Information about Highlands

An aerial view of the Icelandic Highlands

The Icelandic Highlands cover the major part of the country and many of Iceland’s main natural attractions can be found there. Away from crowds, noise and bustle, the Highlands offer unique silence, serenity, peace and extreme natural beauty.

The Central Highlands

The Central Highlands cover a vast area, all at an altitude of over 500 meters, with numerous mountains reaching a height between 1000 and 2000 meters. Most of these higher mountains are covered by glaciers. Two of the highest mountains in the country (over 2000 m high) are located in Vatnajökull, namely Hvannadalshnúkur (2109 m, located in south Vatnajökull) and Bárðarbunga, a subglacial volcano in northwest Vatnajökull (2000 m). 

Three of the largest glaciers in Iceland are located in the Central Highlands. These are Vatnajökull in the southeast (Europe’s largest glacier), Hofsjökull in the centre of Iceland and Langjökull, west of Hofsjökull.



Various highlands paths lie between the glaciers, open for cars around June/July. One of the major ones are Kjölur, connecting south and north Iceland (the road is located between Hofsjökull and Langjökull).  Sprengisandur, is another important path, connecting south and north, and located between Hofsjökull and Vatnajökull.

Kaldidalur is a highland path stretching west of Langjökull, from Þingvellir towards the Borgarfjörður district. It then continues further north as Stórisandur.

Remember always that the natural environment that makes up Iceland's Highlands is as delicate as it is enchanting. The slightest damage inflicted upon small areas can cause erosion and irreversible landscape wounds that can easily spread over large areas. When travelling in the Highlands, therefore, visitors must at all times uphold responsible travel etiquette. Driving off roads and designated paths is strictly forbidden and punishable by heavy fines. 



The South Highlands

Almost all the mountains south of the glaciers are tuff mountains. They were formed during the Ice Age, as well as the area north of Vatnajokull. Volcanic activity is confined to tuff areas of the country and in the southern Highlands are some of its most active and famous volcanoes, Hekla, Eyjafjallajökull and Katla in Mýrdalsjökull, Iceland’s fourth largest glacier.



Northeast, Central-North and Northwest Highlands

To the northeast are the Lakagígar Craters and in Vatnajökull there are Grímsvötn and Bárðarbunga along with Öræfajokull. North of Vatnajökull, the best-known volcanoes are Askja and Krafla.

The northwest and central-north Highlands consist of ancient basalt formations and it is the same for the mountains of the Eastfjords.

Highland Oases

There are a few oases in the highlands that have unique vegetation and wildlife. The most important of these are Þjórsárver, Nýidalur/Jökuldalur, Herðubreiðarlindir and Eyjabakkar. The pink-footed goose has its main nesting places at Þjórsárver and Eyjabakkar. Þjórsárver was designated as a Ramsar site in 1990. Reindeers reside in the east Highlands.



 

Services near Highlands

All services in 50km radius

Attractions nearby Highlands

Odadahraun

Odadahraun is the most extensive lava field in Iceland, with a total area of around 4-6000 km² (definitions vary), consisting of relatively young...

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Hofsjökull

Hofsjokull is the third largest glacier in Iceland and is situated in the Mid-Higlands. Hofsjokull has an active subglacial caldera volcano which is...

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Kjölur/Kjalvegur

Kjolur/Kjalvegur is 600-700 m high mountain pass in the highlands, located east of Langjokull glacier and west of Hofsjokull. It starts by the popular...

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Vestari Jökulsá

Vestari Jokulsa, a.k.a. Jokulsa vestri ('West Glacial River') is a glacial river in Skagafjordur. It is a highly popular river for rafting. T...

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Hveravellir

  Hveravellir is a geothermal area and nature reserve in the Icelandic highlands, between the glaciers Hofsjokull and Langjokull. The area fea...

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Klettshellir

Klettshellir is the largest and best known cave in the Westman Islands. The cave lies innermost of sea rock Ystiklettur. It is quite high and has a de...

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Laugafell

  Laugafell is a small mountain to the north-east of the glacier Hofsjokull, in the Icelandic mid-highlands. On the north-western slopes of La...

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Þjórsárver

Thjorsarver is a wetlands area and natural reserve in the mid higlands of Iceland and became listed as a RAMSAR site in 1990, mainly as it the wo...

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Hveradalir

Photo from Wikimedia, Creative Commons, by ezioman Hveradalir, ‘the Valley of the Hot Springs’, is exactly what its name suggests. It ca...

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Austurdalur

  Austurdalur is a valley in Skagafjordur district in Northwest Iceland. The mighty glacier river Austari Jokulsa runs through the valley and pu...

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Kerlingarfjöll

Kerlingarfjoll is a beautiful and colourful mountain range in the Icelandic highlands that hosts the third largest geothermal area of the ...

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Tyrfingsstaðir

Tyrfingsstaðir turf farm is unique turf house with several outhouses, dating back to before the year 1300. Last inhabited in 1969, these huts ...

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Nýidalur/Jökuldalur

Nyidalur (a.k.a. Jokuldalur) is a valley in the Icelandic highlands, south of the glacier Tungnafellsjokull and north of Hofsjokull glacier. It is a f...

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Hvítárvatn

Hvitarvatn is a glacier lake in the Icelandic highlands, feeding the glacier river Hvita in South Iceland. The lake lies where the highland road Kjalv...

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Sprengisandur

The Sprengisandur highland plateau stretches between the glaciers Hofsjokull and Vatnajokull (Europe’s largest glacier) and was the main route b...

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North Iceland

North Iceland is very popular area in Iceland and contains some of the best attractions on the island. Akureyri is the capital of North Iceland and is...

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Saurbæjarkirkja

Saurbaejarkirkja is a beautiful 19th century Lutherian turf church in the fjord of Eyjafjordur in North Iceland. The church site is an old one, ...

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Ice Cave Tunnel

The Ice Tunnel is a man-made tunnel, carved into the depths of the Langjökull glacier.  ...

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Hallmundarhraun

  Hallmundarhraun is a lava field of the pahoehoe type (i.e. smooth unbroken basaltic lava with a smooth, billowy, undulating, or ropy surface) ...

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Austari-Jökulsá

  Austari-Jokulsa (East Jokulsa River), 'The Beast of the East', is a glacier river in Skagafjordur district. With its strong stream, wi...

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Tours near Highlands

8 Day Summer Package | Best Attractions

Join this summer holiday and enjoy eight days of adventure in Iceland! During a single trip, you......

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Discovering Langjokull Ice Cave Tunnel & The Whale Fjord

Join this tour for a memorable trip to a sprawling farm estate in Húsafell, followed by an......

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10 Day Itinerary | Ring Road Circle of Iceland & Reykjavik

Join this tour for 10 days of adventure and travel the whole circle of Iceland, including the......

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Landmannalaugar Day Tour | Hiking and Hot Spring Bathing

Jump aboard this affordable bus tour to the Landmannalaugar region of the Icelandic Highlands......

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Landmannalaugar Day Tour | The Pearl of the Highlands

Visit the wilderness of Iceland and join this tour of hiking and bathing in a geothermal hot......

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Askja Caldera & Viti Crater | East Highlands Day Tour

Walk in the footsteps of the first men on the moon on the Askja Lunar tour. Leaving from Lake......

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Askja Caldera Tour from Akureyri | With Godafoss Waterfall

Experience the barren interior and lunar-like landscapes of the Icelandic Highlands, on this day......

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West Iceland Super Jeep Tour | Glaciers, Lava Caves and Waterfalls

Witness the most classic sites of West Iceland with this super jeep day tour. This excursion is......

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Into the Glacier with Lava Caving

Immerse yourself in the world beneath the surface of Iceland’s incredible landscapes on this......

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6 Day Camping Road Trip | The Highlands of Iceland

Jump into this camping adventure of a lifetime. This grand self-drive tour delivers you to some......

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Sightseeing Flight over Laki Craters, Glaciers and Highlands

Join this exciting scenic flight for panoramic vistas over glaciers, lakes and volcanic craters......

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Thorsmork Valley & Volcano Eyjafjallajokull | Super Jeep Tour

Hop aboard a mighty super jeep for a day tour of South Iceland, visiting the lush valley of......

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Landmannalaugar & Hekla Volcano | Private Super Jeep Tour

Experience the Highlands of Iceland on this private day tour from Reykjavík City, visiting hot......

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Landmannalaugar & Hekla Volcano | Small Group Super Jeep Tour

Hop on this super jeep excursion to the Highlands for an unforgettable adventure out in the......

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Helicopter Tour | The Golden Circle, Highlands & Eyjafjallajokull Glacier

Hop on for this tour which combines two of the most popular helicopter tours: the Golden Circle......

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A Day in Thorsmork | The Hikers Paradise

Join this hiking excursion and hop on a mountain bus to Þórsmörk, the forested valley surrounded......

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9 Day Camping 4x4 Self Drive Tour | Highlands

Book this 9-day camping self-drive tour to explore the exciting Icelandic highlands!  This tour......

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Hiker's Ride To Landmannalaugar | One-Way Bus Ticket

Secure your one-way bus ride to "The Pools of the People", Landmannalaugar, an area of colourful......

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Askja Caldera Hike | Highland Adventure from Lake Myvatn

Experience the lunar-like landscapes of the Icelandic Highlands on this tour of the Askja......

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10 Day Summer Package | Reykjavik, Akureyri & Icelandic Nature

Join this exciting 10-day summer vacation package and discover for yourself the sheer wealth of......

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ATV Day Tour in the Highlands

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Iceland road one |Akureyri, Myvatn, Jokulsarlon & South Coast

See the most popular Icelandic attractions as well as some hidden games on this private 6-day......

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Landmannalaugar & Hekla Volcano | Private Super Jeep Tour

Come along on an adventure to the highlands on this private super jeep tour. Travel through lava......

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Anywhere in Twelve Hours | Private Super Jeep Excursion

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Flightseeing Tour | Eyjafjallajokull Volcanic Canyon & Laki Craters

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Three Day North Iceland Tour to Hrisey Island

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6 Day Summer Self-Drive | Hidden Gems under the Midnight Sun

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Hiking in Thorsmork Valley | Super Jeep Day Tour

Get deep into the ethereal Þórsmörk Mountain Reserve with a local expert and enjoy 4 hours of......

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South Coast & Highlands | Kjolur and the Golden Circle

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One-Way Bus Ticket | Departure from Landmannalaugar

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Diamond Helicopter Tour | Landmannalaugar and Eyjafjallajokull

Discover the diamond in the rough with this incredible helicopter flight around some of......

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Midnight Sun & Snowmobile | Langjokull Glacier

Embark on a thrilling snowmobile adventure under the rays of the midnight sun on this evening......

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The Beautiful Fimmvorduhals Route | Super Jeep / Hiking Day Tour

Join this rewarding, yet demanding hike on the beautiful Fimmvörðuháls hiking route, found in......

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4-Day Adventure Tour | South Coast, Thorsmork & Glacier Hike

Join this amazing 4-day summer tour and witness the beautiful Icelandic nature as the midnight......

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Flightseeing in South Iceland with the Ice Tunnel

Take to the sky on this flightseeing tour over volcanos, waterfalls, and geothermal hotspots on......

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Iceland's Top Sites | 4 Day Super Jeep Winter Holiday

Join us on this unique super jeep tour across the Icelandic highlights and highlands in winter.......

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Experience a Private Island in the Glacial River Þjórsá

Get close to unspoiled nature and participate in island life by visiting the private island......

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Grimsvotn Eruption Site | Flightseeing Tour

Take this incredible flight to Grímsvötn, Iceland's most frequently erupting volcano. With......

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Capture the Colours | Laugavegur Photography Tour

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Askja and Kverkfjoll Hiking | 2 Days

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Thorsmork Valley | Super Jeep Day Tour

Discover one of Iceland’s natural gems, Þórsmörk valley, on this exciting super jeep tour.......

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14-hour Full Day Tour to the Highlands of North Iceland

Come along on this tour of the exciting Highlands of north Iceland. This tour is perfectly......

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The 'Full Monty' Private Helicopter Tour

Visit Iceland's most astonishing natural highlights with this private helicopter tour of......

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Highland Tour to Landmannalaugar | Small Group Experience

Come along on an unforgettable journey to Iceland's Highlands and see some of the most stunning......

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Volcanic Trails | Guided 9-Day Hiking Excursion in the Highlands

Come along on an extraordinary trekking tour of one of Iceland’s most amazing areas on this......

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Landmannalaugar to Thorsmork | Five-day hiking tour

Immerse yourself in the Highland regions of Landmannalaugar and Þórsmörk on this incredible......

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Four-Day Trek to Landmannalaugar | Backroad Highland Adventure

Hike to the hot springs of the world-renowned Landmannalaugar area with this unique and exciting......

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4-Day Laugavegur Trek in Huts

Immerse yourself in the unbelievable beauty of the Icelandic Highlands with this four-day-trek......

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Super Jeep Tour | Vatnajokull Glacier

Ascend and explore the largest glacier in Europe, Vatnajökull, on this thrilling super jeep......

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3-Day Rafting Expedition

Get the blood pumping with this three-day rafting tour of the Austari-Jökulsá, or the East......

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7-Day Laugavegur & Fimmvörðuháls Trek in Huts

Combine two of Iceland’s most popular highland hiking trails, with a week you’ll never forget......

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Trek of the Trolls | 7-Day Hiking Adventure in the Highlands

Join this full-week hiking excursion in the Highlands to witness the wonders of the less......

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A Leap of Faith | Highlands Mystery Super Jeep Tour

Visit the Icelandic Highlands on a mystery super jeep tour with a local guide. This tour is the......

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6-Day Snowmobile Adventure | Highlands Tour

Hop on this fantastic 6-day snowmobiling tour and ride where the pros ride, on the beautiful......

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2-Day Thorsmork Exploration

Explore a beautiful valley hidden between three glaciers in the barren Highlands of Iceland with......

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Hekla Volcano & Sydra Fjallabak Super Jeep Adventure

Come along on this Super Jeep excursion to some of Iceland’s most ethereal attractions, where......

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Eight Hours in Iceland | Customise Your Private Tour in a new Mercedes Benz V-class luxury minivan

Explore the sites of Iceland in your own time and on your own terms. This luxurious tour......

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Hiker's Ride To Thorsmork | One-Way Bus Ticket

Take a seat on this one-way bus ride to the luscious Valley of Þórsmörk and see for yourself......

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The Golden Hikers Bus Pass | Return Bus Ticket to the Highlands

Explore the magical highlands of Iceland at your own pace with the Golden Hikers Bus Pass. Hike......

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4-Day Northern Lights Adventure | South Coast with Glacier Hike

Join this incredible 4-day Super Jeep tour exploring the Valley of Þórsmörk where you will......

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12-Hour Landmannalaugar Tour & Hot Springs

Take a day of your Icelandic vacation to explore Landmannalaugar and Hrauneyjar, at the edge of......

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Exploring the Wilderness | 7-Day Hiking Tour of the Highlands

Join this 7-day hiking excursion to experience the extent of Iceland’s most celebrated volcanic......

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One-Way Bus Ticket | Departure from Thorsmork

Reserve your bus seat from the beautiful Þórsmörk valley with this one-way bus ticket.......

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