Into the wild: Thórsmörk and Eyjafjallajökull, Iceland
You already know that Iceland is amazing, its landscapes leaves you speechless and yes, it totally looks like another planet.
But there was a very special place that captivated me, one of the most amazing sites I visited during my 7 day trip in Iceland: Thórsmörk and Eyjafjallajökull.
We booked a day tour to visit these places and this is what happened.
This is how meeting points look like in Iceland. We met at the incredible Seljalandfoss waterfall, a must-see in any Iceland itinerary.
This time we stopped here for just a little while: we had a lot to explore and our goal was to discover Iceland’s most hidden face.
Our first stop was the black sand beach Landeyjahöfn Beach, next to the Westmann Islands port. Stefnir, our tour guide, told us about the formation of these islands: they’re surprisingly young! The most recent one being Surtsey, which became part of the landscape on 1963 after an underwater eruption.
A visit to Westmann islands will be mandatory on my next trip to Iceland. It’s the best way to spot the lovely puffins! And there’s also possible to visit a volcano. To visit the Westmann Islands it’s necessary to take a ferry from the port of Landeyjahöfn.
Our day was chilly and breezy and on the shore of the beach we found loads of wind-borne fish. After taking endless photographs we went back to the superjeep and headed to our next stop, still not knowing what this day was going to be about.
Gígjökull, the glacier that used to be a lake
The tires of the super jeep were going round and round on the untouched snow, wading river here and there. We reached Gígjökull glacier and we started walking on the snow to the cave, totally alone, only surrounded by those epic mountains: we were so lucky to get this far.
Gígjökull was the Gígjökulslón lake after the eruption of the volcano Eyjafjallajökull in the year 2010, which changed the landscape completely. At that moment all the water disappeared like magic, leaving behind a very different place.
Thórsmork, the Valley of Thór
Our next destination was Thórsmörk nature reserve, one of the most incredible places in Iceland: it’s a glacial valley between the glaciers of Eyjafjallajökull and Myrdalsjökull.
The way to reach Thórsmork in winter is amazing: surrounded by snow, without any clue where the road is (is there any road?) – and again wading rivers until we arrived to one of the most emblematic locations in the series Game of Thrones.
The tranquility you could feel is absolute: we were the only visitors of the day. Near Volcano Huts, I could distinguish a few small footprints in the snow and I asked Stefnir if we could find Arctic foxes. He told me that they are really small and that they do not usually approach humans, but who knows, that maybe we could be lucky today. Just a couple of minutes after, Stefnir comes running to me saying “you’ve been lucky!” and there he was, a little Arctic fox running in the distance. I had a hard time to find ir (I’m short-sighted!) but I finally got it. Unfortunately I did not have the right lens to photograph it at that distance, but it was one of those moments when it doesn’t really matter: I was glad to forget about the camera and focused on the experience.
Stefnir asked us if we were in a hurry: of course we were not! None of us wanted this wonderful day to end. In that exact moment, we started climbing the volcano of the unpronounceable name with our super jeep.
Eyjafjallajökull became famous in its eruption in the year 2010, when it caused a mess throwing a big quantity of volcanic ash into the atmosphere, shutting down Europe’s air traffic. On this tour we could check the aftermath of that eruption, that changed the landscape dramatically as in Gígjökull.
In order to climb to Eyjafjallajökull it was necessary to deflate the superjeep’s huge wheels a few times. Driving up the ice slope was getting harder and harder, it looked impossible to reach the top of the mountain. But we eventually got there and when we did, we meet the most incredible view, something I have never seen before: we were suddenly surrounded by something that looked like an ocean of milk.
And we ended this perfect day in the sweetest possible way: with a warm coffee, chocolate biscuits and the most breathtaking views of Iceland. Plus, Stefnir started playing his accordion, making that moment last forever in our memories.
How to visit Thórsmork
We visited Thórsmork and Eyjafjallajökull with Midgard Adventure.
This 1 day itinerary was included in the Midgard Surprise tour. Depending on the weather and road conditions, their expert guides will take you to wherever they decide: you just need to let yourself be surprised… I promise it’ll be worth it!
We were lucky our tour could visit Thórsmork and Eyjafjallajökull, 2 places that otherwise I couldn’t visit on my own.
Only with them we made it to the most inaccessible part of Iceland in winter and besides, we learned a lot about geology, flora and fauna and the recent history of Iceland.
Visiting Thórsmörk on your own in winter is not recommended. It can be really dangerous and a 4WD is not enough to face the area conditions. There’s no road and you have to wade rivers with a super jeep like the ones they have in Midgard. It would have been impossible to reach those areas without an expert guide that knows the terrain thoroughly.
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