DAY TEN: The most beautiful place in the entire world.
After an average sleep, we woke up knowing today was going to be an incredible day. We had a few really exciting adventures planned, so we left the campsite nice and early to head to Stykkisholmur for kayaking.
We chose to go kayaking with Arctic Adventures, and oh BOY was it magical. We were lucky enough to be in a group with only our lovely guide, Kristjan, and the two of us. It was so special and a great workout at the same time. I’ve written a full review of it HERE that you can read if you’re considering going kayaking in Stykkisholmur.
After our magical morning on the open water, we headed to Ytri Tunga, which is known for it’s large populace of seals. We quickly parked and headed to the leftside of the back, where there were a few seals playing in the distance. There were quite a few people gathered here, and we sat down for around 10 minutes before we decided to leave.
As we were leaving, we noticed people on the other side of the beach that was more secluded, so we changed our course and headed there. If you visit, MAKE SURE you visit the RIGHT side of the beach. Here, we found an entire family of seals joyfully playing together in the crashing waves just metres away from us. It was an extremely special experience, and we stayed there for what felt like hours just watching their little bopping heads.
Next on the list was the Budkirkja Black Church, which is known for it’s photogenic nature and incredible story behind it. Here’s a brief summary of why this church is so special:
“There has been a church here since 1703. When the importance of Buðir as a trading post declined, the hamlet was declared to no longer be a parish. A replacement church was needed, but not forthcoming from the church. One woman fought and won the King’s permission to build a new church… Steinunn Lárusdóttir. When her church was completed in 1848, a plaque claimed the Buðir black church was build without the help of the “Fathers”, in other words, without any help from the Lutheran Church. The church which stands there now is a reconstruction of Steinunn Lárusdóttir’s church. And it serves as a reminder of the strong Icelandic woman and her determination.” – words from https://icelandaurora.com/photo-tours/budir/
After we’d taken a ridiculous amount of photos at this gorgeous church, we headed to our final pitstop for the afternoon, Selvallavatn. HOLY MOLY. If you go to just ONE place in Iceland, let it be Selvallavatn. Most know it as a photo destination, but I’d read somewhere that there was a waterfall, so I wanted to get a closer look.
When you park in the carpark, instead of walking to the right where everyone is standing, walk to the right until you find a small dirt path. Here, you’ll find the beginning of a waterfall. It’s easy to stop here and take a peak over the edge, but keep going! Follow the path down the slippery rocks until you can physically see the waterfall.
Make sure you’ve got proper hiking boots on, and then head down the path that quickly turns into a mud-pit. You can follow this slippery slope all the way until you are literally standing underneath the waterfall, so your entire view is beautiful Icelandic water cascading down before your very eyes. It’s pure magic, and such a special experience that I can’t really explain it. No other tourists knew about it when I was down there, so I was completely alone.
It’s rare to be at such an ethereal place with no one around in Iceland, and it goes to show that going off the beaten path really does pay off. Just watch your footing and take it nice and slow, and it will be the best thing you do the entire holiday. The best part? It’s completely free.
That night we camped at Olafsvik, which had hot showers, bathrooms, a tiny indoor common area and a large outdoor area. It was 1100ISK for the night and very affordable.
Day Eleven indicated our trip was coming to an end, but not before seeing one of the most iconic Icelandic mountains; Kirkjufell. Click HERE to read more about this magical place.