Icelandic Road Trip – Seal-watching in Illugastaðir

We took road 711 to go along the coast and reached Vatnsnes Peninsula. Our first stop was at Hvítserkur rock, a monster rock in the Huna Bay that has been sculpted by the waves over time. It was very windy and rainy, so we didn’t dare going down to the beach to see it up-close.

Regarding the weather, we decided to stop at Geitafell Restaurant for lunch, where we ordered a seafood stew (that looked and tasted more like a fish soup according to me). It came with a green salad and several slices of homemade bread. It was good but the portions were quite small regarding the price… so I wouldn’t really recommend that place, for these reasons, and for the lack of choice. They only had that on the menu.

Our next stop was dedicated to seal watching in their natural habitat. We stopped at Illugastaðir, a private farm, and followed the hiking path to the viewpoint area. The seals were very far away but we could see them thanks to the binocular at our disposal. It was nice, but cold !

It was still early in the afternoon when drove towards Hvammstangi, the last stop of our Vatnsnes Peninsula tour. We had a brief look at the harbour and walked towards the seal centre. Since it wasn’t free, we didn’t go inside… instead, we had a coffee in a tiny little café nearby and took some pictures of dry fishes hanging outside !

After our coffee, we hit the road towards our next guesthouse, since an early check-in was possible. The sun was peeking through the clouds and we saw a wonderful rainbow ! The owners were very polite, but the guesthouse was their home, and we were sharing everything with them, bathroom, kitchen… there was little to no privacy at all. When we cooked our meal, they were in their couch, barely speaking to us and looking at tv. It was so so so weird. The place was lovely though, very well decorated ! We were happy when other guests showed up, to break that uncomfortable atmosphere.

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23 responses to “Icelandic Road Trip – Seal-watching in Illugastaðir

  1. Illugastadir was the home of Natan Ketilsson – he was murdered there in 1828 and a woman was executed for his murder. Her’s was the last execution to take place in Iceland. I was hoping to read about this in your blog – maybe it will be in another post. Have you read Burial Rites by Hannah Kent? She spent a year in Iceland as a teenager and later wrote Burial Rites – it is all about the Illugastadir murder, what came before and what after. It is very, very good.

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    • Interesting! No, unfortunately, I will not talk about that :-( I’m not very knowledgeable about the history of the places in Iceland. We didn’t take any cultural tours and I haven’t read that much about the history of people living there. I’m sure if I had time, I would have loved to hear about all these stories :-)

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  2. Pingback: Icelandic Road Trip – Seal watching and visiting the Arctic Fox center | Darwin on the rocks and around the world·

  3. This has been quite a journey. Several friends (all of us photographers) are considering a trip there in the next year or so and your posts have been quite helpful in learning about the possibilities. Good to know about the timing of the end of the normal tourist season. When does it generally start, sometime in June?

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    • It starts in May, until mid-August. After 15th of August, there are not so many birds left, especially puffins, so most of the tours are not organized anymore, the sea is rough, the weather is a bit colder. In September, all the restaurants are closed, and farmer are gathering the sheep in the mountains and around, so the tourism is quite low. It’s all about compromises. We saw northern lights at the end of August, and puffins at mid-August. And we managed to do the caving tour but it was the last week where that was organized. Less tourists as well, but weather not that good… ah well. The perfect doesn’t exist I suppose :-)

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    • This is late August, end of tourist season. A lot of tours are not organized anymore and some restaurants are already closed. But it’s a good period to enjoy what summer has to offer and to have the chance to see Northern Lights ;-)

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    • There are 4 rooms I think, so 8 people…it’s a bit too much. And only one bathroom/toilet ;-)

      The house is lovely, and it looks like a design magazine. Everything fits together, it’s beautiful. But it’s lacking the warmth atmosphere. They are new in the business, maybe they will become more talkative in the future.

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