Icecap and skidoos, Iceland
Traveling in the Central Highlands
This is an uninhabited wilderness area in the middle of the country with many mountains, glaciers and their moraines as well as lava fields and geothermal sites.
This is a true wilderness and as such travel can be difficult so most is done with local guides and in groups. There are bogs here which will swallow you and your backpack whole so do not go here alone.
If traveling in a small group let people know your route, and make sure your navigation skills are adequate.
Weather in the region is particularly changeable.
Routes and paths alone are not to be relied upon or are non existent, so highly detailed maps, and a quality compass with polar deviation tables are essential items. Also consider a GPS system.
Vatnajokull Icecap in Vatnajokull National Park – the largest in Europe with the country’s highest mountain – Mt Oraefajokull – near the centre. This icecap dominates the south east highlands.
Of interest to tourists are skidoo tours for much of the year including June, hiking various ‘tongues’ of the massive glacier, walking along the shore or taking amphibious tours of the iceberg strewn Jokulsarlon Lake, the ice caves in the Kverkjoll section, formed by warm underground rivers, but you cannot do serious caving here.
Hofsjokull and Langjokull Icecaps – the second and third largest icecaps in Iceland respectively, the former is near the western edge of the highlands, the latter thirty five miles further east.
Hveravellir ‘Hot Spring Fields’ – a geothermal area with coloured pools and hot springs. You can soak in the natural warm waters here.
Beinaholl ‘Bony Mound’ – a hill where some unfortunate 18th C sheep left some mementos as they and their shepherds perished in the snow.
Kerlingarfjoll ‘Witch Mountains’ – an attractive and rather pointy mountain range, less volcanic looking than others in Iceland.
Hvitarvatn ‘White River Lake’ – lumps of the Langjokull ice cap fall into this, the source of the Hvita river.
Aldeyjarfoss – an attractive waterfall over columnar basalt formations, part of the Skjalfandafljot ‘Shivering River’.