4×4 Wedding Location: Kerlingarfjöll and Hveradalir

No matter how many times you travel to Iceland, there is always more to discover!  Even after 10+ years of scouting throughout all areas of Iceland, we continue to have a never ending list of areas and locations to explore.  Maybe you think you’ve seen and done it all.  But we would challenge you to see otherwise!  In fact, by heading into the Icelandic Highlands, you open the door to endless possibilities for adventure.  For example, if you adore the idea of eloping in Iceland at an offbeat location or exploring that kind of area pre or post wedding, then the mountains of Kerlingarfjöll may be ideal.  Come along with us as we share this area with you!

4×4 Wedding Locations

It’s empowering to jump into a 4×4 and head out exploring in Iceland or beyond.  Then add in the dynamic of getting married while adventuring just adds to the uniqueness of the experience.  To illustrate, in choosing Iceland, your wedding or elopement location options are countless.  Mainly because everywhere has it’s own charm and beauty.

Therefore, you may want to begin with what type of Iceland wedding location gets you excited!  Next, once you’ve hired a local wedding planner or thoroughly done your research you can book the location (acquiring in advance local permission from the various authorities).  You can then finalize what transportation you need to get there.

For instance, if you intend on venturing into the highlands of Iceland you will likely need a 4×4 to get to your Iceland wedding location.  Note: If heading out on “F-Roads” you need to ensure your rental vehicle is permitted on those roads.  Further, depending on the time of year, you may need a local driver-guide and a super jeep.  More on this and Kerlingarfjöll below…

Traveling into the Icelandic Highlands

During the summer months in Iceland is when the general population and tourists find their way into the highlands of Iceland.  Highland “F-Roads” are open almost year round if you have a super jeep, experience, and local knowledge.  Except, when the landscape is fragile and unthawing in Spring then some areas are “closed.”  So if you decide to adventure into the Icelandic Highlands (or Kerlingarfjöll) on your own, what do you need to know?

Tips for Iceland Highland Adventure Weddings:

  • Firstly, do your research or hire a local planner or Iceland elopement photographer to find the right highland area for you to explore.
  • Secondly, understand when the interior area opens. For example, many of the highlands routes do not “open” to standard 4×4’s until summer and have loose opening time frames (like June 1st – July 7th).  Also, many of the areas “close” to general vehicles between late September – October 15th depending on snow levels, when the routes turn into “no winter service” or “impassable.”  Otherwise it is at your “own risk” via super jeep (typically modified trucks that are on 38”-46” tires).
  • Thirdly, before you venture out on your trip check the Iceland Road Authority website to see conditions on the F-Road you wish to explore.
  • Fourthly, visit Iceland Safe Travel to see if there are any warnings out (like extreme wind, rivers swelling, etc).  Note: This is also the place we suggest you leave your travel plans / route on as well if you are going out into the highlands by yourself (not with a local).
  • Fifth, study the weather on Belgingur or Vedur before you leave for the day.  Why?  Because the weather in Iceland can be unforgiving, especially in the highlands!
  • Sixth, plan to not go faster than 40km/h, and be prepared for the roads to be pitted with potholes so a higher clearance vehicle can be beneficial.
  • Lastly, be aware that crossing highlands rivers are 100% at your own risk.  Meaning, if you choose to do so and your vehicle is damaged, you are 100%  liable out of your own pocket.  Bottom line… It is good to err on the side of caution so turn around if in doubt!

Iceland Wedding Location: Kerlingarfjöll Mountains

Between Langjökull and Hofsjökull in the Icelandic Highlands you will find a colorful set of mountains called, Kerlingarfjöll.  The direct translation of Kerlingarfjöll is “Old Woman/Lady Mountains.”  At it’s highest point the peaks stand at 4,846 feet.  A volcanic system runs through this area crafting the amazing colors, geothermal heat, and nature reserve.  So the area is absolutely worth a stop to explore, not just one day but multiple if you wish to embark on a badass hiking elopement!

Note: This can be a very busy / touristy area during the summer months with locals, buses, tour companies, and self drivers.  To illustrate, coming from our private location mentality and mission, our definition of a place being “touristy” or “crowded” is 1-10+ people being in the area.

How to get to Kerlingarfjöll and Hveradalir

Likely, you’re super curious now on how to get to Kerlingarfjöll and Hveradalir now, right?  Our Iceland Wedding Planner team would love to educate you!  Firstly, plan your trip there between late June and early September to ensure you can likely get there stress free.  Secondly, it is best to have a 4×4 vehicle and ideally a higher clearance SUV to drive in there.  Not saying you couldn’t make it there with less in summer.  But more often than not, the road can have lots of potholes, puddles can be deep, and there can be mud ruts.

Special Note: Off road driving is ILLEGAL in Iceland.  Which means if you were scared to drive in a deep puddle or snow/mud ruts that consumed the entire track, you CANNOT drive outside of the track / road to create an easier path to drive through.

Driving to Kerlingarfjöll and Hveradalir:

  • Follow Google Map directions from your desired starting point.  The route is well marked with yellow road signs and cell / gps service should be available almost the entire route.
  • NOTE: It’s about 3.5 hours from the Reykjavik city limits (one way).
  • Take Iceland Highland Road F-35 (also referred to as Kjölur) to F-347.
  • 25-30 minutes before you reach Kerlingarfjöll and the Hveradalir Geothermal Area, you will pass a sweet roadside waterfall named Gýgjarfoss and canyon.  As of 2020, there is a newly built platform to enjoy it from.
  • Afterwards, from a distance you’ll begin seeing the colors of the mountains and make the last stretch up the mountain into the Kerlingarfjöll Mountains and Valley.

Parking & Where to Stay:

  • Parking is ample to do the Hveradalir Geothermal hike.  Big enough for 30-40 cars / trucks and a few buses.
  • In summer, there is bus transport via SBA-Nordurleid (Note: Frequency can change so please research).
  • Where to Stay near to Kerlingarfjöll:
    • Kerlingarfjöll Mountain Resort
    • Hveravellir Huts (1 hours north)
    • Hotel Geysir (2 hours south) if you want accommodation with a more 4-5 star feeling.

Hiking Hveradalir

After you leave the parking lot, you’ll see 2 signs.  One addressing the options for hiking routes, history, and other needed knowledge.  And the other warning you about how hot the area runs and asking you to stay on the paths.  Meanwhile, as you hike, please lead with being a responsible tourist and “leave no trace.”  What does that mean?  Don’t leave any trash behind and pick up any that you come across.  Truly leave the area better than you found it.

Hveradalir Hiking Specs:

  • Distance: 1-5 miles depending on what route you wish.
  • Time: 1-5 hours (depending on route and how long you want to explore).
  • Elevation: ~ 2,900 feet
  • Difficulty: Easy to Moderate
  • Terrain: Wooden steps, dirt, clay, mud, to rocky.
  • GPS Cords: 64.6333326; -19.2920879
  • What to Wear & Bring: Dress in layers, have rain gear, sturdy hiking boots, hiking poles (if you wish), water, and backpack if desired.

Following the signs, you’ll be greeted with the first amazing overview of the entire hot spring valley.  You’ll take several flights of wooden steps down.  Be careful, they are a bit steep in parts.  Once down to the base of the valley, you’ll find a sign directing you.  You have 3 different routes to consider.  Two shorter ones which are .9 miles to 1.5 miles or the longer one which is 5ish miles (one way) from Hveradalir to the  Kerlingarfjöll Mountain Resort.

Note: Our team explored this area in September, and embarked on the main short loop route within Hveradalir geothermal area.

Longer Trek within Kerlingarfjöll

Love to plan longer hikes?  Try out the Circular Challenge!  It is a lesser known three day hike of 29 miles.  To illustrate, you’ll pass through incredible 360 degree views, geothermal areas, rivers, canyons, cliffs, and valleys.  Good news too, there are mountain huts along the way so you can book in advance a bed if you do not wish to camp.  Lastly, read more about the hike on the Kerlingarfjöll website.

Planning a Wedding or Elopement in Hveradalir

In conclusion, has this post inspired you to want to plan your own wedding or elopement within Kerlingarfjöll at Hveradalir Geothermal Area?   However, if you do there are some things to know before you get your heart set…

Advice for Eloping in Kerlingarfjöll at Hveradalir:

  1. There is a difference on if the location is public, touristy, offbeat, or if the location is truly private.  This area falls into the category of offbeat to touristy depending on the day of the week, time of day, and certainly time of year.   For instance, even in what is considered “off season” for this area in mid September, we were not alone here (even during Covid-19 pandemic).  Throughout our time here we saw 10+ folks exploring the area.  During the height of summer (August) we’ve seen 60+ folks plus a bus hiking group exploring this area.
  2. You must attain in advance permission to hold a wedding ceremony here via the local authorities and environmental organization.  Note: A local Iceland wedding planner can help you do this.
  3. Seating may or may not be allowed depending on the ceremony location and time.
  4. Be respectful and safe by staying on the paths and not venturing outside.  Even though there are no ropes, chains, or barriers, it does not give you the right to use the place however you wish.
  5. Unfortunately, you cannot block paths or close areas for your Hveradalir wedding ceremony time, this is an public attraction.  However, there can be an option to attain a permit and in advance permission, which typically come at a high cost like the film industry attains to shoot movies / television shows.
  6. Do NOT use this beautiful landscape area as a bathroom anywhere, please!  There is an outhouse before you drive in to the parking lot or the mountain resort a short 5 minute drive away.
  7. Leave NO TRACE.

Currently, our team does not plan weddings at touristy places like this.  As we would rather take you to one of our private geothermal areas where there will for sure not be a single tourist.  Feel free to contact us for more information on getting that adventure started!

© 2020, Iceland Wedding Planner, All Rights Reserved.

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