Fine art landscape photography of the blue lake of Hveravellir, Icelandic Highlands, Iceland by Julien Fumard

Kjölur : A Foretaste of Icelandic Highlands

In Iceland, the usual way of traveling is to drive around the main road. This is an excellent way to discover most of interesting spots. However, this does not include remote places such as the Highlands which are situated in the center of the island. Here you will find sand, stones, mountains and hot springs, but also lots of wind and snow. Most of this part of Iceland is actually a desert and that’s why nobody really lives here. To visit this remote place, the easiest solutions are to take the bus or to drive a 4WD vehicle through F35, also called Kjölur. Or you can try with a regular car, only if you did not rent it as it is strictly forbidden to drive on F roads with regular rental cars. Of course, bikes and foots might also be a solution, but this will not be the topic here as we are lazy :) …

Kjölur is the only road that crosses the country from north to south. It is around 200 kilometers long and can be a good shortcut if you want to avoid the west coast of Iceland. It is also an easy way to have an overview of the Highlands. After we have had a flat tire a couple of days ago, we decide (not without fear!) to give it a try anyway. The first 20 kilometers are really fine. But the more you get close to the first “touristic” place, the worst it gets. Our speed decreases from 60 to 20 km/h … on the best parts. But we arrive safe and sound in Hveravellir. Here we can enjoy the wonderful hot springs and the fumarole, some hikes and, the best of the best, a free bath in a natural hot pool. To get out of here will be mission impossible as the temperature outside is +2˚C plus a freezing wind. Whatever. We have to do it, with the obligatory cigar and beer, and that… THAT is REALLY awesome! ;)

Fine art landscape photography of the fumarole of Hveravellir in the icelandic highlands, Iceland by Julien Fumard

Fine art landscape photography of the geyser of Hveravellir, Icelandic Highlands, Iceland by Julien Fumard

Fine art landscape photography of the blue lake of Hveravellir, Icelandic Highlands, Iceland by Julien Fumard

The camping site is quite rustic. No showers and sometimes not enough water for everybody … But I guess that when you want to visit a desert your expectations should not be really high, should they? The ambience here is a bit special. A constant wind blowing, a weather that changes from great sun to hailstorm in a minute and the deserted surroundings make us feel like we have nothing to do in this place. But curiosity is stronger and we want to visit more. We then move to the south to reach Kerlingarfjöll, a place described as one of the most beautiful and remote places in Iceland. It is not really far from here but the problem is that we do not have a 4WD vehicle. Only our good old Kioki. Though, with a mean speed of 20 km/h on the worst road we ever drove on, it means a whole lot of time… After almost two hours of insane driving and having done our back in, a surprise awaits us : a ford. Frustration is nothing compared to what we feel at this moment. So much efforts and so much pain for nothing! We have no other choice but to go back.

Fine art landscape photography of snowy mountains in the desert of icelandic highlands from Beinholl, Iceland by Julien Fumard

However, we do not want to leave without having seen something more, we then stop on Beinhóll. Beinhóll literally means “the hill of bones”. In the 18th century, two brothers and five men along with horses and a sheep herd got stuck in a storm. Some disappeared, the other died. The bones of those which perished should theoretically still be visible here although we did not find them (one more frustration!). But with or without bones the landscape here is really freaking out. Two words could to describe it : oppression and loneliness.

Fine art landscape photography of the desert of the icelandic highlands in Beinholl, Iceland by Julien Fumard

We finally go away from this cursed place and go back to the greener side of Iceland, but not without regrets (at least concerning me!). I might get back here some day …


  • 04/07/2012


    toujours aussi grandiose !!!!!!!!

    • 05/07/2012

      Julien Fumard

      Merci beaucoup Gwen! :)

  • 23/11/2012

    Hery Ny


  • 20/04/2020

    Rajesh Kafley

    Amazing pictures

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