Why not end the summer of 2018 by completing this early autumn hiking challenge with us in September? Choose to make the hike either a personal goal achieved for you, or raise some funds for a charity of your choice?
Join Iceland Traveller team members Julia and Yvonne, who for too long have been promising themselves a trip to Iceland to do this! We’ve so enjoyed organising Icelandic camping and adventuring holidays for our student and youth groups that we’ve decided it’s time to do one for ourselves and other adults too.
What to expect: Designed to be an experience above and beyond the walking or hiking you might normally undertake, the daily distances are not huge but the terrain is harder going and even though the temperatures in September are not particularly low, the elements could also be a factor. We’ll be accompanied by professional Icelandic guides, and the luggage will be moved for us each day so we hike with day packs only. Overnight stays will be spent in cottages or under canvas and at the start and end of the trail, in a countryside hotel. We’ll eat well, see beautiful scenery and enjoy great Icelandic hospitality. September is Northern lights season, so with dark skies and without light pollution, sightings of this magnificent spectacle may be possible.
This 6-day trip (which includes the 4 day hike) begins and ends in Reykjavik with all of the arrangements in Iceland taken care of by us. The holiday can easily be extended to allow time to see more of Iceland before you leave for home, perhaps to see the rest of the famous or to spend some time in Reykjavik, Iceland’s charming capital city. The group will be a maximum of 20 people, so do join us with a group of friends, as a couple or as a solo traveller, you’ll be very welcome. To join the hike, you will need to be in Reykjavik on September 8 2018, and depart on or after September 13 2018. For an ATOL protected package, we will arrange flights from the UK, or you can make your own flight arrangements and provide us with the details so that we can arrange transfers to and from the farm. Prices are based on full board, including equipment and sharing a twin/double room (in hotel accommodation). Our guides will be Icelandic, there will be plenty of good wholesome food and we’ll be well looked after.
Where do we hike? Iceland Traveller’s hiking challenge is a 4-day guided expedition in South Iceland in one of the most important historical and geological locations in the country and covering approximately 50 km around, through and over beautiful and rugged volcanic and lakeside landscapes with breath-taking views and scenery. The walking paths will vary from gravel tracks, rough lava terrain to mountain paths and grass tracks. The walking area lies around the Hengill volcano geothermal area and within the Thingvellir National Park to combine ascents, descents and low land walking from close to sea level to about 600m. Landscape features include the Mid Atlantic ridge and rift between the continental plates, lake Thingvellir and the river Sog that flows from it, together with the geothermal hot springs and rivers of the Hengill area.
Equipment: Full details of the kit list will be provided for everyone joining the trip, but expect to bring sturdy hiking boots with ankle support (that you have already worn in), waterproof and breathable hiking clothing including hat and gloves and a waterproof day pack. Sleeping bags, camping equipment (for the time under canvas) and utensils to eat with are provided by the guides, though you will need to bring a flask and lunch box. Equipment can be hired if required.
Weather conditions: The colours of Autumn are likely to be on display, as the shrubby bushes and low trees turn red, orange and brown. It’s reasonable to expect temperatures in the range of 11°C to 6°C during the day, making snowfall unlikely. Night time temperatures could dip to 0°C. As always in Iceland, sun, rain and wind is likely, and the Icelandic weather is famous for being fickle, so you should always expect rain, regardless of the season and really every season in a day. Sunrise is at about 06:30 and sunset at about 20:00 at this time of the year, and clear skies will be starry and with luck we’ll see the Aurora too.
Food in Iceland: Icelandic food is tasty, wholesome and there is plenty of it. Lamb and fish are regularly offered, and although there aren’t many root vegetables, there is plenty of salad. Cakes and sweet foods are popular and coffee, tea, and the best fresh water anywhere are always readily available. On hiking days, we will have a packed lunch that we will usually make ourselves using breads, meats, egg, cheeses and salads, with cake, biscuits, fruit and Skyr (Iceland’s equivalent to yoghurt/fromage frais). Artisan brewing is extremely popular so there’s plenty of local beer available. Icelanders are good at catering for dairy free, gluten free, vegetarian and vegan diets, please let us know about any requirements that you have.
Our commitment to you: Customer service and satisfaction is very important in Iceland, and we want you to have a great experience (and a challenge) so please read carefully the information that we have provided and let us know about any questions that you have as you book and certainly before we go! If you walk regularly and are prepared for rough terrain rather than steep ascents, have the stamina to walk all day even if the weather isn’t great, then this could well be for you. This will be a sociable event led by professional, friendly and encouraging guides. It’s also a personal challenge and not a competition, but equally everyone needs to be prepared.
Day 1: Saturday Sept 8. ‘Welcome to Iceland’
Arrive at Keflavik International airport in Iceland during the day and meet our bus transfer from Reykjavik. Flights can be booked through Iceland Traveller, or self-booked and we will confirm the travel plans on an individual basis for arrival day. Hotel check in will be in the late afternoon, followed by an evening welcome from our guides, introduction and dinner. This country hotel has hot tubs and a pool on site for you to relax and enjoy.
During each day, the luggage and equipment not needed while hiking will be packed up and transported for us, so this morning, we’ll pack day packs to take with us and leave the rest of the bags at the hotel. The hike begins after breakfast with a kit check, final briefing and then a full day in the geothermal area around the Hengill volcano. Our route will take us half way around the volcano with a climb of about 600 meters and a distance of about 11km during the day. During the evening, make camp, bathe in the hot river, eat our geothermal ‘earth-cooked’ dinner and then watch for the Aurora. With all the correct kit, we will be warm, sheltered and well prepared for an experience out in the natural landscape and darkness that many visitors to Iceland crave but do not achieve.
The day begins with breakfast and lunch preparation, packing up and continuing our hike (about 10km today) in the Hengill area, including climbing to the highest peak of the area Tjarnahnjúkur, passing the Kattatjarnir craters before descending through the Reykjadalur Valley into the geothermal village of Hveragerði for an overnight hotel stay, dinner and relaxing hot tubs.
Day 4: Tuesday Sept 11. ‘Lakeside setting in the ’
The day begins with a short road trip through the National Park to the north shore of Lake Thingvellir and to the mountain Hrafnaborg, where we begin a 2-day hike that will head south along and overlooking the lake with fabulous views across to the American tectonic plate boundary. Today’s hiking distance is about 11km and our overnight stop will be in countryside huts at the southern end of the lake. The accommodation is simple, with electricity, hot showers and we will eat well.
Day 5 Wednesday Sept 12: ‘Icelandic woodland, heaths, fells and dales’
Having crossed the River Sog, and passed one of Iceland’s earliest Hydro power stations, today’s final hike is about 15km, along the east of the Hengill area returning to Hveragerði for a well-deserved celebration dinner, hot tubs and your final evening in Iceland.
Day 6 Thursday Sept 13. ‘Homeward travel or extend your stay’
After breakfast, we’ll be picked up and taken into Reykjavik and from there, it is time to fly home or use the weekend to stay on in Iceland. We’ve planned the trip to fit inside a regular working week, and with Thursday as the scheduled end of the programme there’s time available to do some of the must-see places and activities in South Iceland and still get back to the UK within a week if you wish. Please ask us about this, so that we can make the best use of your time and money in the way that you would like to experience some of the rest of Iceland! Relaxing in spas or lagoons, exploring Reykjavik’s food or entertainment opportunities, adventuring under water, underground or on ice, or taking a trip to the Glacial Lagoon… there’s so much choice and also something for everyone.
Tour Code HC18
- 6 days/5 nights in Iceland
- Full board (5 dinners and 5 breakfasts, 4 lunches)
- Shared accommodation including I night camping
- Professional hiking guides for the trail
- Luggage moved every day, hike with a day pack
- Transfers from and to Reykjavik
- Use of hot tub/pool where these are available on site
- Booking arrangements, information and equipment lists
- Advice on preparation
- Certificates and prizes in recognition of your achievement!
- Tour code HC18
- Early bird price £1650 per person for the first 5 places booked and deposit paid
- Full price £1850 per person
Not included: These are the elements that are flexible so that you can arrive/leave Iceland to suit your own schedule. Please contact us to discuss your plans. One idea for a great extension to this hike is here: 3 days to see more of South Iceland.
- Airport transfers from/to Reykjavik
- Meals before the evening of Sept 8 and after breakfast on Sept 13
- Any contribution to charity – this walk is designed as a personal achievement OR charity challenge. The Iceland Traveller team members (Julia and Yvonne) are walking for charity, and will be posting about this on social media. Follow us there!