waterfall along the way which I had wanted to visit.
We still headed for Seyðisfjörður even though the road over the mountains said it was icy in patches.
The drive over the mountain pass was amazing! There was snow! I absolutely recommend the drive alone.
We stopped at a few places to admire the views and to just enjoy the snow.
Make sure to stop at the stone ‘finger’ sculpture, there is a hidden waterfall if you walk to the edge behind it. Be careful though the snow makes it a bit slippery.
Once we reached the town we headed straight for the blue church and the rainbow road! Absolutely adorable!
We then just drove and wandered around taking in the views, it is the prettiest little town.
As our plans to visit Mjóifjörður were foiled we decided to visit the other eastern fjord towns instead. We drove to Reyðarfjörður, Eskifjörður and Neskaupstaður.
Along the route you have to drive along windy mountain roads and even a tunnel that goes through the mountain!
The views are basically why you are here, the towns themselves don’t have a lot to offer. Make sure to stop often to take the views in.
We were a bit knackered once we reached the last town. The weather was moody and the drive back to our cottage was long. You have to go back the way you came so it’s not that interesting either.
Hubby soldiered on and got us home where we chilled out and had dinner in our cabin.
Day 9 – Scary as Hell Mountain Roads, Snow Fights & Frozen Waterfalls
Instead we set off straight towards Dettifoss near Mývatn our next stop.
The drive involved many mountain pass roads which were a bit hairy. The weather was pretty bad.
It was blowing blizzards down from the mountains and across the road which making it invisible in the snowy landscapes!
It didn’t deter us though, ever the adventurers we stopped for photos in the -8 degrees temperatures a few times. We even found this random little wooden chair with heart cut outs!
Our doors did get frozen shut at one point and the amount of ice that froze on the underside of the car behind the wheels was ridiculous!
It took 2 days to melt off and it made this awful scraping noise when you turned the wheels.
We weren’t sure if we would make it to Dettifoss today. Earlier in the day when we checked the road conditions it said it was very slippery.
There is more than one road in so we chose the easiest route for our little 2WD car. The road was indeed snowy and icy but not so bad that it was impassable.
We fully coated and booted up for the walk which was a short 10-15 minute trek away. It was ridiculously cold here.
My camera enjoyed a warm snuggle inside my coat so it didn’t freeze. The upside was the snow, it was everywhere, like a winter wonderland.
At the main viewing point, we took some quick photos before heading off towards another waterfall further upstream.
It seemed pretty far away though so we gave up halfway and wandered back towards the car.
With our drive done for the day we headed off for our cabin for the next 2 nights. We were staying a short drive from Mývatn in Einishus Cottages.
This cabin had a hot tub so we didn’t mind heading home early one bit!
The hot tub took about an hour to fill up so we unpacked our stuff, relaxed and had some food while we waited. The rest of the evening was spent relaxing our weary legs and enjoying the warmth of the tub.
Day 10 – Fissures, Caves & Lava Fields
We enjoyed a leisurely morning shower and breakfast before heading back to Mývatn to explore.
Our first stop was the Stóragjá Fissure which proved hard to find even though It was apparently right in front of us.
The Sat Nav lead us to the entrance of a farmers track so we wandered down for a bit, nothing jumped out.
A trail headed off to the right which me in my wisdom decided we should follow.
We walked what seemed like forever, probably about 20 minutes, until we came to a signpost (which was helpfully on the floor!). The Stóragjá Fissure was not on it!
Hubby had to get up google maps for the second time this trip to see where we were! We had walked miles out of the way so we had to turn around and walk all the way back.
Once we were back on the farmers track Liam headed across some open grassy area toward the main road (which is where it said it was near on the Sat Nav). We came across a hole in the ground…definitely a fissure of some sort.. and literally right alongside the road which I didn’t expect.
We followed it along and eventually came to a ladder down into the fissure.
At the bottom through cracks in the rocks you can see the pools of thermal water where people go swimming.
I’ll be honest it’s not really that amazing so if you are short on time just skip this.
Next up we headed to Grjótagjá cave, the one that was in Game of Thrones.
The water is too hot to swim in now, probably for the best or it would be crammed with people! But it’s still gorgeous to look at, the water is crystal clear.
After the cave, we headed to the Hverir geothermal area.
Your shoes will get caked in sticky muddy stuff so wear something you don’t mind getting dirty. It also smells something rotten here, I literally couldn’t take it, it made me gag!
We did a quick loop but I just wanted to get away from there as quickly as possible.
I won’t lie I wasn’t very happy on this day. I’d decided to wear jeans over my thermals rather than my fleece lined hiking trousers and I was absolutely freezing. I’d probably have been fine if I’d just worn those bloody hiking trousers!
We drove to Hverfjall Volcano Crater which we were going to hike up.
As I was so cold and moody I decided to wait in the car whilst hubby went up quickly. He wasn’t gone long only about half an hour or so. He even took a photo for me.
Once he was back we headed towards Stora-Viti crater lake. We passed the power plant then came across lots of cars parked up on the side of the road at the bottom of a hill.
There was snow covering the road which is apparently why they had stopped. Liam decided we could make it up and powered through. It was quite scary to be honest I thought we were going to slide off the road.
We only managed to get a little bit further before we came to more snow covering the road, this time worse. We couldn’t get to the crater lake so we had to turn around. Hubby tried to in a pull off section. This is when we got stuck in the snow! It was deeper than it looked.
Being cold and moody already I just about lost my sh*t at this point and decided I’d rather be at home than stuck out here in the cold.
Whilst I was having my paddy 2 guys luckily walked past who were on their way back from the lake. Somehow, they managed to get us out of that god damn hole, while I just stood and watched, of course.
I got back in the car, swiftly decided I wasn’t going to be in the car while it went back down the snowy, icy hill, so got back out again. Safer to walk I thought. Obviously on the way down I ended up flat on my arse and the car was just fine. Today was not my day.
Having failed to see the crater lake we headed instead to Dimmuborgir Lava Fields.
We were really hungry and needed a pee by this point but when we got there the café was shut and you had to pay to use the toilets…obviously!
One of those days!
We chose one of the shorter routes through the lava fields and had a quick wander round before heading back to the cottage.
We bought some burgers on the way home to put on the BBQ. Then spent the evening enjoying our hot tub.
What do you think of days 6 to 10 of our Iceland road trip?
Did you miss part 1? Check it out here! Part 3 (days 7-14) coming soon!
In the meantime why not check out my other Iceland posts?
- Packing for Iceland
- How much does it cost to road trip Iceland for 2 weeks?
- A comprehensive guide to driving in Iceland
- Where to stay in Reykjavik
- Soaking in the Secret Lagoon
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