Welcome back! Here is another short story of my trip to Iceland. These past few days have been a bit hectic, yet, full of magic as I got to see so many interesting spots already. You are probably wondering if I felt sore after hiking at Landmannalaugar. Well, the truth is that I had quite an intense day back there, in fact, my legs were a bit shaky when I woke up the next morning. However, the incredible views and the natural pool, truly made that pain worthwhile.
Join me on this new adventure, which I promise will make you want to pick Iceland as your next holiday destination.
Here is a summary of today’s itinerary:
1- Skaftafell (Glacier walk)
2- Jökulsárlón (Zodiac tour)
3- Dinner in Höfn, staying at Nýpugarðar guesthouse.
I left the small town of Vík, located in the very southern part of the country to head north-east. Today, I drove for about 2 hours from the Farmhouse to the Vatnajökull National Park, but more precisely to Skaftafell glacier where I was going to be walking on ice, yes, that’s right. Huge ice formations preserved for centuries await avid tourists like you
and me, or to anyone looking for a one of a lifetime experience. As always, remember to pack your bag with the essentials as there are no many shops along the way. Carrying a water bottle and some snacks with you is fundamental.
As I arrived at the Park Visitor Center, I could instantly get that feeling of adventure in the air. Maybe it was that very cold mountain wind that made me realize where I was. Never mind, let’s get down to business. Glacier walking may seem like an exciting adventure, but you are only allowed to experience this tour accompanied by a certified guide in Iceland. Make sure to book a tour in advance, especially when you are coming with friends or family. There are usually small groups of 5-6 people to ensure safety on the glaciers. Did you know that Vatnajökull is considered the largest glacier in Europe?
There is no need to buy special gear for this hike as the guides will provide everything you need to walk on ice. After an interesting talk about the history of the park and a mandatory safety briefing, it is time to get geared up. Everybody
is provided a helmet, a safety harness, crampons (spikes) and an ax. The guides are really friendly are they will be glad to explain everything before heading to the glacier. This was my first glacier walk ever, so I have to admit that I was a bit nervous or maybe too anxious before the tour.
After everybody was ready to go, we got on a shuttle that took us very close to the glacier. As you could imagine, walking with all that gear is a bit complicated. Luckily, we only had to walk a few meters before setting foot on the glacier. We started marching one after person after the other in a very orderly fashion. The guide said that a rope will be used for safety, as we got to the feeling of it. Hiking was without a doubt, a truly fascinating experience. The sound of the crampons hitting the ice, the incredible mountains appearing through the mist and that bluish colors on the glaciers amazed me. We also had to use the ax to climb on icy, which required an extra effort to some of us I must say. Another exciting part of the tour was entering
an ice cave, a perfect spot for photos. Everything on the tour was perfect, so I would definitely recommend it to anyone who want to live a winter wonderland adventure. The guides are knowledgeable and highly experienced, so your safety is in good hands. Also, if you are not too fan of hiking, you could go at your own pace. I am sure you will get more and more motivated as you continue exploring the glacier from high above.
It was time to head back to the Visitor Center
where we would say goodbye, but not after gathering all together for a group photo and round of applause. There are restrooms available on the park where you could change before returning to the car. Also, there were two food trucks by the picnic area that day. I enjoyed a traditional Icelandic sandwich and a cold drink while resting a little bit.
My next stop was Jökulsárlón, located not too far away from Skaftafell, only about 45 minutes. I had booked a zodiac tour a couple weeks before my trip as I wanted to do both activities the same day. These type of tours get sold out easily, so it is always better to buy tickets in advance. You could even do so online
to save valuable time. They have a big parking lot available next to the check in area, so your rental car will be safe. Again, you do not need to worry about equipment, the staff here will give you an special flotation suit, plus a life best for safety. The zodiacs could reach high speeds and cover large icebergs areas of Jökulsárlón. You must follow all the safety tips to avoid any accidents. Remember, the water is too cold to even thinking on falling off these boats.
After the groups are fitted with the proper suits, it was time to get on the zodiacs. Don't be fooled by the bulky suits provided, these do keep you warm and safe while traveling on this epic lagoon. The trip started gently, with enough time for our guide to explain to us for example that, some icebergs could easily be 1,000 years old. Also to tell us that we may spot some seals, which we did! You can see some of the photos I took during this tour. They were really close to the boat, which brought great joy to all of us on board. If you tend to get cold easily, wear an extra layer of clothes as the boat goes faster, you tend to get colder and colder. A pair of gloves and wool-made beanie or hat, socks may also be suggested.
Oh well, that was quite a day, right? I had booked a room at a cozy guesthouse in Nýpugarðar, which was very close to where I was heading, Höfn. According to the GPS, it was only about 30 minutes away from Jökulsárlón, so it was great news to me. After the check in, I decided to relax for a little while, then it was time to find a good place to have dinner. There were a few good places in town. But, if you enjoy seafood as much as I do, try Humarhöfnin
, a very traditional restaurant known for its delicious langoustine dishes. Don't miss it!!
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