2019 Dates: July 7 – July 13, July 17 – 23, August 4 – 10, August 14 – 20, September 1 – 7. Contact us for additional dates.
Hiking Trip Summary
This trek was nominated in 2005 by the National Geographic Magazine as one of the 25 most beautiful treks in the world!
In Northeast Iceland, along one of the most magnificent coastlines of the country, the Víknaslóðir trails (“Trails of the Deserted Inlets”) extend over an area where coastal mountains plunge abruptly into the sea. This isolated region is considered to be the central province of the elves. Their queen resides in her fortress at Álfaborg (Behind the small wooden Bakkagerði church in Eastern Borgarfjörður Bay).
The imposing mountain massif of the area displays the entire colour spectrum of rhyolite, an acidic form of lava (If you know Landmannalaugar already, just imagine it softer, surrounded by ocean, with the rumble of crashing waves and the cries of thousands of nesting seabirds – a truly stunning location!).
From these blue, pink and ochre colours, fortresses of dark rock soar hundreds of feet into the sky. In lush, green valleys, limpid torrents run from peat marshes powdered with the white, fluffy seed heads of cotton grass. The ocean’s colour changes with its moods – from the most exotic opal to turquoise to oil-black. Almost systematically, in the evening there is a blanket of mist descending on the landscape, adding to the mystery of the clear night. Just as methodically, the gleaming morning sun burns through these layers which, after some resistance, escape through the mountain passes.Down on the riverside there are beautiful cottages, very comfortable and each equipped with a wood-fuelled stove.
Driftwood in large numbers, whitened by the salt of the sea, arrives regularly from Siberia and runs aground on these remote black sand beaches. You will be sure to bring home with you the memory of one of those magical evenings around a fire on the inlet bank, a most serene feeling in this extreme corner of the world.
As nearby fulmars soar over the surf, a curious seal may come for a glance. And on the mountain above the cliffs, where the smoke of our fire and the haze of the evening mingle, the invisible elves will be observing you. They already see you coming.
Several travel options are possible to reach and return from Egilsstadir (or Seydisfjörður) the starting point and ending point of this trek.
Direct domestic flights round trip from/to Reykjavik, as well as self-drive options, or by boat from the Faroe Islands (crossing is approx. 10 hours).
The price does not include domestic flight / travel between Reykjavik and Egilsstadir.
Please note that this route can be reversed without prior indications.
D1: (Reykjavik ✈ ) Egilstaðir – Loðmundarfjörður
5-6 hours hiking 300 m elevation gain/loss – Loðmundarfjörður Mountain hut
Domestic flight in the early morning from Reykjavik domestic to Egilsstaðir. Check in 45 minutes before departure. An awe-inspiring 60 minutes flight over the Icelandic Highlands to Egilsstaðir in eastern Iceland includes views of Mount Hekla, the Vatnajökull ice cap, and Mount Askja. Rendezvous with your guide at Egilsstaðir domestic Airport. From Egilsstaðir we will drive to colourful Seyðisfjörður, an important fishing village and the arrival harbour of the only ferry connecting Iceland to Europe. A dramatic mountain pass to carry on along the side track to the deserted Loðmundarfjörður fjord.
5-6 hours hiking – 300-400 m elevation gain/loss – Mountain hut
Wandering in the beautiful fjord which remains for many years one of the most isolated and inaccessible communities in Iceland (it is now uninhabited). There are thousands of nesting eider ducks, as well as seals and reindeers and some wild horses in the vast moorland and swamps on the bottom of the large fjord. If weather permit we climb in the rhyolite mountains in the direction to the pass of Kækjuskörð where the view is breath-takingh
D3: Loðmundarfjörður – Húsavík:
5-6 hours hiking – 300 m elevation gain/loss – Mountain hut
To the West we can admire countless snowy mountain peaks, to the South and to the North the alignment of fjords and coves and to the East the curvature of the ocean. Somewhere at less that 280 miles away are the beautiful Faroe Islands. Of course we can’t see them but we nearly feel their presence. At the pas to Húsavík a large cairn is the only telephone connection possible to receive or send messages. (Otherwise each shelter is equipped with a radio transmitter that connects us to civilisation); Down the pass and through moorland we reach to the foot of Mount Hvítserkur one of the most picturesque and bizarre mountains in the country. Hvítserkur consists of bright ignimbrite, fancifully streaked with darker veins. Descent toward Húsavík. The lodge is located on the site of a small, old farm, deserted in the 1950s after centuries of occupation
D4: Húsavík – Breiðavík:
6-7 hours hiking – 400 m elevation gain/loss– Mountain hut
We walk up and down toward the beautiful wild bay of Breiðavík. A wonderful place with coastal marsh and a black sandy beaches covered with incredible amounts of Siberian driftwood and other treasures of the sea. Curious seals will almost certainly come to observe our evening fire and our strange attitude!
D5: Breiðavík – Brúnavík -Bakkagerði:
6-7 hours hiking – 400 m elevation gain/loss – B&B Inn
We progress across stunningly massive rhyolite mountains displaying an incredible range of all possible ochre and pastel colours from blue to pink. Then we walk, to Borgarfjörður via Brúnavík (“Brown Bay”), At the very foot of the majestic Dyrfjöll Mountain range we arrive at the small coastal village of Bakkagerði. The rocky hill Álfaborg, right next to Bakkagerði, is the source of the fjord’s name. Acknowledged home to the fairies, it is said to be the dwelling place of their queen in Iceland. We walk to the islet Fagrihóll, current fishing harbour for the locality. A great variety of birds nest here; among common species are the fulmar, kittiwake, eider duck and puffin.
D6: Dyrfjöll- Storurð:
6-8 hours hiking – 500 m elevation gain/loss BB Inn
Our trek ends by hiking in the grandiose Dyrfjöll Mountains, whose massive presence dominates the bay of Borgarfjörður. We cross the Vatnaskarð pass, between the faces of the Skeggjaklettur cliff (“Bearded Cliff”) to reach Stórurð (“Big Rocky Ground”), an enormous chaos of large rocks intersected by a calm glacial stream. Between the dark rocks rest calm turquoise-collared basins of icy water surrounded by tender green short grass.
D7: Bakkagerdi – Egilsstaðir (Reykjavik):
70 km driving
Early morning departure (8 am) Drive up the plateau to the little town of Egilstaðir where we arrive one hour later. Egilsstadir is located on the bank of the long turquoise lake of Lagarfljót, where the legendary monster Lagarfljótsormurinn, close cousin of the one in Loch Ness in Scotland, lives. Fly back to Reykjavik or self-drive post-tout.
English speaking guide from Day 1 to Day 7, transport of luggage by 4×4 assistant vehicle, 4 nights in mountain huts, 12 nights B&B Inn, full board (breakfast, lunch, dinner) from lunch day 1 to breakfast day 7.
Flights to/from Iceland, flights and transport within Iceland to and from Egilstadir, transfers from/to airport, accommodation and meals in Reykjavík, 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 rate.
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
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. 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?
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. 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.
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.
This trip is 7 days. Meeting is at 9 am at Egilsstadir airport.
Rendezvous day 1. You will have to arrange your own taxi transfer to Reykjavik domestic airport in the morning of day 1. This airport is in the heart of Reykjavik few minutes away from downtown. You will have to meet there 40 minutes prior to departure. We will let you know in advance the exact flight schedule and flight reservation number. We cannot be more specific than that because, at the time we publish our program, the schedules of domestic flights program for 2017 have not yet been published. If your guide does not fly with you, then he will welcome you at the small airport in Egilsstadir. We’ll let you know.
If you do not need domestic flight from us rendez-vous with your travel companions at the Domestic Airport of Egilsstadir is at 09 am day 1 (or other time on some departures. We will let you know in time! )
Trek departure is at 9 am at Egilsstadir airport or at 10 am at Seydisfjordur.
Return of trek: Do not book your flight from Egilsstadir before 9:30 am the last day of the trip.
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.