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The longest valley in Iceland overlooked by most

The glacial river Jokuldalsa has been tamed by Karahnjukadam but is still pretty scare as it flows along deep canyon for a long stretch of Jokuldalur valley.

The glacial river Jokuldalsa has been tamed by Karahnjukar dam but is still pretty scary as it flows along deep canyon for a long stretch of Jokuldalur valley.

Of all the people traveling around Iceland on the Ring Road almost no one ever decides to take a break in the longest inhabited valley in Iceland, the Jokuldalur valley in the East.

Which is a massive shame but understandable since there is little or no information to be had online about this wonderful place. The East of Iceland is often overlooked in travel brochures and this place as well.

But you know how sometimes something is both fascinating, enjoyable and wonderful but you cannot exactly put your finger on what makes it so

The reason could be that although the roughly 80 kilometer long valley is very beautiful there is nothing absolutely unique or downright stunning to see while from the road while driving. All you see on the way through are various farms and apart from the often scary river raging down the valley and the instant and sudden stunning view over the entire valley coming down from the highland of the North.

But you know how sometimes something is both fascinating, enjoyable and wonderful but you cannot exactly put your finger on what makes it so? That is the case with this fascinating valley.

Contrary to belief there is quite a lot to see and do here. This is just a fabulous place to trek around and feeling alone in the world but still be close to people and services if needed. Walking or riding by the Jokuldal river, known as Jokla, on a clear summer day is a unique experience and at the mouth of the river you´ll oftentimes find seals at play. Fishing here is possible too although a bit expensive.

A number of abandoned farms are found here giving way to old and tall tales of ghosts and cruel people. Indeed, this is where one of the fascinating sagas of Iceland, Hrafnkells saga Freysgoda, takes place.

Oftentimes one finds a group of wild reindeer grazing in the Jokuldalur valley without a care in the world. PIC Jason Paris

Oftentimes one finds a group of wild reindeer grazing in the Jokuldalur valley without a care in the world. PIC Jason Paris

Jokuldalur being so close to the highland also means this is probably the greatest spot in Iceland for seeing reindeer grazing. Once in awhile they do come down into the valley where the grass is greener but in most cases you would need to trek some distance to get close. It is thus no coincidence you´ll find here at Skjoldolfsstadir farm a center dedicated to reindeer.

Available here is farm accommodation in a number of places and should you have your own tent it would not be a problem to just place it anywhere you want as long as you seek permission. No official campsite is here but we doubt many farmers around would deny curious visitors the chance to pitch a tent in a nice clearing if asked.

A great small country hotel is Svartiskogur, Black Forest hotel, found a wee bit East of Jokuldalur. Driving time there from Egilsstadir town is only 30 minutes or so.

De Facto

This is the place to find the irresistible Icelandic reindeer imported here from Sweden decades ago

Getting here

Just follow the Ring Road either way and you´ll get here

Our humble opinion

We are constantly amazed how few make an effort to spend time here. Trekking opportunities are endless and the scenery quite stunning
Summer 2016 team Total Iceland will be offering a unique travel package taking in the highs and lows of Jokuldalur as well as a host of other fantastically interesting places few know about. Contact us for further details: totaliceland[at]totaliceland.com

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