Iceland Hiking

Trip Length 8 Days
Group Size 4?14
Difficulty
Starting from
$5,699 for REI Members
$6,199 for non-members
Departures Jun 2020-Aug 2020

Marvel at dramatic landscapes, otherworldly geological formations and charming rural villages on our 8-day Iceland summertime getaway.

If outdoor adventure is at the top of your list, Iceland is the right place. This beautiful country is brimming with contrasts: fire meets ice, rugged mountains meet cascading waterfalls, and isolated people radiate vibrant culture. During the summer months, we benefit from birds and marine animals making their return to the coast, as well as long, sunny days, excellent temperatures and perfectly blue skies. This stunning North Atlantic island is the perfect place for a summer adventure.

We begin and end our trip in lively Reykjavik, Iceland?s coastal capital. Hike amid magnificent landscapes, enjoying national parks filled with obsidian fields, blue lakes and volcanoes. Explore tremendous waterfalls fed by glaciers, vast icecaps and bubbling hot springs. Spend a full day hiking in Vatnaj�kull National Park?a jumble of rugged peaks, massive glaciers and iceberg-filled lakes spanning almost 600 square miles. Our evenings are spent nestled comfortably in a cozy hotel, enjoying authentic meals in the company of fellow travelers.

Considering visiting Iceland during the winter months? Check out our Iceland Winter Adventure trip to see the quiet beauty of Iceland during the other part of the year.

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Trip Highlights

  • Experience the same awe as the Vikings hiking in Iceland's dramatic landscapes
  • Explore national parks filled with obsidian fields, blue lakes, and volcanoes
  • Discover thundering waterfalls, vast icecaps, and icy glaciers
  • Spend two nights camping in a sheltered birch forest
  • Visit lively and colorful Reykjavik

Activities

This adventure is rated Moderate [3]. Trip members should be in good physical condition, capable of hiking up to 8 hours with distances ranging from 10?12 miles and 2,500?3,200' elevation gain. The trails are well maintained, but can have steep ascents/descents with rocky, uneven terrain, scree, loose dirt, and possible snow. Some hikes will involve short sections of trail that are exposed (many of these sections are secured with ropes or other aids).

We recommend a conditioning regimen beginning at least three months prior to departure that includes hiking (preferably) or some other form of cardiovascular exercise (jogging, swimming, cycling) in order to prepare for the activity in this adventure. The better shape you are in, the more fun you will have. Get out on those hills if possible!

  • Hiking

What's Included

Double-occupancy hotel accommodations with private baths for 5 nights; double-occupancy camping accommodations for 2 nights; all meals from breakfast on Day 1 through breakfast on Day 8; English speaking guide(s); one group transfer from Keflavik Airport on Day 1; transportation within Iceland; group camping gear including tents and sleeping bags; entrance fees to all national parks; entrance fee for hot springs on Day 6.

Accommodations

Hotels, 5 nights; Camping, 2 nights

Your Adventure Itinerary

Day 1

Hike Mount Hrafnabj�rg and relax in the Fontana Geothermal Baths

Our trip begins in Reykjavik, Iceland, this morning. Our guide will meet flights arriving into Keflavik airport between 6am and 7am. After breakfast and an orientation in Reykjavik, we drive to Thingvellir National Park. Thingvellir became Iceland's first national park in 1928, thanks to its historical significance and haunting natural beauty. Here we witness the divergent drift of the American and Eurasian plates. A five kilometer wide strip of land between the plates has sunk more than 180' in the past 10,000 years and a rift valley has formed. Afterward we transfer to the start of our hike in the �j�fahraun lava field. During the last glacial period, there was widespread volcanic activity under the ice which formed palagonite mountains and ridges. Mount Hrafnabj�rg is one of them, and we?ll hike to the summit for amazing views (weather permitting). After our hike, we head for the small settlement of Laugarvatn to relax in the Fontana Geothermal Baths. Tonight?s hotel is located near Mt. Hekla, one of Iceland?s most active volcanoes. All meals included.

HHiking: 7.5 miles (4 hours); Terrain: Rough dirt and rock trails; Elevation gain/loss: 984?; Driving: 3 hours.

Day 2

Hike in Landmannalaugar among rhyolite mountains and glacial lakes

This morning we head east on backcountry dirt roads toward the volcanic region of Landmannalaugar and entering the Fjallabak Nature Reserve. Its surface is covered with pitch-black lava and pumice stone. We stop in Landmannalaugar and set out on a hike to the top of a nearby peak for a panoramic view of this remote highland oasis surrounded by vividly-colored rhyolite mountains, fissures, glacial lakes and obsidian lava. We continue by vehicle to the gorge of Eldgja (Fire Fissure). Another of Iceland?s incredible natural attractions, Eldgja is a 25-mile-long volcanic rift formed during a 10th-century volcanic eruption. It produced the greatest amount of lava ever recorded. We hike into the rift and visit Ofaerufoss waterfall. This afternoon we continue to our lodging on the outskirts of Vatnaj�kull National Park. All meals included.

Hiking: 7.5 miles (4 hours); Terrain: Rough dirt, lava and rocky trails; Elevation gain/loss: 1463'; Driving: 5 hours.

Day 3

Summit hike in the Skaftafell region of Vatnajokull National Park

A full day of hiking today in Skaftafell region of Vatnaj�kull National Park?a jumble of rugged peaks, massive glaciers and iceberg-filled lakes spanning almost 600 square miles and offering a myriad of trails for the hiking enthusiast. The park encompasses part of the great Vatnajokul icecap?the world's largest icecap outside of the Polar Regions. We explore Skaftafellsheidi Heath, with views of the Skaftafellsj�kull Glacier on one side and the Mors�rdalur Valley, decorated with colorful rhyolite mountains, on the other. In the bottom of the valley, huge blocks of ice lie scattered after falling from cliffs. Weather permitting, we climb up Krist�nartindar (3,500'), which gives us unparalleled views of the surrounding glaciers and peaks including Hvannadalshnukur, Iceland's highest mountain (6,950'). All meals included.

Hiking: 11 miles (9 hours); Terrain: Rough trail with steep scree hill, some exposure near the summit of Krist�nartindar; Elevation gain/loss: 3,773'; Driving: 1 hour.

Day 4

Walk on the Kv��rj�kull glacier and visit the Jokulsarlon Glacial Lagoon

Our day begins with a hike up the terminal moraine of Kv��rj�kull, an outlet glacier extending from the great Vatnaj�kull ice cap. Once we reach the glacier?s edge, we strap on crampons and grab ice axes in order to explore this wonderland of ice sculptures, crevasses, and long, narrow ridges. We witness firsthand some of the powerful forces that have shaped Iceland's unique geography over the millennia and enjoy expansive views of the nearby mountains and ocean. This afternoon we visit the J�kuls�rl�n Glacial Lagoon. The lagoon is home to house-sized icebergs deposited in the water by the nearby Breidamerkurjokull Glacier. We?ll visit the nearby Diamond Beach, where large chunks of ice lay scattered on the black volcanic sand. All meals included.

Glacier walk: 4.5 miles (4 hours) depending on conditions; Terrain: Snow, ice and scree; Elevation gain/loss: 492'.

Day 5

Pass famous Eyjafjallajokull Volcano. Camp comfortably in birch forest.

We spend the next two days hiking in the amazing Thorsmork region (named after the pagan god Thor). One of Iceland?s jewels, Thorsmork is surrounded by mountains and glaciers. It is only accessible via specially equipped four-wheel-drive vehicles that can easily cross the glacial rivers encountered en route. We?ll have one of these vehicles at our disposal for our ride along the foothills of the Eyjafjallajokull Volcano and past the outlet glacier where the flood from the recent eruption rolled down. Our destination for the night is a remote campsite named Godaland, located in a sheltered birch forest. All camping gear including comfortable tents, sleeping bags and sleeping pads are provided and our guides will prepare hearty meals for us throughout our stay in this marvelously serene spot. All meals included.

Hiking: 4 miles (3 hours); Terrain: Easy dirt paths and rocky trails; Elevation gain/loss: 300'; Driving: 3.5 hours.

Day 6

Hike new volcanic craters formed in Eyjafjallajokull's 2010 eruption

The Thorsmork Valley is full of geological wonders and dramatic scenery that has been enjoyed by Icelandic nature lovers for many decades. We spend the entire day hiking directly from camp to the new volcanic craters, Magni and M��i, formed during Eyjafjallajokull?s 2010 eruption. As we gain elevation during our hike, the terrain changes dramatically. We find ourselves crossing a large, fresh lava field?an unmistakable reminder of what lies beneath the now tranquil surface of this ever-changing landscape. At day?s end, we return to our familiar campsite in Godaland and enjoy another peaceful night in the Icelandic backcountry. All meals included.

Hiking: 10 miles (8 hours); Terrain: Dirt and rock trails, lava fields, steep hills, scree, possible snow, some exposed sections; Elevation gain/loss: 2,788'.

Day 7

Explore the Gluggafoss Waterfall and return to Reykjavik

This morning we pack up camp and depart Thorsmork for Reykjavik. En route, we stop at Gluggafoss, a 170' series of waterfalls that cascade through layers of soft palagonite, forming "windows" that partially obscure the flowing water. This afternoon, we'll climb back aboard our vehicle and proceed to our hotel in central Reykjavik. Reykjavik, the world's northernmost capital, is filled with brightly painted buildings, numerous parks, a wide variety of cultural attractions and a vibrant nightlife. A celebration dinner is planned for this evening in a downtown caf�. We?ll relax, exchange memories and enjoy the company of newfound friends. All meals included.

Driving: 3.5 hours.

Day 8

Our journey ends in Reykjavik.

Following breakfast, your REI Adventures trip in Iceland concludes. Transfer on your own from our accommodations in Reykjavik to the international airport or continue your independent exploration of Iceland. Breakfast included.

Gear List

The key to staying comfortable while on an active trip is layering. To get maximum comfort with minimum weight, you need versatile layers that mix and match to create the right amount of insulation, ventilation and weather protection. Try to bring only what is necessary?this will help you and the field staff.

What to pack

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Travel documents

  • Airline Tickets (Confirmation and Itinerary)
  • Final Bulletin (Emailed Prior to Departure Date)
  • Valid Passport

Contact Us

Feel free to give us a call at 800-622-2236 should you have any questions regarding the gear list. The staff at our stores and Direct Sales (800-426-4840) will also be happy to help you with gear questions. Or check out REI Expert Advice , which has great information to help you prepare for your trip.