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The Geopark of Reykjanes peninsula offers unique nature pearls where volcanic- and geothermal activity run the scene. The beautiful backcountry of Reykjanes Peninsula offers variated scenery, natural phenomenons and places of stunning beauty and is only a short distance from Reykjavík! Being so close to the nature surrounded capital Reykjavík, a tour to Reykjanes gives you the great opportunity to visit a great number of interesting places and relaxed pace without much time spent on the road. Going on a private tour with one of our experienced and enthusiastic guides makes the experience even more flexible, intimate and special.
The lava surrounded fish-hangars, lake Kleifarvatn with its stunning beaches and rock formations, Seltún and Gunnuhver hot springs, Grindavík fishing village, Turkish blue waters of the Blue Lagoon, Reykjanesviti lighthouse and coastal features along with the bridge between two continents where you can walk in between two tectonic plates are just a few of the amazing places the GeoPark has to offer.
Things to note:
Only 30 minuets drive from the buzzing capital and we are surrounded by nature at the middle of volcanic Reykjanes Peninsula. This true Geo-wonderland starts with a very scenic drive through a fairy like lava fields covered in thick layer of green moss.
The Peninsula of Reykjanes is a true volcanic wonder hosting unique natural phenomenon’s; open rift zones, mossy covered lava-fields, geothermal fields, mountain lakes, fishing villages and breathtaking coastal features. Reykjanes lies on one of the world’s major plate boundaries, the Mid Atlantic Ridge in between the tectonic plates of Eurasia and North America, drifting apart from one another resulting in open fissures and volcanic activity.
Our first place of interest is an odd wooden construction placed in the middle of the lava-field. Drying fish for preservation is an age-old practice in Iceland and used to be done in the open during the dry cold winter months. We still find remains of the old traditions in several places in Iceland, where fish is being dried on wooden racks outdoors. Iceland's renewably energy and local know how's have now moved this process indoors where is can be produced all year around. The fish drying racks at Reykjanes throw us a century back in time and welcome us with scenic views and a strong smell, once known as the smell wealth. A little taste of the delicacy known as "Harðfiskur" in Icelandic goes without saying.
Once out of the fish smell we head over the pass of Sveifluháls mountain range the landscape drastically changes. Lake Kleifarvatn reveals itself on the other side, with it’s beautiful black sand beaches, troll like rock formations and weathered sandstones. The scenic road zigzags the rocky coastline until its highest point where we’ll stop to take in the magnificent view.
Kleifarvatn is the biggest lake in the volcanic Reykjanes Peninsula surrounded by palagonite and sandstone mountains that once where formed in eruptions undir ice. The lake is decorated with black basalt beaches and beautiful rock formations sculpted by the weather elements throughout the centuries. Kleifarvatn is highly affected by earth movements that are frequent in the area that have drained the lake in the past and given birth to new hot springs, now under water. The Lake’s folklore give this stunning place an extra mysterious feeling.
A few minutes’ drive from the Lakes highest point is our next place of interest; Seltún geothermal field. Seltún offers great variety of geothermal features like mud pots, steam-vents and bubbling pits decorated with very vivid range of colors, patterns and smelly sulfuric steam. Seltún is an important high geothermal field where solfataras, fumaroles and steaming ground create an extremely colorful landscape painted in red, yellow, gray, white and green. The mud pools are simmering and boiling, hissing through holes in the ground and giving birth to a great amount of smelly Sulphur steam. Sulphur, often known as the “yellow gold” was largely exported from Iceland from middle ages to the 18thcentury and used for gun- and cannon powder production in Europe.
The drive through the southern part of the peninsula is beautiful. Thick lava-fields meet the Atlantic Ocean creating dramatic scenery all the way to Grindavík fishing village. Grindavík is one of Iceland’s main fishing harbors where everything turns around fishing. It’s the ultimate place to get into the Icelandic fishing culture and to have fresh fish lunch.
Grindavík is a beautiful Icelandic fishing town with one of the most active harbors in the country. The town’s population, 3300 people, bases its livelihood on fishing or fish related industry. Grindavík provides about half of Iceland’s salt fish production.
The saltwater fueled bubbling mud pots and hissing steam vents at Gunnuhver hot springs are next in line after lunch. The hunted mud spring at Gunnuhver is constantly spewing dense, cloudy steam reaching up to 300 degrees Celcius. Close to it stands one if Iceland’s Geothermal station, producing electricity from the hot steam and harnessing hot water for the central heating. The combination of the steamy cooking ground along the station house and its boreholes and pipelines create a surreal scenery that could easily be mistaken for a setting in an out of this world science fiction movie.
Named after a female ghost, Gunnuhver is Iceland’s largest mud pool with it’s 20 meters wide violently boiling earth alimented by overheated salted seawater. It’s strong legend, loud roaring and powerful sulfurous vapor gives the sites a true mystical atmosphere.
Onwards to the majestic Reykjanesviti lighthouse to take in the breathtaking coastal features at the Reykjanes toe with its sea-cliffs, sea-stacks and skerries very animated in spring and summer with sea birds nesting in the area. Reykjanesviti lighthouse is Iceland’s oldest lighthouse and sits on the “toe” of the Reykjanes peninsula. It’s surrounded with spectacular coastal features; Seacliffs, sea-stacks, skerries and islands, under the constant attacks of North Atlantic Ocean. Various types of sea-birds nest in the area in spring and summer, creating one the worlds gannet colonies on Eldey island.
A short drive takes us to the geological wonders of the Bridge between the continents, one of very few places in the world where drifting apart of two tectonics place is visible on land and a unique opportunity to walk from the Eurasian tectonic plate to the American.
The Bridge between Continents is a 15 meter footbridge spanning a gaping rift between the Eurasian & North American tectonic plates. The lava-scarred peninsula lies on the Mid Atlantic Ridge where two major tectonic plates drift apart by the Earth’s forces, few centimeters each year. It’s the only place where this longest mountain ridge on the planet is not under sea level. The bridge between continents give you a unique opportunity to walk between the two tectonic plates where North America and Europe drift apart.
We lounge the northern part of the Peninsula as we had back to the city. Count on an hour for your smooth ride back to Reykjavík. If you wish to crown your experience in the Turkish blue waters of the Blue Lagoon please let us know in good advance so we can make the arrangement for you.
All the remarkable sites on Reykjanes peninsula bring you closer, step and step at a time, to truly understanding the powerful nature of Iceland and the creational beauty of the Blue Lagoon. If you have chosen to end the day in the geothermal waters of the Blue Lagoon you are in for a treat. Only half an hour drive from the continental bridge is the unique blue lagoon hidden in an impressive black lava-field.
The Blue lagoon, known in Icelandic as Bláa Lónið, is a geothermal spa/resort located on the Reykjanes peninsula. The lagoon itself has been hailed as being one of the modern wonders of the world, growing massively in popularity since it started being used in 1976. The lagoon is manmade with the water being fed in through a local Geothermal water plant that supplied hot water to the nearby towns. In 1971 workers at the plant created the initial pool as a bathing and relaxation site. By 1981 locals were joining them leading to the eventual formation of the Blue Lagoon company in 1992 and the construction of the facilities that service the lagoons guests today.
Heading back to Reykjavík at the end of the day we drive through the charming fishing town Hafnarfjörður, known for silly jokes, Vikings and Elfs.
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