Day 1: Reykjavík – Hot Spring Hike – Skaftafell
Departure from Reykjavík in the morning. We leave the capital and head east towards the picturesque south coast. First stop is just of the geothermal village of Hveragerði, there we go for a hike among the numerous hot springs and boiling mud pools of Grændalur, a magical place. We continue east through small villages and past impressive waterfalls, like the Skógarfoss waterfall where we make a short stop. Next we visit the black sand beaches of Reynisfjara where we can admire the power and beauty of the Atlantic Ocean. At Reynisfjara the basaltic formations of the ocean cliffs tower impressively over the beach. We then continue east until we reach our guesthouse/hostel close to Kirkjubæjarklaustur.
Driving: 4-5 hours total Walking: 2-3 hours total
Day 2: Jökulsárlón Glacier Lagoon - Skaftafell
Today we take our vehicle east to Jökulsárlón Glacier Lagoon, one of the marvelous features of this region, a lake scattered with icebergs that break off from the great Breiðamerkurjökull glacier. In the early afternoon, we head to Skaftafell National Park to explore the hiking trails of this magnificent park at the foot of the mighty Vatnajökull glacier, the largest glacier in Europe. In winter this area is the domain of glaciers, but in fall and spring you see how Skaftafell is the green oasis covered with arctic birch, and colorful valleys, rivers, waterfalls and flowers that decorate the landscape, in contrast with the mountains surrounding it on one side and the sandy plains of Skeiðarársandur on the other. A Glacier Walk on Svínafellsjökull outlest glacier is optional. Night in the same guesthouse/hostel as the night before.
Driving: 2-2,5 hours total Walking: 4-5 hours total (2-3 hours total in winter)
Day 3: Fjaðrárgljúfur – Vík – Seljalandsfoss – Gígjökull
Today we head west and start our day with a short walk at the gorgeous Fjaðrárgljúfur Canyon. Then we continue west driving over the vast sand plains of the south and the lava field of Eldhraun, one of the biggest lava flow coming from a single eruption. When we reach Vík where we take a short walk on the black beaches (if weather and conditions allow). The high cliffs dominate the black beach below and just of the coast pillars of rock rise up from the Ocean‘s surface. Legend says that these are trolls that turned into stone after staying up past sunrise! After Vík we drive past Eyjafjallajökull volcano. Optional stop at the new Eruption Center at Þorvaldseyri farm for a short documentary about the 2010 eruption. If conditions allow we will head inland on route for Þórsmörk and make our way to the glacier of Gígjökull, an outlet glacier that falls from the Eyjafjallajökull Crater. Night in a guest house in Fljótshlíð.
Driving: 4 hours total Walking: 2-3 hours total
Day 4: Gullfoss – Geysir – Laugavatn
Today we visit two of Iceland‘s most famous natural treasures, the waterfall of Gullfoss and the Geysir hot spring area. The famous hot spring is the namesake of all the sprouting hot springs, and his neighbor, the reliable Strokkur geyser, spouts hot water up as high as 15-30m every 5-10 min. The best known of the many waterfalls in Iceland, Gullfoss is considered one of its most beautiful; in two giant steps the flow of the water Hvítá falls 32 meters into a deep canyon. We then make our way to Laugavatn where we spend the night in a guesthouse/hostel located in a beautiful building that used to serve as a school.
Driving 2-2,5 hours Walking 2-3 hours total
Day 5 Þingvellir – Borgarfjörður – Snæfellsnes.
We begin the day by heading over to Þingvellir National Park, the site of the old Parliament and the birthplace of democracy in Iceland. The park is now an UNESCO World Heritage site. In addition to the historical importance, the location is wonderful; a beautiful lake skirted by a small canyon that in fact is a part of the Mid-Atlantic rift. We then head for the west of Iceland to the Borgarfjörður region. This is the home of Deildartunguhver, the most powerful hot spring in Iceland (and even Europe) as well as the lush waterfalls of Hraunfossar, a row of waterfalls that emerge from underneath the lava field, and Barnafoss. At the end of our day we head out to Snæfellsnes, a peninsula that stretches out from the west coast of Iceland and is divided by a chain of high mountains. On its end sits the glacier of Snæfellsjökull. Night spent in a guest house in Snæfellsnes.
Driving 4-5 hours total Walking 2-3 hours total
Day 6: Snæfellsnes peninsula – Reykjavík.
The last day begins at Arnarstapi for a short walk among the basaltic roc formations. We then head out to Djúpalónssandur beach where the lava formations run all the way to the sea, creating a unique landscape. At this beach we also find 4 big lifting-stones that in the old times fishermen used to measure their strength, and to see if men were fit enough for a place on a fishing boat! We then start heading back to Reykjavík the route depends on weather and daylight hours.
Driving 3-4 hours total Walking 2-3 hours total
This schedule may change due to weather and conditions. In the darkest months of winter some stops may have to be omitted or reorganized.