If there is one thing I wanted this time round in Iceland, it was to go further, to push outside of where I have been and to explore more. Going west was something that I really wanted to do. There was one sight in particular that I was desperate to see and I have to say, it was utterly stunning.The Snæfellsnes Peninsula is like Co. Kerry on crack. It has got that luscious green colour with mountains and stunning beauty but it’s also something out of Lord of the Rings. You go from normal green mountains, to red soiled peaks, to moss covered lava fields that looks like the perfect Orc dwelling. You go from towering mountains to beautiful small towns and then you get to the most incredible postcard view.I pulled up to the most beautiful view and I got my camera gear ready. I then walked to the site with the fog rolling in and turned around to see the most iconic mountain in the Snæfellsnes Peninsula, Kirkjufell.Keep in mind this is just off the road. You don’t have to trek to see it, there is a car park. If you get the chance. Go. It is beautiful. It is so close to Reykjavik, so easy to get to, the drive is amazing. I am already missing it. I will be back.
Being able to explore the South Coast of Iceland is a wonderful experience. The scenery along the ring road is stunning and there are so many stops along the way. I definitely recommend you pull off and explore these beautiful spots.
Black Sand Beach In Vík
There is a small residential area just behind this beach, for my Irish readers, it reminded me of the area around Brittas Bay, Wicklow. It’s a quiet beach full of couples, holing hands, having a walk. I loved walking to the big cliffs at the end of the beach and looking at all the nesting birds soar above.
*Be careful at this spot! Tourists have been swept away and have died from the current. Don’t be foolish and read the signs. This area is wonderful. A beautiful beach to watch a sunset and go for a walk. This amazing basalt rock formation looks like it was man made, it is that beautiful. Like the giants causeway these amazing formations are stunning, along with the caves and the sea stacks this area is steeped in natural beauty!
This cliff top site has some amazing views. Take the time to actually explore this area. I didn’t and I do regret it, I will just have to go back! There is lots to see and places to walk but be careful as this area doesn’t have many barriers are there are lots of people climbing precarious looking routes!
Definitely check out these spots and I am sure there are more hidden and secluded areas along the South for you to explore. If you know of any leave them in the comments!
I tried to drive here in January but it was impossible with the amount of light in Winter and the snow. This time, I was determined to get there, it was the first place on my list. The first place where I was heading.
I arrived at Jökulsárlón at 10pm so it was dark and the only thing I saw were a couple of icebergs illuminated by my headlights. I was knackered so I went to bed and when I woke up I saw the most amazing thing. A huge lagoon full of icebergs. It was amazing.
This place is incredible. It really is. I can’t wait to go back already! I once again feel like I missed something or I didn’t take enough photos of it. (I’m sure I did but I love going back anywhere in Iceland)
When you are standing at the shore of the lagoon, the sun will rise behind you so it will be a bit darker early in the morning until the sun fully rises. For the best pictures I recommend around 10am (in September). Although, sunrise on the iceberg beach next to the lagoon is pretty gorgeous!There weren’t any icebergs close to the shore for me to get close to and try and get scale but when you see chunks of ice break off and float down stream it shows you the scale of these hunks of ice. Watching an iceberg float out to sea is just amazing! Seeing it rock like a boat and then stop. It is just awesome.I would love to do a boat tour next time. Going through the lagoon would be immense. It’s been a dream of mine to go to Antarctica like my father so maybe it would be like a teeny tiny version of that.I am so excited I got to see this incredible place. Definitely worth the wait!
Have you been to Jökulsárlón? Is there any place like this that you have been to?
While in Reykjavik I decided I want to go on the Golden Circle tour again. I already went on this tour in January but I didn’t want to go to the church or the geothermal plant. I found that the last two were just unnecessary. I went into the Grey Line sales offices located at Hafnarstræti and asked if there were any tours that just offer the main attractions of the Golden Circle. This tour only goes to the main three locations and lasts about 5 and a half hours. First stop…
Þingvellir National Park
I once again feel like I didn’t spend enough time here. We only got half an hour and it’s just not enough time! It’s not all doom and gloom though. I loved seeing Þingvellir in colour. Seeing a vast open landscape covered in snow is beautiful but there was no definition in the vista making it hard to really get a sense of it. I loved seeing the definition in the rocks and the fissures. I will one day walk through and find that waterfall that I keep seeing images of but for now I am happy I got to see this amazing National Park in all it’s green glory.
I could stand at this location for days. I find this natural wonder fantastic. I don’t think it matters if this location is covered in snow or none at all, it is just amazing. What I did find is that you could get more definition in your photographs because the background isn’t blending with the sky. Regardless of season it is a wonderful location!
Last time I was at Gullfoss was just incredible I didn’t really think it could get any better but oh wait it’s Iceland, it can always get better! The water in January was colder and frozen. The only way I can describe how I saw it in January was that it was elegant and composed because of this. This time it was roaring.In January the walk down to the look out was closed so I was very very happy to go down and look down the crevice. Since the water was in full force, the spray coming off the waterfall was just epic. It is such a beautiful area and is amazing in any weather but seeing it’s power up close is just incredible!
Driving this in January it was amazing but very difficult to see any definition in the landscape.The sky and the earth blended together but it was still beautiful. I didn’t even think that the surrounding area when I chose to do this tour again but it is just amazing! These mountains are so so beautiful! There is gorgeous scenery along this entire drive. It costs €57 and because it was a late afternoon tour we were on a small bus and we had the whole back row to ourselves. We also got brought to our apartment when the tour was over. This tour doesn’t feel like five hours long because there is so much to see and your tour guide is talking the entire time. We got to spend 30 minutes in Þingvellir, 30 minutes at Strokkur and an hour at Gullfoss. Not a lot of time but I definitely think it is worth it. It’s really informative and such an amazing route. I am so happy that I got to do the Golden Circle again.
My trip along the Dalmatian coast was nice but it is the first place I have been in a long time where I felt very much like just another tourist. Croatia is a very popular spot in the summer months which means there are lots of people wanting you to eat in their restaurants, take a boat trip, sell you some nicknacks that you don’t want or need and there is going to be someone in your pictures all of the time! If you aren’t into this type of travel you have been warned but now lets get to the important stuff.
Croatia is beautiful, it’s got the beautiful sea, gorgeous countryside and perfect old towns that are steeped with history! I highly highly recommend you go to this beautiful part of the world, this country during the off peak season with a rented car would be perfect!
So lets break down each place I visited and the things I did!
Although I didn’t spend a lot of time here, this tiny town is the perfect integration into Croatia’s beauty and relaxed vibe. Walking around old town is so easy and picturesque. A must do in Zadar is watch the sunset while sitting at the Sea Organ. It is so relaxing to hear the current. Read all about my 16 hours in Zadar here.
Need a place to stay in Zadar? I stayed in the most perfect apartment with AirBnb! It’s location is fantastic and it has everything you will need I highly highly recommend you stay in Apartment Sea Organ.
Plitvice Lakes National Park
A beautiful place to visit, it’s waters are a magical aquamarine colour with the most beautiful waterfalls and pools. There are so many to see in this small area, I definitely recommend that you take two days to do this park. It’s doable in a day but to have comfort and to take advantage of the area two days is best! Although I only spend one day in the park I have lots of handy tips in my post all about Plitvice Lakes National Park
Need a place to stay in Plitvice? I stayed at the Hotel Plitvice located right beside the park at entrance 2 (so get off the bus at entrance two, it is right opposite the bus stop) This hotel is a really affordable, relatively comfortable stay, I don’t think the aircon was switched on at this point in the year so it got very hot but other than that it is a great place to stay! There is breakfast included and the food served downstairs is very tasty!
Split is a really nice place to stop on the coast, it is in between Zadar and Dubrovnik and there are lots of fun things to do. I stayed in this area for three nights, two and a half days. Split is a really nice area, it has a great marina area with lots of bars so when it gets too hot you can sit and relax. There are really great shops and lots of restaurants of different prices and there are great cultural stuff to see and do. The old town is absolutely beautiful. Here are my top 8 things to do in Split.I also loved going to Marjan Hill, it’s a great place to get some exercise!
Need a place to stay in Split? I stayed in Studio Palma with Airbnb. I recommend this for a couple, although it sleeps three, any more than two and it feels like the walls are closing in. It is a very small space but it is very comfortable and has everything you need except a bottle opener!!
I really liked Dubrovnik, it’s a beautiful city. There are a few things to do, I recommend you go to Rector’s Palace and with your ticket that costs 100 kuna (€13) you can then gain entrance into 8 other museums around the city. Walking around the harbour is also a really nice thing to do there are benches for you relax and there are even places for you to take a dip in the water outside the walls. The number one thing you have to do is walk the city wallsit is a great way to spend your time! Also something I definitely recommend is to take the cable car and watch the sunset above Dubrovnik.
Need a place to stay in Dubrovnik? I cannot recommend Apartment Paradise with AirBnb enough it is absolutely perfect! It is in the centre of old town, it is close to a supermarket, it is close to all the main attractions and museums. There is lots of space, although Croatian houses are narrow and tall this space feels airy and open. There is also a rooftop terrace and it is just perfect!
So I really didn’t venture much with my eating. There is lots of fish on menus all across the coast but I don’t eat seafood for lots of different reasons. I ate pizza a lot. It’s the cheapest thing on every menu and I had some steak on my birthday which wasn’t good. So basically stick with pizza. Ice cream is everywhere! There are lots of flavours and it’s really tasty. Choose pistachio becuase it’s the best!
If you go from Zadar to Dubrovnik, it goes from ridiculously cheap to quite expensive so keep that in mind when you are budgeting your trip.
It also gets busier and busier as you go down the coast, so it is nice to start with Zadar to relax and settle in.
Buses are a great mode of transport but have to say Croatia Bus company was the worst journey I have had in a very very long time. I don’t know why we went through a different country but we did!
Croatia adds it’s own soundtrack on attractions. You will be walking around an amazing historical place and there will be a stall or cafe blasting some crappy song. It was quiet common and a little annoying but you can get away from it pretty quickly.
Their animal laws are horrible. I have already mentioned Splits zoo in my Marjan Hill post but I also went to an aquarium and it was just awful to see a critically endangered loggerhead turtle in a paddling pool where people had thrown their coins into. It was despicable. By law it is legal but it is disgusting, do not go to the aquarium in Dubrovnik!
So that sums up everything I did in my week in Croatia. I really enjoyed my time there but I am not done. I really want to go back in the quieter months of the year with a car. I really hope you enjoyed this post. Tell me have you been to Croatia? Is there somewhere you recommend?