How to Hike Hjörleifshöfði, The Haunted Mountain of Iceland.
On our trip in Southern Iceland, we decided to hike Hjörleifshöfði. It is a large mountain past Vík that stands alone among the black sand beeches and mountain range. The mountain is named after Hjörleifur Hróðmarsson, the brother of Ingólfur Arnarson, the first settler of Iceland. Hjörleifur only lived in Iceland for a year because he was killed by his Irish slaves. So naturally, he haunted them for revenge. The grave of Hjörleifur is at the top of the mountain, dating all the way to 875 A.D. There are 3 other graves on the site dated from the 1800’s. I would just like to say, I had no idea this place was haunted until I did the research to write this post.
So of course, David wanted to hike it. The climb is steep, I mean I was sweating after 2 minutes. But the view is absolutely beautiful. There is Lupine everywhere and beautiful, plush, green moss. Once you get to the top, depending which way you climb – of course we were on the Northwestern side of the mountain, far from the tomb – it is a simple hike. I would say hike the long way, the view is great and once you come upon the tomb it is even more beautiful and you feel accomplished.
I probably complained the whole time but once we got to the top, it was breathtaking. The cliff overlooks all of Vík and you can see the horizon of the ocean. When you walk down the Southeast side of the mountain, you come upon the ruins of old farm houses. Dave and I thought this was so cool. You can see the outline of old stone fences and the houses have completely overgrown. The one thing we missed was the caves, but it leaves us something to go back to. It is just incredible to think that someone lived on the mountain thousands of years ago. I am a little obsessed with history and the way people lived back in the day, so I just wonder what they were like and what they did. Even how they died (if they really were haunted by a ghost). I just think it is crazy interesting that a person’s ancestors lived here, it was someone’s home.
In my opinion it is a must-do in Iceland. I think if you are brave enough, you should camp on the site and see if you get any ghostly encounters…it may have to be something Bjargey and I do while I am still in Iceland. It is a great last stop to make on the Southern coast to stretch your legs and get a little exercise.
For hiking, take a backpack and your camera. Depending on the weather, throw on your hiking boots with a sweatshirt and light rain jacket. You will sweat.