The Interior of Iceland is a rugged snowy territory, accessible only in summer.
None, actually! The interior is vast but has no permanent population. The closest thing it has to settlements of any kind are huts, some of which are manned during the summertime, providing accomodation for travellers.
Anyone's biggest worry in the interior is to run out of petrol. Here are a few places to look out for. Accommodation is available in all of them as well as food.
- Hótel Hrauneyjar is a small hotel located in the southern interior, just north of Mt. Hekla.
- Hveravellir is located near the exact center of Iceland, between Langjökull and Hofsjökull glaciers. It's located near the main mountain track, Kjölur.
The easiest, cheapest and safest way to venture into the interior is by BSI bus (special 4x4 buses with experienced drivers). Renting a 4X4 is very expensive and must be done in advance. It's best to travel with at least one other car as conditions are extreme. Remember that off-road driving is prohibited in Iceland because it contributes to erosion and can be very dangerous.
Bring your own provisions. There is no guarantee that you will find food anywhere.
You can safely drink water from any stream.
In the interior you can either sleep in a tent or a hut operated by Iceland Touring Association (Ferðafélag Íslands) . During the summer most huts are operated by wardens responsible for maintenance, cleaning and general operation. During the winter they are closed, but the keys to a given hut can be requested from the Association. Booking in advance is highly recommended.
Even in the heated huts temperature can sink below 10°C (50°F) during the summer so bring a warm sleeping bag. As operating the huts is quite expensive you are expected to pay extra for the use of facilities unless you are sleeping in the hut or its camp site. Hot showers cost extra even then.
- Nyidalur Hut is a hut comprising two individual huts and a few cottages on road F26. The kitchen is has all necessary utensils both for cooking and eating. The toilets and showers are unheated.
- Laugafell Hut is a smaller hut on the intersection of roads F752 and F821. It has a heated toilet/shower block with running water in the toilet even during the winter. The hot pool near the hut is not as warm as others in the country but it is still a nice place to relax.
Every year, people die in the interior due to being caught by bad weather and being unprepared.
Do not venture into the interior if you don't know what you're doing, or are not accompanied by somebody who knows what they're doing. It is a region of extreme weather with no settlements, so you need to be prepared for whatever may happen. This includes packing very warm clothes and bringing food and drinks for a stay that may become longer than intended. You must also have a good car, and for most roads there 4x4 trucks are necessary. Never travel into the interior without being sure somebody at home knows your itinerary and can contact the authorities if they don't hear from you within a set time.
If you're travelling to the interior, or planning any kind of venture into the Icelandic nature, please check out SafeTravel. It is a website created by the Icelandic Association for Search and Rescue(ICE-SAR) and includes many tips on travelling safely in Iceland.