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Hoffell Lagoon

Alex Michael Green Svansson


Behind the Shot

Alex offers visitors some clear advice about getting around Iceland. “It is very visitor-friendly. There’s one main highway that circles the island. All the places you want to visit are right off that main road. It’s super convenient. You don’t have to hike or do anything crazy to see the famous tourist spots.”

If you want to see some of the less-visited spots, though, you need to venture off the main highway. One of those destinations, Hoffell Hot Tubs, is located in the Vatnajökull National Park, about 9 miles from the town of Höfn.

Alex recalls his visit: “It was February and it was very cold. We made ourselves at home at the hot tubs, and the landowner came at us, yelling in English that we needed to pay if we were going to be staying. We answered back in Icelandic, and I think he was surprised. Not only did he refuse our money, he also told us that we needed to check out the ice cave on the Hoffell Lagoon. For the first time in a while the ice was thick enough to walk on it.

“We were really excited to see it, so we got out and dried off and headed out across the frozen lagoon. The ice wasn’t anywhere near frozen enough. Every step we heard cracking. The ice started cracking as we walked along. It was so sketchy.

“This cave is actually in a floating iceberg. Words cannot describe how fun it was to explore and capture this unique cave. We heard so many ice cracks and big bangs—we were genuinely terrified at times, but that’s what made this whole expedition unforgettable.”