Iceland – Day 3 – Fjadrargljufur Canyon, Vatnajökull glacier, Jokulsarlon Lagoon, and Djúpivogur

After a busy day with lots to see, we had a relatively relaxed day on day 3 in Iceland. From Vik, we headed out fairly early to our first stop, Fjadrargljufur Canyon. Think Grand Canyon on a much, much smaller scale and green, with a beautiful blue waterfall. That should give a little picture of Fjadrargljufur Canyon. It really is stunning.

The parking area is a little tight. From the parking area, you can walk down to the mouth of the canyon or walk the path up alongside the canyon to peer inside. The walk up the path is what most people do as it provides great views. If you want to hike up the canyon, you should bring good sandals or water socks (or prepare to have some shoes get really wet) and be prepared to get wet up past your knees, closer to mid-thigh and perhaps your waist. The river inside the canyon doesn’t look that deep, but I considered wading in with waterproof hiking boots and quickly realized that the boots would be useless – the water is just too deep.

Anyway, enough description. On to pictures. Here is a shot of the canyon from one of the lookouts about midway up the canyon looking toward the entrance:

Fjadrargljufur Canyon
Fjadrargljufur Canyon

A mediocre photosphere may give a little perspective on how stunning this place is:

And here are Toren and me at the entrance of the canyon after I realized that hiking up the canyon would take too long and get me very, very wet and cold:

Ryan and Toren in front of Fjadrargljufur Canyon
Ryan and Toren in front of Fjadrargljufur Canyon

I also shot some footage of the waterfall that drops into the canyon about 3/4 of the way up the canyon:

And, because it’s so relaxing, here’s some footage of the stream at the mouth of the canyon:

Our next planned stop was Jokulsarlon Lagoon, but on the way, we ran into a finger of the Vatnajökull glacier that was just off the side of the ring road. Since we were driving ourselves and had the freedom to stop if we wanted, we stopped and hiked up beside the glacier.

Toren and Debi at Vatnajökull glacier
Toren and Debi at Vatnajökull glacier

Toren really wanted to keep hiking until we could cross over onto the glacier, but that seemed a bit too treacherous. And, unfortunately, on the way back down, Toren lost one of his good, warm gloves. So, if anyone finds a kids glove near the Vatnajökull glacier, it’s Toren’s.

After our detour, we headed to Jokulsarlon Lagoon. I remember thinking as I was driving up to this spot, “the hype for all of these natural wonders has to be overstated for at least some of them.” Part of the reason I was skeptical is that the Jokulsarlon Lagoon is shielded by large berms of dirt and rocks as you drive up to it and around it on the ring road. As a result, you really can’t see the lagoon until you get right up to the river that leaves the lagoon and runs into the ocean. But once you do see the lagoon, well:

a panoramic view of Jokulsarlon Lagoon
a panoramic view of Jokulsarlon Lagoon – click to enlarge

We spent quite a while here enjoying the fabulous views.

Ryan and Toren at Jokulsarlon Lagoon
Ryan and Toren at Jokulsarlon Lagoon

I also shot a few videos of the icebergs floating down the river that connects the lagoon to the ocean:

The lagoon was cool but even better is crossing the ring road to the black sand beach and seeing the hundreds of little icebergs floating in the ocean or lying on the shore. We spent another 45 minutes on the beach here shooting amazing photographs of each of us holding icebergs, like this:

Toren at the beach by Jokulsarlon Lagoon
Toren at the beach by Jokulsarlon Lagoon

From Jokulsarlon Lagoon, we drove to our hotel up the coast in Djúpivogur. It was a cute little hotel and perhaps the only one in town, so we were lucky to have a room. It had an amazing view of the harbor as well. The drive up the coast to Djúpivogur was also pretty amazing as parts of it are along steep cliffs overlooking the ocean:

our car on the cliffs on the way to Djúpivogur
our car on the cliffs on the way to Djúpivogur

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