Guided tour around the country clockwise for a journey of 5, 7 or 10 days - Lodging in hotels and Inns – Short and easy daily hiking – Multinational group - English speaking guide – 6 to 12 participants - Domestic flight with variable price is booked separately when you register.
Snow, ice, Northern lights, warm bath…
Majestic in winter and at the beginning of spring, Iceland, seldom visited at this season, keeps all its mystery. At the end of the night, when the light goes up with promises of rebirth, we like to explore the country and check that the summer will return. The immense little country is for us alone, uncertain weather, hot water, volcanoes covered with snow, the last northern lights, horses that look like “cuddly” toys, reindeers which cross our road, a stubborn 4×4 vehicle, comfortable lodgings, kitchen recipes, stories, legends…
This overland discovery of Iceland is led by a specialist of its nature, its history and legends. A trip where you meet reindeers and migrating birds, hot springs and fresh fish. This is a timeless trip at the four cardinal points to the constantly renewed horizon. Through majestic landscapes, which follow one another, occupying all spaces and unravelling in a spectacular way, it is held by the single ribbon of the circular road.
The departure scheduled for April is considered a winter trip, as winter has not said its last word. The mountains are still very white and there is still a little black night to admire the last aurora borealis, but spring is already showing: the days are long, the soft green encroaches on ice patches and migrating birds arrive innumerably.
Choice of accommodation:
- Rustic lodging in sleeping bag in hostels and rural lodges in double or quadruple room
- Comfortable lodging in hotel and B&B in double or single room most of the time with private facilities and exceptionally with shared facilities
These routes with different durations are all part of the discovery that makes the complete tour of the country in 10 days. They all go clockwise!
THE FULL CIRCLE
10 days from Reykjavik to Reykjavik via the Snæfellsnes Peninsula, the Vatnsnes Peninsula, Akureyri, Lake Mývatn, the Möðrudalur and Egilsstaðir desert then through the East Fjords and along the South Coast, Vatnajökullón, Jökulsá Eldhraun and Vík-í-Mýrdal, and with a hook to see the gushing springs of Geyser and Thingvellir National Park to Reykjavik
The following Routes with different durations are all partially part of the Full Circle, interrupting or being taken along the way. They all go clockwise!
5-day route from Reykjavik to Akureyri
(The first 4 days of the Full circle + 1 night in Akureyri)
Via Cape Snæfellsnes, the Vatnsnes and Akureyri Peninsula, Return flight to Reykjavik on the morning of the 5th day
7-day route from Reykjavik to Egilsstadir
(The first 7 days of the Full circle)
Via Cape Snæfellsnes, Vatnsnes Peninsula, Akureyri, Lake Mývatn, Möðrudalur desert and Egilsstaðir. Return flight to Reykjavik on the evening of the 7th day
7-day route from Akureyri to Reykjavik
(The last 6 days of the Full circle)
Domestic flight the day before from Reykjavik to Akureyri and overnight in Akureyri. Departure by road the next morning for six days ro Lake Mývatn, the highlands of Möðrudal, Egilsstaðir, the East Fjords and the South Coast, Vatnajökull, Jökulsárlón, Eldhraun Vík-í-Mýrdal, Geysir , Thingvellir and Reykjavik
5-day route from Egilsstaðir to Reykjavik
(The last 4 days of the Full circle)
Domestic flight from Reykjavik to Akureyri in the afternoon to Egilsstadir. Pickup by your guide next day around 11 am end departure by road in four days to the East Fjords and the South Coast, Vatnajökull, Jökulsárlón, Eldhraun Vík-í-Mýrdal, Geysir, Thingvellir and Reykjavik
The winter dates for the end of 2022 and the beginning of 2023 will be put online at the end of August 2022
Price / Estimated
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Conversion rates are from the Icelandic National Bank
Day 1: Reykjavik to Snæfellsnes (approx. 200 km)
Departure West. After the bypass of the Whale Fjord, the road crosses the marshy tundra of the Borgarnes region and reaches the base of the Snæfellsnes peninsula, a narrow snowy mountain range jutting far into the ocean, pointing west as a finger with the magnificent volcano Snæfellsjökull -the glacier of Snowfell-crowning its tip.
Day 2: Snæfellsnes Peninsula (approx. 195 km)
The legendary Snæfellsjökull volcano crowned by a majestic immaculate glacier, rushes out of the ocean like a boreal Fuji-Yama. It is the entrance passage of the legendary "Journey to the Center of the Earth" by Jules Verne. Hike to the tip through desolate lava fields covered with moss and lichen contrasting with the pure white snow. Hiking (and bird watching from the end of March) on the basalt cliffs of Arnarstapi, then to the deserted black pebble beaches of Djúpalónsandur. The bay of Grundarfjördur is famous today for its beautiful solitary and lonely Kirkjufell mountain that attract photographers in any season since it became a celebrity on the net. It is true that it is beautiful!
The road finally reaches the pretty fishing harbor of Stykkishólmur.
Day 3: Vatnsnes Peninsula (approx. 200 km)
Drive east through a beautiful empty area along the bay of Breidafjordur dotted with innumerable islets and reefs. Then by the Swan Plateau the trail reaches the North Coast. In Hvammstangi there is the possibility in option of visiting an interesting small museum devoted to pinnipeds. The road then passes around the Vatnsnes peninsula through vast snowy coastal moors where one meets the herds of stuffed horses, so much their fur is thick in winter. At the farm of Ósar "the Estuaries" we can observe a large colony of harbour seals and the photogenic and strange reef (a dike) of Hvítserkur.
Day 4: Skagafjördur - Tröllaskagi - Siglufjörður - Akureyri (approx. 290 km)
Continue to the horse breeding fjord Skagafjörður, where we visit the old farm Glaumbær with its perfectly preserved and maintained traditional peat construction. Rounding the Giants Peninsula Tröllaskagi by the old village of Hofsós and its old tarred wood warehouses, facing the impressive tabular islands Drangey and Málmey. The road reaches the isolated fjord Siglufjörður, former center of the herring fisheries, village at the world’s end. Visit the museum in the old canneries devoted to the great era of herring fishing. The new tunnel, completed in 2010, allows us to reach the majestic Eyjafjörður Fjord, at the bottom of which lies the small town of Akureyri.
- Domestic flight from Reykjavik to Akureyri for participants taking the en-route trip (Please let us know if you prefer a morning or afternoon flight)
Day 5: Akureyri - Goðafoss - Mývatn (approx. 120 km)
- Domestic return flight to Reykjavik for those who have only registered for the first part of the trip. (Please let us know if you prefer a morning or afternoon flight)
On to Mývatn via the old farm of Laufás with its perfectly preserved and maintained traditional peat construction., then Goðafoss, a magnificent cataract partly or completely frozen in this season. It is in the "Fall of the Gods" from a promontory that an early Christian leader threw the effigies of the old pagan gods of the Nordic pantheon for the chagrin of Thor and Odin. We discover the shores and volcanoes of Lake Mývatn. Strange formations of lava, pseudo craters, bubbling sulphur pots and fumaroles, and the impressive lava chaos of Dimmuborgir. At the end of winter, in very early spring, when the lake ice begins to thaw, countless flights of wild ducks converge to this shrine of birdlife, a paradise for ornithologists where both American and European species coexist. (Optional outdoor spa bath in the middle of volcanoes (Nature Baths www.jardbodin.is)
Day 6: Möðrudalsöræfi Plateau (approx. 80 km)
On the high desert plateau of Möðrudalsöræfi, amidst the wet tundra, is one of the most isolated farms at the highest altitude in Iceland. Naïve, charming architecture amidst a magnificent, vast and hostile landscape. White immensity where emerges alignments of small volcanic cones under a steel sky that is dyed orange red or antique rose at dawn and dusk. We can sometimes meet large herds of wild reindeer.
- Domestic flight from Reykjavik to Egilsstadir for participants taking the en-route trip (Please let us know if you prefer a morning or afternoon flight)
Day 7: The East Fjords (approx. 220 km)
- Domestic return flight to Reykjavik for those who have only registered for the first part of the trip. (Please let us know if you prefer a morning or afternoon flight)
The road descends from the plateau, along the interminable glacial valley of Jokulsdalur. It ends up reaching the wooded area of Egilsstaðir, a small village on the shore of the long turquoise lake of Lagarfljót. The legend hides an aquatic monster, close cousin of Nessi in Scotland. From Egilsstadir, the route leads to the Eastern Fjords. Fáskrúðsfjörður, for nearly two centuries was a port of call and vital supplies for the fleets of Bretagne and French Flanders. The mountains that surround the fjords of Stöðvarfjörður and Berufjörður are particularly beautiful and impressive. Visit the pretty fishing port of Djúpivogur "deep bay", and the old trading post in one of the most beautiful scenery of mountains and sea in the region.
Day 8: Vatnajökull - Jökulsárlón (approx. 200 km)
Between the two majestic capes Austurhorn and Vesturhorn lies the lagoon Álftafjörður, "fjord swans." This is not really a fjord, but a large lagoon where thousands of immature swans arrive early in spring. We are less than 1000 km from the coast of Scotland, this beautiful country where the whooper swans winter. At Höfn in Hornafjörður, the huge Vatnajökull is offered to our gaze. We enter the south coast of Iceland. The beautiful lagoon Jökulsárlón is occupied by a large herd of blue icebergs streaked with intense black. The spectacle of the seals surfing in the current is gorgeous. The massive ice mass Öræfajökull dominates the Skaftafell glacier park. Several phenomenal sub glacial eruptions occurred in recent years, with cataclysmic water releases down the coastal desert, the latest in 1996.
Day 9: Eldhraun - Vík í Myrdal - Eyjafjöll (approx. 285 km)
Surrounding the village of Kirkjubæjarklaustur: Eldhraun. This vast expanse of lava is from the phenomenal Laki eruption in 1783-4 (the world’s largest eruption in historical times), not far in the interior highlands, parallel to the fault of Eldgjá. Dependent on snow visit Fjarðárgljúfur gorges and Eldhraun pseudo-craters.
Wandering along the black sand beaches and grassy headlands of Vik in Mýrdal. Following the rapid and accurate flight of Northern Fulmars, above the Arctic Tern colonies, on the basalt cliffs among exuberant Angelica, lots and lots of puffins hurry up-and-from between the ocean and their burrows. (The puffins and terns are more observable beyond mid-August, but fulmars remain until fall.) Walk on the beautiful beach of black sand Reynisfjara between the famous reefs and the promontory of Reynisdrangar. Dyrhólaey arch with its impressive black basalt. Beautiful waterfalls Skógafoss (optional visit to the Folk Museum Skógar). We flank Mount Eyjafjallajökull, which erupted in April 2010 and disrupted air traffic worldwide. Beyond the graceful Seljalandsfoss fall, we reach the vast pampas of Rangá that stretch to the foot of Mount Hekla.
Day 10: South Coast - Reykjavik (approx. 100 km)
The majestic Hekla volcano, which rises at the end of a grassy plain and marks the entrance to the volcanic highlands, is one of Iceland's best known volcanoes; it is on the edge of the inhabited lands and the desert Highlands.. The large southern pampas-like breeding plain leads us to the famous gushing springs of Geysir and the great cataract of Gullfoss, "the Golden Fall" partly frozen by ice. Arrival in Reykjavik in the middle of the afternoon.
Payment on line by credit card:
- Confirmation booking fee is 30% of trip price
- Balance to be paid 60 days prior to departure
A pro forma invoice will be sent to you after we will have received your booking. Discount or extra charge, if any, will show on this invoice.
For a payment by bank wire: Please contact us!
Accommodation: Because that many hotels are closed outside summer season, we choose pleasant places we specially appreciate throughout this journey, hostels, cabins and isolated farms. All nights are spent in sleeping bag in bed usually in room for 1 or 2 persons but also sometimes in larger room for 4 to 6 persons depending of availability each time. Shared facilities. No single room surcharge in this “rustic” version, but not guarantee either.
Optional comfort version : 5 overnights in made-up in Inns and country hotel with shared bathroom and/or private facilities depending of availability when you book.
- Comfort option In double-twin : Approx. 5.000 ISK per pers. per night (ca. 40 €)
- Comfort option In single room : Approx. 10.000 ISK per night (ca. 80 €)
Group size: Multi-national group 4 to 12 members (+/-1) (Note: for group sizes of 4-5 persons a small group surcharge applies) Fjallabak’s staff or Fjallabak’s representatives accompanying professionals (e.g. photographers, journalists etc.…) and other discounted travellers such as children, are excluded from the participant count (minimum and maximum).
Small group surcharge: A supplement applies for a group smaller than 6 participants
- 5 participants 30.000 ISK/pp (ca.240 €) for the first 6 days
- 4 participants 50.000 ISK/pp (ca.400 €) for the first 6 days
- 5 participants 30.000 ISK/pp (ca.240 €) for the last 6 days
- 4 participants 50.000 ISK/pp (ca.400 €) for the last 6 days
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. Travelling 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.
Trip preparation and notes: Comfortable bus, reasonable mileage (average: 90 miles per day), short walks every day. The duration of a hike depends on the weather of the day and and overall fitness of the group. They can be lengthened or shortened. A person not wishing to make the walks or only partly can of course take part in this trip. Some of the walking is partly off-track, with terrain conditions constantly changing. Therefore, we strongly advise sturdy, well broken-in hiking boots in addition to clothing that will keep you warm and dry. See our kit list in our website!
Maps from Landmælingar Islands / The Icelandic Geodetic Survey: http://www.lmi.is Touring map 1:500 000
Vehicle: Jeep or small comfortable bus according to group size driven by an Icelandic driver. On a small group, the guide may be driver-guide.
- Breakfast is Scandinavian-style, with muesli, breads, jams, fish and cheese. Breakfasts taken at the Heimaey bakery D5 and on the ferry D6 are at your responsibility.
- Lunches are not included and at your responsibility, are taken en route, often on the go, in small village restaurant, in a farm, in the gazebo or grill-cafeteria of a service station.
- Dinners involve fresh, local fish (Haddock, Arctic char, salmon...) and meat dishes (mostly lamb), with rice or potatoes, fresh vegetables and salad.
- For usability, but no obligation, you can bring with you a little speciality 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.
- 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 then your guide of any special food requirements at the time of booking! Vegans will have to bring from home a part of their diet.
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 personnel. 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
- Daypack (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 pocketknife (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 hoods 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.