The Highland Base – Kerlingarfjöll has opened in the Ásgarður Valley, a sprawling expanse of glacial mountainside in Iceland’s central highlands.
Located in a range formed over 10,000 years ago from a series of subglacial volcanic eruptions, the multi-faceted destination, operated by The Blue Lagoon Family, a collection of sustainable destinations, resorts, spas, and skincare lines, is the first of its kind in this untouched, adventure-driven paradise, making it ideal for those after ultra and undiscovered experiences in 2024.
The year-round destination feature the Highland Base Hotel, complete with rooms, suites, and luxury lodges; a series of Highland Base Huts designed for private or shared accommodations; the Highland Base Camp, a summer-only, riverside campsite; the 80-seat Highland Base Restaurant and Lounge; the Highland Base Baths; and a wide range of adventure activities.
The adventure begins the minute guests set foot off the plane, as during the winter months, Highland Base can only be reached with a swish, 4×4, super jeep driven by a professional. Travellers should buckle up and enjoy the ride of their life as they witness the roads disappear while the venture deep into the kaleidoscopically hued Icelandic highlands.
Once arrived, guests will be met with peaks reaching more than 1,500 kilometres, and panoramic vistas punctuated by the grand glaciers Hofsjökull and Langjökull. As an adventure lovers paradise, a selection of seasonal activities could include hiking the vast network of trails, ranging from one kilometre to 50 kilometres; access to a fleet of electric mountain bikes to traverse the raw and colourful mountain scape; backcountry and cross-country skiing (a sport not closely associated with Iceland); snowshoeing through the geothermal valleys; and exploring the breath-taking panoramas via snowmobiles.
Kerlingarfjöll remained an untamed wilderness until the 1930s when a pioneering naturalist and entrepreneur—Guðmundur Einarsson—initiated mountaineering classes. Inspired by Einarsson’s efforts, Ferðafélag Íslands (Iceland Touring Association) launched hiking tours of the region, constructing a cabin in 1937.
Beginning in 1961, the area became the prime vacation destination for summer skiers, and the cabin accommodations grew to include a dormitory and a dining facility for ski students. Each year, from June to August, Icelanders flocked to these mountains, with thousands learning how to ski at Kerlingarfjöll’s seasonal ski school.
At the turn of the millennium, the ski school ceased operations, but accommodations were refurbished and expanded, becoming the Kerlingarfjöll Mountain Resort, a base camp for hikers and adventurers.