Hiking in Skaftafell National Park

When bff with bf had left and me and bae had had our wedding night it was time for a few days of honeymoon. When planning this whole trip this waterfall, Svartifoss, was the only request I got from bae so naturally I planned for us to go there. Reason for visit: it looked a bit like in Dragon Age: Inquisition, yes I knew I married a gamer 😛

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Svartifoss

Anyways, we drove up to the national park of Skaftafell, weather wasn’t too good but with rain gear on we started the S2 hike, about 5 km and we would pass some waterfalls and turf houses.

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We parked at the information center and then hiked up route S2

The hike is easy, the trail wide and most is gravel. Some stairs. It seemed a lot of people just went up to Svartifoss and then back down the same way, we crossed the little bridge and walked to Sel instead with a stop at the top of the mountain to look out over all the rivers of meltwater from the glacier. Had it been a clear day I think the view would have been stunning!

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Hue at Sjónarsker

On our way down to Sel we were almost alone, a rare occurrence in Iceland! Quite nice though. This part of the trail was also just an easy walk.

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Sel farm house in Skaftafell national park, Selið in Icelandic

So you could enter these little houses which was really nice, lovely to get out of the rain for a minute and have a quick tea break. Walking back we took the trail rather than the road and then got clearer views of the other waterfalls: Magnúsarfoss, Hundafoss, Þjófafoss. Also, almost no tourists on this side of the river.

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Hundafoss

Once back at the camping and information center we had a toilet break and some lunch before we walked over to the glacier, following the easy part route S1 there and then taking the harder part of the same route on the way back.

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I’ve actually never been on a glacier before and thought it mostly looked dirty? And also a little pitiful? Seeing as we had to walk quite the beach before we got up closer to the ice, it must have looked more impressive before it started melting. Here as well, most people seemed to stop at a viewing point before heading back. The lack of people could of course have been because of the weather but going to Iceland to hike? Come on, I had sort of planned for hail, snow storms and tornadoes… This little drizzle didn’t do much harm!*

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Me and bae by Skaftafellsjökull glacier

So that was our day in Skaftafell national park! We both enjoyed it very much. My recommendation for this part of the country though would be to have more things planned since the long drive through the lave fields are quite boring actually. Also there aren’t that many places to stay. The two hotel nights we had in this area cost as much as the Airbnb for the first 5 nights I think, insane!

*Except that my rain gear wasn’t totally waterproof and chilled me quite badly so the day after I got fever chills and called my mother way too late in the evening when I though I was dying. Yes, I become like a middle-aged man when I’m sick 😛

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Hiking at Hjörleifshöfði

We had one of them tourist maps when we drove on the south coast of Iceland and it mentioned Hjörleifshöfði as a historical site worth stopping at. We had a shortened hike at Fjaðrárgljúfur so with time so spare we took the exit for a little detour.

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View from Hjörleifshöfði towards Katla

So, Hjörleifshöfði or “Hjörleifur´s Headland” is a 221 m tuff rock that was once an island, today though you are able to drive around the whole thing since the ocean has withdrawn a bit. Me and bae went straight to the parking lot, took our picnic with us and then started on the hike. We saw a few other cars and like one other couple on the hills but all far away. After being on the Golden Circle this was a quite new and nice feeling. Having a piece of the country to our selves.

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Looking at the map we followed the recommendation with walking clockwise, starting with the steepest part first

We did see a few more cars pulling over (I had to stop to “look at the view and breath heavily”) but most turned and drove around the island instead of walking up upon it. We didn’t mind. The trail was clearly marked and easy to follow (in the sense you couldn’t get lost).

The views were stunning! I wish we had had this weather the other day when we went to Skaftafell National Park but this was still a lovely surprise. At the top we sat down hiding from the wind, having a cuppa before writing in the guest book and following the trail down.

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Hue paying his respect to Hjörleifur Hróðmarsson, the blood brother of Ingólfur Arnarson who was the first Viking settler of Iceland in year 874
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I was so cold, thought the husband was trying to be macho with not even wearing gloves but it turned out I had fever chills… It was still a really nice hike!

On the way back down we walked by where the actual different farms had been. According to history there had been three different farms on the island, some dying out of people moving away by choice and others cause of the close by active volcano…

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Hue sitting in one of the ruins

Once back in the car we drove out and around the rock, checked out the cave and looked at the gorgeous beach. Don’t try to drive all the way around though unless you have a car for river crossing.

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Bit cold in the water but a nice view non the less