Iceland Day-to-Day Itinerary
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Depart USA in afternoon/evening.
Early morning arrival in Iceland to Keflavik Airport. First up, we embark on a relaxing sightseeing tour on the Golden Circle. We’ll visit Þingvellir National Park, a very important place in Icelandic History, and a geological phenomenon, where two tectonic plates are moving apart on dry land, forming a massive rift valley. Then we’ll stop by Geysir hot springs, and Gullfoss waterfall. Before we head to the hotel, we will visit a natural geothermal pool, so make sure to keep your swimwear somewhere you can easily reach them. Night at Hotel. Driving distance: 200km/124 miles
The target of today is Hekla Volcano. Mt. Hekla is undeniably Iceland’s most famous mountain. It is the second most active volcano in Iceland and has erupted frequently in historic times. The last eruption occurred in February 2000. The mountain towers over South Iceland at roughly 1500 meters. The height changes due to movements of the earth crusts and seismic movements. For hundreds of years the mountain was believed to be the gateway to hell and no one dared climbing it. Until, Eggert Ölafsson, a famous Icelandic biologist, decided to throw caution to the wind and succeeded in summiting the mountain in the summer of 1750. Since then hiking to the top of Mt. Hekla has become a popular route. The terrain is rough lava fields and then ice and snow as we get closer to the peak. It usually takes 3-4 hours to get to the top and there you’ll get your reward. The view from the top of Mt. Hekla is wide and beautiful; you can see all of Fjallabak mountains, up to Vatnajökull glacier (Europe’s biggest glacier) not to mention all the evidence of recent and longstanding volcanic activity. Tonight we find ourselves back at our Hotel for some well-earned rest and relaxation. Driving distance: 200km/124 miles Hiking distance: 16km/10 miles Elevation gain/loss: 600m/1,491m/ 600m or 1,968 ft./4,892 ft. /1,968 ft.
The Eyjafjallajölkull glacier rises straight up from Iceland’s southern coast in an intricate pattern of valleys, canyons and fissures. The ice cap covers around 80 square kilometers, descending the mountainsides in most places at a 25-30° gradient and making for a challenging 9 to 10-hour hike. We set off at sea level, negotiating our beautiful crevassed-riddled surroundings and conquer 1666 vertical meters to emerge on one of the country’s highest peaks. A clear day on the summit of Eyjafjallajökull offers a stunning panorama of nearly half of Iceland, including the Mýrdalsjökull and Tindfjallajökull glaciers, Mt. Hekla, and the Vestmannaeyjar Islands. Night at Hotel. Start at 196ft and get up to 5465 ft, and then back. Driving distance: 136 km/83 miles Hiking distance: 16km/10 miles Days elevation gain/loss: 50m/1,666m/50m or 196 ft./ 5,465 ft./196 ft.
After driving to Skaftafell in the morning, we’ll do some hard ice training, crevasse rescue and ice climbing on Svínafellsjökull outlet glacier. This day will also be a fantastic introduction to the unique, enthralling world of ice, traversing the spectacular but easy tracks of this spectacular outlet glacier, only a short distance from Skaftafell. As we arrive at the edge of the Svínafellsjökull glacier we will strap on crampons and make our way up the icy but easily accessible slopes, witnessing on the way the incredible ice formations and crevasses, learning about how they are formed and how the glacier continuously reshapes itself. We will explore crevasses and ridges up close and wonder at that part of the glacier literally falling down from the main icecap hundreds of meters off the mountain top above as it flows in slow motion towards the ocean, a journey it will never complete as climate change continues to fuel its melting and slow retreat. We’ll try to find a nice spot to put up ropes for some ice climbing. Night at Hotel. Driving distance: 140 km/86 miles Hiking distance: 4km/2 miles Days elevation gain/loss: 140m / 500m / 140m – 460ft / 1640ft / 460ft
Kristínartindar is one of the most pleasant hikes in Skaftafell national park, and for good reason. Located between two valleys carved by outlet glaciers, Kristínartindar is the result of a big volcanic eruption and the main crater is part of an awe inspiring panorama. The hike itself takes us up pleasant low angle alpine tundra where we view the beautiful waterfall of Svartifoss, so delicately framed by near black basalt columns. Once under the summit, the terrain changes drastically and in places becomes somewhat of a scramble onto the summit ridge. On a good day the view is nothing but spectacular with volcanic beaches, glaciers and surrounding summits and we are able to see our route of the last and grand final objective of Hrútfellstindar. Night in Hotel. Driving distance: 10 km/6 miles Hiking distance: 18km/11 miles Elevation gain/loss: 80m / 1126m / 80m – 262ft / 3694ft / 262ft
Today we will make an alpine start in order to climb to the summit of Hrútsfjallstindar peaks. Hrútfellstindar is one of Iceland’s most demanding summits both to due to length of the route and the terrain. We climb the rugged Hafrafell which at a glance looks almost impassable but on closer inspection there are small trails that lead up the hillside all the way to the top ridge where we stop to enjoy the magnificent views over the Svínafellsjökull glacier that seems to be far below us. We continue on terra firma up to aproximately 1200 meter’s height where we enter onto the glacier and rope up with our guide/s for the hike through the crevassed areas to the summit of the highest of the 4 peaks. The views down onto the Skaftafellsjökull outlet glacier are unforgettable and we might pass areas of seracs. After reaching the summit and enjoying the views we start our descent traversing the southern peak and thereby bagging 2 summits on this day. The day is long but very enjoyable, especially knowing that at the root of the mountain lies our hotel with our soft cozy beds and gourmet food. Night in Hotel. Driving distance: 4 km/2 miles Hiking distance: 22 km/14.3 miles Total elevation gain/loss: 2000m / 2000m
A spare day in case weather does not allow for ascent of Hrútsfjallstindar Peaks on the previous day. The day will be spent exploring the immediate surroundings of Óræfajökull Glacier, the southermost tip of the great Vatnajökull glacier. To the south the headland Ingólfshöfôi is well known for its rich birdlife, puffins are numerous as well as guillemots and skuas. On the eastern side of the Öræfajökull lie the glacier lagoons Fjallsárlón and Jökulsárlón and a boatride among the icebergs is most certainly an unforgettable experience. Night in Hotel. Meals: breakfast Driving distance: 4 km/2 miles Hiking distance: 15km/10 miles Elevation gain/loss:
After breakfast we pack our van and trailer for our drive back to Reykjavík with a lunch stop at Halldórskaffi in Vík for some well-deserved pizza and burgers. Now we are about 2.5 hours from Reykjavík and should be there in the early afternoon.Night in Hotel in Reykavik. Driving distance: 325 km/201 miles
Morning in Reykjavík followed by a visit to the Blue Lagoon on the way to Keflavík Airport for late afternoon/evening flights home. Meals: breakfast
The trip was a fantastic experience! We were amazed at the broad range of locations and activities we got to experience in a short time span. Our guide was expert, kind and funny! Overall, we were thrilled with our visit to Iceland!