The unseen beauty of Iceland: Stuðlagil Canyon in East of Iceland

This is not so popular place that is visited by the tourists in Iceland, but this place is no less wonderful than the other places. The place is not so easily accessible, therefore left unexplored by many who come on Iceland Tour. This splendid Jökuldalur valley is located in the East part of Iceland. The hidden Stuðlagil Canyon surrounded with the Basalt columns in the Jökuldalur valley is the most amazing place to see whenever you come again to Iceland if you have missed. It’s totally worth your time to stop by at the valley and get mesmerized by the untouched beauty. Earlier it was basically a sheep farm, known as the best farms found in the country. The Jökla glacial river comes from the highlands and flows down in this impressive valley from the last hundred years.

Why this Stuðlagil Canyon is not so popular?

This exceptionally beautiful Jökuldalur valley has not been visited by many yet. It certainly is an unseen gem in eastern Iceland. The most possible reason behind this can be the strong glacial river Jökla, which is about 150 km long and considered as one of the largest and powerful glacial rivers in Iceland. The river was very difficult to cross as it was too dangerous to go near it. When we think of Iceland, we think of the Blue Lagoon of Grindavík or the Maelifell Volcano or maybe the Landmannalaugar National Park; but we always tend to miss out on many hidden gems of this beautiful country. And one of the lesser known places, in the land of fire and ice, is the breathtakingly beautiful Stuðlagil canyon of eastern Iceland. Its lack of popularity is, however, not quite surprising. As most of the tourist just drive past it to get to the more explored — north and south. Yes, it is not very easy to get to. But, if exploring untapped corners of the world is what you are looking for, then this might be the perfect place for you.

 

Why visit?

Stuðlagil is one of the largest collections of basalt columns that Iceland has in its wide treasury of natural wonders. Climbing the mighty columns is a hell of an adventure. But the real peace is in staring the uniquely blue river and wondering at the sheer beauty of nature. The mere sight of the river cutting through the vast basalt columns will make you realise what heaven might be like. You can easily spend about 2 to 3 hours here, climbing up the rocks or simply sitting beside the flowing river. Stuðlagil Canyon is a good example of what the country of Iceland holds for the one who dares to choose the less travelled path and tries to explore something new.

How to visit Stuðlagil Canyon?

One of the reasons for it being less popular among tourist is its accessibility. There are no signs as well as no trail to or down the canyon. But with the help of GPS and asking people for directions at regular intervals, can surely make it less of a trouble. For reaching the location, you need to drive to the farm Grund. For that, you need to make a turn towards south on ring road no. 1 by Skjödólfsstaðir to road no. 923, then you drive to the farm Grund, that is about 19 kilometres. Here, a parking lot and a path to the riverbank will be seen along with a narrow track to the bottom of the river. From here the destination is only at about a five-minute walk. Remember to be aware of your surroundings at all times, as you would be walking on a steep slope; and also, to enjoy the amazing view along the side.

How about taking a hike?

If you are someone who is looking for a place to hike in eastern Iceland, then I doubt, that there could possibly be any other place better than Stuðlagil Canyon. It is a 4 km walk to the canyon. You can get there via Egilsstaðir. Just drive along the 14 km long Jökuldalsvegur road. There you will find a farm called Klaustursel, beside which you will see a sign on the left. On following the sign, you will soon see a parking spot. Also, further up the road, you will see a white bridge that is only good for people; so, it is better that you park your vehicles in the parking area and hike through the bridge. After a 1.5-2 km walk, you will see Stuðlafoss — a spectacular basalt waterfall. Take a right turn when you reach the end and march down to a bridge. Then turn right and go along a less-trodden path. Finally, you will see the beautiful site of the canyon. Again, remember to be cautious. The path would be slippery along with the edgy rocks. So, don’t let yourself be hurt and spoil your great time. Cherish the eye-catching view of the picturesque Stuðlagil Canyon, and have some great stories to tell to your friends.

Thorsmork Super Jeep Adventure Tour : A must visit place in Iceland

Up for Thorsmork Super Jeep Adventure Tour? Thorsmork is a popular mountain valley in Iceland, named after thunder god ‘Thor’. This beautiful valley is surrounded by Mýrdalsjökull, Tindfjallajökull, and Eyjafjallajökull from three sides. The place is full of wonderful views and exciting adventure spots all around it. The Thorsmork is called as Þórsmörk in the Icelandic language as ‘Þ’ is pronounced as ‘th’ here. It is one of the most popular hiking places in Iceland, that’s why attracts hundreds of visitors to Iceland.

On the way to Thorsmork we visit Gígjökull, the largest glacier outlet of Eyjafjallajökull (you remember the infamous eruption of 2010 that disrupted air traffic all around the world).

The Thorsmork nature reserve is covered with lush green forests and flowers, with Krossá river flowing in between the valley.

Things you should know before going for the Thorsmork Super Jeep Adventure Tour:

 

Location

This gorgeous valley is just 150 km from the capital city Reykjavik and about 100 km from the Selfoss city. This place can prove to be an ideal location to experience the magic of Mother Earth. It is not easy to drive to the park yourselves as the roads to the valley are rugged. Therefore, it is suggested to rent or book a car service to not any of the places of the valley. The Krossá river needs to be crossed, which can be crossed only through a 4×4 super jeep.

 

Crossing river at Gigsjokull glacier near Thormork

You might have been traveling to Iceland for years but didn’t get a chance to explore the mystery of Thorsmork natural park. You will be surprised to know that the entrance of the Thorsmork park is located just beside the Seljalandsfoss Waterfall on the south coast of Iceland. You can go on Thorsmork Super Jeep Adventure Tour and cover up the Grand South Coast in one day. The Grand South Coast tour of Iceland includes Seljalandsfoss & Skógafoss waterfalls as well as Gígjökull Glacier & Eyjafjallajökull Volcano. It would be huge fun to see different kind of landscapes in a single day.

Thorsmork is nature valley surrounded by 3 glaciers in Iceland

Book a Super Jeep

You might think it is easy to cross the river that lies in the valley in your own car, I am afraid to say it is not that easy to cross the river with currents, on your own. A modified 4×4 cars (like Range Rover) are the cars that are used for driving in there. If the water level is high due to rains, then you must book a super jeep to cross the river and the rugged terrain.

 

Super Jeep 4×4 after river crossing in Thorsmork

Even if you rent a 4×4 car for the Thorsmork Super Jeep Adventure Tour, it doesn’t mean you become equipped to drive that car. It is recommended to book a local guide along with the car, you can choose Discover Iceland’s Thorsmork Super Jeep Adventure Tour to reach safely to the destination. A local guide will share some valuable stories and must-seeing places of the valley along the journey that will be worth the money spent. You will get to visit the places where a normal cannot reach, the off-road paths, the rugged terrain, and highlands. The driver guide will drop at the spots where you can click some amazing photographs and post them on your Instagram.

The correct footwear is very important when you come to Iceland, specially if you’ll be doing some hiking. You need proper hiking boots with ankle protection and a thick sole, such as you can see in this picture.

Go for Valahnukur Hike

Valahnukur is a beautiful mountain trail made from the volcano ash, situated in the center of Thorsmork valley. You have to hike to the top of the mountain to have the 360° view of the valley and the nearby places like as well. This trail is 458 m elevated from the sea level. After reaching the peak you will be surrounded by beauty all around. When you are ready for the Thorsmork Super Jeep Adventure Tour, there is one particular place you should hike to get a wonderful view from the top. The Valahnukur Hike in Thorsmork takes around 35-45 minutes to reach the top to get the fantastic view. It takes about two hours to complete the round trip of the Valahnukur trail, depending on how much time you are going to stay at the top.

 

If you are a travel photographer or a blogger, this valley is definitely a must-visit to capture the panoramic view from the above.

The hike is short and easy, and you will be surrounded by glaciers, volcanoes, mountain cliffs, and river lagoons on reaching the top. What an incredible view it would be!

Go for Camping

 

Thorsmork is quite famous for trekking, cliff climbing, and camping. One of the most popular hikes/treks in Iceland is from Skogar to Thorsmork. Having said that, doing wild camping is not legal to do in the Thorsmork, there are campsites available where you can spend your night. The driver guide will help you find one during your Thorsmork Super Jeep Adventure Tour. You can also pre-book nearby hotel or hut if you have the plan to stay nearby Thorsmork area for a few days. Hut hotels are quite affordable accommodation options, along with this they also provide camping options near the hotels.

 

Our Super Jeeps are heavily modified for Iceland conditions

Best Activities to do during Iceland visit in Summer

 

Iceland can be depicted as a standout amongst the most awesome and amazing places on earth. It belongs to a rich history and culture, and its local people are among the friendliest of any place on the planet.

The most frequent query our customers come up with is what is the right time to visit Iceland. Iceland is one of a kind tourist vacation spots that offers extraordinary travel experience throughout the year. Every season has its own advantages, but Iceland in summer months is complete bliss to tour the places that Iceland has to offer. You can never get disappointed upon visiting Iceland anytime.

Summer, obviously, is the best known-season for Iceland travel. There are valid reasons behind why it is said so, the warmer climate, expanded sunlight, activities like music and art festivals, green landscape and open country roads clearing access to less visited and to some untouched parts of Iceland.

If you are making a plan to visit Iceland in summer, and thinking to do some fun exercises, you’ve gone to the ideal spot! Iceland has a ton of fun exercises for everyone. Regardless of whether you are searching for some adventure or fun activities for the whole family, Iceland in summer is the best option for you. Here is a rundown of the best activities to do in Iceland during your summer visit:

Cave tour

Iceland is a place filled with lots of caves of all shapes and sizes. Caves have a prominent place in the Icelandic history, as they were used as shelters for people or animals in cold winters.

It is difficult to know the number of caves present in Iceland since a large number of them are still to be found. Caving tour gets the chance to experience a different world which many others have not seen yet. Explore the underground world through your eyes.

The most popular caves are the glacier ice caves. The difference between normal ice caves and glacier ice caves is that ice caves are generally bedrock caves, which contain ice all year round, but the glacier ice cave gets formed within the glacier’s ice.

When you come to Iceland you will truly need to see characteristic blue ice glacier caves, however, those are just open mostly in the winters, from November until March.

Exotic Soaking

The second-best thing to do during the tour to Iceland in summer is taking a relaxing bath in the geothermal pools. You are welcome to the nation of endless access to both cold and high temp water! You can discover hot water springs fundamentally all over and bathe in them. You can find hundreds of hot springs surrounded by Icelandic greenery. The most popular geothermal pool is Blue Lagoon in southwestern Iceland.  The warm water of the lagoon is rich with benefitting minerals, often known as for curing some of the skin diseases. The location of this Blue Lagoon is easily accessible from the capital city of Iceland (Reykjavik). Another most visited lagoon is the ‘Secret Lagoon’, as the name suggests, the secret lagoon is situated in a wilderness location, spoiled not much.

There is also one geothermal pool located inside the Grjótagjá cave, the cave is hugely popular for the shooting place of one of the scenes of the world-famous series Game of Thrones.

Horse Riding

Horses in Iceland are quite well-known for their friendly and reliable nature. The horses found in Iceland are descendants of the ancient Vikings, that used to live thousands of years ago. So, they are an integral part of the Icelandic culture and provides comfortable rides to the country’s beautiful landscapes, especially to the untouched part of Iceland. This makes it a good thing to do if you are planning to visit Iceland in the summer months.

The Icelandic steed is an extremely beautiful creature. The little stature of the horse makes it ideal even for children to ride. Regardless of whether you are an experienced rider, or you are attempting it out of the blue, there are suitable horse-riding tours accessible for you. Appreciate the wonderful Icelandic nature while going on an Icelandic horse.

Super Jeep Tour

If you are looking out for a happy and stress-free time in your visit to Iceland in summer, you should choose Super Jeep Tours Iceland for complete comfort and exciting tour around the spectacular scenes of the place.

The country highlands are the super jeep’s regular living space. On a super jeep, you can cross streams, drive on glaciers, go to the highlands and significantly more that you couldn’t do on a customary vehicle or normal jeep. Explore the majestic attractions of Iceland like Grand South Coast, Great Golden Circle, Landmannalaugar Highlands, and the Northern Lights and many mores through super jeep tour by Discover Iceland.

The 4×4 modified super jeeps have highly comfortable seats which easily fit 4-5 people and provide huge comfort with utmost privacy. The driver guide of the super jeep makes sure you have a good time during the tour to Iceland in summer.

Whale and Puffins Watching

The summer season is incredible for whale and puffins watching. You get the chance to go out on a boat or stream and explore the Icelandic natural life. The fishing town of Húsavík is known as one of the best whales watching places in the world. There is a wide range of whales and dolphins you may see on a whale watching visit, and on the off chance that you are fortunate, you may likewise see the most popular Icelandic puffin!

You would be glad by knowing the fact that Iceland is home to nearly 60% of the world’s total puffin population. If you are planning to visit Iceland in summer, between May to August, there is a good chance to see puffins as well as other rare species of birds here. In late springs, hundreds of puffins come offshore for breeding purpose. The Icelandic name for puffin is ‘Lundi’.

Go for Snorkeling

Iceland is one of the two places on this planet where you can see two earth’s tectonic (American and Eurasian) plates meeting above the surface. They both are drifting apart by 2 cm each year. What’s the good news? You can go for snorkeling in between these plates. If you want extra fun during your visit to Iceland in summer, it is a must-do activity as the water here is cleanest and you can see clearly under the water. You can’t beat the snorkeling experience in the Silfra fissure ever in your life.

 

10 Icelandic Foods and Drinks you must try in your visit

Icelandic Food is not as widely known as its natural landscape beauty offers. Gradually with the involvement of time and skill, particularly chefs improvising and infusing ingredients into the local foods the picture has changed drastically since.

The Private tours of Iceland offer you ample time to execute what truly you want to do. If you happen to be a foodie, choosing the private tours of Iceland can be your best option to explore the finger-licking Icelandic food.

Given below are some of the foods and drinks you should definitely try when traveling to Iceland.

Skyr

Skyr is a dairy product made out of cheese which is similar to yoghurt. It is low in fat and high in protein and is one of the cultural Icelandic food that has been consumed for over a thousand years. As usual, you can have it served with milk and a sweet topping like berries or other fruits.

Lamb

Icelanders love the meat of Lamb and Sheep. This meat is readily available than beef. They are roasted or made into hearty stew. The slow roasted lamb is preferred by the majority Icelanders. If you are daring enough you can go for the smoked Sheep’s head.

Fermented Shark

Fermented Shark locally known as Hakarl is the national dish of Iceland. While the consumption of this particular dish is relatively low even for the locals, just try it to have the notion that you have to experience this Icelandic food to the fullest.

Hot Spring Rye Bread

You will find the dark rye bread and butter served with many other meals which are a popular Nordic bread where it is baked by burying near the hot spring. They are sweet and is available in most of the grocery stores.

[Read More: Seven Fabulous Spring Adventures to Indulge in Iceland]

Hot Dogs

The hot dog is very popular in Icelandic food. Get yourself hooked up at Baejarins Beztu Pylsur, to enjoy the best of iconic lamb and pork hot dogs. It is a small hot dog stand in Reykjavik but Iceland’s most popular restaurant. It has been serving good hotdogs since 1937.

Puffin

It is seabird which is usually smoked or boiled in milk. As the national dish Hakarl, it is another dish not widely consumed. It is one of the delicacies on the Icelandic food menus throughout the country. It tastes close to beef and has a distinct seafood taste.

Fish stew

Known as Plokkfiskur in Iceland, it is a traditional Icelandic dish prepared from boiled cod or haddock mashed together with the white sauce, onions, and potatoes. Icelanders love to fish and they always use fresh fish which is no exception in this dish. This famous fish stew is also served with dark rye bread and butter.

Coffee

Icelanders are crazy for coffee. In most of the streets, you will find local coffee shops and cafes. Owing to good competition by the numerous shops for good coffee, the coffee in Iceland is incredible. Of all the coffee beverage, Latte is the most popular one.

Brennivin

A local spirit which is similar to unsweetened schnapps. It is the country’s national alcoholic beverage and taste close to vodka. The drink is famous during the Porrablot winter festival.

Beer

The Icelandic beer has alcohol contents of about 2.25 per cent making it very light and a popular beverage. It goes well as you scout for amazing places in search of good foods.

The Best Guide to Reykjavik, as Wonderfully Weird as Ever

Reykjavik, the capital-city is situated in the northernmost part of the world. It is the cultural hub of Iceland and along with the showcase of tradition the city is also the perfect place for night-lovers because of an extraordinary nightlife. More than half of the country’s population resides within or around the city whereas the other parts are sparsely populated.

 

Apart from a modern way of life, the city has everything starting from museums to restaurants, pools and beaches where the events are never ending. The display of classical features is what makes the city even more distinctive than any other in the world.

Plan for private tours in Iceland straight from Reykjavik city

Plan your private Iceland adventure tour or simply walk the city by foot and you’ll definitely have a splendid time amidst natural sceneries, historic places, cultural hubs, cafes and many more! Here are some of the city’s highlights visitors shouldn’t miss.

 

Swimming pools

There are many popular swimming pools in the city. One is the Sundhöll Reykjavíkur which is situated a few meters behind the Hallgrímskirkja Church. The pool is enclosed within a building whose origin dates back to 1937. It is in fact the oldest pool in Reykjavik.

Vesturbæjarlaug is also another one of the popular pools in the western part of the city. It’s an outdoor pool housing a few saunas and hot tubs. One more famous site is the Laugardalslaug pool situated at one of Reykjavik’s recreational centers. These are all ideal spots for the ones who wish to relax comfortably within the city.

The Harpa Concert Hall

This massive glass building is an architectural gem within the city. The building astounds everyone with its incredible façade and the interior designs that display the uniqueness of modern day architecture.

Many popular events take place over here, including Icelandic Symphonic Orchestra which is certainly a treat to the ears. It is one of the perfect destinations within the city for some entertainment and classical vibes.

Cuisine

Food in this country is unlike any other. Sea food, fermented shark, bread, seabirds, lamb dishes and many more traditional cuisines are available in its wide-expanse in the city. There are strings of restaurants, cafes and rooftop venues from where visitors can enjoy the views along with enjoying all the tasty treats the restaurants serve.

Enjoy the night-life

Reykjavik’s night-life is what attracts tourists from all across the globe. The streets light up and get flooded by a bustling crowd. Shopping, exploring and partying can all be done in remarkable ways. There are also various musical events taking place that feature international electronic artists as well as world-famous music bands.

Cafes, pubs and bars are usually open till 1 am on regular days, however on weekends (Friday and Saturday) such places are open till 5 am. Art lovers will also have a splendid time attending the theater, opera, poetry brothels and cabaret musical performances.

Art and culture

Speaking of art Reykjavik has a stunning display of its tradition, history and culture at the museums, galleries and places around town. One such is the famous sculpture, the Sun Voyager situated at the seaside coast beside the Harpa Concert Hall.

One can also go check out fascinating sculptures at two of the city’s largest museums, namely Asmundur Museum and Einar Jonsson Museum. There are also smaller places like the Hallstein’s Park where one would eventually come across many sculptures nestled at their respective spots.

Hallgrimskirkja is the largest church in Iceland, located in Reykjavik.

The Hallgrimskirkja Church

The church is visible from almost every angle of the city and is indeed an architectural marvel worth visiting. The location is picturesque and the prevalent quietude is what furthermore enhances the environment’s distinctiveness. The architectural design resembles gothic styles including features of modern-day expressionist architecture as well.

Visitors can take a complete panoramic or 360 degree view of the entire city from the tower. It is open every day except for Sundays or special occasions like concerts.