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Walking in Iceland

Walking in Iceland

Trip Highlights

  • Visit Iceland’s most attractive areas including the famous Great Geysir and Gullfoss, Skaftafell National Park, the Jökulsárlón glacier lake and the famous Laki volcano *(summer program)
  • Hike through stunning volcanic sceneries to view glaciers and mountains
  • Experience the dramatic northern lights or the phenomenal midnight sun (subject to time of year)
  • Stay in a charming countryside hotel

Trip Summary

Iceland’s distinctive volcanic landscape offers the perfect backdrop for day walks in the company of an expert guide. The extensive lava fields, huge moss-filled volcanic craters, serene fjords and trails that lead into the heart of the renowned Skaftafell National Park are part of this carefully devised itinerary. Each day will reveal new scenery and activities will include a glacier walk, visits to historical sights and even an opportunity to bathe in steaming hot springs. The series of day walks are fully supported ensuring rewarding days on the trail while our nights are spent in a comfortable hotel in easy reach of southern Iceland's most inspiring locations.

Suitability

INTRODUCTORY to MODERATE – GRADE 2

The walking involves daily walks of up to five hours per day. There are some steep sections over loose trails during the walk and such sections of the trail require care. The accent is on keeping a steady pace to with time to stop and take photos. You will need a reasonable level of fitness to participate fully in this adventure. Weather conditions may be harsh at times (even in summer), and you will need to be comfortable walking in such conditions. We suggest up to one hour of strenuous exercise 3-4 times a week. The best exercise for trekking is bushwalking/hillwalking involving relatively steep ascents and descents.

Itinerary

You will be picked up from your hotel in Reykjavik in the morning and meet your guide and group. We begin the day driving east to visit the Great Geysir geothermal area, where we can see Strokkur (the Great Geysir is now blocked), a feisty geyser which spouts every 5-10 minutes. Close by is Gullfoss, one of Iceland’s most beautiful waterfalls, where in two giant steps the water falls 32m into a deep gorge. Our drive continues east through one of Iceland's largest agriculture areas. We pass by two very impressive glaciers, a huge sand desert and one of Iceland’s biggest lava fields to reach our hotel, our base for the next 4 nights. Total: 6 hours drive.

Meals:  D

Vatnajökull National Park is Europe’s largest National Park. The southeast part of this park is the area of Skaftafell, which is composed of natural forest growing between glacial tongues, reaching down almost to sea level - a unique place to visit. We walk through a birch forest up to the Svartifoss waterfall, which is famous for its black basalt columns. On the way we will get fantastic views of Europe’s largest glacier Vatnajökull and Hvannadalshnúkur (2110m), its highest peak. An option for the afternoon is an inspiring walk on the glacier (2-3 hours, not included in trip cost). You will be provided with all the necessary gear (crampons and ice axes) to discover the amazing blue world of ice and explore its ridges and crevasses – carefully! Return to the hotel. Total: 2 hours drive.

Meals:  B,D

Today we head for the craters of Laki. In 1783 a 25km long fissure opened and lava flew out of 130 craters, devastating huge pasture fields. Clouds of poisonous gases killed over 50% of the livestock in Iceland and led to a great famine which killed about 20% of the population. This was the greatest eruption in Iceland since its original settlement and naturally had a deep impact on the Icelandic population. However, today these craters are mostly covered with green moss, a sharp contrast to the black and red colour of the underlying lava. In good weather we will climb to the top of the highest of the Laki craters. From there we have a splendid view over all the craters and the ice cap of Vatnajökull. Return to the same hotel. Total: 4-5 hours drive. *Important note: In winter, the road to Laki can be impossible even for our well-equipped 4x4 - please see the following Winter Program itinerary.

Meals:  B,D

Today we head east along the Öræfajökull glacier which covers one of the country’s greatest volcanoes and its highest summit. We then cross great flatlands in front of the huge Breiðamerkurjökull glacier, before arriving at Jökulsárlón lagoon with its picturesque floating icebergs. This location has served as the backdrop for many Hollywood films, including the James Bond movie “Die Another Day”. We discover a great variety of icebergs of different forms and shapes, and the wide range of blue and white colours in the ice. In the afternoon, we will take a walk to the foot of the Öræfajökull glacier, with fantastic views over the vast sand plains of the river Skeiðará. In 1966 the great glacier outflow (a Jokulhlaup – now used as a term in glaciology as a result) from under the Vatnajökull icecap destroyed the longest bridge in Iceland. A huge mass of ice (3000 billion litres) melted and the water reached a flow rate of 55,000 cubic meters per second, covering these huge plains with water. Return to the hotel. Total: 3-4 hours drive.

Meals:  B,D

On our return to Reykjavik we pass by the village of Vík (Vik y Myrdal) where we can enjoy a walk on the black beach. The pinnacles of Reynisdrangar can be seen just offshore. According to legend, the pinnacles were left standing there after two trolls tried to pull a three masted ship past the headland, but were caught and petrified by the first rays of sunshine. North of the village Hveragerði, famous for its greenhouses, we enjoy our last walk, to the geothermal area of Reykjadalur. Here we can enjoy a relaxing bath in a warm stream before returning to the hectic life of Iceland’s capital. The trip concludes in Reykjavik. Total: 4 hours drive.

Meals:  B

Winter Program

You will be picked up from your hotel in Reykjavik in the morning and meet your guide and group. First on our program for the day is a visit to the historical site of Thingvellir, the national park that is now a UNESCO World Heritage site. The location is wonderful - a beautiful lake skirted by a small canyon that in fact is a part of the Mid-Atlantic rift. We then head to the Great Geysir geothermal area, where we can see Strokkur, a feisty geyser which spouts every 5-10 minutes. Close by is Gullfoss, one of Iceland’s most beautiful waterfalls, where in two giant steps the water falls 32m into a deep gorge. We continue southeast through one of the country’s largest agriculture areas. At the end of the day we come to our hotel sitting in the countryside with views to the volcano Hekla. Driving: 3-4 hrs total

Meals:  D

Today we continue east to the Eyjafjallajökull massif. The waterfall of Seljalandsfoss is worthy of a short stop, as is the Skógafoss waterfall, which is said to be the hiding place of a chest of gold. Along the way we stop at the Eyjafjallajökull visitor centre, at a family farm at Thorvaldseyri, where you will learn about the 2010 eruption and its effects on the lives of the local people. At the hamlet of Skógar we visit a folk museum to see how Icelanders lived in the past. As we continue east, we visit the black beaches of Vik and pass one of Iceland's biggest lava fields, before reaching our hotel, our base for the next 3 nights.

Meals:  B,D

Vatnajökull National Park is Europe’s biggest National Park. The southeastern part of the park is the area of Skaftafell, which is composed of natural forest growing between glacial tongues, reaching down almost to sea level - a unique place to visit. We walk through a birch forest up to the Svartifoss waterfall, which is famous for its black basalt columns. On the way we will get fantastic views of Europe’s largest glacier Vatnajökull and Hvannadalshnúkur (2110m), its highest peak. As an afternoon option you can try an inspiring walk on the glacier (2-3 hours, not included in trip cost). You will be provided with all the necessary gear (crampons and ice axes) to discover the amazing blue world of ice and explore its ridges and crevasses – carefully! Return to the hotel. Total: 2 hours drive

Meals:  B,D

Today we head east along the Öræfajökull glacier which covers one of the country's greatest volcanoes and its highest summit. We then cross the great flatlands in front of the huge Breiðamerkurjökull glacier, before arriving at Jökulsárlón lagoon with its picturesque floating icebergs. The area of the Southern Vatnajökull National Park has provided the backdrop for many Hollywood films and TV shows, including "Batman Begins" and more recently "Game of Thrones". At the lagoon we'll discover a great variety of icebergs of different forms and shapes and the wide range of blue and white colours in the ice. In the afternoon we visit a modern sheep farm to see how the locals live today. Total: 3-4 hours drive

Meals:  B,D

On our return to Reykjavik we will pass the village of Vík (Vík í Mýrdal) where we can enjoy a walk on the black beach. The pinnacles of Reynisdranger can be seen offshore. According to legend, the pinnacles were left standing there after two trolls tried to pull a three masted ship past the headland, but were caught and petrified by the first rays of sunshine. North of the village Hveragerði, famous for its greenhouses, we'll enjoy our last walk - to the geothermal area of Rekyjadalur Valley (or in Grændalur over the coldest winter months) where we can enjoy a relaxing bath in a warm stream (not possible in Grændalur). We will then return to the hectic life of Iceland's capital where the trip will conclude. Total: 4 hours drive

Meals:  B

What's Included

  • 4 breakfasts - continental breakfasts are served and usually consist of bread, selection of cold cuts and other toppings, muesli, yoghurt, fruit, tea and coffee
  • 4 dinners, the dinner buffet includes a selection of starters, fish, meat and vegetables meals, including desserts and coffee
  • 4 nights in good quality hotel with private facilities on a twinshare basis
  • Experienced walking guide for 5 days
  • All internal transfers in 4X4 vehicle
  • Pick up and drop off at your Reykjavik accommodation to start & end your trip

What's Not Included

  • Travel to and from Reykjavik
  • Lunch (a lunch pack is available for an additional supplement of ISK10,000, payable locally and includes: bread, selection of cold cuts and other toppings, fruit, yogurt, coffee and something sweet eg small cake)
  • Optional activities including 2-3 hours walk on the Svínafellsjökull glacier (all glacier and safety gear provided) - price is ISK7,500 per person, booked and paid for on the tour.
  • Items of a personal nature including beverages, laundry, phone calls etc
  • Accommodation in Reykjavik
  • Travel insurance

Upcoming Travel Dates

Reviews

We have now completed 3 trips using UTracks. Each has been a wonderful experience and we have seen things we would not have if we had not been guided by the 'self-guided' information we received.

A.Stralow, Perth, Australia


This was my first trip with UTracks and I am very satisfied about this walking holiday in Iceland. My most memorable moment was wallowing in the secret lagoon and sitting on a large iceberg on the volcanic sand beach near a glacier lagoon.

C. Scott,, UK


The trip was all wonderful, but I especially enjoyed walking in Rekjadalur Valley and bathing in the warm stream there. Our guide Sigrun was excellent and if I want another active holiday with walking, cycling and trekking, I will very likely travel with UTracks again.

A. Mawson,, UK


This tour was a wonderful introduction to Iceland covering the main places of interest, a lot was covered and the weather wonderful! Hiking up the mountain to view the glacier and soaking in the natural thermal pools was my most memorable moment. Our tour guide was superb!

F. Keillor,, UK


We thoroughly enjoyed our Iceland tour and Elin was a great guide and we would recommend her and the trip to others.

G. Cornwall, Gerringong, NSW, Australia, 06 Sep 2016

AT A GLANCE

Duration:5 Days
Countries:Iceland
Starting Point:Reykjavik
Activities:GUIDED WALK
Grade:Introductory to Moderate  Click for more information
Trip Code:WII
Prices From:GBP£1990 Per Person
Single Supplement:GBP£290  Click for more information