Authour: Braedyn Brosda
The Southwest of Iceland is the most popular, and thus the busiest, part of the country. This is largely because you can explore this region of Iceland as a day trip from Reykjavik and cover off most of the sights mentioned below. I found most of the sights very impressive but slightly tarnished due to the immense crowds at some of them.
Reynisfjara is the name of the Basalt Sea Stacks that you can see near Vik. A bit west of town there is a beach you can walk along to get up close to the stacks. The beach itself has many interesting features. There are some massive basalt columns that have formed a kind of cave structure which was quite neat. There were also some puffins flying off the high cliffs above, so you could say that you saw some puffins but they were quite far above you. The last thing you can appreciate from the beach is a view of Dyrholaey.
Dyrholaey is a massive sea arch. If you drive west about five minutes from the beach there is a viewpoint on top of a cliff that gives you a pretty good view. If you like to spend money you can actually go on a boat tour that will drive through the arch. If you turned around from facing the arch there was also a good view back at the sea stacks.
At the viewpoint there is a paid washroom which after looking at my notes reminded me of an anecdote of what travelling with Sarah is sometimes like. This story begins in a paid washroom similar to the one found at this viewpoint. It costs about $2 to use these washrooms which covers cleaning costs and upkeep. You can even tap your credit card to get through the turnstiles. We both had to “go” so we paid and went in to our respective sides. After washing my hands, I noticed arrows at the sink saying exit and pointing away from the entrance towards a barred gateway that would allow you to exit from the inside but not enter from the outside. I went around to the front to wait for Sarah. After a small wait I see her coming towards the entrance, trying to exit the washroom. I started walking over to tell her that the exit was on the other side but I arrived too late. She started pushing on the turnstile to get out but of course it wouldn't move. After a short pondering she crouches down and crawls underneath the entrance on her hands and knees. I couldn't help myself and just started laughing; a lady next to me also joined in on the laughter.
In the town of Skogar there are two attractions. First there is Skogafoss. It is one of the most recognizable waterfalls in the world. It has also been in Game of Thrones. The first episode of season eight had Jon Snow and Daenerys fly there on dragons. Because of the popularity it was a constant stream of tour buses. I really liked this waterfall because of the sense of power it gives off. After I got a picture that I was happy with, we moved on pretty quick because I did not like the crowds and I think Sarah was done with waterfalls.
The Skogar Museum was quite a change of pace from the waterfall. There was hardly anyone at this attraction. One of the reasons I think it is not as popular is that it is a bit pricey. As with most museums it had a couple of interesting parts but I thought it dragged on a bit long. One of the highlights included the outdoor exhibit of old houses. The other thing I liked were some of the books that were many hundred years older than Canada. At the end I had a nice soup in the cafeteria before we moved on.
Seljalandsfoss is the most photographed waterfall in Iceland, and for good reason. You can go behind the waterfall into a cave and catch a sunset looking out from behind the falls. Unfortunately we were not there at sunset so there was a constant stream of people making their way up the path. It was still very cool to walk behind the falls, but unfortunately I couldn't snap a good picture from behind. So I encourage you all to Google Seljalandsfoss to see one of these photos. If you do end up here be prepared to get soaked as the wind will blow water right at you as you walk along the path behind the waterfall.