The Hvalnes Lighthouse is in the eastern region of Iceland along Route 1 (the Ring Road) between the cities of Höfn and Djúpivogur. This bright orange concrete structure stands 11.5 meter (38 feet) high along the ocean coast and marks a prominent cape, the Austerhorn, on the southeastern corner of the country. It was constructed in 1954 by engineer Axel Sveinsson and house designer Einar Stefánsson and put into operation the following year. The light still operates to this day with two white flashes that are emitted every 20 seconds from a 29-meter (95-foot) focal plane.
A dirt parking lot and roadway lead up to the structure, making it easily accessible from the main highway. The lighthouse overlooks the Hvalnes Nature Reserve, which harbors some impressive mountain and beach scenery. Directly to the west, Mount East Horn is the most prominent land formation in sight. This precipitous and high gabbro (coarse-grained, dark-colored, intrusive igneous rock) is a granophyre mountain (sub-volcanic rock) that contains quartz and alkali feldspar at characteristic angular intergrowths. While vegetation is limited to some mosses, metals such as gold, silver, and mercury have been found here.
Over the years, many fishery outfits were situated near Hvalnes because of its close proximity to excellent fishing grounds. Many Icelanders from the northern parts used to come here seasonally to return home with their catch and make a living. Nearby, to the south, you can see the Hvalnes Cove with its black sand beach, which became an authorized trading post in 1912. Several centuries ago, in 1627, Algerian buccaneers robbed and plundered the area but found no one here because they were all busy working in their summer pastures. This stop continues to be a popular location along the Ring Road, and it is nice spot to go for a short walk along the ocean.