Best time to visit Iceland

Hveradalir in Kerlingarfjöll in Iceland

Discover the odd red mountain landscapes of Kerlingarfjöll with boiling hot springs and glacial rivers

Best time: late June–mid-September

Hveradalir in Kerlingarfjöll
Hveradalir in Kerlingarfjöll
Hveradalir in Kerlingarfjöll
Hveradalir in Kerlingarfjöll

Kerlingarfjöll is a popular hiking area located in Icelandic highlands, in the middle of the country. Volcanic activity hasn't faded away completely and is still felt through geothermal activity. Hveradalir or The valley of hot springs is a magical place: the pillars of smoke rise right from rusty-red mountains painted here along with the neon-green moss and crystal blue glacial rivers. As you hike up, you'll see a beautiful landscape appear in front of you, you may feel as if you've entered some other world. Photographers come here for their best shots. However, pictures will never embrace what you can feel by being there yourself and experiencing the beauty with your own eyes!

The Hveradalir area is accessible only in the summertime, from late June to mid or late September. Although snow melts revealing the trails with fascinating landscapes around, some stretches might still be covered with snow. Moreover, hiking conditions may also vary, so don't be surprised if you spot a small avalanche on the mountainside. Also, there could be crevasses in the Fannborg Glacier.

Regardless of being an area of geothermal activity, Kerlingarfjöll once used to be a popular summer skiing destination. Since 2000, a local ski school has been closed down due to the geothermal temperature rise and because there's too little snow to enjoy winter sports. However, the two mountains (Fannborg and Snækollur) are still suitable and accessible for skiing enthusiasts. But you'll have to do a demanding hike for the sake of a ride (there are no lift facilities).

Practical info

When would be the suitable time to explore Kerlingarfjöll?

Kerlingarfjöll is best explored between late June to mid or late September. At that time, the area is quickly accessible, as the snow melts, giving a fantastic view of the landscapes. Hiking might still be tricky due to snow in some parts, and those trekking should inquire about the trail conditions from the visitor center before leaving. Show more

What is the location of Hveradalir?

Hveradalir is nestled in the middle of Iceland's highlands in an expanse known as Kerlingarfjöll. It's only accessible to visitors between late June and mid or late September making it quite popular. There's a local bus shuttle that runs from Flúðir to Kerlingarfjöll as well and operates from mid-June to September. This makes it convenient for visitors to reach the area even without a car. Show more

What are the conditions like for hiking in Kerlingarfjöll?

As the Icelandic highlands are home to the Kerlingarfjöll hiking trail, it's essential to keep in touch with the park rangers before embarking on a hiking experience to get an update of the trail conditions. Hiking boots and warm clothes are essential for trekking in these mountainous areas. The weather is sporadic, so guests should carry weather-resistant gear to avoid getting soaked. Even the most experienced hikers must be cautious and prepared for anything. Show more

Is skiing still possible in Kerlingarfjöll?

Kerlingarfjöll used to be a top skiing spot in summer, but the temperature has caused the local ski school to shut down since 2000. Nonetheless, skiing enthusiasts can still enjoy the Fannborg and Snækollur mountains. As there are no lift facilities, getting to the skiing location involves a demanding climb and requires an exceptional level of fitness. These two mountains are the only places where skiing is still accessible in the area. Show more

What are the potential hazards to be aware of while trekking in Hveradalir?

Hiking in Hveradalir and Kerlingarfjöll comes along with typical natural risks. There might be crevasses in the Fannborg Glacier, and hiring a professional guide or staying within the marked trails is advisable. There are swampy areas, small streams or muddy spots in other places that require appropriate hiking boots to be traversed. As the weather can be sporadic due to the area's altitude, hikers are advised to check the weather forecast before leaving and carry warm clothing and weatherproof gear. Show more

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Last updated: by Eleonora Provozin