• An Icecave in the Vatnajokull region south east Iceland

A winter paradise – The Vatnajokull region

You will find the real reason why Iceland got its name in the Vatnajokull region. The area is dominated by Vatnajokull glacier, the largest glacier in the world outside the Arctic region. If you fancy a winter vacation in Iceland you can find cheap flights from the UK, Denmark, France and Germany all year round with WOW air.

A photo taken through a window of ice in the Vatnajokull region in Iceland Through the ice. Photo: Óskar Arason

In the Vatnajokull region you will find some of Iceland’s most popular tourist attractions such as the spectacular Jokulsarlon Glacier Lagoon, Hvannadalshnjukur, the highest peak in Iceland and a popular hike and Skaftafell, the jewel of Vatnajokull National Park The Vatnajokull region is filled with contrast with its black beaches and white glaciers. Serenity, energy and a combination of the forces of nature make a visit to the Vatnajokull region a never-to-be-forgotten experience.

Wildlife is rich in the Vatnajokull area with thousands of migrating birds passing through and herds of reindeer a common sight. If you’re lucky you’ll spot a seal at Jokulsarlon or an arctic fox running through the land. You will also find a number of companies offering all sorts of activities year round, diverse accommodation and great restaurants with local food.

The Vatnajokull region is in southeast Iceland and covers over 200 km of the Ring Road from Lomagnupur in the west to Hvalnes in the east. It spans the accessible southern side of Vatnajokull glacier and photographers (both enthusiasts and professionals) should find the area particularly delightful as it provides countless magnificent views of the glacier and mountains in daylight but also at night when the northern lights (aurora borealis) light up the sky.
There is one town in the area, Hofn, a lively fishing village with a population of 1600. Hofn is additionally celebrated as the lobster capital of Iceland. Delightful restaurants offer this precious product as well as various other local specialties.

A view of fishing village Hofn in Hornafjordur in south east Iceland A view of Hornafjordur. Photo: Þorvarður Árnason

Activity, accommodation and restaurants

Green northern lights over Jokulsarlon glacial lagoon in Iceland Northern lights at Jokulsarlon. Photo: Runólfur Hauksson

Have you ever imagined looking inside a glacier? Wintertime at Vatnajokull glacier offers the opportunity of a unique and extraordinary experience. A trip into the ice caves of Vatnajokull’s southern crawling side is an adventure that no one should miss. The colors and refracted light in the ice reveal a world of true wonders, providing countless opportunities for great photos. Local guides who know every crevice of the glacier seek out caves formed during the winter months and offer tours. Travelers should only go on such trips with a guide.

Much of the activity in the area of Vatnajokull revolves around the glacier and the nature around it. In addition to the ice cave tours you can choose between glacier walks and ice climbing, a thrilling snowmobile ride on Vatnajokull or a comfortable tour of Europe’s largest glacier in a super SUV. There are also ATV tours and geothermal baths at Hoffell, northern light tours, reindeer excursions; there’s the Thorbergssetur cultural museum, the local handicraft store, the petting zoo at Holmur and much more.
There are various possibilities in accommodations to suit you and you’ll be sure to find a warm reception by knowledgeable hosts. Several restaurants are in the area and most of them offer local food. Be sure to ask for the local beer Vatnajokull, made from icebergs from Jokulsarlon glacial lagoon and arctic thyme.

An Icecave in Vatnajokull glacier in south east Iceland An Icecave. Photo: Þröstur Ágústsson

Accessible year round
The Vatnajokull region is well accessible the whole year round due to good weather conditions and frequent transportation. Eagle Air has a daily flight from Reykjavík to Hofn airport during the summertime and five days a week during other seasons. Buses between Reykjavík and Hofn are scheduled daily during the summer and three days a week in other seasons. There are also three car rental companies in Hofn.