South Coast and Highlands – T678

Tour type: Discovery adventure with sightseeing and short hikes

Difficulty:

EASY

HARD

Price from:  

Adult: 229.000

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

What's included: Guide, full board, accommodation, transportation

Departures: May, June, July, August, September, October

Duration: 6 days, 5 nights

Accommodation: Hostel or mountain hut sleeping bag accommodation

Pick up: Pick-up from and drop off at your Reykjavik accommodation

Group size: 6-15 participants

Language: English and French

Walking per day: 4-6 hours total (sometimes divided into multiple shorter hikes)

  • Tour Description

    Highlights of the Tour

    • Glaciers, Geysers and waterfalls
    • Incredible diversity in landscapes
    • Untamed southern highlands and the south coast

    Discover the Beautiful Landscapes of the Icelandic Highlands and South Coast.

    This is a tour that takes you to the beautiful southern highlands and south coast of Iceland.  On the tour, you’ll get to see some of the highlights of Icelandic nature including Þórsmörk glacier valley, Skaftafell part of Vatnajökull National Park, the colorful mountains of Landmannalaugar and the famous Gullfoss and Geysir. Everywhere we go, waterfalls, glaciers, sheeps and the dramatic coastline are waiting for you to discover! Along the way we will go on beautiful day hikes and be inspired by the country’s untamed nature that is so full of contrasts. Accommodation is in mountain huts or hostels. Transport in a four-wheel drive vehicles. 

    Included in price: Guide for 6 days, vehicle transportation for 6 days, food for 6 days (from lunch on day 1 to lunch on day6), sleeping bag accommodation in hostel/mountain hut.

    Not Included: Boat tour on Jökulsárlón, other service not included above. 

    Minimum age: 14 years 

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

    Available upon request: Accommodtaion in Reykjavík

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  • Tour Itinerary

    Day 1: Valley of Þórsmörk

    Our first stop is 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 surrounding glaciers. Its valley floor is covered with small forests of arctic birch.  Going to Þórsmörk is an adventure as you need to ford a dozen glacial rivers. From here we stand at the foot of a large volcano covered with the glacier Eyjafjallajökull (1666 m). Its eruption in April 2010 released into the atmosphere huge amounts of ash that paralyzed air traffic all over Europe for several days. A hike in the afternoon in this exceptional place offers several opportunities: up to a viewpoint overlooking the valley, Stakkholtsgjá whose gorge is cut like a razor in the tuff, caves and other strange shapes taken by the tuff. Sleeping bag accommodation in a mountain hut.

    Driving: 3 - 4 hrs                          Walking: 4-5 hrs (accumulated) 

    Day 2: Þórsmörk – Waterfalls of Seljalandsfoss and 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 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. 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 in historic times. Arrival in Skaftafell, a national park at the foot of the country’s highest peak Hvannadalshnúkur, is set for the late afternoon. Sleeping bag accommodation in a hostel.
    Driving: 4 hrs                          Walking: 4 hrs. (accumulated)

    Day 3: Skaftafell National Park – Jökulsárlón 
    We head to Jökulsárlón, a glacial lake dotted with icebergs that calve from the massive Breiðamerkurjökull and is one of the wonders of this region.  Optional boat tour among the icebergs (Price: 5000 ISK).  Back in Skaftafell by the early afternoon, we explore Skaftafell’s beautiful nature at the foot of the largest glacier in Europe, Vatnajökull.  It is a green oasis of arctic birch surrounded by mountains and powerful glacier tongues.  Decorated with colorful valleys, rivers, waterfalls and flowers it overlooks the vast black flood plains of Skeiðarársandur. Sleeping bag accommodation in a hostel.
    Driving: 1,5 hrs                          Walking: 5-6 hrs

    Day 4: Waterfall Ófærufoss – Landmannalaugar
    Heading west past the village of Kirkjubaejarklaustur, we walk along the Fjaðrárgljúfur canyon.  Afterwards we plunge into the interior of Iceland towards Eldgjá or ​​the “Canyon of Fire,” which was established in the year 934.  This eruption was as powerful as the Laki eruption 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 1.8 cm per year.  Within the canyon is Ófærufoss, a waterfall which waters plunge in two majestic leaps into the depths of the Eldgjá fault.  We continue our journey to Landmannalaugar by traveling in a colorful landscape of ochre yellow to reddish or blueish inclusions and geothermal plume vapors. Sleeping bag accommodation a mountain hut.
    Driving: 4 - 5 hrs                          Walking: 4 hrs .(accumulated)

     

    Day 5: Volcano of Hekla – Þjórsárdalur : Stöng – Gjáin gorge – Waterfalls of Háifoss and Granni
    Journey to the foot of the Hekla volcano, one of the country’s most active.  It last erupted in February 2000!  Walking in the recent lava fields, we can admire the various forms created by this natural phenomenon.  Continuing to the Þjórsárdalur Valley we visit the gorge Gjáin, where a walk takes us to the archaeological site of Stöng.  It is a perfectly preserved Viking farm, which was buried under the ashes of Hekla’s early twelfth century eruptions.  This site allows us to see what the Viking houses of old Iceland looked like.  To close the day we visit the waterfalls of Háifoss and Granni that offer a majestic view, but Háifoss is 122m high and is the third highest waterfall in Iceland! Sleeping bag accommodation in a hostel/a mountain hut.
    Driving: 2 - 3 hrs                          Walking: 4-5 hrs (accumulated) 

    Day 6: Geysir – Gullfoss – Þingvellir – Reykjavík
    Our last day takes us to Gullfoss or the “Golden Waterfall,” which flows into an impressive canyon of the river Hvítá or “White river.”  Then we have a short transfer to Geysir, which is where the international name geyser derives from, a rare phenomenon of water violently and intermittently discharging from the ground.  After that we head to the national park of Þingvellir, the site of Iceland’s original Alþingi annual parliamentary gatherings.  These meetings are known as one of the oldest institutions of democracy in the world.  Þingvellir offered a superb location with Iceland’s largest natural lake lying adjacent and the continental drift running through the park.  It is a UNESCO world heritage site.  At the end of the day, we drive back to Reykjavík.  
    Driving: 3 - 4 hrs                          Walking: 3 – 4 hrs. (accumulated)

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  • Equipment List

    Equipment list - Discovery Adventure

    Equipment list for Discovery Adventures

    For your own wellbeing and safety we strongly suggest following the advice of our equipment list, this includes having good quality rain-gear, tops and bottoms! Also respect 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). Please note Sleeping bags are not needed on all IMG Discovery Adventures. See accommodation in tour description. 
    • 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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  • Gear Lexicon

    Discovery Adventure

    What is a Discovery Adventure?

    On our Discovery Adventures you will get a chance to see allot of Iceland – driving between sightseeing spot. You should also be ready for some for a bit of walking – but nothing extreme or hard. Depending on tours you could be staying in Mountain huts, guesthouses or hotels.


    Light Hiking Boots

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    Salomon Quest Origins GTX

    A light pair of boots is more than sufficient. Having them waterproof and high enough to support and cover your ankles is a great benefit and will help keep you dry on wet or snowy ground. 


    Rain Jacket and Pants

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    ME Manaslu

    Wind and waterproof tops and bottoms are essential in Iceland. Preferably a jacket with a good hood. Rain pants with zippers along the legs make getting them on much easier. 


    Base layer

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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 on harder tours where weight matters. Having short and long sleeve is great for adjusting to different weather conditions.  Women might want a sports bra as a part of their base layer. Cotton t-shirts are not advisable for any strenuous outdoor activity. 


    Insulation layer

    A fleece jacket would the classical insulating layer. Wool would also be a good option. Here it is also possible to layer up – two thin jackets or a jacket and a vest rather than one very thick jacket. A thicker base-layer for colder days could also be a part of adjustable layering. 


    Hands, feet and head:

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    ME Knitted beanie

    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 should 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: A normal ski-hat/beanie is perfect. You could also use a thick buff. 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. 


    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 (such as Primaloft). It should not be very big or bulky for summer time use. Synthetic insulation is preferred as it keeps most of its insulating properties also when wet but down is also a good option.  A puffy vest would also be a good option. 


    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/tent 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 too 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. Light sneakers and slippers for indoor use will feel great at the end of the day. 


    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, 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/belt with a buckle is good. Unless you have some bulky personal needs, like photographic equipment, then you should be fine with 20-30L (1200 - 2000 cu in).


    Duffel-bag

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    ME Wet & Dry bag

    Your overnight gear is going to be transported from hut-to-hut / camp-to-camp and space is limited. We therefore ask you to pack your gear in a soft bag rather than a regular hard suite case, since this is more space-efficient. A 60 - 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 plus. 


    Sun

    A baseball cap or a comfortable hat with brim is great to have and is useful both in sunny and rainy weather. You should also have a nice pair of sunglasses and some sun-bloc – SPF 15-25 should be enough protection for most.  If you plan to be playing on snow covers summits you should bring a pair of quality sunglasses for mountaineering SPF 30 – 50 sunblock.  


    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 condition. 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. 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.
    In most cases you are sharing sleeping facilities with one or more 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. Pack shampoo, conditioner and shower gel in small plastic bottles that close tight.
    A big towel is nice to have – especially if you are taking a bath in one of the natural hot-pools. 


    Swim suit

    Bathing in the natural hot-pools will be one of the highlights of your trip in Iceland (depending on the tour). 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. 


    Water container / thermos flask

    In Iceland & Greenland you can drink from any stream, no filters, no iodine or chlorine! It is good to have a small water bottle at hand. A 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). Cold drinkers might like to bring their favoured powdered flavouring/vitamin/energy drink. 


    Sleeping Bag Hut

    The mountain-huts during the summer are usually warm, although most are 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 the best. 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 hut 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 huts.  


    Head-lamp

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    Even though the summer night is bright the inside of the hut/tent 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. 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 trip.  


    Other cool things to have

    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 your 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 huts in the highlands often is not an option or will cost you extra. Having converters adapters for 220 V will help.
    Playing cards and travel games – or other toys you might like and can travel.
    Cash – in mountain huts shower normally costs about 500 ISK and work on 100kr coins.
    Travel pillow – as long as it is not very bulky, otherwise you can just use your clothes.
    Powder drink mix – Good water is never a problem – but you might like a bit of variety. Some also contain vitamins and minerals that help your body after a hard day. 
    Shorts - It does get warm enough 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.


    Aperitif of other heart-warming spirits

    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!
    On trips to Greenland you can take care of this in the duty-free up on arrival in Iceland. Duty free in Kulusuk, Greenland does not sell high % spirits – but if you make it to the supermarket they will have beer. 


    Gear shopping in Iceland

    Already in Iceland and need to grab some extra gear? No worries. There are a few shops in Reykjavík to go to (remember to ask for a VAT refund slip when you buy over 5000ISK, saving 14%):

    Íslensku Alparnir: http://alparnir.is/  this is where IMG gets its Mountain Equipment gear, much of with is featured on the pictures above – can’t go wrong there.

    GG-Sjósport: http://www.gummibatar.is/ grate products, but not in the down town.

    Laugavegur: the main shopping street down town has a few stores, including some local brands like 66°North and Cintamany.

    Kringlan & Smáralind are the indoor shopping centers in Iceland – both have outdoor stores – and they are open on Sundays and till 21:00 on Thursdays. 

    For your own wellbeing and safety, we strongly suggest following the advice of our equipment list, this includes having good quality rain-gear, tops and bottoms!  Also respect 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. 
    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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  • Departure Dates
    Tour Dates Availability
    19.06.2017 Full
    03.07.2017 Confirmed Departure Select
    10.07.2017 Confirmed Departure Select
    24.07.2017 Available Select
    31.07.2017 Confirmed Departure Select
    14.08.2017 Confirmed Departure Select
    21.08.2017 Available Select
    04.09.2017 Confirmed Departure Select
    11.09.2017 Available Select
    02.10.2017 Available Select

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