Iceland Travel Tips

Amazing location just minutes away


One of the great benefits of renting a car in Iceland is the freedom of movement. While enjoying your holidays, you don't want to worry about taxi prices, schedules or bus stops. You just want to explore, improvise and enjoy your time.

When you pick up your Lava Auto rental car you are just minutes away from amazing and beautiful places such as the tip of Reykjanes, the bridge between Europe and North America, beautiful light houses, cliffs, bird colonies, a village that was used for a movie set in a Hollywood movie to name a few. This would make a perfect one day self-drive tour around Reykjanes

We have more details on some of these location below and if you have more time you can hike up to the highest point on Reykjanes and relax in the world famous Blue Lagoon afterwards.

 

Garður 

Garður is a fishing village just minutes away from Lava Auto’s main office. It may look familiar to you if you saw the popular movie The Secret life of Walter Mitty as Garður was one of the location used in the movie.

In Garður you can tour one of the oldest lighthouse in Iceland – Garðaskagi Lighthouse and watch thousands of migrating seabirds which arrive from Greenland and North America.

Garður is located in proximity to prime fishing grounds and was once the most populated village on the peninsula. Nearby Garðskagi, at the very tip of the peninsula, provides magnificent sea views and two picturesque lighthouses.

The area is known for its diverse birdlife, seals and dolphins that sometimes swim near the shore, white sand beaches and an interesting heritage museum with a collection of old machines on display. Garður is also the hometown of the lead singers of the popular indie band Of Monsters and Men, Brynjar and Nanna.

Photo above - the lighthouse in Garður by Hafsteinn Robertsson

Garður lighthouses

Photo by Axel Kristinsson

 

Viking world museum

Photo by Harvey Barrison

Viking world museum, or Víkingaheimar in Icelandic, is located at the seaside in the town of Reykjanesbær. The museum opened in 2009 and in cooperation with the Smithsonian Institution presents exhibitions connected to the Viking age offering a unique opportunity to learn about the history and lifestyle of the Vikings of the North Atlantic a thousand years ago.

The biggest attraction is the Viking ship Íslendingur built by the Icelandic ship builder Gunnar Marel Eggertsson in 1996 who used an authentic ninth century Viking ship as a model. He concentrated on using the same material and methods as the Vikings did. But Gunnar did not stop at that but took the Íslendingur on a journey and sailed to New York in 2000 as a part of the millennial celebration of Leifur Eiríksson’s journey to the New World. 

 

The Bridge between two continents

The Bridge between two continents

Photo by alljengi

The Bridge between two continents was built as a symbolic connection between Europe and North America. It’s a small footbridge at Sandvík over a major fissure which provides clear evidence of the presence of a diverging plate margin.

The lava-scarred Reykjanes peninsula lies on one of the world's major plate boundaries, the Mid Atlantic Ridge. According to the continental drift theory the Eurasian and North American tectonic plates are continuously drifting apart with great forces under the gaping rifts. As the plates diverge, linear fractures, known as fissures form due to stresses created by the tension that builds up as the plates move away from each other.

 

The Reykjanes lighthouse

Photo by Matito

The Reykjanes lighthouse is the most popular lighthouse among Icelanders according to a 2007 survey.

The light signals from a height of 69 meters above sea level but the actual height of the lighthouse is 26 meters. It also has a radio beacon with a correction signal.

The lighthouse was designed by architect Frederik Kjørboe and engineer Thorvald Krabbe. The Reykjanes lighthouse is constructed with both carved rock and concrete.

 

The Lighthouse at Hólmsberg

The Lighthouse at Hólmsberg

Photo by Helgi Halldórsson

The Lighthouse at Hólmsberg was built in1956 and stands 9,3 m tall with a compartment for the light of 3,4 m tall. It has identical lighthouses in 6 other parts of Iceland, all designed by the engineer Axel Sveinsson.

 

Brimketill

Brimketill

Photo by Sigurdur Bjarnason

Brimketill is a small pool carved naturally by marine erosion. It lies at the lava shore edge west of the town of Grindavík and is one of the most popular natural attractions of Reykjanes. According to folklore it was regularly occupied by a giantess named Oddný, hence its old name Oddnýjarlaug.

 

Hafnaberg

Hafnaberg is a geosite in Reykjanes Unesco Global Geopark

Photo Visit Reykjanes

Hafnaberg is a long line of sheer sea lava cliffs south of the old fishing hamlet of Hafnir.

Hafnaberg is very popular among hikers and bird watchers as various marine birds nest at the cliffs. A parking place is located 4 km from Hafnir on road 44 and from there is a marked path from the road to the cliffs.

Hafnaberg is a geosite in Reykjanes Unesco Global Geopark.

 

Gunnuhver 

Gunnuhver

Photo by Jennifer Boyer

The mud pools and steam vents are collectively named Gunnuhver. The mud pools take form where steam from boiling geothermal reservoir water emanates and condenses and mixes with surface water. Accompanying gases such as carbon dioxide and hydrogen sulphide make the water acid and alters the fresh lava rock to clay.

High up in the Gunnuhver group is Iceland´s largest mud pool 20 meters wide across the rim.

Two ramps are located at the Gunnuhver group. One is close to Gunnuhver itself where you can look down at the spring, listen to the noise, watch the boiling water and feel the steam bursting from the ground on your face.

The other ramp is located on Kísilhól, a silica hill. From there you have a good view over Gunnuhver group and surroundings.

Gunnuhver stands in the heart of the Reykjanes UNESCO Global Geopark where the North Atlantic ridge rises from the ocean, you find 100 different craters and lava fields, bird cliffs, high geothermal areas, black sand beaches, The Bridge Between Continents, geothermal power plants, lighthouses, and exhibitions.

Gunnuhver is named after a female ghost that was laid there. It was belived that she had caused great disturbance until a priest set a trap for her about 400 years ago and she fell into the spring. 

 

Valahnúkur

Valahnjúkur

Photo by Diego Delso

Valahnúkur cliff, and the nearby shoreline’s natural beauty make it a popular tourist destination year round. It has dramatic views including the tall island Eldey about 15 km / 9 miles offshore, last known breeding ground of the Great Auk. The last pair was killed there 1844. You may see a little statue there of a Great Auk.

Statue of a Great Auk

Photo by Jennifer Boyer

The waves break hard on these cliffs and parts of it break off regularly so take care.

The first lighthouse in Iceland was built on Valahnúkur in Reykjanes in the year 1878. By 1905 earthquakes and surf had damaged Valahnúkur so much that there was the risk of the lighthouse falling into the sea. A new lighthouse was therefore built in 1907-1908 on Bæjarfell hill in Reykjanes and the old one was demolished with an explosion on april 16th 1908.

To get to Valahnúkur you take Route 425, turn left (coming from the south/east) just before the Reykjanes power plant. Drive past Gunnuhver hot springs to the Reykjanesviti lightouse, and continue toward the ocean.

If you were to sail south from Valahnúkur you would not reach land until Antarctica.

 

Krýsuvíkurbjarg

Krýsuvíkurbjarg

Photo by Shaun Versey

Krýsuvíkurbjarg, one of the great bird cliffs of Iceland in the Reykjanes Peninsula. In the summertime the cliff is transformed into a multistoried avian city teeming with bird life that has to be seen to be believed. About 58.000 bird couples lay their eggs there and people would collect them for food for centuries and even to a point in recent years.

A boat stranded there in 1991 and another one in 1998, in both cases all lives were saved in the amazing conditions.

 

Lake Kleifarvatn

Photo by Harvey Barrison

Lake Kleifarvatn is about 10 km². It is the largest of Reykjanes peninsula and the third largest of southern Iceland. It is about 97 m deep and one of the deepest lakes in Iceland.

The beautiful volcanic surroundings make it a unique place for photographers.

According to a local legend a monster in the shape of a worm and the size of a medium sized whale lives in the lake.

 

Keilir 

Keilir

Photo by Hafsteinn Robertsson

Keilir is the most distinctive landmark of Reykjanes and a symbol of the Reykjanes peninsula. In spite of its steep slopes, it is not too difficult to climb, and the view from the top on a clear day is amazing. Keilir is a hyaloclastite mountain that was created during subglacial eruptions during the ice age.

If you rent one of Lava Auto’s 4WD rental cars you can drive on Höskuldarvegur to a parking at Oddafell and from there is a trail to Keilir. The trail is about 7 km and the hike takes about 2-3 hours.

 

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