This concentrated itinerary is part of our collection of trips that speaks to the purist hiker with a spirit of adventure. This year, we are offering several departures for a maximum number of twelve participants.
Our guides, all experienced mountaineers, will lead you safely through this incredible region. Starting at the foot of the imposing Hrafntinnusker caldera over the Landmannalaugar Valley and ending at the fault of Eldgjá, this trek will lead you through a world of volcanic features – huge lava fields, mountains of rhyolite, basalt, obsidian and pumice, through hot springs and fumaroles, blast craters and fissures. You will discover dream-like, moss-filled valleys and drink from the freshest, clearest streams. And always watching over you are the majestic, shimmering icecaps, dormant volcanoes surrounded by vast black sand flats, criss-crossed by a myriad melted water streams.
Presenting no difficulty for good walkers, on most days each member carries only a light daypack as a 4×4 truck carries all personal belongings, heavy equipment and supplies. Every day involves an average of 6-8 hours hiking. Accommodation, during the trek is a combination of some nights in comfortable expedition tents and some nights in well equipped mountain huts, all in beautiful locations. The isolation and severity of the landscape demands each tour member to be in good physical condition and that they actively participate in the trip i.e. the group must work together to set up camp, prepare food etc. This trek is designed for those who wish to fully experience unspoiled nature at its best, and to see what they may never even have dreamed still existed.
Day 1 : Reykjavik – Ljósártungur – Hvanngíl
1h30 driving on road – 1h30 driving on trail
Early morning rendezvous at 7:30 AM with your guide in hiking outfit at BSI Reykjavik Central Bus station with your duffle bag and your daypack ready on your shoulder. (Do not forget to take along with you your hiking sandals for a first river crossing)
Departure for three hours by road through prairies, then on the South Fjallabak trail which slowly climbs up to the highlands through pasturelands moors and mossy lava fields. One can admire here the alignment of mountain ranges, all perfectly parallel and aligned in the same direction: the direction of the mid-Atlantic ridge that crosses Iceland from North to South enjoying a spectacular view of three major ice caps : Mýrdalsjökull, Eyjafjallajökull and Tíndafjallajökull.
Day 2: Mælifellssandur
5 hours – ca. 15 km (9 miles) – Alt. 550 to 563 m (1800 to 1850 feet)
We cross the sand of Mælifellssandur. In the middle of this strange black flatness stands the solitary cone of Mælifell, covered in fluorescent green-coloured moss. We are able to explore the extraordinary landscapes between the southern flank of the Torfajökull caldera and the mighty dome of the Mýrdalsjökull icecap. Beneath this huge sheet of ice lies Katla, another of Iceland’s angriest volcanoes. She last erupted in 1918 and is long overdue for another eruption.
Day 3: Strútslaug – Lake Hólmsárlón
6-7 hours – ca. 19 km (12 miles) – Alt. 563 to 563 m (1850 to 1850 feet)
Proceed to the shores of the long and narrow Hólmsárlón Lake. We reach the place nicknamed the red baptismal fountain. The waterfalls at the end of the turquoise coloured lake plunging into the red crater, is a sight to behold. Of course, we cannot resist taking a bath in Strútslaug, a nearby, natural hot spring pool.
Day 4: Strútur – Alftavötn
6-7 hours – ca. 22 km (14 miles) – Alt. 563 to 444 m (1850 to 1460 feet)
We follow the fault of Eldgjá, the longest eruptive fissure on earth, today covered by moss and crossed by a clear stream. As large as the Laki eruption was, it was exceeded by Iceland’s A.D. 934-940 Eldgjá eruption, which occurred in the same mountainous region. During the six years that this eruption was active, lava erupted from several vents along a discontinuous 75-km-long (47-mile-long) fissure system and buried more than 781 square km (302 square miles) of southern Iceland. Fortunately, huge eruptions like those at Eldgjá and Laki are very unusual; otherwise, life as we know it would probably not be. Though the hazards posed by lava flows and volcanic gas here on the “Big” Island are understandably important to us, they are still tiny in comparison to what our big blue planet is capable of.
Day 5: Alftavötn – Holaskjol
2-3 hours – ca. 8 km (5 miles) – Alt. 444 to 330 m (1460 to 1080 feet)
After wandering the soft landscape of Álftavötn, the “lakes of the swans”, in a short and beautiful walk we join the trail of Fjallabak North at Hólaskjól in the pastures of the Skaftá district, bordering the Skaftá river and the enormous lava fields of Laki. Appreciate resting day in the beautiful surrounding of Holaskjol.
Day 6: Eldgjá – Öxnatindar
5-6 hours – ca. 16 km (10 miles) – Alt. 330 to 450 m (1080 to 1480 feet)
We walk again throughout the Eldgjá break, “throat of fire”, the biggest eruption break on our planet. Despite all these superlatives, tiny little landscapes are comfortable: springs, streams of clear water, small Zen gardens…We reach the heavy Skaftá and its powerful and worrisome waters. On the other side lies the endless lava of Laki, which is the largest lava emission of historical times (1783-1785).
Day 7: Skaftá – Sveinstindur
5-6 hours – ca. 18 km (11 miles) – Alt. 450 to 600 m (1480 to 1970 feet)
We reach Sveinstindur, the first cone of the divided chain of Fögrufjöll, with its conical black and green volcanoes. Easy ascent of Mount Sveinstindur, from where you can admire a fabulous panorama view. To the north and the mighty Vatnajökull the fabulous jade green narrow lake of Langisjór. At the South lie the strange lava fields of Laki, covered with green fluorescent moss, and partly flooded by the overflows of Skaftá.
Day 8: Langisjór and Fagrifjöll
7-8 hours – ca. 20 km (12 miles) – Alt. 600 to 600 m (1970 to 1970 feet)
Along Langisjór and up on easy hills we follow the narrow ridge of the Fagrifjöll. Their name means the beautiful mountains. Knowing the sobriety of the Icelandic language, they must be on to deserve such an appellation. We are moving on the narrow green and black backs of Fagrifjöll, sometimes on the shore of the lake, sometimes the easiest buttes.
Day 9: Grænafjallsgarður – Landmannalaugar – Reykjavik
4-5 hours – ca. 10 km (6 miles) – Alt. 600 to 700 m (1970 to 2300 feet)
We leave Mount Sveinstindur and we progress westwards on the extensive sand along a black and green valley bordered by the imposing palagonite alignments of Grænnafjallsgarður and Gréttir to reach first by walking, then with the help of our jeep to the junction with the track of Northern Fjallabak.
Day 10: Back to Reykjavik and civilisation
We return to Reykjavik Central bus station 1) or with one of our larger vehicles along the South Coast viaVík-i-Myrdal and an arrival around 5pm. 2) or by the regular Mountain bus to the via Landmannalaugar and a late arrival in the capital around 7 pm, even later if you decide to stop at Landmannalaugar for a few hours.
Currently, we can not specify in advance what route will be chosen to return to Reykjavik. But we will try to answer you before the trip if you need this information.
By the regular Mountain bus (Dep.12:30) it takes approximatively 7 hours to Reykjavik (Arr.19:35) through Landmannalaugar with a 2 hours stopover (Arr.13:30/ Dep.15:30) – You have the option to extend this stopover in Landmannalauagar by taking an other bus later in the day at 17:30 or at 20:00.
English speaking guide from day 1 to day 9, bus transfers to and from the mountains, transport of luggage by 4×4 assistant vehicle, all accommodation in mountain huts and tents, full board (breakfast, lunch, dinner) from lunch day 1 to last day lunch.
Flights to/from Iceland, Transfers from/to airport, accommodation and meals in Reykjavík, Taxi ride to and from Reykjavík Central bus station from your hotel, showers in the huts, drinks and other personal expenses, additional small group surcharge below 6 participants, insurance, tips to guides/leaders, items of personal nature, potential fluctuations in exchange rates.
Presenting no difficulty for good walkers, each member carries only a light day pack. A 4×4 truck carries all your personal things, heavy equipment and supplies.
Accommodations and Food
Sleeping bag accommodation in mountain huts (usually one comfortable, mixed bunkhouse) and depending on route and conditions, at the peak of the season 1 or 2 nights may be spent in spacious double tents equipped with comfortable mattresses. Showers are available in most of the huts.
Fjallabak pride themselves in providing the best cuisine in the highlands! Breakfast is Scandinavian-style, with muesli, breads, jams, fish and cheese. Packed lunch, with a variety of sandwich fillings, from smoked meats and fish to local cheeses and salads. Dinners involve fresh, local fish and meat dishes, with pasta, rice or potatoes, fresh vegetables and salad. Vegetarians and those with food allergies can be fully catered for with a range of tasty options. It is essential that you inform our office of any special food requirements at the time of booking!
For usability, but no obligation, you can bring with you a little speciality of your home country to share with your companions as well as a flask of some thing for a short drink in the middle of nowhere
All international flights are served by Iceland’s Keflavik International Airport, which is about a 45 minutes outside the capitol city of Reykjavik. Accommodations in Reykjavik before and after the trek are not included in Fjallabak’s itinerary. Please contact us if you would like more information about various levels of accommodations available or if you would like assistance booking accommodations in Reykjavik.
Who would like this trip?
Specially suited for nature lovers, this compact 10 day-trek is ideal for walkers who do not have much time for longer holidays, but dream of discovering the unique mountains of Iceland by foot, without carrying a heavy backpack and also want a cosy shelter each night.
The remoteness of the terrain, coupled with an ever-changing climate can make this a most challenging environment; therefore, safety is of primary concern. Your guide and our support vehicle are radio equipped. Fjallabak’s guides, all experienced mountaineers with extensive local knowledge, are fully trained in wilderness first aid and rescue procedures. To complement this, our personal clothing and equipment systems must be sufficient to ensure your comfort in all kinds of weather – see our kit list for advice.
Early morning rendezvous at 7:30 AM with your guide at Reykjavik Central Bus station.
Drop-off will be at Reykjavik Central bus station at approximately 19:00.
For a more information about how to book this trek with Fjallabak or to register, please call.
We just got back from the most incredible, amazing, awesome trip!…By the way, my son wants to go back (to Iceland) next year for the five day trek, and my daughter says the trip ‘changed her life’. Not bad!
Any hiking trip in the mountains requires a certain amount of effort and proper fitness training will enhance your enjoyment. In the mountains, time and elevation gain or loss as opposed to distance, tend to be the determining factors when defining hiking grades or level of difficulty. We have done our best to grade our trips consistently, please contact us for further clarification. We are happy to offer names of past participants.
Easy: Hike 3 to 4 hours daily carrying a day pack on generally gentle terrain. Distances from 4 to 8 miles. Elevation gain and loss 500' to 1,500'.
Moderate: Hike an average of 4 to 5 hours daily on varied terrain. Distances from 5 to 9 miles. Elevation gains and losses generally 1,500' to 2,500' or about 2 hours.
Strenuous: Hike 5 to 7 hours daily on varied terrain, with consistent ascents and descents of 2 to 3 or more hours generally 2,500' - 3,500'. Distances from 6 to 11 miles. There are some sections that include steep uphill and downhills.
Strenuous Plus: 5 to 8 hours partly on rocky, challenging terrain with consistent steep ascents and descents of 2 to 3 or more hours generally 3,000'-5,000'. Distances from 6 to 15 miles. Though each day is not strenuous plus there are some sections that may include rough terrain and open and exposed trails.