Welcome to Öræfasveit


Öræfasveit, southeast Iceland, has traditionally been one of the most isolated parts of the country. Meltwater and outwash from Vatnajökull – Europe’s largest glacier at 8,000 km² – made the region an obstacle for both humans and animals. The first mouse in Öræfasveit, for example, was only reported after 1960; it was sometimes said that the main cause of death among cats in Öræfasveit used to be boredom. The isolation of Öræfasveit came to an end in 1974 when the sands could be crossed by car at last when a bridge was built over the river Skeiðará, thereby completing the Ring Road around Iceland. Since then, tourist traffic through Öræfasveit has grown steadily to the point where more  than 160,000 travellers pass through the region every year. In fact, some travellers always braved the perils to go through this isolated region. In the old days, they had to be ferried and escorted over the rivers and glaciers, and local people were renowned for their knowledge of the land and their skills in finding their way over it. Centuries of experience and a local culture of hospitality created a tradition of welcoming visitors, long before Öræfasveit became one of the most popular regions for travel and tourism in Iceland. And rightly so, because few parts of the country offer travellers such a diverse range of natural beauty.  

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