Iceland Hike and Explore
A Land of Geysers, Hot Springs, Glaciers, and Waterfalls
Experience Europe’s wilderness island! Hike the rugged coastline, explore inside a lava tube, and take in the country’s history at Thingvellir National Park. Iceland is home to geothermal features that are found in few places around the world. Some of the geysers and hot springs you will see were among the first discovered. Iceland is also famous for its many stunning waterfalls and glaciers, which we will visit as we travel east around the island. Your trip starts with a tour of beautiful and historic Reykjavik.
For standard meeting places and times, see Dates & Fees tab.
Day 1: Your trip begins in Reykjavik in the evening. Meet your group at the hotel before getting to know one another over dinner. Take time to share your expectations for the upcoming days.
Day 2: After breakfast set out to explore the Icelandic capital of Reykjavik. Visit the stunning cathedral Hallgrimskirkja and stroll along the waterfront. In the afternoon you will head north to Borgarnes on the Snaefellsnes Peninsula. If time allows, take a hike in the area before a cozy dinner.
Day 3: Rise early for a hearty breakfast and a full day of hiking. Some of the best scenery of the Snaefellsnes Peninsula is on the western edge, where you will hike along the coastline between Hellnar and Arnarstapi.
Day 4: Begin the exploration of the volcanoes of Iceland, visiting the largest lava tube in Iceland at Vidgelmir Cave. Take a guided tour into the lava tube to experience the amazing colors and rock formations. On the way back, stop at Hraunfossar, a beautiful set of waterfalls formed by rivulets streaming over 900 metres along a lava field. Head to Thingvellir National Park for the evening.
Day 5: Take in Thingvellir National Park, the boundary of the North American and Eurasian tectonic plates and a UNESCO World Heritage Site, by exploring Iceland’s Golden Circle. We will see the raging expanse of the Gullfoss waterfall and observe the first ever documented geyser, Geysir. End the day relaxing in the hot pools at Hveragerdi.
Day 6: Today we head to Vik, stopping along the way at some of Iceland’s most beautiful vistas. Take in the immense falls of Seljalandsfoss and Skogafoss under the looming form of the volcano Eyjafjallajokull. Walk along the expansive black sand beach before settling in for the evening.
Day 7: From Vik, head north to a trailhead near Hafursey and hike to the Myrdalsjokull glacier. There are many hiking options in Vik where we can hike to costal overlooks and glacial views. Return to your hotel in the evening.
Day 8: Rest your legs by taking a horseback ride on Icelandic ponies, perhaps along the black sand beach. Take the afternoon to explore the town of Vik before relaxing in the evening with your group members while enjoying a delicious meal.
Day 9: Visit Skaftafell National Park for views of mountain valleys and the Vatnajokull glacier. Continue on to the Jokulsarlon glacial lagoon to see icebergs that have fallen off of Breioamerkurjokull glacier into Iceland’s deepest lake.
Day 10: Make the return to Reykjavik, stopping along the way at the island of Vestmannaeyjar where we will take a boat tour and hopefully spot some playful puffins. We will arrive in Reykjavik in the evening for our final celebration dinner.
Day 11: Your trip officially ends after a hearty breakfast. Bid farewell to your trip mates before taking in your final views of Iceland. Perhaps pick up a book of Icelandic stories, make one last museum stop, or relax at the Blue Lagoon hot pools on your way to the airport.
A note about the itinerary: Our trips are real adventures in the outdoors. While we'll make every effort to follow the itinerary listed here, elements may change due to weather or reasons beyond our control.
Travel, Terrain, Etc...
TERRAIN/ROUTE: You will primarily travel on established yet rugged trails when hiking. We will also travel in close proximity to geothermal features and waterfalls.
TYPE OF TRAVEL/DISTANCE: Hikes range from 2 to 6 miles a day and an average of 4-5 hours of physical activity per day. You will carry your day pack with only what you will need for each day hike. No previous experience is needed to complete this trip; however, some trails are fairly steep and being relatively fit and enthusiastic is important. The group will travel in a large van.
WEATHER: Weather in Iceland changes frequently. Temperatures range from 45 - 60 degrees and you will frequently experience cool temperatures. Be prepared for all types of weather. Rain is likely so a good raincoat is important.
YOUR GROUP: The group size will be 6-10 participants and 1-2 Wilderness Inquiry guides. Each group could consist of people of various ages, backgrounds, and abilities, including people with disabilities. Our trips are cooperative in nature. Staff will assist you in whatever areas you need; however, most people pitch in where they can.
ACCOMMODATIONS: We will sleep in a variety of lodges, cabins and motels at night. Typically there are 2-3 people per room, matched by gender or requests to room together.
SINGLE TRAVELERS: If you are traveling alone, you will feel at home with a welcoming group. If you would like to have your own room throughout the trip, you may purchase a single supplement for an additional fee. Please email or call us if you would like this option.
MEALS: Everybody is involved with the preparation and cooking of meals using fresh, healthy ingredients for bountiful dishes. Vegetarian meals and other dietary needs are easy to accommodate. There will be plenty of snacks provided through out each day. We'll enjoy happy hours together, but the purchase of alcoholic beverages is not included in the trip fees.
EQUIPMENT AND CLOTHING: Wilderness Inquiry will provide all group equipment. You will need to provide your personal gear as outlined in the packing list. If you are new to outdoor activities, you do not need to spend a lot of money. Wilderness Inquiry can usually arrange for you to borrow most items.
HEALTH: There are no required vaccines needed to visit Iceland, however we strongly recommend that you talk with your doctor regarding any health concerns related to traveling outside of the United States.
PASSPORT/VISA: U.S. citizens need a passport to enter Iceland. One blank passport page is typically required for entry stamp. We encourage you to check the State Department website for the most up-to-date entry requirements: http://travel.state.gov/content/passports/english/country/iceland.html Be sure all outdoor or camping gear is clean when going through customs. They will check to see if there is any soil on boots, backpacks, tents, etc. and will likely sanitize any equipment, however they do reserve the right to confiscate soiled items.A note about the itinerary: Our trips are real adventures in the outdoors. While we'll make every effort to follow the itinerary listed here, elements may change due to weather or reasons beyond our control.
The island of Iceland is a trove of beautiful geological features. Iceland is one of the youngest landmasses on the planet. It was formed 20 million years ago by a series of underwater volcanic eruptions. Iceland is currently situated between two tectonic plates - the North American plate and the Eurasian plate. As the Earth’s crust is only about a third as thick in Iceland as in other areas, it features stunning geothermal features found in few places around the world. On your trip you will see geysers, hot springs and other evidence of volcanic activity. Iceland is roughly the size of Kentucky and holds 30 active volcanoes within its borders. Though home to glaciers, waterfalls, volcanoes, black sand beaches, tectonic plates, mountains, geysers, hot springs and more, 63% of the country is classified as wasteland.
Iceland is steeped in cultural history as well. Thingvellir National Park was designated as a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 2004. It is Iceland's most important historical site where the Vikings established the world's first democratic parliament in 930 AD. For many years Iceland was subject to rule by other countries, most pertinently Denmark. The country gained its independence in 1944 following occupation by the UK during WWII – the Republic of Iceland was established on June 17, 1944. In 2008, Iceland was devastated by the global economic crisis, all three of the country’s national banks collapsed. This prompted Iceland to apply for EU membership, which has generally been a contentious issue within the population. However, talks about membership were suspended and Iceland formally withdrew its application in 2014. In 2010 the volcano Eyjafjallajokull began erupting emitting a huge ash plume that halted European air traffic for a week. Due to this eruption, international attention shifted to Iceland and tourism boomed, resulting in much needed economic stability for the nation. It has become the fastest growing travel destination in Europe.
The wildlife of Iceland is few and far between. Aside from sheep, birds and horses, you’ll be hard pressed to garner any animal sightings. The only indigenous land mammal is the elusive Arctic fox found in the Westfjords. Birds are prolific on costal cliffs often forming massive colonies near the sea. Gannets, kittiewakes, razorbills and puffins are among the most impressive. Iceland also has a thriving marine life including humpback whales, dolphins, porpoises and seals.
Standard Meetings Places and Times
Start: Downtown Reykjavik Apartments at 4:00 PM (local time)
End: Downtown Reykjavik Apartments at 10:00 AM (local time)
This trip begins at the Downtown Reykjavik Apartments at 4:00 PM. The trip ends in the same location at 10:00 AM. The time to get from Keflavik International Airport to the Downtown Reykjavik Apartments is about 45 minutes.