Beautiful tourist spots west from Hali Country Hotel

The south of Iceland is full of idyllic tourist spots. The ‘Golden Circle’, close to Reykjavik is one of the most popular areas to visit in Iceland. There’s the mighty waterfall, Gullfoss, Þingvellir (Thingvellir) the oldest National Park in Iceland. And Strokkur geyser spouting hot water up to 30 metres into the air every few minutes.

As you start to travel away from Reykjavik, the numbers of tourists start to reduce. But this country’s beautiful natural wonders and tourist spots certainly don’t stop.

‘Glacier Adventure’ tours start from the quaint Hali Country Hotel, 385 km/ 239 miles from Reykjavik (or about 5-hour drive). The hotel is right next to Vatnajökull, the largest glacier in Europe which covers nearly 8% of Iceland. So a perfect meeting point for our tours.

However, there are plenty more beautiful spots near the hotel. I’m going to share some of my favourites as you drive west back towards Reykjavik. All these places are either on or very close to the main Ring Road, known as the number 1 route.

The first spot is only a few kilometres away from the hotel. But I’m pretty sure you will like it.

Heading West along the Ring Road

 

Jökulsárlón Glacier Lagoon

Out of all the places close to the hotel, this is my favourite. Huge icebergs from Vatnajökull float peacefully in the glacier lagoon. And it’s not until you’re up close that you realise just how big they are.

On our ‘Glacier Walk’ tour on a clear day, you can see how big the lagoon stretches from high above the glacier.

Picture by: Thorri Photo/Film

For an extra special experience, there are boat tours that take you up close to the icebergs. And you can cruise around the beautiful lagoon and feel at one with nature.

Glacier Lagoon 

Distance from hotel: West 14 km/ 9 miles

Drive time: 11 minutes

 

Diamond beach

Icebergs from Jökulsárlón glacier lagoon are pushed out by the current into the Atlantic Ocean. And if you’re lucky you might see something magical.

The sheer power of the wind and waves crashing onto the black sand beach can cause these icebergs to be pushed back to shore.

The icebergs vary in size. But seeing hundreds of them twinkling in the sunlight against the black sand you can see where the beach got its name from.

It makes a unique photograph opportunity for all photography lovers. But be prepared to be patient, it depends on the tide and weather conditions.

The diamond beach

Distance from hotel: West 14 km/ 9 miles

Drive time: 11 minutes

 

Fjallsárlón Glacier Lagoon

A short drive down the Ring Road from Jökulsárlón you’ll find a second glacier lagoon. This one is not as famous as Jökulsárlón but definitely worth a visit. And you can even take boat tours from here too.

It’s more peaceful and less touristy. But for me still has the ‘Wow’ factor as you gaze at the floating icebergs. There are also plenty of great opportunities to photograph broken icebergs along the pebbles.

Be prepared to have cold hands for the ultimate iceberg photo!

Fjallsárlón. Picture by: Fjallsárlón ehf

Distance from hotel: West – 24 km/ 15 miles

Drive time: 17 minutes

 

Skaftafell and Svartifoss

Skaftafell is a must visit area in Iceland’s Vatnajökull National Park. The scenery takes you through lush greenery, whilst looking out onto the black sand and river winding into the ocean. It’s simply stunning.

There are numerous hiking trails for all levels in the park. Check out the tourist office for more information on options available.

Skaftafellsjökull

One of my favourites is the short hike to Svartifoss, a smaller yet stunning waterfall in unique surroundings. It’s a 2-hour return hike but a wonderful way to gently stretch your legs and admire the views.

Svartifoss. Picture by: Michael Kienitz

Distance from hotel: West – 71 km/ 44 miles

Drive time: 51 minutes

 

Fjaðrárgljúfur

Fjaðrárgljúfur is a huge canyon stretching nearly 2 km in length. This stunning natural beauty has sheer walls about 100 metres deep. And the winding Fjadra River snakes its way from its source in the Geirlandshraun Mountains down to the Skaftá River.

There are newly created paths for you to explore the canyon from above. And a sturdy metal platform that overhangs at the end so you can see the whole canyon in all its glory.

Fjaðrárgljúfur. Picture by: Siggi Ragnars.

Distance from hotel: West – 143 km/ 89 miles

Drive time: 1 hour 45 minutes

 

Eldhraun

A vast moss covered lava field from the 1978 eruption. This is believed to be one of the world’s greatest lava flows from a single eruption.

Eldhraun. Picture by: Árni Gísla

There are trails around the area so you can explore closer. However, the moss is incredibly sensitive so it’s really important to stay on the paths. A single footstep into the layer can take up to a decade to grow back!

Eldhraun

And although you might not want it to rain whilst you’re in Iceland. The thick woolly fringe-moss that forms a continuous layer gives off a beautiful green when it gets wet. And is simply stunning to look at.

Distance from hotel: West – 148 km/ 92 miles

Drive time: 1 hour 43 minutes

 

 

These are the closest options if you’re heading west on the Ring Road back towards Reykjavik. However, if you’d like to go exploring in the other direction, there are even more beautiful spots.

Check out our post on “Beautiful tourist spots east from Hali Country Hotel

I hope that gives you a few ideas for places to visit close to Hali Country hotel. Wherever you visit I’m sure you’ll have a fantastic time during your time in Iceland.

 

Have you already travelled around Iceland? We would love to know if you have any more favourite spots close to Hali Country Hotel. Tell us in the comments below:

 

Glacier Adventure would like to wish you a safe onward journey.

 

 

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