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Sprengisandur, the desert expanse at Iceland's heart, is a true moonscape -- so much so, in fact, that conspiracy theorists believe this is where the U.S. government "faked" the moon landing. Such bleak, lifeless scenery is transporting and sublime to some, depressing and monotonous to others. But on a clear day, no one is unimpressed by the grand tableau of mountains and glaciers in all directions. If you've ever doubted the world is round, come here and witness the sky arching overhead.

The Sprengisandur Route has no strict beginning or end, but loosely corresponds to Route F26, which spans 196km (122 miles) from the Hrauneyjar highland area to the Aldeyjarfoss waterfall. However desolate the route, it's hardly featureless, and opportunities for exploration abound.