Across the Wilderness- Iceland‘s interior mysteries and more

Small-Group Sightseeing and Easy Nature Hikes

Experience the otherworldly volcanic landscapes of Iceland’s uninhabited interior. With a specially 4×4 mountain coach, travel off the beaten track through the untamed highlands of Iceland, highlighted by the multi-coloured mountains of the Landmannalaugar Nature Reserve and the barren black sands of Sprengisandur. When combined with other major attractions such as the Geysir geothermal area, Jokulsarlon Glacier Lagoon, and Dettifoss waterfall, this tour is sure to conquer the hearts of all first-time visitors, as well as those who have been here before.

The tour includes some short, guided nature walks/hiking that let you experience more of Iceland’s natural beauty.

With our flexible itinerary there’s always plenty of time to stop and experience the magnificence of Icelandic nature.

Highlights

  • Discover the beauty and power of Iceland’s wilderness, an area that few travellers visit
  • Visit beloved “must see” natural wonders of the Golden Circle region and the South Shore
  • Get a taste of adventure with travel on unpaved mountain tracks in a specially-outfitted vehicle
  • Relax with hot spring bathing in the natural springs of Landmannalaugar
  • Enjoy short guided walks/hikes that give you more insights into natural wonders
  • Excellent locally-based guides who know and are passionate about Iceland
  • Take part in protecting Icelandic nature with a visit to Iceland Travel’s Reforestation project
  • Enjoy the benefits of a small-group tour
  • Stay in comfortable three star hotels well-situated to experience Iceland’s nature and wilderness

Activity/Difficulty Level:  2 out of 5 (Easy)

All departures are guaranteed with minimum of 2 participants

Maximum group size: 19 people

Important:   This tour is also available with hotel nights in Reykjavik. Just let us know at booking time if you prefer to have your Reykjavik nights included as well!

Travel Tips:

  • We recommend comfortable trekking shoes/hiking shoes for this tour, as some of the walking is on unpaved surfaces.
  • Some people like to bring hiking poles, though this is not a requirement
  • We also suggest bringing a mosquito/fly head net for use on Day 7, as there can be harmless midges around Lake Myvatn.  It’s not required, but people often find it more comfortable.

Create your own reviewAcross the Wilderness – Icelandic Interior and MoreAverage rating:   1 reviewsSep 14, 2016by Simon P. on Across the Wilderness – Icelandic Interior and More

Let’s get something straight from the start, Iceland is billed as one of the most beautiful and spectacular places to visit and certainly lives up to its reputation.

The 10 – day tour started in Reykjavik and headed off east. Our guide, Heimir Morthens, was a very knowledgeable, patient and humorous individual who quickly gained the appreciation of our group. His gentle wit and passion for his country was evident from the start. He was very good at sending us off for hikes to discover Iceland for ourselves, and he was always there to answer questions.

With waterfalls in abundance at every turn it would be easy to think that the traveller would get weary. However, every waterfall was different and came with a new story – told by Heimir. His narrative opened our minds to the depth of history and culture in Iceland: from harsh nature to Elves and ‘Yule Lads’. Each day gave Heimir the chance to open a new chapter of our ‘book of Iceland’, populated with historical characters, natural wonders and just a little bit of magic.

Iceland has an abundance of geological wonders to behold, from the continental divide and Rift Valley at Thingvellir to the vast wilderness of the Sprengisandur highland plateau, defined roughly as the area between the Hofsjökull and Vatnajökull glaciers.

Unique experiences were at every turn: sitting in a geothermal river at Landmannalaugar, walking behind a waterfall at Seljalandsfoss and visiting the glacial lagoon at Jokulsarlon. Every day was different.

Our hotels were excellent, providing comfortable accommodation and very good food. Of note were a wide variety of homemade soups (fish, lamb, vegetables, etc.) and local meats. The local lamb is especially good.

As we travelled in September, the start of the aurora season meant that we had a chance of seeing the northern lights for the first time. After several disappointments (it became a running joke with Heimir’s predictive ability) we were roused from our rooms at 10.30pm to experience the green dancing lights in the night sky.

It must not go without mention that our group helped make the trip a very special experience. With fellow travellers from New Zealand, Australia, England, Denmark, Canada and the US, we were an agreeable, good humoured group who were determined to make the most of every day.

Our thanks (in order of appearance) go to: Heimir Mortens, our outstanding guide, to Iceland Travel for helping to make this possible, to Iceland for being a truly remarkable and stunning country and finally to our fellow tourists, who we are missing already.

Included

  • 9-day tour with driver-guide from/to Reykjavik
  • Handpicked and carefully selected local guide
  • Return transfers from pre-arranged bus stops in Reykjavik to meeting point prior to and after tour
  • 8 nights with private facilities in the countryside
  • 8 three-course dinners in the countryside
  • Breakfast daily (except arrival day)
  • Participation in Iceland Travel’s Reforestation Project in Haukadalur (day 1)
  • Entrance to Eiriksstadir Museum (day 8)

Optional tours and activities:

Price in ISK:

(Booked via your guide at the start of your tour.)

Day 4: Boat tour on the Iceberg Lagoon – 30-40 min – ISK 5800 per pax

Day 8: Horse riding tour in Gauksmýri – 1.5 hour –ISK  9500 per pax

Day 10: Tour to the Blue Lagoon – Flexible time –

Day 10: Whale watching from Reykjvík – 2.5 – 3 hours – ISK 10.990 per pax

Not Included

  • International airfare
  • Round-trip transfers between Keflavik airport and Reykjavik
  • Accommodation in Reykjavik
  • Lunches
  • Beverages with meals other than coffee/tea and fresh tap water
  • Porterage at airport and hotels
  • Guaranteed early check-in or late check-out
  • Optional tours and activities
  • Any service not specifically listed under “included”

Important

  • Some wilderness interior roads during the trip are unpaved with bumpy driving conditions– it‘s all part of the authentic adventure and fun of exploring the highlands!
  • We reserve the right to alter routes without prior notice, due to road conditions
  • This tour does not include hotel nights in Reykjavik, but we can add these in for you upon request, please contact us for pricing

Day 1: Thingvellir – Gullfoss – Geysir:

Highlights: Gullfoss Geysir Thingvellir National Park

UNESCO World Heritage site with Geological Wonders – The beautiful Golden Falls – Exploding Geysers – Iceland Travel’s Conservation Project

Transfer from pre-arranged bus stops in Reykjavík to the tour’s meeting point. Please check your confirmation for your pre-arranged bus stop in Reykjavik. Please be at the pre-arranged bus stop no later than 15 minutes before the pick-up time.

Make sure that your phone number and e-mail are listed with Iceland Travel so we can contact you if needed.

The first day of your tour begins with a visit to Thingvellir National Park, the ancient site of the world’s first parliament. Here you can see the dramatic continental drift between the North-American and Eurasian tectonic plates. An hour’s drive away,  the popular Geysir geothermal area awaits. The most active geyser, Strokkur, shoots water high into the air every few minutes, but you’ll also witness several other boiling pools and hot springs.

Next your group will take part in Iceland Travel’s reforestation program, located in Haukadalur valley. You can help your group plant a total of five trees, which not only allows you to leave your mark in Iceland but also for your tour group to reduce your carbon footprint!

Then you will head onwards to Iceland’s most popular waterfall, the impressive two-stage Gullfoss (“Golden Falls”).

Dinner and overnight stay in Hvolsvöllur area.

Approximate travel distance: ca 279 km / 173 miles

Day 2: Hvollsvollur – Dyrholaey – Vik:

Highlights: Seljalandsfoss Myrdalsjokull Eyjafjallajokull Skogafoss Vík Dyrholaey

Thundering Waterfalls – Seabird Colony – Black Sand Beaches of the South Shore – Lava Fields

Breakfast at your hotel. Start the day by driving along the highway, making a stop at two impressive waterfalls: Seljalandsfoss and Skogafoss.  Head to the black sand beaches to enjoy the far-reaching views from Dyrholaey headland, where thousands of puffins and other seabirds nest (puffins generally seen between May and mid-August. Enjoy a stop in the quaint village of Vik before crossing the Myrdalssandur volcanic ash outwash plains created by flowing water from nearby glaciers. The day ends after passing through the vast Eldhraun lava field, the world’s largest recorded single lava flow in the last 10.000 years.

Dinner and overnight stay in the Vik area for the next two nights.

Approximate travel distance: 190km / 118miles

Day 3: Vik – Jokulsarlon – Skaftafell – Vik:

Highlights: Jokulsarlon Glacial Lagoon Skaftafell National Park Hvannadalshnjukur Eldhraun Lava Field

Glacial Lagoon with Icebergs – Scenic Glacial Park – Europe’s Largest Glacier

Breakfast at your hotel.  The day starts with a drive through beautiful scenery towards Vatnajokull, the largest glacier in Europe.  You will also get a view of Hvannadalshnjukur, the country’s highest peak. The highlight of the day will surely be surely Jokulsarlon Glacial Lagoon, where huge icebergs dance around in icy seawater. Continuing on your way, pass by several outlet glaciers from Vatnajokull, visiting at least one of them. Along the route you also will get magnificent views of Skaftafell, a glacier-crowned wonderland within Vatnajokull National Park.

Dinner and overnight stay in the Vik area.

Approximate travel distance: 260km / 162 miles

Day 4: Vik – Landmannalaugar – Thjorsardalur Valley:

Highlights: Landmannalaugar Thjorsardalur

Multi-coloured Wilderness Mountains  – Lava Fields – Hot Spring Bathing – Hekla Volcano

Breakfast at your hotel.  Today some of the roads will be bumpy since you’ll be on wilderness tracks, but the views will be amazing!  It’s finally time to leave the asphalt behind and meander along the Fjallabaksleid interior track to Landmannalaugar, an astonishing area surrounded by colourful rhyolite mountains. The surreal beauty of the uninhabited interior reveals deep valleys and sculptured mountains, many formed in volcanic eruptions under glaciers during the Ice Age.

After a nice walk (optional) enjoy a relaxing swim in a warm brook created by the convergence of hot and cold springs.

Dinner and overnight stay in the Thjorsardalur area.

Approximate travel distance:  200km / 125 miles

Day 5: Thjorsardalur – Sprengisandur Wilderness Track – Laugar:

Wild Heart of Iceland and Black Sand Desert

Breakfast at your hotel. Today wilderness adventure awaits!   It’s time to head north through the very heart of Iceland.  Discover hidden treasures of Iceland’s uninhabited interior along the Sprengisandur highland route, a vast, barren, black desert connecting Iceland´s north and south. With only rough tracks and un-bridged glacial rivers, your group will rely on your experienced driver to navigate the rugged passage between the glaciers.  This is a true taste of Iceland‘s wild side—bumpy roads and driving through rivers are a part of the amazing experience!  (Note: If Sprengisandur is closed, your group will take the Kjolur highland route instead.)

Dinner and overnight stay in the Laugar/Lake Myvatn area for the next 2 nights.

Approximate travel distance: 300km / 185 miles

Day 6: Laugar – Tjornes – Asbyrgi – Dettifoss – Lake Myvatn – Laugar:

Highlights: Dettifoss Ásbyrgi Myvatn Jokulsargljufur National Park Húsavík Krafla

Glacial River Gorge – Europe’s Most Powerful Waterfall – Geothermal Wonderland– Rich Birdlife

Breakfast at your hotel. After travelling on the gravel roads of the highlands, the smooth highways of the north make the fully-packed day seem more comfortable. Travel through the town of Husavik and around the Tjornes peninsula, the northernmost point of your journey. Discover the impressive 100 meter (328 feet) high walls of the horseshoe-shaped canyon of Asbyrgi. According to Norse mythology, the canyon is the hoof-print left by Sleipnir, the magical eight-legged horse of the pagan god Odinn. The journey continues to Dettifoss, Europe’s most powerful waterfall,  located in the awe-inspiring Jokulsargljufur canyon. Next travel to the unforgettable Lake Myvatn area, a geological wonderland and paradise for bird watchers. Some of the most visually bizarre attractions in the region include the mud pits of Hverarond and the still-warm lava fields of Krafla, teeming with lava flows, fissures and explosion craters.

Dinner and overnight stay in the Laugar/Lake Myvatn area.

Approximate travel distance: 300km / 185 miles

Day 7: Laugar – Akureyri – Skagafjordur- Laugarbakki:

Highlights: Godafoss Akureyri Skagafjordur Fjord

Waterfall “Of the Gods” – The Capital of the North – Viking Horses

Breakfast at your hotel.  Start the adventure today with a visit to Godafoss, one of the most impressive waterfalls in the country. (The name means “Waterfall of the Gods.) Continue to Akureyri, the vibrant “Capital of the North.”  Enjoy some free time to explore this colourful and charming town.  Some activities might include a visit to the delightful botanical garden, a swim in the local geothermal pool, or perhaps enjoying the culture, art and fine food of the Listagil artists‘ district. The route then continues to the Skagafjordur area, known as the traditional heart of horse breeding in Iceland.  This area also boasts many historical sites from the classic Sagas. Tonight, horseback riding on a purebred Viking horse might be an appealing option, as would be an invigorating walk in the picturesque surroundings.

Dinner and overnight stay in the Laugarbakki area.

Approximate travel  distance: 285 km /183 miles

Day 8: Laugarbakki – Hvammstangi – Vatnsnes Peninsula – Budardalur:

Highlights: Vatnsnes Peninsula Eiriksstadir Viking Home Hvítserkur

Historical Farmlands – Birthplace of Leif Eiriksson

Breakfast at your hotel.  Your journey continues around Vatnsnes Peninsula, which contains the extraordinary rock formation of Hvitserkur, a 15 meter (49 feet) tall cliff jutting out straight from the sea.  You might even see seals resting close to the beach.  In the afternoon, drive through rolling farmlands and across Laxardalsheidi heath to the Viking Age house at Eiriksstadir.  This was the original homestead of Erik the Red and the birthplace of his son Leif Eiriksson.  These men are two of the most legendary Vikings in the world. In a replica of a grass-roofed house, meet modern day Vikings who will demonstrate the lifestyle from 1000 years ago, sharing their crafts and knowledge.

Dinner and overnight stay in the Budardalur area.

Approximate travel distance: 150km / 93 miles

Day 9: Budardalur – Snaefellsjokull National Park – Reykjavik:

Highlights: Snaefellsjokull National Park Stykkisholmur Djupalonssandur Arnarstapi Hellnar

Snaefellsjokull Glacier – Pebble Beaches – Sea Cliffs with Birdlife – Quaint Fishing Villages

Breakfast at your hotel.  Today is spent exploring the amazing variety of natural landscapes in Snaefellsjokull National Park. The park‘s crown jewel is Snaefellsjokull glacier itself, which covers a dormant volcano that last erupted in 250 AD. Walk along the uniquely pebbled seascape of Djupalonssandur beach. At the picturesque harbour village of Arnarstapi, you can observe magnificent basalt rock in stacked formations and take a walk along the unique hiking trail linking the settlements of Arnarstapi and Hellnar.  Afterwards the journey leads back to Reykjavik, where the tour ends.  The tour bus will drop you off at Bus Hostel, where you will be transferred to a pre-arranged bus stop in Reykjavik.

Approximate distance:  440 km / 273 miles

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