Icelanders categorise the Highlands as:
- "Háls", meaning a broad mountain ridge between valleys, such
as the one near Langavatn north of Borgarnes; or
- "Heiði", meaning the real highlands, such as those alongside
the Sprengisandur road.
Most of the numerous glaciers, such as Vatnajökull, Langjökull
and Hofsjökull, are also part of the Icelandic Highlands.
Vegetation is only found on the shores of the glacier rivers.
There is also the danger of glacier runs.
Some of the most interesting parts of Iceland with volcanic
activity are to be found in the Highlands, such as Sprengisandur
and the region around Askja and Herðubreið.
Land Rover Defender stuck in a highland riverThe Highlands can
only be crossed during the Icelandic summer (June to August).
For the rest of the year the highland roads are closed. The best
known highland roads are Kaldidalur, Kjölur and Sprengisandur.
Most highland roads require four wheel drive vehicles, because
it is necessary to ford rivers. However, the Kjölur route can
easily be traversed in an ordinary sedan and is therefore one of
the more popular highland roads. Off-road driving ("road" in
this context meaning tracks that are already present) is
forbidden in the Highlands when they are free of snow, to
protect the vegetation.