Five Things to Do in Höfn
Höfn is a town in the southeast of Iceland. Situated on the Hornafjördur fjord, it’s home to 1,641 people. Hornafjördur translates as "fjord of horns," with the horns referring to the shape of the reefs on its coastline.
Höfn, meanwhile, translates as "harbor." Read on for five fun things to do in Höfn, where tourism is one of the biggest industries.
- See Europe’s biggest glacier
Vatnajökull National Park is Europe’s largest national park, covering 5,250 square miles and 13 percent of Iceland’s landmass. The glacier there is also Europe’s biggest. Vatnajökull glacier, which the park was named after, occupies more than half of the park — 3,200 square miles to be precise.
There are several activities you can pursue in this impressive landscape. Glacier walks are an excellent way to get up close and personal with the terrain. Specialist equipment is needed to ensure that you stay gripped to the ice; it’s best to go with a guide. For those who prefer a vertical climb to a horizontal walk, ice climbing is also a popular activity.
Given that it’s such a big glacier, the easiest way to experience Vatnajökull is to head down to the waterfront in Höfn and admire its size from below.
- Visit the ice caves
During winter, lots of caves made of ice form in and around Vatnajökull glacier. Accessing the caves can be challenging, but there are guided tours to get you there. Given the temporary nature of these formations, this is a one-of-a-kind experience.
- See fire meet ice
In Vatnajökull National Park, fire meets ice — in the form of volcanoes. Beneath the glacial ice lie seven volcanoes, the largest of which, Öraefajökull, measures over 6,500 feet in height. One of the ice cave tours actually takes place in a cave directly beneath Katla volcano, but you can also hike to see it above ground level.
- Explore the town
Back in Höfn, there are a number of exhibits and museums that showcase the town’s heritage. A specialized choice may be the Huldusteinn, home to a great range of gems and minerals that would interest geology enthusiasts. Alternatively, those who appreciate fine art should visit the Hornafjördur Art Museum, which features the works of Svavar Gudnason, Iceland’s best-known painter.
Another highly rated attraction is the Höfn swimming pool, which includes an 80-foot pool, hot tub, steam bath, ice bath, and children’s pool.
- Take a drive on the beach
A popular way of enjoying the rich coastal experience is to take an ATV tour. All-terrain vehicles provide an effective and entertaining method of crossing the black-sand beach of Sudurfjörur. Expect to see a wide variety of bird life, and also seals who may pop out of the sea to greet you.
Not only is Höfn a prime location for trips to Vatnajökull National Park, the Vatnajökull glacier is easily visible from the town's harbor. So, whether you’re at the glacier or exploring Höfn, your entire stay will be in the company of this icy wonder.