Húsafell is a tiny village surrounded by glaciers, ample hiking opportunities, and miles of lava fields. Most tourists make a stop to camp, visit two beautiful waterfalls, and check out some lava caves in nearby Reykholt or explore the newly opened Langjökull ice tunnel. Organized trips with a tour operator to Langjökull glacier are also available from Húsafell throughout the year.
Hraunfossar (Lava Waterfalls)
Hikers have a number of options in Húsafell, ranging from easy walks to more challenging climbs.The Lava Waterfalls are a series of waterfalls streaming over 900 meters out of a lava field. The lava flowed from an eruption from a volcano lying under the Langjökull glacier. The falls are beautiful to visit in any season, and rainbows are frequently seen near the falls on rainy/sunny days. Hraunfossar is 6.4 kilometers west of Húsafell on Route 518. The GPS coordinates are N 64.7028, W 20.9777.
Barnafoss (Children’s Falls)
Barnafoss is a stunning waterfall named for children who disappeared from a nearby farm and drowned in the river. Lore has it that the mother of the disappeared children put a curse on the falls that people should not cross the river. Barnafoss is 6.2 kilometers west of Húsafell on Route 518. The GPS coordinates are N 64.7015, W 20.9727.
Langjökull Ice Cave
For those looking for a little ice in Iceland, Into the Glacier (Viðarhöfði 1, tel. 354/578-2550, tours from 17,900ISK) offers day tours to the world’s largest man-made ice cave, Langjökull. A super-truck picks up visitors close to Hotel Husafell for a journey that will leave many breathless as they traverse the glacier to the base camp, which takes 25 minutes. The cave itself is an engineering feat where visitors are treated to views of crevices and the smooth ice walls. LED lighting embedded in the walls lights the ice nicely, and benches are scattered throughout the tunnel.
Hiking in Húsafell
Hikers have a number of options in Húsafell, ranging from easy walks to more challenging climbs. However, before you set out, be sure to check the weather forecast, bring the proper gear and plenty of drinking water, and let people know your whereabouts. The prime hiking season is June-August.
While the climb to the summit of the 938-meter Mount Strútur isn’t very difficult, it is quite long, as the summit is 938 meters. The hike takes several hours depending on the weather and your endurance. It is recommended to start from the low hill north of Kalmanstunga and to follow a track that leads up the mountain. The payoff for reaching the top is a spectacular view of mountains and the Borgarfjörður fjord. Kalmanstunga is 17 kilometers north of Húsafell and can be reached by Route 518.
From the summerhouse settlement in the center of Húsafell, there are wooded paths heading westward for an easy walk along Oddar, a group of brooks with diverse birdlife. From there it is just a short walk upriver to the meeting point of two rivers: the Norðlingafljót and Hvítá. Just below Hvítá is the waterfall Hundavaðsfoss, which is a great place to stop and marvel at the region’s beauty. The route then leads southeast along the sands, to a path leading back to the summerhouse settlement. The walk takes about 1.5 hours and is very easygoing.
Other Sports and Recreation
The Húsafell Golf Course (Stórarjóður, tel. 354/435-1552, 8am-6pm daily May-Sept., greens fee 4,000ISK) is a nine-hole course situated on a gorgeous patch of land overlooking mountains and lava fields. You must call ahead for a tee time. The GPS coordinates are N 64.6991, W 20.8709.
The Húsafell Swimming Pool (Stórarjóður, tel. 354/435-1552, 10am-10pm daily June-Sept., 1pm-5pm Sat.-Sun. rest of year, 800ISK) has two pools, two hot tubs, and a big water slide for kids.
Where to Stay
Hotel Husafell (Borgarbyggd, tel. 354/435-1551, rooms from 33,500ISK) is a new modern hotel that opened its doors in 2015. The location is unbeatable, as it is nestled in a scenic spot with stunning views of the mountain landscape, close to lava caves and glaciers. The rooms feature comfortable beds, private bathrooms, and modern design accents, including wood furnishings and large windows. A breakfast buffet is included in the room price, and 24-hour room service is available. A pool and hot tubs are on-site and the in-house restaurant is not to be missed. The menu features everything from tender lamb filet to fresh fish. Entrées start at 3,000ISK.
The Husafell Campground (tel. 354/435-1556, 1,400ISK) is an open campground surrounded by trees, which cuts down on the wind a bit. Caravans and tents are welcome, and the facilities include restrooms, showers, hot and cold water, and laundry machines. The site is a short distance to the swimming pool, golf course, and hiking trails.
Getting to Húsafell
Húsafell is 25 kilometers east from Reykholt on Route 518. There are no direct buses to Húsafell.
Excerpted from the First Edition of Moon Iceland.