Höfn: A Comprehensive Guide to Iceland’s Scenic Destination

  • by Irena
  • South Iceland
  • 28 Sep 2023

Hofn harbor
Hofn harbor

Hofn’s local atmosphere

Höfn is a remarkable town situated in the southeast part of Iceland, boasting breathtaking landscapes and a unique atmosphere. As the second-largest town in this region, Höfn provides visitors with picturesque views of Vatnajökull, the largest ice cap in Europe by volume. The town’s location near the stunning Hornafjörður fjord further adds to its allure, making it an unforgettable destination for travelers.

Hofn and Its Icelandic Fishing Town Heritage

Drawing from its rich Icelandic fishing town heritage, Höfn is home to just over two thousand people. The town serves as the most significant settlement on Route 1 between the village of Kirkjubæjarklaustur in the south and Egilsstaðir in the east. This charming town is renowned for its incredible lobster restaurants and captivating coastal sights, earning its reputation as a must-visit destination along Iceland’s southern coast.

In addition to its impressive culinary offerings, Höfn is the gateway to an array of natural wonders in the surrounding area. Visitors can explore beautiful glacier outlets of Vatnajökull, cascading waterfalls, and majestic mountains, making the town an essential stop for adventurous travelers exploring the south coast of Iceland.

Höfn harbor view

Natural Attractions of Höfn

Hofn is a picturesque town in Iceland that offers an abundance of natural attractions for visitors to explore. From the vast Vatnajökull National Park to the mesmerizing Jökulsárlón Glacier Lagoon, the beauty of Hofn and its surroundings is truly a sight to behold. In this section, we will delve into the natural wonders of Hofn that should not be missed during your visit.

The Majestic Vatnajökull National Park

Vatnajökull National Park is one of Iceland’s most impressive attractions, covering a vast area with diverse landscapes and geological formations. This park is home to Europe’s largest glacier, Vatnajökull, as well as numerous peaks, valleys, and volcanoes. We highly recommend embarking on a glacier tour or a glacier hike to fully appreciate the breathtaking ice formations and rugged landscapes within the park.

Weather can be unpredictable in this area, so it is important to stay up to date with the weather forecast to plan suitable activities. 

Vatnajökull Glacier

The Iconic Jökulsárlón Glacier Lagoon

Another must-see attraction near Höfn is the stunning Jökulsárlón Glacier Lagoon. Located along Route 1, the lagoon is formed by the calving glacier Vatnajökull and is renowned for its iridescent blue icebergs drifting through the water. Glacier trips and glacier hikes often include a visit to this magnificent lagoon, providing an unparalleled opportunity to witness the beauty of the glacial landscape up close.

A popular destination nearby is the famous Diamond Beach, where icebergs from Jökulsárlón wash up on the black sand shore, creating a dazzling contrast of colors and textures. On clear days, you may also catch a glimpse of the imposing Vestrahorn mountain, providing an awe-inspiring backdrop to the icy scenes.

Ingólfshöfði, a historical nature reserve located on a peninsula, is another point of interest worth exploring in the vicinity. Accessible by guided tours, this notable site allows you to immerse yourself in the rich wildlife and striking landscapes that Höfn has to offer.

Icebergs in the Jökulsárlón glacier lake in Iceland in winter
Icebergs in the Jökulsárlón glacier lagoon in winter

Culinary Delights of Höfn

Lobster: Hofn’s Culinary Crown

Höfn takes pride in its local seafood, particularly the Icelandic langoustine. Also known as the Norway lobster, this delicacy is often referred to as the culinary crown of Höfn. The langoustines’ tender, succulent meat is celebrated for its rich flavor, making it a must-try when visiting the area. These mouthwatering crustaceans are served in various establishments throughout Höfn, offering a range of dishes to excite your taste buds.

Lobster
Lobster being served

Höfn’s Top Restaurants

Höfn boasts several quality restaurants where you can enjoy the exquisite taste of Icelandic langoustine, among other delectable dishes. Here, we introduce you to some of our top picks:

  • Pakkhus Restaurant: Located by the harbor, Pakkhus Restaurant is all about fresh seafood and locally-sourced ingredients. With a focus on sustainability and a commitment to providing a memorable dining experience, Pakkhus has become a popular choice for both locals and visitors alike. The menu features various lobster dishes, showcasing the delightful langoustine in numerous preparations.
  • Z Bistro: This cozy and intimate bistro offers a blend of Icelandic and European cuisine. Z Bistro’s menu includes seafood, steak, and vegetarian options, ensuring there is something for everyone. The locally-sourced langoustines are featured in several dishes, offering yet another chance to indulge in this Hofn specialty.
  • Kaffi Hornid: A true taste of Icelandic culture, Kaffi Hornid serves traditional dishes in a warm and welcoming environment. Alongside the famous langoustines, the menu includes a variety of local ingredients, such as lamb and fresh fish. Paired with friendly service and an extensive beverage list, Kaffi Hornid provides a well-rounded dining experience.

We encourage all visitors to Höfn to venture out and experience culinary delights the town has to offer. With the combination of fresh seafood, locally-sourced ingredients, and a rich culinary heritage, Hofn’s dining scene is truly unparalleled.

Lobster dish
Lobster dish

Transportation Options

When traveling to Höfn, there are a number of transportation options to choose from. If flying, Eastern Iceland’s domestic airport in Egilsstaðir is a popular choice. From there, Eagle Air offers convenient flights to Höfn, while Ring Road 1 provides a scenic and accessible route for those driving from Reykjavík or other towns. In town, Hafnarbraut serves as the main thoroughfare with plenty of shops and local attractions nearby.

As for local transportation, Höfn is served by taxis, and car rentals. Biking and walking are also popular options, allowing visitors to truly immerse themselves in the beauty of the region. For those looking to venture further, snowmobile tours can be arranged during winter months, typically between December and February.

A man riding snowmobile

Exploring Hofn’s Points of Interest

Höfn is home to a vibrant fishing port, and a stroll along its piers often leads to sightings of reindeer and various sea birds. In addition, the town boasts a number of wonderful attractions that cater to a wide range of interests.

Natural Attractions:

  • Almannaskarð: A stunning mountain pass that offers panoramic views of Hornafjörður.
  • Glacial Outlets: Visit areas like Vatnajökull and Jökulsárlón to witness the beauty of Iceland’s glaciers up close.

Cultural and Historical Sites:

  • Museums: Höfn is home to several museums, including the Höfn Glacier Museum, which showcases the region’s glacial history.
  • The Lobster Festival: Held annually in June, this event celebrates Höfn’s culinary specialty – delicious Icelandic langoustines.

Recreational Activities:

 

  • Kayaking: Experience the tranquil beauty of Hornafjörður on a guided kayaking tour departing from Höfn.

Whether you visit Höfn in the peak of summer or embrace its snowy charm during the colder months, there are plenty of activities to enjoy and sites to explore. Make the most of your visit by incorporating some of these top points of interest into your itinerary, and savor the unique experiences that this charming town and its surroundings have to offer.

About the author
Irena
Irena
In 2010, Irena moved to Iceland, instantly enchanted by its breathtaking beauty. Her deep love for Icelandic culture and the natural surroundings fills her with excitement as she endeavors to convey these wonders to others through her photography and writing.

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