Southwest to Skaftafell

On the second-to-last day of our loop around Iceland, we drove along the southeastern coast from the Eastfjords to Hali near Jökulsárlón. Along the way, we saw some amazing mountain scenery and encountered a couple interesting sights near the town of Höfn.

Before 1974 and the completion of the Ring Road, it took over ten hours to reach Höfn from Reykjavík because you were forced to drive clockwise all the way around the west, north and east of the country. So for most of its history, Höfn was practically Iceland’s most remote town. But its profile increased dramatically in 1951, when NATO established a radar station here to monitor Soviet air traffic.

We drove onto the Stokksnes Peninsula just south of Höfn to see the station. NATO moved out in 1992 after the end of the Cold War, and the station is now used for regular, non-covert air traffic control. Unfortunately, the perimeter is still off-limits to the public, meaning we couldn’t get too close, but the giant satellite dish in this desolate location was still impressive.

On the way back to the Ring Road, we came upon another strange construction: a circular cluster of turf-roofed buildings which looked like an abandoned Viking-era fortification. I was confused. Nowhere in my research on the area had I read about such a thing. And we had to get quite close before realizing that these buildings weren’t ancient at all, but quite new. Later, we would learn that the fort had been built for a movie which was never completed.

Distracted by these sights and frequent photo stops along the Ring Road, we didn’t pull into the Hali farm until quite late. Here, we stayed the night at the farm’s large and popular guesthouse and enjoyed an excellent dinner in the restaurant. Located just about an hour from Skaftafell, this was a great spot to relax before our early-morning glacier adventure the next day.

A non-stop drive around Iceland can take as little as sixteen hours, but we needed three full weeks. And it still wasn’t enough! We reached the southeast at the end of our 91 days, and didn’t have nearly enough time to properly explore the region. But the little we did see was just as strange and wonderful as what we’ve come to expect from Iceland.

Locations on our Map: The Radar Station | Hali Farm and Guesthouse

Hali Guesthouse – Website

We rented our car from SADcars

This Post Has 10 Comments

  1. leanne

    These are amazing pics. What an experience. 

  2. Dewain

    Incredible! thanks for sharing these.

  3. Brian

    Awsome! One pic with the grassy roof and grassy slopes on each side of the small building reminded me of the bomb storing structures I worked in while in the Air Force. Instead of a modern alarm system, I’d ROFLMAO if the building had an “alarm goose” guarding stored swords and spears. That’s a real inside joke for Weapons Storage Area USAF Personnel.

  4. Amy Andress

    Hi there! Your adventures in Iceland sound amazing 🙂 Do you know where exactly those turf-roofed buildings were located? I’m travelling to Iceland in September and would love to see them! Thanks 🙂 

    1. Mike Powell

      These houses were a part of a movie set, and I can’t be 100% they’re still there… but they were on the Stokksnes Peninsula, just to the east of Höfn. I think this is them, on Google Maps. Good luck, and please leave another comment to let us know if you were able to find them!

      1. Amanda Wall

        I’ll be going in just a few weeks and will update you!  I’ll try to get GPS coordinates…

    1. Marla

      I’d luv the GPS coordinates or any other info on how to find this movie set! I’m going at the beginning of June. I’m staying for a couple nights in Hofn and definitely want to find this. Also would like to know if the road is tough to navigate. Thanks!

Leave a Reply