Road Trip Through Iceland: Day 8 - From Mývatn to Husavik visiting Ásbyrgi and Dettifoss

No fuel ahead! Iceland
No more gas ahead
Leaving Mývatn was a little dull. We saw a pair of handcraft stores that looked really interesting... And they were closed until 11! No way we could spend so much time waiting. We fueled, bought vanillated skyr for the route and took the road to Dettifoss. This is one of those places where you definitely have to fuel, there is no other gas station in 130km.

Dettifoss along the way to Ásbyrgi

On our way to Dettifoss we passed close to the Apolo 11 geological training zone, a lunar-like desert where Armstrong and Aldrin buzzed along before doing the real deal.

Laia, Iceland Dettifoss, Iceland
Canyon around Dettifoss, Iceland Around the Dettifoss zone, Iceland
Dettifoss and the Dettifoss canyon area

What can I say about Dettifoss? Well, it wasn't that impressive after Gullfoss and that beautiful after Svartifoss. It was a good sight nevertheless, and it was just along the way to the Ásbyrgi. The road before the watching area was a little rough, red volcanic rock. And when we arrived we found a red Volkswagen Beetle from the 70s... Coming from Germany!

Red Beetle, drove from Germany, Iceland Canyon near Dettifoss with bluish water, Iceland Hafragilsfoss, Iceland
The Red Beetle, the Dettifoss canyon with some odd blue water and Hafragilsfoss from a good point of view

We also stopped along the way in Hafragilsfoss, where we collected red stones and bluish lava rocks.


The Ásbyrgi is according to folk tales where Odin's eight-legged horse, Sleipnir set foot. Seen from the side it reminds me of the Flatiron building in New York.

It is a very odd geological formation, as we learned in Ásbyrgi's information centre. It was caused by a massively strong flood caused by the eruption of a volcano, melting a glacier, which swept away everything that was not strong enough to withstand its force.

Asbyrgi from the side, Iceland Asbyrgi from the front, Iceland
Asbyrgi from afar, Iceland Ruben and Laia in the Asbyrgi area, Iceland
Different view from the Ásbyrgi: Side, front, afar and its whereabouts

We made some instant coffee and had a walk around the zone, which is full of trees (birch, fir and pine). I don't remember if I had said this before, but Iceland has almost no big trees, and in fact this is one of the first places we saw some except at cities. It turns out that before the Viking discovery the island was full of trees... Which were used as fuel and supplies to build ships and homes. The big deforestation removed every tree, and the climate didn't help them grow again: trees here grow at a very slow rate.

Husavik: Whalewatching takes a "whale"

We left Ásbyrgi and tried to collect some seashells in places that our road map said there were plenty, but didn't have luck: the road was like 20 or 30 meters from the beach, and there was no way to pass except crossing some farm. Even the way to a museum with interesting views was closed by a fence! We had to drive backwards for quite a while and then maneuver to get back to the road.

In Husavik we had almost only one thing to do: go whale watching! We had a 7% discount we found in the information centre in Ásbyrgi and went straight to buy it, it was something like 14000 ISK. They told us the sea was a little brave and (as is usual for whale watching) gave us seasickness pills to take before the trip. They also told us to get some heavy jackets: I went to buy a 66º North black jacket for 16000 ISK, it is an awesome jacket: thin but very warm and weights almost nothing. It has been what I wore all this winter here in Spain.

The Husavik dock, Iceland Whale watching in Husavik, Iceland Humpback whale in Husavik, Iceland
The dock from Husavik, people before puking and a humpback whale's tail

It was really freezing at sea, and as they said, the sea was brave. We catched a humpback whale which we saw several times, also a lot of puffins flying around and some dolphins guided us back to port. An interesting fact: puffins have very short wings and thus don't have enough power to get out of sea. They stay in the water riding the waves until one lifts them up high enough to jump and fly.

On our way back to port I almost felt asleep, even with the rough sea. Something like 20 minutes before docking, they gave us hot chocolate (which was awesome after the freezing wind) and a cinnamon roll. I ate two, mine and Laia's, she looked a little pale and green. If you ever go whale watching and they say the sea is a little rough, don't go. You'll see at least 10 times more people puking from board to starboard than whales or even dolphins.

Back to our guest house and to sleep, we were wasted: it was already tomorrow and we were soaked from head to toes. We needed a shower... Even less time to sleep!

Today we drove for around 170km... Or not.

« Road Trip Through Iceland: Day 7 - From Egilsstaðir to Mývatn passing through Hverir
» Road Trip Through Iceland: Day 9 - Goðafoss and Hólar
Written by Ruben Berenguel