Looking for Your Next Adventure? Try West Iceland

Stunning Husafell region is helping fuel a massive tourist boom.

July 30, 2017 5:00 am

Though Iceland is better known for its glaciers than for its forests, the Husafell area of West Iceland offers the unique combination of the two, with a lush, verdant greens cape sitting in the shadow of a glacier,

The road from Husafell to the Langjokull glacier offers almost “extraterrestrial views,” even for Iceland. The drive provides you with vistas of rocky fields of black volcanic lava, cut by frothing rivers. In the background, low, ice-capped mountains loom.

Husafell was previously unknown to many foreigners, but two years ago, a daylong excursion called Into the Glacier started taking visitors, via man-made ice tunnels, directly inside the Langjokull glacier.

Since then, the area has begun to attract more visitors, but it could also just be the consequence of the country’s overall tourist boom. According to the Times, in 2003, 308,000 tourists visited Iceland. But by 2016, that figure had jumped to 1.8 million.

Though it is a bit more off the beaten track than top Icelandic destination like Golden Circle and the Blue Lagoon, Husafell is only a 90-minute drive from Iceland’s capital of Reykjavik thanks to a new roadway tunnel. Once you arrive, lava waterfalls, Iceland’s largest lava cave, and one of the biggest thermal springs in Europe await.

This past May, new hiking and mountain biking trails also opened in Husafell. And, of course, there is a glacier tour. The ice tunnels on this tour cost $4.5 million to engineer. But they won’t be around forever, unfortunately. Like much of Iceland, Langjokull is melting alarmingly fast, and scientists think the glacier will be gone in 80 years.


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