Highland Kjölur route

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After the visit to the Gullfoss falls we take the road north. It does take long before the designation of the road change from road 35 to road F35. We have reached an F road which in island mean highland road not suitable for an ordinary car. Fortunately we had anticipated this when we book a car and we made sure to get the noisy but trusty Jimny 4×4 which is allowed on the highland roads. Fortunately the road is better than some highland roads – there are no river crossings where we have to actually drive through the water.

The purple flowers of Iceland

The road we are driving out to is the Kjölur route which is built along an old track across the highland which the locals used in the old days when they road on their horses to reach Thingvellir for the annual meeting to discuss the business of the country. This route was used since it was a huge shortcut compared to having to ride along the coast of the island.

Kjölur Route – the road

The route is still much shorter than the costal Ring road around Iceland – but the quality of the road is a lot worse compared to the nice sealed Ring road. So I am not sure you the driving time is that much shorter going over the hills. But we are not here to save time or fuel. We take this road to get into the highland and see the landscape up in the mountains.

Snow on the hills

In reality the highland really isn’t all that high – it is only a 400-500 meters above sea-level most of the time. But with the northerly location of Iceland this is sufficient to make this an extremely rough climate where only very few plants can survive. So driving along the road up here feels much like driving in a dry desert.

The traffic along the road is very limited and there are no services – fortunately we had remembered to fill the tank before going into the highlands. It is a long drive but it is pretty enjoy able just to bump along the dirt road and see the special landscape. As we drive along the road we can see one glacier on the one side of the road in the distance – and on the other side of the road is another glacier. This is really a cold landscape where you can only go during a few summer months. The road will be closed off to all traffic during the winter time – which last very long in the highlands of Iceland.

One of the rare flowers along the Kjölur Route

After a long bumpy drive we have finally made the 90 kilometers across the worst bit of the road to reach a hot spring where we can stop for a late lunch. With one little detour and several photo stops along the way the drive from Gullfoss to here has taken about 4 hours. It has been slow going but not worse than I had expected. Fortunately the road after the hot pool is quickly getting better so it doesn’t take too long to reach our guest house for the night.

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