The Saga of Volcanoes and Fjords – T60P

Tour type: Discovery adventure with sightseeing and easy hikes.

Difficulty:

EASY

HARD

Price from:  

Adult: 465.000

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  • JUL
  • AUG
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  • 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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  • 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.
    Please note that not all parts of the gear lexicon apply on all tours. 


    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. 


    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

    On many of our tours 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 unless you are staying in a hotel. 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
    03.07.2017 Confirmed Departure Select
    17.07.2017 Confirmed Departure Select

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