The sprengisandur is a part of the Icelandic highlands. It lies between the Hofsjökull and Vatnajökull, mostly at altitudes between 700 and 800 m. Its boundaries are somewhat vague; in the south it is bounded roughly by Eyvindarver, a bog east of the river Þjórsá (part of Þjórsárver ), in the north of the gorge Kiðagil. Its width is about 30 km, its length about 70 km.

Simultaneously, the leading through this area highland road F26 is so called ( the sprengisandur ), in Icelandic, however, it is actually called Sprengisandsleið, but the term sprengisandur for the slopes is also common.


The name sprengisandur is thereby created that horses as quickly as possible should also " blow up " in order to have the dangerous route soon behind him and get back to grass and water.

Therefore, the Íslandshandbókin refers to the older names Sprengir.

The proper name sprengisandur is known since at least 1476 out of a court ruling on the upland portions ( of the local grazing ground ) in Holtamanna and Landmannaafrétt. The actual sprengisandur was probably a flat sandy plain to the west of the lake Fjórðungsvatn over which people rode incredibly fast.

Even older Gásasandur the name seems to be.

Sprengisandur slope

The sprengisandur slope, isl. Sprengisandsleið is about 200 km, the longest of the Icelandic highland slopes. Takes you right through the middle of the highlands of Iceland and follows approximately to the rift zone from southwest to northeast and bends similar to this one north of Vatnajökull to the west.


It runs from south of Hekla where a big branch ( Fjallabaksleið ) branches to Landmannalaugar. To the north, the path runs mostly on ridge between the glaciers Vatnajökull and Hofsjökull. Near the northern end of the sprengisandur is the waterfall Aldeyjarfoss.

Some streams and small rivers cross the line and must be waded. Most important is the ford at the cottage Nýidalur. In summer, the sprengisandur but can be navigated easily by SUV. From the end of June, early July is normally open to traffic and is freely accessible in general by the end of August.

A special experience, however, is to discover this route like old times with the horse.


This hotel is from south to north at or near the Sprengisandur slopes:


If you travel the high country route from south to north, the path usually begins in Hrauneyjar.

When the company Landsvirkjun built in the 70s, the power plants on the middle and lower Þjórsá Tungnaá, you needed accommodation for the workers and employees who have dealt with it. These are now used as a hotel and highland cottage with café. The closest power plant Hrauneyjavirkjun has an output of 210 MW.

The place is named after the small islands in the Tungnaá that have disappeared in the reservoir Hrauneyjalón since 1982 as well as the waterfall named after them Hrauneyjarfoss.

Reservoir Þórisvatn

The largest of the many reservoirs of the area lies on the way to the north on the east side of the runway. It is the Þórisvatn, with an area 83-88 km ², the largest lake in Iceland and therefore even greater than the Þingvallavatn.


Budarhals is an elongated, oriented from southwest to northeast ridge which extends to about 600-700 m above sea level and is situated in the west of the southern sprengisandur slope. The best views can be enjoyed from Innri - Háls ( 685 m) and via 6 glacier in Iceland.

The ridge consists in its lower layers of Olivinbasalt that emanated in the interglacial periods, the upper layers are hyaloclastite from the cold periods of the Ice Age.

In western direction of the Budarhals drops in steep steps to the river Þjórsá. This site is also furrowed by small valleys.

Before the bridge was built over the Tungnaá at Sigalda, the track followed the ridge.

This is hardly covered by vegetation.


West of Tungnafellsjökull is the valley Nýidalur (Eng. the new valley). It is also called Jökuldalur. Its highest parts which are most overgrown, suggest to the north. The average height above sea level is 800 m.

The valley was discovered in 1845 and serves primarily as a high pasture for the people of the north from the Bárðardalur. Otherwise, it is a nature reserve.

The valley is traversed by the river Nýidalsá.

There is a hut Hiking Association Ferðafélag Íslands At the mouth of the valley to the east. There you can also furtet the river.

Legends and history, Sprengisandur

The sprengisandur is a very old way, which was used from the earliest times of settlement until the High Middle Ages much. Different mule tracks still exist in trace amounts. However, he was also always been feared because of its weather changes and its dryness.

In earlier times it was thought also that here trolls and evil spirits as well as outlaws could wreak havoc. This explains the Enlightenment and naturalists Eggert Ólafsson lost the way for, since he was, like other highland connection paths so well no longer used in the 18th century as.

This superstition has, " Á Sprengisandi " reflected in the text of the most famous Icelandic folk songs.

End of the 18th century under the influence of the Enlightenment took the rides over this way again. The best known of the journey Einar Brynjólfsson is become, where you discovered the most famous pair of robbers Islands, Halla and Fjalla - Eyvindur in 1772 in the Þjórsárver.

Afterwards, however, in the 19th century almost no one traveled through these routes until 1897, the researchers Daniel Bruun discovered the path for themselves. He initiated a re-identification of the path with cairns, which was completed in 1907. 1908 followed this path of Ina Grumbkow on their way to Askja, where she hoped to learn about the whereabouts of their previously lost there in fiance more.

In 1933, then went for the first time a car from the track. About the Tungnaá you had to carry it in the boat.

More Mountain Roads

In approximately parallel to the shorter sprengisandur Kjölur route continues west through the highlands.

North of Nýidalur branches off the hard drive- piste Gæsavatnaleið from east to lead in a northern and a southern variant on the northern edge of Vatnajökull along until the Askja.