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Iceland Day Hiking: Land of Fire & Ice, August 5-15, 2017

iceland 12Rating: Moderate-Strenuous

 

 

Iceland, the land of fire and ice, is one of the most unique hiking destinations in the world. Settled by Vikings, this island nation remains largely unspoiled.  Nature is raw yet spectacularly beautiful.  In mid-summer, nightfall never comes. Trails wind through bizarre, Dr. Seuss-type landscapes, leading to volcanic areas with geysers, lava fields, boiling springs, and steamy fumaroles.  One trail takes us to the caldera of a now-dormant volcano that wreaked havoc on the island of Heimaey in 1973. We will hike another trail that some regard as the world's greatest waterfalls hike.  Other trails lead to immense glaciers, the largest in Europe.  From Iceland's capital, Reykjavík, we venture to four different areas, each offering amazing hiking opportunities immersed in natural beauty. We will be staying in hotels, b&b's and cottages along the way with a support van for transport.  Most days find us hiking 7 to 10 miles on varied terrain and we are rewarded with a hiking experience of a lifetime! This trip is suitable for all hikers in good physical condition.

 

This is a fundraising trip to benefit Keystone Trails Association, but you do not need to be a member of KTA to participate. Trip cost includes round-trip van transport from Harrisburg to Baltimore and round-trip airfare from Baltimore to Reykjavik.

 

 

Overview

iceland 29210461715 oUpon arrival in Iceland, our van will take us from the airport to Reykjavík, the world's northernmost capital city.  After exploring the compact center of the city, we will take a day trip to the Golden Circle, visiting three of Iceland's most prominent natural attractions: Þingvellir, Geysir, and Gullfoss.  We then leave the Reykjavík area for a series of hikes along Iceland's spectacular south coast including the Westman Islands, the Mýrar district, Skaftafell National Park and Skogar before returning to Reykjavik. 


 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Intinerary

 

iceland 7

Day 1: Early arrival in Reykjavík where we leave our luggage in the hotel and begin our explorations. Walk the city on your own or with the group.  Options include whale watching, the National Museum, the Botanical Gardens, Volcano House, and the imposing Hallgrimskirkja. Hotel accommodations.

 

Day 2: Leave after breakfast for the Golden Circle Tour featuring the enormous Gullfoss waterfall; Geysir, where spouting hot springs get their name; and Þingvellir, Iceland's most historical site and the most visible place where the North American and European tectonic plates are tearing apart. Hotel accommodations. Meal provided: B.

 

Day 3: We begin our journey along Iceland's soth coast. First stop is the Gugudalur Geothermal Area where we will hike around 7 miles on a spectacular trail featuring hot springs, bubbling mudpots, and fumeroles belching sulfurous steam. From there we visit the beautiful, high and wispy Seljalandsfoss Waterfall with a short walk behind the falls. We then take a nearby ferry for the 20-minute ride to Heimaey in the Westman Islands. Guesthouse accommodations. Meals provided: B, L.

 

Day 4: Heimaey has completely recovered from the 1973 volcanic eruption and is home to 4200 people. Today we hike 8 miles, along cliffs and beaches, to view up close the largest puffin colony in Iceland. Surtsey Island, emerging out of the ocean in a volcanic eruption in 1963, is visible off the coast. After dinner, there is an optional 3-mile loop hike through lava fields to the 725' summit of Eldfell volcano with incredible views of Heimaey and the Iceland coast. Guesthouse accommodations. Meals provided: B, L.

 

Day 5: After the ferry crossing back to the mainland, we travel toiceland 8 Skogar where we traverse 10 miles along what many consider to be the top waterfall hike in the world. Our trail parallels the Skogar River as it descends past one incredible waterfall after another, the last one, Skógafoss, ranked as one of the most beautiful in Iceland. Hotel accommodations.  Meals provided: B, L. 

 

Day 6: We start our day with a visit to the fascinating Skogar Folk Museum for a glimpse of life in rural Iceland before 1960. We then continue on the Ring Road to the gorgeous Mýrdal district in southeast Iceland, dominated by the enormous Vatnajökull glacier.  On the way, we stop and explore the black sand beaches and basalt columns at Vík.  Our comfortable cottages on a working farm feature stunning views of the glacier. Cottage accommodations. Meals provided: B, L.

 

Day 7: From our cottages, we will enjoy a 10-mile round-trip hike across flatlands to the very base of the Vatnajökull glacier. Meals provided: B, L.

 

Day 8:  We travel to stunning Jökulsárlón lagoon, full of icebergs peeling from a large glacier feeding the lagoon. Our 7-mile loop hike follows the shore of the lagoon where we can observe the fantastical shapes of the floating ice and seals swimming between them. Cottage accommodations. Meals provided: B, L.

 

Day 9: We hike in stunning Skaftafell National Park, Iceland's premier hiking destination. Choose between a shorter 5-mile hike to the Svartifoss waterfalls or a challenging 10-mile loop climbing through dwarf forest and tundra to a mountain vista overlooking the glacier. This is perhaps the best day hike in Iceland! Hotel accommodations.  Meals provided: B, L.

  

Day 10: We return to Reykjavik and continue our exploration of Iceland's capital city. Hotel accommodations. Meals provided: B, L. 

 

Day 11: There is time in the morning to shop or to join an optional 5-mile hike to the Grótta lighthouse. In the afternoon, we transfer to the airport for our return home. Meal provided: B.

 

Daily itinerary subject to change.

 

What's Included

  • Round-trip van transport from Harrisburg to Baltimore airport.
  • Round-trip air transport from Baltimore to Iceland.
  • All lodging (double occupancy) as stated in the itinerary.  Single supplement may be added if single accommodations are requested and available.
  • All meals as stated in the itinerary.
  • All group transportation in Iceland (van, ferry) including airport pickup and return. 
  • Golden Circle excursion.
  • Skogar Folk Museum.
  • Guide services.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

What's NOT Included

  • Travel insurance / trip cancellation insurance.
  • Personal gear (see equipment list).
  • Personal taxi fares.
  • Private excursions.
  • Meals not specified in itinerary.
  • Alcoholic beverages.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Accommodations

Hotel/Guesthouse: 6 nights, private bath; 1 night, shared bath.

Cottage: 3 nights, private baths.

 

Cost

TRIP COST PER PERSON: $4095

DEPOSIT REQUIRED PER PERSON: $1000

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