THE HIGHLANDS ADVENTURE

Day 1: Keflavík - Reykjavík:
Arriving at Keflavík international airport. Flybus transfer to your accommodation in Reykjavík. Overnight in Reykjavík.  
 
Day 2: Reykjavík – Kjölur - Hveravellir- Varmahlíð (ca. 390 km)    
Rental car delivered at hotel in the morning. Drive southeast towards the great Geysir area where hot springs are in abundance, one of them, Strokkur, is spouting regularly every few minutes. Only a few km further along the road there is another of nature’s beauties to be visited:  the Gullfoss or “the Golden Waterfall”. The waterfall cascades down into the deep gorge of Hvítá glacial river – you will come across this glacial river again as you continue the trip by the Kjölur highland route as you get near the Langjökull glacier and the glacial lagoon of Hvítárvatn which is the source of Hvítá river. The road leads you across the desertland of the highlands with Langjökull following you for a large part of the way on one side while Kerlingarfjöll moutains and Hofsjökull glacier come into view on the other side. 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. . (about 390 km)
 
Day 3: Varmahlíð – Laugafell (ca. 110 – 160 km)
Before driving further to the highlands you have a chance to make a detour to the town of Sauðárkrókur, with possibility to visit Glaumbær museum (well preserved turf houses from mid-19th century). A short ride on Icelandic horses is also one of the possibilities in this area. Another attraction just outside Varmahlíð is the Viðimýri turf church, the oldest of its kind and one of the few that are still preserved and in use.
After lunch time it is time to start making your way towards Laugafell geothermal area. The road leads through a furtile farming land in the valley following the course of the glacial river, but soon the landscape will turn to a rocky desert of the highlands with sparse Arctic vegetation. Stay overnight in a mountain hut at Laugafell. Close to the hut there is a natural geothermal pool – a relaxing deep in the pool is a perfect way to end the day in the highlands.
 
Day 4: Laugafell – Mývatn (ca. 290 km)
Laugafell is in the heart of the Sprengisandur highland desert with a view of Hofsjökull glacier towards southwest, while to the southeast there are the Tungnafellsjökull and Dyngjujökull glacier, the latter being part of Europe’s largest glacier, Vatnajökull. Your route will continue to the north towards Bárðardalur valley. Before leaving behind the highlands there are two more secret pearls of nature to be discovered: Skjálfandafljót river has many waterfalls on its course to the sea – here you have a chance to explore the waterfalls f Hrafnabjargafoss and Aldeyjarfoss which is particularly interesting due to magnificent wall of basalt formations surrounding it. In Bárðardalur valley you are back to the green fields and pastures while the hillsides covered by birch forest. The day end inLakeMývatnarea where you will stay for 2 nights in hotel/guesthouse accommodation.

Day 5:  Lake Mývatn area
A chance for a relaxing day with little driving, yet there are many sights to be seen in the fantastic nature ofLakeMývatnarea. Apart from the scenic views of the lake which thousands of birds inhabit during summer month, there are volcanic craters and moutains of various kinds, lava fields and formations, a solfatara field with boiling mud pits and steam vents and much more. Various hiking trails offer unlimited possibilities for experienced hikers as well as those who just want to take a shorter relaxing walk in beautiful surroundings.
An optional lava cave tour is also a possibility while staying in the area (check out tour IN09 -). In the evening you have possibility to visit the Nature Bath and relax in the pleasantly warm geothermal water. 

Day 6: Mývatn - Herðubreiðarlindir- Askja (ca. 170 km)
Time to leave the area ofLakeMývatn. Today you head for the volcanic region of the Askja caldera in the northern highlands. Through the sand desert, winding your way across the Ódáðahraun lava fields and crossing unbridged rivers you will reach the green oasis of Herðubreiðalindir over which towers the Mt Herðubreið, often referred to as the queen of the Icelandic mountains. Drive further through the lunar landscape, entering the northern end of the Vatnajökull national park as you travel towards the mountains of Dyngjufjöll and the Askja caldera. Here you will stay overnight in a moutain hut near Askja in sleeping bag accommodation. Hike toLakeÖskjuvatn and the crater Viti, filled with warm water. If you decide to take a dip in the lake it will require descending down a rather steep slope from the rim of the crater.  

Day 7: Askja – Brú – Snæfell (ca.180 km)
Leaving Askja you continue towards the Kreppa glacial river and further east until you reach the Mt Snæfell. This track is not as well known so there may be few travelers on you way. From Mt Snæfell there are good views over the Vatnajökull glacier and the Lake of Hálslón which flooded large portion of the land around Jökla river as the dam for the Kárahnjúkar power station was built. The view over the gorge below the dam is breathtaking.
Overnight in a mountain hut at the foot ofMt.Snæfell.

Day 8: Snæfell – Egilsstadir (ca. 100 km)
Time to descend from the highlands towards Fljótsdalur valley. The road is steep and winding, but tarmac covered. Driving along theLakeLagarfljót will bring you to another waterfall, the Hengifoss which drops down from the top of the Fljótdaslehiði moutain plateau, a perfect opportunity to take a short hike along the stream up to the waterfall. As you reach Egilsstaðir you have the chance to take drive to Hallormsstaður - the largest Icelandic forest, situated by the lake. Overnight in the area of Egilsstaðir in hotel/guesthouse.  

Day 9: Egilsstaðir – Dettifoss – Ásbyrgi – Húsavík (ca. 260 km)
From Egilsstaðir the road will take you first through the green valley of Jökuldalur with numerous waterfalls dropping down from the hilltops and then through the desert area of Möðrudalur. Drive to the Dettifoss, Europe's most powerful waterfall, over 100m wide and plunges 44 metres deep down into the gorge of Jökuldárgljúfur. Continuing north you reach Ásbyrgi, a horse-shoe shaped canyon with lush vegetation. Along the coastal road around Tjörnes peninsula drive on towards the delightful fishing town of Húsavík. Apart from the famous whale museum there is one of the finest wooden churches in the country just above the harbour. Accommodation in the area in hotel/guesthouse.
 
Day 10: Húsavík – Akureyri (ca.100 km)
In the morning there is a chance for an optional 3-hour whale watching boat tour. Or your you continue directly towards Goðafoss waterfall and further to Akureyri which is often referred to as the capital of the north.  Situated at the bottom of Eyjafjörður, the longest fjord inIcelandit is an important cultural, educational and administration centre. It is worth taking the time to explore this charming town with its old wooden houses, northernmost botanical garden, beautiful church, several interesting museums and cosy cafés.
In late afternoon or early evening drive to Akureyri airport where you return the rental car before taking a flight back to Reykjavík. Overnight in Reykjavík in hotel/guesthouse.
 
Day 11: Reykjavík- Keflavík:
Flybus transfer from Reykjavík to Keflavík international airport in time for your flight home. If your flight is in the afternoon, it is possible to change the flybus transfer (surcharge) for a tour to the Blue Lagoon which will ends at Keflavik airport.


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