The 3 Peaks Challenge in Iceland

An otherworldly summit-bagging expedition amidst epic scenery in the land of fire and ice

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Trip Ref #10555

The 3 Peaks Challenge in Iceland

An otherworldly summit-bagging expedition amidst epic scenery in the land of fire and ice

DURATION

4 nights

LOCATION

Iceland

ANNUAL LEAVE

4 days off work

SEASON

May

GROUP SIZE

Up to 12 people

MEETING POINT

Reykjavík accommodation

ACCOMMODATION

Classic

Hotel

OVERALL RATING

0.0

This trip is brand new
DIFFICULTY

Tough

Three epic peaks, almost as tough to summit as they are to pronounce. Huge ascents to test your limit, but no climbing experience is needed

Learn how to use ice axes, ropes and crampons as you clamber to Vörðuskeggi Peak (805m) and climb the infamous Eyjafjallajökull volcano (1651m)

Tackle a lung-busting ascent in the Vatnajökull National Park to the snow-encrusted summit of Iceland's highest peak, Hvannadalshnúkur (2110m)

Wonder at Iceland's classic sights between summits - spectacular geysers, thundering waterfalls and the Jökulsárlón glacial lagoon

Day 1

Vörðuskeggi Peak and classic Iceland sights

Hiking

7-8hrs · 13.5km · 735m up · 740m down

Your guides will pick you up at your accommodation in Reykjavik at 08:00 and drive you east,  to the Hengill volcano massif. Get stuck into the challenge straight away with a climb up Vörðuskeggi Peak (805m). From the top you can see Lake Þingvellir and Langjökull to the north, as well as Eyjafjallajökull and the distant Westman Islands. Later in the day, you'll catch some of Iceland's famous sights - the geothermal area at Geysir and the waterfall of Gullfoss - before driving to your hotel in the area of Flúðir.

Day 2

Summit Eyjafjallajökull

Hiking

9-11hrs · 17km · 1600m up · 1600m down

Fuel up on breakfast at the hotel before setting off to climb the infamous Eyjafjallajökull - best known for erupting in 2010 and causing enormous disruption to air travel across western and northern Europe for several days. It is a 1651m high stratovolcano with a magnificent view from the top. The ascent is a doozy - expect around 1600m of elevation and 9-12 hours of pure Icelandic wilderness hiking and climbing.

Day 3

Explore Iceland's south coast

Take a day away from the peaks and rest the legs a little, as you explore the beautiful south coast. Head to the black beach of Reynisfjara, the picturesque village of Vík and into Skaftafell National Park to see the stunning glacier lagoon at Jökulsárlón. Enjoy dinner and an early night at your hotel - the trip's biggest challenge awaits you tomorrow...

Day 4

Iceland's highest peak

Hiking

12-14hrs · 22km · 2040m up · 2040m down

Today is the big one as you make the ascent of Hvannadalshnúkur (2110m) - Iceland’s highest peak. Make no mistake, this is a seriously tough summit: with 2000m of ascent, it can take 12-14 hours (though there are plenty of daylight hours this far north in summer). Your guides will assist with the technical sections and show you how to safely use ice axes and ropes when needed - you will have had ample tuition and preparation on the previous days. The peak of Hvannadalshnúkur is on the north-western rim of the Öræfajökull volcano and promises an unforgettable ascent, with breathtaking panoramic views. Celebrate your achievement back at the hotel with a well-earned beer and dinner, before you collapse into bed.

Day 5

Back to Reykjavik

With three successful ascents under your belt, make your way back westward along the scenic south coast of Iceland, passing beneath Eyjafjallajökull and stopping to visit the Fjaðrárgljúfur canyon, as well as the waterfalls at Skógafoss and Seljalandsfoss. You'll arrive back in Reykjavík in the late afternoon, where you'll bid your guides farewell.

Included

Guides

Local, expert mountaineering guides

Accommodation

4 nights in cosy 3-star hotels

Meals

All breakfasts are included

Transfers

Pick up and drop off at your accommodation in Reykjavik, and everything in between

Equipment

All your climbing equipment

Not Included

Flights to and from the meeting point

Travel insurance

Personal expenses

Tips for your guides

Some meals as described

Visas where required

Day 1

Hotel · Twin share

Breakfast

Lunch

Dinner

Day 2 – Day 4

Hotel · Twin share

Breakfast

Lunch

Dinner

Day 5

Breakfast

Lunch

Dinner

What is the food like?

You'll fuel up each morning with breakfast buffets at the hotels, where cereals, fruit, pastries, bread, cheese, meats, jams, tea and coffee are on offer.

You'll need to buy a packed lunch each day to take out on the summits with you - your host will arrange this either at local shops/cafes/bakeries, or from the hotels. You'll need to budget £15-20 ($18-25) for a good-sized lunch. Dinners will be taken at each of the hotels on the trip, where there are various options on the menu. Hotel Flúðir has particularly good food, with traditional Icelandic dishes made using organic produce. You should budget £20-25 ($25-31) for dinners.

Due to the tough nature of this trip, we recommend you bring a good supply of your favourite hiking snacks, protein or energy bars to supplement your meals.

Vegetarians, vegans and other dietary requirements and allergies can be catered for - please just request this on your passenger info form.

What is the accommodation like?

Hotel Flúðir

You'll spend one night at Hotel Flúðir, a short drive away from Geysir and Gulfoss Waterfall. This modern Icelandic hotel has comfortable twin-share rooms with ensuite bathrooms. It has a restaurant which serves traditional Icelandic food made from organic produce, as well as a lobby bar to relax in.

Hotel Skógafoss

You'll spend one night at Hotel Skógafoss, right next to the iconic waterfall of the same name and at the foot of the Eyjafjallajökull glacier, which you'll have summited earlier in the day. The hotel has a restaurant, lounge and bar where you can rest and refuel after your summit exploits. You'll stay in twin-share rooms with en-suite bathrooms.

Hotel Skaftafell

Your base for nights three and four is the Hotel Skaftafell. Located in an incredible spot, the hotel has stunning views of Hvannadalshnjukur as well as the largest glacier in Europe - Vatnajökull. You'll stay in twin-share rooms with en-suite bathrooms.

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).

The Area

map

Logistics

Starts

Your accommodation in Reykjavik

08:00 on Day 1

Ends

Reykjavik (your accommodation or the bus station)

17:00 on Day 5

Transfers

Your host will pick you up at your accommodation in Reykjavik at 08:00 on Day 1. You will need to have made your own arrangements to stay in Reykjavik the night before. There are plenty of accommodation options in the city, and Reykjavik is an easy and safe city to navigate independently. When you arrive at Keflavik Airport you can hop on one of the frequent Flybus services operated in connection with all flights arriving at Keflavik Airport. You can buy a ticket in advance on the Flybus website or at the Flybus desk in Keflavik terminal - tickets cost £20/€24/$27 each way. The bus is very easy to find, right outside the arrival terminal - just look for signs for Flybus.

On Day 5 your host will drop you at your Reykjavik accommodation if you are staying on in Iceland, or at the central bus station if you are taking the Flybus straight to the airport (for any late evening flights departing after 8pm).

Travel options

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

Enjoy 12.5% Off Outdoor Gear

In need of a few more items? All bookings receive a 12.5% discount to use at Cotswold Outdoor, Snow + Rock and Runner's Need.

What's included?

  • Ice axes
  • Harness
  • Ropes
  • Crampons

What do I need to bring?

BAGS

  • Soft overnight duffel bag or rucksack
  • Day backpack for extra clothes and lunch pack during the day, 30 – 40L
  • Waterproof liner for daypack

CLOTHES

  • Down jacket with hood
  • Waterproof and windproof jacket with hood
  • Waterproof and windproof trousers
  • Breathable wicking layers
  • Fleece jacket or similar
  • Thermals (merino best)
  • Warm hat
  • Gloves - 2 pairs, waterproof
  • Gaiters – calf or knee height and wide enough for your boots
  • Socks, woollen or synthetic, 4-5 pairs
  • Buff or neckscarf
  • Lightweight trousers/shorts/skirts
  • T-shirts
  • Underwear
  • Sunglasses
  • Sunhat
  • Something to sleep in
  • Hiking boots (worn-in) with good ankle support and water resistance, i.e Goretex
  • Sandals

OTHER

  • Hiking poles
  • Universal travel plug adapter
  • Power bank or solar charger
  • Passports (and visas)
  • Travel insurance documents
  • Ear plugs
  • Suncream
  • Thermal mat (for lunch breaks on the snow)
  • Personal first-aid kit (inc. blister treatment)
  • Personal items (biodegradable toiletries, sanitary wear etc)
  • Quick-dry towel
  • Alcohol hand-gel
  • Reusable water bottle x2 litre and/or bladder x2 litre
  • Lunch box
  • Biodegradable wet-wipes
  • Energy bars and snacks - read our article on Best Hiking Snacks

Optional Private Room Upgrade

Payable Before Departure

Optional Private Room Upgrade

Per Person

This trip is brand new

We’re still waiting to collect any reviews from other travellers on this trip. However, all our hosts go through an extensive vetting process to ensure that your adventure is awesome.

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 127kg 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.

You'll need to be very fit with some experience of big trekking days with elevation gain and loss in the thousands of metres. You won't need any technical mountaineering or climbing experience, as your guides will lead you through any sections that require ice axes, ropes and harnesses. There will be crevasses to deal with and steep inclines over icy ground. Bring along a keen love of adventure as well as your strong fitness levels and trekking experience. Iceland's weather is notoriously fickle, so the conditions will play a part.

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

Tap water is perfectly safe to drink in Iceland. Bring along a bladder and/or water bottles to carry water with you on the summit days.

As the old Icelandic saying goes, “If you don’t like the weather, wait 5 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! This is all part of the adventure, but be sure to pack good waterproofs in case the rain gods come calling. At the higher altitudes you'll be reaching on this trip, the temperatures drop down to near freezing at times and the snow cover increases.

The first summit of the trip can be replaced by a hike to the Fagradalsfjall eruption in case of an active eruption taking place in the area. The summit of Hvannadalshnúkur on Day 4 will depend on weather conditions: if the weather is not good, your host will change the itinerary to attempt another similar summit in the area in and around Vatnajökull National Park.

There are four centrally located places in Reykjavik where you can store luggage. Speak to your host about the options, or you can pre-book here.

We recommend checking out the country specific information here and also talking to a travel nurse.

No. You'll need to have a larger bag suitable for all your belongings which will be transported for you, and then a small day sack to carry personal items during each summit 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.

You're in good company. Our adventures are typically made up of a mix of solo travellers and small groups of two or three friends who simply love adventure, pushing themselves and meeting awesome like-minded people. See here for more info about our lovely bunch of Much Better Adventurers.

Want to book a private trip? Just tap ‘Private Group’ in the dates and prices tab.

Your trip is led by carefully curated local hosts and expert guides. See here for more info about the guides we work with.

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