The Central Highlands - IMG391

Difficulty:

EASY

HARD

Price from:  

Adult: 320.000

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Duration: 8 days

Accommodation: Mountain hut sleepingbag accommodation/hostel

Pick up: At accommodation in Reykjavík from 8:30-9:00

Minimum Age: 14

Group size: 12

We provide: Guide, Food for 8 days (from lunch day 1 to lunch day 8), Accommodation: Mountain hut sleeping bag accommodation (5 nights), hostel (2 nights). Transport: Highland truck.

Note: All departures are in English/German.

  • Tour Description

    Highlights of the Tour

    • The colorful Kerlingafjöll Massif
    • Magical lake Mývatn
    • Askja volcano and steaming new lava

    The central highlands of Iceland are a place of wonders. Here we aim to uncover the magic of black deserts, colorful geothermal mountains and glaciers. To acheive this goal we will travel many of Iceland´s most famous mountain tracks like Kjölur and Sprengisandur. In between we will use our legs to explore different areas like the colorful geothermal mountains of Kerlingafjöll and Landmannalaugar. The magic ef lake Mývatn, the mystique beauty of the volcano Askja and Iceland´s newest lava at Holuhraun just north of the great Vatnajökull glacier are also ours to discover on this extraordinary highland tour!

    Included: Guide, Food for 8 days (lunch from day 1 to lunch on day 8), Accommodation: Mountain hut sleeping bag accommodation (5 nights), hostel (2 nights). Transport: Highland truck.

    Please note that accommodation in Reykjavík can be added.

    All departures are in English/German.

    Minimum age 14 years.

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  • Tour Itinerary

    Day 1: Early morning departure from Reykjavík towards the UNESCO  World Heritage Site of Þingvellir National Park. After a short hike there the road takes us to Geysir geothermal area before continuing to the Golden Waterfall, Gullfoss. Next, the highland track of Kjölur brings us to Kerlingarfjöll mountains one of Iceland´s greatest geothermal area. Night in a hut.
    Driving: 4 hrs
    Walking: 3 hrs combining several stops.

    Day 2: The day is spent exploring the magnificent landscape of Kerlingarfjöll by foot. Here the contrast of snow and ice and the hot springs are painted in their fullest glory, in a colorful landscape of red, yellow, ochre brown rhyolite mountains. We enjoy the views towards Iceland’s second and third largest glaciers of Hofsjökull and Langjökull. Night in a hut.
    Walking: 6 to 7 hrs

    Day 3: On the Kjölur track we continue northwards to Hveravellir where one of Iceland´s finest hot spring zone is to be found. There a short stop will allow us to enjoy a relaxing bath in a natural hot pool enjoying the nature around us. From Hveravellir the track slowly descends north to Skagafjörður where we turn east towards Akureyri and the region of Lake Mývatn, stopping by at the Goðafoss waterfall. Night at a hostel.

    Day 4: A day devoted to the exploration of the famous nature reserve Lake Mývatn. First a walk up to the Hverfjall crater and over to the black lava formations at Dimmuborgir before heading to the Krafla volcano for a second walk. On the way to Krafla we will take an obligatory stop to take a look at the solfataras of Námaskarð. The Krafla area had nine different eruptions from 1975 to 1984 and the lava is still warm in places, emitting steam creating an otherworldly atmosphere. Night at a hostel.
    Driving: Approx.2 hrs.     
    Walking: 6 hrs

    Day 5: Heading back into the highlands we pass by the Nature reserve of Herðubreiðarlindir and its crystal clear springs. At Herðubreiðarlindir an ingenious outlaw survived a hard winter by using his skills and the endless supply of clean water. Even though we might not be happy with his amenities today it is still a sight to see. In the afternoon we tie up our boots on and walk over the Dyngjufjöll mountains enjoying the strange feel of the otherworldly landscape. Once on the rim of the Askja caldera spectacular views are ours to enjoy and Askja´s a mystical aura won’t leave anyone untouched. Before leaving this magical place it is possible to bath in the crater Víti (21 to 24°C). Night at Drekagil hut.
    Driving: 4 hrs.     
    Walking: 4 hrs

    Day 6: Today the infamous track of Gæsavötn is on the agenda. The crossing of the deserts north of the Vatnajökull will be quite a challenge for our 4x4 minibus. This rough track leads through lava fields and black sand deserts, past craters of all sizes, through rivers and over rocks. The mighty Vatnajökull glacier is our constant companion throughout the day and the extraordinary Urðarháls crater is a must visit.
    Continuing on we arrive at the central Highlands at Nýidalur. In Nýidalur, the new valley (800 m.s.l.) over 50 vascular plants have been found, making it quite an oasis in this vast black desert. Night in a mountain hut.

    Day 7: Continuing our track from Nýidalur through the largest sand deserts in Iceland with stunning views to glaciers and mountains in the distance. Coming down into the Fjallabak Nature Reserve we arrive at Landmannalaugar where we spend a few hours walking to enjoy the colors of this world famous rhyolite massif. Night in a mountain hut at Landmannalaugar.
    Driving: 4 hrs.
    Walking: 3-4 hrs

    Day 8: We will spend the day exploring the incredible surroundings of Landmannalaugar and take a dip in the thermal river before we take the bus back to Reykjavík. Arrival in the evening.  

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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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