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Hvolsvöllur -> Jökulsárlón - Itinerary help needed please

Short Hills, New...
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233 posts
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Hvolsvöllur -> Jökulsárlón - Itinerary help needed please

So this is DAY 3 for us. We will be traveling from our stay at Hvolsvöllur to Gerdi (near Jökulsárlón).

There are so many things to do this day - I am not sure what is possible, what is a must, what can be removed. I looked at these sites and they all look beautiful. I am looking for your help with this.

1. Seljalandsfoss

2. Seljavallalaug

3. Raufarfellsvegur

4. Rutshellir

5. Skógafoss

6. Eyjafjallajökull

7. Sólheimajökull -- or -- Mýrdalsjökull

8. Dyrhólaey

9. Reynisfjara

10. Reynisdrangar

11. Vik black sand beach

12 . Fjaðrárgljúfur

13. Svartifoss (Black waterfalls)

Sleep in Gerdi

FYI. 10 day trip. 2 adults. Late August. Love Nature. Minimum hiking (1-2 hours). All lodging is confirmed (sleep in Reykjavík, Hvolsvöllur, Vatnajökullare, Egilsstaðir, Myvatn, Myvatn, Blönduós, Snæfellsnes, Stykkisholmur, Reykjavik)

20 replies to this topic
Lake Oswego, Oregon
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90 posts
1 review
1. Re: Hvolsvöllur -> Jökulsárlón - Itinerary help needed please

So the drive itself is about 3:40 according to google, pad that a bit and assume closer to four+ hours.

Can you go thru the list and make some estimates as to time? For example, Skogafoss: are you just going to climb the big staircase and take some photos and go? Or do you want to walk that trail along the river up top?

And the pool at Seljavallalaug - add up the round-trip walk to the pool plus an estimate of how much time you want to soak/relax (plus shower time, etc).

Seljalandsfoss has the path that goes behind the falls, plus the "hidden waterfall" Gljufrabui inside the cave (so cool!). Do you want to do that as well?

I'm partial to Solheimajokull because I did the glacier hike there and learned so much (and the guides were fab), but are you just wanting to see it, snap pics and go? It is maybe a bit less majestic/stunning than other glaciers, but in context of climate change it's worth taking in its history (esp recent history!) and pondering the changes it's been thru.

I know it's tedious but if you're trying to edit that list, you might have to make some time estimates and see what you come up with for a time frame, then go from there.

Cologne, Germany
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2. Re: Hvolsvöllur -> Jökulsárlón - Itinerary help needed please

Raufarfellsvegur is the road to the parking lot for Seljavallalaug. You then hike for maybe 20 minutes one way to the pool, but it may not be very warm or clean.

Last time I was near Rútshellir, the buildings were closed for access, so you could only walk around. This was a quick stop for me, maybe 15 minutes.

You could hike up from Skógafoss along the river as far as you want to.

Unless you are planning a glacier hike on Sólheimajökull, a superjeep tour on Eyjafjallajökull or a snowmobile tour on Mýrdalsjökull, the only glacier where you can walk to the foot of the ice will be Sólheimajökull. It takes about 20 minutes from the parking lot, but don't go on the ice without a guide and safety equipment. Otherwise you can only see Eyjafjallajökull and Mýrdalsjökull from afar from the road.

Reynisfjara and the black sand beach near Vík are usually used as synonyms. Be very careful to stay well away from the water here and never turn your back on the sea. Big waves can come out of nowhere, even if it looks calm, and people have been dragged out to seas and drowned. Reynisdrangar ar the sea stacks you can see from the beach.

For Dyrhólaey you can drive up, but it is steep and may not work in a smaller vehicle. Otherwise you can hike up.

Fjaðrárgljúfur takes about an hour in total.

The hike to Svartifoss takes about 45 minutes one way.

So I would suggest you map out your stops and driving distances and decide how much time you'll want to spend at the sights. Then you can check to see how early you need to start driving and prioritize sights and/or activities.

Personally I would try to fit in a guided glacier hike either on Sólheimajökull or from Skaftafell, but that may not work if you also want to hike to Seljavallalaug, up from Skógafoss, at Fjaðrárgljúfur and to Svartifoss.

You also haven't listed the glacier lagoons. Are you planning to backtrack and see them the next day?

Short Hills, New...
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233 posts
13 reviews
3. Re: Hvolsvöllur -> Jökulsárlón - Itinerary help needed please

Which Glacier lagoons?

Also, few things.. We have already walked (with a guide of course) on an iceberg in Patagonia (which was incredible). Is this different? Regarding the hikes... my wife is a bit scared of trekking on road that is too close to a cliff and has steep climbs - are any of those roads like that? If the water is semi cold - we definitely are not swimming. Lastly, is Mýrdalsjökull an ice cave? We really want to visit an ice cave.

Edited: 13 June 2018, 20:14
Reykjavik, Iceland
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4. Re: Hvolsvöllur -> Jökulsárlón - Itinerary help needed please

It's hard to recommend what to do, because all those spots are lovely. :) But if it was me, I would focus on:

Seljalandsfoss

Skógafoss

Sólheimajökull glacier walk

Dyrhólaey

Reynisfjara

Reynisdrangar

Vik

Fjaðrárgljúfur (if there's time)

Jökulsárlón (if not on day 4)

Cologne, Germany
Destination Expert
for Iceland
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12,690 posts
88 reviews
5. Re: Hvolsvöllur -> Jökulsárlón - Itinerary help needed please

Fallsárlón and Jökulsárlón with the lagoon and ice beach.

If you are staying at Guesthouse Gerði you are driving past them and at least Jökulsárlón is the main attraction in the South-East.

Anything that ends in -jökull is a glacier. Glacier hikes can be very different depending on the glacier, the light conditions and the weather conditions as the ice can be clear or white or blue or black etc. and the formations and landscape can be totally different.

Personally I would recommend a glacier hike from Skaftafell if you can fit it in.

There is an ice cave near Vík and there are tours offered by Arctic Adventures and Katla Travel, but that would take a good chunk (~3 hours) out of your already busy day. There may be smaller ice caves you can see during a glacier hike, but there is no guarantee. They are natural phenomena that can appear, change and disappear again.

Dyrhólaey and Fjaðrárgljúfur have steep drop-offs, but you can stay safely away from them. The stairs up to the top of Skógafoss are also fairly steep.

Edited: 13 June 2018, 21:12
Lake Oswego, Oregon
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6. Re: Hvolsvöllur -> Jökulsárlón - Itinerary help needed please

HildurOsp's itinerary looks roughly like mine.

I did the Solheimajokull glacier hike thru Glacier Guides (operated by Arctic Adventures iirc? Need to double check that). Amazing experience, the guides were top-notch, super knowledgeable and a wonderful emotional connection to the glacier (my guide Maria has been giving tours for 19 years and has seen so much change). The glacier has seen alarming recession and they told us the prediction is that within 6-8 years you won't be able to access Solheimajokull by foot. It will only be viewable or accessible by helicopter.

If not Solheimajokull, though, I would strongly recommend booking a glacier hike somewhere! I would scratch other things off the list to make room for this activity, personally.

Thing is, your schedule will have to work around it. The hike I did was offered at 11 and 2. All together it was 3.5 hours before I was pulling out of the parking lot and moving on on to the next thing.

Skogafoss is spectacular (and I come from a pretty impressive waterfall region!) - I so enjoyed walking the path up top. It could challenge a person with height or open space anxiety? Like many places in Iceland - it's not roped off everywhere for your own good. Gotta pack your common sense. 😛

Edited: 13 June 2018, 21:39
Lake Oswego, Oregon
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7. Re: Hvolsvöllur -> Jökulsárlón - Itinerary help needed please

Though I'll add...Skogafoss had more than adequate signage for areas that were off limits/protected...didn't see too many people disregarding the signs (just a few), but I did see people way out on ledges (back turned to the edge) that made me pucker up a bit. Ha

Short Hills, New...
Level Contributor
233 posts
13 reviews
8. Re: Hvolsvöllur -> Jökulsárlón - Itinerary help needed please

steepness of stairs is not a problem - its just if there is nothing secure to hold on to besides like a weird rope or something insecure - thats the problem (we've experienced that already).

So Sólheimajökull glacier walk or over Skaftafell glacier walk?

If Sólheimajökull then do I eliminate Skaftafell from the list of stops?

Jökulsárlón over Fjallsárlón or both?

If Jökulsárlón do I eliminate Fjallsárlón?

Lake Oswego, Oregon
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9. Re: Hvolsvöllur -> Jökulsárlón - Itinerary help needed please

The stairs at Skogafoss have a railing on one side and sort of a cable/bar on the other. I think I recall a couple *very short* sections with nothing to grab on one side. But also - the stairs themselves are not on a cliff edge.

Google the glaciers within this stretch and see which one piques your interest and works with your schedule/logistics. I went with the Solheimajokull guided hike because it made sense logistically. Whichever you choose, it will be an incredible experience.

Lake Oswego, Oregon
Level Contributor
90 posts
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10. Re: Hvolsvöllur -> Jökulsárlón - Itinerary help needed please

I'm unclear - are you wanting to do a guided glacier hike? Doing a tour at one location doesn't necessarily mean you can't stop at another for a view/photos. OTOH, you're packing a lot in so duplicates may not make sense.

And for guided tours you'll have to plan around their schedule. If you put a 3.5 glacier hike on your schedule, the rest of your day will start to take shape but will also be more restricted. *worth it*

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