Meet Super Valdi who is Building the Unreachable Road in Iceland

Super Valdi, the Man Behind Iceland’s Unreachable Road

At Icenews, we have been monitoring the progress of the “100 Stories from Iceland” Project. One of the stories that caught our attention is the story about Super Valdi, the Man Behind Iceland’s Unreachable Road.

When Ástvaldur “Valdi” Óskarsson first shared his plan to build a road on the east side of the Langjökull Glacier to boost tourism, most people thought he was out of his mind. Words like “impossible,” “crazy,” and “forget about it” echoed around him. Yet, Valdi had a vision that would eventually transform the area into a thriving tourist destination. His daughter, Margrét Björg Ástvaldsdóttir, shares the incredible story of her father’s determination and success.

“The main reason for the criticism was the amount of glacier mud in the area,” Margrét explains. “People were afraid that tourists’ cars would sink, which would be disastrous for tourism. But my father saw it as a challenge to overcome.”

Valdi believed he could avoid the treacherous mud by designing the road to follow the highest areas. His frequent scouting trips to the glacier, often with his young family in tow, were crucial in mapping out the route. Margrét recalls a particularly nerve-wracking moment from these early days.

“It was a Sunday, and we were driving through the highlands. My father stepped out of the car to survey the land, and suddenly, a thick fog rolled in. My mother, brother, and I were inside the car, anxious that he might not find his way back,” she says. “Minutes felt like hours, but eventually, my father reappeared through the mist. It was a close call, but it only made him more determined.”

Despite the initial scepticism, Valdi’s persistence began to pay off. Slowly but surely, the dream started to take shape. As the route extended, more people began to see its potential. The new road, closer to the iconic Gullfoss waterfall, offered a fresh attraction that complemented the historic Kjölur route, which has been used since Viking times.

“In the beginning, it was just my father, but eventually, others joined his effort,” Margrét says. “They realized the new route’s touristic potential and scenic beauty.”

Mission Impassable: Building the Unreachable Road