The Iceland highland tour to rule them all – book it today
Book this top-rated Iceland highland tour and get a 15% discount
Get a 15% discount off the top-rated Iceland highland tour Landmannalaugar & Hekla Volcano. This is the tour described in this article. Get the discount by going to the tour page and enter the promo code STUCK when you book. This offer is exclusive for the Stuck in Iceland community. It is valid throughout 2019 and is also available for other Moonwalker tours which are booked on the company page.
Land Rover meets rivers and lava fields on the ultimate Iceland highland tour
We joined Bessi of Moonwalker tours on an early Monday morning to go on the Landmannalaugar and Hekla Volcano tour. We have known Bessi since our good friends and Brits Simon and Elizabeth Smith wrote about their experience of traveling with Moonwalker back in 2015. But we have never been on a tour with Bessi. yet So it was way overdue we did.
Expecting surprise in our tour
We woke up early and got ready. It is safe to say we were excited, it is not every day that you go on a tour like this. To be honest, we were not sure what to expect. We knew we would stop at the volcano Hekla and we would go into the geothermal pool at Landmannalaugar. But we also knew that Bessi doesn’t really do standard tours. He improvises, reads the weather and gets to know his passengers. He will judge the tempo of the tour and the stops based on these factors. Perhaps like a master chef who prepares a culinary experience based on his guests and what is in season. But keep in mind that this chef does things his way and does not compromise.
Making new friends on the Iceland highland tour
At 8:45 a huge Landrover with the Viking looking Moonwalker logo pulled up to our driveway. The adventure had begun. We were joined by a lovely American couple who were great travel buddies.
Master of his craft
Bessi is a great driver who sorts of merges with his Land Rover when he drives it. When he ascends steep hills he does it slowly and deliberately. He sets gears and tire pressure for each situation like a somebody who tunes a grand piano before a concert. How steep the hill or rocky the road, you will feel exhilarated and safe when he is driving.
The best Furry guide in the Icelandic highlands and I am not talking about Bessi
Bessi has accumulated an in-depth knowledge of Icelandic history, geography myths, and geology. So he won’t only show you impressive places. He will give you the story of how they were formed and their story, both real and mythical. Then there is Bessi’s dog Camy. She is probably the smartest and cuddliest dog I have met. So
Our first stop was the great Almar bakery at the town of Hveragerði called. We loaded up on kleinur, sandwiches, and coffee. Then we were on the road.
Our first stop was the stunning waterfall Hjálparfoss. The waterfall is impressive for two main reasons, it has two converging streams which form one beautiful waterfall. The other reason is the basalt columns that adorn the waterfall and the rock formations around it.
Heading to the gates of hell
After adoring the waterfall, the next stop was the intimidating Hekla volcano (1,488 meters high). You could write a book on Mt. Hekla. In modern times it has been a rather ‘tame’ volcano so we tend to underestimate it. That belies a history of frequently devastating the area in a large radius of the volcano. Hekla’s reputation was so terrible it was generally believed to be the gate to hell itself.
Gliding up the volcano
The most disastrous eruption was in 1104 when Hekla destroyed many farms. I had this history on my mind when Bessi made his Land Rover glide effortlessly up the incredibly steep road up to the desolate-looking volcano. We stopped at about 1000 meters high mark. Ahead of us loomed the rest of the volcano hidden in the fog. But the view around the volcano was incredible.
Close were massive lava fields. In the distance glaciers and mountains adorned the vista. My advice would not hike up to Mt. Hekla, even if you get a warning of an impending eruption you will probably not make it alive down in time on foot. You have been warned.
Surprise stop on the highland tour
Heading down to the Mt. Hekla, Bessi made a surprise stop at the incredible crater of Rauðaskál. It sits right next to Hekla and would be an impressive enough destination of its own. He was reading the room, he had learned that we were all super interested in massive eruptions and geology.
Heading to Krakatindur
Our next destination was the impressive lone peak of Krakatindur This 858 meters high peak is a short distance from Mt. Hekla. The mountain sits in the lava field of Nýjahraun and the scene is right out of Lord of Rings.
Soaking in the geothermal pool
Bessi’s adventure in the Fjallabak area continued. After crossing a few streams and admiring neon green moss which Bessi referred to happy moss we reached Landmannalaugar. This area is a popular oasis in the Icelandic highlands. It is a starting point for the popular Laugavegur hiking trail and it has a lovely natural geothermal pool where you bathe in. But my favorite feature is the incredible colors of the liparite hills. We jumped right into the geothermal pool. Well, it is more like a river which has a geothermal stream warming it at one end. It has a gravel bottom so perhaps you would like to bring wading shoes to it. But you don’t really have to, if I can do barefoot so can you! It was such a nice change of pace to relax in the warm water and chat with fellow travelers.
Feeling invigorated in the highlands of Iceland
After we got we felt invigorated, just like somebody had given us something really nourishing to eat. Our appetite came to life after the bath so we visited the Mountain Mall (!) to get coffee and chocolate.
The most misleading place name in Iceland
The next stop was at the completely misleading named crater of Ljótipollur. That literally translates to Ugly Puddle. But the water-filled crater is stunning and just huge. Its length is about 1.5 kilometers and Bessi told us that its depths is about 200 meter. If you gazed into the still water you could see the shallows extending a few meters and then the water turned deep blue.
Saving the best for last on the Iceland highland tour
The big show was at the end. My favorite place of the entire tour was the stunning Sigöldugljúfur canyon. This majestic canyon has dozens of waterfalls from the walls. The perfect end to the perfect day.
About our friends at Moonwalker
Moonwalker is one of the leading independent tour companies in Iceland and just the kind of company we at Stuck in Iceland love working with. Bessi Jónsson is the man behind the company. The best way to get to know Moonwalker and Bessi is through Instagram and Facebook. Join him on his epic Iceland highland tour.
Passion for Land Rovers, highland tours and fun
Bessi´s sense of humor, his passion for Land Rovers and thirst for adventure shines through on his social media accounts. The quality of his tours and the fun you will have with him is reflected in the almost 300 reviews on TripAdvisor, which all give the company 5-star rating.
Other Moonwalker tours
There is a lot of other privately guided tours you can join with Moonwalker tour company. Use the promo code STUCK to claim your 15% discount off those great tours.
Terms and conditions for the Iceland highland tour
Please remember that when you book the tour, the terms and conditions of Moonwalker apply.