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 1.100 meters, and it is rarely warm here in the middle of the Icelandic Highland.
The name New Valley came from a search team in 1843
For centuries there was a suspicion among farmers in the northern region in Iceland, around the valley Bárðardalur and also in Eyjafjörður that deep in the Highland was an area with considerable vegetation. A place where sheep would wander, a place too far and too deep for farmers to go and collect sheep in the autumn. Any such suspicion at that time would also entail stories about outlaws living in unusually pleasant conditions as the level of misconception was lifted to an oasis. So in 1843 and 1844 three men traveled from Bárðadalur to explore this place. To their surprise, the vegetation was considerable in the middle of the enormous black desert of Sprengisandur. They came to a valley that they called New Valley, a name that has stuck with Nýidalur ever since.
A place to stop and visit with many interesting hiking options
Nýidalur is conveniently located in the middle of the Sprengisandur Road, or Road F26. It is an ideal place to stop when you are driving this Highland Road. Not only to take some exciting hiking tours, but also to drive the 4X4 track north and east of the tiny glacier Tungnafellsjokull and take the exotic hiking path to the geothermal area near Vonarskarð. At least Nýidalur is not a place that you want to drive through in a hurry although everything seems to be cold and black.