My relation to Volcano Huts

My relation to Volcano Huts started when I began to photograph more seriously in April last year and opened an Instagram photo account. That is where I saw pictures from other Instagrammers who had been at the Huts and in Thórsmörk. At that moment I just knew I had to go there. My first stay was 2 days in May. I came back later in July where I camped in my tent for many days, hiked around and took photos. I totally fell in love with the place and area and just knew I would be back. Why? There are so many reasons; the nature in so many ways, the calmness and happiness it gives me inside and the security of nearby people, since I’m always travelling alone as the luxury of going to a restaurant in the middle of ‘nowhere’, and a simple thing as having a shower.

“But I would say that the nature is one of the top reasons together with the feeling it gives me being there.”

After only 2 months home, I didn’t know I would miss Iceland and Thórsmörk so much. So I decided to go back and see the fall there. I spend there 8 days in the end of September.

Some of the area in Thórsmörk is with trees and bushes – I was so amazed to see this view when I arrived with all these colours.

The natures colors 

I’ve been at the Volcano Huts 3 times now and every time it has been different. In May, the nature was all brown-ish. I came back in July when it was all green and then in September it was all yellow, orange and red. I never imagined that Iceland would have so beautiful fall colours, because mostly I remember the moss on the raw lava and some bushes. I can’t recall seeing it on other Instagram accounts last year. But to see the landscape in Thórsmörk change so much, was just breath taking.

“I love the fall and this was amazing”

I first really noticed the fall, when the bus went from Seljalandsfoss waterfall into the highlands of Thórsmörk. I was just speechless and really impressed by what I was looking at.

The bus crossing Krossá River on the way to Volcano Huts

How to go there 

I went by bus both ways – from Reykjavik. Other people jump on the bus on the way. It’s nice and it takes 4 hours to go in there and 3,5 hour to get you back. On the way there you can relax and enjoy the different landscapes you see on the way, but expect a bumpy ride the last hour into the highlands.

“Don’t be that person that thinks you can cross Krossá”

If going by car, you have to have a snorkel on the car to cross the last and deepest river ‘Krossá’. But they recommend that you DON’T cross it. It is very dangerous. I have seen cars stuck and advice you not to be the one who thinks it looks easy. Park the car before Krossá and wave to the bus driver so he can see you want to come with him. You can also park the car at N1 gas station in Hvolsvöllur or by Seljalandsfoss waterfall , where you can take the bus for the rest of the way.

In wintertime there is no bus, and you can only get there by modified super jeeps. You can read more about all the different options here

The Small cottages and the Private rooms

Sleepover

Don’t expect all new accommodations, they are mostly rustic and you sense a lot of memories there.
First time I stayed there I was sleeping in the mountain hut dormitories. There was a room for 8 persons. It was nice and warm and I remember having a little kitchen, a living room and a toilet with a bath.

The second time I was there, I slept in my tent. I love to sleep outside in the nature. And there are 3 camping grounds to camp. The toilets and baths are up at the Huts and there is a little kitchen and a ‘living room’ where you can sit and eat your own food and meet up with other hikers/backpackers. The place is open all the time except for a short time while being cleaned.

This time I lived in a private room with room for 3 persons. I had a room with a view over the mountains, amazing to wake up to. There are toilets in that building, but the bathroom is next to the Huts.

I haven’t stayed in the small cottages yet, – it will be at a time when I’m traveling with a small group.

You can read about the Glamping next.

Check the possibilities for accommodation here

Big tents in the backyard of the Volcano Huts. It was a pleasure to try a night in Glamorous Camping

Glamping 

I had the great pleasure to try the Glamorous Camping also called Glamping. I love to camp and sleep in a tent, so this was really a luxury edition. The tents have carpet on the floor, a bed that was great and normal as in a hotel room and some chairs to sit in. It’s really nice and cosy.

In the beginning I was afraid if I could stay warm until the staff told me there is sleeping bags and also a heater. I turned the heater on, and it was not really hot in there, but it removed the worst coolness. I think it was around 5 degrees that night, and I went to bed around 23:30. I jumped into the sleeping bag, put the white duvet over the sleeping bag and slept amazing in the fresh air. I woke up a couple of times and I was warm, so I just went to sleep again. In the morning it was amazing to hear the birds singing, and I heard the foxes call.

I can see that kind of camping for people who like the outdoor life, but want some more comfort and easiness on their trip. This could be a good solution. You could spend also your honeymoon there. I met a couple that had theirs in Iceland and had 2 nights of Glamping.

The Huts are nice, and when the sun is shining it’s amazing to sit out there with a cold drink. And to sit around a bonfire in the evening talking about the day that passed

The Volcano Huts restaurant

When you are in the middle of nowhere there are two possibilities. One is that you bring your own food and use the small kitchen to cook by yourself. Number two you can go into the restaurant and have some food there. They have breakfast, lunch and dinner. For breakfast there were different types of bread, ham, cheese, tomato, cumber and cereals. For lunch two soups – lamb and a vegetable soup. In the evening it’s a bit different dishes, but there were lamb and potatoes everyday while I was there. I’m a big fan of lamb so for me it was like being in heaven every day at lunch and dinnertime!

“Lamb is my absolut favourite when I’m on Iceland”

In the restaurant there is a very cosy atmosphere. I could hear the talk from the other hikers, laughing, and music in the background, while I could feel my legs from the day’s hike. I think that people are good at ‘finding’ each other, have a little talk about where they have been today and what they experienced.

The view from the top of Valahnúkur. The first place I have to go when I come to Volcano Huts.

Hiking routes

If I only had one hike in the area, my advice would definitely be to choose Valahnúkur. It’s the most beautiful view in my opinion. You’re standing above everything and has the 360° view! It’s the first place I have gone to each time I’ve been here. I remember my first time up there – I was hiking up alone and I didn’t really know what to expect. Only seen some pictures from there. On the way up I could sense what I was about to see when I looked back at the view, but it still hit me so much going all the way up! Standing there looking down at the valley all the rivers like veins on earth, feel the wind in my hair and goose bumps crawling over my skin – it was so amazing!

The picture above is the red route and has a really nice view, too. We hiked some of the red and then went over on the orange. Remember you can always ask the staff for a good advise in terms of length and hardness

The staff at The Huts helped me with routes to walk and told me their experiences. They have a map with coloured routes, and I’ve hiked them all more than once. Landscape changes and the weather is different which makes you see new things every time. There are also other routes on the map – dotted, but talk to the staff about them. I went on some of them too.

As many people know about Iceland – the weather can change a lot in one day. Therefore always make sure to have layers of clothes, so you can dress and undress during the day and remember rain clothes just in case.

One of the cool things about Iceland is that you can fill your bottle with the water from all the rivers in the area and drink it.

My first time seeing the northern light will be a day I never forget

Northern lights

First let me say. When it’s dark in Thórsmörk it’s really dark! Only the Volcano Huts are shining light from the window when it’s open.

If you have an evening or night with no clouds, you have a heavenly beautiful star sky.

I was lucky to see the northern lights one time when I was there. And it was my FIRST time ever. So for me it will be a memory for life. Everybody says, you can always remember your first northern lights. I ran to get my camera gear and of cause the most powerful green was gone, but we had some nice moment for a half an hour or so. And with people staying in the Glamping that night I got this picture. For me it was really a great experience because I have only seen it in pictures. And then to be able to see it ‘dance’ with my own eyes was special.

We picked up some wild blueberries and made some dumplings

Wild berries

I went on a berry hunt with one of the staff at Volcano Huts. It was such a lovely sunny day to pick up berries. We hiked up a mountain close by and had an amazing view over the valley where Volcano Huts is.

Then the staff made me some dumplings. It’s not something you can buy there, but it could maybe inspire you to do your own recipe with wild blueberries.

Here is little picture tutorial
My heart melts every time I meet an artic fox. So tiny, so cute

Kari the fox 

Since I saw these foxes on Instagram I just wanted to meet one. And I have been lucky.
First time I saw one was in May and I remember I was just laying in the grass thinking “wow it’s small”. They are so tiny and have the cutest faces. Sometimes it’s like they’re smiling. There are no guaranties to see them. But they come around in the area. Talk to the staff maybe they have some news about them. I heard them some times calling each other – when I slept in the Glamping and when I was hiking.

Really a nice place to relax after a long day hiking

Sauna

After a long day hiking it nice to get into the sauna and just relax. I love to go to the sauna, but I’m not the type that can sit there for hours. After a while I get overheated, but then I went out in the little pool in front of the sauna for a dip and back in the sauna for a while before taking a bath.

Some of the pictures I took in the area around Volcano Huts for my Instagram

This was my experience with the Volcano Huts and the Thórsmörk (Þórsmörk) area. Next time I am returning to the area it will be covered in snow. I had a really great time – maybe I see you there in the winter!

Thank you for reading my story!

Instagram: www.instagram.com/anja_robanke