iceland hiking; Snaefellsnes Peninsula; Trollaskagi Peninsula;  Lake Myvatn; northern Iceland; waterfall

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.

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Northern Iceland Expedition

Hiking and Cultural Odyssey Across Iceland's Surreal Landscapes

Trip Details at-a-Glance

Cost From: $5495  
Length: 8 days
Arrive: Reykjavik, Iceland
Depart: Akureyri, Iceland
Lodging: 7 nights hotels
Meals: All meals included except 1 dinner
Activity: Hiking / Trekking, Wildlife & Natural History, Cultural Adventures, Whale Watching
Trip Level: 7 hiking days on moderate to strenuous trails, some steep sections, 4-8 hours a day, van support
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Highlights

  • 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


Great trip, saw the highlights of Northern Iceland, and the hikes were well chosen—good scenery and a good difficulty level for the group.Craig S.—San Francisco, CA

Recent Photo Blog Posts

A Painter's Palette, Vardhini Shankar

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.

References

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.

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

Days 1-2
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.

Days 3-4
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.

Days 5-6
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.

Day 7
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.

Day 8
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 for a farewell lunch and depart on homeward-bound flights in the afternoon.

For a more complete description, Download Full Detailed Itinerary

Optional Extensions

If you would like to continue your adventure, we offer the following extension:

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.

Explanation of Trip Levels

 

Departures & Leaders

2015
Jun 29-Jul 6, 2015  Gunnar Bjorgvinsson
Jul 27-Aug 3, 2015  Gunnar Bjorgvinsson

Trip Cost

Prices are for 2015
$5495 (13-15 members)
$5795 (10-12 members)
$6195 (8-9 members)
Single supplement: $990
Forced single supplement: $790
Internal airfare: $175 (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
  • Accommodations
  • All meals included except 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% of trip cost
60 days prior to departure: Balance

Cancellation and Transfer Fee Schedule

More than 90 days prior to departure: No charge!
46-90 days prior to departure: 25% of trip cost
45 days or less: 100% of trip cost

Hotel Budir

Hotel Budir

Days 1 to 2 (2 nights), Budir, Iceland

This beautiful and cozy country hotel is set in splendid isolation on the edge of an ancient lava field next to the sea on the western tip of the ...
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Hotel Kea

Hotel Kea

Days 3 to 4 (2 nights), Akureyri, Iceland

The 104-room Hotel Kea enjoys a central location in the town of Akureyri, close to the harbor, shopping, and restaurants. Guest rooms are on the ...
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Sel Hotel Myvatn

Sel Hotel Myvatn

Days 5 to 7 (3 nights), Skútustaðir, Iceland

This cozy, 35-room, family-run hotel is ideally located for enjoying the wonders of the Lake Myvatn area. The staff is incredibly friendly and ...
Click here for full description and more photos

Extension Accommodations

If you would like to view the accommodations offered with our extensions option:

Note: Listed above are our signature accommodations for this trip. Although it is highly unlikely, we may make substitutions when necessary.

Gunnar Bjorgvinsson

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.

Upcoming Trips:

Iceland Expedition, June 19-26, 2015
Northern Iceland Expedition, June 29-July 6, 2015
Iceland Expedition, July 17-24, 2015
Northern Iceland Expedition, July 27-August 3, 2015
Iceland Expedition, August 21-28, 2015

Client Testimonials:


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
Iceland Expedition
Gunnar is a true gentleman, aware of everyone's concerns. Robert V., Virginia Beach CA
Iceland Expedition
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
Iceland Expedition
Quiet-spoken, highly knowledgeable, confident, and an excellent leader. Kevin O., Albany CA
Iceland Expedition
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
Iceland Expedition
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
Iceland Expedition
One of the best guides I've ever had. Bob B., Chevy Chase, MD
Iceland Expedition
I enjoyed having Gunnar as a leader. He loves his country and is genuinely happy to share it with visitors. Ken G., Orlando, FL
Iceland Expedition
A fabulous leader. Excellent combination of knowledge, organization, and people skills. Burt R., New York, NY
Iceland Expedition
Gunnar had a vast and deep knowledge of Iceland geology and culture and was a wonderful leader. Bill W., Menlo Park, CA
Iceland Expedition
It would be tough to beat Gunnar for his expertise and willingness to share his own experiences. Walter S., Tucson, AZ
Iceland Expedition
Gunnar was excellent! Very kind, thoughtful, knowledgeable, good sense of humor—a wonderful person. Carol K., Cincinnati, OH
Iceland Expedition
Gunnar is simply wonderful. He represents his country beautifully and is such a soft-spoken man with a great sense of humor and so much knowledge. He works very hard, is a true mountain man. and we all loved him. We were sad to say goodbye to him. Diana W., Chicago, IL
Iceland Expedition
I really enjoyed Gunnar and his deep knowledge of Iceland and its history. Nick F., Akron, OH
Northern Iceland Expedition
Gunnar had a soft-spoken style with great leadership skills and confidence. He was always positive and willing to share his knowledge and perspectives. David A., Evanston, IL
Northern Iceland Expedition
I really enjoyed having Gunnar as a guide—knowledgeable, accessible, and sensitive to the concerns of participants. Craig S., San Francisco, CA
Northern Iceland Expedition

Optional Extensions

If you would like to continue your adventure, we offer the following extension:

Iceland

Arctic Circle Extension

Exploring Iceland's Grimsey Island

Wildlife & Natural History
2 days  -  Level 1

Client Comments

Great trip, saw the highlights of Northern Iceland, and the hikes were well chosen—good scenery and a good difficulty level for the group. Craig S., San Francisco, CA

Recent Photo Blog Posts

A Painter's Palette, Vardhini Shankar