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Hiking and Wild Camping Expedition in Iceland

Tackle an epic backcountry trek in a remote corner of Iceland, hiking along secret trails far removed from the crowds

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Trip Ref #10681

Hiking and Wild Camping Expedition in Iceland

Tackle an epic backcountry trek in a remote corner of Iceland, hiking along secret trails far removed from the crowds

DURATION
5 nights
LOCATION
Iceland
ANNUAL LEAVE
4 days off work
SEASON
Jun—Aug
GROUP SIZE
Up to 12 people
MEETING POINT
Keflavik International Airport, Iceland
ACCOMMODATION
Classic

Hotel · Wild camping

OVERALL RATING

0.0

This trip is brand new
DIFFICULTY
Challenging

You should be comfortable hiking for 5-7 hours a day, carrying your own kit and sleeping out in the wild for 4 nights with no home comforts

Trek through canyons, past waterfalls and across lava fields on this unique mini-expedition in Vatnajökull National Park

Traverse the ice of the vast Skeiðarárjökull glacier surrounded by true wilderness and Iceland's highest mountains

Make camp in the most wild, majestic spots imaginable, beneath the summer twilight of Iceland’s midnight sun

Day 1

Welcome to Reykjavik

Head to Iceland’s capital city, Reykjavik. After checking into your guesthouse, set off and explore this quirky city’s huge array of quaint bars, cafes, art museums and churches.

Day 2

The trek begins

Driving

4hrs · 283km

Hiking

6-7hrs · 16-18km · 445m up · 280m down

Start early today as you hop in the van with your guide to skip town, leaving Reykjavik at 7:30 am for the four-hour drive through southern Iceland towards the enormous wilderness area of Vatnajökull National Park. You'll hit the trails as soon as you are dropped off at the trailhead, tackling a short climb until you reach the magnificent waterfalls of Tvílitihylur. Head further up, along the sculpted canyons of the lower part of the Núpsá River, before reaching the deeper section with walls up to 200m high. Your first wild camping spot is within the canyon, making for a unique and memorable night out in the Icelandic wilds.

Day 3

Reaching the glacier

Hiking

6-7hrs · 20-22km · 171m up · 617m down

Wake up in the belly of the canyon and enjoy breakfast at camp before packing down and getting back on the trail. Make your way up and out of the canyon, the highland panorama revealing itself as you reach the lava fields of Sléttur. Embark on a steady ascent along the Eggjar Hills, with the mighty Vatnajökull icecap and enormous glacier tongue of Skeiðarárjökull gradually coming into view. Hike closer to the glacier and pitch up right beside it for a camp dinner, before bedding down.

Day 4

Glacier crossing

Hiking

6-7hrs · 20km · 325m up · 150m down

Today you simply have one mission: to cross the Skeiðarárjökull glacier. You'll need a whole day to traverse the 10km of ice through the Norðurdalur Valley, an area surrounded by high mountain ridges. Your guides will ensure the crossing is done safely, whilst teaching you about Iceland's relationship with glaciers and their importance on a warming planet. Reaching solid ground again, you'll step off the glacier in the Skaftafell area of Vatnajökull National Park – a magnificent camping area is the reward for a tough day. Enjoy the late light of Icelandic summer deep into the evening at camp, with views over glacial lakes with floating icebergs flanked by colourful rhyolite mountains.

Day 5

Hike on past Iceland's highest peak

Hiking

6-7hrs · 17km · 412m up · 686m down

Set off away from the glacier this morning, climbing to a narrow mountain ridge with a panorama of rhyolite peaks of the Kjós valley on one side, and the imposing wall of Hvannadalshnúkur on the other – Iceland's tallest mountain. Descend into the Morsárdalur Valley where the vegetation becomes thick, green and lush. Pass through the beautiful Arctic birch forest of Bæjarstaðarskógur, before finding one last wild camping spot on the plains beside the forest.

Day 6

The final stretch and back to Reykjavik

Hiking

2-3hrs · 8km · 75m up · 220m down

Driving

4hrs · 283km

Wake up in the wilderness for one last time, grab a coffee and breakfast and bid farewell to the stunning backdrop. Hike further along the Morsárdalur Valley and past the epic waterfall of Svartifoss while making your way across the Skaftafell National Park, eventually reaching the road – your first sign of civilisation in nearly a week. Hop on the bus back to Reykjavik, where you'll bid farewell to your guide and fellow adventurers. You are free to head straight to Keflavik Airport on the Flybus in time for any evening flights, or head to your accommodation in Reykjavik if you're staying on longer in the land of fire and ice.

Included

Guides

Expert, English-speaking guides

Accommodation

1 night in a Reykjavik hotel, 4 nights wild camping

Meals

5 breakfasts, 5 lunches and 4 dinners

Transfers

Transfers between Reykjavik and the expedition trailhead (and back)

Permits

All permits and entry fees

Equipment

Crampons and safety ropes, expedition tents and cooking gear

Not Included

Flights to and from the meeting point

Travel insurance

Personal expenses

Some meals as described

Some equipment

Visas where required

Day 1

Hotel · Twin share

Breakfast

Lunch

Dinner

Day 2 – Day 5

Wild camping · Twin tent

Breakfast

Lunch

Dinner

Day 6

Breakfast

Lunch

Dinner

What is the food like?

During the trek, the emphasis will be on lightweight meals prepared by the trip leader with some help from the group. For dinner expect soups, pasta with smoked salmon, couscous, sausages and freeze-dried meals. Breakfasts will consist of muesli, porridge and crispbread with hot chocolate, tea and coffee. For packed lunches, you'll make sandwiches from various ingredients, including Icelandic flatbread, pâté, salami, cheese, peanut butter and smoked salmon. Snack items include biscuits, dried fruit, nuts, chocolate, fruits and energy bars. Vegans and vegetarians can be accommodated on this trek – please let your host know in advance.

What is the accommodation like?

Reykjavik

Before the trek you'll stay one night in Reykjavik at Hotel Orkin, a 3-star hotel which is just a short walk from the bars and cafes in the heart of the city. You'll stay in twin-share rooms as standard, with private bathrooms.

Wild camping on the trek

During the trek, you’ll stay in twin-share expedition tents at a variety of wild camping spots, selected by your guide. Vatnajökull National Park is wild place, so you'll be camping on a variety of terrain wherever flat ground can be found. Sometimes you'll be sleeping on gravel scree, volcanic lava or moss. Bringing along a good quality sleeping mat is essential on this trip. You'll almost certainly have the camp spots to yourself in this remote and lesser-visited part of Iceland. Facilities on the trek are limited – the group will travel with cooking facilities for meals and hot drinks, plus a larger tent which will act as a mess tent or group shelter if the weather is bad. There will be no toilet tent or shower tent.

Upgrades

For solo travellers wanting their own space, there is the option to upgrade to a private room if you would like to do so, subject to availability. See Optional Extras for prices. Please note, this only covers your night in Reykjavik – due to the remote and demanding nature of this expedition, your host does not offer solo tents as the weight of the food, camping and cooking gear needs to be distributed equally amongst the group.

If you'd like to extend your stay in Iceland your host can also help to arrange extra nights' accommodation in Reykjavik before or after the tour (subject to availability). Prices are available on request from your host.

The Area

map

Logistics

Starts

Reykjavik accommodation

Arrive any time on Day 1

Ends

Reykjavik City Centre

17:00 on Day 6

Transfers

Your adventure starts at your hotel in downtown Reykjavik. When you arrive at Keflavik Airport you'll need to hop on one of the frequent Flybus services operated in connection with all arriving flights at Keflavik Airport. You can buy a ticket in advance on the Flybus website or at the Flybus desk in the 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. Your host will provide details on where you need to get off the bus and how to find your hotel in the pre-departure information you are sent prior to travelling to Iceland.

On Day 6 you will arrive back into central Reykjavik at approximately 17:30. You can hop straight onto a Flybus back to Keflavik Airport in time for any flights departing from 20:00 onwards, or you can head to your accommodation if you are staying on longer in Iceland.

Travel options

There are regular direct 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 is included?

  • Crampons for the glacier crossing
  • Safety ropes for the glacier crossing
  • Twin-share expedition tents

What do I need to bring?

Bags

  • Trekking backpack, 60-75 litres (you'll need to leave 15-20 litres of space for group food)
  • Waterproof liner for backpack

Sleeping

  • Sleeping bag – down or fibre; lightweight with a 3 or 4-season rating. We recommend goose down with a high fill power or a high-end synthetic bag
  • Insulating, inflatable sleeping mattress, such as Thermarest
  • Sleeping bag liner (optional)
  • Inflatable pillow, or just bring a pillowcase (you can stuff your down jacket inside to make a pillow)
  • Eyemask (there's a lot of daylight in Iceland during summertime)

Clothes

  • Waterproof hiking boots with ankle support, worn in, B1 or B2 crampon compatible
  • Long-sleeved thermal tops/breathable wicking layers (wool or synthetic)
  • T-shirts
  • Fleece jacket or similar
  • Lightweight hiking trousers/shorts (quick-drying, e.g. softshell)
  • Waterproof jacket with hood (windproof and breathable, e.g. Gore-Tex or similar)
  • Waterproof trousers (windproof and breathable, e.g. Gore-Tex or similar)
  • Gaiters (optional, but recommended)
  • Lightweight down/synthetic fill jacket
  • Lightweight gloves (wool or synthetic)
  • Underwear
  • Hiking socks (3-4 pairs, wool or synthetic)
  • Buff or neckscarf
  • Sunglasses
  • Sunhat
  • Something to sleep in
  • Sandals/beach shoes/old trainers for crossing rivers, and a pair of neoprene socks
  • Clothes and shoes/sandals for evenings at camp

Other

  • Walking poles (optional but recommended, with rubber tips to protect the environment)
  • Lunchbox
  • 2 litres of water-carrying capacity (bottles and/or bladders)
  • Water purification tablets/treatment system
  • Headtorch (for August departures)
  • Universal travel adapter
  • Power bank or solar charger (small solar cells tend not to work too well in Iceland, so a power bank is recommended)
  • Spare camera batteries
  • Passports (and visas)
  • Travel insurance documents
  • Earplugs
  • Suncream
  • Personal first-aid kit (inc. blister treatment)
  • Personal items (biodegradable toiletries, sanitary wear etc)
  • Toilet kit (toilet paper, biodegradable bags to carry paper out to dispose of)
  • Quick-dry towel
  • Alcohol hand-gel
  • Biodegradable wet-wipes
  • Energy bars and snacks
*Requests for optional extras can be made after booking on your “My Bookings” page

Double/Twin Room in Reykjavik: Prices starting from...

Payable Before Departure

Double/Twin Room in Reykjavik: Prices starting from...

Per Night

Single Room in Reykjavik: Prices starting from...

Payable Before Departure

Single Room in Reykjavik: Prices starting from...

Per Night

Optional Private Room Upgrade (1 night, Reykjavik Hotel only)

Payable Before Departure

Optional Private Room Upgrade (1 night, Reykjavik Hotel only)

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 partner with the World Land Trust to ensure this trip achieves Net-Zero emissions. We also support their Buy an Acre programme, helping local communities to buy and protect natural habitats in perpetuity.

What's the number?
It works out on average at 42kg 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 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. We partner with the World Land Trust to ensure this trip achieves Net-Zero emissions. We also support their Buy an Acre programme, helping local communities to buy and protect natural habitats in perpetuity, ensuring the protection of the reserve and its wildlife.

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 have good fitness levels for this trek. You'll be hiking for 5-7 hours each day for four consecutive days. The route isn’t overly technical and doesn’t reach high altitudes, so beginner hikers will be fine – providing you have good fitness levels and a pair of broken-in hiking boots!

Yes. This is a wild camping expedition through the Icelandic wilderness. The group will be self-sufficient along with your guide from the moment you are dropped off at the trailhead on the morning of Day 2. You will need a trekking backpack with waist support to ensure you are comfortable hiking all day while carrying your own gear. The food and camping supplies will also be divided equally amongst the group; please leave 15-20 litres of free space in your backpack for this. A 60-75 litre backpack is generally fine on this trek.

You'll encounter a variety of terrain – from rocky sections, mossy plateaus, lava fields and, of course, there is a huge glacier to cross. For the majority of this expedition there is no path or marked trail to follow, so the number of km per day and the elevation gain listed in the itinerary is subject to change, depending on the conditions. You'll need good, worn-in and waterproof hiking boots with strong ankle support. You may also benefit from gaiters for extra water resistance on the glacier. You will need to cross rivers at various points – sometimes hopping over stones to the other side and other times removing your boots and socks, putting on river crossing shoes and wading to the other side through the water. At some points, some mild scrambling is required. Trekking poles might come in handy for the uneven terrain on the lava fields.

Sure can! Over 70% 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 (°C), 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. Remember that in Iceland, summer means nearly 24 hours of daylight, so don’t forget your eye mask! The average daytime temperature in this part of Iceland from June to September is 10-12°C (50-55°F). A warm summer day could see temperatures reaching around 20°C/68°F.

If the hotel in Reykjavik does not have enough space to store your luggage then it is possible to store it in the luggage lockers at BSI Central Station (the departure point for the bus to Landmannalaugar). Your host will meet you at your hotel at approximately 06:30 on Day 2 of the tour and you'll be in the van to the trailhead by 07:30, so there is a short window in which to store excess luggage in the lockers at BSI Central Station – it is much more convenient to do this the evening of Day 1 if possible, rather than the morning of Day 2. There are four other centrally located places in Reykjavik where you can store luggage. Speak to your host about the options, or you can pre-book here.

For current advice about travelling in Iceland, have a read of the UK Foreign Office pages here.

You'll be filling your water bottle up from streams and rivers that flow from the highest mountains in Iceland and the glaciers in the valley that you're trekking through. The water is safe to drink and your guide will assist with advice on filling up from wild water sources. We recommend bringing two litres worth of carrying capacity, either with a couple of reusable bottles or a bladder system.

Our recommended travel insurance provider is Campbell Irvine.

Travel insurance is compulsory for all of our adventures and you are required to provide your policy information before departing.

Your insurance should include adequate protection for overseas medical treatment, evacuation/repatriation, your baggage and equipment and the specific activities involved on your adventure. We also strongly recommend it includes cancellation and curtailment insurance, should you be unable to join your trip for specific reasons such as illness.

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 always in good company on one of our adventures.

Our trips are typically made up of a mixture of solo travellers and small groups of 2 or 3 friends, with most in their 30s-50s.

Our sociable adventures are solo-friendly by design and naturally attract outdoorsy people with a shared mindset; a love for adventure, a desire to push themselves and meet awesome, like-minded people along the way.

It’s this camaraderie that has so often turned a great adventure into a life-changing one.

Don't just take our word for it:

  • 95% of people rate the group dynamics on our trips 5/5
  • 90% of people recommend joining a trip to make new friends
  • 75% of people have met people on our trips that they would now consider friends

See here for more info about the Much Better Adventures tribe.

Interested in a more exclusive experience? Opt for a 'Private Group' through the dates and prices tab to book this adventure for just you and your chosen companions.

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

TRIP DEPARTURE DATES

June 2024

Wednesday • 12th June 2024

to Monday • 17th June 2024
ISK 301,950.00
ISK 335,500.00
1 Booked • 11 Spots left
Guaranteed to run
Only 1 spot left at 10% off

Wednesday • 24th July 2024

to Monday • 29th July 2024
ISK 301,950.00
ISK 335,500.00
12 Spots left
Guaranteed to run
Only 2 spots left at 10% off

Wednesday • 21st August 2024

to Monday • 26th August 2024
ISK 301,950.00
ISK 335,500.00
12 Spots left
Guaranteed to run
Only 2 spots left at 10% off

Pay In Installments

You can choose to pay for this trip in as many installments as you like, with no interest or fees.

Full Financial Protection

Your money is safe. Every booking is fully financially protected.

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