The small village of Raufarhofn and its 194 inhabitants is known for Arctic Henge, also called Heimskautsgerðið, which overlooks the village. It is a construction recently initiated in 1996 and still not finished, and our first visit of the day.
Often compared to Stonehenge in England, Heimskautsgerðið is a sundial aimed at capturing the sun's rays between aligned structures.
Bad luck for us, there was no sign of the sun that morning, but the monument is already impressive but will probably be even moreso once finalized.
Today we walked along the coast between Raufarhofn and Vopnafjordur with some interesting hikes along the way.
Our first stop was in Raudans along the 85. A small, completely empty parking lot indicated the 7 km hiking trail that ran along the coast.
The hike was really fun, with rock formations in the water, each more amazing than the last.
No less than twenty huge rock formations could be admired during the walk. This one was rather easy, but some of the passages were quite steep. Most of the time, there were sheep in the way, and they would follow us for a few minutes. We really felt the poetic solitude of this promontory at the end of the world, with the only noise being that of waves and birds.
We also had a nice surprise halfway through the course. On one of the rock formations, there was a colony of puffins who were busy nesting in the small corners of the rock.
The walk to the end of the coast was a pleasure, then the path went back inland where there was nothing really worth seeing at all. I recommend going back the way you came instead, even if it takes a bit longer, it's just a nicer walk.
We then planned a few stops on the Langanes peninsula, but the weather forced us to turn back and we ate near Thórshöfn. On the road, we left our things at our guesthouse in Hvammsgerdi, where our host recieved us warmly and even recommended a nearby hike that we decided to do that evening.
This guesthouse would remain one of our favorite guesthouses along the way: the welcome, cleanliness, and fantastic breakfast, everything was perfect!
Heading South, we had planned a few stops before dinner. The first took us to the Gljúfursárfoss waterfall. The car park was just steps away from the waterfall along the 917. The impressive waterfall was 45 m tall... Competing with some of the most famous waterfalls in the country, it held its own. A real pleasant surprise.
Continuing along the 917, our trusty vehicle took us to Ljósastapi, otherwise known as "Elephant Rock." This giant, actually colossally big rock structure just offshore with its elephant shape was definitely worth a photo stop.
The 917 then climbed between the Heiðasarð and Heiðarhnukur mountains; the drive was absolutely fantastic and worth the detour alone. I read that on a blog, and we planned to check it out without really thinking about it, but it was a real slap in the face! And even more impressive when we drove back down the other side in the direction of Lansendi.
The view and the panorama over the sea and the mountains were breathtaking, what contrasts! On the other hand, good brakes and careful, slow driving kept us all a bit tense as the descent was incredibly steep!
At the foot of the mountain, we stopped at the car park leading to the Ker walk, famous in the region, but unfortunately, we came for nothing. A sign clearly indicated that access was closed due to the water level of the river. We were quite disappointed as the weather was just perfect for the hike, and to imagine this region in this light...it would have been unforgettable.
Back at the guesthouse, and after a little soup in the charming town of Vopnafjorður, we ended the evening with the hike recommended by our host. This was the Fuglabjagarnes trail. 1H15 to cover 5 km of pure enjoyment with the sunset and that rich twilight typical of northern countries.
A hike in grassy plains among the local sheep, sometimes on the beach with its driftwood sculptures, the sound of birds overhead... A true communion with nature. There were other rock structures offshore at the far end of this coastal walk, improbable shapes emerging from the water, a local specialty!
We returned at 11:30 PM, a little mindblown at the sheer amount of natural wonders we had seen today.