Skaftafell Up Close
We spent the morning in Skaftafell hiking around the basalt waterfalls of the park. Skaftafell has more forested area than almost anywhere in Iceland and numerous basalt stone formations that are striking.
The visitors center in Skaftafell has a video showing past volcanic eruptions, and you can find several good picture books full of aerial views of Iceland here. After several hikes, we said goodbye to the park and continued to drive until we hit Jokulsarlon Glacier Lagoon – it’s a 5-minute walk from the parking lot, and it’s breathtaking.
After three days of 15 hours of nonstop travel a day, we were feeling pretty tired by the time we left the lagoon. It was providential that we decided to stop at Hoffell Hot Springs- it was the perfect pick-me-up. We met a very kind couple from Germany, a group of American friends traveling together from Mississippi, and another couple from the U.K. – we all sat in the tubs and chatted. We found out that there is a small guesthouse down the road that came highly recommended, Hoffell Guesthouse (address: Hoffell 2b, 781 Hornafirði, 20 min drive west from Höfn). It is approximately 3 km from Route One, and their phone number is +354 478 1514 / + 354 898 5614). Their website is located here–> Hoffell Guesthouse. We stayed several hours- it was incredibly relaxing, and helped to reset us. There are 5 tubs, and they range in temperature from cool to 150 degrees F.
We reluctantly moved on and swung by the town of Hofn for grocery replenishment and some hot coffee. If you are eating mostly in restaurants, Hofn has quite a variety. Full and refreshed, we headed out to the East Fjords. Although I know that the West Fjords get most of the press, the East Fjords are absolutely stunning. Again in the interest of time, we cut through a mountain pass mid-way through the Eastern Fjords onto Route 939. It’s the only major split we saw that deep into the fjords, and should be halfway through Berufjörður. This is another road that you should have 4-wheel drive for. The snow plows had recently carved out the road and snow drifts 8 to 10 feet high towered around us as we climbed the mountain. The road has no guardrails and is treacherous when snowy or wet. Don’t attempt it unless you’re sure it’s open (call the hotline- 411) and you’re sure your vehicle is able to withstand it.
We stopped early that night at Egilsstaðir. There are only two campsites in the town, and we stayed at the one closest to the gas station. Check out the website for rates and details here. The facilities here are much nicer than many of the other campgrounds, with clean, spacious bathrooms, a laundry facility, a room for people to relax in if it rains, and hot showers- the pinnacle of any Icelandic campsite.