Iceland's Spectacular Landscapes
Our hiking journey in northern Iceland explores Iceland's surreal landscapes, including ancient glacier-capped volcanoes, craters, lava formations, and waterfalls.
Trip Details at-a-Glance
|Cost From:||$4795 see pricing|
|Lodging:||8 nights hotels|
|Meals:||All meals included except 1 lunch and 1 dinner|
|Activity:||Hiking / Trekking, Wildlife & Natural History, Cultural Adventures|
8 hiking days on moderate to strenuous trails, some steep sections, 4-8 hours a day, van support
- Hike across an otherworldly landscape of cascading waterfalls, ancient lava fields, volcanic craters, and rugged seacoasts
- Snaefellsnes National Park, with its glacier-capped volcano
- Explore Lake Myvatn, with its fine birdwatching and amazing lava formations
- Search for whales from Husavik, the European capital of whale watching
Choosing the Right Trip
We work hard to help you choose the right trip for you, paying attention to your individual interests, abilities, and needs. If you have questions about the level of comfort or any of the activities described in this itinerary, please contact us.
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We are proud to have an exceptionally high rate of repeat travelers. For more information, we would be happy to put you in touch with a client who has traveled with us.Email Area Manager
In Iceland, nature is at its most elemental: a mystical land of volcanoes, glaciers, and exquisite waterfalls. With Trip Leader Gunnar Bjorgvinsson, we discover the western and northern expanses of this extraordinary island-nation, including the ruggedly beautiful Snaefellsnes Peninsula, with its glacier-capped volcanoes, mysterious craters, and trails past cliffs sheltering kittiwake and puffin nests; the Trollaskagi Peninsula, with its mountainous terrain and valleys carved by glaciers during the last Ice Age; and Lake Myvatn, home to bubbling mud flats, amazing lava formations, and teeming waterfowl. Hikes on volcanoes and across rift fissures, vistas of glorious waterfalls, wonderful bird-watching opportunities, a whale watching excursion, and fascinating insights into Iceland’s early culture are all featured on this wonderful odyssey. We also offer the opportunity to cross the Arctic Circle (66º 33') on our extension to Iceland’s Grimsey Island, where vast colonies of puffins nest on its 300-foot-high cliffs.
Itinerary at a Glance
For a more complete description, Download Full Detailed Itinerary
Reykjavik, Iceland / Snaefellsnes Peninsula and National Park
Arriving in Reykjavik, we head north to the Snaefellsnes Peninsula, a ruggedly beautiful chain of mountains jutting into the Atlantic on Iceland’s west coast. Here we explore ancient Eldborg crater and walk across the Budarhraun lava field to Budir, for centuries the main trading center on the south coast of the Snaefellsnes Peninsula. The next day we explore Snaefellsnes National Park, with its glacier-capped Snaefellsjokull volcano (4,745'). With the volcano as a backdrop, we hike along the coast past coves and inlets lined with cliffs that are often covered with kittiwakes’ nests.
Eiriksstadir / Akureyri / Mt. Stollinn
A drive across a starkly beautiful landscape brings us to Akureyri, set on the Trollaskagi Peninsula at the head of the Eyjafjordur (fjord). Along the way we visit Eiriksstadir, a reconstructed Viking house once home to Eirik the Red and his son Leif Eiriksson, the two most famous Viking explorers. The Trollaskagi Peninsula, a mountainous area with hundreds of peaks, is cut by many deep valleys carved by glaciers during the last Ice Age. From the village of Dalvik, we hike to Mt. Stollinn (4,003'), set between two valleys and offering views out to Eyjafjordur fjord and the ocean.
Lake Myvatn / Krafla volcano
After visiting Godafoss (“waterfall of the gods”), with its spectacular 100-foot-wide, 40-foot-high cascade, we head to Lake Myvatn, known as one of the best bird-watching sites in the world. We explore the lake surroundings and also visit Dimmuborgir lava field, an area of bizarre lava formations with volcanic arches, pillars, caves, and bridges. In the Krafla volcano area, our hike brings us across countless rift fissures and lava flows from the eruptions of 1975-1984. Back in Myvatn, we have the chance to soak in a geothermal pool.
Dettifoss / Husavik
Heading further east, we pass through the starkly contrasting desert scenery of the Northeast Highlands to the enormous Dettifoss in Vatnajökull National Park. Europe’s largest waterfall in terms of volume discharge, Dettifoss is bizarrely set in an arid area of sand and rock formations. Our hike brings us from Hljodaklettar, with its wild columnar basalt formations, to Asbyrgi Canyon, thought to have been carved out by an immense flood wave caused by an eruption underneath the Vatnajokull Icecap. We end our day in the lively fishing village of Husavik on the shores of Skjalfandi Bay.
Whale Watching / Akureyri
Husvik calls itself the European capital of whale watching, and today we have the fantastic experience of searching for these leviathans aboard old oak fishing boats that have been rebuilt for this purpose. The most commonly sighted cetaceans here include Minke and white beaked dolphins, but with luck we may see others such as humpbacks and even the giant blue whale. After our morning whale watching excursion we return to Akureyri, with the remainder of the day free. Depart on Day 9.
For a more complete description, Download Full Detailed Itinerary
Optional Arctic Circle Extension
Step foot across the Arctic Circle (66º 33') on Grímsey, an island off the north coast of Iceland. Grimsey features 300-foot-high sea cliffs where about sixty species of birds nest, including vast colonies of the beautiful puffin. It is also the northernmost inhabited part of Iceland with a population of about 100. From Akureyri we fly out along Iceland’s longest fjord, Eyjafjörður, a 36-mile-long fjord with beautiful mountain scenery. A chorus of seabirds greets us upon arrival, and we walk to the island’s village, explore the magnificent bird cliffs, and see where a signpost marks the Arctic Circle (travelers get a certificate for crossing the circle).We fly back to Akureyri and depart on homeward-bound flights in the afternoon. Duration: 2.5hours (2x25-minute flights, 1.5-hour stop on Grímsey).
Tour Cost: from $290 per person
What the Trip is Like
This trip is Level 3+, Moderate to Strenuous. It features daily mountain hikes and hotel accommodations throughout. Some of the ascents and descents are steep, and the rugged terrain includes bogs that are ankle deep, stony paths, and cross-country travel over open ground. Rain can bring on mud, which makes footing tricky as well. Sturdy, well-broken-in hiking boots are essential. Gaiters are not required but will protect your pant legs from getting wet when we hike through boggy areas. Hiking poles are highly recommended.
Please note that in Europe, the dinner hour is considerably later than what it is in the U.S. We do our best to secure early reservations for our groups, but most often the evening meal will be at 7:30 PM.
Iceland’s weather will dictate our exact hiking itinerary. Trip members need to remain flexible in consideration of inclement weather that may require changes, such as substituting different hiking routes, canceling hikes, or switching the days of certain hikes. For your own enjoyment, we recommend that you make a special effort to be in good physical condition. Daily brisk walking and/or regular hiking (or using a stair-climbing machine at your gym) are excellent preparatory exercises.
Prices are for 2013
$4795 (12-15 members)
$5295 (8-11 members)
Single supplement: $990
Forced single supplement: $740
Internal airfare: $150 (subject to change)
(Akureyri to Reykjavik, one-way, booked directly with Air Iceland)
more on pricing
Trip Cost Includes:
- Expert leadership of a Wilderness Travel Trip Leader and local guides
- All meals included except 1 lunch and 1 dinner
- Land transportation, airport transfers, and sightseeing as noted
Trip Cost Does Not Include:International or domestic airfare, transfers for independent arrival or departure, any meals not specified after each itinerary day, airport departure taxes, optional tipping or gratuities to leaders or staff, additional hotel nights that may be necessitated by airline schedule changes or other factors, expenses such as medical immunizations (if any), travel insurance, or passports and visas, and other expenses of a personal nature (alcoholic beverages, laundry, etc.).
Trip Payment Schedule
At time of reservation: $500
120 days prior to departure: 20%
60 days prior to departure: Balance
Gunnar Bjorgvinsson, a graduate of the University of Iceland, spends his summers guiding sea kayaking trips and hiking trips in his native Iceland and in the winter teaches classes in wilderness skills. He has a vast knowledge of Icelandic culture and history, from its famous mountain trolls to the stories of its Viking seafarers.
Iceland Expedition, June 16-24, 2013
Northern Iceland Expedition, July 2-10, 2013
Iceland Expedition, July 14-22, 2013
Northern Iceland Expedition, August 11-19, 2013
Iceland Expedition, August 21-29, 2013
Gunnar is a great guide. He knows the trails very well, has a great personality, a good sense of humor, and is a great storyteller.Elaine H., Medford MN
Gunnar is a true gentleman, aware of everyone's concerns.Robert V., Virginia Beach CA
Gunnar’s knowledge and passion about not only the land but also the politics of the country were outstanding and deepened my appreciation of the trip. His expertise in mountaineering was evident and created a safe environment.Elaine R., Santa Barbara CA
Quiet-spoken, highly knowledgeable, confident, and an excellent leader.Kevin O., Albany CA
Gunnar was great--you are very lucky to have him. He has a great combination of experience, dedication, care, attentiveness, and personality.Ellen S., El Paso, TX
Gunnar was a terrific leader, with a very understated, wry, but terrific sense of humor. Stunningly well-qualified in terms of outdoors experience, capability and judgment.David L., Manchester, NH
One of the best guides I've ever had.Bob B., Chevy Chase, MD
I enjoyed having Gunnar as a leader. He loves his country and is genuinely happy to share it with visitors.Ken G., Orlando, FL
A fabulous leader. Excellent combination of knowledge, organization, and people skills.Burt R., New York, NY