Informazioni su Kaldidalur Valley
Kaldidalur Valley is a highland road and Iceland’s second-highest pass. Kaldidalur is known for being one of the most scenic drives in the country, offering stunning views of various natural landscapes.
Kaldidalur Valley, or “Route 550,” is one of the most famous routes in Iceland, together with the Golden Circle and the Ring Road. Kaldidalur also stretches from Thingvellir National Park east of Reykjavik and takes you to spots like Thorisjokull and other parts of the Icelandic highlands.
You can visit it on an exciting highland tour.
Taking the Kaldidalur highland road means going through a rough gravel road. You can drive on this road during summer from late June to early September using a 4WD or 2WD vehicle, though the latter is not recommended. It is advisable to use a 4WD in winter because of heavy snowfall.
Locals and visitors choose to take this challenging drive for the breathtaking views. Driving along the valley lets you appreciate beautiful mountains, glaciers, and volcanic landscapes that showcase Iceland’s natural beauty.
Kaldidalur: A Road that Wasn’t Travelled
The Kaldidalur Valley is 24.85 miles (40 kilometers) long. It’s also the shortest among the three main roads crossing the central highlands from south to north. Though the shortest, it boasts the second-highest elevation at 2,385 feet (727 meters) above sea level.
Kaldidalur Valley is nestled between the Langjokull Glacier and the Ok Mountain in West Iceland. In the past, the Kaldidalur highland road wasn’t accessible to everyone. Only horses used to pass through the road.
Eventually, Kaldidalur became the route for people from the west, where most farms were. In 1830, Kaldidalur reached a milestone, becoming the first route to become permanent with road building.
However, only in the 1930s was the road opened to cars. Though it’s no longer considered an F-road, Kaldidalur still presents a bumpy ride.
Generally, locals and visitors use the Kaldidalur route to get a glimpse of the highlands. It is a safer and more convenient alternative to driving into the highlands and crossing rivers without bridges.
What to Expect from Kaldidalur Valley
As if contrasting the rough gravel road of the Kaldidalur Valley, passing through the route gives you some of the best views of nature you’ll ever see in Iceland. You’ll see breathtaking Icelandic glaciers like Langjokull, Eiriksjokull, Okjokull, and Thorisjokull.
Langjokull, called the “Long Glacier,” is the country’s second-largest glacier, measuring 361 square miles (935 square kilometers). Locals and tourists also visit Langjokull for a snowmobile expedition of the glacier.
Meanwhile, Eiriksjokull is the largest table mountain in Iceland. It measures 5,495 feet (1,675 meters) high and is located east of Langjokull.
Eiriksjokull is a tuff mountain covered in a glacier, meaning it’s a table mountain with basalt covering the top. The glacier shield covers roughly 8.50 square miles (22 square kilometers). In addition, Eiriksjokull is a favorite destination for people looking for a more challenging hike.
Aside from the glaciers, you’ll also see the Skjaldbreidur. It’s a shield volcano in Southwest Iceland formed around 9,000 years ago during an eruption that also created the basin of Thingvallavatn and Thingvellir.
Its summit measures 3,477 feet (1,060 meters), while its crater is around 984 feet (300 meters) in diameter.
What Makes Kaldidalur Valley Special?
Visiting the Kaldidalur Valley offers a unique experience that’ll help you appreciate nature’s wonders in different aspects. The Kaldidalur highland road’s history dates back centuries, and its role in the country’s development is undeniable.
Kaldidalur connects two critical places in Iceland: Husafell and Thingvellir National Park. Husafell is a sprawling church estate and farm now serving as a tourist service hub. It offers accommodations and amenities, like a golf course and a swimming pool.
Meanwhile, Thingvellir National Park is one of Iceland’s most popular tourist destinations. It comes with a rich historical, cultural, and geological heritage. It’s also the only UNESCO World Heritage Site in mainland Iceland. The park was hailed for its untouched beauty, inspirational landscape, and connection with Icelandic national events and governance.
Lastly, the Kaldidalur Valley is perfect for outdoor adventure. It’s a venue for hiking, skiing, and snowmobiling.
Getting to Kaldidalur Valley
As mentioned, going to Kaldidalur Valley using a 4WD vehicle is best. Kaldidalur Valley is around 55 miles (88.6 kilometers) from Reykjavik, Iceland’s capital. From Reykjavik, follow Sudurgata to Hringbraut/Route 49.
Follow Route 49 Vesturlandsvegur/Thjodvegur 1 and Thingvallavegur to Uxahryggjavegur in Blaskogabyggd. From there, continue on Uxahryggjavegur before heading to Kaldidalur in Borgarbyggd.
Nearby Attractions to Visit
Another advantage of visiting Kaldidalur Valley is the nearby attractions worth visiting. Aside from the glaciers and Thingvellir National Park, you can also check the Hraunfossar and Barnafoss waterfalls.
Hraunfossar, which means “Lava Falls” in English, is a series of waterfalls from the creeks flowing from the Hallmundarhraun lava field. Meanwhile, Barnafoss is a rapid waterfall shrouded in mystery and folklore. The two waterfalls are only a short walking distance away from each other.
Next, you can drive to the Deildartunguhver hot springs. Located about 31 miles (50 kilometers) from Kaldidalur Valley, Deildartunguhver is famous for its rapid flow rate of 180 liters (380 pints) per second.
Deildartunguhver’s water constantly measures 97 degrees Celsius (207 degrees Fahrenheit). With this kind of temperature, getting too close to the hot spring can be harmful. Interestingly, the temperature makes Deildartunguhver an excellent means for heating homes in the country.
If you wish to relax in one of the area’s hot springs, Krauma Spa is beside Deildartunguhver. The spa’s geothermal water is pumped directly out of Deildartunguhver.
If you’re looking for more historical spots, stop by the tiny village of Reykholt. Located 27 miles (44 kilometers) from Kaldidalur Valley, Reykholt was the home of Snorri Sturluson, a legendary writer, lawspeaker, chieftain, and historian in the Nordic world.
Lastly, there’s the Hvita, a glacial river that serves as the Borgarfiord region’s main artery. Majority of the region’s rivers empty out on Hvita, including rivers where salmon fish abound. In addition, the river is also a favorite spot for river rafting with the family.
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