Information about Hvannadalshnúkur

Hvannadalshnjukur is Iceland's tallest peak.Wikimedia, Creative Commons, Photo Credit: Matias Ärje

Hvannadalshnúkur, or Hvannadalshnjúkur, is the highest peak of Öræfajökull volcanic glacier in Vatnajökull National Park and the tallest mountain in Iceland. Its latest measurement finds it to be 2,109.6 meters (6952 feet) tall.

Due to the fact Iceland is located over a rift valley, where the tectonic plates are pulling apart rather that crushing together, most mountains do not reach over a thousand metres, making it a remarkable sight.

Geography of Hvannadalshnúkur

Hvannadalshnúkur is a pyramid-shaped peak, that is covered in ice throughout the year. It can be seen from many parts of the country, particularly from the area between the towns of Höfn and Vík on the Ring Road that encircles the country.

It forms part of the crater around Öræfajökull, which conceals a particularly violent volcano. It had a massive eruption in 1362, destroying many farms and killing an unknown number of people. The lava wiped out every settlement around it, all the way to the shore, and pumice was so thick that it posed a huge risk to sailors.

The area was unsettleable for decades. When people finally returned to it, forty years later, it was named Öræfi, which meant ‘the area without a harbour’. Now, it is synonymous with ‘wasteland’.

It had another, although less dramatic, eruption in the year 1727. Even if the consequences were not so widespread, glacial floods pouring from the meltwater of the ice were known to have killed at least three people and destroyed one farm.

Hvannadalshnjukur is located in Vatnajokull National Park.Wikimedia, Creative Commons, photo credit: Gummao

Hiking on Hvannadalshnúkur

Hvannadalshnúkur can be hiked near, by taking routes in all different parts of the South Coast, but hiking on it requires experienced mountain guides.

The path up the mountain goes through many crevasses, and involves steep inclines over icy ground, both of which pose some dangers to those unfamiliar with the area. Though you do not need to be an expert hiker, a good level of fitness is required.

The views from the top are well worth the effort.

Other sites in Vatnajökull National Park

Vatnajökull National Park is a vast area in Iceland, and Hvannadalshnúkur is just one site that should be visited if heading to the area.

Incredibly close by are two of the country’s most popular destinations. One of these is the Skaftafell Nature Reserve. This beautiful oasis is a wonderland of glacial tongues and lagoons, crystal clear streams, waterfalls, mountains and lava landscapes.

This reserve was once an independent National Park, before the creation of the greater Vatnajökull park.

The second major site is Jökulsárlón, a vast glacier lagoon and Iceland’s deepest lake. This lagoon fills with enormous icebergs, which break from the glacial tongue of Breiðamerkurjökull and slowly cruise their way over to the ocean. This was only enveloped into the park in 2017, but now is entirely protected.

While here, it is worth walking to the nearby shoreline, called the Diamond Beach after the icebergs that wash up here.

In this area, it is very important not to climb on the ice. When afloat, it is constantly rotating, and the lagoon has shockingly strong currents. When on the beach, they are melting and unstable.

 

Services near Hvannadalshnúkur

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Attractions nearby Hvannadalshnúkur

Öræfajökull

  Oraefajokull is a glacier volcano in South-East Iceland. On its north-western side is Iceland's highest peak, Hvannadalshnjukur (2109 m). ...

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Virkisjökull

  Virkisjokull is a glacier situated near Skaftafell in Southeast Iceland. Virkisjokull is an outlet of Vatnajokull glacier and thus a part of...

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Falljökull

Falljokull ('Falling Glacier') is an outlet glacier from the Vatnajokull icecap.  Hiking on Falljokull means experiencing a dramatical...

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Hafrafell

  Hafrafell is a mountain in south-west Iceland, located about twelve kilometres (seven miles) from the capital city. More specifically, Ha...

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Skaftafellsjökull

Wikimedia. Creative Commons. Credit: Praveen Kumar Bodigutla Skaftafellsjökull is a glacier tongue spurting off from Iceland's largest ...

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Fjallsjökull

Fjallsjokull is an outlet glacier of Oraefajokull and is located in Vatnajokull National Park, not far from Skaftafell. At this glacier you'll b...

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Morsárfoss

Morsárfoss is Iceland's tallest waterfall, measuring 228 metres. In fact, there are several waterfalls in the area, and sometimes...

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Fjallsárlón

Photo from Boat Tour on Fjallsarlon Fjallsárlón is a glacial lagoon in Iceland, located on the southern end of  Vatnajökull g...

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Svartifoss

Svartifoss, in spite of being just 20 metres (66 feet) tall, and not particularly powerful, is one of Iceland’s most popular waterfalls. The b...

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Skaftafell

Skaftafell is a nature reserve located in Vatnajökull National Park in the south-east of Iceland. It is an oasis of this nation’s diverse...

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Skeiðarársandur

  Skeidararsandur is a vast sand plain, formed from alluvial deposits. It covers 1300 km², making it the largest sand in the world. There...

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Breiðárlón

Photo from Wikimedia, Creative Commons, by Bromr. Breiðárlón is a gorgeous, yet often overlooked glacier lagoon, that can be found ...

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Vestragil

Vestragil is a gully at Skaftafell in Vatnajokull National Park and a popular stop for hikers. Here you get the chance to soak weary feet in a hot sp...

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Breiðamerkurjökull

Breiðamerkurjökull is the glacial tongue that extends from southern Vatnajökull and into the glacier lagoon Jökulsárl&oacu...

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Ingólfshöfði

Ingofshofdi is a cape and a nature reserve in Southeast Iceland, located south of Vatnajokull. Ingolfshofdi is encircled by rocky cliffs but a sand d...

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Diamond Beach

The Diamond Beach is a strip of black sand belonging to the greater Breiðamerkursandur glacial plain, located by Jökulsárl...

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Jökulsárlón

Jökulsárlón is Iceland’s most famous glacier lagoon. Conveniently located in the southeast by Route 1, about halfway betwee...

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Þórbergssetur

Thorbergssetur, located in the remote region of Sudursveit in South-East Iceland, is a culture center and heritage museum dedicated to the history of ...

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Lomagnupur

Mt. Lómagnúpur is, very arguably, one of Iceland’s most recognisable mountains, with its proud and dramatic cliff faces, flat, gar...

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Vatnajökull

Vatnajökull glacier is the largest glacier in Europe, covering 8% of Iceland’s landmass. It is the central feature of the Vatnajök...

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