Walking to the Glacier

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We drive out of Höfn and not long after the town is a turn off from the main road where we can drive a bit up the hill to a place where we will get close to the great Vatnajökull glacier. It is the biggest glacier in Europe and it is pretty massive. The glacier covers an area of 7,900 square kilometers making it almost half the size of Wales.

Vatnajökull from the distance

At times the glacier is pretty far away from the main roads but at certain places it comes down fairly close to a secondary road. We drive up a little road just a few miles outside Höfn it brings us a bit closer to the glacier. We can see it in the distance and it looks close. So we start hiking to the glacier.

It is a nice hike over the rocky landscape and there is only very few other tourist out doing the hike here – there are more famous places to go to the glacier at other places but going here mean we have the area pretty much to ourselves.

Looks can be deceiving and the distance to the glacier is a lot longer than it looked at first glance. After an hours walking over the rocky landscape we finally reach glacier. There is a lot of ice but and across the small pool of freezing cold water in front of the glacier the ice looks like ice. But when we come closer to the ice it change colours – it is black full of dirt from flowing slowly across the volcanic landscape. Touching the ice make you pretty dirty with all the dirt the ice has picked up along its drift down from the mountain behind.

The temperature is fairly high – at least by Icelandic standards – so the ice is melting quickly. The ice gets different shapes and forms as it melts and small tunnel through the ice is being created. I guess you could walk through the tunnel but we decide not to since the water is dripping pretty heavily from the roof and tunnel and I am not sure just how stable the roof of the tunnel actually is and we don’t want the roof of the tunnel come tumbling down on our heads.

We walk back form the icefield to where we have parked the car. It is another long walk across the rocky landscape and we finally reach the car and can continue on the road just down in the shadow of the Vatnajökull glacier.


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