Sunset/sunrise in Iceland

When traveling around the Iceland, I was fortunate enough to observe the sunset and sunrise as I had only one clear night. This happened on 15. june, that is still few days away from solstice when the day is the longest in the year. At that time I was in the most northern part of my trip (near Sauðárkrókur) and that also helped to further lengthen the time that the Sun was above the horizon.

The Sun is still about a degree above the horizon at 01:10 local time.

Not knowing the exact direction to the north (only rough direction) and the path by which the Sun will move across the sky, I selected the observing location at the beach that had the most unobstructed horizon in the northward way.

Start of the sunset at 01:25 LT.

The whole sunset took more than half an hour. Truly, I did not expect for it to be so sluggish, and the angle between the horizon and path of the Sun to be so small. The most remarkable was a color of the Sun surface just before it completely set and when it begun to rise. It’s surface shone with a intense green color, probably due to large refraction differences at the horizon.

End of sunset at 02:00 LT.

The Sun was actually bellow the horizon for just about 15 minutes. During that time there was no apparent visual change in the brightness of the sky.

Sunrise was happening behind some cliffs in the middle of the sea at 02:30 LT.

Sun is slowly raising in the sky, but still partially obscured by the cliffs at 02:45 LT.

Iceland – part 2

After that the main ring road leads you toward the Vik city that is surrounded by the largest black sand beach. While walking along the beach you can spot many hexagonal basalt column formations that were formed as the lava was cooling down.

Hexagonal formations along the black beach at Vik.

Iceland is full of mythology and sagas that explain how first people lived there and what they believed in. Alongside the road you can find many boards with inscriptions about the events or disasters that happened there. Two of many places like this are:

Carins at laufskalavarđa.
Mythical Dwarf Cliffs – Dverghamrar.

Following the road ahead you arrive in the vicinity of the Skaftafell National Park. I would strongly recommend that, when there you follow a hiking trail into the mountains when you pass numerous waterfalls and at the end of the trail you can admire a view of the glacier from above.

Black waterfall or Svartifoss.
Panoramic view of Vatnajökull glacier.

The best part of the glacier is still ahead of you. Just around the “corner” along the road awaits a Glacier Lagoon with its different shades of blue. I never realized that the snow and ice can produce such a palette of colours. From white to cyan, colour of almost transparent pieces of ice.

Glacier Lagoon.

Iceland – part 1

When traveling to Iceland be prepared to harsh and unpredictable weather. It can change every 15 minutes and during my trip I experience everything from sunny weather to windy and rainy conditions and even snowfall. It usually rains every day at least for few minutes so bring waterproof clothing with you.

Approximate route of my trip around the Iceland.

For my 12 days trip around the Iceland I decided to first take the ring road in the anticlockwise direction. After leaving the Keflavik airport, the first obvious stop is the infamous Blue Lagoon and its colorful surrounding.

Blue Lagoon.

The next day led me to the Golden Circle area, with the stops at Geysir and Gullfoss waterfall. Starting from the Gullfoss the road (with proper 4×4 wheel drive car) leads to the highland landscape. Here I was able to see some of the largest rental jeeps meant for the exploration of the wilderness.

Kerid crater.
Little geysir at Geysir.
Gullfoss waterfall.

There is plenty of water running around the country thus some of the next stops were connected with it. The first of them is Seljalandsfoss waterfall. It actually consists of multiple waterfalls separated by a few hundred meters. For the best view of the surrounding area you have to ascend on the top of the waterfall.

Seljalandsfoss waterfall.
Panoramic view from the top of the Seljalandsfoss waterfall.

The next watery stop was at the Skogafoss waterfall. Most of the tourist here observes only the first waterfall of many upstream. Take your time here and go for a shorter walk and visit the other more distant one that are not visible from the main road. Strongly recommended!

One of the Skogafoss waterfalls.
One of the Skogafoss waterfalls.