Kjalvegur 2019: Prologue, route and arrival

The Kjölur plateau between the Langjökull and Hofsjökull glaciers


The Kjalvegur is one of the main roads in the Icelandic highlands and connects the northwest with the southwest. In modern times, this is a highland road with the road number F35, which is only passable in the summer, after all, there are now bridges everywhere, in earlier times, the cars had to ford.
The highland road is also called Kjölur, this name is given to the plateau where the passage runs. The passage is historically significant, and in earlier times it was an important north-south connection for groups of riders. Today, a popular hiking and riding trail – largely far from the F35 track – runs through the plateau, which is bordered by the Langjökull and Hofsjökull glaciers.
This tour was a rather spontaneous idea for a vacation that was possible on short notice, and was also our preparation tour for our wedding tour in Reunion, timed about two months before. The Kjalvegur is relatively easy, there is the possibility to do the tour as a hut tour with advance bookings, but we preferred our own tent.
This is already our second Iceland tour, two years ago we were already on tour in Iceland, in the Southern Highlands, Fimmvörðuháls, Laugavegur and Hellismannaleið. The landscape of Kjalvegur is not as spectacular as Laugavegur, but rather quiet, with hidden treasures – and like Laugavegur it ends in a geothermal area with a hot bath!
The best sources of information for trekking in Iceland are the excellent books by Uwe Grunewald, “Iceland – The Southern Highlands: The best hiking trails between Landmannalaugar and Skógar” and “ICELAND – Nature Paradise at the Arctic Circle: The best hiking trails on the largest volcanic island on Earth” and, on the other hand, the two german language forums outdoorseiten.net and islandreise.info. Uwe Grunewald himself is active in the latter forum. For our Garmin GPS we used the OSM map “Summer II” from frikart.no, route planning is done with Garmin Basecamp.
As so often with our trips, the traveling was a bit spectacular. Although our luggage arrived safely at the right airport, but:
This time, for cost reasons, we opted for the low-cost airline Wizz Air. This airline departs from the small Terminal 1A at Vienna Airport, with bus transfer to the plane. No issue, also we fly off on time and have the whole 3-seat row to ourselves. With the narrow rows of seats, this is a fine thing. But after an hour of flight time, the captain speaks up and says meaningfully, “Dear passengers, bad luck – we may have to make a stopover, as we have too little fuel in the tank due to the strong headwind and a certain reserve is necessary when flying over the sea.” Okay, that’s new! After another hour we get the news that we will indeed be making a stopover in Norway (Stavanger). So we are landing, then waiting, waiting, waiting … and at 4pm local time we finally arrive in Reykjavík.
We take the Flybus, which brings us to the camping site in Reykjavík at 6 pm. We have already bought the bus ticket at home. At the campground we check in, buy a small gas cartridge, pitch our tent and go to Kaffi lækur near the campground to have dinner. At the reception we get the information how to get to BSI tomorrow, where our bus leaves: with line 14 to Hlemmur, then with line 5 or 15 to BSI. (Attention, the bus does not go in to BSI, you have to get off already on the street in front of it).
Now we are ready to start our hike tomorrow!
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