Our lovely intern, Celia, went exploring the highlands of Iceland, here is an account of the trip.
After meeting our driver, Lúlli, in Reykjavík we head to Þingellir, the famous National Park and home of Iceland‘s ancient Viking parliament. There, despite the wind, we are able to experience the nature and the power it has on the world. It is also impressive to see this giant rift that is tearing the Atlantic ocean in two, the Mid-Atlantic ridge. So much power is put at work in this island.
Our next destination is Geysir, but in order to get there, we have to cross an Icelandic forest. I have always heard that Iceland did not have any trees and Lúlli, upon hearing my interrogations, with a smile on his face, tells us this famous joke.
It is at this moment that our car passes the unspoiled and beautiful landscape with mountains on our right and the quiet lake on the left. I need a few seconds to realise that all around us lay bushes and other small tree coming out of the crevasses and other lava field. Our driver is a really good one and a jolly guide, everything is explained with good a story and some humor. Moreover, Lúlli has great music taste, he manages to choose the perfect song according to the landscape during the long driving session.
Upon arriving at Geysir, we are greeted by a large pane of smoke rising into the sky. Strokkur, the actual name of the geyser, can be seen several kilometers away because of the smoke. We explored the area and, with Lúlli, we went up a small mountain where we could see the whole area. It has to be said that seeing Stokkur exploding from far away or a couple of meters away is a breathtaking experience of nature's might.
A mere 30 minutes drive from Geysir takes us to Gullfoss, the golden waterfall. This 32 meters high gem is located in a canyon and takes its name after the many rainbows that appear in the mist of water. History tells the story of Sigriður Tomasdottir the daughter of the local farmer. This stout women upon hearing that a dam would be constructed on the river marched to the Parliament and threated to throw herself in the waterfall if the dam was to be constructed. Eventually, the project came to an end and Sigriður kept on living happily on her farm.
After a delicious meal of lamb soup, we start the big part of the adventure and head towards the highlands and the Langjökull glacier. Driving on this frail trail amongst the highlands of Iceland really makes us realise why such a big car was needed. And as Lúlli drives it, there is nothing to worry about.
Crossing the highlands on such jeep is like driving the Paris-Dakar or any of these mythical races. We are alone in nature crossing snow patches, ice, lava sand and beautiful rock formations. Again our driver is the best one and masterfully zigzag amongst the holes in the road. Again, we are reminded that nature is almighty in Iceland and we have to humble down before the rivers, the glaciers and the desert. Lúlli explains that because of the snow, the rivers change a lot depending on the time of the year and the weather, the drivers can not rely on the trail or the GPS but rather on their experience and feeling of the road.
Our journey takes us deep into the highlands of Iceland and time flies so fast in this eerie landscape. We suddenly are back on the main road and we start to see farms and cars, back to civilization. The feeling of coming back to Reykjavik is rather odd. After so much time in the wilderness it is strange to see people and houses.
Subscribe to the Icelandic Mountain Guides Blog
Outdoor adventure in Iceland is our specialty. Subscribe to our free monthly newsletter to learn when to go, what to do and where to have the best adventures in Iceland.