The steaming lava fields of Reykjanes Peninsula; the ever-changing landscape of the Mid-Atlantic Ridge; the incredible oasis of Thorsmörk Valley; the mountains of gold, orange, purple, rose, and brilliantly green at Landmannalaugar – all form a tapestry of visual delight. You will walk through moss fields and meadows of wool grass, seeing rare orchids, and stopping to bathe in warm rivers.
A white glacial waterfall cascades 105 feet into a narrow canyon, leaving a rainbow in its wake, while nearby, a steaming geyser marks the time. The mystical grandeur of Snaefellsnes Peninsula, known as a microcosm of Iceland as a whole, is where elves and faeries are said to dwell. Come and look for them with us, while enjoying Iceland’s extraordinary, otherworldly beauty. It will change your appreciation for our planet!
Highlights: Blue Lagoon, hot springs, Trans Atlantic Rift, geysers, waterfalls, volcanoes, Icelandic ponies, glaciers, puffins, lava formations.
Day 1: Hike up to 2 hours, drive up to 5 hours
Meet at Keflavik Airport upon your arrival early in the morning, or at your hotel a bit later. Your Iceland adventure begins at a geothermal spa; the Blue Lagoon is perhaps the most supernatural looking body of water on Earth. The temperature averages about 40C (104F), and the soothing, mineral-rich water is rumoured to have curative powers. After a picnic lunch, you will visit the Krysuvik geothermal area for a close look at some active bubbling mud pots and sizzling steam vents, or fumaroles. The sulphuric acid that is created dissolves the surrounding rock into fine particles of silica and clay, that mix with what little water there is to form the seething and bubbling mud pots. Fumaroles are hot springs with a lot of heat but so little water that it all boils away before reaching the surface. You’ll then transfer to your guesthouse in Hveragerdi. Owned by Knütur Bruun - a patron of Icelandic art, and the chairman of the National Gallery - your guesthouse is well appointed and decorated. Outdoors, you will enjoy the hot swimming pool and “hotpot” beside the river. Indoors, you will enjoy a geothermal sauna and the art Knütur has collected.
Guesthouse Frost og Funi (Frost & Fire), Hveragerði
Day 2: 2 hikes up to 3 hours, drive up to 3½ hours
Today's adventure takes you to the Thorsmörk Valley via the Seljalandfoss Waterfall. Thorsmork is an incredible oasis hidden between three glaciers in the southern part of Iceland. The route takes you along a rough mountain track that fords many rivers. The hike will take you through a Jurassic Stakkholtsgjá Canyon to a hidden waterfall, then to a magnificent overview of the entire area surrounded by ice caps and glaciers. Return to Sudurlandsvegur to explore independent dinner options. BL
Day 3: Hike up to 4½ hours, drive up to 4 hours
Travel to Landmannalaugar via the Fjallabak south road. This unique pearl of the interior is situated in a valley between steep colourful (yellow, orange and purple) mountains at the high and dark edge of the rhyolite lava field, Laugahraun. Wandering through this intoxicating miasma of color, you will find Icelandic moss fields, meadows of wool grass, steam springs, and bizarre lava formations, where bright blossoms defy the raw climate. You might also find a rare orchid which only exists in Iceland and the Rocky Mountains. This magnificent fragile eco-system seems out of place amidst these volcanic mountains, and you may start believing in elves and fairies as you enjoy bathing in the earth-warmed river. BL
Hotel Fludir, Fludir; or Leirubakki Guest House, Leirubakki.
Day 4: 2 hour walk and sight seeing walks, drive up to 5 hours
Start with a drive across the fertile agricultural centre of Iceland on your way to visit two of the "Natural Wonders of the World". Gullfoss is an enormous glacial cascade dropping 105 feet into a narrow canyon. Its spectacular two-tiered cataract hangs in the air like fine drizzle, often forming rainbows in the sunlight. In winter it has an unusual appearance when it is garbed in ice and snow. Nearby, the Great Geyser is an overwhelming sight. This landmark of Iceland is a spectacular natural phenomenon beyond description. A recent earthquake (richter 6.3) increased activity here significantly, making this an interesting time to visit. In nearby Thingvellir Valley, you will learn about the history of Iceland, and its ancient parliaments, while walking along the Mid-Atlantic Rift. It is so evident here you can step from one side to the other. See if you can feel the tectonic plates separating! After a walk through the dense vegetation of the National Park, we will shuttle to your hotel near one of Europe's highest waterfalls, and with a beautiful view over the Hvalfjörður (''whale fjord''). BLD
Day 5: Hike and cave up to 2 hours, drive up to 5 hours
In the Kaldidalur Valley, view the splendid Langjökull glacier, and walk to one of the longest lava caves of Iceland at Surtshellir – once a good hideout for outlaws, and now a wonderful 2km long display of beautiful structures created by flowing lava. You will visit Barnafoss and Hraunfoss Waterfalls, as well as the largest hot water spring in the world, Deildartungarhver. This spring supplies all the hot water for several nearby communities. We will then transfer you to the Snaefellsnes Peninsula, and the fishing village of Grundarfjordur, for Icelandic hospitality and a fresh catch for dinner. This village is representative of the many fishing communities up and down the coast. BLD
Hótel Framnes, Grundarfjörður or Hotel Hellnar, Snaefellsbaer.
Day 6: Hike and village walk up to 4 hours, drive up to 4 hours
Start with a walk in the village of Grundarfjordur, with a delightful local resident who will tell you of the area’s local history. Circumnavigate the peninsula, and hike the coastal trails along the South side of the island, where the rugged coastline continues to change and the lava formations are stopped by the cold and powerful Atlantic Ocean. At the end of the afternoon, you will transfer to one of Iceland’s most beautiful and historic hotels. If you don't believe in elves yet…after staying here…you'll understand why 80% of Icelanders do; this location is utterly magical. BLD
Hotel Budir, Snaeffelsnes
Day 7: Drive up to 3 hours
A morning transfer will take you back to Iceland’s capital, Reykjavik, where you may discover the wonders of this city on your own. Stops will be made at hotels for those who are staying in Reykjavik and an airport shuttle will depart at 14:00 for adventurers who are traveling home today. B
Start: Keflavik International Airport, 09:00, day one.
Also see tour packages in:
Europe Iceland Outdoor: Land Rambler Hiking & Trekking
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