To get to Húsafell, you turn off the Ring Road between Reykjavík and the Borgarnes and drive amid gentle hills dotted with farms, winding your way toward two glacier-topped mountains on the horizon. In a quiet valley filled with birch trees, Húsafell is a respite from the drama of the rest of the island, a serene haven of bucolic beauty. But Iceland’s geological showstoppers are never far. The craggy lava fields called Hallmundarhraun—the second largest lava field in Iceland—virtually surround the lodge, and dramatic waterfalls and Iceland’s second-largest glacier are easily accessible. The geological treasures of Snæfellsnes are just a two-hour drive away.
Two gorgeous waterfalls are in the vicinity of Húsafell: Hraunfossar, where subterranean water emerges in dozens of small cascades that trickle into a gem-colored river; and Barnafoss, known as Children’s Waterfall after an age-old legend.
The waters of Deildartunguhver hot spring are so abundant they provide central heating for nearby towns. They have recently been harnessed to create the Krauma Baths, a newly opened thermal bath destination.
The Langjökull glacier is Iceland’s second largest, covering more than 350 square miles and two volcanic systems. A local outfitter offers excursions into a manmade tunnel into an ice cave within the glacier.
History enthusiasts can find small but worthwhile museums in the nearby towns of Reykholt and Borgarnes. The former was the home of Snorri Sturluson, one of Iceland’s great saga writers, and harbors a museum dedicated to his life and times. In Borgarnes, a coastal town on the Ring Road, a new museum traces the history of Iceland’s early settlers and explores a famous saga.
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