Volcanoes of Iceland

Iceland Day-to-Day Itinerary

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Day 1: Depart USA in afternoon/evening.

Day 2: Early morning arrival in Iceland to Keflavik Airport. First up, we embark on a relaxing sightseeing tour on the Golden Circle. Well visit ingvellir National Park, a very important place in Icelandic History, and a geological phenomenon, where two tectonic plates are moving apart on dry land, forming a massive rift valley. Then well stop by Geysir hot springs, and Gullfoss waterfall. Before we head to the hotel, we will visit a natural geothermal pool, so make sure to keep your swimwear somewhere you can easily reach them. Night at Htel Hekla.

Driving distance: 200km/124 miles

Day 3: The target of today is Hekla Volcano. Mt. Hekla is undeniably Icelands most famous mountain. It is the second most active volcano in Iceland and has erupted frequently in historic times. The last eruption occurred in February 2000. The mountain towers over South Iceland at roughly 1500 meters. The height changes due to movements of the earth crusts and seismic movements. For hundreds of years the mountain was believed to be the gateway to hell and no one dared climbing it. Until, Eggert lafsson, a famous Icelandic biologist, decided to throw caution to the wind and succeeded in summiting the mountain in the summer of 1750. Since then hiking to the top of Mt. Hekla has become a popular route. The terrain is rough lava fields and then ice and snow as we get closer to the peak. It usually takes 3-4 hours to get to the top and there youll get your reward. The view from the top of Mt. Hekla is wide and beautiful; you can see all of Fjallabak mountains, up to Vatnajkull glacier (Europes biggest glacier) not to mention all the evidence of recent and longstanding volcanic activity. Tonight we find ourselves back at Htel Hekla for some well-earned rest and relaxation.

Driving distance: 200km/124 miles
Hiking distance: 16km/10 miles
Elevation gain/loss: 600m/1,491m/ 600m or 1,968 ft./4,892 ft. /1,968 ft.

Day 4: The Eyjafjallajlkull glacier rises straight up from Iceland's southern coast in an intricate pattern of valleys, canyons and fissures. The ice cap covers around 80 square kilometers, descending the mountainsides in most places at a 25-30 gradient and making for a challenging 9 to 10-hour hike. We set off at sea level, negotiating our beautiful crevassed-riddled surroundings and conquer 1666 vertical meters to emerge on one of the country's highest peaks. A clear day on the summit of Eyjafjallajkull offers a stunning panorama of nearly half of Iceland, including the Mrdalsjkull and Tindfjallajkull glaciers, Mt. Hekla, and the Vestmannaeyjar Islands. Night at Htel Katla. Start at 196ft and get up to 5465 ft, and then back.

Driving distance: 136 km/83 miles
Hiking distance: 16km/10 miles
Days elevation gain/loss: 50m/1,666m/50m or 196 ft./ 5,465 ft./196 ft.

Day 5: After driving to Skaftafell in the morning, we'll do some hard ice training, crevasse rescue and ice climbing on Falljkull outlet glacier. This day will also be a fantastic introduction to the unique, enthralling world of ice, traversing the spectacular but easy tracks of the Falljkull glacier, only a short distance from Skaftafell. As we arrive at the edge of the Falljkull glacier we will strap on crampons and make our way up the icy but easily accessible slopes, witnessing on the way the incredible ice formations and crevasses, learning about how they are formed and how the glacier continuously reshapes itself. We will approach the awe-inspiring ice fall, seeing up close how the ancient ice stoically falls hundreds of meters off the mountain top above as it flows in slow motion towards the ocean, a journey it will never complete as climate change continues to fuel its melting and slow retreat. Well try to find a nice spot to put up ropes for some ice climbing. Night at Htel Skaftafell.

Driving distance: 140 km/86 miles
Hiking distance: 4km/2 miles
Days elevation gain/loss: 140m / 500m / 140m 460ft / 1640ft / 460ft

Day 6: Kristnartindar is one of the most pleasant hikes in Skaftafell national park, and for good reason. Located between two valleys carved by outlet glaciers, Kristnartindar is the result of a big volcanic eruption and the main crater is part of an awe inspiring panorama. The hike itself takes us up pleasant low angle alpine tundra where we view the beautiful waterfall of Svartifoss, so delicately framed by near black basalt columns. Once under the summit, the terrain changes drastically and in places becomes somewhat of a scramble onto the summit ridge. On a good day the view is nothing but spectacular with volcanic beaches, glaciers and surrounding summits and we are able to see our route of the last and grand final objective of Hrtfellstindar. Night in Hotel Skaftafell.

Driving distance: 10 km/6 miles
Hiking distance: 18km/11 miles
Elevation gain/loss: 80m / 1126m / 80m 262ft / 3694ft / 262ft

Day 7: Our day starts out with organizing and packing gear for our overnight trip to Hrtfellstindar, and we will start our hike around midday. Hrtfellstindar is one of Icelands most demanding summits both to due to length of the route and the terrain. Instead of an alpine style climbing we will break the climb up over two days and spend a night out in the field with our campsite on the edge of the snowline, overlooking the outlet glacier of Skaftrjkull.

Driving distance: 4 km/2 miles
Hiking distance: 7km/4.3 miles
Elevation gain/loss: 140m / 980m 459ft / 3215ft

Day 8: After waking up early in the most awesome campsite in Iceland we continue on with our climb and soon we rope up for glacier travel. Making our way through crevasse areas all the while with views of serac and hard ice glaciers we work our way to the summit. Now that we are half way there we have to make our way back over the glacier and on to hard land to our campsite for packing and to continue with our decent. The day is long but very enjoyable, especially knowing that at the root of the mountain lies our hotel with our soft cozy beds and gourmet food. Night in Htel Skaftafell.

Driving distance: 4 km/2 miles
Hiking distance: 15km/10 miles
Elevation gain/loss: 980m / 1857m / 140m 3215ft / 6092ft / 459ft

Day 9: After breakfast we pack our van and trailer for our drive back to Reykjavk with a lunch stop at Halldrskaffi in Vk for some well-deserved pizza and burgers. Now we are about 2.5 hours from Reykjavk and should be there in the early afternoon. Night in Hotel in Reykavik.

Driving distance: 325 km/201 miles

Day 10: Morning in Reykjavk followed by a visit to the Blue Lagoon on the way to Keflavk Airport for late afternoon/evening flights home.

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