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 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

Small Group Golden Circle Super Jeep & Snowmobiling Adventure

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Golden Circle Snowmobile Tour

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Thorsmork Volcano Super Jeep & Hiking Tour

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South Shore Tour with Glacier Hike

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Small Group Glacier Hiking & Ice Climbing Tour on Solheimajokull Glacier

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Best Value Landmannalaugar Tour

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South Coast & Highlands | Kjolur and the Golden Circle

Enjoy the famous Golden Circle and the magnificent Highlands of Iceland on this incredible Super......

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Skaftafell Flight and Local Guide Glacier Experience

Experience two wonders in one: a flightseeing tour above this incredible land and a trip onto......

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Private 2 Day Complete Askja Excursion | Super Jeep Tour

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Experience the Thorsmork Hiking Adventure!

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Four-Day Trek to Landmannalaugar | Backroad Highland Adventure

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Landmannalaugar & Hekla Volcano | Private Super Jeep Tour

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Askja Caldera Tour from Akureyri | With Godafoss Waterfall

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Askja Caldera Hike | Highland Adventure from Lake Myvatn

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Landmannalaugar in Winter | 3 Days of Activities

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Sightseeing Flight over Laki Craters, Glaciers and Highlands

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Landmannalaugar Day Tour | Hiking and Hot Spring Bathing

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Three Day North Iceland Tour to Hrisey Island

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ATV Day Tour in the Highlands

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6 Day Private Tour Around Iceland | Myvatn, Jokulsarlon & South Coast

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Askja Caldera & Viti Crater | East Highlands Day Tour

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Flightseeing Tour | Eyjafjallajokull Volcanic Canyon & Laki Craters

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Grimsvotn Eruption Site | Flightseeing Tour

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Helicopter Tour | The Golden Circle, Highlands & Eyjafjallajokull Glacier

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Flightseeing in South Iceland with the Ice Tunnel

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Glacier Wonderland & Northern Lights

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12-Hour Landmannalaugar Tour & Hot Springs

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

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Into the Glacier with Lava Caving

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Helicopter Tour | Eyjafjallajokull Glacier & Fimmvorduhals

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The 'Full Monty' Private Helicopter Tour

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Diamond Helicopter Tour | Landmannalaugar and Eyjafjallajokull

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Highland Tour to Landmannalaugar | Small Group Experience

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Hekla Volcano & Sydra Fjallabak Super Jeep Adventure

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

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Capture the Colours | Laugavegur Photography Tour

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

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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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Landmannalaugar Day Tour | The Pearl of the Highlands

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Ice Cave Tunnel, Helicopter & Super Jeep Tour

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3-Day Rafting Expedition

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Landmannalaugar & Hekla Volcano | Private Super Jeep Tour

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Horseback Riding from Husavik | Experienced Riders Tour

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6-Day Snowmobile Adventure | Highlands Tour

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Eight Hours in Iceland | Customise Your Private Tour

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Anywhere in Twelve Hours | Private Super Jeep Excursion

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

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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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Super Jeep Tour | Vatnajokull Glacier

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

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Askja and Kverkfjoll Hiking | 2 Days

Immerse yourself in a land of ice and fire with this brilliant hiking tour into the Kverkfjöll......

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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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Volcano Hike over Fimmvorduhals Pass | Day Tour

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The Beautiful Fimmvorduhals Route | Super Jeep / Hiking Day Tour

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