Kerlingarfjöll, the untouched beauty
Kerlingarfjöll, the untouched beauty
A Hiker’s paradise in the interior

Only accesible three to four months per year on Road 35, this area of the Highlands is one of the best unspoiled gems on the list of Icelandic wonderlands. Unexplored up to the 19th century, it was believed to be the homeland of trolls and the only people that would venture here were thieves and outlaws. Today, Kerlingarfjöll is still an unbeaten track by tourists and it should be on the checklist of all nature lovers.   

The land of trolls

Kerlingarfjöll means ‘Old Woman’s Mountain’, a name inspired by ancient folk tales. It is said that an old troll lady was caught out by the sunrise and therefore turned to stone. You can still see her silhouette carved in the 25 m high tuff stone pillar at Kerlingartindur peak.

Raised from fire and ice

Iceland is often called the country of fire and ice. One can truely understand this at the Kerlingarfjöll mountain range. Formed during a volcanic eruption about 10,000 years ago, this is one of the most active geothermal areas in Iceland. In the nature reserve, you can see splashing mud puddles, vents through which the earth breathes angrily and the hot spring area between the two rivers of Ásgarðsá and Kisa.

Kerlingarfjöll is situated between two glaciers, Langjökull and Hofsjökull. The microglaciers and snowdrifts found on the plateau offer unique experiences and photographic opportunities. If you get lucky, you might see small caves carved in the snow by warm steams of water.

Rainbow mountains

When you drive the 80 km from Gullfoss to Kerlingarfjöll, the landscape changes dramatically. As you approach Kerlingarfjöll, you enter a desolated fantasy land scenery. The diverse geology of the mountains creates a spectacular flow of colours. The volcanic ryolite stone taints the mountains red. The minerals emerging from the hot springs also colour the ground yellow, red and green.

Accommodation in the former skiing huts

On the banks of Ásgarðsá river, lie the former skiing huts that now provide accommodation for up to 28 people. Kerlingarfjöll used to be a popular ski resort in the summer. In the year 2000, all the ski lifts were disassambled and the resort was closed for this type of activity due to the changes in the climate and the glaciers' retreat.

Add Kerlingarfjöll to your Golden Circle

Sterna, one of Iceland’s leading bus companies is the only travel agency that offers day tours to Kerlingarfjöll, combined with an afternoon at the famous Golden Circle. Daily departures between 20th of June and 7th of September. The company's motto is ‘Avoid the big crowds’, so Sterna promises to take you to Þingvellir, Geysir and Gullfoss at a time of day when other tourist traffic is low. You can book a day trip with Sterna at any travel agency in Reykjavík. But remember: You get a 5% discount if you book online at www.sternatravel.com. Children under 6 years can join the tour for free and they get 50% off if they are between 7 and 15 years old. Plus, you are offered a free hotel pickup in Reykjavík.


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