Today was going to be a long day of travel as we had planned our drive to the far east near Höfn. Departure time was 7:30AM from Reynisfjara in the dead of night. The sun was slow to rise, and heading east we saw the sunrise framed by the stunning Lómagnúpur in the distance.
Around mid-morning, we decided to take a break in Fjallsarlon. There were still few people around and the sky was starting to clear up. The place was peaceful with the icebergs in the lagoon floating by sedately. However, the place had really grown popular in recent years and a huge car park had been built for visitors.
Down the road, we drove by Jokulsarlon as we've planned to stop there for a proper visit in the afternoon. In Höfn, near the port, we enjoyed a delicious lobster soup in a charming little restaurant, typical of Iceland. The sky wa crystal clear and around 1PM we arrived at our destination: Stokksnes beach with its beautiful view of Vestrahorn.
Shortly after Höfn, driving down Road number 1, we exited on the right down a small road indicating Stokksnes beach. This 5 km trail was in very good condition and led to the Viking Café car park. Access to the beach was closed by a sturdy barrier, so we went to the Viking café to ask for a ticket to cross the barrier. It cost 1,800 ISK to take this private road and park as close to the site as possible.
On the way there were some exceptionally photogenic spots on the beautiful Kirkjusandur beach with the Vestrahorn mountain in the distance. The place was a photographer's dream, so we decided to park at the end of the road, very close to the grassy patches that dotted the black sand beach like some fantastical alien planet, a truly beautiful spectacle with the mountain in the background. Between the beach and the Stokksnes lighthouse, with the Vestrahorn and Kambhorn mountains reflecting on the wet sand when the waves receded, it truly was a spectacle that one could spend hours admiring.
We left the site in the early afternoon, our phones and cameras brimming with stunning images, and headed west. After a few kilometers on Road 1, we couldn't believe our eyes... Near Brunnholl, a hundred reindeer could be seen relaxing quietly by the side of the road in a scenic meadow.
We couldn't believe our luck and took all the time in the world to take in the scene and photograph them. It was our first time seeing reindeer, and to see them like this, truly free and thriving, was a unique and unforgettable human experience...
We arrived at Jokulsarlon in the middle of the afternoon and made a stop. There were a lot of people but that did not prevent us from staying a good hour admiring the icebergs, their blue color blazing in the bright sun.
A couple of seals poked their tiny heads out from between blocks of ice. After walking along the shoreline, we went closer to the diamond beach to take some photos of the icebergs that the waves spat back onto the beach. It was gorgeous, the black sand on the beach dotted with ice crystals.
Arriving in Vik, it was 5PM and the sun was beginning to set. We stayed for a good hour until around 6:15PM, when the sun completely disappeared, to admire the beautiful twilight colors on Vik Beach with its rocky peaks in the distance offshore.
The town of Vik and its surroundings really have a lot of charm.
The weather was clear tonight and we hoped to see some Northern Lights. The Kp index for the intensity of the auroras indicated 4 for this evening, which gave a good chance of seeing them in advance, and the sky was particularly clear, which increased the chances.
So we decided to get away from the light pollution in the town of Vik and to park near Reynisfjara beach. Here, a few cars with their headlights switched off were waiting, like us, for the arrival of an aurora.
The sky was magnificent and so clear that you could see the stars very clearly.
Unfortunately, despite favorable conditions, it wasn't to be. After waiting until 11:30PM, we packed up and went to bed...