Itinerant discovery, hiking and bird watching.
Two unique departures of 7 days each guided by Philippe Patay, founder of Fjallabak and one of the most experienced and passionate connoisseurs of Iceland and its birds
These two 7-day trips can be combined if you have 13 days on the spot
SUMMER SOLSTICE The night has totally disappeared, the day is permanent. Twilight and dawn blend together all the pink, blue and coral of their collection. The green colors are still here and blend in the colors of the tundra and meadows where the young lambs tender the traveler, while the alarmed shorebirds are on the fence posts asking their chicks to stay put in the moss and to trust absolute mimicry ... The peek tourist season has not yet really begun and the circular road still breathes freedom.
Situated at 66 ° North, on the borders of the Atlantic and the Arctic Ocean, halfway between Europe and America, at the crossroads of the main East-Western and North-Southern migratory routes, Iceland is undoubtedly the paradise of winged fauna. Species on both continents as well as Arctic species cohabit. Some cliffs are experiencing a real housing crisis, while heaths and meadows are invaded by countless shoreline birds.
Our journey takes us on the great North-Western peninsula to majestic fjords and impressive mountains. We observe the white-tailed eagle whose kingdom is here. Látrabjarg is considered to be the longest bird cliff in the world. Many grey seals lounge on sandy beaches. It is also the region where the most common eiders occur in the North. The Reykhólar marshes are a small paradise for ornithologists and the islands of the Breiðafjord are a sanctuary where men and birds are perfectly combined.
This beautiful discovery of Iceland and its birds in the permanent light of the boreal summer is placed under the sign of the Arctic Tern and the Polar Fox.
Important: Before registering online, please contact Philippe Patay, the guide of this trip. <Philippe@fjallabak.is>
Price / Estimated
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Conversion rates are from the Icelandic National Bank
Raise your left hand in front of your face with your fingers spread with the palm facing you and you have the Westfjords Peninsula. This large peninsula is connected to Iceland by an isthmus narrower than your wrist. A world and a journey apart is so vast. Almost an island, almost a second Iceland. The story says that this peninsula existed because of a dispute between bad neighbors, a furious troll wanted, long ago to isolate the region. In disaster, before the summer light dawned on him, and when he had thought of returning to his cave in the mountains, the giant began to attack the mountain with great strokes that trembled the country. When he had almost reached his goal, he let himself be surprised by the first ray of a radiant sun which instantly petrified him. The work has remained incomplete and the North-west is still part of Iceland. Here, this myriad of islands and islets scattered over the great bay of Breiðafjörður, it is said to be the shovels that the troll furiously threw over his shoulder. Look at your hand again, it is from the little finger to the thumb that we continue our journey.
FIRST PART 6 DAYS FROM REYKJAVÍK TO ÍSAFJÖRÐUR
D1 - 10/06: Borgarnes - Snæfellsnes
Departure for the West. After crossing the Fjord of the Whales, the road before reaching the base of the Snæfellsnes peninsula, we cross a large swampy area where one can observe innumerable birds: shoreline birds, ducks, divers ...
D2 - 11/06: Snæfellsnes
We drive around the Snæfellsness peninsula, crowned at its end by the famous Snæfellsjökull volcano, the volcano of the heroes of Jules Verne Journey to the center of the earth. Beautiful basalt cliffs at Arnarstapi where thousands of kittiwakes are nesting. The northern coast is cut out by numerous small fjords, some of which have active small, colorful fishing ports where several species of gulls can be observed.
D3 - 12/06: Breidafjorður Bay
The shallow waters of the large bay of Breiðafjörður are brewed by strong tidal current. Scattered with thousands of islands and islets, rich in food the Breiðafjord overflows with life. White-tailed Eagle, Atlantic Puffins, Great Cormorant, Hoop Cormorant, Harbour Seal, Grey Seal. By boat we win the pretty little island of Flatey and its old preserved village. An ambulatory stroll through this little paradise, the sanctuary of Guillemots, little fierce birds nesting in the most incongruous places: old tractors, tires, barns ...
D4 - 13/06: Cliff of Látrabjarg
From Breiðavík , by Hvallátur (where the whales give birth) to reach the cliff of Látrabjarg. 17 km of cliffs and several millions of birds farther the landscape plunges into a pretty creek before ending on the coppery sand of the bay of Rauðasandur. Observations on the first stretch of the huge Látrabjarg cliff considered the largest seabird cliff in the northern hemisphere. Real housing crisis. Puffin monk, Petrel fulmars, Guillemots de Troïl and Brunnich, Penguin Torda, Herring gull, Black-legged Kittiwake along with the notorious raven. Under the lighthouse we can observe a colony of large grey seals swimming in green water basins or resting on the reef kelp.
D5 - 14/06: Rauðasandur
While Iceland has accustomed us to black sands, here, curiously, in the Far West of the largest volcanic island in the world, the sand is clear and the sea takes on tropical nuances. A sand of shells ranging from the most perfect light grey as in Kolsvík to the dark orange as here at Rauðasandur (Red Sand). Here the only bathers in the area are grey seals and sea calf seals. Offshore to the south stands the great solitary snow-capped volcano of the Snæfellsjökull, which we have skirted three days before. This Fuji Yama of Iceland was an important landmark for the long boats of the Vikings who sailed between Greenland and Iceland.
D6 - 15/06 : Arnarfjörður - Waterfall of Dynjandi - Ísafjörður
The road crosses to the South some high desolated plateaus of broken rocks still partly snowy and then bypasses profound branched fjords dominated by impressive mountains of stratified basalt to cross again other passes. Visit of the famous waterfall Dynjandi, one of the most beautiful and graceful of the great falls of Iceland. In the evening we reach the big fjord of Ísafjörður and the small fishing town of the same name with its old tarred wooden warehouses. Evening and dinner on your own
D7 -16/06 : Domestic flight to Reykjavik if your journey ends here You have the choice to fly in the morning or in the afternoon ( just let us know)
SECOND PART - 7 OR 6 DAYS FROM ÍSAFJÖRÐUR TO REYKJAVÍK
D1 (or 7) -16/06 : Domestic flight to Ísafjörður if your journey starts this day. You have the choice to fly in the morning or in the afternoon ( just let us know) - Possibility to take an early flight to Ísafjörður on June 17
D2 (or D8) - 17/06: Ísafjarðardjúp
For those who come on the second part of the trip, domestic flight in early morning to Isafjörður where your guide welcomes you. Large opened landscapes on the wide as far as possible towards the bottom of the fjords. Bypassing many fjords all more beautiful than each other. With a large number of birds with a group of Harlequin tunas on the estuaries of the torrents. Maybe even a grey-headed eider?
D3 (or D9) - 18/06: Strandir - Djúpavík
Passing through the highlands from Ísafjarðardjúp to the Strandir coast, on the eastern side of the western fjords. A desolate and magnificent country. Wood of stranding and wrecks of all kinds, innumerable common eiders, numerous seals on the reefs. The end of the world!
D4 (or D10) - 19/06: Strandir - Norðfjörður - Krossnes
We continue to the end of the road which ends at Nordfjord. A grandiose landscape of mountains and ocean typical of the Far North. Bath in a natural hot water pool on the shore. Seals in iced water watch us while we bathe in hot water.
D5 (or D11) - 20/06: Strandir - North Coast
We descent to the south along the shores of Strandir. Then one oblique along the North coast. After briefly joining and following Route number 1, we leave it again and explore the Vatnsnes Peninsula – We approach an extraordinary vein of lava, discarded by erosion and planted in the sea, a few cables from a Seal calf colony.
D6 (or D12) - 21/06: Gilsfjörður, Borgarnes, Reykjavik
Descent south through beautiful countryside at the foot of the mountains. Last observations on the Gilsfjörður before reaching the circular route No. 1 and a start of relative traffic. Arrival in the middle of the afternoon in Reykjavik to soak up the small capital that offers a relaxed and original atmosphere, excellent coffee shops, beautiful bookstores, museums and art galleries, extraordinary outdoor pools and spa and nightlife (out of the ordinary).
Itinerary and safety:
The day-to-day program can be changed or even reversed. Rare but unpredictable in advance, these modifications can be imposed for safety reasons due to natural phenomena specific to these territories: volcanic eruption or alert of eruption, early or late snowfall, bad weather, Glacial rivers flooding, exceptionally unfavorable weather ... Your guide knows perfectly the terrain and will ne the only Master on board to take the necessary decisions with our base when it is necessary to interpret the whims of nature almighty on this volcanic earth and under these high latitudes.
Average level: Accessible to all average hikers. Travel on board a small comfortable bus. The duration of the walks depends on the weather conditions of the day and the level of the group. They can be lengthened or shortened. A person not wishing to do all the hikes can of course take part in this journey.
Group size: Multi-national group of 6 to 12 (+/-1) participants (Note: for group sizes of 6-7 persons a small group surcharge applies) Fjallabak’s staff or Fjallabak’s representatives accompanying professionals (e.g. photographers, journalists etc.…) and other discounted travelers such as children, are excluded from the participant count (minimum and maximum)
Small group surcharge: Additional small group surcharge below 6 participants (not commissionable) +to come ISK (ca.+ €) for 5 participants // +to come ISK (ca.+€) for 4 participants
Composition of the group: In general, participants on our trips come from several countries. We generally have French, Swiss, Scandinavians, Germans, Canadians, Americans, Australians, New Zealanders, Japanese and even Icelanders. Your Icelandic guide is fluent in English and often speaks one or two other languages. Traveling with Fjallabak is also a chance to meet, exchange ideas and socialize with friendly people from other countries that otherwise you may never have known and it is therefore a unique opportunity to make friends around the world and wring the neck of certain prejudices and misconceptions.
To privatise this trip: On other dates that might suit your holiday, it may be possible to privatize this trip. Below 8 participants the price per person is increasing. Above 8 participants the price decreases. Contact us for a quotation!
Vehicle: jeep or small bus depending on the size of the group. English-speaking driver-guide. On a complete group, the guide can sometimes be assisted by an Icelandic driver.
Accommodation during the trip: Sleeping bag accommodation in country hostels in double-twin and in mountain huts (usually one comfortable, mixed bunkhouse). Dining room and well equipped kitchen, running water, toilet outside, showers. Possibility to recharge your electrical appliances (220V electrical outlets European standards)
Comfort option with extra charge: in made up bed, in double-twin or double room or single room with or without private facilities. More info will come soon
Food: We pride ourselves on providing the best cuisine in the highlands!
Breakfast is Scandinavian-style, with muesli, breads, jams, fish and cheese.
Packed lunch, with a variety of sandwich fillings, from smoked meats and fish to local cheeses and salads.
Dinners involve fresh, local fish and meat dishes, with pasta, rice or potatoes, fresh vegetables and salad. Vegetarians and those with food allergies can be fully catered for with a range of tasty options. It is essential that you inform our office of any special food requirements at the time of booking!
For usability, but no obligation, you can bring with you a little specialty of your home country to share with your companions as well as a flask of some thing for a short drink in the middle of nowhere.
Special diets, food allergies, vegetarians, vegans ...
We are aware of the dietary changes, due to exaggerated industrialisation of our time and we are able to satisfy special requests, as far as possible
If you are vegetarian or if you have a particular diet, if you are allergic to certain foods, please let us know in the comments of the registration form and specify the details by email. We are used to meeting the demand of vegetarians, but vegans will have to bring from home some of their own supplements
Recommended Travel Gear
Try to go as light as possible and take only essentials. Excess baggage can be a burden to you and to our support personal. Keep in mind that there are limits on how much your duffel bag can weigh because the weight restrictions on international and domestic flights is usually 20 kg (70lbs).
For quantities or quality for each item listed, use your own judgement, based on the expected weather conditions and overall packing/weight restrictions for your luggage.
Luggage for overland journeys
- Extra bags clearly marked with your name can be kept in the Reykjavik hotel or in our store local office for pick-up at the end of the trip
- Large duffel bag (60/80 liters) sturdy and water-resistant, not exceeding 15 kg
- Day pack (30 to 50 liters)
You’ll need to bring comfortable and adequate clothing to protect you from cold and wet weather, such as polypropylene, capilene, or pile. Wool and wool/synthetic blends are also suitable – though wool, if wet, dries slowly compared to synthetic fabrics. We discourage the use of cotton in wet conditions it dries very slowly.
When layering, the innermost layer should be long underwear. The middle layer can be a synthetic turtleneck or wool shirt, and pants. The outermost layer must be a breathable waterproof jacket such as a good quality Gore-Tex wind/rain parka and over-pants.
Clothing and travel Accessories all the year around
- Regular underwear. Synthetics are easier to wash and dry
- Short-sleeved synthetic or cotton/synthetic T-shirts
- Synthetic thermal underwear
- Full-length pants, quick-drying synthetic fabric
- Long-sleeved, synthetic or wool shirt
- Wool or synthetic socks
- Synthetic fleece sweater or jacket
- Gore-Tex rain/wind parka
- Gore-Tex rain/wind pants
- Wool hat
- Gloves (wool or pile)
- Down jacket from September to May (optional)
- Swimsuit and towel for hot spring bathing and swimming pool
- Toiletry kit—soap, toothbrush, and so on.
- Personal first aid kit
- Moisturizing lotion. (The air in Iceland is very dry)
- Swiss Army-type pocket knife (Must be kept in duffle bag, not in hand luggage, when flying !)
- Half liter capacity unbreakable water bottle or thermos
- Binoculars for bird watching, seals and whales (from March to September)
- Hiking poles. Highly recommended
- Optional but recommended
- Repair kit with needle, thread, and safety pins
- Reading and writing material
- Your favorite snack food such as raisins or chocolate
- Protein supplements for vegetarian
Specific equipment for summer (May to September)
- Hiking boots, medium-weight, all leather, with padded ankle, good arch support, and a lug sole traction. Your hiking boots should be waterproof, well broken in, and suitable for rocky terrain or possibly snow
- Short gaiters easy to put on Highly recommended.
- Hiking shorts, quick-drying synthetic fabric
- Hiking trousers, quick-drying synthetic fabric
- Medium-weight synthetic fleece sweater or jacket
- Sun & rain hat
- Sunscreen and lip protection (The sun in Iceland is much more intense than you probably imagine)
- Teva-type sandals for river crossing. Absolutely recommended!
- Spare pair of prescription glasses, prescription sunglasses, or contact lenses (but not only lenses, as wind-blown dust can make them very uncomfortable)
- Headlamp or small flashlight with spare batteries (from August only)
- Netting hood, head net or bug bucket hat * (optional, can be purchased in Iceland / see explanation bellow)
Specific equipment for winter (Oct. to April)
- Canadian winter boots or warm trekking shoes
- Cleats for snow and ice adaptable to your shoes
- Warm synthetic fleece sweater or jacket
- Warm fleece trousers
- Silk socks (optional)
- Silk gloves (specially recommended for photographers)
- Warm waterproofed shell gloves or mitt
- Headlamp or small flashlight with spare batteries
- Ski goggles
When lodging in Hotels and Inns (Comfort Discovery)
- Casual elegant sportswear for evenings at the hotels
- Moccasin type shoes or lightweight sports shoe or slipper
When lodging in hostels and huts (Rustic Discovery)
- Hiking shoes are not allowed inside accommodation
- Moccasin type shoes or lightweight sports shoe. But your Teva-type sandals for river crossing can also be used inside
- Comfortable sleeping bag +5°C to +15°C / 32°F to 60°F which can be opened all the way to be used also as comforter
- Cotton sheet for hut’s mattress
- Pillow if you can’t sleep without one (optional)
- Towel and flannel for toileting and shower (or high density synthetic-chamois
- Eye shades. Highly recommended from April to July!
- Pile/fleece pants, ideal for around the camp
- Headlamp or small flashlight with spare batteries (no need from May to July included)
- 1 or 2 good bottles of wine or a bottle of something stronger (can be bought at duty free at arrival in Iceland and in few places around the country)
Camera, tablets, smart-phones
- Camera bag
- Light telescopic tripod and cable release for camera (Longs exposures for Northern Lights from mid-August)
- Replacement batteries for electrical devices
- Additional memory card
- Adapter for electrical plug (European standard)
*About netting hood There are no mosquitoes in Iceland (yet), but at the beginning of summer midges swarms invade the lowlands rivers banks and lakes as Lake Mývatn “lake of midges”. With global warming midges begin to colonize now some wet areas of higher ground covered by vegetation. The outbreak periods are short but not really accurate. It is hell for the hapless hiker who found a windless day in clouds of these very angry bugs You will not regret to have brought with you, gloves, a long-sleeved shirt and above a netting hood that you put on over your head rain hat or sun hat. You probably will not have to use it, but you’ll be relieved to have it just in case … and it’s not a huge investment.