Our stay at The FossHotel Glacier Lagoon, after the day before spent exploring some of the best waterfalls in Iceland, was only for one night but this was as far East as we would be going – hotels-wise.
We actually chose it initially due to its proximity to Jökulsárlón Glacier Lagoon as well as Stokksnes but also because it would be our first time doing an ice cave tour in Iceland which would be leaving from Vik.
Again, Vik isn’t too far from here so that just works perfect for our plans for the day.
Now we’d actually left our hotel booking for Iceland till quite late this summer and every single place seemed to be fully booked.
It was then we realised how spread out hotels were because, in an ideal world, we would have rather booked hotels with much shorter drives in between them but hey ho.
The good thing is that the drive the day before was probably the longest drive between hotels we’d have to do.
Plus this hotel was pretty close to Jökulsárlón Glacier Lagoon, which we made our very first stop that morning.
Thankfully the fog from the day before had lifted and we had clearer skies for our visit to Jökulsárlón Glacier Lagoon today.
The last time we were at Jökulsárlón Glacier Lagoon, it was during a snowstorm and you could barely see anything at all.
It was so incredible seeing all the, sometimes gigantic, icebergs floating past.
Every so often they’d crack and create smaller icebergs which arrived complete with a wave to usher them along their merry way.
This trip was also the first time we’d spotted the wildlife at Jökulsárlón Glacier Lagoon.
We saw a seal swimming around and I think it’s the first time I’ve ever seen a seal in Iceland in all the years we’ve been visiting.
We also saw ducks playing around in the water here too.
Leaving Jökulsárlón Glacier Lagoon, we made our way over to Stokksnes – which is this area with this grand beach and towering mountains standing guard over it.
You actually have to pay to visit this place if you drive here which is so unlike most places in Iceland.
There’s also a little ‘village’ here which is where The Witcher on Netflix was filmed.
The best time to visit is when the tide is a bit in and it creates this mirror-like effect that looks absolutely dramatic with the mountains in the background.
We didn’t check the tide times before we visited Stokksnes and honestly even if we did, we still wouldn’t have had much choice as we could only really visit at a specific time given our schedule.
If you are however travelling along further or staying here for longer, I’d definitely recommend being strategic with the time of day you visit Stokksnes.
Leaving Stokksnes, we made our way over to Vik for something we were very excited about.
So much so that it was the very first thing we booked after booking our tickets to Iceland.
See in Vik we would finally get the chance to go into an ice cave.
We’d tried doing this a few years before but the snowstorm in Iceland scuppered all chance of that.
This time it looked more likely but then as we left Stokksnes, the weather just seemed to take a strange turn.
The dark clouds descended along the way and came with some thick fog to keep it company.
At this point, I wasn’t quite sure what weather conditions this visit to the ice caves could run under but it wasn’t looking promising.
Still though, our hotel was in Vik so we just carried on our journey.
We stayed at the Hotel Kria in Vik and it’s actually quite nice.
It’s fairly simple in the way most Icelandic hotels are but seems quite built for lots of social fun with games rooms and areas to just hang out in.
We actually checked into this hotel in the rain and after dropping our stuff off, headed over to town to meet our guides for the ice cave visit.
We booked this ice cave tour on Get Your Guide – it’s this specific one here and I can’t recommend it enough.
You can also book a Jökulsárlón Glacier Lagoon tour here too.
There are a lot of things you can do in Iceland without a guide and a visit to an ice cave is not one of those things.
You need to book on an official ice cave tour because you need someone to take you here because there are so many mistakes one could make if they try to visit on their own.
For starters, the whole area is surrounded by quicksand but you won’t know which parts are quicksand and which parts are just regular.
It’s all the volcanic ash that’s released that makes it this way.
It’s so fine and has been trapped in the ice for ages and released as it melts which can be tricky to navigate when it gets wet.
Then there’s the whole access to the ice cave itself.
You won’t know which one to go into or even how to get into the place.
The guides do so you’ll need them for this.
Also, remember ice caves are constantly melting so the guides are the ones that know which ones are strong enough to visit and which ones you need to avoid.
Anyway so yeah, we went off to meet our guide as I kid you not, as he drove us closer to the ice cave, the weather started to clear.
We were just pleased that the rain had stopped, but the weather decided to take things up a notch and bring out this amazing sunshine.
It was like all the fog and rain had never even happened.
We were fitted with crampon attachments for our shoes and hardhats and off we went into the ice cave.
It was absolutely amazing by the way.
So gorgeous and the colours inside it were phenomenal.
It kinda brings the whole experience earlier at Jökulsárlón Glacier Lagoon full circle too.
It also opens up at the other end looking into the glacier.
It was melting at the entrance when we got in but not really inside.
Inside, the floor was covered by the ash released from when it melted.
If you look at the ice walls inside the ice cave, you can see each time the volcano erupted and released ash (depicted by the line of the ash inside) then all the snow that accumulated on top of it, then the next volcanic eruption, followed by the snow and so on and so on.
It’s incredible. It’s like this snapshot into the natural history of the area.
After taking our time marvelling at this place, it was eventually time to leave and if you look at the glacier around here, you’d actually think they are mountains.
They are covered in ash and look just like that.
It’s only when you look closer that you realise it’s all ice underneath them.
Anyway, suffice to say, we left that experience so thoroughly pleased.
It was so incredible seeing Jökulsárlón Glacier Lagoon and then going on this ice cave tour that showed where the icebergs in the lagoon started off as and even Stokksnes that showed the way the ice and ash shaped the landscape in Iceland.
Like I said this ice cave tour was the first thing we booked for Iceland, even before booking our hotels and we’re so pleased it was so worth it. Absolutely amazing.
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