This is the true experience of hot and cold. Marvel at volcanoes, thundering waterfalls, ancient lava and exploding hot sprin...
Duration: 11 days/10 nights
Across the Wilderness offers a complete Icelandic experience in only 11 days.
With a specially adapted 4x4 mountain coach, you will travel off-the-beaten track through the uninhabited and vast highlands of Iceland, highlighted by the multi-colored mountains of the Landmannalaugar Nature reserve and the barren black sands of Sprengisandur. When combined with other major attractions such as Geysir geothermal area, Jokulsarlon Glacier Lagoon, and Dettifoss waterfall, this tour is sure to conquer the hearts of all first-time visitors, as well as those that have been here before!
With our flexible itinerary there’s always plenty of time to stop and fully appreciate the magnificence of Icelandic nature.
Please note that good trekking shoes/hiking shoes are important on this tour.
Day 1: Tour to Blue Lagoon | Flexible time
Day 1: Whale watching from Reykjavík | 2.5 - 3 hours
Day 4: Boat tour on the Glacial Lagoon | 30-40 mins
Day 8: Horse riding tour in Gauksmýri | 1.5 hours
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Day: 1 Arrival in Iceland
On your own, transfer to Reykjavik. We recommend the easy and convenient FlyBus Plus transfers, which can be booked through Iceland Travel. If your flight lands early in the day, a great suggestion is to explore Reykjavík, the largest municipality in Iceland.
There are many great museums, art galleries and attractions in the city. If you want to stretch your legs, the city has many scenic walking trails,
Dinner is on your own. Reykjavik offers a multitude of restaurants and/or coffee-houses, making dinner a great way to get better acquainted with Iceland's capital.
Please note guaranteed early check-in is not included in the price. Most hotels begin check-in around 14:00 (2:00pm).
Overnight stay in Reykjavík (airport transfer not included). Dinner on own.
Day 2: Thingvellir – Gullfoss – Geysir
Breakfast at your hotel. The first day begins with a visit to Thingvellir National Park, the ancient site of the world's first parliament. Here you can see the dramatic continental drift between the North-American and Eurasian tectonic plates. An hour's drive away the popular Geysir geothermal area awaits. The most active geyser, Strokkur, shoots water high into the air every few minutes but you'll also witness boiling pools and hot springs.
Next your group will take part in Iceland Travel's reforestation program, located in Haukadalur valley. Help plant a total of five trees, which not only allows you to leave your mark in Iceland but also for your tour group to reduce your carbon footprint!
Then it‘s onwards to Iceland's most popular waterfall, the impressive two-stage Gullfoss (“Golden Falls”).
Dinner and overnight stay in Hvolsvöllur area.
Day 3: Vik – Dyrholaey – Kirkjubaejarklaustur
Breakfast at your hotel. Start the day by driving along the highway, making a stop at two impressive waterfalls; Seljalandsfoss and Skogafoss. Head to the black sand beaches to enjoy the far-reaching views from Dyrholaey headland, where thousands of puffins and other seabirds nest until mid-August. Enjoy a stop in the quaint village of Vik before crossing the Myrdalssandur volcanic ash outwash plains. The day ends after passing through the vast Eldhraun lava field, the world’s largest recorded single lava flow in the last 10.000 years.
Dinner and overnight stay in Kirkjubaejarklaustur area for the next two nights.
Day 4: Jokulsarlon – Skaftafell
Breakfast at your hotel. The day starts with a drive through beautiful scenery towards Vatnajokull, the largest glacier in Europe, and the country´s highest peak of Hvannadalshnjukur. The highlight of the day is surely Jokulsarlon Glacial Lagoon, where huge icebergs dance around in icy seawater. An optional boat tour among the icebergs is available. Continuing on your way, pass by several outlet glaciers from Vatnajokull, visiting at least one of them. Along the route you also will get magnificent views of Skaftafell, a glacier-crowned wonderland within Vatnajökull National Park.
Dinner and overnight stay in Kirkjubaejarklaustur area.
Day 5: Landmannalaugar
Breakfast at your hotel. It's finally time to leave the asphalt behind and meander along the Fjallabaksleid interior track to Landmannalaugar, an astonishing area surrounded by colourful rhyolite mountains. The surreal beauty of the uninhabited interior reveals deep valleys and sculptured mountains, many formed in volcanic eruptions under glaciers during the Ice Age.
After a nice walk (optional) enjoy a relaxing swim in a warm brook created by the convergence of hot and cold springs.
Dinner and overnight stay in the Thjorsardalur area.
Day 6: Sprengisandur
Breakfast at your hotel. It´s time to head north through the very heart of Iceland. Discover hidden treasures of Iceland's uninhabited interior traveling along the Sprengisandur highland route, a vast, barren, black desert connecting the north and south. With only rough tracks and un-bridged glacial rivers, your group will rely on your experienced driver to navigate the rugged passage between the glaciers. (Note: If Sprengisandur is closed, we take the Kjolur highland route instead.)
Dinner and overnight stay in the Lake Myvatn area for the next 2 nights.
Day 7: Tjornes – Asbyrgi – Dettifoss – Lake Myvatn
Breakfast at your hotel. After traveling on the gravel roads of the highlands the past couple of days, the smooth highways of the North make the fully-packed day ahead more comfortable. Travel through the town of Husavik and around the Tjornes peninsula, the northernmost point of your journey. Discover the impressive 100 meter (328 feet) high walls of the horseshoe-shaped canyon of Asbyrgi. According to Norse mythology, the canyon is the hoof-print left by Sleipnir, the magical eight-legged horse of the pagan god Odinn. The journey continues to Dettifoss, Europe's most powerful waterfall, which is located in the awe-inspiring Jokulsargljufur canyon. Next travel to the unforgettable Lake Myvatn area, a geological wonderland and paradise for bird watchers. Some of the most visually bizarre attractions in the region include the mud pits of Hverarond and the still-warm lava fields of Krafla, teeming with lava flows, fissures and explosion craters.
Dinner and overnight stay in the Lake Myvatn area.
Day 8: Akureyri – Skagafjordur
Breakfast at your hotel. Start the adventure today with a visit to Godafoss, one of the most impressive waterfalls in the country. Continue to Akureyri, the vibrant "Capital of the North". Enjoy some free time to explore this colourful and charming town. Some activities might include a visit to the delightful botanical garden, a swim in the local geothermal pool, or perhaps enjoying the atmospheric Listagil neighborhood dedicated to culture, art and fine food. The route then continues to the Skagafjordur district, known as the traditional heart of horse breeding in Iceland. This area also boasts many historical sites from the classic Sagas. In the evening, horseback riding on a purebred Viking horse is an appealing option, as is an invigorating walk in the picturesque surroundings.
Dinner and overnight stay in the Laugarbakki area.
Day 9: Hvammstangi – Eiriksstadir – Fellsstrond
Breakfast at your hotel. The journey continues around Vatnsnes Peninsula, which reveals the extraordinary rock formation of Hvitserkur which is a 15 meter (49 ft) tall cliff jutting out straight from the sea. You might see seals resting close to the beach. In the after-noon, drive through rolling farmlands and across Laxardalsheidi heath to the Viking Age house at Eiriksstadir. This was the original homestead of Erik the Red and birthplace of his son Leif Eiriksson, two of the most celebrated Vikings in the world. In a replica of a grass-roofed house, meet modern day Vikings who demonstrate the lifestyle from 1000 years ago, sharing their crafts and knowledge.
Dinner and overnight stay in the Fellsstrond area.
Day 10: Snaefellsjokull National Park
Breakfast at your hotel. Today is spent exploring the amazing variety of natural landscapes in Snaefellsnes National Park. Undoubtedly the crowning jewel is Snaefellsjokull glacier itself, which covers a dormant volcano that last erupted in 250 AD. Walk along the uniquely pebbled seascape of Djupalonssandur beach. At the picturesque harbour village of Arnarstapi, you can observe magnificent basalt rock in stacked formations and take a unique walk along the hiking trail linking the settlements of Arnarstapi and Hellnar. Afterwards drive back to Reykjavik.
Overnight in Reykjavik. Dinner is on your own.
Day 11: Departure
Breakfast at your hotel. Transfer to the airport not included. We would be happy to book a transfer for you. We recommend departing your hotel no later than three hours before your international flight.
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Prices may change without prior notice. If an incorrect price has been listed, we reserve the right to refuse, cancel or limit any order placed at the incorrect price.
I had very high expectations of my trip to Iceland, and I was not disappointed! The scenery is stunning and we were very lucky with the weather. However, what made the whole country come to life was our guide, Ari Arnórsson. He was brilliant! Just the right mix of information and laid-back fun. He took us off the beaten track to some 'hidden treasures' along the way and even lulled a sleepy bus full of tired travelers into another world with his Icelandic tales and sagas. The tour itself was perfectly paced with plenty of time to stop and enjoy the sights and tranquility - no sense of being rushed nor hanging around. We covered a lot of ground and saw some spectacular sights. I think we all felt that we got to know Iceland's southern coast, glaciers and volcanoes very well. The hotels were perfectly adequate for our party of 16 and the evening meals very good. I cannot recommend Iceland Travel enough for their extremely helpful staff, friendly advice and knowledgeable guide. I will definitely return to explore more of this country - and hope to meet Ari again!
Across the Wilderness. 6-16th August. Was fabulous. Would have liked a few more days to it, so that we could have seen more. The organisation was great. Accommodation mostly very good. Would have liked the opportunity to do some laundry once or twice. (Cabin Hotel in Reyjavik had no facilities, either.) Food fantastic and I like the buffet styles(less waste.) Wish we'd been told to bring a towel as well as bathers for the hot springs. The family and I VERY much appreciated the help your office staff gave when they were trying to contact me while I was in Reyjavik. And Helgi Jon Davidsson. WOW!!! He was fantastic. Obliging, knowledgeable,(about the countryside, the legends, the customs, the landforms....) a good raconteur and his organisational skills for incidentals just amazing. Pity you are so far away. I have been singing your praises to all who express an interest in Iceland. Keep up the good work. Trip of a lifetime.
Let's get something straight from the start, Iceland is billed as one of the most beautiful and spectacular places to visit and certainly lives up to its reputation.
The 10 - day tour started in Reykjavik and headed off east. Our guide, Heimir Morthens, was a very knowledgeable, patient and humorous individual who quickly gained the appreciation of our group. His gentle wit and passion for his country was evident from the start. He was very good at sending us off for hikes to discover Iceland for ourselves, and he was always there to answer questions.
With waterfalls in abundance at every turn it would be easy to think that the traveller would get weary. However, every waterfall was different and came with a new story - told by Heimir. His narrative opened our minds to the depth of history and culture in Iceland: from harsh nature to Elves and 'Yule Lads'. Each day gave Heimir the chance to open a new chapter of our 'book of Iceland', populated with historical characters, natural wonders and just a little bit of magic.
Iceland has an abundance of geological wonders to behold, from the continental divide and Rift Valley at Thingvellir to the vast wilderness of the Sprengisandur highland plateau, defined roughly as the area between the Hofsjökull and Vatnajökull glaciers.
Unique experiences were at every turn: sitting in a geothermal river at Landmannalaugar, walking behind a waterfall at Seljalandsfoss and visiting the glacial lagoon at Jokulsarlon. Every day was different.
Our hotels were excellent, providing comfortable accommodation and very good food. Of note were a wide variety of homemade soups (fish, lamb, vegetables, etc.) and local meats. The local lamb is especially good.
As we travelled in September, the start of the aurora season meant that we had a chance of seeing the northern lights for the first time. After several disappointments (it became a running joke with Heimir's predictive ability) we were roused from our rooms at 10.30pm to experience the green dancing lights in the night sky.
It must not go without mention that our group helped make the trip a very special experience. With fellow travellers from New Zealand, Australia, England, Denmark, Canada and the US, we were an agreeable, good humoured group who were determined to make the most of every day.
Our thanks (in order of appearance) go to: Heimir Mortens, our outstanding guide, to Iceland Travel for helping to make this possible, to Iceland for being a truly remarkable and stunning country and finally to our fellow tourists, who we are missing already.