Have you heard about the latest volcano eruption in March 2021? Well, this lately famous volcano, Fagradalsfjall, is located in the Reykjanesbaer. However, on this peninsula, there are other nice places you should definitely visit when going there. We created for you an itinerary to visit some of the highlights of the peninsula in a day.
Coming from Reykjavik, your first stop would be in the Gunnuhver hot spring. There, you will see a small geyser with different viewpoints over the geothermal area. A little further in the distance you will also see a lake such as the blue lagoon with this particular blue color due to the silica present in the water, reflecting the light that way.
There is a story behind the Gunnuhver hot spring of the ghost of lady Gunna. 400 years ago, a woman who was in a fight with the sheriff, died while their dispute was not solved. The sheriff still came to her funerals and was found dead some days later with his body covered in bruises and with broken bones. At his funeral, the priest had to fight Gunna’s ghost who wanted to drag the sheriff to hell but she did not manage. The widow of the sheriff died unexpectedly soon after and on the peninsula people traveling used to disappear or get lost. Everybody was blaming Gunna’s ghost as she was pretty visible and didn’t want to stay dead. Two farmers with some spiritual knowledge were asked to do something about the situation. The priest gave them a rope with one knot at one end and told them to give to the ghost the end without the knot as the knot would drag her to the place she would be trapped in. Hence, it is what they did once they saw her and she got dragged and trapped into the hot spring that now has her name. After this, everything went back to normal on the peninsula.
Before, it was possible to walk on a platform over the hot spring to have a nice view point but lately, it got more aggressive and destroyed the platform. You can still see it from another viewpoint and see the former destroyed wooden platform. Apart from this part, you can more or less freely walk around the area and reach the blue lake.
In that same area, if you wish to walk a little, you will quickly reach the Reykjanes lighthouse. It is a nice lighthouse on top of a hill. Because of the weather conditions in the island and the volcanic cliffs of the peninsula, sailing in this area is rather dangerous. For this reason, there are thirteen lighthouses all around the peninsula to ensure safety to the fishermen. While walking to the lighthouse, be careful in summertime as Kria birds are breeding in this area and on the road. They may attack you (by flying pretty close to you or trying to catch your hairs) to protect their eggs so we recommend you to wear a hood and to walk fast! You can also take your car and park closer without passing by walking through the Krias.
Still in the same area, you can keep walking and reach Valahnukamöl. There you will see a black sand beach if you go on the left path where there are some stairs to go down. If you go to this path, keep going and then you will have to step on those impressive volcanic black stones to see the beach and the cliffs. If you go on the right, you can walk on the top of the cliff, but it is very steep, or you can simply walk along the seaside where you will have a good view on the volcanic cliffs and the sea. It is nice to simply site on the volcanic soil and enjoy the view.
Fun fact, it is in Valahnukamöl that the music video of “Volcano Man” from the movie “Eurovision Song Contest: The Story of Fire Saga”.
After this big stop, you can head to Brimketill lava rock pools. This place is easily accessible with a parking lot nearby and just a wooden structure to walk on. This place is simply stunning with those natural lava rock pools with waves throwing and crushing into it. You will just be amazed by the beauty of nature. Those carved pools have been created completely naturally by marine erosion. In times of bad weather, always be careful as the waves cannot be predictable and you can end up soaked! If you are a little bit adventurous to walk outside of the wooden platform, always watch your steps and be careful with your own safety. On calm and warm days and with the low tide, you can potentially swim in those pools if you are brave enough. But always be careful where you are stepping.
Brimketill lava pools are also known as Oddnýjarlaug or Oddný’s Pool, that from the legend, was a giantess who used to bathe and wash her clothes by night there.
After this stop you will reach Grindavik, you can grab something to eat over there, if you feel like it. And our next stop will bring us to the Krýsuvíkurberg cliffs. However, the path to reach those can be a little bit difficult to access if you don’t have a 4×4, it is still feasible but will take you some time, at least in summer, maybe in winter it is not possible at all. There are many birds living on that cliff and the smell sometimes is not the most exquisite in the world but the view is very nice though. You can walk along the cliffs and enjoy the view, always watching your step in the process. It is also possible to go on top of one cliff but it can be very steep and sometimes dangerous so better stay in a safe place.
Next up, will be Gigvatnsvatn/Graenavatn, an explosion volcanic crater with a blue lake inside. Over 6000 years old, the blue color comes from the high presence of sulphur in the water, thermal algae and crystals that absorb the sunlight.
You can have a quick stop around the charming lake or you can keep driving just a few minutes away and stop at the Krysuvik geothermal area.
There you will see mud pots, hot springs and steaming vents with multi-colored soil. Similar to the Hverir geothermal area located in the North, nearby Myvatn, you will experience the eggy smell of the sulfur set free from the ground. There are proper wooden structures where you can step on and discover the area peacefully. If you desire to hike a little, there is a path that would lead you to the top of the mountain where you will have a panoramic view over the area and the ocean.
Finally, our last stop of the day would be at Kleifarvatn, a lake absolutely stunning where you can simply relax around it, see some swans floating around and have a snack for instance. This lake is the biggest you will see in the peninsula. In summer it is quite lovely but in winter, with the snow, it is absolutely ravishing, a wander coming straight from another world. According to the Icelandic folklore, there is a tale saying that a monster, similar to a whale, is living in the lake, such as the Loch Ness monster in Scotland. There is a second beast of cryptozoology in Iceland in the lake Lagarfjlót, in the east of the island, but similar to a serpent. The shore around the lake is colorful and with strange shapes of dry lava, it is believed to be the territory of elves and trolls.
In the summertime, you can even do scuba diving in this lake as there are some hot springs under water since the lake is located along the two continental tectonic plates. In the middle of the lake there is a crater emitting an important amount of warm water and gases. When diving you can even feel some vibrations due to the underneath activity.
After this day full of discovery, you can peacefully head back to Reykjavik! Of course there are many other things you could do while being on Reykjanesbaer. If you have more time you can also stop at the Fagradalsfjall volcano, which would take you quite some time (about one hour hike each way to reach the viewpoint) or you can go for the Blue Lagoon, to experience the hot spring and relax. You could also explore a little the city of Keflavik, visit the Viking World Museum, or go a little further to discover Hvalsneskirkja, a picturesque wooden Icelandic church and stop at Gardur old lighthouse.
As always, Iceland is full of magic and wherever you will go, you will simply be amazed by the beauty of this marvelous country.