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REF: #08617

Trek and Camp Southern Iceland in 5 Days

A challenging trek across the remarkable wilderness of Vatnajokull National Park, complete with river crossings and glacier walking.

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

  • 5 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 trekkers and nature enthusiasts 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 Nupstadarskogar

Meet your guide in Reykjavik at 7:00 AM to review your equipment before driving 5 hours to Nupstadarskogar. There you’ll walk among the trees in a birch forest before making camp.

5 hours driving, 0 - 3 hours walking

Day 2: Nupstadarskogar to Slettur

Climb a rock outcrop with the assistance of a fixed chain, and emerge at Skessutorfugljufur, a landscape that looks as though it were carved by trolls. You’ll follow the Nupsa River where it thunders through a gorge, ending on the beautiful Slettur plateau. If you’re lucky the wildflowers will be in bloom, carpeting the meadow in pink.

5 - 7 hours walking

Day 3: Slettur to Graenalon

In the morning you’ll ascend into the Eggjar Mountains with increasingly beautiful views. In the afternoon you’ll arrive at Graenalon Lake, a glacier lagoon filled with dramatic icebergs that glow blue and green in the sunlight. You’ll camp on a terrace overlooking the lake and Skeidararjokull glacier.

7 - 8 hours walking

Day 4: Graenalon to Nordurdalur

Your only objective of the day today is to cross Skeidararjokull Glacier, a tongue of the Vatnajokull Glacier riddled with complex terrain. While there aren’t any river crossings, the walking will get pretty technical. You’ll pass glacial features like cauldrons, water sculpted ice formations, and walls of sheer ice.

Your reward at the end of the day? The best campsite of the trek overlooking glaciers, iceberg lagoons, and the sharp Faerneseggjar Mountains. Expect to sleep well tonight.

8 - 9 hours walking

Day 7: Nordurdalur to Skaftafell

With the glacier just 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 a marked path into Skaftafell National Park.

You’ll then drive back to Reykjavik in the afternoon, arriving in the early evening, for your return to reality.

8 - 9 hours walking

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 huge 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 Vantajokull 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 5

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 vegetables are becoming more common. Favourite 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 before the trip.