Sprengisandur - Traverse of the Icelandic Highlands

Traverse on an ancient route where unpredictable weather and beautiful scenery combine for an awesome adventure. Available on request!

Tour code: EXPI52

Sprengisandur - Traverse of the Icelandic Highlands

Take On the Challenge of Skiing Through The Center of Iceland

A beautiful traverse on cross-country skis over the Icelandic highlands. Your highly experienced and knowledgeable guide will lead you from the high grounds above Akureyri in the North, over the deserted Sprengisandur, which is the ancient route between the Hofsjökull and Vatnajökull glaciers – to Landmannalaugar, an area of high geothermal activity. This is a journey through the center of Iceland is challenging and rewarding. Because this area is not easily accessible in the winter time, you will encounter wide open spaces and impressive mountainous landscapes with no one else around. Snow, ice, fire and water come together to create an enchanting winter world. While you are surrounded by amazing nature, the unpredictable weather and isolation make this tour a personal challenge for many participants. After a long day of skiing, you will get some much deserved rest in a hut or tent, depending on where we stop for the night, and enjoy a delicious meal.

We recommend this tour as a preparation for the Greenland crossing. For beginners in cross-country skiing, we recommend the Landmannalaugar cross-country ski tour before attempting this crossing.

Tour Overview

  • Pickup


  • Group size

    5 - 12 participants (second guide for groups 8 - 12)

  • Language


  • Accommodation

    Mountain hut and camping

  • Walkin per day

    7 - 9 hrs

  • Total Distance

    220 km (137 mi)

  • Max Ascent

    900 m (2900 ft)

  • Difficulty



    Only suitable for people physically and psychologically prepared for highly engaging experience. Expedition level. Often involves carrying your own gear.

  • Availability


  • Duration

    10 days

  • 16

    Minimum age:

    16 yrs

Contact Us

For availability information on a tour, please contact us using the form below.

Primary passenger information

Tour information

Thank you for the request, we will contact you with further information.

Customer Reviews

Tour Highlights


  • Experienced and qualified guide
  • Mountain hut sleeping bag accommodation in dormitories (6 nights)
  • Camping accommodation in two persons tent (3 nights)
  • Flight Reykjavík - Akureyri
  • Transport at the beginning and end of the tour
  • Breakfast (9), Lunch (10), Dinner (9)
  • Pulkas/sleds

Not Included

  • Sleeping bag
  • Mattress
  • Skiing equipment
  • Accommodation in Reykjavík

Optional Extras

  • Sleeping bag
  • Skiing equipment
  • Accommodation in Reykjavík before and after the tour

Tour Map and Itinerary

Click map for detailed itinerary

Sprengisandur - Traverse of the Icelandic Highlands


Day 0

Meeting with the guide

In the morning (day before departure) is a meeting with the guide to go over the equipment and the itinerary for the following week. If anything is missing, we have time to arrange for things or go shopping in the afternoon.

Day 1

Flight to Akureyri - Eyjafjörður

Our Sprengisandur expedition begins with an early morning flight from Reykjavík to Akureyri, capital of the North. Entering Eyjafjörður, the first day’s project is to get all the gear up to the mountain plateau at 800 m altitude. First night in a small hut.

Distance: 12 km

Walking time: 7-8 hrs

Day 2


On the high plateau we head straight south to Laugafell, where a hot geothermal pool is ready for a moment of relaxation. Night in Laugafell geothermally heated hut.

Distance: 23 km

Walking time: 6-7 hrs

Day 3 and 4

Tungnafellsjökull - Nýidalur

From Laugafell, we traverse a long plateau of small hills. We set course in the direction of a mountain mass crowned by the glacier Tungnafellsjökull. Our destination is Nýidalur that lies just under the glacier. Third night in a tent and the fourth in Nýidalur hut.

Distance day 3: 20 km

Distance day 4: 16 km

Walking time each day: 6-7 hrs

Day 5 and 6

Vatnajökull glacier - Vonarskarð - Jökulheimar

From Nýidalur our route takes us closer to the great ice cap of the Vatnajökull glacier, Europe’s largest, that dominates the skies to the east. Our route lies through Vonarskarð (Pass of Hope) and over snow covered lava fields to Jökulheimar at the edge of the south-west corner of the glacier. Fifth night in a tent and the sixth in Jökulheimar mountain hut.

Distance each day: 24 km

Walking time each day: 7-8 hrs

Day 7 and 8

Tungnaá - Landmannalaugar

Jökulheimar (meaning literately "Glacier Worlds") is the source of one of the country’s largest river, Tungnaá. At this time of year the mighty river is typically covered with ice and snow and is therefore like a highway leading all the way to Landmannalaugar a large valley surrounded by colorful rhyolite hills. In Landmannalaugar there’s another extremely appreciated warm natural pool close to the hut. Seventh night in a tent and eighth in Landmannalaugar mountain hut.

Distance each day: 27 km

Walking time each day: 7-8 hrs

Day 9


A rest day in Landmannalaugar, giving us a chance to explore this geothermal area in its winter coat. Lava fields, mud pots, geysers and hot springs decorate the landscape creating magical contrasts of ice and fire. This day also serves as an extra day in case we are delayed by difficult weather or snow conditions.

Day 10

Sigalda - Reykjavík

Last leg will take us north-west towards Sigalda, where there is an open road for the vehicle to transport us to Reykjavík.

Distance: 23 km

Walking time: 6 hrs

  • Day 0
  • Day 1
  • Day 2
  • Day 3 and 4
  • Day 5 and 6
  • Day 7 and 8
  • Day 9
  • Day 10
Click to activate the map

Practical Information

  • Will we be able to shower on the expedition?
    Yes, the amazing hut in Grímsvötn has both a shower and a steam bath.  

  • Will the huts have running water?
    No you will need to melt snow for water on the expedition.

  • Do the mountain huts have dormitory rooms/private rooms?
    The huts have no private rooms available, there are only dormitories.

  • Do I need to bring my own cooking equipment?
    No, we will have all cooking equipment needed as well as gas and gas stove.

  • Can I charge my phone/camera in the hotels/huts?
    We recommend bringing a power bank to charge your electronic devices. The huts do not have electricity.
  • I am a vegetarian/vegan/gluten intolerant, will there be a food option for me, what is it?

Special dietary supplement, such as vegetarian, pescatarian, vegan, gluten free or other supplements, can be ordered at some extra cost. The supplement will include meals that meet the requirements of your diet.

  • The date I want to book is not available, can I still request to book?

It is not possible to book the expeditions online. Please contact us at [email protected] if you are interested in booking or if you have any questions. You are also welcome to contact us for a private tour if you cannot join on an available date.

If you have winter experience and good fitness, we can add a day for ski training before the trip or you can do a Nordic / XC skiing course closer to home.