Day 1: Reykjavík - Snæfellsnes Peninsula
Departure from Reykjavík in the morning, as we set course to west Iceland and Snæfellsnes, a volcanic peninsula that stretches out from the Icelandic west coast and is divided by a chain of mountains that lies from east to west (in the darkest days of December and January this hike may have to be omitted because of the short daylight hours). We stop at the hamlet of Arnarstapi for a short walk among the basaltic rock formations before heading to Djúpalónssandur beach. At Djúpalónssandur the lava formations run all the way to the sea creating a unique landscape. There we also find 4 big lifting-stones that in the old times fishermen use to measure their strength, and to see if men were fit for a space on a fishing boat! Night in a guest house.
Driving: 3-4 hrs total Walking: 2-3 hrs total (accumulated)
Day 2: Snæfellsnes-Borgarfjörður-Þingvellir
Turning back east we head to the beautiful Borgarfjörður region. This is the home of Deildartunguhver, the most powerful hot spring in Iceland (and even in Europe) and the lush waterfalls of Hraunfossar a row of waterfalls that emerge from underneath the lava field, and Barnafoss. We then head over to Þingvelllir N.P. the site of the old Parliament and the birthplace of democracy in Iceland. The park is now a UNESCO World Heritage site. In addition to the historical importance, the location is wonderful, a beautiful lake skirted by a small canyon that in fact is a part of the Mid-Atlantic rift. We spend the rest of our day here. Night in a hostel in the Laugarvatn area.
Driving: 4-5hrs total Walking: 2-3 hrs total
Day 3: Gullfoss - Geysir - Fljótshlíð
The day begins with a visit of two of Iceland’s most famous natural treasures the waterfall Gullfoss and the Geysir hot spring area. The famous hot spring is the namesake of all sprouting hot springs, and his neighbor, the reliable Strokkur geyser, spouts hot water up as high as 15 - 30 m, every 5 – 10 min. We make our way through the farmlands of the south and make a few scenic stops with short hikes before we head inland again to the Fljótshlíð area where we find our guesthouse for the night.
Driving: 4 hrs total Walking: 2-3 hrs total
Day 4: Gígjökull -Seljalandsfoss - Vík - Fjaðrárgljúfur – Skaftafell
Today we continue on our way east and our first stop is at the waterfalls Seljalandsfoss (where it is possible to walk behind the waterfall if it is not too icy). If conditions allow we continue on the route for Þorsmörk and make our way to the glacier of Gígjökull, an outlet glacier that falls down from the Eyjafjallajökull Crater. After we head on to Vík. Optional is a stop at the new Eruption Center at Þorvaldseyri farm, right under the Eyjafjallajökull volcano, for a short documentary on the 2010 eruption (price approx 5€). At Vík we take a short walk on the black beaches, admiring the power and beauty of the Atlantic Ocean a refreshing stop before the last part of road east. The high cliffs dominate the black beach below and just off the coast pillars of rock rise up from the Ocean’s surface. Legend says that these are trolls that turned into stone after staying up past sunrise... After a drive over the vast sand desert of the south and the lava field of Eldhraun, one of the biggest lave flow coming from one single eruption, we take a short walk at the gorgeous Fjaðrárgljúfur Canyon in the late afternoon. Night in a guest house.
Driving: 4 hrs total Walking: 2-3 hrs total
Day 5: Skaftafell NP- Jökulsárlón Glacier Lake
Today we take our vehicle east to reach the Jökulsárlón Glacier Lake, one of the marvelous features of this region, a lake scattered with Icebergs that break off from the great Breiðamerkurjökull glacier. In the early afternoon we come back to Skaftafell to further explore the hiking trails of this magnificent park at the foot of the mighty Vatnajökull glacier, the largest glacier in Europe. It is a green oasis covered with arctic birch, and colorful valleys, rivers, waterfalls and flowers decorate the landscape, in contrast with the mountains surrounding it on one side and looking over sandy plains of Skeiðarársandur where in 1996 an impressive flood caused by a volcanic eruption under the Vatnajökull glacier took place. A Glacier Walk on Svínafellsjökull outlet glacier is optional (price approx. 48€). Night in a guest house.
Driving: 2-2h30 total Walking: 4-5 hrs total
Day 6: Skaftafell-Hot Spring Hike-Reykjavík
Even though we have some route to cover back to Reykjavík we will make a few interesting stops along the way. One of these stops is at Reynisfjara where the basaltic formations of the ocean cliffs tower impressively over the beach. Continuing on we pass through the villages of the south coast and just of the geothermal village of Hveragerði we go for a hike among the numerous hot springs and boiling mud pools of Grændalur. A magical place. Arrival in Reykjavik in the afternoon.
Driving: 4-5 hrs total Walking: 2-3 hrs total
This schedule may change due to weather and conditions.