D1: Glymur - Þingvellir - Hella.
Your journey starts with a drive to the beautiful Hvalfjörður (Whale fjord) along which lay the main route from Reykjavik to west and north Iceland, but has now been replaced with a tunnel across the fjord. At the bottom of the fjord is Botnsdalur, from where you can hike to the highest waterfall in Iceland, Glymur, also famous for its populations of fulmar petrels. Through the Kjósarskarð pass you reach Þingvellir (Parliament Plains) National Park, a national shrine and a UNESCO world heritage site. The Þingvellir area is part of a fissure zone running through Iceland, being situated on the tectonic plate boundaries of the Mid-Atlantic Ridge. Walk along the fissure which scientists say expands 2 cm a year, check out the crystal clear waters of the Silfra rift or stand in the footprints of ancient lawmakers and chieftains that used to gather there for a general assembly from the year 930 until 1798! Drive along the scenic lake, past the geothermal power plant of Nesjavallavirkjun and through the agricultural areas of south west Iceland. Accommodation near Hella.
D2: South Coast.
Visit Seljalandsfoss and Skógafoss waterfalls, both cascading from the infamous Eyjafjallajökull glacier, known for its eruption in 2010 which disrupted international flights around the world. Visit the Dyrhólaey peninsula and the village of Vik with its cliffs harboring the largest colony of Arctic terns in the country. Impressive volcanic canyon Fjadrargljufur, carved in volcanic tuffs by the river running through it. Stop at Kirkjubæjarklaustur village for a short hike in the area visiting f.ex. the „Church Floor“ and Stjórnarfoss waterfall. Drive across the immense, black flood plains of Skeiðarársandur, to reach Skaftafell National Park with hiking trails and glacier walks in abundance. Accommodation near Skaftafell.
D3: Skaftafell NP.
Vatnajökull National Park is Europe’s biggest National Park. The southeast part of this park is the area of Skaftafell which is composed of natural birch forest growing between glacial tongues, reaching down almost to sea level - a unique place to visit. Walk through the forest up to Svartifoss waterfall, which is famous for its black basalt columns. On the way you will get fantastic views of Europe’s largest glacier Vatnajökull and its highest peak, Hvannadalshnúkur (2110m). At their lodge in Skaftafell NP, Icelandic Mountainguides can provide you with 2 or 4 hour inspiring walk on the glacier. You will be provided with all the necessary gear (crampons and ice axes) to discover the amazing blue world of ice and explore its ridges and crevasses! Accommodation near Skaftafell.
D4: Jökulsárlón - Múlagljúfur.
80 km east of Skaftafell is the famous glacial lake Jökulsárlón. This large lake, dotted with icebergs calving from Breidamerkurjökull glacier, is separated from the sea by a coastal strip 200 meters wide! Optional possibility of a boat ride on the lagoon. Heading back west, the gorges of beautiful Múlagljúfur are ideal for a hike in the afternoon, with great skuas defending their territory and unsurpassed views of waterfalls all around. Accommodation near Kirkjubæjarklaustur.
D5: Eldgjá - Langisjór.
Drive the rugged mountain track that leads to Eldgjá – the Fissure of Fire. Walk to the Ófærufoss waterfall in the Eldgjá ravine. In that same area is Langisjór lake above which looms mt.Sveinstindar (1090m). A relatively easy hike (300m elevation) up the mountain on a marked trail leading all the way to the top, with fantastic views of the surroundings (which, on a clear day can reach quite far). Close by, the Lakagígar crater row lie dormant, giving witness to the catastrophic eruption that lasted for almost a year, from 1783-1784, wreaking havoc on Iceland and even some parts of Europe. Accommodation in Hólaskjól mountain hut.
Arriving in Landmannalaugar where you spend a few hours walking to enjoy the colors of this world famous rhyolite massif. The natural hot spring awaits with its delightful and relaxing waters at the foot of the lava field. Landmannalaugar is famous for its hiking trails. The most popular routes include the 2 hour hike through the Laugahraun lava field to Mt.Brennisteinsalda ("Sulphur Wave"), the 1 hour hike up Mt. Bláhnjúkur ("Blue Peak") and the 4 hour hike to Ljótipollur crater lake ("Ugly Puddle"). The trails takes you past small gorges, steaming hot springs and yellow mountain ridges. Accommodation in Landmannalaugar mountain hut.
D7: Sprengisandur – Nýidalur (Jökuldalur).
From Landmannalaugar, the road leads to the Hrauneyjar Highland Center, where the famous Sprengisandur mountain road starts. Considered the most desolate terrain found in Iceland, Sprengisandur is the bleak highland desert east between Hofsjökull – the rounded icecap marking Iceland’s geographical centre – and Vatnajökull’s northwestern front. It can be a challenging road whose unbridged rivers and stark scenery provide an insight into medieval Iceland’s harsh living conditions. In the shadow of Tungnafellsjökull glacier lies the Nýidalur valley with marked hiking trails leading up to the glacier and in to Vonarskarð pass with its multicolored geothermal area. Accommodation in Nýidalur mountain hut.
D8: Sprengisandur - Mývatn.
And that’s just half of it! From Nýidalur valley, Sprengisandur road continues north over endless stretches of black sand and otherworldly landscapes, until the lush greens of Bárðardalur valley welcomes you with farms, houses and sheep......and sheep. To your east lake Mývatn sits on its throne as the queen of Icelandic lakes, with a unique biodiversity and species isolated to this area. Accommodation in the Mývatn area.
There is so much to do around lake Mývatn which is one of the largest lakes in Iceland, 37km2. Cycle around the lake on a rent-a-bike, taste the traditional “Hverabrauð” with smoked trout, take a relaxing bath in the Mývatn Naturebaths, go birdwatching around the lake, visit Sigurgeir´s Bird Museum for an interesting showcase and great information on icelandic birds and their habits. Get lost in Dimmuborgir lava formations – a great place
for hiking, with marked trails that take you around these beautiful natural formations. Beware of the trolls and
elves around. Visit the geothermal area Hverir by Námaskarð or the the Krafla area, one of Iceland´s most active
volcanic area with a marked hiking trail to Leirhnjúkur, where the lava is still steaming hot since the last eruption in 1984. Hike the marked trail to the top of Mt. Vindbelgur with amazing views over the lake, pseudocraters and the Mývatn region. Accommodation in the Mývatn area.
South from Mývatn is Askja, a 50km2 caldera in the Dyngjufjöll mountains, formed, for the most part, at the end of the Ice Age in a major ash eruption which caused the roof of the magma chamber at the heart of the central volcano to subside. The caldera contains several volcanoes, including Víti (explosive volcanic crater). Water has accumulated in the crater, its temperature is variable - it is around 30°C on average. Víti is a popular bathing site, but if you intend taking a dip, please be aware that the sloping path is very slippery in wet weather. Accommodation in Dreki hut in Askja.
Driving back past lake Mývatn and towards Akureyri, the biggest town in Iceland outside the capital Reykjavik. Enjoy this lovely town, with its lively cultural scene, restaurants, cafés and activities. Kjarnaskógur woods is a lovely area for walks and picnics, just on the outskirts of town. There are boat excursions available, both with sightseeing, whale watching, sea angling, kayaking and more. A visit to one of the local micro breweries is also good fun or a trip out to Hrísey island, lying at the mouth of the fjord. Accommodation in Akureyri.
The ancient Kjölur mountain road will take you towards the Kerlingafjöll massif whose snow capped peaks used to serve as Iceland‘s summer skiing paradise. 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 and ochre brown rhyolite mountains. Enjoy the views towards Iceland’s second and third largest glaciers of Hofsjökull and Langjökull. Accommodation in Kerlingafjöll mountain hut.
D13: Gullfoss - Geysir - Reykjavík.
A day where you will get to see some of the most famous sites in Iceland. Your first stop is Gullfoss waterfall (Golden waterfalls), often named the queen of Icelandic waterfalls. From Gullfoss, it is just a short drive to the Great Geysir hotspring in Haukadalur valley. The road takes you next to Thingvellir (Parliament Plaines) National Park, but on the way it would be a good idea to stop in the town of Flúðir and buy locally grown organic vegetables. Þingvellir, is where the „Alþing“ general assembly was established around 930 and continued to convene until 1798. The Þingvellir area is part of a fissure zone running through Iceland, being situated on the tectonic plate boundaries of the Mid-Atlantic Ridge. The faults and fissures of the area make evident the rifting of the earth's crust. The site is now a World Heritage Site by Unesco. Return to Reykjavik via Lyngdalsheiði moor.