Your guide will pick you up from your hotel in the Reykjavik area and then you’ll head east along route 1 to Hvolsvollur . From there we’ll turn inland to Fljotsdalur . You’ll feel like you are leaving civilization behind as the road turns to gravel and we enter the huge floodplain of the turbulent glacial Markarfljot river .
The Eyjafjallajokull glacier with the infamous volcano that caused so much chaos for air travellers in 2010, will loom over us. On the Emstruleid mountain road, we’ll pass through Tröllagjá (“Trolls Canyon”), a stunning dry valley formed by a massive flood following a volcanic eruption beneath a glacier several thousand years ago. The road leads through wide green meadows, always winding upwards towards the distant green and black summits. Our only other companions might be the hardy Icelandic sheep and lambs grazing on the mountain vegetation.
The next breathtaking landmark you’ll see is Einhyrningur (“The Unicorn”). This is a strangely shaped extinct volcano that looks like a horn from where the mountain gets its name. Here the road becomes more difficult, but also fun, to navigate. Once we reach the bridge over the Markaflót river we’ll visit the impressive 200 m deep canyon, if we have enough time. Hattafell (“Hat Mountain”) will dominate the landscape to our right; its steep, green slopes topped off with an angled, perfectly flat hat.
From here onwards the landscape becomes increasingly “moonlike” as we enter a world dominated by black sand and rock; flat expansive valleys surrounded by black and green ridge mountains, many still grooved with ice and snow even in the summer. We might see some lonely hikers, walking the middle section of Iceland’s famous Laugarvegur trek. Some of them might be rather jealous as they watch us drive through the freezing water of the Bláfjallakvísl river in our super-jeep as they have to take off their boots and socks and wade through.
If the conditions are right your guide will now drive you to Hvanngil , a picturesque mountain hut. This is a cool spot to eat lunch (price about 500 ISK (3 USD) payable by each guest). After that we’ll head east into the seemingly endless black desert wilderness of Mælifellssandur . If the weather is dry, you’ll see “dust devils” spin and dance across the horizon. The mighty Mýrdalsjökull glacier imposes on the skyline to the south, barely at a distance of 2 km at its closest. To the north you’ll see the rising mountains of the Fjallabak region . A mixture of green, black and white create a scenery of almost indescribable beauty. The dark, flat, glacial sands seem to go on forever when suddenly, the majestic Mælifell appears to rise up out of nowhere before us. Standing at almost 200 meters (660 feet) above the surrounding plains, the view from the top will take your breath away and stay with you forever. The mountain was formed as a result of a series of eruptions under the huge glacier that covered this region during the last Ice Age. You can take the short, steep climb to the summit if you feel like it and of course if the weather allows it. But even just being in this amazing location is such a special privilege that only few have had.
We usually return by the same spectacular route. The timing and location of the stops throughout the day is determined by your guide. Rest assured that they will use their experience to pick the perfect places so you can get the most out of your time. We’ll have dinner at a restaurant of your guide’s choice on the way back to Reykjavik.
We’ll drop you off at your hotel in the evening after an unforgettable experience.