The central highland

The Icelanders call the desert and mountains in the middle of the country Miðhálendið, the Central Highland. Silence and tranquillity reign here. The Central Highland is expansive and stretches to most of the country. There are great riches to be found here far from the maddening crowds and bustling cities! 
Hvannadalsknúkur and Bárðarbunga 
The Central Highland is completely barren and located more than 500 metres above sea level. Several of the summits are snow-clad glaciers. Among them towers Iceland’s highest mountain, Hvannadalsknúkur, at 2.109 m above sea level. The mountain is just south of Vatnajökull. You can ride a helicopter to the top! 

Another summit is Bárðarbunga, a snow-clad volcano in the northwest corner of Vatnajökull.

The barren Central Highland covers most of Iceland’s main island. This volcanically active area is diverse with its volcanoes, stony ground, rock formations, sand expanse, glaciers, rivers, lakes and vegetated oases. 
The area is first and foremost a mix of national land, owned by the state, and high mountain fields, which are used for grazing. 
Mountain roads
In the past the roads connecting the various corners of the country all ran through Iceland’s Central Highland, to this day some of these mountain routes remain in use, such as Kjölur, Kaldidalur and Sprengisandur. Five of the highest mountain roads in Iceland are located in the Central Highland.

Vatnajökull National Park encompasses most of the southeast region of the highland. Vatnajökull itself is the largest highland glacier. It is followed by Hofsjökull, which is nearly the centre of the country, and the neighbouring glacier, Langjökull. 

You can drive between the glaciers. The roads are usually opened in June or July.  
Kjölur is a gravel road on the highland plateau with mountains and hot springs. In mid summer this gravel road connects South Iceland and North Iceland. The road is located between Hofsjökull and Langjökull and runs close to rhyolite mountains and hot springs. 

Another route, Sprengisandur, crosses the highland further east. Here you can drive along another gravel path between Hofsjökull and Vatnajökull. Preferably by jeep, because you will need to ford rivers. 

Kaldidalur is also a magnificent highland path, which runs west of Langjökull. From there the route continues down to Thingvellir and Borgarfjörður. 

Please note, it is strictly prohibited and a criminal offense to drive off-road, all drivers must stick to the official marked roads or paths. It is also very crucial to ask ahead about everything, because both bogs and peat heaths in Iceland are sensitive natural areas. 

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