East- Skaftafell County is a county in Iceland which is located in the south-east coast of the country. The county is 3041 square kilometres and it takes about 2 and a half hour to drive from one end of the county to the other. There are about 2000 people that live in the county if you also count the population in the town Höfn. The county has a lot of things to offer.
Höfn is a fishing town which is located in the south-eastern part of the country. There are about 1700 people living in Höfn but there are more living in the farms around. The first people to live in Höfn arrived here in 1897 so the town is not very old. The main economic activities are fishing and tourism especially in the summer time. In Höfn there is one major fish processing factory, Skinney Þinganes, and it is one of the largest fish factories in the eastern part of Iceland which employs a large amount of people.
The town is known for its lobster and every year there is a festival where you can eat all kinds of lobster dishes and have fun with your family, people decorate their houses and there is a lot of fun things to do. There is a party for the young kids with magicians, face painting and famous Icelandic entertainers and later in the evening there is a dance for 18 and older.
In the town there are a few museums such as Svavars-safn which is a museum full of paintings after Svavar Guðnason, there is Huldusteinn which is a stone museum, Skreiðarskemman which is a maritime exhibition and the information centre (Gamla búð) does also have an exhibition.
The past few years the town has been building up a new and improved sports area in the centre of the town and a few years ago we got a new swimming pool and a new football field and track and field area and last year we got a football house and an outside basketball court, this year we got beach volleyball courts. There is a big football culture here and always has been but for the past years other sports have become very famous especially among young people such as gymnastics, track and field, volleyball, basketball and swimming. There are two kindergartens in Höfn and compulsory education takes place in two separate buildings; the primary school and the secondary school. We also have FAS junior college.
Vatnajökull is the largest glacier in Iceland, both area and volume. The glacier is located southeast part of Iceland, in our county. The glacier has the biggest glacier volume in Europe but next biggest area or 8.100km2 and up to a kilometre thick. The average thickness of the glacier is about 400 meters and it’s the third biggest glacier in the world. Under the glacier are some of the most know volcanoes, best known is the caldera Grímsvötn. The last eruption was in the caldera, year 2011 and is thought to have been the biggest in the last century.
About 30 glacier outlets fall from the main glacier. In 2007, Vatnajökull glacier became a part of the biggest national park in Europe. The glacier is a major entertainment, you can do many things such as glacier walk, ice climbing on frozen waterfalls, ice cave trips, snowmobile trips and plenty more.
Skaftafell is a protected area in southeast Iceland and was the first national park in Iceland. It was founded in 1967; it has been enlarged twice since then. Today the park measures about 15.000 km2, making it the biggest in Europe. There are many hiking trails crossing the area which is one of the most beautiful in Iceland
Cape of Ingólfur is a small headland and a private nature reserve on the south coast of Iceland. It is named after the first settler of Iceland Ingólfur Arnarson, who landed in the year 874. Cape of Ingólfur reaches a maximum altitude of 76 meters. In the summer time it is possible to travel to the cape for bird watching
Jökulsárlón is a lagoon that its roots start at Breiðamörk glacier, a creeping glacier from Vatnarjökull. According to recent measurements, the lagoon is the deepest lake in Iceland at 248 meters. It is possible to go sailing between the icebergs which are an amazing experience. It’s also possible to go on Zodiac boat rides, then you go over more area in the lagoon, sometimes you are able to go up to the glacier. In the autumn there is a fireworks show on the lagoon.
The Hoffell area is 15km from Höfn. Hoffell is marked by a large glacier named Hoffell glacier. There is a guesthouse, naturally heated outdoor hot tubs and you can also find marked hiking trails.
Lónsöræfi is an area in the east side of the county. It is very beautiful and the landscape which is from 5-7 million years ago displays a wide range of colours. It is formed by deep canyons and high mountains and is a perfect hiking place.
Written by Dóra, Nejra and Siggerður