This post focuses on Day 6 (Fjaðrárgljúfur, Svartifoss, IceGuides kayak tour, Jökulsárlón Glacier Lagoon, Diamond Beach) of our Ultimate Itinerary for 2 Weeks / 14 Days in Iceland.
If you’ve just starting planning for your vacation or holiday in Iceland, check out our Iceland planning and resources post.
NOTE: Our itinerary outlines activities and drive times. Everybody has different eating habits so stop for groceries and food as needed. Picnic areas are suggested when extraordinary, otherwise eat where and when you want. We rarely ate out and instead enjoyed yogurt and fruit for breakfast, prepared quick lunches and snacks throughout the day, and cooked a hot meal every evening at the campground.
Table of Contents
Iceland Itinerary Day 6 Summary
|Drive||1 ¼ hrs|
|Fjaðrárgljúfur||1 – 1 ½ hrs|
|Svartifoss||2 hrs||750 ISK parking fee at Skaftafell Visitor Center|
|Drive||1 ¼ hrs||Nice viewpoints along the way; stopping will increase the drive time|
|IceGuides kayak tour in Heinabergslon||4 hrs||THIS IS SO COOL! But, if kayaking amongst icebergs isn’t your thing, alternate options to experience glacier lagoons are detailed below.|
|Jökulsárlón Glacier Lagoon||30 min|
|Diamond Beach||30 min|
|Haukafell Campground||accommodation||1000 ISK per person|
|Total = ~ 13 ½ hrs|
Iceland Itinerary Day 6 Details
Day 6 Activities
NOTE: If you skipped Dyrhólaey and Reynisfjara Beach on the Day 4 itinerary then now is your opportunity to briefly check out these spots. Backtrack 30 minutes from the turn-off for the Þakgil Campground back west to Dyrhólaey. After Dyrhólaey visit Reynisfjara Beach and then continue on with the remainder of the itinerary listed herein for Day 6. This could add 3-4 hours to the start of your day so is only recommended if you are foregoing the IceGuides kayak tour.
Depart Þakgil Campground very early and drive 1 ¼ hours to Fjaðrárgljúfur. Fjaðrárgljúfur is a canyon that was formed at the end of the last Ice Age. The canyon is very deep, narrow, and serpentine which adds to the charm. Spend 1 – 1 ¼ hours walking along the trail at the rim of the canyon and taking in the views of the canyon below.
TIP: A free toilet is located at Fjaðrárgljúfur.
Drive an hour from Fjaðrárgljúfur to the Skaftafell Visitor Center located in Vatnajökull National Park.
Svartifoss, a picturesque waterfall set atop basalt columns, is our primary destination within the park. There are numerous hiking routes within the park; opt for #S2 to walk 5.5 km in a 2 hour loop that will pass Svartifoss.
FUN FACT: Svartifoss means Black Falls and was the inspiration for the famous Hallgrimskirkja church in Reykjavik. The basalt columns are similar to those seen on Reynisfjara Beach and at Devils Tower National Monument in Wyoming, United States.
IceGuides kayak tour in Heinabergslon
As we mentioned in Day 4, we opted to participate in a afternoon glacier kayaking tour in Iceland. This was a highlight of our trip and urge you to check out the glacier kayaking tours offered by IceGuides.
TIP: Tour are available mid-May through September. Book your IceGuides glacier kayak tour well in advance.
The drive from Svartifoss to the IceGuides meeting point at Flatley Farm takes about 1 ¼ hours. There are beautiful viewpoints along the way; stopping will increase the drive time. You’ll also pass Jökulsárlón Glacier Lagoon and Diamond Beach about 30 minutes before Flatley Farm. We backtracked to these two stops after kayaking due to time constraints, to avoid the crowds, and to attempt a sunset viewing. But, if you have time, feel free to stop now.
NOTE: If you’re unable to schedule a tour or prefer a land-based experience; instead of this 4 hour kayak tour, visit Svínafellsjökull Glacier and Fjallsárlón Glacier Lagoon. These, and other beautiful pull-outs for views, are between Svartifoss and the next stop – Jokulsarlon Glacier – on the itinerary.
Upon arriving at Flatley Farm the IceGuides operators will outfit you with gear (dry suit, life vest, gloves, booties, dry bag). Dress warmly underneath (warm socks!). After a short introduction and safety briefing, you’ll jump into large 4×4 van and drove a short distance to Heinabergslon.
This private glacier lagoon is located in Vatnajökull National Park, as was Svartifoss, and offers outstanding views of the surrounding mountains and glaciers. Moreover, the views from within the lagoon are surreal and stupendous. You’ll be kayaking literally amongst the glaciers. The guides often will need to push the icebergs apart to make a path for the kayaks.
There may also be an opportunity to don ice spikes to walk on top of an iceberg and drink fresh glacier water direct from the source. Throughout the adventure, the guides will impart knowledge about glaciers and icebergs. The whole experience is amazing.
FUN FACT: Icebergs are so blue in color due to lack of air exposure.
SCARY FACT: Climate change is real (DUH!). Glaciers are shrinking. As a result, Iceland, as a land mass, is rising. Kinda the opposite of rising sea levels. A town north of Heinabergslon rose by 14mm in 2017!
Jökulsárlón Glacier Lagoon
You passed Jökulsárlón Glacier Lagoon about 30 minutes prior to arriving at Flatley Farm so you’ll need to backtrack west slightly.
Despite having just kayaking amongst the glaciers, this lagoon does not disappoint. It is so surreal to stare out at the ginormous icebergs slowly drifting through the lagoon and out to sea. These icebergs are chunks that have broken away from the glacier tongue Breiðarmekurjökull (part of the largest ice cap in Europe: Vatnajökull).
If you’re lucky, there will be seals playing near shore as well.
Spend an hour or so between here and Diamond Beach (across the street).
Walk across the street from Jökulsárlón Glacier Lagoon to Diamond Beach, following the iceberg chunks as they float out to sea. The contrast of the black sand beach and the icebergs, washed ashore on the beach during low tide, is beautiful. It is apparent why the name Diamond Beach was given to this area.
Spend an hour or so between Jökulsárlón Glacier Lagoon and here .
Day 6 Accommodation
Haukafell Campground is a 50 minute drive from Diamond Beach (20 minutes past the IceGuides meeting point at Flatley Farms).
The Haukafell Campground is smaller and more private than other nearby campgrounds. The campground is maintained by the local forestry group and the 1000 ISK fee should be paid via the donation box. There are two individual bathrooms and a camping sink.
TIP: There are no showers available.
If you don’t love the private, more primitive campgrounds as much as we do then Höfn Campground is a better option.
Höfn Campground is just another 20 minutes beyond Haukafell Campground and is located on the main road in the town of Höfn.
Iceland Itinerary Day 6 Map
Day 6 covers points 22 – 28 on the map layer Our 2 Week / 14 Day Itinerary.
Other layers include additional points of interest, accommodation (camping and hotel), and dining/groceries. Most of these points have a description and a link for more information.
September 7 – 8, 2018