Reykjavik, the capital of Iceland, is reached by steamer from Copenhagen, stopping at Leith, Scotland. The voyage takes ten days from Copenhagen to Iceland, and five or six days from Leith. Some steamers stop at Thorshavn (Faroe Isles) and the numerous northwestern ports of Iceland, in which case the voyage is prolonged to nineteen days.
The only means of transportation on the island at present is by ponies, although a railroad round the island is contemplated, and it is advisable to have your own camp, as accommodation at the farmhouses is of uncertain character. The area of the island is 37,000 square miles, and the scenery is grand and awe-inspiring.
The southeast of the island is occupied by a vast heap of snow-capped mountains, which discharge their glaciers into the sea. This district is known as the Vatna- jokull, and is continually in a state of volcanic eruption. The northwestern section is fairly populated, and is the classic land of the ancient Sagas.
One Month's Tour in Iceland
Including Thingvellir, The Geysirs, Mount Hekla, Saga-land, and the Volcanic Region around Lake Myvatn
| Reykjavik, the chief port and town of Iceland. Here are the Governor's House, the Cathedral and Parliament House.
|Thingvellir (thirty-five miles from Reykjavik), passing through Mosfell and the famous rift of Almannagja. Thingvellir is the site of the famous Logberg, where in 928 a parliament was established, and in 1874 self-government was proclaimed. The plain of Thingvellir reaches to the beautiful lake, and is flanked by hills.
|Thingvellir to Geysir. From the summit of $ the pass, the triple cones of Mount Hekla are seen, forty miles away. Bruara River is forded. The Great Geysir, the earliest known of such phenomena, throws a column of water about 100 feet in height at irregular intervals. There is also the Strokkr Geysir, which is always in a state of ebullition.
|Geysir to Gulfoss, the rival of the Dettifoss.
|Gulfoss to Galtalakur.
|From Galtalakur the ascent of Mount Hekla (5,108 feet) is begun. The actual ascent is best made from Naefrholt, from which point the summit is about seven miles. The view from the summit is considered to be the most varied in the world. Beyond Mount Hekla is the classic " Burnt Njal country," and at Oddi was born, in 1056, Saemund Frothi, who wrote Njala and Edda. An extension from here to include the grand glacial scenery of the Vatna Jokull, and the monarch of Icelandic mountains, the Orarfa Jokull, would occupy about three weeks.
|Return from Galtalakur to Geysir.
|Geysir to Reykholt, over a pass commanding a fine view of the Ok and Gertlands Jokulls. At Reykholt lived Snorri Sturlson, the most celebrated Saga writer of Iceland, who was assassinated for conspiring to hand the island over to King Hakon of Norway. Travelers wishing to visit the Snaefell Peninsula do so from Reykholt, the trip taking about fourteen days.
|Reykholt to Hvammr, a fine stretch of country with a magnificent view of Baula, and through the Valley of Smoke, which rises from Tungnhverir.
|Hvammr to Bordeyri on the Hurtajfordr, passing the base of Baula (3,500 feet), and through the Vale of Northra.
|Bordeyri to Merlrstadir on the Midfjordr. Grettir, the noted outlaw and the hero of many Sagas, was born at Bjarg, near Melr.
|Melr to Hnoisar, passing Reykir, Vestrhop Lake and the Valley of Vithidalr.
|Excursion through the Vale of Waters to Grimstungur, in the Vale of Shadows. At Thorhall's farm (still in existence) Grettir is said in the legends to have vanquished the Vampire Glamr, whose grave is to be seen.
|Hnoisar to Blonduos on the Hunaf jordr, passing slag cones. The hamlet of Gila was the home of Thorwald, who first introduced Christianity into Iceland.
|Blonduos to Vidimyri, crossing the River Blanda by a bridge.
|Vidimyri to Holar. The bishopric of Holar dates back to about n00, and the church was formerly a cathedral.
|Holar to Vellir, crossing the Unadals Jokull at an altitude of 4,500 feet. The descent to the valley is one of the finest views in Iceland.
|Vellir to Akureyri, the road skirting the fjord
|Akureyri on the Eyjafjordr, the second town in Iceland. At the mouth of the fjord is the island of Hrisey
|Akureyri to Grenjadarstadir, passing through the Fnjoskadalr to Goda-Foss, a miniature Niagara, and the scene of one of Grettir's exploits.
|Grenjadarstadir to Uxahver Hot Springs.
|Uxahver to Reykjahlid, situated on the beautiful island-studded Lake of Myvatn, and commanding a fine view of several volcanoes and craters. The scene of several terrible eruptions.
|Excursions from Reykjahlid to the Myvatn
Solfatarar, a plain of boiling mud, surrounded by
steaming volcanoes, an appalling sight; and to Dettifoss, where the Jokulsa River dashes into a fissure two hundred feet deep.
In order to visit the Volcano of Askja four days from Reykjahlid are required. It is needless to say that the trip is a hard one, but amply repays. The first day is spent crossing the lava bed of Odadahraun to Svar- tarkot, where the night is spent, so as to commence the ascent with sunrise the next morning. The circumference of this huge crater is between seventeen and eighteen miles, and its area at least twenty-three miles. It is four hours' hard work to cross the lava-covered floor of Askja on foot to the site of the disturbance in 1875. It is probably the largest known crater in the world.
|Reykjahlid to Storuvcllir.
|Storuvellir to Akureyri.
From Akureyri a choice of routes is offered the traveler.
If he wishes to return to Scotland he can do so in seven days. The steamer stops at Eskcfjord, which was the landing place of Naddovr, the earliest Norse explorer, and near which village is the mine of the famous Iceland spar.
If the traveler prefers to return overland to Reykjavik he can do so in about seven days, via the direct post route by the charming Oxnadalr to Steinstadr, thence via Blonduos to Kalmanstunga, Vingnes to Reynovellir, or via the Eyjafjordr River to its source near Hofs-jokull, then between that and Lang-jokull, skirting the large Hvitar Lake to Geysir and Thingvellir, or via the longest and most arduous route by the Sprengisandr Road, passing the Vathla Skarth, Frijoskdal, crossing the Skjal- fauda fljot, or flood of quivering sand, across the black sand desert between Tungnafells and Arnarfells-jokulls, then along the Thjorsa, near Hekla, to Geysir and Thingvellir.
On the supposition that the traveler has had enough of inland travel, and yet has time to see more of this wondrous island, he had best take the mail-boat from Akureyri to Reykjavik via the Northwest Peninsula, occupying six days, stops being made at Skagestrand on the splendid Skagafjordr, in the center of which rises the fortresslike island of Drangey, to which Grettir, the legendary outlaw, retired with his brother Illugi, and where both were slain.
Cape North is a hundred and fifty miles from Greenland. Oenundafjord is a modern whaling station.
Arnefjord, with its splendid basalt buttresses; Gilsfjordr, famous for its petrified trees; and the bird cliffs of Latraberg; the Bay of Stapi, with its basaltic caverns, and its lovely crystal pyramid of Snaefells-jokull (5,965 feet). Should the traveler find on his arrival at Reykjavik that he has still a few days to spare before the departure of his steamer for Scotland, he cannot better spend his time than in visiting the sulphur springs at Krisuvik, known as " the congealed Pandemonium."