iceland

Skógafoss, Iceland

Skógafoss is a waterfall situated in the south of Iceland at the cliffs of the former coastline. After the coastline had receded seaward (it is now at a distance of about 5 kilometres (3.1 miles) from Skógar), the former sea cliffs remained, parallel to the coast over hundreds of kilometres, creating together with some mountains a clear border between the coastal lowlands and the Highlands of Iceland.

The Skógafoss is one of the biggest waterfalls in the country with a width of 25 metres (82 feet) and a drop of 60 m (200 ft). Due to the amount of spray the waterfall consistently produces, a single or double rainbow is normally visible on sunny days. According to legend, the first Viking settler in the area, Þrasi Þórólfsson, buried a treasure in a cave behind the waterfall. The legend continues that locals found the chest years later, but were only able to grasp the ring on the side of the chest before it disappeared again. The ring was allegedly given to the local church. The old church door ring is now in a museum, though whether it gives any credence to the folklore is debatable.

At the eastern side of the waterfall, a hiking and trekking trail leads up to the pass Fimmvörðuháls between the glaciers Eyjafjallajökull and Mýrdalsjökull. It goes down to Þórsmörk on the other side and continues as the famous Laugavegur to Landmannalaugar.

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Landmannalaugar, Iceland

Landmannalaugar is a region near the volcano Hekla in southern section of Iceland’s highlands. The Landmannalaugar area is a popular tourist destination and hiking hub in Iceland’s highlands. The area displays a number of unusual geological elements, like the multicolored rhyolite mountains and expansive lava fields, not far from the service center. The many mountains in the surrounding area display a wide spectrum of colors including pink, brown, green, yellow, blue, purple, black, and white. Two of the most popular mountains among hikers are Bláhnjúkur and Brennisteinsalda.

Tourists visit the area from June through late September, after which time the road is closed. A mountain lodge, in operation since 1951, can accommodate 78 people and has basic amenities. It is located centrally near natural geothermal hot springs, also popular with tourists. Icelandic horse riding is also available in the area. The horse riding trips visit places which can often be difficult to access on foot and not accessible by car as there are no official roads. Landmannalaugar is the usual starting point for a four day long hiking trail aptly called Laugavegur, as the main shopping street in Reykjavík city center is called the same and is referred to the herds of people that walk the trail every day.

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