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Iceland’s most northern glacier, Drangajokull is located in the remote Westfjords of northern Iceland. Despite its isolated location, this special glacier still deserves attention. Being the only glacier in Iceland whose altitude does not exceed 1000 m, Drangajokull is also one of the only glaciers in the country that hasn’t succumbed to receding in recent years.
The Westfjords is a large peninsula in the northwest of the country. Though travel and communication there can be difficult, the mountainous region is known for its beauty and play on light. From the darkest depths of winter to 24 hours of sunlight in high summer, the length of a day takes on new boundaries in this remote part of the world. The Westfjords are home to both the midnight sun and the northern lights, creating a dreamworld for travellers to take in as best they can.
While driving in the Westfjords has had a bad reputation in the past, road conditions have greatly improved in recent years. However, as always, safety precautions must be taken in bad weather. Driving from Reykjavik will mean covering approximately 450 km of terrain and will take a little over 5 hours even in favourable conditions.
While Drangajokull can be considered as one of Iceland’s most lonely glaciers, it’s surrounding landscape of wild, natural beauty is a fantastic place to experience raw Iceland. Drangajokull is obviously not as touristy as other more accessible glaciers in Iceland, though many activities are still available. Hiking is especially popular in this region due to the many trails available and low lying mountains.
- Experience the Midnight Sun
The midnight sun is a natural phenomenon that occurs during high summer in the arctic circle. The sun still casts its ray low across the horizon even at midnight. In order to witness this phenomenon, the starting point will be Ísafjörður, the Westfjords’ largest town. From there, you will need to take a super jeep tour to Drangajokull glacier. From then on, you will then hike up the Hrolleifsborg mountain, which reaches 851 m in height. From the summit, you will witness the incredibly rare midnight sun in an unbelievable setting, atop one of Iceland’s glaciers. The best time to plan this adventure will be in the summer month of July. This is a very demanding hike but is suitable for experienced hikers of 12 years of age and over.
- Conquer Drangajokull’s Highest Peak
At just 925 km Drangajokull’s summit, Jökulbunga, is a much easier feat than other glacier summits in Iceland. The easiest way to reach the edge of the glacier is to drive to Kaldalon along road 635. It is only a 60 to 90 minute walk from Kaldalon to the edge of the glacier, where you should then only continue with a professional guide.
Driving in adverse conditions can often lengthen journeys so always allow adequate time. It is also imperative that you only head onto a glacier with a professional guide and always wear adequate clothing for the conditions.
Though Drangajokull is an out-of-the-way glacier in Iceland, the Wesfjords as a whole are well worth exploring. Less people means having attractions all to yourself, a rare occurrence due to Iceland’s growing popularity as a tourist destination. That said, glacier tours, ice cave tours, and volcano tours in Iceland that are totally worth a check out!