Volcanoes Deserts and Glaciers
- Trekking & Hiking
our UK team
Arrival at Keflavik airport where a member of our local team will be ready to greet you. We transfer to our accommodation in Reykjavik and pass by the new volcano of Geldingadalur. If we are lucky, the plume of molten lava may be in sight!
This morning we set of early from Reykjavik and quickly find ourselves on the Mosfell Moor, a totally different atmosphere descends as we enter the Icelandic wilderness for the first time. We soon reach Thingvellir, the valley of the parliament, a high place of Icelandic history. This is where the summer sessions of the ancient Icelandic parliament established in 870 were held. We continue our journey north, stopping at the majestic Gullfoss waterfall and the Strokkur geyser, which spouts out every 5 to 10 minutes. After Geysir, we enter the highlands of Iceland between the Hofsjökull and Langjökull glaciers and scenery grows ever more impressive. Finally, we arrive in the Kerlingarfjöll region and settle down at our refuge for the night.
Today is devoted to the discovery of the Kerlingarfjöll massif which literally translates as "witch mountains". Spectacular colors and contrasts are created by Rhyolite, a crumbly orange-colored rock that makes up this unique landscape. We walk amongst solfataras (volcanic steam vents) and fumaroles and discover hot springs steaming in the cool air. After a full day of exploring we return to our refuge for another night.
This morning we set off north again on the Kjölur track (F35). We pause at the geothermal site of Hveravellir, where we can observe beautiful fumaroles surrounded by geyserite. We then come to Blöndulon, a huge natural lake offering superb views. There is also the option to visit the Glaumbaer peat farms (€15 payable locally). At the end of the afternoon, we reached the Skagafjördur fjord and our accommodation.
Today we cross the troll peninsula to reach Akureyri, where we make a short stop. The town has just 18,000 inhabitants but is still the second largest city in Iceland after Reykjavik. We continue our journey to reach the Lake Mývatn region, pausing to gaze in wonder at the phenomenal Goðafoss waterfall, the fall of the gods. Today there is the oppertunity to take a wild swim in the "blue lagoon" of Myvatn.
Get ready for a day of exploration around the geothermal area of Lake Myvatn. We visit a place called Hverir where bubbling pools of boiling mud are interspersed with solfatares and fumaroles. Around the Krafla volcano we find vast lava fields that were formed during its 9 eruptions between 1975 and 1984. We use lava flows as our pathways through the landscape and visit lava tunnels that are more than 200 years old. After six or seven hours of hiking, a soothing dip in the natural hot water baths is the perfect way to finish off our day.
In the early morning light we climb the explosion crater of Hverfjall for outstanding views and mind blowing geography. We then begin our journey south, following the F88 track which plunges straight towards the Vatnajökull glacier. We cross endless expanses of pumice stone, the black desert of Ódáðahraun, and finally the glacial region of Kverkfjöll, with it's "end of the world" ambiance.
This morning we hike to the foot of the Vatnajökull ice cap. Equipped with crampons, we walk out across the largest glacier in Europe (roughly the size of Cyprus). After a picnic lunch, we depart by vehicle and head for the Askja caldera and the impressive Drekagil waterfall (dragon waterfall). We explore Iceland's largest caldera on foot , the last eruption here was in 1961 left behind an impressive lava field, five characteristic craters and a small island in the middle of the lake. Depending on the conditions, you may want to have a swim in the lake before we head to our refuge for the night.
Our adventure continues as we begin traveling down track 910 in our 4x4 vehicle. This is a long journey on a road that feels like it will arrive on a different planet at any moment. North of the track we can see immense lava fields and to the south, the Vatnajökull glacier.
In the heart of the Sprengisandur desert, we reach the oasis of Nyidalur where we will spend the night.
We leave Nýidalur this morning on another legendary Icelandic track, Sprengisandur (F26), known for its sudden changes in weather! We reach the Landmannalaugar within the Fjallabak nature reserve and finish our day by relaxing in the hot water river and exploring our new surroundings.
Our trail today winds through gorges and multicolored hills, towards the interior of the Torfajökull massif. Here the rhyolite mountains are adorned in shades of red, green, blue, black and yellow. We discover the hot springs of Stórihver and climb to the summit of Brennisteinsalda. After pausing to enjoy our location and take some photos, we descend from the peak via ridges which offer us a breathtaking view of the Laugahraun lava flow. We can continue by climbing to the top of Blahnukur mountain from where we have a beautiful view of the entire massif. We end the day by soaking tired feet in the hot river of Landmannalaugar.
We take the F208 track to cross the Landmannalaugar massif and pass by the Illagil ravines before reaching the Elggjà fault, "the fault of fire". We cross the fault on foot towards our morning objective, the surprising waterfall of Ófærufoss. In the afternoon we jump back in the 4x4 and head in the direction of Skaftafell, where our refuge awaits us. In the Skaftafell region the Breidarmerkurjökull glacier sends icebergs crashing down from its headwall to drift off along the coastline.
Once again at the foot of the largest glacier in Europe (but on the other side this time), we wander through the Skaftafell Natural Park on balcony trails above the glacial tongues. Incredible views of the glaciers, the Morsardalur valley and the wood of Baejarstadarskokur await us. In the late afternoon we depart in the direction of Vik before continuing our journey back to Reykjavik.
There is lots of possibilities today as we have a whole day to explore Reykjavik and relax a little after our adventure. You may like to go whale watching, visit the blue lagoon or tour the museums. This is also the best time to get a covid test if you need one before you fly home. In the afternoon you will have the option to visit the Reykjanes peninsula and the Fagradalsfjall volcano. The volcano began erupting in March 2021 following strong seismic activity on the peninsula. Torrents of lava gush out of two craters before pouring out through other faults and volcanic cones. We return to Reykjavik in the evening.
Morning transfer to the airport for your return flight.
In Iceland, alcoholic drinks are sold only in state stores and alcohol is very expensive due to high levels of taxation. If you would like a drink in the evenings, it is a good idea to purchase something at duty free as you exit the airport.
Iceland isn't a cheap place to visit. Restaurants often have lunchtime special menus which are great value (around £20-30pp for a soup and fish of the day). A meal out for 2 will cost around £60-100 (fish) or £80-120 (meat). When getting around in Reykjavik an exciting and cheap option is to use the electric scooters parked up around town. Simply download the app and scoot away. If this feels too techy, a taxi starting price will cost roughly £4.30 or going on foot is more than appropriate as Reykjavik has a small city centre. Souvenirs can cost anything from ~£5 to £500. It is also worth knowing that as a tourist, you can claim back the value-added tax (VAT) on certain goods over the value of ISK 6,000 (£36) at Keflavik airport before your flight home. As long as this is all on one tax receipt, you can claim back the tax.
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