Hitting the Ring Road: Westman Islands, Seljalandfoss, Skogafoss

July 10, 2021 – Iceland Day 2

To view short video clips of this day, click here. 

Eager to start the rest of our adventure, we headed southeast along the Ring Road (Route 1) mid-morning with a loosely laid plan that involved a handful of “must do’s” but no set itinerary. In fact, as much research and planning as I put into this trip, I intentionally avoided pre-booking excursions or hotels to avoid the added stress of trying to be any one place by a specific time. Having 24 hours of daylight and a camper van also made it possible to not fret over finding somewhere to sleep or getting spooked driving in the dark in unfamiliar territory.

The fog had lifted, the sun was shining and the day was already looking gorgeous. Our first two stops were to be the Seljalandfoss waterfall and the Westman Islands.  About 2 ½ hours after having left Grindavik, we arrived at the turn off for the Westman Islands ferry in Landeyjahöfn. I was delighted to see Seljalandfoss right off the road across from the turnoff. I joked about how nice it would be if our initial bad luck with the volcano yielded us good luck the rest of the trip.

 

We had no clue what the ferry schedule was, so we headed there first. Sure enough, we arrived at the ferry station just in time – 15 minutes before it was to depart and we snagged the last car slot they had. The next ferry would not depart for another 2 ½ hours, so had we arrived just a few moments later, we likely would have skipped the islands all together and would have missed one of the most beautiful parts of our trip.       

The ferry ride took us a little over 30 minutes. Cruising past and through some of the islands into port, in and of itself, was well worth the fare.

We drove around the main island, Heimaey, for a couple of hours in search of puffins and whatever else we might stumble upon. The landscape had a sort of strange Beauty and the Beast quality in that it was both breathtaking and ominous with visible reminders of the Eldfell eruption everywhere. This massive eruption happened nearly 50 years ago and has been dubbed Iceland’s Pompeii.

We made it back to the mainland around 6pm and headed straight over to Seljalandfoss. I couldn’t believe how easy it was to access. The spring flowers, rainbows and ability to walk behind it made for a magical little pitstop.

We probably spent 30-45 minutes at Seljalandfoss and then made our way towards Skogafoss, about half an hour down the road.  As we walked towards it, I noticed a few folks had set up camp along the road that was right next to it. We decided too to set up camp there for the night. We walked over to the Hotel Skogafoss Bistro and Bar and had a wonderful dinner with a view of the waterfall and sheep dotted hillsides.

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