Thórsmörk in South Iceland is a popular destination hidden within mountain ridges as well as Eyjafjallajökull volcano/glacier and Mýrdalsjökull glacier/volcano. The area lies within a system of volcanoes on the south coast of Iceland starting with the Westman Islands that suffered two major eruptions in the 20th century. A little further inland from here is the great Hekla known as the mother of all volcanoes and the gateway to hell in Medieval times. To the east is Mount Katla and absolute behemoth of a volcano erupting usually every 100 years or so and last erupted in 1918. Then there is the infamous Eyjafjallajokull volcano which is by no means among the most active volcanoes in Iceland erupting roughly every 200 years. The 2010 eruption of Eyjafjallajökull created an ash plume that stopped all air travel in the North Atlantic for a few days.
Thórsmörk is very much at the mercy of the elements, glacial rivers run through it and although Eyjafjallajökull is not a massive glacier then Mýrdalsjökull is the 3rd largest glacier in Iceland. The Black Sand Beaches to the south are a reminder that the volcanic eruptions in this area can easily reconstruct the landscape. The coastline has been moving back and forth for thousands of years in an endless tug-of-war between the new earth brought forth from by the eruptions and the gnawing away of the merciless north Atlantic. At Reynisfjara beach this is quite evident from the rock formations just off the coastline and the basalt columns rising out of the black sand.
There are quite a few popular hiking trails around Thórsmörk and you could easily spend days hiking here. Just off the ring road passing Seljalandsfoss waterfall the road gradually leads into the long Valley dominated by Krossá river and there is a surprisingly lush vegetation here in summer of birch, moss and fern which creates a stark contrast from the volcanic gravel and rugged mountain ridges.
You could easily combine a visit to Thorsmörk with a south shore tour if you are thinking about trying to get as much in as possible, visiting also Skógafoss waterfall and Seljalandsfoss waterfall as well seeing a bit of Black Sand for example down by Landeyjahöfn Harbour. The fact is though that a full day would be a recommendation for this area since it is rather unique. If you have already done the Golden Circle and some other highlights of Iceland this is very much a great option. Even if there are no ice caves in this particular area or glacier lagoons (there was one which was destroyed in the 2010 eruption) there are still plenty of amazing stops and just crossing the great river in a super jeep and or a monster truck is an experience in itself. There is also an accommodation option in the Volcano Huts in Thórsmörk, if that is something you would like to consider.
But all in all Thórsmörk is a little piece of heaven in the Lord-of-the-Ringy environment of the Icelandic highlands.
Seljalandsfoss Waterfall is one of the most visited waterfalls on the south coast of Iceland. Seljalandsá originates in the volcano underneath the glacier of Eyjafjallajökill and flows down the mountain until it tumbles 60 meters off the edge of the cliff creating the absolutely beautiful waterfall. When coming from the west towards Eyjafjallajökull Volcano, Seljalandsfoss Waterfall can be clearly seen from a distance cascading off the foothills of the great mountain. This is the waterfall which you can walk behind, make a wish, meet an elf, get wet and get coffee and donuts afterwards, all in the space of half an hour.
The 2010 Eyjafjallajökull eruption stopped all air travel in Europe for a few days as the ash cloud drifted out over the Atlantic, the ash plume reaching a height of up to 10 km and the ash detected far south on the European mainland. Considering the many active volcanoes in Iceland the volcanic eruptions of Eyjafjallajökull have not been many, only five in the last 1100 years, in this case a moderate eruption but it did destroy on of the outlet glaciers and closed the Ring Road. Fortunately Seljalandsfoss Waterfall remained intact and it still is one of the most visited waterfalls in Iceland and the fact that you can walk behind the waterfall makes it a further attraction and a must stop on any day trip to the south shore.
The ice cap on Eyjafjallajökull makes it incredibly picturesque and whenever you are visiting Seljalandsfoss make sure you keep your eyes out for a good photo-stop of the volcano. Seljalandsfoss is also the destination where you might be able to get that unique photo of northern lights or the midnight sun through falling glacial water. However the real experience here is of course to feel, see and hear the endless flow of water coming rumbling off the cliff side. There is something absolutely magical about standing behind a waterfall looking out knowing that you are also standing in the bosom of a legendary volcano.
Also the little food truck which is usually standing in the parking lot next to the waterfall is a great one. They serve fresh donuts and muffins as well as homemade sandwiches, coffee, tea, hot chocolate and sodas. A lovely little family run spot right in front of the waterfall with a great view of the south western Icelandic saga-land.
When traveling on a super truck trip the journey itself becomes an adventure and with a day tour destination like Þórsmörk it just might become an odyssey.
Nestled between ice caps on mountain ridges and some of the more intimidating volcanoes in Iceland. The last eruption of Eyjafjallajökull stopped all air travel in Europe for a few days while its ash plume spread out over the north atlantic and destroyed one of the outlet glaciers on the north side. The road into Þórsmörk nature reserve lies next to Eyjafjallajökull after turning off the Ring Road, passing some beautiful waterfalls and usually visiting Seljalandsfoss waterfall. The great Krossá river runs through this area adding to its feeling of a different world of hillsides grown with natural birch trees and lava rock carved by glacial water. There are some popular hiking trails in the area and even places to stay like the Volcano Huts where after a day hiking or super-truck-cruising the Lord-of-the-Ringy like Þorsmörk you could hang back and wait for Northern Lights to appear in the night sky above the glaciers or enjoy this magnificent microcosmos being illuminated by the midnight sun, depending on which time of the year you are here.
The Golden Circle and The South Shore are great tours of course but this is something just a little bit different. This private tour is like no other and gives you a taste of Iceland off the main road and lets you experience some of the last wilderness left in Europe.
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