Iceland Map
Site Index
Contact
Random
Our Travel Books
Advertising / Press

Over Vatnajökull and the Westman Islands

Add to Flipboard Magazine.

It was a beautiful morning when we arrived at the Reyjavík city airport for our third flight into the skies above Iceland. Our trips over the Golden Circle and the Westfjords had been outstanding, and today we’d be soaring over Iceland’s four biggest glaciers, the Þórsmörk Valley and the Westman Islands.

Strange Landscapes Iceland
Near the Langisjór Lake, Southwest of Vatnajökull

Soon after settling into our four-seat Cessna, we were climbing above a sleepy Reykjavík still shaking off its morning mist. We headed east over the Hengill Mountains and Þingvallavatn Lake on our way to Langjökull, the second-biggest glacier in Iceland. Langjökull is shrinking rapidly and climatologists believe that it may disappear entirely within a couple centuries. Thanks to global warming, all of Iceland’s glaciers are losing mass, with the sole exception of Drangajökull in the Westfjords.

Leaving Langjökull behind, we soared over the highlands, passing the Klöjur Road which we would soon be driving across, and skirting the southern end of Hofsjökull. Soon enough, we were approaching the big boy: Vatnajökull. With an area of 8300 km², this enormous chunk of ice is about the size of Puerto Rico. We only saw the southwestern corner of it, but even this was enough to boggle the mind.

Now we turned around, following the Mid-Atlantic Ridge southwest. This was an area we had hiked across on the Fimmvörðuháls Trail, but from above it took on whole new dimensions. In a single, spectacular panorama, we could see craters, the valley, rivers, lava fields and volcanoes. I couldn’t help but be amazed that we choose voluntarily to walk across this murderous landscape.

From here, it was a short hop across the water to the Westman Islands, which we had recently spent a couple days visiting. From the air, the damage wrought by the Eldfell explosion was much more apparent than it had been on the ground. It was shocking to see the size of the area which had so swiftly been covered by lava in 1976. We moved on to some of the other islands in the archipelago, including Surtsey, which was formed in 1963 during a four-year-long eruption. The island was immediately declared off-limits to humans and is now being used to monitor how life develops on a brand new patch of land.

An amazing flight, and one we were very lucky to experience. If you’d like to hire a pilot for a similar flight, get in touch and we can put you in touch with our contact. You truly haven’t seen Iceland, until you’ve seen it from the air.

Cheap Flights To Iceland

Lava Landscape IN Iceland
Crack Lava Iceland
Road Trip Iceland Stock Photo
The Ring Road, through Mosfellsheiði
Geothermal Iceland
Iceland Scenic Flight
Lava Spine
Amazing Iceland Landscapes
Bubble Iceland Lava
Little Lava Worm
Silver River Iceland
Moss River Iceland
Glacier Iceland
The Foot of Langjökull
Glacier Cracks
Glacier Landscape Iceland
Lake Glacier Iceland
Blue Lake Iceland
Misty River Iceland
Misty Iceland
Cloud Mountain Iceland
Good Morning Iceland
Iceland Landscapes
Travel Guide Iceland
Iceland Photo Blog
Glacier Iceland
Iceland Mountains
Landmannalaugar
River Delta Iceland
Bizarre Landscapes Iceland
Iceland Rivers
Strange Iceland
Very Strange Lakes
Snake River Iceland
Lava Mountain Range
This Is Iceland
Glacier Patterns
Vatnajökull
Laki Iceland
Iceland Glacier Walk
Strange Little Lake
Glaciers Of Iceland
Laki Blog
The Laki Crater Area
Laki Lake
Laki Iceland
Moss Lava Bay
Green Little Islands
Blue Bubble Landscape
Lava Moss
Iceland Photos
Scenic Flight Iceland
Great Iceland
Iceland Stock Photos
Þörsmórk
Island Stock Fotografie
Light Play Iceland Landscapes
Glaciers And Volcano Iceland
Iceland Thorsmork
Glacier Flow
Glacier Landscapes Iceland
Eyjafjallajökull
Flowing Glaciers Iceland
Glacier Clouds
Glacier Ocean
Iceland in The Morning
Glacier Cracks
Iceland Glaciers
Iceland Cake
Iceland Ice
Skogafoss
Skógafoss
Iceland Farm
Lava Beach Iceland
Heimaey Scenic Flight
Heimaey
Tiny Iceland
Westman Islands Iceland
Heimaey Island
Airport Heimeay
Crescent Island
Surtsey Island
Surtsey
Surtsey Stock Photo
Surtsey Iceland
Surtsey Volcano
Red Rivers Iceland
Amazing Road Trip Iceland
, , , , , , , , , , , ,
September 30, 2013 at 9:20 am Comments (4)

Þingvellir – The Historic Heart of Iceland

Add to Flipboard Magazine.

Reykjavík may be the capital, but the rift valley of Þingvellir (pronounced “thing-vet-lir”) is the true heart of Iceland. Over a thousand years ago, the country’s first parliaments were convened here, adding historical significance to an area of unbelievable natural beauty.

Nomansland Iceland

Þingvellir lies right along the Mid-Atlantic Ridge, where the North American and European continental plates are pulling apart from each other. It’s unlikely that the 10th-century Icelandic councilmen understood tectonic theory when they selected Þingvellir for their yearly assembly, the Alþing, but they couldn’t have chosen a more impressive setting, nor one more symbolic. This is, after all, the spot where Iceland is literally growing.

Our short walk through the park began at the lookout near the visitor center, where we had a great view over the valley. Not far off, we saw the Þingvallavatn Lake (Iceland’s largest), lava cliffs, and narrow rifts like scars scratched across the earth. As the plates drift apart, the rifts are becoming bigger and, standing here, you can almost see the growth happening. It leaves you with a very vivid sense of the earth’s instability.

From the lookout, a path leads down into the Almannagjá gorge, marking the eastern edge of the North American continental plate. We walked along the canyon wall until reaching the Öxaráfoss waterfall. During the days of the Vikings, the Öxará river was redirected here, so that it would splash down into the canyon near the Alþing and provide drinking water for participants.

Þingvellir Waterfall

From Öxaráfoss, we left the cliff and went further into the valley until our progress was blocked by the fissures which have opened in the earth. With amazingly clear blue water filtered through miles of lavastone, you want to jump right in… and in fact, you can. It was inside one of these fissures that we had recently been snorkeling.

Our path now led to the Þingvallakirkja Church. Although the present wooden building was only erected in 1859, this has always been one of Iceland’s oldest and most important churches. While there’s not much to see inside, the front yard is occupied by a lovely cemetery and, around back, you’ll find an elevated, circular grave which houses the bones of two of the country’s favorite poets.

Þingvellir is the first stop on the “Golden Circle” tour and we left the park immediately after visiting the church, in order to have time for Geysir and Gullfoss. Þingvellir has a lot to reward a longer stay, with plenty of hiking trails and opportunities to fish, dive or go horseback riding. It’s fascinating for both its unique geology and its history. And on top of that, it’s simply a beautiful place.

Location on our Iceland Map

We booked our rental car from SADcars for this trip!

Þingvallavatn Lake
Bigggest Lake Iceland
Iceland 2012
Þingvellir Viewing Spot
Iceland Blog
Iceland Great Photos
Þingvellir Blog
American and European continental plate
Þingvellir Blog
Iceladn Pulling Apart
Iceland Flag
Iceland Nature
Þingvellir Waterfall
Öxaráfoss waterfall
Þingvellir Church
Þingvellir Fissure
Iceladn Fissure
Continental Plates Iceland
Wishing Well Iceland
, , , , , , , , , , , , ,
August 14, 2013 at 2:21 pm Comments (5)
Over Vatnajkull and the Westman Islands It was a beautiful morning when we arrived at the Reyjavík city airport for our third flight into the skies above Iceland. Our trips over the Golden Circle and the Westfjords had been outstanding, and today we'd be soaring over Iceland's four biggest glaciers, the Þórsmörk Valley and the Westman Islands.
For 91 Days