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Top Interior Highland Areas to Visit in Iceland: The Ultimate Guide to Interior Iceland |

Top Interior Highland Areas to Visit in Iceland: The Ultimate Guide to Interior Iceland

Volcanic mountains in the interior highlands area in Iceland.

Beautiful colorful volcanic mountains Landmannalaugar in Iceland

Nowhere elsewhere in Iceland really prepares you for the complete raw beauty of the interior highland areas. But what exactly makes the interior highlands of Iceland so special for guests and locals alike? The wild, uninhabited region with the cinematic vistas of the seemingly infinite gravel plains, lava fields, volcanoes, glacial rivers, and jagged mountains are worth exploring. Iceland's interior highland is without doubt, a place full of beauty, drama and mystery. Indeed, it includes an area that's rich in incredible scenery, natural delights, and hiking trails. If you're looking forward to discovering and experiencing the natural gems in Iceland's interior, read on to find out the top interior highland destinations to visit in Iceland.

Discover the Mountains and Larva Around the Askja and Vìti Crater Area

The tall mountains, lava fields and wilderness around the Askja Volcano bring an incredible landscape scenery. Askja came about during a period of intense volcanic activity,  when a magma chamber below emptied. The successive eruptions,  led to the sinking of the crater's floor. Thus, resulting in a valley filled with water,  forming the Öskjuvatn Lake. This is the deepest lake in Iceland at 220 meters in depth. 

Next to Lake Öskjuvatn is a smaller, green crater lake,  referred to as Vìti. Vìti Lake has warm waters that are great for swimming, although the surrounding slopes of the lake tend to get slippery in wet seasons. The slippery slopes make it difficult to climb up and down, so you may expose yourself to injury risks if you decide to swim here. Explore the Askja and Vìti Crater areas and discover incredible landscape scenery from the mountains. 

Explore Numerous Exciting Trails in Fjallabak and Landmannalaugar Area

If you're a fan of hiking, chances are you've probably heard about Landmannalaugar. Locals dubbed the area as the people's pools,  due to several natural hot springs found in the area's sweeping canyons. Landmannalaugar is a stunning geothermal area,  located in a valley between the mountains within the Fjallabak Nature Reserve. Landmannalaugar has several unique geological elements. For example, it has cold and hot springs that combine to form a warm brook,  where you can relax your tired muscles. 

In the past, locals knew the Landmannalaugar area for its usefulness. Specifically, as a passageway for shepherds and travelers who utilized the pools for defrosting themselves. However, today the area is famed as Iceland's premier hiking place. Apart from being the dreamland for most hikers due to the numerous trails available for exploration, the area is one of the most treasured of Iceland's crown jewels. 

The area presents a stark contrast to the Laugahraun lava field. This formed in 1477 at the peak of Landmannalaugar, thanks to its wealthy mountains featuring rhyolite; a unique rock that creates a full spectrum of colors, from pink to green and yellow. This appears to change shade and tone as light passes. The effect of colors on rhyolite makes Landmannalaugar a unique area in Iceland, complemented more by its wild character and isolation. 

Landmannalaugar features numerous routes that are definitely exciting for the avid trekker, including Laugavegur, which is well known as the most scenic hiking route. Even though the latitude here is over 600 meters, contrary to what most visitors might think, the climate is mild, and the river banks are even covered in flowers and green. Keep in mind that the Landmannalaugar area can only be accessed with a 4x4 vehicle.

Have a Fantastic Tour to the Mountains of Kerlingarfjöll - Hiker's Paradise  

Kerlingarfjöll Mountain Range features a range of mountains that stretch about 367 square kilometers across the central interior highland areas and is one of the most precious attractions in Iceland. The Kerlingarfjöll mountains are located directly across the Hveravellir or hot spring plains that host the region's largest geothermal area. Kerlingarfjöll is popular for hiking activities during the summer season and snowshoeing or snowmobiling during winter, making it a haven for adventurous people and solitude-seekers alike.

Kerlingarfjöll was once a famous summer-skiing resort,  that also operated a ski school in the area. However, global warming eliminated the famed snow, forcing the ski school's closure. Today, the area is well-known as a hiker's paradise, popular with hikers that are wooed by the untamed nature. Here, you'll discover unmarked and marked hiking trails that will allow you to immerse yourself in Kerlingarfjöll's dreamy world. In addition, the fleeting beauty that includes colorful landscapes will offer you a profound perspective on nature. 

Kerlingarfjöll operates as a resort, offering accommodation services and food. So, suppose you want to explore the fuming hot springs at Hveravellir geothermal area, you'll begin your journey from the Kerlingarfjöll Mountain Resort and hike about four kilometers over easy terrain. Upon arrival, you'll find yourself in a geothermal region surrounded by the gorgeous Kerlingarfjöll mountains. Alternatively, you can decide to drive for about 10 to 15 minutes to Hveravellir Nature Reserve.

The site features some odd tuff stone pillars and stunning marks from volcanic activities. You'll discover bubbling hot springs, steaming vents, and clay geysers all over the valley. The area is a little bit reminiscent of Landmannalaugar, another geothermal oasis in Iceland that's more popular.   

Discover Hveravellir - A Beautiful Oasis in Iceland's Interior Highland Areas

Hveravellir is an unspoiled geothermal area that's widely considered one of the greatest wilderness reserves left on Earth. Also called the "Hot Spring Plains or Fields," Hveravellir presents stunning landscapes and fascinating geothermal energy examples. Hveravellir is found between two glaciers, Hofsjökull and Langjökull, with its borders extending towards the foothills of the latter. The hot springs, glaciers, and hot pools complimented by magnificent views,  draw many tourists from all over. 

As one of Iceland's largest thermal areas, Hveravellir certainly provides a wealth of vast hot springs. The hot spring areas, protected since 1965, require tourists or visitors to stay on boardwalks. Here, you'll get a chance to see the thermal activity in the lava field with steaming chasms. So, if you want to discover various hot springs, such as the blue hot spring (Bláìhver), the green hot spring (Grænihver), the Old Beautiful Hot Spring (Gamli Fagrihver), and the beautiful hot spring (Fagrihver), you'll find them all here. 

You'll also find a hot pool situated right beside the visitor's center. The hot pool is a fantastic and civilized stop for visitors who wish to bathe. However, if you decide to bathe here, be aware that sitting close to the pool's input pipe is dangerous because it gets incredibly hot. The Hveravellir geothermal area is one of the best places to visit in Iceland and it is located an hour's drive from the fantastic mountains of Kerlingarfjöll. 

Explore Laki Craters Area - Famous Iceland's Volcanic Fissure 

Crater lake in the interior highlands area of Iceland.

Crater lake at Laki volcano with black lava surrounded by rugged mountains in Iceland

Laki Craters, also known as Lakagígar, is among the most famous volcanic fissures in interior highland areas of Iceland. Laki volcanic fissure is part of the Skaftafell National Park and black and green plains surrounds it. The area features one of the most remarkable geological formations,  created due to a catastrophic volcanic eruption. 

The violent eruptions in the Laki Craters area occurred between June 1783 and February 1784, resulting in horrifying results. The eruptions caused consequences in other areas of the world. Sulfur dioxide,  worth about 120 million tons was poured into the Northern Hemisphere, leading to a significant drop in global temperatures. Also, the gases released,  contributed to the several years of unusual weather patterns experienced across Europe, Africa, and North America. For instance, North America now experiences colder and longer winters. Fifty percent of the livestock on the island perished under ash clouds from the eruptions, thus, leading to a famine that killed thousands of the Icelandic population. That was the largest eruption to ever happen since the settlement of Iceland, while the accompanying lava flow became the third-largest on the planet in a single eruption since the last Ice Age.

Today, Laki Craters, made into a nature reserve in 1971, have no signs of any volcanic activity. It's a perfect area to explore, especially if you want to experience and admire the 25-kilometer moss-covered Laki Craters. 

Tour Iceland's Interior Highland Areas

So, what attractions in the interior highland areas of Iceland are you looking forward to visiting? The interior highlands of Iceland are best when tackled by a guided tour, as it's much easier for familiar and experienced drivers to pick their way into the interior and across fields, as they cross unbridged rivers, rather than trying to do it all by yourself. All of these places can be accessed on our self-drive tour, or you can contact us today and have us arrange a private guided tour. We hope you enjoy your tour as you experience the Icelandic nature!

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