Here’s what you will get out of this trip:
- Variety- Iceland´s fantastic trails take you closer to its beautiful natural wonders. Each trail has its own special natural features, reflecting Iceland’s ever-changing landscape.
- Refreshing Experience- Hiking immerses you in the invigorating scents, sounds and colors unique to Iceland.
- Health Benefits – Walking is healthy for both your body and mind, an excellent way to refresh and recharge yourself. On several evenings you’ll have the chance to relax in geothermal hot tubs.
- Authentic- Hiking is a very popular activity for Icelanders, so you’ll have better opportunities to meet locals on the trail and experience a bit about daily life in Iceland.
- Small group size- The small group size makes it easier to get to know your guide and the other people in your group
- Local Focus – The trails you will hike are full of folklore, saga history and ghost stories, and your guide is eager to share them with you. There is no better way to experience a tale than to hike through the landscape where it took place!
- Inspiration- The trails you will hike are full of folklore, saga history and ghost stories, and your guide is eager to share them with you. There is no better way to experience a tale than to hike through the landscape where it took place!
- Great Hotels- Stay in the best hotels in each area, generally a mix of four-star hotels and quality three-star hotels. Several hotels have hot tubs on location.
- Slow pace- Discover more by traveling less! Stay several nights in the same accommodation, giving you more time to get to know each area’s unique secrets. (And less time spent packing and unpacking)
Ten days / Nine nights
Starts / ends in in Reykjavík
Dates of tour operation: 16 June 2019 - 1 September 2019
“Scenic Trails” is a combination of guided hikes and small group sightseeing in a small bus/van. Take in the fiery volcanic zone of the South Shore, the geothermal desert of the uninhabited interior, and the lush vegetation in the North. You’ll also enjoy the benefits of a relaxed travelling pace and minimal hotel changes through your stay, so there’s more time to experience the true essence of Iceland’s nature and culture. Each day enjoy inspiring guided short hikes on trails in both world-famous areas as well as lesser known—but equally fantastic—destinations. Some examples include majestic Asbyrgi Canyon, the beloved Thorsmork and Myvatn Nature Reserves and the colorful Landmannalaugar hot spring wilderness. Your expert guide will also share Icelandic stories and folktales connected to the areas where you hike. A highlight of the trip is a visit to charming Siglufjordur, a town becoming known for its excellent outdoor recreation. At the end of day, relax in comfortable countryside hotels with private bathroom facilities. Several hotels have outdoor geothermal hot tubs– a perfect way to end a day on scenic trails!
10 Day Itinerary
Day 1: Arrival
On your own, transfer to Reykjavik. We recommend the easy and convenient FlyBus Plus transfers, which can be booked through Iceland Travel. If your flight lands early in the day, a great suggestion is to explore Reykjavik, the largest municipality in Iceland. If you would enjoy a scenic walk on your arrival day, Reykjavik has many local walking trails that take you by the seaside and through pretty neighborhoods. Dinner is on your own. Reykjavik offers a multitude of restaurants and/or coffee-houses, making dinner a great way to get better acquainted with Iceland’s capital.
Overnight stay in Reykjavik (airport transfer not included).
Day 2: Reykjavik – Hvalfjordur – Borgarfjordur
Today’s Hiking Level: 3.5 (out of 5) Moderate Plus
Breakfast at your hotel. The tour departs your hotel at 8:00 (8:00am). Begin the day with a short orientation tour of Reykjavik. Drive along the scenic coastline of Hvalfjordur Fjord, one of Iceland´s longest and deepest, on the way to Glymur. This is Iceland’s second highest waterfall, which descends gracefully in streaming ribbons down a 200-metre (658 foot) drop into a massive canyon adorned in lush, green moss. Both the fjord and the waterfall are linked to a local legend about a mythical whale that swam up the waterfall into the lake at the top. Eerily enough, whale bones have been found here! Spend some time hiking in the area to enjoy different views of the waterfall and surrounding nature.
Before heading to your overnight accommodation, you will also visit the amazing Hraunfossar “Lava” waterfalls and the Deildartunguhver, the most powerful rushing hot springs in Europe.
Dinner and overnight stay in the Borgarfjordur area.
Day 3: Borgarfjordur - Glanni and Grabrok - Vididalur Valley - Hofsos – Siglufjordur
Today’s Hiking Level: 2 (out of 5) Easy
Breakfast at your hotel. Continue your discoveries of Borgarfjordur with a refreshing short walk to Glanni, a multi-tiered waterfall rumored to be a home for elves and trolls. You will then visit the 3,500-year-old Grabrok crater, which has hiking trails to the top of the crater for remarkable views over moss-covered lava fields. The hike up the crater is steep, but steps have built on part of the route to make the hike easier. Continue your scenic journey as you cross Holtavorduheidi plateau, the gateway between North and South Iceland.
Head to the Vididalur Valley and its rushing river. Here you will hike in Kolugljufur, a lava rock canyon that leads to a hidden waterfall. Continue to the charming village of Hofsos and take a short stroll down to Stadarbjargarvik inlet to admire a group of beautifully geometric basalt columns located. Then drive to the stunning Trollaskagi (Troll Peninsula) with its amazing views of mountains and fjords to your destination in Siglufjordur town.
Overnight stay in Siglufjordur for the next two nights. Dinner is on your own at one of the town’s charming restaurants. Tonight, recharge your body and soul with a soak in the hotel’s geothermal hot tubs. With a view over the harbor and the fjord, the hot tubs are a perfect setting for relaxation.
Day 4: Siglufjordur – Troll Peninsula Hiking – Local Heritage
Today’s Hiking Level: Varies, based on group activity level
Breakfast at your hotel. Trollaskagi, The Troll Peninsula, is a hidden gem in Iceland, a bit separated from the rest of the country by its high mountain range. The area is home to numerous little-known hiking routes showcasing spectacular scenery.
In the morning visit the award-winning Herring Era Maritime Museum, where the harbour atmosphere of the early 20th century is brought to life in three historical buildings.
In the afternoon, take an exciting and scenic hike. This afternoon’s hike is led by an expert local guide who will decide which trail is best to explore based on the experience level of the group and trail conditions. The total hiking time is variable, based on group experience. Those who do not wish to participate in the locally-guided hike can stay behind in Siglufjordur and enjoy a light walk in the scenic areas around the village with the tour group guide. After an active day in the outdoors, visit the home of a local resident for a home-cooked meal of hearty Icelandic meat soup featuring local ingredients.
Overnight in Siglufjordur, where you can enjoy the hotel’s geothermal hot tubs.
Day 5: Godafoss – Hverfjall – Lake Myvatn Wonders
Today’s Hiking Level: 2 (out of 5) Easy
Breakfast at your hotel. The day begins with spectacular views of mountains and coast as you head along the Troll Peninsula and Eyjafjordur fjord. Make a short stop in Akureyri, the colorful “capital” of North Iceland. After some time to enjoy the atmosphere of this charming town, drive to picturesque Godafoss, the ‘Waterfall of the Gods’ before heading to Lake Myvatn Nature Reserve, a geological wonderland of amazing landscape contrasts. With the powerful peaks of Mt. Hverfjall and Krafla volcano as a backdrop, Lake Myvatn has a surprising serenity that is ideal for light hiking. Summertime is peak birding season, so it’s good to have some binoculars on hand to catch diverse species, possibly even the rare Barrow’s golden eye. Begin your Myvatn adventure with a hike to Hverfjall crater. Nearby is Dimmuborgir, where you’ll take a walk among the strange “Dark Castles” with their rugged stacks of towering rocks.
Take a walk through the Martian-like terrain of Namaskard geothermal field. Here you will view boiling fumaroles, brightly colored slopes and violently bubbling pools of mud. The tour will then stop at the Myvatn Nature Baths where you can see how the locals benefit from the geothermal activity. Enjoy the benefits yourself, with a relaxing swim in these azure blue geothermal springs. It’s a relaxing reward for an adventurous day in the outdoors!
Dinner and overnight in the Myvatn area.
Day 6: Asbyrgi - Jokulsargljufur – Dettifoss
Today’s Hiking Level: 2.5 (out of 5) A mix of Easy and Moderate Trails
Breakfast at your hotel. Today you will be hiking in the northern part of Vatnajokull National Park, the largest national park in Western Europe. The park is named after vast Vatnajokull Glacier and covers about 14% of Iceland’s surface. Drive around the fossil-rich Tjornes Peninsula on the edge of the Arctic Circle as you head to Vatnajokull National Park. Your first discovery in the park is the enormous horseshoe-shaped Asbyrgi canyon. According to Norse mythology, the canyon is the hoof-print left by Sleipnir, the god Odinn‘s magical eight-legged horse. Take a trail leading to the bottom of the canyon with views of an enchanting pond as well as an area where you can look over the canyon. Continue onwards to Hljodaklettar or ‘Echo Rocks’, a distinctive cluster of angular rock columns. The unique shape of the rocks creates interesting acoustics and echoes. Hljodaklettar is near Jokulsargljufur, Iceland’s longest canyon. The canyon was carved by a river flowing from Vatnajokull Glacier.
Spend the remainder of your afternoon exploring the lush vegetation and forested areas of Hljodaklettar where stones stand like troll sentinels. (hiking route can be adjusted to the level of the group). The day ends with an unforgettable visit to Europe’s mightiest waterfall, Dettifoss, a thundering cascade of glacial water and mist among shattered cliffs. An easy trail leads you down to the waterfall. Afterwards, return to the Lake Myvatn area for your overnight.
Dinner and overnight in the Myvatn area.
Day 7: Kjolur - Hveravellir – Gullfoss – Geysir
Today’s Hiking Level: 1 (out of 5) Very Easy (Expect to be driving on bumpy roads today – part of the fun!)
Breakfast at your hotel. Today you will head into the wilderness heartland via Kjolur mountain track. This route goes back to Viking times and heads straight through Iceland’s uninhabited interior highlands, passing between the mighty Langjokull and Hofsjokull glaciers. You will see Iceland’s true remoteness and nature at its rawest. This area of black sand deserts has numerous scenic walking paths along the way, dotted with hidden geothermal treasures and green oases. The highlands also hold ghost stories and tales of outlaws, including the famous couple Eyvindur and Halla. Your group will stop at Hveravellir, a multi-coloured geothermal field with a natural pool that is perfect for a relaxing break.
The Kjolur highland route emerges into civilization again in the Gullfoss and Geysir area. Gullfoss, the majestic waterfall of sparkling mist and thundering water, is situated on the Hvita River, which is fed by Iceland’s second largest glacier, Langjokull. The intriguing great Geysir area is nearby, a steamy geothermal field of bubbling mud and high-shooting hot springs.
Dinner and overnight in the Hella area. A perfect way to end the day is a soothing soak in the hotel’s geothermal hot tub and sauna.
Day 8: Day in Landmannalaugar
Today’s Hiking Level: 3 (out of 5) Moderate (Expect some roads you drive on today to be quite bumpy)
Breakfast at your hotel. Iceland’s southern highland wilderness sets a surreal stage for today’s adventure. The uninhabited areas of Landmannalaugar and Fjallabak are a geological paradise with volcanic craters, multi-colored rhyolite mountains, steaming lava fields, and the ominous Hekla volcano. There are many beautiful walking trails in the area, and a crater-filled lake lush with brown trout. Today your guide will choose the best route for your group based on your overall experience level and trail conditions. Hiking times vary based on route chosen.
Afterwards, enjoy the benefits of this geothermal area with a refreshing swim in Landmannalaugar’s hot-spring fed river, one of the most unique natural springs in Iceland.
Overnight in the Hella area. Dinner is on your own.
Day 9: Thorsmork - Seljalandsfoss – Reykjavik
Today’s Hiking Level: 3 (out of 5) Moderate (Expect some roads used today to be quite bumpy)
Breakfast at your hotel. Thorsmork Nature Reserve (also known as the Thor’s Playground) should be on every nature lover’s bucket list. This enchanted hidden valley is nestled between two glaciers and protected by rivers and mountains. On the way Thorsmork, stop at Seljalandsfoss waterfall, where you can gain a different perspective by walking behind the curtain of cascading water. Once within Thorsmork, walk along marked trails in the beautiful scenery of delicate trees and green grass surrounded by towering mountains and glacial tongues. Your guide will choose the best route for your group based on your overall experience level and trail conditions. Hiking times vary based on route chosen.
After a beautiful day here, the tour heads to Reykjavik, arriving around 18:00 (6:00pm)
Overnight stay in Reykjavik. Dinner is on your own.
Day 10: Departure
If your flight is in the afternoon, we recommend taking the time to explore Reykjavik or to enjoy a relaxing dip in the popular Blue Lagoon on your way to Keflavik airport. (Airport transfer not included, but we would be happy to arrange it for you.)
Note: We reserve the right to alter routes without prior notice due to road conditions.