By Fire and Ice: Borgarfjörður and beyond

Borgarfjörður to the north of Reykjavik is one of the slightly lesser travelled areas in the day tour vicinity of the city.
November 17, 2017
Kári Gunnlaugsson

Borgarfjörður to the north of Reykjavik is one of the slightly lesser travelled areas in the day tour vicinity of the city, but nevertheless full of wonderful surprises. First you hit Borgarnes, which is a stop well worth making. You can stock up on supplies (Bonus supermarket and the liquor store), or check out the exhibitions at The Settlement Center. They are a great introduction to the first settlers that came to Iceland and the life of the great viking warrior poet Egill Skallagrímsson, plus they have the best veggie/vegan restaurant in the area.

The main road out of Borgarnes splits north towards Akureyri and west out on the Snæfellsnes peninsula. To keep on track you cross the bridge again and and turn left for Reykholt and Húsafell.

Deildartunguhver Hot Spring

This part of the country has a strong tradition of farming and agriculture. There are numerous greenhouses in the area thanks to the geothermal heat bursting from the ground. This peaks at Deildartunguhver, the biggest single hot spring in Iceland, ferociously boiling through summer and winter. There are also the geothermal baths at Krauma which are a recent addition in the area. They are a must for anyone spending any time here, soaking away and enjoying a great spot for relaxation.

A little before hitting the hot spring there is the very cool and hip microbrewery Steðji. The farmer, in order to dedicate himself to the his great passion, sold off his sheep and hired a German braumeister to make the best beer around, and he is well on his way. Note that visiting will require you making an appointment.

Just a stone´s throw from Deildartunguhver is Reykholt. It was the throne of of one of the world´s greatest medieval bards, scholar and writer Snorri Sturluson. He is the author of the poetic Edda and possibly Egil´s Saga. Snorri was also a major influence on J.R.R. Tolkien, author of The Lord of the Rings. There is an exhibition and it is possible to get a guided tour of the place for those hungry for a bit more history.

The best accommodation in Borgarfjörður is Hotel Husafell. Specially designed to fall in with its breathtaking surroundings as well as combining luxury and comfort in a unique and friendly manner. Also the distinct and beautiful decor is by a well loved local artist. The restaurant sports an mouth watering menu sourced locally and prepared by some considerably talented chefs. It also offers a pretty great view of the birch forest, the river and the glacier.

Hraunfossar in Húsafell area

On the way up to Húsafell don´t fail to stop a Hraunfossar, a series of waterfalls which flow from underneath a lava field. A very Lord of the Ringy atmosphere to say the least.

The crown jewels for any visitor here are the two caves. Víðgelmir is a magnificent lava cave with amazing colors and rock formations stretching far and wide under the surface. There are guided tours scheduled every day providing a unique experience.

Langjökull and a frozen river

Langjökull is the second largest glacier in Iceland and is on its own one the true wonders of Iceland. The creation of the 550 m ice tunnel which was a joint venture between Into the Glacier and experts studying the glacier. It was a monumental task, but the result is an experience to remember. With its custom made vehicles this operation takes you nearly to the top of the glacier. From there you start the roughly one hour walk through the ice tunnel in the company of professional guides unravelling the secrets and wonders of the glacier. Absolutely unforgettable.

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