Northern Iceland: Off the Beaten Path

Hiking Adventures in the Uncrowded North


The north of Iceland holds the country’s best secrets, from Snæfellsjökull, the glacier-capped volcano that inspired Jules Verne’s Journey to the Center of the Earth, to brilliant blue Lake Mývatn, surrounded by a geothermal wonderland. With our Icelandic Trip Leaders, we’ll head far from the tourist circuit for spectacular hikes. Our trails take us to the Peninsula of the Trolls, along the black-sand beaches and bird cliffs of Snæfellsnes, and through ásbyrgi Canyon, home to huldufólk (hidden people—Iceland’s elves and trolls). We’ll finish with whale watching in charming Húsavík, on the lookout for humpback, minke, and blue whales.

Itinerary at a Glance

Days 1-2
Reykjavík, Iceland / Snæfellsnes Peninsula

On the Snæfellsnes Peninsula, a realm of wild beaches, fishing villages, lava fields, and peaks jutting into the sea on Iceland’s west coast, we hike around the crater rim of Eldborg volcano and along a magnificent coastal route, with ice-capped Snæfellsjökull Volcano as a backdrop.

Hotel Búdir
Búdir, Iceland
Days 1 to 2 (2 nights)
Days 3-4
Eiríksstaðir / Akureyri / Tröllaskagi Peninsula

En route to the town of Akureyri, just 50 miles from the Arctic Circle, we visit Eiríksstaðir, the former homestead of Erik the Red and his son Leif Eiríksson, the two most famous Viking explorers. Our hikes bring us to the remote and largely uninhabited Tröllaskagi Peninsula, whose name means “peninsula of the troll.” The sweeping landscapes of this glacial-alpine realm seem a fitting terrain for trolls, elves, and other mythical creatures of Iceland’s “hidden people.”

Icelandair Hotel Akureyri
Akureyri, Iceland
Days 3 to 4 (2 nights)
Days 5-6
Goðafoss / Lake Mývatn

After visiting the horseshoe-shaped cascade of Goðafoss, one of the most spectacular waterfalls in Iceland, we head to Lake Mývatn, passing through surreal geothermal landscapes of bubbling mudpots We’ll enjoy a thermal soak at Mývatn baths, a remote and much more local version of Reykjavík’s “Blue Lagoon.”

Fosshotel Mývatn
Mývatn, Iceland
Days 5 to 6 (2 nights)
Days 7-8
Vatnajökull National Park / Dettifoss / Húsavík / Whale Watching

In Vatnajökull National Park, we see the enormous Dettifoss waterfall and hike past columnar basalt formations into ásbyrgi Canyon, known in Icelandic legend as the “shelter of the gods.” Our journey ends at Húsavík with whale watching aboard a ship with an electric engine—no noise or fumes! Depart on Day 8 via Akureyri.

Fosshotel Húsavík
Húsavík, Iceland
Day 7 (1 night)



Escape the crowds and experience Iceland’s surreal beauty
Hike across a pristine landscape of waterfalls, lava fields, volcanic craters, and magnificent coasts
Go whale watching on a wooden ship with an electric engine—no noise or fumes
Stay in welcoming hotels, savor fresh seafood, enjoy extraordinary cuisine


Length: 8 days
Cost From: $7195  
Arrive: Reykjavík, Iceland
Depart: Akureyri, Iceland
Lodging: 7 nights hotels
Meals: All meals included except 1 dinner as indicated in the Detailed Itinerary (B=Breakfast, L=Lunch, D=Dinner)
Activity: Hiking / Trekking
Trip Level:

6 hiking days on moderate to strenuous trails, some steep sections, 4-8 hours a day, van support (for luggage or if you wish to skip a day’s hike)

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