Visit the Moon in One Day.
You thought Iceland’s waterfalls, fields of green moss and glacier lagoon were everything to explore? Come on, this is Iceland! Visit the most impressive geothermal area ever and feel like you are exploring the moon or even Mars. Again these places are located directly within a short range from the Ring Road!
There is a LOT to do in this place – Here you go:
Hverir – Geothermal Area
Namafjall – A freaking Volcano!
The Blue Lake
Hverfjall – An Enormous Volcanic Crater
Grjótagjá – The Game of Thrones Cave
You haven’t heard the best yet: You can visit all these spectacular places in only one day!
Hverir – Moon aka Geothermal Area – & Namafjall Volcano
We all know the controversies about whether the moon landing of Apollo 11 in 1969 was fake or not. If so, it definitely has been shot at Hverir in Iceland. The best recommendation I can do to you: Be there early! This place is so much more enjoyable when there are not too many people around! There is a big parking lot right in front of this geothermal area. We had the luck on our side when arriving there in the early morning because the light was just overwhelming! First things first:
Hverir is a geothermal area since it is located at the foot of a volcano. It’s an area with high geothermal activities and a lot of energy that just waits to be unleashed. When approaching this area you will see steam coming from the ground and through small to pretty huge cracks in the surface. Looks beautiful, smells awful. I mean, really awful. Like rotten eggs-awful. However, that doesn’t care, right? We are explorers and explorers won’t be stopped by the smell of dead and rotting corpses… I guess. Important note: Walking through and inhaling the steam does not injure your health, it’s completely safe since it is only sulfur that’s all in the air. If you don’t have a clue how all this geothermal stuff works, you can have a look on information boards at Hverir. It’s quite interesting to first understand what’s going on below your feet and then walk along this place.
What is special at this place? The colors! There are sand and clay that ranges from a bright white to a deep red. The sulfuric deposits are yellow to a lime green and the stones that become liquid due to different chemical reactions are dark to light blue. Get your idea in the images below.
PHOTOGRAPHY: Try to bring a drone! Let me emphasize this. DRONE! Why? Have a look.
Once you are ready with freaking out about how cool this place is, just walk along the given paths. You really don’t want to cross the “fences”, this liquid stone material can get hotter than 100°C and it blobs out into the air then and now. Yea, I know that “blob” is not a word actually, but it does make that “blob” sound, so that’s fine. In the background, you can always see the small volcano Namafjall. It just looks insane.
Photography tip for this spot:
Go down! Go down on your knees and try to fill catch one of those amazing liquid-stone wholes as well as the volcano in the background. This looks sick! Have a look:
Now things are getting a bit sporty if you want to: You can hike up Namafjall volcano!
The ground mostly consists of clay thus you really should bring some good (hiking) shoes for that. We really had to struggle with that sticky clay. At some points, we had like 1 or 2 kg of clay under our soles looking like we were wearing some 90’s retro shoes. Arriving on top (I’d say approx. 30 minutes depending on how fit you are) you will be rewarded with even more amazing craters and a view to fall for. Watching Hverir from above is simply amazing. Don’t miss that!
The Blue Lake
After you have visited Hverir you will have to go back to your car and drive to the blue lake. It is a few minutes drive away from Hverir. It is a lake with an intense blue color. There is a hole in the ground from which sulfuric steam is blown into the lake, forming some really nice looks for photos. However, Iceland tries to gather energy from these natural geothermal areas thus the surroundings at this lace don’t look very idyllic. Watch the lake, enjoy this phenomenon and move on to the next spot.
Hverfjall – The Volcanic Crater
Another few minutes away from the Blue Lake you can find the enormous crater Hverfjall. You will get there after a short ride on a quite uncomfortable gravel road. Park your car at the foot of the crater and walk up (today’s cardio training) to the top of the crater. ENJOY! The view you will get up there is simply stunning! This crater with a diameter of 1km was formed like 2500 years ago by a volcanic eruption. Today, you can hike along the edge of the crater in a 3km hike. However, before doing the hike please consider that it can be a bit exhausting sometimes. This has been one of the windiest places I have ever been to which makes the hike on a field of ash a bit annoying sometimes. Even if you do not want to do the hike, GO UP there! The view is simply amazing and when in your life will you get another chance to walk on the edge of a giant volcanic crater? Get another ultimate Iceland experience!
Grjótagjá – The Game of Thrones Cave!
Ever thought about visiting a Game of Thrones scenery? Do it just a few minutes away from Blue Lake, Hverfjall and Hverir! Grjótagjá is a cave that once could be considered as a natural hot pod. However, today the water is a bit too hot and contaminated with bacteria thus you shouldn’t dip in. I loved this place! It’s just a very small cave thus you will only need a few minutes to see everything there but what you see is just stunning. The water has a deep blue, there is a bit of steam in the air since the water is hot and the small rock formations give it a rough touch. While doing photography you should choose a long exposure time to smoothen the water on the one hand and to get enough light on the other hand. Long exposure times usually lead to the necessity of a ND Filter. Have a look at what I shot at this place! There is another entry on the other side. However, we couldn’t shoot there since there were people sitting on the rocks.