The Reykjanes Sampler-- Ideal for the short-term visitor
Many visitors to Iceland are on a brief stopover or perhaps just a day's stop on a cruise tour, or for some other reason have too limited time for longer tours. The Reykjanes Sampler is an ideal tour for just such visitors who still would like to get a good taste of what is Iceland: steamy hot springs, boiling mud pots, lunar landscapes, colorful rhyolite mountains, as well as the scenic coastline and even a large freshwater lake. Depending on preferences, it is possible to visit the Viking World Centre, where the full-size Viking ship, Íslendingur is housed. This exact replica of a Viking Ship sailed to N. America in the year 2000 to commemorate the millennium of Leif the Lucky’s first voyage to the New World, which Vikings called, Vineland. Some of the travel is on rough roads, so you even get a feel for adventure as well. This tour offers a chance to see formations and colors similar to the Mývatn Area within an easy day’s tour of the capital, Reykjavík. If desired, a stop at the famous Blue Lagoon can be added for the price Blue Lagoon admission.
Leaving Reykjavík, we pass the bustling town of Hafnarfjörður, which once had the nation's busiest harbour. We then head directly southwest on to Reykjanes Peninsula. Some may wish to arrange this tour starting with a relaxing visit to the Blue Lagoon, and why not? Millions have already enjoyed a visit to the Blue Lagoon. Others may elect to get a early experience of the geothermal forces that make Iceland a unique destination. In this case, we visit a little-known, hidden valley midway on the peninsula. After parking the car, a short walk uphill gives us a view of colorful valley slopes of orange, beige and gray. A lukewarm stream--of mixed hot and cold water--drains the valley. A bit farther on, the view opens wider and below us on the hillside, a nameless fumerole adds steam to the mix.
Afterwards, we visit the village of Grindavík, (or the Blue Lagoon if we have not already). In windy weather, Grindavík has a challenging harbour approach for boats and ships. In such cases, it's incredible to witness the skills of captains steaming into port, timing their entry in a rhythmic waltze with the waves. Even if ships aren't sailing, the birds and colorful vessels and pier gear are a pleasant sight. From here, we continue our drive, climbing up along the southwest coast with sweeping views of the shoreline. Later, in 4WD we turn inland and begin to see fascinating signs of geothermal activity--such as a small, emerald-coloured crater lake and steam billowing up.
As we approach Krýsuvík, our noses tell us we are near something cooking. Here we stop to witness bizarre bubbling natural mud pots and hot springs fuming with steam. A careful walk along the trails and boardwalk leads us to displays of rocks and lava in warm colours and hues that resemble images from outer space. Resuming our drive, we pass the sizeable Lake Kleifarvatn, a favorite trout fishing spot for many, and setting of a recent prize-winning suspense novel. After a pair of earthquakes in June of 2000, water drained out of Kleifarvatn into newly opened fissures and the lake's surface dropped by several metres, or by over 10 feet. It has since regained much of its former glory, with a rugged shoreline ranging from sprawling sandy beaches, to rugged cliffs carved into strange shapes by the forces of nature.
From Kleifarvatn, we return to Reykjavík via the lava fields outside Hafnarfjörður, where one can sometimes still see fish drying on timber racks, like in the old days.
Included: Certified, English-speaking driver-guide,
Additional: Optional entry into Blue Lagoon, entry to Viking World
Length: 4.5 hrs. +/- 1-2 hr. depending on visit to Blue Lagoon waters, Viking World, walk durations, road conditions, weather etc.
Price: € 111 per person, minimum 2 persons, reasonable surcharge for solo.
Price change due to inflation & govt. fee hikes.