Reykjanes Peninsula - Peaceful and Beautiful

After a week in Iceland we slowly got used to the crowds everywhere. But then on our last day there we were surprised, since we discovered a very beautiful and still peaceful part of this country - Reykjanes peninsula.

Blue Lagoon - most touristy place in Reykjaness peninsula
Every visitor to Iceland goes to Reykjanes. Why? Because airport is there and so is Blue Lagoon - thermal spa with incredibly beautiful turquoise blue water but also incredibly high prices! I'm going to spoil this spa for you a little bit now: it's not filled with natural water but with wastewater from the nearby geothermal powerplant. Don't freak out now, it's not contaminated or anything :)
Details about electricity production in the geotermal poweplant can be found here for now I will just tell you that geothermal water is being pumped from the underground and used for heating and electricity production. After that the water flows into Blue Lagoon and it's still hot! The temperatures in the pools vary between 35°C in 75°C.

Another thing I want to explain is the reason for magical blue color of the water: silica is the answer! Silica minerals are present in the water at such high concentrations that they can't be dissolved. Therefore the solution is coloid, like milk - you can't see through due to the light diespersion on the minerals in the water. Light that is dispersed is the reason why we see this amazing bluish color. If you pay attention to the photo below, you will see white deposits on the black rocks. That's also silica, the one that was deposited on the surrounding surfaces due to too high concentrations in the water.

Amazing combination of the colors!
Our advice: booking in advance is obligatory for entering Blue Lagoon. The prices start at around 50€, depends on the spa package you choose. But the good thing is that this ticket is not time-limiting, meaning that once you enter Blue Lagoon you can stay there for the whole day, if you want. For those, who won't pay the entrance, we have good news: you can still see the amazing colors just by walking around the spa center. There are nice paths taking you all the way around the outside pools.

Blue Lagoon is actually a side product of a geothermal powerplant :D
But Blue Lagoon wasn't THE thing about Reykjanes. It was amazing, but touristy and this is something that we don't like that much. What we loved about Reykjanes was vast, rugged, lava shaped landscape. Everywhere you look, you see black volcanic rocks, some of them overgrown with green moss and in the higher levels, they were covered with snow. Amazing combination, contrast of colors.

Beautiful Reykjanes
Empty road: just us and the nature
Strandakirkja, is another thing worth visitng in Reykjanes peninsula. That's a small church on the beach (strand means beach in Icelandic) with beautiful views over Atlantic Ocean.

The church itself is nothing special, but the legend about it is more interesting: in 10th or 11th century a fishermen's ship was caught in the severe storm. Crew prayed for salvage and promised to build a church in return. So an angel appeared and led them to the shore safely. On that very spot, indeed, they built a small church. Soon the rumor spread and church got it's reputation for fulfilling the prayers. From then on, everyone that prayed and promised some offerings to the church was saved. With many years passing and many saved lives church got a lot of money and today this is the richest church in whole Iceland!

Interior of the church
Small graveyard in front of the church
As almost everywhere in Iceland also Reykjanes has a geothermal area. Close to the town Krisuvik one can find huge geothermal park. We visited the part called Seltun, big enough to spend an hour there, smell all the sulfur and collect all the mud on your shoes :)

Boiling stream in Seltun
Bubbling mud
We were amazed, how active our mother Earth is! In this park you can really see (and smell) it. Almost everywhere you look something is happening. Either sulfur is coming out of solfatara (a small opening in the ground where sulfur is leaking out), or vapor from fumarole (same as solfatara but with gaseous H2O coming out), or there was some bubbling mud, boiling hot stream ... everything was active!

Solfatara up close
We enjoyed Reykjanes very much and were sad to leave it. Even though we were a bit disappointed after our ice-cave tour was canceled a day before (read the whole story here), Reykjanes lifted up our moods and we left Iceland happy and fulfilled. We felt like we have truly seen something beautiful and rare.

Last photo in Iceland



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