#highland

Probably the most famous hiking trail in Iceland today is the Laugavegur trail from Landmannalaugar to Thorsmork. It is a fascinating highland path where people go through all kinds of landscape and many geological wonders. A typical time for the hike is four days and five nights as most people spend a night in Landmannalaugar, the base camp, before starting and one night in Thorsmork, the oasis, at the end. Although the hiking trail is not particularly challenging, it requires some serious perpetration. The trail goes through some difficult terrain, and that requires good shoes.

The most famous hiking trail in Iceland today is the Laugavegur

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 floating on a volcano that erupted not so long ago. When you come home you can at least say that you went “skinny-dipping in Hell”. 
There are also many interesting stories connected to Askja. Probably the most interesting is the story of Walther von Knebel, a German geologist that disappeared in 1907 with his associate in a mysterious unresolved accident or some other mishap.   A year later his fiancé Ina von Grumbkow visit Iceland and Askja trying to get to the bottom of her suspicion that her husband to be, had been killed.
This location in the highland of Iceland is not accessible during the wintertime unless your have one of those so-called Super jeeps on huge tiers that every other Icelander seems to drive as a family car. The most secure and convenient way to visit Askja and Víti is to purchase an organized tour or rent a car during the summer season, between July and October.  The rent car needs to be a four-wheel drive capable of crossing some rather serious rivers.  

Viti and Askja in the Icelandic highland

The Icelandic Highland is a huge uninhabited area of Iceland basically covering the center and sometimes stretching to places near the shore.  The whole highland 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.

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