Heinaberg | Hjallanes | Hoffell
Three impressive glacier tongues characterise the area that consist of Heinaberg and Hjallanes. Heinaberg is a perfect setting for a relaxing stroll along a newly formed glacial lagoon in front of Heinabergsjökull glacier or the basalt columns at Heinar.
For more detailed information contact Skálafell which are information offices co-working with Vatnajökull National Park.
Reaching the area
Hjallanes and the Heinaberg area are located between Skaftafell and Höfn. To visit Hjallanes, turn off road nr. 1 towards Skálafell.
To visit the Heinaberg area, use the following instructions:
When traveling on road number 1, the Ring road, from west to east, turn left 1,5 km after you cross the bridge over river Kolgríma. Or when traveling from east to west, turn right about 3 km after you pass the farm Flatey. The road leading to the Heinabergs area is indicated with a couple of signs: one saying „Heinabergsjökull“, the other one „Heinaberg“.
The road to the Heinaberg area is a gravel road, passable for most vehicles (low clearance sports cars being the main exception). But it‘s made out of gravel so it‘s best to be careful and limit the speed. The road leads to a car park in front of Heinabergsjökull glacier, and you will also find a try toilet which you are welcome to use.
Another option is to turn right onto a sideroad, shortly before you reach the car park at Heinabergsjökull. The sideroad will take you to car parks at Heinaberg (remains of an old farm), Heinar (a small mound characterised by basalt columns) and Bólstaðarfoss (a small waterfall in beautiful surroundings).
Distances and estimated travel time are as follows:
Road nr. 1 – Heinabergsjökull: 7,7 km, 15 minutes.
Road nr. 1 – Heinaberg: 7,2 km, 14 minutes.
Road nr. 1 – Heinar: 8,4 km, 16 minutes.
Road nr. 1 – Bólstaðafoss: 9,4 km, minutes.
Road nr. 1 – all the car parks – back to road nr. 1: 24,6 km minutes.
Hiking in the area
The Hjallanes loop is a hiking route which goes from the farm in Skálafell towards Skálafellsjökull glacier and back to Skálafell. Hjallanes is within the boundaries of Vatnajökull National Park; a remarkable area due to both glaciology and plants. The loop is about 7 km so estimate 2 hours for the hike.
The Hoffell area is a part of Vatnajökull National Park. The object of the area‘s conservation is to protect the habitat of several rare lichens with rare dispersion, and a few rare vascular plants. The area is also conserved for outdoor recreation.
The Hoffell area is located only a short distance from the town of Höfn, southeast Iceland. The area is charachterised by a larger outlet glacier, Hoffellsjökull, and gabbro rock, which originally formed deep in the earth‘s crust but is now visible due to uplift of the area and glacial erosion.
HOW TO GET THERE
A paved road leads to Hoffell farm, only 2 km from Road 1. A gravel track continues the short distance to Hoffellsjökull glacier, on which a small ford needs to be crossed. A 4x4 vehicle is preferred but not always necessary.
Information and educational signs are to be found at the end of the track which leads to Hoffellsjökull. From there, marked hiking paths lead into the Hoffellsfjöll mountains, which give the opportunity of a 30 minutes hike, a 2 hours hike and a 4-5 hours hike. The first two are loops but the third on extends from the longer loop towards to mountain top of Geitafell. All these paths are way marked. There are also longer paths which remain unmarked.
The locals at Hoffell farm also offer pedal boat tours on the glacial lagoon in front of Hoffellsjökull and a quad-bike tours in the nearby area. It is also possible to take a bath in geothermal pools that have been set up in the area.
Information: Hoffell farm is an information office co-working with Vatnajökull National Park.
Shops: A supermarket and all kinds of services are to be found in the town of Höfn, 15 km away from Hoffell.
Restaurants: Restaurants are open in Höfn all year round.
Accommodation: The locals at Hoffell farm run a guesthouse which is open all year round.