Kjölur - The mysterious mountain road
Ready for a real adventure? Try the Icelandic highlands.
Between the Langjökull and Hofsjökull glaciers in the Icelandic highlands, lies the Kjölur plateau, with an altitude of 600-700 meters. Across Kjölur lies the rocky Kjalvegur gravel road, a very important route that connects (and is the shortest way between) the south- and north-west regions of Iceland.
Kjalvegur road is believed to have been used by the inhabitants of Iceland since the early days of settlement and is mentioned in the Sagas. In 1780, two brothers and their entourage of three perished on the route at a hill now known as Beinahóll (Bone Hill), their bodies weren't found until 65 years later. Following this incident and other circumstances, Kjalvegur was not as frequented by travelers in the following century. Today, a memorial serves as a reminder of this tragic event and Beinahóll is still rumored to be haunted.
The Kjölur area is not all gloom and doom. It is a popular area for horse riding ventures and those who use the road, whether by car, horse or on foot are strongly advised to visit the unique Hveravellir, a particularly welcoming destination for weary wanderers.
A word to the wise
Kjalvegur road can be dangerous and should not be travelled during the winter or in bad weather conditions. Never venture the Icelandic highlands alone unless you are well prepared and know what you're getting into. Always make your travel itinerary known to the Icelandic Search & Rescue Teams (http://safetravel.is/). Kjalvegur should not be driven on small cars, check your rental company for additional information on your car.
Text by Hjördís Erna Þorgeirsdóttir