Nested by the highland route Kjalvegur and between the two big glaciers Langjokull and Hofsjokull, Hveravellir Nature Reserve is one of Europe’s last great wilderness areas.
Extending up to the foothills of Langjokull glacier, Hveravellir is a geothermal hot spot with smoking fumaroles and bubbling water holes. Whether summer or winter, it is a special experience to view. Fenced in by glaciers, mountains craters, and lava fields… wherever you look the scenery is breathtaking! Don’t leave the camera in the car, for this area offers plenty of superb photo opportunities.
Things to do in Hveravellir
Hveravellir is one of Iceland’s most popular highland destinations, whether you drive, hike or ride an Icelandic horse. The area has various hiking trails through the wonders of the lava field or the nearby spectacular mountain slope.
One particularly interesting hiking trail is the Green route. This 30-minute hike goes around several surreal hot spring vents with colorful earth. You will also visit a cave and sheep enclosure that a famous 18th century outlaw, Mountain-Eyvindur, used. Many other outlaws also hid in Hveravellir over the centuries. You can also visit an turf-roofed old shelter farmers built to use while they were herding sheep.
Prisoners of Freedom
While at Hveravellir, keep an eye out for the Prisoners of Freedom monument (Fangar Freslssins in Icelandic), which features two stone hearts enclosed in prison bars. The monument remembers the 18th century outlaw Eyvindur and his wife, Halla. When Eyvindur received his outlaw sentence in the 1760s, he could no longer live in settled areas. If he did, he would face further punishment or death. His devoted wife, Halla, chose to accompany him so the couple could stay together. They lived for 20 years in the wilderness. They stayed many years at Hveravellir, keeping sheep and cooking in the hot springs. Eventually, Eyvundur served his sentence, and he and Halla lived out their lives on a farm.
Services at Hveravellir
Hveravellir is a popular stop for people to enjoy a hot spring bath in a natural stone-lined pool. There is a small fee to use the pool that helps maintain the facilities.
Accommodation at Hveravellir includes dormitory-style mountain huts and a campground. These are popular, and you should book them in advance. A Reception and Service center has a small restaurant/internet café where you can purchase breakfast, hot drinks, light meals, soup, sandwiches, and cakes. You can also recharge your mobile devices for a modest fee.
How to get to Hveravellir
The nature reserve is located on the Kjolur route (Road number F 35), which runs approximately 200 km across the middle highlands of Iceland from Gullfoss waterfall in the south to the Blondudalur valley in the north. The road is unpaved and rugged, so a 4WD vehicle with high suspension is necessary. Make sure you have plenty of fuel in the car before you start; the closest petrol/gas station is 100 km away from Hveravellir. You can also take scheduled buses from Reykjavik during the summer months.
Mountain Road F 35 is open between mid-June and mid-September. During other times of the year, you can only reach Hveravellir with specially modified SuperJeeps. Some tour operators offer trips to visit the area in the winter.
GPS: 64.876358, -19.549484