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.

  • If there is a place that can claim the title of being in the middle or the center of the Icelandic Highland, it is Nýidalur or New Valley. It is a place you must visit if you choose to drive your rent a car or your 4X4 vehicle through the Icelandic Highland Road Sprengisandur between the Southern Region and the Northern Region.  You should seriously consider stopping for a night or two in the mountain cabin or at the camping area; although you should probably keep in mind that the altitude is 1...
  • The waterfall Nýifoss or “New waterfall” is actually quite new.  Sometimes referred to as Leynifoss or  The Confidential Waterfall. According to geologists, the waterfall was formed in 1939 when the lake Hagavatna decreased substantially due to the glacial flood coming from under the glacier Langjokull. In the period between 1929 and 1939, the lake Hagavatn changed dramatically, and a part of its eastern side collapsed, burst in the glacial flood and gave way to the water.  Consequently, the...
  • The waterfall Ófærufoss (the impassable waterfall) is one of the few interesting waterfalls in Iceland located in the Highland. A waterfall you don't want to miss if you are traveling in Iceland and waterfalls are on your list of things to do in Iceland.  It is a waterfall in the river Nyðri-Ófæra or “The impassable northern river”.  It is a beautiful and impressive fall, and probably one of ten to fifteen most interesting waterfalls in Iceland.  Placed in the great fissure Eldgjá, or Canyon of...
  • Every river and every creek have some beginning, a source.  Often the source is hidden under a glacier, in a lake or a ground spread over vast moorland.  But sometimes you can actually see the source floating from a slope of a mountain or running from under a lava field.  It is always a fascinating sight. But occasionally you can find a place where clear, clean, beautiful water is flowing from below as a spring and feeding a creek or a river.  This is the case in Rauðufossafjöll and the small...
  • Sigöldufoss waterfall is one of those strange beasts in the Icelandic landscape that has been transformed by an enormous engineering project in the process of building a hydroelectric power plant. For hundreds and thousands of years, it was part of the glacial river Tungná where a large volume of glacial water forced its way downstream with all its mud, ashes, dirt, small rocks and load of other substances being transported to the shore by the river. When Sigalda Powerplant was built some...
  • The name Silfurfoss is almost unknown, both the waterfall and the name, as it is an unofficial name.  Silfurfoss or Silver waterfall is a reference to the mighty Gullfoss or Gold waterfall as many visitors have felt that there is a certain resemblance between the two.  Silfurfoss, of course, has few visitors when Gullfoss is one of the largest attractions in Iceland. Nevertheless, this waterfall, the surrounding area, and the relatively short hiking trail is a fantastic choice for those who...
  • At some point in your life, you want to fill you head with peace. You want a peace of mind. There are places in the Icelandic Highland that are still calm and quiet, and few people visit. The only sound is a small stream and songs from birds; places that put you in a relaxed mode. One such place is the wonderful world of unusual lava formation at Skælingar.  A place where everything is calm and quiet but yet a place that looks strange and exotic.  It is a place where you can easily come to the...
  • Stakkholtsgjá or Stakkholts Canyon is a beautiful natural wonder, a canyon in Þórsmörk in the Icelandic Highland. From the entrance of the canyon, it is surrounded by high and straight one hundred meters high palagonite cliffs.  Hiking the two kilometers to the end of the canyon is one of the most rewarding short hiking trails in Iceland.  Inside the canyon is a small creek that runs on a bed of pebbles, enhancing the landscape within the canyon. The track is not smooth and crossing the river,...
  • Most of the more impressive natural geothermal pools in Iceland are in the highland.  In places that are remote and difficult to visit unless you are prepared to take a long drive and a long hike.  These are places where boiling hot geothermal springs meet cold creeks, sometimes the origin of the water is side by side.  Sometimes the pair of springs, hot and cold, blend and form a natural pound filled with warm water in the middle of nowhere. One of those remarkable places is Strútslaug or the...
  • Hólmsárgljúfur is a small but beautiful canyon in the river Hólmsá.  The river originates in the small glacier Torfajökull in the Highland and finds its way through a large lagoon in the Syðri Fjallabak area, Hólmsárlón, flowing through the beautiful landscape of Brytalækir all the way to the river Kúðafljót near the Ring Road.  About 20 kilometers before merging with Kúðafljót the river enters the canyon by the small mountain Atlaey or Atlis Island, an island on dry land. A spectacular...

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