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REF: #08613

Trekking Southern Iceland in 8 Days

An 8-Day trek in Vatnajokull National Park with river crossings, glacier walking, lava fields and hot springs.

Vatnajokull National Park is one of the most beautiful and remote wildernesses in Iceland. Comprised of several enormous glaciers, numerous volcanoes, and countless rivers and valleys, this trek provides a challenging and in-depth nature experience in Iceland’s highlands. You’ll wade rivers, cross glaciers, explore hidden valleys, and negotiate lava fields on your way from the Djupa River to Skaftafell. Your hassle-free trip includes:

  • 8 days trekking in Vatnajokull
  • Round trip transportation from Reykjavik
  • Professional, experienced, English-speaking guide
  • All meals
  • Camping equipment (tents, sleeping pads, cooking equipment)
  • Glacier walking equipment
  • All taxes and fees

Perfect for:
This trip is perfect for dedicated trekkers with a very good level of fitness who want to explore Iceland’s beautiful highlands with an experienced guide to lead the way.

  • Camping
  • —Reykjavík > Reykjavík
  • Activity Type
    • Walk/trek from place to place, with a guide
  • Groups up to 12


Day 1: Reykjavik to Djupa River

Meet your guide in Reykjavik at 7:00 AM to review your equipment before driving 3 hours to the Djupa River on the south edge of Vatnajokull National Park.

Your trek begins with a gentle walk along the river’s banks, wading across several streams along the way. You’ll camp near the river.

3 hours driving, 4 - 6 hours walking

Day 2: Djupa River to Langagil

In the morning continue along the river, passing several waterfalls, and eventually leaving the valley to hike across Gaesabrekkur, or the “Goose Hills”. Enter the mossy Langagil (“Long Gully”) to camp for the night.

4 - 5 hours walking

Day 3: Langagil to Beinadalur

Walk through the rest of peaceful Langagil, then traverse deserted wastelands and cross a lava field before entering the desolate Beinadalur (“Valley of Bones”).

Despite its forbidding name, the valley has one of the best campsites in the region with a hot spring nearby that produces clean, 40°C water year-round, so you can enjoy a good long soak before bed.

4 - 5 hours walking

Day 4: Beinadalur to Slettur

Continue through Beinadalur and emerge into the flatlands. The day’s trek will involve several river crossings as you descend to a lower elevation and begin to see more vegetation.

Follow the Nupsa River into the hills of Slettur where you’ll camp with a truly epic view over the expansive plains.

4 - 5 hours walking

Day 5: Resupply trip to Nupstadaskogur

Today you’ll leave most of your gear at camp and make the trek to Nupstadaskogur to replenish your food supplies and pick up glacier gear.

The hike takes you down the Suludalur Valley, along the Nupsa River, and to a rock face that you climb with the assistance of a fixed chain. You’ll enjoy views over the Sulutindar Mountains and prominent Mount Sula along the way.

Return to your camp in Slettur for the night.

7 - 8 hours walking

Day 6: Slettur to Nordurdalur

The objective of the day is to cross Skeidararjokull Glacier, a tongue of the Vatnajokull Glacier riddled with complex terrain. While there aren’t any river crossings, the technicality of the walking makes for a good challenge.

You’ll pass glacial features like cauldrons, water sculpted ice formations, and walls of ice.

Your reward at the end of the day is the best campsite of the trek overlooking glaciers, lagoons of icebergs, and the sharp Faerneseggjar Mountains.

8+ hours walking

Day 7: Nordurdalur to Skaftafell

With the glacier behind you, climb up and over the red- and yellow-hued Skaftafellsfjoll Mountains, past Blatindur (“Blue Peak”), and down the Blahnukadalur Valley where you’ll start to see vegetation again.

As the flowers and trees rise around you, you’ll meet up with a marked path into Skaftafell National Park.

Celebrate the completion of your trek with an Icelandic lamb dinner.

6 - 7 hours walking

Day 8: Skaftafell to Reykjavik

With the trek completed, you can choose your own adventure for the day.

Hike to Svartifoss waterfall, soak in a natural hot spring, visit the park’s excellent museum, join an ice climbing tour, or simply relax.

In the afternoon you’ll drive back to Reykjavik, stopping at sights along the way. You’ll arrive in Reykjavik around dinner time.

4 hours driving

Note: This itinerary and the duration of the activities are subject to change due to group abilities and preferences, weather conditions and forecasts, special events, etc.


You will camp in the Icelandic wilderness, remote from any facilities. Tents sleep 2 people.


Iceland is a small but diverse island nation straddling the Arctic Circle. With just over 330,000 inhabitants, Iceland has a smaller population than most European cities. Almost two-thirds of the population live in and around Reykjavik, leaving the rest of the country very sparsely populated.

On the south coast, Vatnajokull National Park is home to a wide variety of landscapes. From barren lava fields and large expanses of desert-like wasteland to lush valleys filled with wildflowers and flowing with clear streams, every day spent in the park is sure to fascinate. The area’s outstanding feature is the enormous Vatnajokull Glacier, the largest in Europe, covering 8100km2 and rising to over 2000m. It looms above the coast, sending ice and water rushing down to the sea.

Start point?
You will meet your guide at the Grayline office in Reykjavik at 7:00 AM. They will be in touch before the trip to finalise details.

Finish point?
You will be dropped off at the Grayline office in Reykjavik. Your host will be in touch before the trip to finalise details.

Getting there and away?
Iceland’s international airport is located in Keflavik, about 45 minutes west of Reykjavik. Direct flights between mainland Europe and Iceland are frequent throughout the year. Taxis, shuttles and buses are available to take you between the airport and Reykjavik.


What extra costs are there?

The following are not included in the tour price:

  • Flights to and from Iceland
  • Accommodation before and after the tour
  • Travel insurance
  • Tips for your guides
  • Breakfast on Day 1 and dinner on Day 8
  • Optional ice climbing on Day 8

How fit do I need to be?

Due to the long, back-to-back days of trekking with a full pack, a very good level of fitness is required. Participants should have experience hiking with a full pack, and be comfortable walking as much as 20 km in a day over rough terrain.

Can I book on my own?

Sure can! A lot of people do, it’s a great way to meet like-minded people.

How big will the group be?

This trip is guaranteed to run, max groups size is 12.

Is there a minimum age?

Yes, participants need to be 18+ to take part.

What’s the weather like?

Despite the country’s name, summers in Iceland are surprisingly temperate courtesy of the warm North Atlantic and Gulf Stream currents. Temperatures in Reykjavik and along the coasts and lowlands average 3 to 14 °C through the summer. Weather conditions can be very changeable, though, so prepare to for all conditions every day, including wind and rain. Days are long, and though you can’t see the true “midnight sun” from mainland Iceland, there’s continuous daylight for two weeks in midsummer.

What’s the food like?

Icelandic food is largely based on seafood, lamb and dairy, though locally produced vegetable are becoming more common. Favorite dishes include roasted lamb, salmon fillets, skyr (yogurt), blueberries, bread and pastries, and the very popular hot dog.

Can my dietary restrictions be accommodated?

Absolutely! Just let us know at booking.

What should I pack?

In Iceland there’s no such thing as bad weather, just the wrong clothing! Bring plenty of warm and waterproof layers, sturdy and warm hiking boots, gloves, hat, sunglasses, a sleeping bag, a water bottle, and a 50 - 70L backpack to carry your gear and a portion of the communal gear. Your host will contact you with a complete packing list.