Tip: Stop wherever you see people gathering, and watch out for trolls.
After downing a few Icelandic brews with a couple friendly, freakishly-attractive Icelandic dudes in Reykjavik, I had the genius idea of asking them where I should go on my last day in Iceland that not many people know about. They immediately started throwing out names of places that I would never be able to pronounce or remember, so I called a time-out so that I could pull out a pen and my map for them to just show me.
It was actually quite funny/awesome watching them all excitedly circle and point to their favorite “secret locations”, including towns where they were from, or still had family living in. It was a little different taking their directions over the typical routes I found online, but it made the journey all that much more exciting, especially now that I can share it with others!
What I found was a ton of parallel-universey freaking unreal places, that are definitely a MUST to go see if you’re doing a self-tour! Start by heading north from Reykjavik on the 1, and bring some cash for gas and the toll!
1. Borgarnes Tunnel
It’s cool because you’re under water.
This isn’t exactly an “unreal site” per say, but it’s awesome because it’s like a Batman tunnel that goes under water to get you to the other side in Borgarnes. You have to pay a toll to go through it, which comes out to about $10 (Iceland ain’t cheap), but it’s well worth it for time and amusement purposes.
Borgarnes is a cute area…not as awesome as what you’ll see later though…
If you need to get gas or go to the bathroom, this is also the town to do it in, because there’s not many places you can stop at once you get out to the final destinations.
2. Rauðfeldar (Roudfeldar) Canyon and Cave
Doesn’t look creepy from the outside now does it?
Now THIS was freaking awesome…and terrifying at the same time. I found Rauðfeldar/Roudfeldar Canyon while driving to the recommended beach, because I noticed a few cars parked near it and some people walking up to it. I wasn’t going to stop, because I had to pee really bad, but for some reason I had a feeling I was going to find the one thing I hadn’t seen yet…
AN ICE CAVE!!! I don’t know how I put two and two together that that’s what might be in a random slit in the side of a freaking mountain, but after the bone-chilling trek to get inside of this creepy canyon, I stepped over rocks (and dead birds) in an icy river flowing from a small waterfall, to see the spiraling ice glacier coming out of the cave above it.
Roudfeldar Canyon is haunted by a troll ghost, and known as the “Hidden Waterfall”, definitely read the full story !
This was the place that the local guys recommended that I go see, and when I got there, I was extremely glad they did (partially because there was a bathroom)! Djúpalónssandur, although impossible to pronounce, was by far one of the most unreal-looking places I had seen in Iceland. Take the path to the left instead of going down to the right, and you’ll get an awesome birds-eye view of the entire beach a jagged lava-rock formations below.
Djúpalónssandur beach is as unreal as its name.
As you can probably guess, the sand here is also black (like most beaches in Iceland) due to the erosion of lava rocks, and the water is also freezing, well, because it’s Iceland. If you walk down and to the left, there’s a super alien-ey looking lagoon area with shallow pools in between the lava rock formation that look like craters on another planet or perhaps where a mermaid would live!
4. Snæfellsjökull Glacier & National Park
Behind me is the very top of Snæfsojökull…where the “entrance to the center of the Earth” is…
Here’s another fun name that you kind of have to make up how to pronounce, Snæfellsjökull, the most “famous” glacier in Iceland. Why is it famous? Well, Snæfellsjökull is where the famous book “Journey to the Center of the Earth”was based off of in the beginning. It’s actually an active volcano…so technically…it really does go down to the center of the Earth. The movie with Brenden Frasierwas also filmed here, which is pretty cool and super authentic.
“That is Snaefellsjokull a mountain about five thousand feet in height, one of the most remarkable in the whole island, and certainly doomed to be the most celebrated in the world, for through its crater we shall reach the centre of the earth.” – Journey to the Center of the Earth
Once again I noticed some cars driving towards the glacier top of Snæfellsjökull, so despite the warning sign that says not to drive unless you have an off-road vehicle, I followed them up. Not gunna lie…it was pretty scary, so make sure you have an SUV or are extremely careful, because there were definitely times when I thought me and my little economy sized rental car were going to slide right off the cliff.
No snow, only glaciers…but not entirely sure how sturdy they are to play on…(PS Iceland is so magical that it makes your hair look awesome without having to do anything to it!)
I really wanted to play in the “snow” that I thought I saw at the top, so I kept driving up anyway, but what I found was not snow at all…but chunks of icy glaciers that you probably could have ice skated on! If I wasn’t alone I totally would have slid across the patch of glacier I parked near, but something I read on the warning side about potentially thin ice made me think twice about falling down into the center of the Earth.
It was also cool, literally, that the temperature had dropped almost twenty degrees from the bottom where I was sweating at the beach, to the top of the glacier, which was obviously freezing.
5. Sönghellir “Singing Cave”
I was too scared to go into a “singing cave” (AKA haunted) alone, but the guys from StuckinIceland.com went in!
You can stop at Sönghellir – the most famous of many “singing caves” in Iceland, before or after you go see the glaciers on Snæfellsjökull. It’s right at the base and you’ll probably see a car or two parked there. Of course, when I was coming back down, there were no cars parked there which meant once again I was about to go into a creepy cave alone, but I figured I could just run in and run out to see if it really sings.
Well. As I was attempting to just “run in” the wind picked up so hard that it pushed me backwards. I could hear the creepy “singing” of the wind through the tunnels of the cave, and took both as signs not to go in by myself. So if you happen to find it and go in…send me a picture. Here’s more info on my Iceland blogger guide’s blog: “A Quiet Visit to a Cave or Song”
Alyssa is a self-made, full time travel blogger who loves adventure and typically travels the world solo. She's been to 53 countries and 6 continents so far, and believes she has mastered the art of chasing waterfalls, traveling solo, wine drinking, and making budget-traveling look good. Curious to know how she started this career? Check out the About section above!