Welcome to Iceland

In August/September 2023 Laura and I traveled to Iceland for a little adventure vacation. We spent a few days exploring Reykjavik and surroundings with my dad, Günther, and his partner, Marion. Then Laura and I continued on to the Snæfellsnes peninsula to go on a 6-day horseback riding tour along those endless, windy beaches. Finally we drove south and took the ferry to the Vestmannaeyjar volcanic archipelago off of the southern tip of Iceland to climb a volcano and rescue baby puffins.

We landed at Keflavik airport early in the morning, after a 6 hour flight and got on the bus to Reykjavik. After checking into our vacation rental in town, we visited the Sky Lagoon, and spent a couple of hours relaxing, soaking in the hot water, while enjoying the views of the seas and birds of the North Atlanic. In the afternoon, we met with Günther and Marion, and together we explored the city and then we had a nice dinner together at Mama Reykjavik.

The next day we rented a car and visited the Leiðarendi Lava Cave, the Raufarhólshellir lava tunnel, the port town of Þorlákshöfn, and the fumerols at Krýsuvík. The following day, we spent exploring Þingvellir national park.


Þingvellir is a national park and a historic site, and it is one of the most popular and most spectacular places to visit in Iceland. The exhibit at the visitor center explains very well the historic significance and how this unique landscape formed.

It’s one of the places where the effects of plate tectonics are directly and spectacularly visible, as the entire valley is riddled with deep cracks and fissures, many filled with glacial melt water, and all the direct result of the North Atlantic plate and the Eurasian plate pulling away from each other by a couple of centimeters every year. It is also the location of the historic Alþing, the parliament of Iceland from the 10th to the 18th centuries. Every year representatives of all communities in Iceland used to gather here to discuss and decide all manner of important questions.


After a long weekend exploring the Reykjavik area and Þingvellir, we returned our rental car, left the Airbnb and headed to the bus station, where we were picked up by the bus that took us to the horse farm. After a 2 1/2 hours drive on a nice Sprinter bus, we arrived at at the Gröf horse farm on Snaefellsness, where we were going to spend the next 6 days riding Icelandic horses along the coast.

The farm is situated on the southern coast of Snæfellsbær, between Búðir and Arnarstapi. Our tour went along the coast eastward for about 50KM (35 miles) and then back to the farm. We rode about 20KM (13 miles) a day and then left the horses in a pasture for the night and were shuttled back to the farm. So we did a fair amount of intense, fast-paced trail riding every day – in amazing and very unique landscapes and along long stretches of beautiful sandy beaches. But we were also pampered with great food, hot tub and sauna and very comfortable rooms every day before and after the ride. Amazing experience!


After a week of riding and enjoying the calm, remote rural lifestyle in Snæfellsbær, the return to Reykjavik was a bit jarring, but we did not stay, We got off the bus and got into a rental car and drove a couple of hours south, to Landeyjahöfn to catch the ferry to Heimaey on Vestmannaeyjar. We got there a bit early, so we stopped at the famous Seljalandsfoss waterfall.

Late afternoon it was time to drive to Landeyjahöfn and hop on the all-electric ferry to Heimaey, Iceland’s second-largest fishing port, and the only town on the Westman Islands (Vestmannaeyjar). Due to a recent storm, the sea was still pretty rough, but otherwise the weather was gorgeous, and we had some beautiful views of the Islands on the 30-minute crossing.

Continue reading “Vestmanneyjar”

Southern coast

Finally, after returning from Vestmannaeyjar, we still had one last full day to explore the southern coast a bit. We had rented a little cabin on a farm not far from Hvolsvöllur, just off of the ring road. We drove to the Hjorleifshofoi inselberg to check out the “Yoda cave” and the amazing landscape there. The grave of Hjörleifr Hróðmarsson, one of Iceland’s first settlers, is located on top of Hvolsvöllur.

From there we took some gravel roads further inland to get a better view of the Mýrdalsjökull – the glacier that covers the Katla volcano.

After that, we drove to Vik for a late lunch and a visit to the popular beach there. After lunch, we drove to Dyrhólaey, with its spectacular ocean-side rock formations and the lighthouse.

After climbing around Dyrhólaey for a good while we were tired and it was getting late, so we headed back to our cozy cabin and cooked some pasta for dinner.

Good bye, Iceland!
The next day was our last day in Iceland. We drove back towards Reykjavik, not without stopping for some more fumerols on the way back. We then went to Costco and had lunch there, and filled up the car. Then we dropped off the car at the airport and left Iceland in the afternoon.