Our Favourite Thing: Fimmvörðuskáli

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A mountain hut covered in snow
Kristján Skúli Skúlason
A snowed-in Fimmvörðuskáli in June

Located on the top of a ridge connecting two massive glaciers, Eyjafjallajökull and Mýrdalsjökull, the Fimmvörðuskáli Hut marks the half-way point for hikers doing the popular Fimmvörðuháls trek, and the highest point at 1000m altitude. Many choose to split the hike between two days and stay overnight in the hut, as the 27 km trek can be a challenging beast.

A place worth visiting

The incredible 360° panoramic views from the hut are enough to make the hike up there worthwhile. From there, you get views over the coastline in the South, glacier views in East and West, and the Tindfjöll mountain range in North. Down below the hut are the awe-inspiring craters from the 2010 volcanic eruption.

But what makes it unique for me is the remoteness of the hut. Accessible only on foot, the area has limited phone connectivity, modest dorm-style sleeping area and no running water (the warden will collect snow to melt for drinking and cooking). Staying there truly feels like taking a step back in time.

Volcanic views from Fimmvörðuskáli
Monika Waleszczynska
Volcanic views from Fimmvörðuskáli

Authentic connections

When I was younger, I spent my summers volunteering as a hut warden at Fimmvörðuskáli. I would do 1-2 week-long shifts before returning to civilization. At the beginning of the hiking season in June, conditions were often harsh and sometimes the snow was so deep you had to dig yourself in.

With no phone connection, you would get your news only from the hikers stopping by. There are no private sleeping quarters for the warden so I would spend the evening with the guests, talking about nothing and everything, play music, and help them with the planning of their next Icelandic adventures. Often, these conversations would lead to real connections and I still keep in touch with some of the adventurers I met in the hut for one evening.

A knitting group staying the night in Fimmvörðuskáli
A group of hikers knitting together in Fimmvörðuskáli

On your own

Once everyone has left in the morning and the chores are done with, you would often have the full kingdom of mountains for yourself. It was one of the few instances where I would feel truly alone, knowing the next person was far away and the only sounds I could hear were the quiet rumblings of the slow-moving glaciers that surrounded me. I would use this time off to hike the surrounding peaks and explore the area.

If you feel confident enough to do a moderately challenging hike during your time in Iceland, there is nothing I would recommend more than to visit the Fimmvörðuskáli hut!

About the Author

Kristján Skúli Skúlason

Kristján Skúli Skúlason

Kristján started working for IMG in October of 2015. Before becoming a guide for us he was a mountain hut warden, guide for hikes in the highlands, taught at an elementary school, wrote for magazines and was a researcher for Helsingborg city. Some of his hobbies include walking, running, skiing, writing and playing basketball. He feels that the best place in Iceland is the steam bath at Grímsfjall hut on Vatnajökull.

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