18 days in Iceland

Date 05 September 2021

18 days in Iceland

18 days in Iceland

Despite a complicated health situation due to COVID and the entry and exit rules on Icelandic territory, which tended to change very regularly, we still wanted to leave for a new trip to Iceland.

Vaccination certificates and negative PCR tests in hand, Iceland therefore opened its doors to us on July 28 for 18 days on site and a return expected on August 14.

Already familiar with Iceland and having gone there several times, we decided, for this roadtrip, to focus on specific regions and to separate the trip into two parts:

  • A first, in central Iceland, the highlands
  • A second in the east and its fjords

Of course, beyond the health situation, 2021 is a special year in Iceland with this famous eruption of Geldingadalur underway, which seemed to us obviously to be a mandatory crossing point!

For the rest, here is the planned route on the map, with nearly 4,000 km by rental car and 200 km of hiking!

Regarding the rental car, we made the same choice as usual, namely a rental with Blue Car Rental and a Duster SUV on a recent model. On this route, we planned to cross many fords, especially in the center of the island and the Landmannalaugar and Laki region: F208, F210, F232, F235, F228, F206, F207...

For the visit to Thorsmörk, no risks, we opted for a bus excursion via Reykjavik Excursion.

A smooth arrival

Les rues de Reykjavik

Icelandair informed us that, due to the health situation, we needed to allow more time than usual for checking in luggage and that we'd have to arrive at the airport 3 hours before take-off. This year, in addition to the usual checks, they required vaccinations and/or PCR tests with documentation.

The fear of forgetting a document was present during check-in, but in the end, everything went well:

  • Two vaccination certificates for adults
  • Two negative antigen tests for adults
  • The barcode generated after registering on the website
  • No additional documents required for children (13 and 8 years old)

The plane left with a bit of a delay but made up for it during the flight and landed us in Keflavik under beautiful sunshine and with temperatures around 15 °C. Upon arrival, the plane passed near the eruption, and those lucky enough to be on the right side of the plane could see it from the sky.

After collecting our luggage, another check was carried out on Icelandic territory, where an agent scanned the barcode and the vaccination certificates, freeing us from all constraints, and we immediately received an SMS confirming the validation of our stay without quarantine!

Picking up the vehicle at BCR was very quick, and we hit the road at 4:45PM, just an hour after landing.

A detour through the eruption

L'éruption de 2021

We had originally planned to visit the eruption site the next morning, but due to the nice weather and quick exit from the airport, we decided to go there right away, eager to see the volcano in action!

The smoke from the eruption was already visible from Keflavik airport, truly impressive. The eruption was very close to the airport, and in less than 25 minutes, we arrived at the first car park, which was unfortunately full. However, we managed to find space in the second car park without much difficulty. Note: There are 4 car parks available at different starting points for the trails leading to the eruption site.

For this visit, we were advised to take path C, which led to the Langihryggur valley. From the car park, less than 2 km away on flat ground, we could already see the impressive flow of lava, still emitting smoke over hundreds of meters. We got closer before starting a few ascents to observe the main crater erupting.

The trails were quite steep but relatively short, and from the first ascent, we could see lava gushing out of the crater. It was truly mesmerizing, making it hard to take our eyes off this spectacle! Beyond seeing the lava in action, the sound of the eruption was spectacular. One of the best moments of our trip!

We had to be careful as the magic of the experience could make you forget even basic safety rules. We saw many tourists climbing onto the lava, which is a terrible idea! And walking off the trails can damage the site.

After walking more than 8 km (round trip) and capturing the eruption from all angles, we headed back to Reykjavik to settle into the Aurora guesthouse.

In the center of the capital, there were fewer tourists than in recent years, probably due to the health situation and new travel requirements. We took a stroll in 101 before enjoying a fish skewer at the Sea Baron on the port.

At 9:30PM, after a day of travel and a hike to the eruption site, the children were tired, and so were we. We went to bed early to be ready for the exciting day that awaited us tomorrow.