Highlands Tour, Prepare for Adventure!
We did the Highlands Tour in July 2019 with Kjartan's brother Bolli. Bolli, like what I've heard of his brother, seemed to me almost like a professor of history, goegraphy, culture and language, and he became our friend over the 4 days we spent with him as our guide through the highlands and with a few stops at the more 'mainstream' sights (Seljandsfoss, Geysir, Gullfoss (west), Thingvelir). He was very considerate of our personal space, and very thoughtful about taking care of the business of the tour without us even knowing he was doing it, very smooth experience. You can basically run the show a lot of the time, stopping whenever you want, adding a longer stop here, shortening a stop there.
I appreciated that we got the chance to visit those spectacular but more popular places, but the contrast with the highlands locations we visited was stark: when you are in these breath-taking places, there is usually not a single other person to be seen as far as the eye can see. That's what this tour is great for, experiencing some of the most beautiful scenery you can think of, completely alone in the silence. On top of that, you have vault of local knowledge travelling there with you, to ask any question you like, discuss any topic you like.
The accommodations were really very nice. There is one night at a remote hotel that is a bit more basic, but it's fully adequate and a warm/cozy place with a decent restaurant and good wifi. The last 2 nights were spectacular hotels that we loved.
It is expensive, yes, but what you get easily justifies the cost. There is absolutely no way I could have taken us to these places, and I consider myself a reasonably competent off-road driver; some of the roads are just insane and many locations impossible to find unless you know the way, and the rough roads often go on for quite a distance, not to mention the countless rivers to navigate.
Take a look at the blog about this trip written on fullsuitcase.com. It summarizes it beautifully, and what we got more than met the expectation that it set out. Thank you Kjartan, Tobba, Johanes and especially Bolli!