Adventures / Wild Hikes

Hike the Waterfalls and Hot Springs of Iceland

A jam-packed trip of epic hikes to amazing sights in Iceland's Golden Circle and southern coastline

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Trip Ref #10437

Adventures / Wild Hikes

Hike the Waterfalls and Hot Springs of Iceland

A jam-packed trip of epic hikes to amazing sights in Iceland's Golden Circle and southern coastline

DURATION

4 nights

LOCATION

Iceland

ANNUAL LEAVE

3 days off work

SEASON

May-Sep

GROUP SIZE

Up to 16 people

MEETING POINT

Keflavik International Airport, Iceland

ACCOMMODATION

Hostel · Guesthouse

DIFFICULTY

Moderate

You won't need any previous hiking experience, just a basic level of fitness

Trek to the thunderous Glymur Waterfall, up the river valley of Reykjadalur and along fault lines in Thingvellir National Park

Hike the blue Sólheimajökull Glacier and the volcanic sand beaches and basalt sea stacks of Black Beach

Experience the iconic natural gems of Geysir, Gullfoss and Skógafoss and kick back in geothermal pools at your lakeside base

All our reviews are verified

We only invite travellers to leave a review if they have booked this trip with Much Better Adventures.

Kelly, July 2022

My 6th MBA trip and once again an amazing, memorable trip. Stina the guide was the absolute best - she really took care of us, was really engaging, very knowledgeable and made the trip very memorable. Saw so much in a short space of time - was a great mix of going off the beaten track as well as key landmarks which inevitably attracts tourists. Was a perfect mix of waterfalls, geysers, hiking, mountains, natural thermal pools and rivers. The glacier trek was a lot more exciting and formidable than I thought it would be, the golden waterfall was incredible and bathing in the thermal Reykjadalur river as well as in Fontana and Laugarvatn Lake was brilliant (and so much better than the touristy lagoons). Also the perfect add-on trip to the Laugavegur trip MBA does - you really get a brilliant adventure and experience what Iceland has to offer, the landscape of which is incredibly diverse and beautiful.

Ruth, July 2022

This was an amazing trip and our host Stina was knowledgeable and passionate about Iceland. She shared stories about Icelandic folklore as we travelled to locations and explained how the different landscapes were formed through volcanic eruptions. She kept us entertained as we hiked the waterfalls and beautiful scenery. Iceland is really a wonderful place, highly recommend visiting - I hope to visit again as one trip is not enough to see everything. The natural hot springs were the highlight and we enjoyed bathing in the natural sauna after a hike through the majestic landscape. The Laugarvatn hostel catered very well for vegans and Reykjavik city and Keflavik airport have vegan restaurants/ options.

Included

Guides

Expert, English-speaking guides

Accommodation

3 nights in a hostel and 1 in a 3-star hotel

Meals

4 breakfasts, 4 lunches and 3 dinners

Transfers

Airport transfers from Keflavik Airport to Laugarvatn and all transfers between hikes

Permits

All permits and entry fees

Not Included

Flights to and from the meeting point

Travel insurance

Personal expenses

Some meals as described

Some equipment

The Area

map

Logistics

Starts

Keflavik Airport

16:00 on Day 1

Ends

Reykjavik City Centre

Flexible - depart any time on Day 5

Transfers

Your host will meet you at Keflavik Airport at 16:00 on Day 1 and transfer you for approximately 90 minutes over to your base for the trip at Laugarvatn. If you are already going to be in Reykjavík you can meet up with your host at their base downtown. On Day 5 you can make your own way back to Keflavik Airport using the popular Flybus service. You can book a ticket in advance online (although it is very easy to buy in person in Reykjavík).

Travel options

There are regular flights to Iceland from airports across the UK, Europe, and North America

Day 1

Hostel · Twin share

Breakfast

Lunch

Dinner

Day 2 – Day 3

Hostel · Twin share

Breakfast

Lunch

Dinner

Day 4

Guesthouse · Twin share

Breakfast

Lunch

Dinner

Day 5

Breakfast

Lunch

Dinner

What is the food like?

All meals are included in the trip price, except dinner in Reykjavík on the last day where you'll have the chance to explore the excellent choice of restaurants in the city. Breakfasts will be buffet style with bread and jams, granola pots, juices, teas and coffee. Day 2 and 4 you'll have a lunch box provided by your host to take out on the hikes with you. The lunch on Day 3 will be at a local country restaurant.

Vegans, vegetarians and most food allergies can be catered for. Please let your host know of any dietary requirements in advance.

What is the accommodation like?

Laugarvatn Hostel

Your base for the adventure is Laugarvatn Hostel, nestled in the small lakeside town of Laugarvatn and perfectly located as a launchpad for the Golden Circle big hitters: Thingvellir, Gullfoss and Geysir. You'll be staying in twin rooms unless you add on a private room upgrade, or you may also request a double room. There is a living room, bar area and high-speed internet.

Reykjavík

The hotel you'll stay at in Reykjavik on your last night varies by departure date but will be a well-located 3-star hotel with all of the usual amenities. Depending on availability, you may be at Hotel Leifur Eiríksson, an authentic heritage building set right in the heart of Reykjavík, or a hotel of a similar standard.

Upgrades

For solo travellers looking for their own space, an optional private room can be booked for an extra charge. See Optional Extras for the price. Please request this at the time of booking (this is subject to availability).

Day 1

Welcome to Iceland

Driving

1.5hrs

Your host will meet you at the airport, pop you in the van and drive for 90 minutes to your accommodation in the small village of Laugarvatn - your base for the next three nights. Meet up with the rest of your group for a welcome dinner, where your guide will run you through the plan for the next few days.

Day 2

Glymur Waterfall hike and Thingvellir National Park

Hiking

4-5hrs · 11km · 850m up · 850m down

Take a short drive to Hvalfjörður - the Fjord of the Whales - and hit the trailhead for the hike to Glymur, the second-highest waterfall in Iceland at 198m. The falls are only accessible by foot, over rivers and past caves, with amazing views to the top. Head back down the other side and drive on to the Thingvellir National Park to hike along the fault lines that mark the mid-Atlantic rift of the earth’s crust, before reaching Öxarárfoss Waterfall. In the evening there's the option to head to Fontana Geothermal Spa (entrance fee not included - ISK4500 per person) on the edge of Laugarvatn Lake for a soak in the baths and steam rooms - brave souls can take a cold water plunge in the lake itself.

Day 3

Glacier hiking, waterfall chasing and black sand beaches

Hiking

3hrs

Driving

4-5hrs

Today's adventures are packed full of glaciers, waterfalls and volcanic sand beaches on Iceland's beautiful southern coastline. First up is Sólheimajökull Glacier, where your guide will lead you out onto the glacier itself, hiking with crampons through a frozen wonderland of white, blue and crystal clear ice. You'll get up close and personal with deep crevasses and water cauldrons as you make your way across the glacier. Later on, you'll drive a little to the east to visit Reynisfjara, a wild stretch of coastline with volcanic sand beaches and spectacular basalt sea stacks. You'll stroll along Black Beach (yes, the sand is black!) to see the spooky plane wreck there. On the way back to Laugarvatn, you’ll stop to admire the waterfalls of Skógafoss and Seljalandsfoss, completing your waterfall trilogy for this part of Iceland.

Day 4

Geysir, Gullfoss and hot river bathing

Hiking

3-4hrs · 8-10km · 300m up · 300m down

Driving

2.5hrs

Check out of your base this morning before heading to two of the Golden Circle's absolute must-sees; the spouting hot springs of Geysir and the mighty Gullfoss Waterfall. Drive on to the village of Hveragerði to begin your hike up the Reykjadalur Valley. Climb into the hills, meander past small volcanic craters and hot springs before taking a dip in the thermal river of Reykjadalur. Later you'll drive back to Reykjavík and head into town for dinner and a few well-earned drinks.

Day 5

Time to head home

Check out of the guesthouse and head back to the airport in time for your flight home. Or use your spare time to explore some more of the land of ice and fire.

15% Off Outdoor Gear

In need of a few more items? All bookings receive a 15% discount on us to use at Cotswold Outdoor, Snow + Rock and Runner's Need.

What's provided?

  • Glacier walk equipment: crampons, helmet, ice axe, harness

What do I need to bring?

Bags

  • Overnight duffel bag or suitcase
  • Day bag 20-35 litres
  • Waterproof liner for day bag

Clothes

  • Hiking boots (worn-in)
  • Casual shoes for evenings
  • Waterproof jacket
  • Waterproof trousers
  • Breathable wicking layers
  • Fleece jacket or similar
  • Buff or neckscarf
  • Warm gloves
  • Woollen hat
  • Lightweight trousers/shorts/skirts
  • T-shirts, underwear
  • Hiking socks
  • Swimwear & lightweight towel (for thermal pools)
  • Sunglasses
  • Sandals/jelly shoes/beach shoes for thermal pools
  • Something to sleep in

Other

  • Universal travel adapter
  • Spare camera batteries
  • Passports (and visas)
  • Travel Insurance documents
  • Earplugs
  • Personal first-aid kit (inc. blister treatment)
  • Personal items (biodegradable toiletries, sanitary wear etc)
  • Quick-dry towel
  • Alcohol hand-gel
  • Reusable water bottle x 1 litre

Optional

  • Eye-mask
  • Biodegradable wet-wipes
  • Energy bars and snacks

Optional Private Room Upgrade

Payable Before Departure

Optional Private Room Upgrade

We've crunched the numbers to work out the total carbon footprint of this trip, and plant enough trees to suck 2x as much back out the atmosphere.

What's the number?
It works out on average at 95kg of CO2 emissions per person, including all local transport, accommodation, food, activities, guides, staff and office operations.

The only thing it doesn’t include right now is flights and travel to the destination. We do make an overall estimate across all our customers separately, but as we don’t book flights, have customers from all corners of the world, and no way of reliably knowing their travel plans, we simply can’t include an individual number in the figure on display here. We’ve got a goal for 2022 to fix that, so that when you book, there is a way to measure and mitigate the carbon emitted by your flight too.

But what does the number mean?
Yep, hard to picture eh? To give you an idea:

  • Driving 1000miles/1609km would be approx. 281kg of CO2 in an average car (or 140.5kg per person if there was 2 of you in it).
  • A return economy class flight London - New York would be approx. 1,619kg (1.66 tonnes) per person.
  • 10 trees in a temperate forest are estimated to remove approx. 250kg of CO2 from the air in a period of 5-10 years.

What are we doing about it?
Our trips are relatively low-carbon by design, and we're working with all our hosts to develop long term carbon reduction plans. For every person booked with us since 2016 we’re planting enough trees to suck at least 2x more carbon out the atmosphere than is emitted by their trips. All native trees, as part of amazing projects that are re-foresting degraded land, tackling the biodiversity crisis and supporting local communities at the same time. We go further than that too, also funding re-wilding projects worldwide to help protect important keystone species from extinction. See the reforestation and re-wilding schemes we support. See our carbon action plan.

Want to know more?
Amazingly, no international travel company has ever publicly published their carbon measurements before, as far as we know. We believe that must change, quickly. So we’re openly sharing the method we used in the hope that other companies will be able to more easily follow suit and build on what we've done so far. You'll find it all here.

For up to date advice on the entry requirements related to COVID-19, have a read of the UK Foreign Office pages here.

This is a light adventure and, while the hikes are frequently dotted throughout the itinerary, they are easy-going and easily managed by anyone with basic fitness. There's a mixture of hiking, sightseeing at some of Iceland's most epic sites and relaxing in hot springs. You don't need any glacier hiking experience as full instruction and equipment is provided.

Sure can! Over 50% of our travellers travel solo, it’s a great way to meet like-minded people.

As the old Icelandic saying goes, “If you don’t like the weather, wait five minutes”. Icelandic weather is famously fickle so you’ll need to prepare for anything - from balmy all-day sunshine in the mid-twenties, to wind, rain and everything in between! You can expect the mornings and evenings to be chilly as temperatures drop to around 5°C on a regular basis. This is all part of the adventure, but be sure to pack good waterproofs in case the rain gods come calling. Remember that in Iceland, June and July will see nearly 24 hours of daylight, so don’t forget your eye mask!

This isn't a point-to-point trek so luggage storage isn't an issue. Each day, you can leave your main bag in your room at the accommodation in Laugarvatn or if you prefer you can store it in the van; you'll only take a day pack out with you each day.

Our recommended travel insurance provider is Campbell Irvine.

Travel insurance is compulsory on all of our adventures. Your insurance should include adequate protection for overseas medical treatment, evacuation/repatriation, your baggage and equipment and the specific activities involved on your adventure.

Your insurance policy should also include specific Covid-19 cover, including cancellation and curtailment cover if you, your travel companion or a close relative are diagnosed with Covid-19.

We fully endorse Campbell Irvine as their insurance offers all of the above, so get in touch with them or call on 020 7938 1734 to get your insurance sorted. We suggest that you book travel insurance as soon as you book your adventure, just to cover you for any last minute life changes. We know you’re an active lot and injuries do happen!

We automatically convert prices from the local currency that a host receives to your chosen currency. We update our exchange rates on a daily basis so this does mean that prices displayed on the site are subject to currency fluctuations, which is why you may see them change over time.

If you wish to change the currency you pay in, head to the bottom of the page.

All of our group adventures are specially designed for adults to enjoy (18+) as we want these adventures to bring together outdoorsy people who are truly like-minded. Children can be accommodated on some private departures.

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