A QUICK VIEW OF THE HIGHLANDS

Day 1: Reykjavík - Keflavík
Arrival at Keflavík international airport and transfer by flybus to your accommodation in Reykjavík.

Day 2: "The Golden Circle" (ca. 190 km)
Rental car pick up at hotel in the morning. Drive east towards Þingvellir national park - a great lava arena in a rift valley, where the Icelandic parliament “the Althing” was established in 930 and had been meeting for centuries. From the top of the cliffs you will get a great view of Lake Þingvallavatn the largest natural lake. Walk down the Almannagjá fissure will bring directly under the high walls of the cliffs under which the gatherings were taking place.
The drive continues in the direction of Lake Laugarvatn and further to the Geysir area where hot springs are in abundance, with one of them, Strokkur spouting regularly every few minutes. Only a few km further along the road you will reach the famous Gullfoss or the Golden Waterfall which cascades deep into the gorge of Hvítá glacial river. Overnight in the area. 
 
Day 3: Kjölur - Hveravellir - Varmahlíð (ca.200 km)
From Gullfoss area the road leads further north towards the highlands and after some distance you get to the gravel highland road of the Kjölur route. Crossing the desert you will soon come close to the Langjökull glacier which is the source of Hvítá river at Lake Hvítárvatn. The road will follow the Langjökull for quite a long portion of the highland route. On the opposite side you will soon get a glimpse of the Mt Kerlingarfjöll and Hofsjökull glacier. A stop at Hveravellir hot spring area is a must. For the protection of nature and the visitors' safety wooden pathways have been built around through the hots spring area of steam vents and hot pools. There is a possibility of bathing in the natural pool which is cooled down by the fresh water. Or take a hike on the trail of the outlaws who have been hiding out in this area.
Continue by the highland road to the north, passing the artificial lakes which are part of the power station Blanda river and cover large portion of the northern end of this route. Crossing Blanda river you get back to the ring road and drive to Varmahlíð where you stay overnight. 
 
Day 4: Varmahlíð - Akureyri - Mývatn (ca. 280 km)
Before leaving the Skagafjörður area you can take a look a the old turf church at Viðimýri. Continue to Akureyri - the university town often referred to as the capital of North Iceland. Akureyri has many points of interest to explore: the charming wooden houses in the old part of the town, the northern most botanical garden, the church - a landmark that towers over the downtown area and a number of interesting museums, galleries and cafés. In the afternoon drive on along the ring road toward the Goðafoss waterfall and the fascinating volcanic area of Lake Mývatn. Time to check out some of the highlights, such as the pseudocraters at Skútustaðir, Dimmuborgir maze of lava formations, the Hverir solfatara field at Námaskarð with boiling mud pits and roaring steam vents. A perfect way to end a busy day of sightseeing is by taking a dip in the pleasantly warm geothermal water of the Nature Baths. Accommodation in Mývatn area.

Day 5: Mývatn - Sprengisandur - Hrauneyjar (ca. 320 km)
Drive from Lake Myvatn to Bárðardalur valley from where you continue to the Sprengisandur higland road. A stop at Aldeyjarfoss waterfall with an impressive wall of basalt formations at the northern end of this route is a must. A bit further along the road you can take another short detour towards Skjálfandafljót river to check out on another waterfall - Hrafnabjargafoss. Then the desert takes over until you reach an oasis in the midst of the desert, a geothermal area of Laugafell with a chance for bathing in the natural warm pool. As you continue south towards the highland post of Nýidalur you get a glimpse of the Hofsjökull glacier while on the other side Tungnafellsjökull comes into view and a bit later Vatnajökull, the largest European glacier. While there is hardly any river to cross on Kjölur route, you may expect quite a few unbridged streams and rivers on the Sprengisandur track. The long drive ends at Hrauneyjar where you will stay overnight.  

Day 6: Hrauneyjar - Landmannalaugar - Kirkjubæjarklaustur (ca. 230 km)
From Hrauneyjar you drive a scenic road to Landmannalaugar, a geothermal area with hot springs and a warm stream to bath. In summer time Landmannalaugar is popular starting point for a highland trek which can take up to 5 days towards Þórsmörk. The scenery of the colourful moutains is definitely worth a short hike before you continue on your way towards the east. Some more unbridged rivers and streams will take you to the Eldgjá rift, one of the biggest fissures in the world. If time allows you can take a walk to the Ófærufoss waterfall. Countinue towards the main road again, ending the day in the area of Kirkjubæjarklaustur or Vík.

Day 7: Kirkjubæjarklaustur/Vík - Reykjavík (ca. 190-260 km): 
The village of Vík is set under a hillside with bird cliffs and next to the black sandy beach which stretch as far as you can see. In the sea just across from the village one can observe the solitary rock standing out of the water just like some kind of troll guardians. On the way towards Reykjavik there are quite a few sights to see, such as Dyrhólaey a bird sanctuary, Skógar with an interesting regional museum and the impressive Skógafoss waterfall, Seljalandsfoss waterfall a bit further along the road and views of the Westman Islands. The infamous Eyjafjallajökull volcano rests under the glacier of the same name that covers the Eyjafjöll mountains. Overnight in Reykjavík.

Day 8: Reykjavík –Keflavík (ca. 50 - 70 km)
Drive to Keflavík international airport, drop off the rental car and check-in for the flight back home. If your departure is in the afternoon or evening, then you have the chance to explore the Reykjanes peninsula or visit the Blue Lagoon for a final relaxing time in the pleasantly warm geothermal water.

 


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