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The zen of Stafsnes – The hidden beach

The zen of Stafsnes – The hidden beach

The walking track to Stafsnes, a beautiful hidden beach on Heimaey. Stafsnes beach is peacefully nestled in a cove behind the impressive folded cliffs of Blátindur. It’s almost like Hawaii – but without the palm trees. It can be blissfully sheltered and significantly warmer than the rest of the island. The only way to get there is to hike down the steep slopes behind Herjólfsdalur. On the way you’ll pass by the little house on the giant plug that makes you want to stay overnight and enjoy the sunset in this idyllic location.

The walking track to Klif – The beacon rock

The walking track to Klif – The beacon rock

This is more like the scrambling track to Klif, with ropes down the slope and a beacon of light on the top. You can haul yourself up this stunning cliff along ropes and chains attached to the upper parts. That may sound a bit discouraging, but the hike is actually a lot of fun. It’s not as difficult as it looks and well worth the effort. There’s also that incredible view of a multitude of jumbled rocks from the top of Klif. In this article I will show you the ropes – and how to get there.

The walking track to Blátindur – The dazzling heights of Dalfjall

The walking track to Blátindur – The dazzling heights of Dalfjall

Blátindur is the imposing peak rising up above Herjólfsdalur, beyond the daunting peaks of Dalfjall on the island of Heimaey. It takes a bit of effort to scramble up there, but you’ll be rewarded with some truly jaw-dropping views on the hike to the top. Including Blátindur casting its mighty shadow majestically into the bowl of Herjólfsdalur, if you go up in the afternoon.

The walking track to Herjólfsdalur – The Valley of Magic

The walking track to Herjólfsdalur – The Valley of Magic

Herjólfsdalur is intimidatingly beautiful, whichever angle you look at it. It looks like a giant natural amphitheatre, with stupendous rocks rising up on all sides as you enter the valley. The walk along the top ridge is one not to be missed. The distraction rate is very high, and there’s a great density of spectacular sights and features along the way. Herjólfsdalur is also the setting for the yearly Þjóðhátíð festival in August. On the last evening, the mountainside is set alight with a row of flames along the entire length of the valley – a magnificent sight to see!

The walking track to Helgafell – The twin volcano

The walking track to Helgafell – The twin volcano

Helfgafell offers sweeping surround views of brooding volcanoes and a heart-shaped crater. For a long time, Helgafell was the ruling volcano on Heimaey. The one that merged the chain of rocks to the north and Stórhöfði to the south into the present island, its classic volcano-shaped silhouette dominating the interior. Hike to the top and you may have Helgafell with its beautiful views virtually for yourself.

Cook Islands – The stuff of Pacific dreams

Cook Islands – The stuff of Pacific dreams

The Cook Islands are the stuff of Pacific dreams. White, sandy, coconut-strewn palm beaches, translucent lagoons in all shades of shimmering blue, and a laid-back atmosphere where everything just circulates on island time. But there are also craggy peaks beckoning in the interior of Rarotonga, the main island. You can discover them on the Cross-Island Track, an adventurous hike across the jungle.

Eyjafjallajökull – The one that rules them all

Eyjafjallajökull – The one that rules them all

Eyjafjallajökull, the unpronounceable one, silently looming in the background. Nobody knew its name, or could even pronounce it. Until that day in April 2010, when it literally erupted into world fame, and stopped the whole of Europe in their tracks. Eyjafjallajökull rules them all. This beautiful volcano is surrounded by hiking tracks in Thórsmörk around the back and Fimmvörðuháls over the top.

Fimmvörðuháls – The fiery pass across Eyjafjallajökull

Fimmvörðuháls – The fiery pass across Eyjafjallajökull

The Fimmvörðuháls hike between Skógar and Thórsmörk is nothing short of epic. This 26 kilometer walking route takes you over the fiery pass across Eyjafjallajökull and into the fabled valley of Thórsmörk. On the top of the pass you can see the giant lava flows and new craters from the 2010 eruption. But is it possible to do all this in one day? Read all about Fimmvörðuháls the easy way, the hard way, and an unexpected grand encore on that ridiculously steep (but utterly beautiful) Útigönguhöfði mountain.

Island hopping on the Aeolian Islands

Island hopping on the Aeolian Islands

The Aeolian Islands in south Italy are the stuff of legends and a geological paradise. Stromboli, the ancient lighthouse of the Mediterranean, is famous for its fountain eruptions. Vulcano gave its name to the eruptive mountains we now know as volcanoes. Regular ferries from Naples or Milazzo on Sicily to Stromboli, Lipari and Vulcano make it easy to go island hopping between volcanoes on the Aeolian Islands.