Day 1: Reykjavík - Þórsmörk
Heading south-east we leave the main road to enter the valley of Þórsmörk, a beautiful valley hidden behind the glaciers of the south coast. This fantastic landscape of volcanic tuff has been carved out by the numerous rivers originating from the ice above and is covered with small forests of arctic birch. Going to Þórsmörk is already a small expedition in itself as you need to ford two dozens of glacial rivers. Being the Þórsmörk we stand at the foot of a large volcano covered by the infamous glacier, Eyjafjallajökull. Arrival towards mid-day where we setup camp. In the afternoon, our first exploration of the surroundings.
Driving: 3 - 4 hrs Walking: 3 hrs (accumulated)
Day 2: Valley of Þórsmörk
From our base camp we have many choices for hiking. Your guide will help you choose between the tuff gorge of Stakkholtsgjá, an approach to one of the many glacial tongues of Krossárjökull, the top to bottom green covered mountain of Rjúpnafell formed during a subglacial eruption, the ridge of Stóri-Endi with overhangs and strangely shaped rocks, the valley of the Trolls, the Church of the Elves that contains a crater cavity shaped like a church nave, and many more possibilities. Night at the same camp.
Driving: none Walking: 6-7 hrs.
Day 3: Seljalandsfoss – Skógafoss – Vík – Skaftafell
From Þórsmörk we return to the main road and continue east. Along the way we stop at the beautiful waterfall Seljalandsfoss, which you can walk behind, and the impressive Skógafoss. After that we stop in Reynisfjara where we have the opportunity to admire magnificent basaltic columns right next to the ocean. From May to June Reynisfjall hosts a large colony of friendly and picturesque puffins. We continue eastward through the village of Vík, where also in summer we can discover the country's largest arctic tern colony. A walk to the black sand beach is dominated by coastal cliffs and rocky needles protruding from the ocean. After a stop on the major flood plains of Mýrdalssandur the road crosses the vast lava fields of Eldhraun, which was one of the greatest lava flows of historic times. We arrive in the Skaftafell National Park in late afternoon. Setup camp for the night.
Driving: 8 hrs. (including stops) Walking: Small breaks during transfer.
Day 4: Skaftafell National Park
This beautiful park sits at the foot of Europe’s largest glacier Vatnajökull. It is a green oasis of arctic birch decorated with flowers, valleys, waterfalls and rivers surrounded by mountains and glaciers. Overlooking the park is Iceland’s highest peak Hvannadalshnúkur, an enormous glacial mountain that rises 2,110 meters above sea level. From Skaftafell we can also see all the way to the ocean across the immense black flood plain of Skeiðarársandur. Our climb of the day leads us to the peaks of Kristínartindar, a breathtaking view of all the park’s glaciers descending from the highest peaks of the country. Night at the same campsite.
Driving: none Walking: 5-7 hrs.
Day 5: Jökulsárlón
By bus we head to Jökulsárlón, a glacial lake dotted with icebergs that calve from the massive Breiðamerkurjökull, one of the wonders of this region. There is hiking around the lagoon and along the beach, both areas are frequented by sea lions. Optional boat tour among the icebergs (Price: 5000 ISK). Return again to Skaftafell afterwards. Night at the same campsite.
Driving: 2 hrs. Walking: 2 – 3 hrs.
Optional (not included in price) on Day 4 or 5:
- Climbing to the highest point of Iceland Hvannadalshnúkur with a summit guide: 42 900 ISK.
- Excursion onto the Svínafellsjökull glacier, led by a glacier guide: 2.5 hours (price: 11 900 ISK) or 4 hours (16 900 ISK).
Day 6: Eldgjá – Landmannalaugar
Spectacular bus transfer from Skaftafell to Landmannalaugar as we head back west. After the village of Kirkjubæjarklaustur the road turns inland towards Eldgjá. The "canyon of fire" probably dates back to 934 according to ash and ice core samples carried out in Greenlandic glaciers. The eruption was shown to have been as powerful as Laki in 1783. Eldgjá is only a small section of the long mid-Atlantic rift, which for the last 200 million years has been slowly pulling America and Europe apart. Under the pressure of the lava, the rift diverges here at an average speed of about 2.5 cm per year. A hike into the canyon brings us to Ófærufoss, a waterfall whose waters plunge in two majestic leaps into the depths of the Eldgjá fault. We continue on to Landmannalaugar where a colorful landscape of ochre yellow to reddish or blueish inclusions awaits us. There is bathing in the hot spring close by to end the day. Setup camp at the campsite.
Driving: 5 hrs total (including stop at Eldgjá) Walking: 3 (accumulated)
Day 7: Landmannalaugar and the Torfajökull massif
Walking day to explore some of the many trails of Landmannalaugar. In addition to its high geothermal activity, Landmannalaugar is particularly interesting for its great variety of volcanic formations. Rhyolite domes and casts of acid rock situated side by side with cinder cones, explosive craters, pseudo-craters and crater lakes. In the vicinity lies the caldera of Torfajökull, its name describing a small glacier that lies outside of the caldera itself but nonetheless has quite strong thermal activity. It composes of the largest area of silicic rock in Iceland. The day ends with a bath in the hot springs! Night at the same camp as before.
Driving: none Walking: 6 hrs.
Day 8: Landmannalaugar - Reykjavík
Last hike and swim in Landmannalaugar. In the early afternoon, we head by bus westwards back to Reykjavík through the valley of Dómadalur. The drive will take us past Hekla, Iceland’s most active volcano. Arrival at the end of the afternoon in Reykjavík.
Driving: 4 hrs. Walking: 2 - 3 hrs