The Saga of Volcanoes and Fjords – T60P

Tour type: Discovery adventure with sightseeing and easy hikes.

Difficulty:

EASY

HARD

Price from:  

Adult: 465.000

  • JAN
  • FEB
  • MAR
  • APR
  • MAY
  • JUN
  • JUL
  • AUG
  • SEP
  • OCT
  • NOV
  • DEC

Departures: July, August

Duration: 12 days

Accommodation: Sleeping bag accommodation in hostel or mountain hut

Pick up: Pickup from hotel or guesthouse in Reykjavik from 08:30 in the morning

Group size: 5-12 participants

Walking per day: 1-7 hours

Note: Participants are picked up and dropped off at accommodation in Reykjavík before and after the tour

  • Tour Description

    Highlights of the Tour

    • Picturesque glaciers, volcanoes, fjords and mountains.
    • Crossing the island through the great volcanic rift.
    • The mountainous West Fjords.
    • Numerous open air swimming possibilities in natural hot water.

    Discover the many different and impressive landscapes that Iceland has to offer.

    The immense glaciers of Skaftafell, shimmering colors of Landmannalaugar, landscapes of desert and volcanoes at Sprengisandur, continental drifts and historic parliament at Þingvellir, the mazes of the mountainous West Fjords and of course many other mountains, geysers, hot springs, waterfalls, lakes and volcanoes!  You have arrived in Iceland. The journey begins with a discovery of the entire south coast along the Atlantic Ocean.  It continues by crossing the wilderness of the interior along the direction of the great rift.  There we discover the complete composition of volcanic landscapes: colored hills, immense ash deserts, lava flows, giant calderas, and the geothermal activity in Landmannalaugar and Mývatn.  Those sceneries change in the West Fjords with the closeness of the ocean, serene landscapes and a multitude of seabirds.  Before returning to Reykjavík, the tour finishes off with the volcanic peninsula of Snæfellsnes, which is dominated by the glacier-covered Snæfellsjökull volcano.  This journey is ideal for discovering the different faces of Iceland.

    Included in price: Guide for 12 days, vehicle transportation for 12 days, food for 12 days (from lunch on day 1 to lunch day 12), sleeping bag accommodation in a hostel or a mountain hut.

    Not included in price:  Anything not mentioned above.

    Minimum age: 14 years 

    Note: For this tour to be confirmed, the minimum number of passengers has to be met. If the tour is not confirmed you will get a full refund.

    Available upon request: Accommodation in Reykjavík.

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  • Tour Itinerary

    Day 1: Þingvellir National Park - Geysir - Gullfoss - Seljalandsfoss and Skógafoss - Vík 

    Today we visit some of Iceland´s most beloved sites. The first stop will be at the World Heritage Site Þingvellir National Park. This is where, in the early 10th century, a national assembly was established in the dramatic landscapes created by the Mid Atlantic Ocean ridge that surfaces in this area.  After exploring the area on foot we continue to the geothermal area Geysir. It is believed that the international name “geyser”, a rare phenomenon of water violently and intermittently, discharging from the ground, originates from here.   After the next stop at Gullfoss, the mighty “Golden Waterfall,” we continue our journey to the south coast.  Along the way we stop at the beautiful waterfall Seljalandsfoss, which you can walk behind, and the impressive waterfall of Skógafoss.  We continue eastward through the village of Vík, where in May and June 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. Sleeping bag accomodation in a hostel/a mountain hut. 
    Driving: 4 hrs. total                         Walking: 3 hrs. total (accumulated)

    Day 2: Skaftafell - Jökulsárlón

    Heading eastward along the coast, the road crosses the major flood plains of Mýrdalssandur and the vast lava fields of Eldhraun, which was one of the greatest lava flows of historic times.  Passing Skaftafell we head to Jökulsárlón, a glacial lake dotted with icebergs that calve from the massive Breiðamerkurjökull, one of the wonders of this region.  We will do some hiking along the lake.  Optional boat tour among the icebergs (Price: 5000 ISK).  With a return to Skaftafell our first exploration of the area will depend on the time of arrival.  This magnificent park at the foot of the largest glacier in Europe, Vatnajökull, is overlooked by Iceland’s highest peak Hvannadalshnúkur. Sleeping bag accomodation in a hostel/a mountain hut. 
    Driving: 3 hrs. total                         Walking: 3 - 4 hrs. total (accumulated)

     Optional:

    • A boat trip on the lagoon Jökulsárlón: 5 000 ISK.
    • An excursion (2.5 h) in crampons on the glacier Svinafellsjökull accompanied by a glacier guide: 11 900 ISK.

    Day 3: Skaftafell National Park – Landmannalaugar

    In the morning we hike in the Skaftafell National Park, a green oasis of arctic birch surrounded by steep mountains and powerful glacier tongues.  Decorated with colorful valleys, rivers, waterfalls and flowers it rises above the vast black flood plains of Skeiðarársandur.  We ascend to the waterfall of Svartifoss, a cliff of basaltic columns.  Returning to the vehicle we drive 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 is shown to have been as powerful as the one in 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.  We continue on to Landmannalaugar where a colorful landscape of ochre yellow to reddish or blueish inclusions awaits us. Sleeping bag accomodation a mountain hut. 
    Driving:  4 - 5 hrs. total                         Walking: 3 – 4 hrs. total (accumulated) 

    Day 4: Landmannalaugar

    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.  The day ends with a bath in the hot springs! Sleeping bag accomodation a mountain hut. 
    Driving: none                         Walking: 6 – 7 hrs.total (accumulated)

    Day 5: Sprengisandur

    Departing from Landmannalaugar, our first stop of the day is the Ljótipollur crater.  Formed during a series of eruptions that shook the region at the end of the 15th century, this crater is over a kilometer long and carries a beautiful lake surrounded by black and red walls. After that we travel towards the basaltic ash desert of Sprengisandur.  This barren landscape sits between Vatnajökull, the largest glacier in Europe (8100 km²), and Hofsjökull, the country’s third biggest (950 km²).  This desert’s closest comparison is perhaps the moon as it contains no traces of plant life sometimes for stretches of kilometers.  In the middle of the country we pass the foot of the Tungnafellsjökull glacier that lies within the valley of Nýidalur, home to a variety of beautiful arctic flowers. Sleeping bag accomodation a mountain hut. 
    Driving: 4 - 5 hrs.                          Walking: short walks

    Day 6: Nýidalur - Mývatn

    Continuing our journey along the track north, the landscape becomes even more vast and desert-like.  The track leads us to the beautiful and powerful waterfall of Aldeyjarfoss, a waterfall that crosses a cliff of basaltic columns.  Here we hike to a second waterfall nearby.   After that we head towards Lake Mývatn, a unique harmonic sanctuary for geologists and ornithologists.  Our first discovery of the site will depend on the time of arrival. Sleeping bag accomodation in a hostel/a mountain hut. 
    Driving: 4 - 5 hrs.                          Walking: 2-3 hrs.

    Day 7: Mývatn

    There is so much to see!  This clear water lake is surrounded by the Mývatn region’s many concentrated volcanic formations.  Amongst others the Krafla volcano, with strings of volcanic fissures and vast lava flows, erupted nine times between 1975 and 1984.  We also find the enormous explosive crater Hverfjall, the crater of Víti, Námaskarð and its boiling water pots, and the bizarre erosions of Dimmuborgir.  The pseudo-craters of Skútustaðir are truly unique as they are not real craters.  With no chimney and underground lava system, these pseudo-craters were formed when lava flowed over the lake thus resulting a build-up of giant steam bubbles, which then created these craters after finally bursting.  Optional bathing in Mývatn Nature Baths, Jarðböðin (approx. price: ISK 4 000 per person). Sleeping bag accomodation in a hostel/a mountain hut. 
    Driving: 0,5 - 1 hrs.                          Walking: 5-7 hrs. 

    Day 8: Mývatn - Góðafoss - Akureyri - Laxárdalsheiði - Þurranes

    Onwards to Akureyri, the capital of the North, located at the bottom of the longest fjord in the country, Eyjafjörður.  Along the way we will make a stop at Goðafoss, a vast curtain of water cut in half by huge rocks known as the “Waterfall of the Gods.”  With almost 20,000 inhabitants, Akureyri is the second largest city in the country.  The city offers a beautiful city center and a rich botanical garden with 400 out of 950 of Iceland’s indigenous plants. After a short tour of the city, we again head west.  After the pass of Laxárdalsheiði, we descend slowly towards the great fjord of Hvammsfjörður.   On the other side of a small peninsula past the fjord we arrive at our accommodation. Sleeping bag accomodation in a hostel/a mountain hut. 
    Driving:  5 hrs.                        Walking:  short walks. 

    Day 9: The West Fjords

    Throughout the day, as we cross a dozen of fjords, the road generally hugs the coastline.  Stopping on a peninsula west of Djúpifjörður we discover the beach and the numerous sea birds, various species of ducks and waders roaming around.  Continuing down the road past the great Barðaströnd beach, a crossing of another peninsula brings us to the deep fjord of Patreksfjörður.  Now it’s time to turn off the main road and head to Breiðavík where our accommodation for the next two nights awaits us.  Here we find ourselves at most western point of Iceland! Sleeping bag accomodation in a hostel/a mountain hut. 
    Driving:  4 hrs.                        Walking:  Small breaks during transfer. 

    Day 10: Látrabjarg

    This day is dedicated to the discovery of the enormous cliffs of the area, which at times exceed 400 meters in height and over 15 kilometers long.  Home to many European birds, the cliffs are filled with sea birds in tens of thousands such as puffins, guillemots, razorbills, and northern gannets.  Bjargtangar lighthouse, at the end of the cliff, is the western most point of Europe. Sleeping bag accomodation in a hostel/a mountain hut. 
    Driving:    1 hrs.                      Walking:  5-6 hrs. 

    Day 11: The "bay of a thousand islands" - Grundarfjörður

    Heading back we cross the small chain of mountains constituting the backbone of the peninsula to arrive in the fjord of Vatnsfjörður.  From here we take the ferry to cross the bay of Breidafjörður, known as the "bay of a thousand islands" as it bears its name from the hundreds of islets that occupy the bay.  Disembarking at the beautiful village of Stykkishólmur we then continue on towards Grundarfjörður. Sleeping bag accomodation in a hostel/a mountain hut. 
    Driving: 5 hrs. (including ferry transfer)                      Walking: 1-2 hrs., about 3 hrs. ferry transfer. 

    Day 12: Snæfellsnes Peninsula

    Exploring the tip of the Snæfellsnes peninsula our view is dominated by the magnificent Snæfellsjökull volcano and its glaciers.  It is the volcano that Jules Verne described in his novel, Journey into the Center of the Earth, as the entrance into the depths of the Earth.  We spend part of the visit in the Snæfellsjökull National Park and then in the former fishing center of Djúpalónssandur, where sailors and fishermen used to test their strengths on three different sized rocks still lying on the beach today.  Then, we take the famous trail along the coast between Hellnar and Arnarstapi, a chaotic lava field beaten by countless waves.  In the late afternoon we drive back to Reykjavík.
    Driving:  3 hrs.                        Walking: 4 hrs.

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  • Equipment List

    For your own wellbeing and safety, we strongly suggest following the advice of our equipment list, which includes having good quality rain-gear tops and bottoms! Also, please understand that cotton clothing is not appropriate for any strenuous outdoor activity – this includes jeans and t-shirts. Modern outdoor clothing is by far more comfortable and will greatly improve your experience. 

    Boots and Clothing:

    • Hiking boots – light hiking boots with waterproofing and ankle support are preferred. 
    • Long and short sleeve thermal underwear – Wool or synthetic. 
    • Rain Jacket with a good hood– Preferably waterproof and breathable material. 
    • Hiking pants.
    • Rain trousers – Waterproof and breathable material. 
    • Gloves – Wool or synthetic.
    • Socks – two to three pairs of hiking socks - Wool or synthetic.
    • Warm hat – Wool or synthetic. 

    Other gear:

    • Backpack for clothes and items used during the day. Size: 20-30 litres. 
    • Duffel bag for your overnight gear, preferably not a suit-case.  
    • Towel – A light weight and packable one. 
    • Sunglasses and sun protection. 
    • Water bottle. 
    • Casual clothes / change of clothes.
    • Prescription medication and other personal health items.
    • Toiletries; Toothbrush, toothpaste, soap etc. 
    • Swim suit (depends on tour). 
    • Tours in huts: 
    • Sleeping bag – A basic sleeping bag with no specific temperature rating is sufficient for summer tours. Good summer sleeping bag will do for winter tours in huts (depending on tour). 
    • Earplugs 
    • Headlamp for reading and getting around the hut. 

    Optional gear:

    • Walking pole(s). 
    • Pen knife. 
    • Sun/rain Hat or a Cap. 
    • Thermal mat (for lunch breaks). 
    • Camera, spare batteries and a memory card or films. 
    • Puffy jacket to throw on during stops (e.g. Primaloft or down) 
    • Slippers for indoor use. 
    • Aperitif or other heart-warming spirits.

    Should you have any questions regarding this equipment list or the equipment on our tours feel free to contact incoming@mountainguides.is.

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  • Map
  • Departure Dates
    Tour Dates Availability
    03.07.2017 Available Select
    17.07.2017 Confirmed Departure Select
    31.07.2017 Confirmed Departure Select
    28.08.2017 Available Select

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