Road 85 – East Iceland northbound

Travelling a country like Iceland you will follow very scenic roads through a fascinating wild landscape. Most famous is the Ringroad as it is the only road that completely circles the country and in some areas it is the only road at all to get forward. Nevertheless in several areas Iceland offers alternative routes for those who have time. One is road 85 that leaves the Ringroad in the far northeast and then takes a wide half circle northwards. I took the road to get towards Raufarhöfn. Here I want to give some impression of the scenery. There are several stopping points where you can stop the car to take pictures. Even though it is very unpopulated and traffic is sparse, do not stop on the streets. If there are cars coming, they won’t expect it and (like me once) need to break hard.

So this is what you can expect from road 85. As you might notice, parts of the road is only gravel…

Road 85

Road 85

Road 85

Road 85

Road 85

Road 85

Road 85

Road 85

Road 85

Road 85

Road 85

Road 85

Road 85

Road 85

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Turf Houses of Bustarfell

On my first day on Iceland I had the plan to reach Raufarhöfn from the ferry harbor in Seyðisfjörður. After leaving the Ringroad and heading north on road 85, I decided to have a visit to the turf houses of Bustarfell. Arriving there I noticed that season here did not start yet, but I had a look at the outside architecture. These buildings were the second turf structure that I could see in my life and therefor an interesting place. During the season you can visit the interior of the buildings and there is a cafe where you can have a rest. The area feels very remote and maybe I was blessed to have it all for my own that visit even it wasn’t open…

Here my impressions I could keep on photos. Enjoy!

Bustarfell

Bustarfell

Bustarfell

Bustarfell

Bustarfell

Bustarfell

Bustarfell

Bustarfell

Bustarfell

Bustarfell

Bustarfell

Bustarfell

Waterfall Rjúkandafoss

Late spring is waterfall time in Iceland. With the melting water they are in full shape and really admirable. This can also be said about Rjúkandafoss (or Rjukandi Waterfall as you need to spell it for finding it in the internet) that I passed on my first day heading north after arriving in Seyðisfjörður with the ferry. It is located just beside the Ringroad with signs informing the driver about its presence. You will find a parking and from there you can reach it after just five minutes of walking a trail that leads the waterfalls base.

Rjúkandafoss is quite a large waterfall in respect to its height of 139 meters. As you can see from the info board below, the river Ysti-Rjúkandi is the victim of this deep fall.

As generally also here I hope people try to respect nature. I saw a lot of people becoming nuts seeing all the natural beauty of the country and harming nature and themselves for the ultimate photo…

Rjúkandafoss

Rjúkandafoss

Rjúkandafoss

Rjúkandafoss

Rjúkandafoss

Rjúkandafoss

 

Turf Houses of Hjarðarhaga

After reaching the Ringroad from Seydisfjordur I took the direction north. My plan was to reach Raufarhöfn in the far north east of Iceland. On the way I suddenly saw a sign about a tourist sight. I stopped and found the Turf Houses of Hjarðarhaga. These are two turf sheephouses which were part of a group of outhouses of the nearby farm. In the 1970ies the others were taken away when the Ringroad was built. It is a pitty, but it is good to see those which remained being protected nowadays. You are allowed to enter the buildings and see how they are constructed. If you take the Ringroad you will directly pass by the buildings and it is a nice short stop.

Turf Houses of Hjarðarhaga

Turf Houses of Hjarðarhaga

Turf Houses of Hjarðarhaga

Turf Houses of Hjarðarhaga

Turf Houses of Hjarðarhaga

Turf Houses of Hjarðarhaga

 

Waterfall Fardagafoss

My very first hike on Iceland ever, even though a very little one, was to have a look at the waterfall Fardagafoss. The trailhead for this hike is located along the road connecting Seyðisfjörður to the ring road. After getting over the pass just before the last larger curves the parking is on the left, which you can see on the map below. From here we follow the trail up hill along the river Miðhúsaá, whose water feeds the fall. Do not get irritated as there is a smaller waterfall already after just a couple of hundred meters. But this one is also charming. After taking some photos here we continue another roughly 400 meters until we reach our destination, the Fardagafoss. It was quite rainy and the ground a little muddy in places, but still pretty fine to walk.

According to europeanwaterfalls.com the Fardagafoss is 20 m high. But lets start to explore…

Already from the start we follow the river upstream.

Fardagafoss

The trail is well prepared. At some points tiny bridges cross running water.

Fardagafoss

Looking down you can see into the valley through which the Ringroad circles the whole island. The road you can see on the right, is the road coming from Seyðisfjörður.

Fardagafoss

The first waterfall shows up. I was impressed that after the drop the water made an almost full 90 degree change…

Fardagafoss

… and then to flow around the rock just to continue then in a regular shape.

Fardagafoss

It was quite humid, fresh and rain was about to arrive just before arriving back to my car later.

Fardagafoss

But I wanted to see the upper falls so I continued along the river.

Fardagafoss

A lot of small creeks ‘donate’ their water to the river. I assume in late summer, when most of the snow is gone, these small creeks will almost vanish until the following year when the snow starts to melt again.

Fardagafoss

So here it suddenly shows up, the upper falls.

Fardagafoss

The base of the fall was quite filled with snow …

Fardagafoss

…and the waters found their way underneath it.

Fardagafoss

Fardagafoss

Fardagafoss

After admiring the falls, it was time to follow the river back down the hill to the car park.

Fardagafoss

Waterfall Gufufoss

Iceland is not only the land of fire and ice, but also home to uncountable waterfalls. In case you arrive with the ferry like me in Seyðifjörður, already on your way to the Ringroad 1 you have the chance to see some of them. Here I show you the waterfall Gufufoss, which is located just beside the road. Only a few meter from the parking you can approach the base of the fall, just remember to respect the nature which is extremely fragile here in Iceland.

According to europeanwaterfalls.com the Gufufoss is 12 m high and part of the river Fjarðará.

Gufufoss

Gufufoss

Gufufoss

Gufufoss

Gufufoss

Gufufoss

Gufufoss

Turf Churches of Iceland – Árbæjarkirkja

At the outskirts of Reykjavik you will find a very beautiful Open-Air Museum with old houses that were taken here and added to a farm building that stood here. The museum showcases the rural and city architecture of Iceland with an old city square, a farm complex and a fishing village. In the farm complex you will find the fourth turf church that I could visit during my visit to Iceland. As it is a museum, I could enter the church, and take some pictures to show you how a turf church looks like. Just remember that this turf church is a reconstruction of an old turf church that stood in the north of Iceland. As a local friend of mine explains in her interesting blog about turf houses on Guide to Iceland, timber is very rare in Iceland due to missing trees therefore it was reused from old buildings when they got abundant. Actually much timer that was used in Iceland originates from floating wood collected from the coasts. But that is another story. So if you are in Reykjavik I recommend you to check out the Árbæjarsafn Open Air Museum for the turf church.

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