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Iceland – geology

Anyone at least moderately interested in geology should visit Iceland at least once in a lifetime! If the process of Earth creation and development could be seen within a person's lifetime, this is definitely the place to watch it.

Both me and Gustavo have geological university background, so what I am going to write is probably strongly influenced by this fact: personally, I think that some (at least basic) knowledge about geology adds extremely a lot to the experience of a trip to Iceland. Of course, anyone can appreciate beautiful places, waterfalls and rock formations and it's hard to stay insensible to those landmarks in Iceland. But understanding where they come from and that they were created just a second ago in a geological timescale is what adds a prickle on the neck and make you REALLY appreciate what you see!

Jökulsárlón is the most well-known glacier lagoon in Iceland. It's the place, where you can observe the icebergs cracking from the moving glacier and floating towards the sea through a blue lake. Quite an amazing thing if you imagine being a witness to the glacier reaching it's final destination...

We aimed to catch the short good weather window and sacrificed a day of driving to be able to see the sun hitting the ice and water in the lagoon. The forecast was promising storm approaching from the East the same night.

Svartifoss is a waterfall located in Skaftafell in Vatnajökull National Park. This was one of the big misses of my 2010 Iceland  bike trip and I wanted to see it this time unconditionally. It's said that the hike to the falls takes about 1.5h both ways. 

After the long drive to see the Ice lagoon the same day, we decided to give it a go and squeeze the trip to Svartifoss the same day in the afternoon. The storm clouds were already well visible on the horizon, so postponing the hike to the next day would be pushing the luck too far.

With some energy in our legs saved during the drive, we managed to get to the waterfall in a much shorter time than expected and therefore had still plenty of daylight time to enjoy 🙂

I have to admit that from all the pictures I've seen before, I imagined Svartifoss to be much bigger... It's still very impressive though. Who says that size matters?

Reynisfjara - black beach close to Vik is a popular tourist destination as it offers views to both Reynisdrangar and Dyrhólaey. Not many people seem to pay much attention to the beautiful rock formations on the side of the beach...


Basalt columns are a persistent piece of the landscape in the southern Iceland. You can find them at the well-marked sites like Skaftafell Park, Reynisfjara, Dverghamrar, but also along the road if you pay attention to the surrounding cliffs.

Columnar basalt is formed when lava flow gets cooled and contraction forces build up. Cracks then form horizontally and the extensive fracture network that develops results in the six-sided formation of the columns.

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Iceland – the sea

Being an island, Iceland is naturally surrounded by the sea. I didn't use to appreciate the power and beauty of the sea for quite a while. Probably because I consider myself more of a mountain person and common 'beach vacation' is just not really my thing. However, since I moved to Norway, I look at the big water in a different way. I see a great natural force and beauty of it and a distant horizon which reveals the approaching storms... It can get even scary sometimes.

This time, I had a chance to experiment a bit with Gustavo's super-dark filter, which allowed to capture different moods of the salty water.


To be honest, we passed through the Skarðsvík Beach and Londrangar by accident, as we decided to have a longer drive around after seeing Kirkjufellsfoss the previous day. That's what happens when you have to change all the plans on top of time because the weather decided to turn bad in the direction you wanted to go. And just like this, you encounter amazing places on almost every corner of this country! Isn't this incredible?

Another unexpected wonder of Iceland - beach nearby Eyrarbakki. Completely random direction. Don't even ask me why we went there...

Reynisfjara and Dyrhólaey were possibly the most crowded attractions we visited this trip. And with a good reason - we passed there twice (!) and spent several hours shooting the waves crashing on the rocks. Very hypnotising...