The guesthouse that we were staying in had breakfast included, so we woke up relatively early to get some breakfast. Since the guesthouse was located on a farm, they made a lot of the food served at breakfast, including a homemade lamb jerky that Justin loved and some homemade cheese.
We checked out shortly after we ate breakfast since as driving days go, this one was particularly long, hence why we stayed at the guesthouse. If we had tried to drive all the way from Vík to Egilsstaðir, it would’ve been seven to eight hours in a car. Therefore staying at the guesthouse chopped it in half.
En route to Egilsstaðir, we made a detour at Stokksnes and Vestrahorn, which were on the way. Stokksnes is a headland in Iceland. According to the dictionary, it is a narrow piece of land that projects from a coastline into the sea, similar to a cap. Specifically, it meant that there are many different cliffs in Stokkness that the water crashes on. There is a radar station built by NATO but is now run by the Coast Guard. During the Cold War, the US military operated the radar station in Stokksnes with an average of 200 soldiers. The station started its operations in 1955, and there used to be more structures there, but they were eventually demolished. Vestrahorn is a mountain that is found at Stokksnes. It is made from different basalt layers.
I will be the first to admit that we probably didn’t give Vestrahorn and Stokksnes enough time. We didn’t even trek down to the famous beach and lagoon, where you could see the entire mountain reflected in the water. It wasn’t on purpose. I don’t think we studied the map enough and researched it enough beforehand, and we were also kind of in a hurry. We wanted to get to Egilsstaðir because we had pre-booked reservations at Vök Baths.
If you plan to visit Vestrahorn and Stokksnes, make sure you give yourself enough time to explore them fully. There are several walking trails. In addition, there is the famous beach that we just missed.
Since the mountain is located on private property, you need to pay a fee to visit the mountain. However, there is a small cafe called the Viking Cafe, where you buy your tickets, and it also serves coffee and desserts, some souvenirs, and has a WC. I think it was about six or seven dollars to visit the area, and you could park wherever you wanted and stay as long as you wanted.
In my opinion, it’s probably not worth stopping and paying unless you have a decent amount of time to spare. Unfortunately, we really didn’t have a lot of time to spare. We took a few pictures and then basically left because we wanted to check into our Airbnb for the night and relax before we got to the baths, and the drive was three hours from the mountain.
Regardless, here are the few pictures I took. Unfortunately, none of them are like the ones you’ll find on the internet because we neglected to visit the actual beach part where the mountain is reflected. Regardless, it was a beautiful mountain and a beautiful area. If we do go back to Iceland, I wouldn’t mind exploring it more.
After we left the Vestrahorn area, we drove through our first tunnel in Iceland.
I have to say that the tunnels in Iceland are a lot different than the more popular tunnels in the US, such as the Lincoln or Holland tunnel en route to NYC. For one thing, the tunnels are pretty well lit, and they have space off to the side. Also, every few meters or so, they have a fire extinguisher and an emergency phone. There is also room for a car to pull over if a car broke down. In the tunnels closer to NYC, cars are pretty much squished, and you’re screwed if a car breaks down or if there’s an accident or anything like that.
The rest of our day mostly consisted of driving. It was a beautiful drive.
At one point, I started panicking because I couldn’t remember where my wallet was and was worried I left it somewhere. So we pulled over to a pull-out so I could look for it. Luckily, I found it. I had put it in my Camelbak backpack and forgotten I did that. However, the pull-out was beautiful and surrounded by waterfalls, so I took a few pictures:
We pulled into Egilsstaðir around three or so. The first thing we did was go to Bónus, which is a chain supermarket in Iceland. Then, we bought even more food. Justin bought some Icelandic beef, cheese, and eggs to make dinner and breakfast at the Airbnb. I bought even more chocolate and some chili sour cream potato chips, which were pretty good and had a nice kick. I also bought some garlic cheese and more skyr. We also bought even more Appelsín.
Egilsstaðir was pretty touristy. I mean, it makes sense since it’s one of the few bigger cities in Iceland. So the line at the petrol stations was huge. And there was a lot of what were really obvious tourists walking around in their puffy jackets.
Our Airbnb was slightly outside of Egilsstaðir. We stayed in a small cabin. This was one of Justin’s favorite places that we stayed. The host, whose name was Elsa, was really friendly. Our cabin had a double bed, a couch, and a bathroom with a toilet. It also had a beautiful view of the mountains.
There was a barn that you can sort of see reflected in the picture of the outside of the cabin. The barn had a pool table and tons of couches and chairs and was a place to hang out. There was a full kitchen in the barn, which is where Justin made our food. The showers were in the back part of the barn. They were nice rain showers. However, they were on a timer, similar to the showers at the baths, and I kept on having to restart mine. I think the water lasted about five or so minutes, and then it would turn off, and you had to hit the button again.
There was also a hot tub and sauna, which we didn’t have time to use, but I would’ve liked to if we had had the time.
I will say that the curtains at this place didn’t really block out the light too well. That wasn’t a problem for Justin since he can fall asleep everywhere and anywhere. I just used a blackout blindfold that I had packed in my luggage, and it was fine.
We had an hour or two to kill before our time at Vök Baths. So we ate dinner, I read, and Justin surfed the internet. Then it was time to go.
Vök Baths are newer baths than say Myvantn or Blue Lagoon. I purposely avoided Blue Lagoon on this trip because of how touristy it is. However, I have been there before. Justin was indifferent. As with all baths and pools in Iceland, you need to completely strip and shower before going into the water. Vök Baths had private showers, at least in the girl’s locker room, so it wasn’t that bad. The showers were really nice too. They had tall rain showerheads, and the water got really hot. I love hot water. It took me longer than Justin to get into the pools because I enjoyed the showers so much.
Vök Baths are unique because they have two geothermal hot pots sitting right on a cold lake. The hottest pools are the ones that are on the lake. Visitors are more than welcome to jump into the lake and then got back in the tub. I dared Justin to do it. He did and said the water was freezing. I owed him a candy bar for that, and come to think of it, I’m not sure I ever bought him one, but I brought enough home that he can have one if he likes.
Interestingly, the hot springs in the lake are actually natural hot springs. They were noted because, in winter, the lake would freeze, but those two areas never froze. It was discovered that there were underwater hot springs. The actual hot springs in the lake are built the exact size and shape that the patches of water that did not freeze are.
Aside from the lake hot springs, there are two more artificial ones on the land. The temperature of the hot pots ranges from 37°C – 42°C or 98.6 to 107.6 degrees. Justin and I really enjoyed these hot springs. They weren’t that crowded. We went around 7:30 pm. There were people there, but we had plenty of space. We spent about half of our time on the hot springs on the lake, and then we switched it up to the hot springs on the land. We got slushies from the bar and just hung out and talked. The hot springs closed at 10 pm, and I would say by 9 pm, almost everyone had left, and we pretty much had the hot springs to ourselves with just a few people.
It was very relaxing and refreshing. Around 9:45, we got out of the springs and showered. I also took double the time Justin did because I really liked the showers. After that, we went back to our Airbnb and chilled for the rest of the night. We checked the internet, I read a little, and then we eventually went to bed.
The next day was one of the more action-packed days of the trip with Dimmuborgir and Jarðböðin við Mývatn [aka Mývatn Nature Baths].