Iceland, here we are !
We finally decided to have our first Work Away experience in Iceland for 3 weeks in a sheeps and horses farm near Akureyri (North part of Iceland). Because the sunlight is really short during winter, we took the opportunity to visit the South before starting the Work Away experience. So… Let me tell you more about that :
First, we landed in Keflavik (35 minutes from Reykjavik). We chose Icelandair company and everything was perfect. The plane was on time; you can watch movies and have a drink!
We rent a car using the App Rentalcars which the best way to find the cheapest price! So, we started a 6 days road trip on the south coast. The weather was not really good at our arrival : Dark and all white ❄ Anyway, we were super happy to finally make a dream comes true !
We firstly drive to Selfoss to pick up a drone. Yes, I have to talk about this, it’s a really good concept. We found on Internet a drone rental company named Drone Rental Iceland. It’s really a good deal because we don’t have a drone at home and a trip in Iceland without a drone was not really imaginable ! The owner is really nice and explained us all we have to know about the Mavic Pro 2. He is really professional and always reply super fast to your emails.
Then we took the road again to our first hostel : Midgard Base Camp. This is a really beautiful place to stay when you visit the South of Iceland. The hostel is new so you’ll have super modern bedrooms and bathrooms. Moreover, the atmosphere is unique ! It’s a family business and they are all really nice. You feel like home after only 1 hour. The breakfast is really good and the best is the hot tub on the roof ! It’s so relaxing to have a short session before going to sleep.
If you are an adventurer, they also organize tours ! You can find all informations on Midgard Adventure. If you want our feedback, we did the super jeep tour in Þórsmörk. We took the road with the guide and his wife. They know how to make a real Icelandic adventure and show you the best spots ! They are really nice and teach you a lot of things about Icelandic nature with volcanic eruptions, glaciers and caves, fauna & flora etc… We ended the day at the beach with an amazing sunset. I definitively recommend this hostel.
After 2 nights spent at Midgard base camp, we drove on the way to reach Vik at the end of the day. Obviously, there are a lot of places to visit on that road. I advice you to leave the hostel when it’s dark outside, so you can watch the sunrise on the first stop. Here is all the places we explored that day :
Seljalandsfoss : Special waterfall where you can walk behind. Be careful, it’s slippery and be sure to bring your rain clothes otherwise you’ll be completly wet !
Skógafoss : My favourite waterfall in Iceland ! It’s so impressive and beautiful as the same time. You can reach the top of it by using the stairs at your right. But the best view is when you just stand in front of this majestic and powerful waterfall.
Wrecked DC-3 plane : This is an uncommon place. In 1973 a United States plane ran out of fuel and crashed on this black beach at Sólheimasandur. Fortunately, nobody died in that plane accident. So to go to this place, you have to walk more than 1 hour return from the parking. It’s often super windy so I advice you to wear a good jacket, gloves and a hat.
Because the rain started to be strong we directly went to the Vík hostel after that spot. This place is good for your money and the breakfast is delicious. You are only 5 minutes from the beach which is gorgeous!
For the first day at Vík, we decided to explore the famous Reynisfjara Black sand beach. It’s interesting to visit that place because you have several caves with amazing black rocks. The texture is just wonderful ! And of course, you’ll notice that you have a gorgeous view over the famous rocky sea stacks sitting off the shoreline named Reynisdrangar. Moreover, this beach is popular thanks to its magnificent black sand.
Then we took the road to Dyrhólaey. (around 10 minutes from the black sand beach)
The weather was horrible. Winds were really high. I was almost flying away and sometimes I caught a guardrail to not falling down. That’s why everybody told us : You never know with the Icelandic weather, so be careful. Anyway, we managed to take pictures even if the weather was like a giant washing machine!
At the end of the day, we walked on the beach for the sunset (just 5 minutes down from the hostel). The view is gorgeous! After that, we spent time taking pictures of horses near the church. And then, we went to the souvenirs shops to see Icelandic products as 100 % wool beautiful pullovers etc… In the same shopping mall, you can find a supermarket to buy some stuff for the dinner.
For the next day, the plan was to drive until Höfn. (3h30 driving) However, when we woke up, the weather was worse than the day before… Even the guy on the reception told us Good luck for the ride. On the road, we could not see the landscape at all. Everthing was just grey with a strong fog, rain and wind. We start nevertheless a hike to see Svartifoss. (after 1h25 driving) It’s a beautiful waterfall that you can reach 40 minutes return from the parking.
Because of the weather, we skipped a lot of places that day and decided to keep it for the next day on our way back to the airport. So after Svartifoss, we continued our way to Höfn. The goal was to visit Stokksnes. Obviously, this area was closed because of high winds. The woman at the reception told us that it was not safe. So we drove to our hostel to wait for the next day.
Yaaay ! We reached Stokksnes for the sunrise and the show was amazing ! We could not hope for a better weather after the storm.
After taking at least 500 pictures of this place, we took the road of the way back. The day was really full because the day before we didn’t visit anything.
1st stop : Jökulsárlón / Diamond Beach
2nd spot : Fjadrargljufur Canyon
Then we took the road to our hotel located in the Golden Circle. (That day we drove almost 5 hours)
So we spent a really good night at Blue View Cabin. It’s perfectly located near the geysirs and Gullfoss waterfall. You have everthing you need : modern kitchen & bathroom, a beautiful livingroom and bedroom. The must is the private hot tub on the terrace. What’s better than a evening spent watching stars in a bikini when the temperature outside is 2° C ?
This is sadly the last day of the road trip. The plan today is to visit the Geysir and Gullfoss waterfall. Here is some pictures of that morning.
We drove back to Selfoss to return the drone back and then to the airport for the car rental. It’s time to go to the North for the work away experience. I found a lift from Reykjavik to Akureyri on the website carpooling. (4000 ISK per seat ≈ 29 €) It’s cheap compared to the bus ticket (≈ 70 €) and the flight ticket (≈ 98 €). The lift was leaving the next day so we decided to spend 1 night in the capital Reykjavik and wait for him.
At the airport in Keflavik, we met a lovely French couple on the parking and they took a us for a ride to Reykjavik. Otherwise, you have to take a bus which 21 € per person.
Reykjavik is beautiful with its colourful houses. We spent the night walking in the city.
The next day, our lift came to our hostel at noon to start the ride to Akureyri. (5h) It was an icelandic man super nice! The road until the North is gorgeous. I didn’t sleep for 1 minute as the landscape was amazing!
Here we are ! The family came pick us up downtown. The work away is really interesting because you immerse yourself in the Icelandic culture which is really different from the french one. A lovely family of 4 hosted us and in exchange we just gave them a hand to clean the house and to cook dinner. The view on the mountains from the house is just insane !
We lived like the family with all their habits during 3 weeks : dinners with their friends, activities like Swimming pool etc… It was such a good experience. We learnt a lot of thing about Iceland traditions. AND we saw the Northern lights !
Akureyri is the closest town from the family house. It’s located in the north of Iceland, there is around 19 000 inhabitants. Let me show you some pictures from this beautiful town :
On week-ends, we had the chance to explore surroundings. Indeed, there are plenty things to do not far from Akureyri :
Hverir & Viti crater
I hope you enjoyed my blog post on my Iceland experience !