Iceland Hiking Adventure

August 5 - 11, 2019

“I still don’t know why, exactly, but I do think people can have a spiritual connection to landscape, and I certainly did in Iceland.”
Hannah Kent

Iceland is currently one of the most popular travel destinations in the world – and for good reason! This beautiful country is home to a variety of stunning landscapes, including icy blue glaciers, craggy mountains, black sand beaches, and lush, green valleys. It also boasts many geothermal baths, volcanoes, incredible bird and sea life such as puffins and whales, and even a chance to spot the breathtaking but elusive Northern Lights.

Most tourists head straight for the “Golden Circle” route in the Southwest of Iceland close to Reykjavik (which we do recommend adding on to before or after our tour as it is worth checking out!). For this trip though, we prefer the route less traveled in the east of Iceland chock full of just as spectacular scenery and hiking trails, but much fewer people.

We’ll spend our days exploring coastline trails, hiking up mountainsides, descending to beautiful black sand beaches, and discovering cascading waterfalls. We’ll then come back to cozy accommodations equipped with traditional Icelandic hot tubs and saunas to melt away our stress and ease our sore muscles.

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Details

  • Dates: August 5 - 11, 2019
  • Cost Per Person: $4,850
  • Optional Single Supplement: $700
  • Private Tour Minimum: 10
  • Activities: Hiking
  • Difficulty: Moderate
  • Guides: Sonya Mapp

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Trip Highlights

  • Get off the beaten path to a sparsely populated and tranquil region of Iceland
  • Photograph magnificent waterfalls, colorful mountains and the other-worldly Icelandic landscapes
  • Climb Mt Snæfell (Snow Mountain), the highest free standing mountain in the country
  • Visit a puffin colony for up close views of these clowns of the sea
  • Relax in the outdoor hot tub under the midnight sun after a day of epic hiking
Day 1

Flights to Reykjavik arrive at all times of the day. Depending on when you arrive, we will meet you at the airport or at our hotel for the night. Since arrival times will be varied, dinner will be on your own. Our hotel is located on one of the main shopping streets so we have many cafes and restaurants within walking distance to choose from.

Day 2
This morning, we will meet in the hotel lobby or breakfast room for introductions before we head back to the airport to take a quick 1-hour flight from Reykjavik to Egilsstaðir, a town famous for its natural beauty and pleasant climate. From the airport, we shuttle to a trailhead and set out on our first hike along the Hengifossá River to reach the majestic Hengifoss waterfall. Hengifoss is one of the highest waterfalls in Iceland, measuring 420 feet high, falling from the plateau into a gorge. But that's not the only waterfall for today, we will also have the chance to view the Litlanesfoss waterfall. It is flanked by intriguing basalt columns, making it unique and mesmerizing. We stop along the way, perhaps while viewing one of these incredible waterfalls, for a lovely picnic lunch.  We then head to Hallormsstaðaskógur, Iceland's largest forest to enjoy a stroll through the arboretum before heading to our hotel for the night. Dinner tonight is at the hotel's restaurant. Distances: 4 – 7 miles
Day 3
After a hearty, early breakfast at the hotel, we set out into the highlands to the foot of Mt Snæfell or "The Snow Mountain", the highest free-standing peak of Iceland (not counting glaciers). It is an ancient volcano created late in the last ice age. We will make the hike all the way up to the 6,000 feet summit (if conditions allow) where we'll be rewarded with staggering views of half of Iceland if it's a clear day. Distance: 4 - 5 miles with inclines
Day 4
After yesterday's long hike, we take it a little easier with shorter walks with less of an incline. We check out of our hotel and set out in the other direction and head to Borgarfjörður Eystri. We will spend the next three nights in this quaint little town while we explore the wonders of the surrounding area by day. The Borgarfjörður region is known for its natural beauty and excellent hiking trails leading to deserted fjords and coves, untouched by mass tourism. We start with a historic walk around the small town as well as a visit to the nearby bird reserve where we might spot a puffin or two. Borgarfjörður eystri is also home to a very large population of elves, according to the regional folklore. Elves are often called the ‘hidden people’ because of how difficult it is to see them. We can walk to the hill called Álfaborg, "The Elves´Castle", where the queen of the Icelandic elves allegedly resides.  Distance: 1 - 2 miles
Day 5
Known as one of the best hikes in the area, we'll be heading to the nearby cove of Brúnavík. We start in the harbor where we can spot puffins and other seabirds that inhabit the area. We then start our descent down through vegetated mountain screes to the splendid black sand beach and stop for another pleasant picnic lunch. After lunch, we make our way back up the valley and back to the hotel for some rest before dinner. Distance: 7 miles
Day 6
After breakfast, we drive to the small inlet of Húsavík.  We'll hike through green, lush valleys surrounded by fascinating peaks and spot beautiful stretches of black sand beaches below. Keep your eyes peeled as you may catch a glimpse of a playful seal relaxing on the beach or a whale bobbing out in the water. We finish our day with a delicious farewell dinner at one of the charming restaurants back in town. Distances: 6 - 8 miles
Day 7
On our last day of tour, we set out for one more of the East's main wonders: the Stórurð (Giant Boulders). Stórurð lies beneath a small glacier west of the Dyrfjöll mountains. It consists of gigantic tuff boulders, expansive meadows, and serene ponds. After our hike, we then return to the Egilsstaðir airport to catch our return flights to Reykjavík and head home or for you pick up a rental car and extend your stay. Distance: 3 - 6 miles
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Trip Accommodations

Night 1 CENTERHOTEL SKJALDBREID / REYKJAVIC
Located on Reykjavik’s main shopping street, our hotel for the night offers comfortable accommodations and is just steps from a variety of cafes, restaurants, and shops.

 

Nights 2 & 3 >> HOTEL HALLORMSSTAÐUR / EGILSSTAÐIR
Nestled in Iceland's largest forest on the shore of Lake Lagarfljót this country hotel has a spa and hiking trails right out the door.

 

Nights 4 - 6 >>  BLÁBJÖRG GUESTHOUSE / BORGARFJÖRÐUR EYSTRI
A charming family run place with beautiful seaside views and comfortable accommodations.
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Arrival & Departure
We meet at our host hotel in Reykjavik. You can fly into the Reykjavik airport (RKV) anytime on August 5th as we do not have any activities planned for this day. Dinner will be on your own this night as guests will be arriving at all different times. The next morning we will shuttle to the airport to hop on our flight to Egilsstaðir.
On the last day of the tour, we will take a flight back to Reykjavik in the afternoon where you can catch your flight home or stay on to extend your trip in Iceland.
What's included
  • A Zephyr guide along with a local guide, with a third guide added as necessary.
  • Double occupancy lodging is included. If you are traveling solo, we will match you with another traveler of the same gender. However, you may pay a single supplement to have your own room.
  • All dinners and breakfasts are included. In general, we leave lunches open so that you have time to explore and enjoy the local flavors en route. Gratuity for these meals is also included.
  • All your transportation is included once you meet your guides on the first day, including our roundtrip internal flight from Reykjavik toEgilsstaðir.
  • All group activities are included.
  • NOT INCLUDED: lunches, beverages, desserts, gratuities to your guides, personal expenses, and travel to and from the destination.
Weather
You can expect temperature ranges from 45 degrees F to 58 degrees F in August. Rain is always possible, but the summer months see the fewest days of precipitation, with about 10 days of rain in August. Early August has about 18 hours of daylight.
Hiking Conditions

Our hikes will cover a variety of terrain including rocky ascents and descents, please bring good shoes and, if you'd like, walking sticks. We will let you know ahead of time what to expect on each trail as well as if there are alternate routes.

Changes to Your Itinerary

While everything under “What is Included” will remain the same, the actual restaurants, hotels, and activities listed in our itineraries are subject to modifications. Changes that are out of our control are common – a restaurant closes or loses its awesome chef, a winery changes its visiting hours, a hotel gets remodeled, a road or trail undergoes construction. You are entrusting us to create an outstanding vacation for you and so it is possible we may take the liberty of making necessary changes (even at the last minute, during the guides’ scout trip) to the itinerary that will improve your overall trip experience.

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