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The highlands in Iceland are the gems of the country and contain many of the priceless wonders of the wild nature of Iceland. The landscape, natural forces and the wildlife are diverse and have something to offer to everyone – experiences and locations that lift the spirit and create unforgettable memories.

For those unable to travel into the highlands on their own, there are numerous service providers offering guided tours into the highlands. Not everyone has the wherewithal to travel on their own into the highlands, whether due to lack of transport or lack of experience, in which case it is a good idea to take advantage of the professional and excellent services offered by experienced service providers.

You can select from a range of accommodations, anything from camping to sleeping bag accommodation to made-up beds. Catering and restaurants, however, are few and far between, and travellers must remember to be prepared with packed refreshments and food. It is possible, however, to purchase excellent meals at Hrauneyjar, as the highland centre at Hrauneyjar offers both accommodation and a fine restaurant.

During the winter months, from September and into May, travellers are advised to avoid the highlands unless they are highly experienced and used to highland travel. The region is extremely difficult during winter, very often impassable, and given its nature, there are no services available except during summer. It should be noted, however, that the highland centre at Hrauneyjar is open throughout the year.

Þjófafoss waterfall
Þjófafoss is in the river Þjórsá, to the east of Merkurhraun lava field. The name of the waterfall translates as “thieves’ waterfall”, as thieves used to be executed by drowning in its pool. The waterfall is one of the three main waterfalls in Þjórsá. The Þjórsá river forms the boundary between Rangárvallasýsla and Árnessýsla and is the longest river in Iceland. Þjófafoss is to the south of Búrfell mountain, not far from the Búrfell Power Plant and somewhat lower down from Tröllkonuhlaup in Þjórsá. The flowrate in Þjófafoss is rather low during winter but greater during the summer. This is due to the power plants on the river, as a large proportion of the water is diverted past the falls. The river is dammed at Sultartangi, forming the Sultartangalón reservoir. The water is first channelled through Sultartangi Power Plant and then into the Bjarnarlón reservoir and through the Búrfell Power Plant. As a result, it is first and foremost when the Sultartangalón reservoir is full in late summer that the excess water can flow over Þjófafoss. With the construction of the Búrfell Power Plant 2, water flow over Þjófafoss have decrease even more, both during summer and winter.
Fossabrekkur
The uppermost falls in Ytri-Rangá river are called Fossabrekkur. The falls are just below the western source of the river just after entering the common land of the Landmannaafréttur. Fossabrekkur are a fertile oasis in the barren pumice landscape. It is necessary to drive to the location to see this gem, as it is well hidden. Fossabrekkur is a unique and beautiful location where the western arm of Ytri-Rangá fall off the rocks into the eastern arm and runs thereafter in a single channel almost all the way to the sea.
Hekla volcano
The volcano Mt. Hekla is Iceland’s most famous volcano and the one that has erupted most frequently in recent years. Mt. Hekla rises 1,491 m over sea level and can widely be seen in the south of Iceland. Hekla has been dubbed the Queen of Icelandic Volcanos and is well known internationally. Considerable superstitions have been attached to the mountain, with the most famous legend being that it is the entrance to Hell and might even be Hell itself. The first documented expedition onto the mountain is from 1750 when the naturalists Eggert Ólaffson and Bjarni Pálsson scaled the mountain. The route to the top of Hekla is quite popular, although hikers must be aware of the danger that can occur if the mountain should erupt. The route taken normally starts from Skjólkvíar. Hekla is located in an area where the South Iceland fracture zone meets the South Iceland volcanic zone, which probably accounts for its frequent eruptions. Hekla has erupted in the following years since Iceland was settled: 1104, 1158, 1206, 1222, 1300, 1341, 1389, 1501, 1597, 1636, 1693, 1766, 1845, 1947, 1970, 1980, 1981, 1991 and 2000. Geologists have repeatedly reiterated in recent years that Hekla is ready to erupt and can erupt at any time. However, the mountain does generally provide an hour’s warning.
Landmannalaugar - Nature Reserve
Landmannalaugar derives its name from a hot pool that rises from under the Laugahraun lava field. Landmannalaugar has been a stopping point for people for centuries, and the mountain shepherds on Landmannaafréttur have stayed there while herding sheep off the mountain for as long as there have been reports of such travel. Many beautiful mountains can be seen from Landmannalaugar: Barmur, Bláhnúkur, Brennisteinsalda, Suðurnám and Norðurnám. There are considerable deposits of rhyolite, obsidian and rhyolite lava in the area, and the Landmannalaugar landscape is famous for its colourfulness and unique environs. The start of one of the most popular hiking trails in Iceland, Laugavegurinn, is at Landmannalaugar. The trail proceeds along Hrafntinnusker, Álftavatn, Hvanngil, Emstrur and ends in Þórsmörk. Ferðafélag Íslands (the Iceland Touring Association) provides facilities, such as showers and accommodation, for travellers at Landmannalaugar. In addition, there is a horse rental and a small café operated during the summer.
Landmannahellir
Landmannahellir in Landmannaafréttur has long been a destination point for travellers passing through the area. The name of the place is drawn from a cave there which was used for centuries to shelter both men and horses. At present, the location is a popular stopping point for both hikers and riders who stay there during the summer. There is, moreover, a campsite at the location. The operation of the area is in the hands of Hellismenn ehf. The company owns a number of huts at the location, as do Veiðifélag Landmannaafréttar and private entities. A well-known hiking trail, Hellismannaleið, lies through the area and has now been signposted from Rjúpnavellir through Áfangagil to Landmannahellir and from there to Landmannalaugar. In order to reach Landmannahellir cave, one needs to use the Dómadalsleið (road F225). The road is approximately 80 km long from Landvegamót to Landmannahellir.
Fishing in Landmannaafréttur
Many other lakes, apart from Veiðivötn, are located south of Tungnaá, and fishing permits for twelve of them can be bought from the wardens at Landmannahellir. These are the lakes Blautuver, Dómadalsvatn, Eskihlíðarvatn, Frostastaðavatn, Herbjarnarfellsvatn, Hnausapollur (Bláhylur), Hrafnabjargavatn, Kílingavötn, Lifrafjallavatn, Ljótipollur, Löðmundarvatn and Sauðleysuvatn. Ljótipollur and Hnausapollur are the youngest of these lakes, with the former dating from 1477 and the latter from 871. Most of these are closed lakes, although Helliskvísl flows out from Löðmundarvatn, and Blautuver and Klingavötn are connected to Tungnaá. Only trout is caught in Ljótapollur, Herbjarnarfellsvatn, Lifrarfjallavatn and Dómadalsvatn. Trout and Arctic char is caught in Blautuver, Frostastaðavatn and Kílingavötn, but only Arctic char in other lakes.
Veidivotn Lakes
Veidivötn Lakes are a magnificent highland oasis. They are a friend in the desert, which no one should miss.  The crater formations here are of a true extrarterrestrial character and environment something truly unique. The contrast between black sand and gin clear waters is very unique and many travelers find this to be the highlight of their visit.  This part of the country is among the youngest (1477) and wildest pearls of the central highlands. It comprises about 50 lakes of different sizes, most of which are so-called crater lakes. The area is about 20 km long and 5 km wide and has a southwest - northeast direction. The craters and the lakes lie in two rows. You have to ford the small river between the two Fossvotn lakes to get into the area. Most of the lakes are fed and discharged underground because the lava fields and the scoria are very permeable. Some of the very best brown trout & arctic char fishing in Iceland (or anywhere) is found here. The lakes are rich in natural trout that are believed to be from one of the oldest stocks in Europe. They vary in size, 3-6 pounders being common, but they can occasionally reach up to incredible 25 lbs in size. They are known for their excellent taste, which many say is naturally spiced. Inquire about fishing here well in advance as the area is usually heavily booked. The road from Veidivötn continues north to Jökulheimar on the west of Tungnaarjökull, one of the valley glaciers that "flows" from Vatnajökull. This is a destination that is still somewhat of a well-kept secret and undiscovered by foreign travelers. Usually the road here is open 15 June to the middle of October - only accesible by 4WD vehicles. This is a good place to "get away from it all" - the silence is often total, unbroken even by bird calls.
Álftavatn in Rangárvallaafréttur
There are lodges at Álftavatn, and Arctic char can be caught in the lake. Álftavatn is close to places of great natural beauty such as Grashagi, Torfafit, Ljósártungur, Jökultungur, Ófæruhöfði, Útigönguhöfði, Hvanngilshnausar, Torfatindur, Sáta, Brattháls and Hvanngil. The Álftavatn lodge area is part of Laugavegur, one of Iceland’s most popular hiking trails, from Landmannalaugar to Þórsmörk.
Hungurfit in Rangárvallaafréttur
There have been lodge facilities in Hungurfit since 1963, when a mountain lodge, housing 20 people, was built there. This was a great improvement for mountain shepherds, who previously had to sleep in tents.  In 2013, a new mountain lodge was opened in Hungurfit, housing 50 people. It is one of the most modern mountain lodges in Iceland, with running water, a flushable toilet and electricity. Hungurfit has unique natural beauty, and the area is suitable for hiking, jeeping and horse riding. There are excellent horse riding trails leading from the area, both to Rangárbotnar, Sultarfit, Faxi and onto Hvanngil and down to Fljótshlíðarafrétt. It is a day’s journey by horse from Hungurfit to Foss at Rangárvellir. The river Hvítmaga has its source at Hungurfit, and it is highly enjoyable to travel by horse or foot along the river. Above the mountain lodges, the Skyggnishlíðar ridge leads up to the mountain Skyggnir. Skyggnishlíðar is a popular hiking destination, as the view from there is spectacular on a clear day. It is also highly enjoyable to walk or ride to Sultuarfit and towards Gimbragil and Hrútagil or into Jökulskarð.