Day 6 – Djúpivogur to Höfn
We had booked glacier walks tour from Glacier guides for a 2-3 hour walk on the Skaftafell glacier at 13:00 hours. So instead of going to Höfn for the end of day, we drove south to the biggest glacier of Iceland – Vatnajökull.
Leaving early from Djúpivogur, it was an hour and thirty minutes drive to our first stop – Jökulsárlón
Situated at the head of the Breiðamerkurjökull glacier, Jökulsárlón (glacial river lagoon) is a large glacial lake in southeast Iceland, on the edge of Vatnajökull National Park. Developed into a lake after the glacier started receding from the edge of the Atlantic Ocean, the lake has grown since then at varying rates because of melting of the glaciers. It is now 1.5 kilometres (0.93 mi) away from the ocean’s edge and covers an area of about 18 km2 (6.9 sq mi).
It recently became the deepest lake in Iceland, at over 248 meters (814 ft), as glacial retreat extended its boundaries. The size of the lake has increased fourfold since the 1970s and is considered as one of the natural wonders of Iceland.
The best views of Jökulsárlón are on sunny days when the view is clear all the way to the glacier at the far end of the lake. There are boat tours that costs about IS 4000, departs hourly between 9am and 6pm in the summer season (May 15th – September 15th). Each tour is about 30-40 minutes long in a “duck boat”.
Created by the influence of the glacier and glacial rivers during the 17th century, when all farms in this area were destroyed by the glacier moving towards the sea, the Route 1 passes through Breiðamerkursandur, which is laid with black sand for miles and miles.
Across from the bridge that passes over the Jökulsárlón lagoon is a black sand beach where the floating glacier icebergs are on the shore.
Another 40 minute drive south from Jökulsárlón, take a right turn on road 208 to reach the office of Glacier guides (along with other companies offering Glacier walks & hikes).
We reached at 12:30 which gave us enough time to get hydrated and grab some snacks before heading back to the office at 12:45. The super-awesome guides will put on the gear and gather everyone on a bus that takes 15 minutes to reach the tongue of the glacier.
Walking on glaciers is not an easy task. But it is not too difficult as well. You will need to wear hiking shoes and a winter jacket, along with head scarf and gloves. If you don’t have any of those then Glacier guides will provide them for a fee.
The hiking shoes costs ISK 1000 per person whereas the jackets, gloves and head scarfs are free; just make sure to return them on your way out. They offer two kinds of trips – Glacier Explorer (a 5-hour hike and costs ISK 12,990 per person) and Glacier Wonder (a 3-hour hike and costs ISK 8,400 per person). Both hikes are offered twice a day at 9am and 1pm.
Make sure to carry lots of water and some food that you will be eating at the top of your hike.
Departing from Skaftafell, they drove their bus to the front of Falljökull glacier (Falling Glacier). Form here, we started our walk along a winding path through the ever changing landscape carved out by the glacier. Arriving at the tongue of the glacier we geared up on crampons and after a quick safety briefing and practice, we head up towards the ice-fall.
With our guide leading the way, we were soon exploring dramatic terrain, walking through a wonderland of ice formations and brilliant blue colors. With plenty of time to take in the vast panoramic views of the surrounding mountains, we made our way to the rugged and chaotic ice fall.
Our guide, Alex, was wonderful in explaining all the details of the terrain, glacier and even carved out a moulan for us which we were able to step in to. Another fantastic experience was drinking the glacial water right from the source!
[The river formed by the melting glacier. Starting point]
[Briefing by our guide]
[Getting inside a Moulan]
[Drinking glacier water from the source!]
[Hiking up the Falljökull glacier]
[Reached the base point]
[Looking down to Skaftafell from Falljökull glacier]
[Hiking up the Falljökull glacier]
[300 meters deep Moulan created in Falljökull glacier]
[Looking over the 300 meters deep Moulan]
It was almost 7pm by the time we reached back to the offices. Exhausted from the hike, we decided to have dinner at the cafe next to the booking office and then drive for 2 hours up north to Höfn.
[Day 6 route – Djúpivogur to Höfn]
Note: All values in USD, unless otherwise mentioned, are approximate and based on the exchange rate at the time of publishing. Each cost is for one adult. The exchange rate at the time of publishing is assumed to be USD 1 = ISK 114.
|Höfn Hostel||$72||€55 Per person, one night|
|Fuel||$87.72||ISK 10,000 for the day|
|Glacier Hike||$113.95||ISK 12990 per person|
|Lunch||$7.90||ISK 900 per person|
|Groceries||$19.30||ISK 2200 for Coffee, biscuits, water, milk, sandwiches, etc.|
|Total Costs||$310.37||Per person|
|Overall Costs||$4,545.13||Per person|