One of my favorite things to do in Iceland is just driiiiive. There is so much to look at I would literally be happy to just drive somewhere and turn right around to come back home. Luckily I always happen to find something beautiful that’s worth a stop.
My visit to the summerhouse last weekend took me for a nice drive around the beautiful Hvalfjörður. Hvalfjörður translates to “whale fjord” because it was a commonplace to see whales in the early days.
Some people who work in Reykjavik will commute from Borgarnes and Akranes. There used to be a ferry that ran between these two places for this reason. Either that or they would have to drive the long fjord route which can be quite dangerous in the winter months.
In 1998 that all changed when the Hvalfjörður tunnel was built under the sea. The tunnel is quite impressive, dropping 165 meters below sea level. Good news for a) commuters can now rely on the tunnel for a faster route to work and b) makes for a faster drive to get to Snæfellsnes or Akureyri. However, most everyone these will skip the fjord drive and take the tunnel. This means missing out on some beautiful little places, just a short drive from Reykjavik!
7. Glymur waterfall
This gorgeous hike takes you through some beautiful Icelandic nature and up to the highest waterfall in Iceland. Not to mention the fun of crossing a river using stepping stones and holding onto a cable! This is one of my favorite hikes in Iceland. You can read all about the details of the Glymur hike here.
8. Whaling Station
I know the whole whaling issue is super controversial, but is a big part of Icelandic history. At the end of the fjord, just after the stop for Glymur, is the whaling station that is still in use.
9. Ice cream
You’re not surprised that ice cream shows up on this list, right? By now you know that I don’t usually pass up gas station ice cream on a road trip. I know what you’re thinking, “Jeannie, it’s from a gas station.” I’m telling you guys, Iceland gas station ice cream is legit, trust me! There is a gas station on the right side of the road as you are driving on the North part of the fjord. They have snacks, Icelandic hotdogs, a little room about Iceland’s whaling history, and ice cream. Go wild and get the dark chocolate dip, you won’t regret it.
The best part of driving around Hvalfjordur is that because of the tunnel, hardly anyone else will be around!
So I see the benefit of wanting to quickly get to the other side, but why not spare an hour or so and enjoy some beautiful Icelandic nature? I promise it will be worth it!
Question: Do you like taking the long route?