Introduction to Reykjanes
Reykjanes Peninsula is just half an hour from Reykjavik and offers some amazing landscape and natural wonders. Even though it's so close, most people seem to overlook the Reykjanes Peninsula when planning their Iceland trip.
Highlights of a Reykjanes day trip
- - Distance approximately 150 km
- - Geothermal sights such as Gunnuhver and Krýsuvik
- - Iceland's oldest lighthouse
- - Less crowded than many sights in Iceland
- - Amazing landscape and lava fields
Reykjanes Peninsula is the home of the Blue Lagoon and the Keflavik airport. What many people do not know is that is also the home to some very beautiful natural wonders, that make for a great day-trip. With all the tourists coming to Iceland, Reykjanes is a fresh breath of serenity that I really enjoy.
I went there recently, started out by visiting Kleifarvatn and getting a view over the beautiful lake area. It's breathtaking and one of my favourite spots in Iceland. Just by Kleifarvatn is the Krýsuvik geothermal area, where you will find bustling mud-geysers and incredible geothermal activity.
Head towards Grindarvík and enjoy the amazing cliffs off the shore-side, just before reaching the city of Grindarvík. There are no signs, so just keep your eyes open and wait until you see the intense cliffs.
Reykjanes is not overflowing with gourmet restaurants, so a good place to stop for lunch is at Bryggjan Cafe in Grindarvík, which has a nice lobster soup as well as gigantic portions of cake. (It's a authentic taste of Iceland and you'll be high on sugar for a few hours to come so better head out in the wilderness and burn off some of those calories).
Drive towards South-West Reykjanes, in the direction of the Gunnuhver area. There you will spot the following:
- Gunnuhver; a fierce and smokey hot-spring (named after the witch Gunn.) The area features a number of hot-spring and is filled with colourful landscape, impacted by the geothermal activity.
- Reykjanestá where you will catch amazing views over the area and the Atlantic ocean. Hike up the cliff and look for Eldey, which is a beautiful small island situated off the shore
- Reykjanesvíti; The oldest lighthouse in Iceland. Its situated on a beautiful hill, overlooking the area.
If you still have some time left, you can visit the Bridge Between Two Continents after the Reykjanestá area. I personally am not too amazed with bridge between the two continents as I find it to be a little bit of a gimmick (that's just my opinion and doesn't mean you won't like it!).
If you haven't already planned it in into your Iceland trip-plan, it could be a good way to finish your day trip by visiting the Blue Lagoon which will be on your right hand side on the way back to Reykjavik. (approx. 10 km off the main road in direction of Grindarvík). Remember to book in advance as slots might be fully booked already. Your booking can be adjusted in case you are running late/early.
Head back to Reykjavik after a great day on the road.