Trails of the East - IMG349

Tour type: A combination of a trekking and lightweight backpacking tour

Difficulty:

EASY

HARD

Price from:  

Adult: 287.000

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What's included: Guide, food for 9 days, transportation, mountain hut fees, hostel, cooking gear and transfer of luggage during the first part of the tour

Departures: July and August

Duration: 9 days

Accommodation: Hostel and Mountain Huts

Meeting point: Starts at Egilsstaðir domestic airport and ends in Höfn

Minimum Age: 16 years

Group size: 6 -15 participants

Language: English, German and French

Walking per day: 5 - 8 hours

  • Tour Description

    Highlights of the Tour

    • Dyrfjöll and Stórurð
    • Loðmundarfjörður and Seyðisfjörður
    • Tröllakrókar Cliffs

    East Iceland Trekking

    East Iceland Trekking are tours that combine some of the best hiking and sights of east and southeast Iceland. They are made up of three parts that each has its own characteristics and charm. They all have in common stunning landscapes and variety in color. You will hike over green hills and between small coves, venture into one of Iceland ‘s most remote wildernesses and visit a world of glaciers and ice. With the three different parts, you may choose one section of the trek, combine two or three parts, or hike the whole East Iceland Trekking tour from the deserted farmland of the eastern coves, through the wilderness east of Vatnajökull glacier and to Skaftafell.

    On this tour you combine the Hiking at the End of the World trek and the lightweight  backpacking tour In the Shadow of Vatnajökull for a complete experience of East Iceland. It starts with an assisted trek along the coast and between the deserted inlets of the Víknaslóðir area, a land of colorful hills and green valleys where the ocean is always close by. Each day the trail takes you between fjords and coves, over colorful hills and green valleys. The huts are located close to the ocean perfect for an evening walks along the beach. After an night in Egilsstaðir the second part of the trek  starts by transfer to Eyjabakkar just north of Vatnajökull from where the trail takes you into the highlands east of the Vatnajökull glacier. Here the trail lies through an area where the colors characteristic of the rhyolitic rocks offer a real feast for eyes. This part is a lightweight backpacking trek and you need  to carry your luggage and some fresh food but the mountain huts have sleeping bags and some supplies. This is an extraordinary combination of two unique tours to one of Icelands most remote and untouched regions. A feast for both the eyes and minds of hikers looking for pure wilderness!

    Total distance: 125 kilometers (78 miles)
    Altitude: 20-800 meters (65-2625 feet)
    Maximum ascent: 600 m (1970 feet)

    Included: Guide for 9 days, food during the tour (from lunch day 1 to lunch day 9). Transportation: Transportation from Egilsstaðir to the Eastern Fjords, from the Eastern Fjords to Egilsstaðir and from Lón to Höfn and transfer of luggage during part 1 of the tour. Accommodation: Sleeping bag accommodation (hostel and mountain huts), Sleeping bags are included in the mountain huts on the second part of the tour, passengers are advised to bring sleeping bag liners.

    Meeting point: The tour starts in Egilsstaðir and ends at Höfn (for option including domestic flights the tour begins and ends at the domestic airport in Reykjavík). Meeting time at the domestic airport in Reykjavík at 6:45 am. Pick up from hotel or guest house can be added for an extra fee.

    Price with domestic flights: 333.000 ISK. You can add a pick up and drop off at your accommodation in Reykjavík at the beginning/end of the tour for 5.000 ISK.

    Minimum age: 16 years

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  • Tour Itinerary

    Day 1: Reykjavík – Egilsstaðir – Borgarfjörður Eystri
    Meet the guide at the domestic airport in Reykjavik for an early morning flight to Egilsstaðir and transfer towards Borgarfjörður Eystri, about 90 km (56 mi). Shortly before starting the climb over the pass to Borgarfjörður we get off the bus and start the day´s hike. The path leads to Stórurð, a little oasis hidden below the magnificent Dyrfjöll mountain range. There in amazing scenery will be the setting for our lunch. We then continue our hike and make our way up along the northern side of the mountains, to Njarðvík where we will be picked up for transfer to the little village of Bakkagerði. After dinner it is ideal to wander around this little village.
    Distance: 18km (11mi)                     
    Walking time: 6-8 hrs          
    Ascent/Descent: 600m (1970')/800m (2625') 

    Day 2: Borgarfjörður Eystri – Brúnavík – Breiðavík
    Today the path leads us over a pass and down into the inlet of Brúnavík. Here we can enjoy the waves of the North Atlantic for a while before heading up into the valley and over the magnificent pass of Súluskarð where the colors of the adjacent hills and mountaintops provide a colorful feast for the eyes. From Súluskarð we head down into Kjólsvík inlet and from there over the low pass of Kjólsvíkurvarp down into Breiðavík inlet, the biggest one of these deserted inlets.
    Distance: 14km (9mi)                       
    Walking time: 7-9 hrs          
    Ascent/Descent: 400m (1315')/400m (1315') 

    Day 3: Breiðavík – Húsavík
    We leave the colorful valley of Breiðavík and hike over the mountains, our destination the inlet of Húsavík. If weather permits we will climb the mountain Hvítserkur, one of the most amazing and colorful mountains of Iceland before descending into the narrow valley leading to the hut at Húsavík. A delightful evening walk down to the beach, to visit the quaint little church that was in full service until the early seventies is possible after dinner.
    Distance: 13km (8mi)                       
    Walking time: 5-7 hrs          
    Ascent/Descent: 550m (1800')/500m (1640')

    Day 4: Húsavík – Loðmundarfjörður
    Today we continue to the valley of Loðmundarfjörður fiord. This impressive valley was home to close to a hundred people at the turn of the 20th century due to rich farmlands and accessible fishing grounds. The surrounding mountains add certain magnificence to the scene and the hike leads us through the massive Loðmundarskriður, formed thousands of years ago when the adjacent mountain literally burst forth. The hut where we spend the night is at the bottom of the fjord close to an old church.
    Distance: 15km (9 mi)                       
    Walking time: 5-7 hrs          
    Ascent/Descent: 600m (1970')/600m (1970') 

    Day 5: Loðmundarfjörður – Seyðisfjörður  –  Egilsstaðir
    The last day of our hike takes us along the old path over Hjálmárdalsheiði, which over the centuries used to be the main thoroughfare between the Loðmundarfjörður farmlands and the Seyðisfjörður harbor and trading post. As we ascend, the mountaintops of the southern fiords come into sight and once we get to the pass of Hall, the fiord of Seyðisfjörður is in full view, very different from the fiords and inlets we have left behind. Descending into Seyðisfjörður we enjoy the breathtaking panoramas of this long and narrow fiord surrounded by majestic mountains. Once we get down to the main road we get onto the bus that takes us back to Egilsstaðir where we arrive in the late afternoon. We have time to sort our luggage and pack what we need for the next 5 days backpacking trek. The rest of our luggage will be sent to Höfn the next day. Night at a hostel in Egilstaðir.
    Distance: 15km (9mi)                       
    Walking time: 5-7 hrs          
    Ascent/Descent: 600m (1970')/600m (1970') 

    Day 6:  Egilsstaðir – Geldingafell
    Morning transfer into the Eyjabakkar area, located east of Mt. Snæfell from where we start our hike. On this first day we follow the Eyjabakkar, the impressive riverbanks of the glacial river Jökulsá. Mt. Snæfell sits majestically on the other side of the river, perhaps even with a cover of snow. We turn east towards Geldingafell mountain at the edge of the great Vatnajökull glacier and the lush vegetation of the riverbanks gives way to the rough areas shaped by the receding glacier where the reindeer roam. Accommodation in a fully equipped hut.
    Distance: 15km (9.5mi)                    
    Walking time: 6-8 hrs                       
    Ascent: 150 m (490') 

    Day 7:  Geldingafell – Egilssel
    Today we hike over the mountain of Geldingafell for excellent views over the Vatnajökull glacier as well as the outlet glaciers of the area and adjacent glacier lagoons. We then follow the top of the valley of Vesturdalur before descending down to lake Kollumúlavatn where pintails can often be heard and even seen. Accommodation in a fully equipped hut, Egilssel, on the lake.
    Distance: 15km (9.5mi)                   
    Walking time: 6-8 hrs                       
    Ascent/Descent: 300 m (980')/500m (1640’) 

    Day 8:  Egilssel – Múlaskáli

    Circling the lake we come to the Tröllakrókahnaus an interesting outcrop of columnar basalt, located on the impressive Tröllakrókar cliffs. Making our way along the cliffs´ edges we enjoy the stunning views of the rock formations as well as the views to the surrounding mountains. The monotony of the basaltic landscapes soon gives way to the colorful landscapes of the rhyolite where the purple, orange and even pink colors come as a real surprise. We continue down into the valley of the glacial river Jökulsá í Lóni arriving at our hut for the night.

    Distance: 12km (7.5mi)                    
    Walking time: 5-7 hrs                       
    Ascent/Descent: 200m (650')/450m (1450’) 

    Day 9:  Múlaskáli – Eskifell – Hornafjörður
    We start by crossing the glacial river on a foot bridge before climbing the hill of Illikambur. We should enjoy the colors of the surrounding slopes on our way up as on top yet another landscape awaits us. Following the glacial river Jökulsá í Lóni we make our way south to the old farmstead of Eskifell. Just after we cross the mighty glacial river on a foot bridge a bus awaits to brong us to Hornafjörður.
    Distance: 11km (7.0 mi)                   
    Walking time: 6-8 hrs                       
    Ascent/Descent: 250 m (820')/300m (980’)

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  • Gear Lexicon

    Trekking Tours

    Trekking tour - definition:

    Hiking tour where all the overnight gear it transported from one camp-site/hut to the next. You will only need to carry your daypack during each days hike. Your daypack should only contain a small amount of extra clothing for the day (rain gear, puffy jacket etc.), sunglasses, and river crossing gear, sunblock and food and water for the day.


    Hiking Boots:

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    Scarpa Hekla

    Sturdy hiking boots with good ankle support. Leather or synthetic with a waterproof membrane, e.g. Gore-Tex. Make sure they are a good fit, leaving some space for your toes – and wear them in, even if it is just by light hiking in the city.


    Long sleeve- / T-shirt (thermal underwear):

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    Bergans Merino

    A thin base layer (next to skin). The most popular is merino wool – comfortable to wear for multiple days without the smell of synthetic materials. Most people should be fine with the same merino shirt on for 2 – 3 days. Having short and long sleeve is great for adjusting to different weather conditions. A sleeveless shirt (merino wool) can also be a good addition for a base layer as well as a sports bra for the women.


    Light wool or fleece sweater:

    This is your regular insulation layer for hiking during the day. Options from Merino wool are available as well as the standard fleece jacket. Not too thick for summertime use, but consider layering with two jackets or a jacket and a vest – that way you will be prepared for any type of weather.


    Trousers – softshell:

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    Soft shell is strong and durable, wind resistant and quick drying. Perfect for hiking pants. Some might consider a thin base-layer for extra insulation on colder days. If you have a thinner trousers consider having long-johns handy for cold days.


    Jacket with a good hood (wind and waterproof):

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    ME Manaslu

    A good “hard-shell” jacket with a large protective hood. Gore-Tex membrane or similar to keep you dry. Make sure it is not too tight and that you can fit insulation underneath. Note that a soft-shell jacket is a great addition but will not replace a good waterproof hard-shell when you really, really need one! Good rain gear – tops and bottoms are mandatory on all our tours. 


    Rain trousers – wind and waterproof:

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    Good rain pants are absolutely compulsory in Iceland. They should be lightweight – as they are in the backpack most of the time. If they have zip-up legs to ease getting into it is a big bonus. Make sure they are breathable and strong enough to take some abuse from walking.  We often see cheap rain pants come apart on the seams. Gore-Tex or similar waterproof breathing membrane is appropriate. Good rain gear – tops and bottoms are mandatory on all our tours.


    Gloves:

    A light pair of fleece or wool gloves or mittens does the job. You can also take a pair of ski-gloves or other wind and waterproof shell gloves. Having an extra pair is recommended, and then of different thickness.


    Socks:

    Wool is definitely the preferred material for hiking socks. Different blends are available. If you are prone to blisters or have new boots you might consider wearing a thin liner sock underneath your hiking socks. Make sure you have a few pairs of socks to keep your feet dry and in good conditions.


    Warm hat:

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    ME Knitted beanie

    A normal ski-hat/beanie is perfect. You could also use a thick buff. As an extra a buff is also nice to have, you can use it to protect your neck and face when needed or as a thinner option for a hat.


    Duffel-bag:

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    ME Wet & Dry bag

    Your overnight gear is going to be transported from hut-to-hut and space is limited. We therefore ask you to pack your gear in a soft bag rather than a regular hard suite case. A 70 - 80L bag should be more than enough for all your extra kit including a sleeping bag.  If it is reasonably waterproof that is a big bonus.


    Backpack / day-pack:

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    Love Alpine AirZone Trek 30L

    You will need a nice daypack to carry your extra clothes, river crossing shoes and food and water for the day. Having a compartment for smaller items like sun screen and sunglasses is also good. The pack will never be heavy but a bit of padding on the shoulder- and hip straps is good. Unless you have some bulky personal needs like photographic equipment then you should be fine with a 30L pack.


    River shoes:

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    Keen Newport Sandal

    An old pair of running shoes will do just fine. Closed hiking sandals or neoprene kayaking shoes will also work great.  Any quick drying shoe with a good sole that can be securely attached to the foot will do. Loose slippers, flip-flops etc. are not acceptable.
    A good addition to your river crossing shoes are neoprene socks – see Neoprene socks.


    Neoprene Socks:

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    Neoprene socks

    A good addition to your river crossing shoes are neoprene socks – they should go well above the ankles and the best once have welded seams. You will be able to do most of your river crossings without them, but it is just so much nicer with them. They should be a tight fit, but not too tight to get one when wet.


    Sleeping bag:

    The mountain-huts during the summer are usually warm, although not heated during the night. Any old sleeping bag will therefore do, unless you get cold easily. For temperature control having a full length zipper is great. A liner bag is also a very nice addition and will improve your ability to regulate your head during the night.  If you are doing a winter trip or summer camping a 3 season sleeping bag would be sufficient. All the huts we use have mattresses on the beds so no need to bring your own for hut trips.


    Towel:

    To save weight and bulk, a light weight microfiber towel is ideal. You might like a big one for drying off after a swim and a small one for drying your feet after river crossings.


    Sunglasses and sun protection:

    Believe it or not, you will need those things in Iceland. There are no big issues with sun, so a high SPF rating for sun block is not an issue unless you plan to be on a glacier or on snow. You should have a small bottle to save weight in your pack. Likewise; any pair if sunglasses would be sufficient – but make sure you pack them. If you plan to be in snow or on ice a pair of glasses with a high UV (close to 100%) and/or cat (3 – 4) rating and side shields will be appropriate.


    Water container / thermos flask:

    In Iceland you can drink from the stream, no filters, not iodine or chlorine! It is good to have a small water bottle at hand. For most days a 0,5 – 1L bottle should be plenty as water is easily found all over. If you are a warm drinker we will be happy to fill up your thermos in the morning and a selection of teas will be available (very dedicated tea drinkers often bring an emergency stash of their favourite brand).


    Head-lamp:

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    Even though the summer night is bright the inside of the hut might not be. A headlamp is also useful for a bit of reading. There are plenty of options available for LED head lamps that are just perfect for reading and getting around the hut. A small flash-light will also do the job. Most LED headlamps have more than enough light for our purposes and the battery life is so good that one set will do for your Iceland trip.


    Casual clothes / change of clothes:

    Once in the hut it is good to be able to change out of your trekking gear. Even if we do not like you to wear jeans during the hike you are welcome to wear them in the hut in the evening - same with a cotton T-shirt. If it is could a warm jumper or an extra fleece jacket is always nice. Few pairs of comfy socks and some fresh underwear.  Avoid bringing to much extra clothing – life in the mountains is simple and nice, so one pair of extra pants, warm jumper and a few t-shirts and briefs should do the job just fine.


    Personal first-aid-kit:

    The guides on our tours will have a first aid kit available. It is still nice to have some small items to be self-sufficient with minor things. Band-Aid, Compeed for blisters, pain killers and/or anti-inflammatory drugs.


    Personal items:

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    Make sure to have all your prescription medication with you, if you have any medical condition that could in any way affect you during the trip make sure to let your guide know. For those suffering from allergies having antihistamine is advisable – or any other medication that works for your conditions. Items for personal hygiene should also be included, having a small bar of soap handy or some liquid hand soap is a good idea. Toothbrush, toothpaste and dental-floss should be packed. Pack shampoo, conditioner and shower gel in small plastic bottles that close tight. Avoid liquid antiperspirant and glass containers due to risks of spilling. Feminine products like pads, tampons etc. should also be packed if needed. If you take vitamins or other supplements you should continue to do so during your holiday.
    A bit of toilet-paper in a plastic bag along with a lighter to burn it after use is the way to go in Iceland. In most cases you are sharing a room with a few fellow travellers – so a pair of good ear-plugs can ensure a good night sleep. Those not used to the bright summer might also like to bring an eye mask.  Contact lenses, lens liquid etc.


    Swim suit:

    Bathing in the natural hot-pools will be one of the highlights of your trip in Iceland. Make sure you come dressed for the occasion. There are no specific rules, written or unwritten on how to dress or not to dress; board shorts, speedos, bikinis or bathing suits – anything goes. Quick drying is good.


    Trekking pole(s):

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    Black Diamond Trekking / hiking poles

    One or two poles are nice to have. Some trekkers like to use them all the time, other use them only during river crossings or on steep ups and downs. If you like them, make sure that they are foldable and light weight. A small basket is also nice.


    Gaiters:

    For summer time use you should normally not need gaiters as they are designed to keep snow from getting into your boots. Some like them also for scree slopes. Keep in mind that the volcanic soil in Iceland is very abrasive so you will want to be able to remove the strap that goes under your boot sole to keep it from getting trashed.


    Sun/rain hat or Cap:

    A baseball cap or a comfortable hat with brim is great to have. If it is a bite water and weather proof that is a great addition. It will keep the rain from running down your face and into your layering.  Be prepared to take it off if the wind picks up.


    Shorts:

    It does get warm enough in Iceland to wear shorts. They are also nice for sleeping in, in case you need to get out in the night. For hiking it is nice to have some pockets, for the items that other ways would be in the pockets of you pants. But any old pair of shorts will do.


    Thermal mattress:

    It is really nice to have a small thermal mattress to sit on during lunch break and other stops.  It should not be big, just enough to sit on. And it should fold up nicely so it does not get in the way inside your pack.


    Puffy Jacket:

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    ME Compressor Hooded Jacket PrimaLoft

    A nice light puffy is great during brakes. The insulation could be down or synthetics (Primaloft). It should not be very big or bulky – Iceland is not that cold. Synthetic insulation is preferred in Iceland as it keeps most of its insulating properties also when wet. A puffy vest would also be a good option.


    Dry-bags:

    There are plenty of different products available for storing your equipment inside your pack and keeping it dry. A rain cover over your pack often has limited use in Iceland due to the wind – a safer option is to pack whatever needs to be kept dry into dry-bags inside your back-pack. It is also a great way to organize the inside of your pack. One bag for electronics (camera and phone) and one bag for extra clothing, as an example.


    Slippers for indoor use:

    A pair of comfy slippers to use in the hut is a great thing to have. If your river shoes are fast drying you might also use them.


    Aperitif of other heart-warming spirits:

    Liquor laws in Iceland prohibit the sale of alcohol in most places you come by on your trip in the highlands and limited opening hours stop you from buying any most other places. So having a flask (preferably plastic or metal) to share with your fellow travels in front of the camp fire (gas heater) can be the crowning of a good day. You can take care of this in the duty-free up on arrival in Iceland if you like. Just follow all the Icelanders on your flight – they will take you straight to duty-free!


    Other cool things to have when trekking:

    Book – to read during the evenings.
    Music - and head phones. Some of our guides also have speakers with them to share Icelandic music.
    Diary or note-book – to write down your good memories from Iceland. Also a pen or pencil.
    Power-bank / extra battery for you electronics – small solar cells usually do not work that well in Iceland so a pre charged power bank is a better option.  Charging your electronics in the highlands often is not an option or will cost you extra. Having converters adapters for 220 V and/or USB will help.
    Playing cards and travel games – or other toys you might like and can travel
    Cash – for the showers, a shower normally costs about 500 ISK. 
    Travel pillow – as long as it is not very bulky, other ways you can just use your clothes.
    Powder drink mix – Icelandic water is great – but you might like a bit of variety. Some also contain vitamins and minerals that help your body after a hard day.


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