Highland

  • The Highland in Iceland is only open from the beginning of July until the end of September
    The Highland in Iceland is only open from the beginning of July until the end of September

The Icelandic Highland is a huge uninhabited area of Iceland basically covering the center and sometimes stretching to places near the shore.  The whole area is loaded with natural wonders, hiking trails, places to visit, fascinating geology, mountains, geothermal pools, waterfalls and much more. It is characterized and defined by altitude as the term Highland implies. It is mostly above 900 meters and thus usually rather cold and seldom specifically warm.  In any sense of the word, it is extremely sensitive. The soil, the lava, the vegetation, the roads, the hiking trails. 

Most of the time the whole area is under snow.  Almost nine months of the year.  Only in the summer does the Highland reveal itself and starts blooming and exposing its vegetation, crystal clear creeks and beautiful mountains with thousands of colors.  In large areas, it consists of vast black sands, dark lava, suspiciously looking rocks, powerful rivers flooding from under glaciers and long horizons. If there is one message or one thing an Icelander would tell you about the Highland it would be to understand the sensitivity of this harsh landscape.

Like many Icelanders, it looks harsh and tough but under the surface is a very sensitive soul.  It is a place where people need to drive carefully on a good 4X4 vehicle with good preparation on marked tracks only.  Anyone trying to drive the Highland in a vehicle not fit for the task is both irresponsible and possibly compromising a wonderful experience.  If you decide to travel in the Icelandic Highland, please take care and understand the sensitivity of the whole are. And remember that most of the Highland is only open from the beginning of July until the end of September.

  • Laki is a rather small mountain similar to many other mountains in Iceland but unlike other mountains, as it has an extraordinary reputation.  Laki Mountain is approximately 820 meters high and stands 300 meters over its surrounding area deep in the highland of Iceland. Before June 8th, 1783 Laki was just an ordinary lonely and peaceful mountain. But all that changed when large fissures opened both to the west and east side of the mountain forcing an unprecedented amount of magma to the surface...
  • The 20-meter high waterfall Aldeyjarfoss in the river Skjálfandafljót is a powerful stream of glacial water forcing its way from the Icelandic Highland between stunning basalt columns cliffs.  Proximity to the waterfall is almost intimidating as its power, and the muddy color is somehow threatening.  The river and the waterfall are carrying tons of soil and dirt from under the glacier Vatnajökull ice cap determined to deliver it to the northern shore where the river meets the open sea.  But...
  • Many places in the Icelandic Highland are rarely visited due to their isolation and difficulties to visit in a vehicle.  It that sense they are challenging and mostly visited by hikers. This, on the other hand, does not apply to Álftavatn lake, or Swan Lake, located by the popular hiking track Laugavegur and also one of the most exciting 4X4 Highland roads Syrðri Fjallabak. By the lake, there is a popular mountain cabin and a camping site.  Many hikers on the Laugavegur track choose to stay...
  • Viti, or Hell, is one of the most interesting natural wonders in Iceland.  It is an explosion crater on the northeast shore of Öskjuvatn in the middle of the Icelandic highland.  The crater is around 150 meters in diameter and contains a geothermal lake of mineral-rich warm water.  Although the name isn’t particularly inviting many visitors and tourists visiting the place like to dip into Víti.  The water is not conveniently hot but enough to strip and take a short swim in the strange water...
  •   Bárðarbunga is the second highest mountain in Iceland next to Öræfajökull standing a bit over 2000 meters tall. Like many mountains in Iceland Bárðarbunga has many different faces.  In addition to being a mountain, it is also an outlet glacier placed on the north-west side of the large ice cap Vatnajökull. On top of the mountain is an 800 meters thick layer of ice covering the mountain and its surrounding valleys and canyons.  Picturing the white sight of ice on top of Bárðarbunga is, of...
  • Located northeast of the glacier Mýrdalsjökull by the Highland track Syðri Fjallabak, Brytalækir or “The Pursers Brook” is a beautiful spring fed stream.  The source of the water is near the Mýrdalsjökull glacier in the lava partly beneath the sand.  The stream runs through a beautiful green landscape filled with vegetation and flora during summer. It is an unusually lively and luxuriance place for this attitude, almost like a small oasis.  A significant portion of the stream spreads out and...
  • Drekagil or Dragons Gully bears a rightful name.  It is a dark and narrow place loaded with geological formations that can only remind you of another world with dragons and fairy tails.  Although not exactly difficult to walk from the jaws of the gully to the end where you find a beautiful waterfall, it is a bit of a climb. Along the way you enjoy all the interesting formations.  If you look up, you might see some of the dragons that watch over the canyon as if there is a hidden treasure...
  • If you have a 4WD rent a car while traveling in Iceland, you should consider taking a drive to Elagjá.  The name Eldgjá, or Fire Canyon, refers to a 40-kilometre fissure in the Icelandic Highland stretching from Gjátindur Mountain to a southwest direction, all the way to the glacier Mýrdalsjökull, and under the glacier reaching the much-feared volcano Katla. It is a geological wonder and in its essence, a volcano and much of the surrounding lava and vast lava carpets south of the fissure came...
  • Fagrifoss is an impressive waterfall although not a mainstream tourist attraction in Iceland. One reason is the rough highland road leading to Fagrifoss that both requires a 4WD vehicle and some river crossing.  For people only used to asphalt roads and bridges on rivers, this can be difficult. But if you are somewhat adventures and prepared to spend the extra money on a four wheel drive car in addition to driving at a speed of 15km per hour, you should defiantly visit this waterfall.  Most of...
  • Fimmvörðuháls, the Five Cairn Ridge, is one of the most popular hiking trails in Iceland.  Although quite challenging, and even dangerous, many Icelanders and visitors walk this 22 km and 1000 meter high track every summer. Obviously, it has something to offer.  It is a spectacular hike with stunning views and many natural wonders: waterfalls, craters, canyons, glaciers and breathtaking landscape.   In 2010, a small eruption started on the track almost by the most challenging part of the track...

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