This post focuses on Day 2 (Gullfoss, Secret Lagoon, Hjalparfoss, Gjáin, Háifoss / Granni) of our Ultimate Itinerary for 2 Weeks / 14 Days in Iceland.
If you’ve just starting planning for your vacation or holiday in Iceland, check out our Iceland planning and resources post.
NOTE: Our itinerary outlines activities and drive times. Everybody has different eating habits so stop for groceries and food as needed. Picnic areas are suggested when extraordinary, otherwise eat where and when you want. We rarely ate out and instead enjoyed yogurt and fruit for breakfast, prepared quick lunches and snacks throughout the day, and cooked a hot meal every evening at the campground.
Iceland Itinerary Day 2 Summary
|Gullfoss||1 – 1 ½ hrs|
|Secret Lagoon||1 ½ hrs||2800 ISK per person (2240 ISK after 20% discount)|
|Drive||40 min||Stop at 2-3 pull-outs for the views|
|Hjalparfoss||50 min||Picnic lunch|
|Drive||45 min||*** 4×4 REQUIRED ***Stop for 5-10 min at Stöng en route|
|Gjáin||1 ¼ hrs||*** 4×4 REQUIRED ***|
|Drive||30 min||*** 4×4 REQUIRED ***|
|Háifoss / Granni||1 ¼ hrs||*** 4×4 REQUIRED ***|
|Drive||50 min||*** 4×4 REQUIRED ***Nice viewpoints along the way; stopping will increase the drive time|
|Árnes Campground||accommodation||1500 ISK per person including showers|
|Total = ~ 10 hrs|
Iceland Itinerary Day 2 Details
Day 2 Activities
Just a short 5 minute drive away from Skjòl Campground is Gullfoss. This popular waterfall is located in the canyon of the Hvítá river and the water drops in two stages – the upper and lower falls. Approximately 1 hour to 1.5 hours is ample time to walk around the falls and take many photographs. There is also a café on-premise.
Time for your first Icelandic hot springs experience! A half-an-hour drive from Gullfoss, the Secret Lagoon offers a low key alternative to famous The Blue Lagoon. Spend an hour or so soaking in the warm water. The nearby geysir will erupt every so often; an interesting interruption (pun intended!) to the relaxing atmosphere.
TIP: Familiarize yourself with public pool/hot springs rules before visiting. If you are not willing to follow hygiene rules, such as showering without a swimsuit in a communal area before entering the pool area, do not visit. It is rude and disrespectful to disobey these rules.
The 40 minute drive from the Secret Lagoon to Hjalparfoss is peppered with a few pullouts providing beautiful views of snow-capped peaks and volcanic rock fields. Hjalparfoss is a beautiful bifurcated waterfall and a perfect place to stop for a picnic lunch.
After another 45 minutes of driving, and a brief photo-op stop at Stöng farmhouse and church, you’ll arrive at the fairy tale land of Gjáin.
NOTE: 4×4 is required to access Gjáin. Without a 4×4 vehicle, it is necessary to walk the remaining 14km from Stöng.
Upon arriving, walk down into the small picturesque valley complete with waterfalls. Spend approximately an hour wandering through the fairy tale.
FUN FACT: Gjáin was featured in Season 4 Episode 5 of Game of Thrones.
Háifoss / Granni
NOTE: 4×4 is required to access Háifoss.
A bumpy 30 minutes later, you’ll arrive at the final destination of the day. Háifoss is a waterfall that tumbles 122 meters into a narrow gorge. Spend about an hour walking along the gorge and the river Fossá to view Háifoss from a variety of angles.
Granni, Icelandic for neighbor, is the name of the smaller waterfall next to Háifoss. There are also beautiful views of the volcano Hekla from Háifoss.
TIP: Stay for sunset if the weather is on your side.
Day 2 Accommodation
Árnes Campground is approximately 50 minutes from Háifoss. The campground costs 1500 ISK per person including showers. This smaller municipal campground is adjacent to the community pool and offers electric sites for an additional fee.
There are two stalls in each of the gender-segregated restrooms and there is also a shower building. (But, you just showered thoroughly, in accordance with the rules, at the Secret Lagoon, right?!) There are also two camping sinks and a covered area with picnic tables for relaxing and eating.
Álfaskeɨd Campground is further from Háifoss and is also further from our Day 3 activities. However, this basic campground looks like a lovely alternative on a more leisurely itinerary.
TIP: Álfaskeɨd Campground is on the camping card.
Iceland Itinerary Day 2 Map
Day 2 covers points 7 – 12 on the map layer Our 2 Week / 14 Day Itinerary.
Other layers include additional points of interest, accommodation (camping and hotel), and dining/groceries. Most of these points have a description and a link for more information.
September 3 – 4, 2018