Walking on another planet
Four days of intense hiking, far in the heart of the Highlands, framed by two days of discovery in a 4x4 vehicle on the most spectacular trails
This trekking with assistance, takes place in the eastern part of the ridge Öræfi. It goes through strange landscapes among the wildest ones in Iceland, between the break of Eldgjá and the powerful glacial river Túngná in the center of the island, bringing us to the extraordinary turquoise lake of Langisjór (The long sea).
In the infinite Icelandic Nature, this exploration trek, inspired by Fjalla Eyvindur our national outlaw, is part of this primary impulse that always leads us to pursue our dreams of discovery. In the heart of the great volcanic ridge, through the unique genesis landscapes of "planet Iceland", an exceptional adventure which is only aimed at wildlife lovers, at aware and tough adventurers, whom fresh air and exercise does not discourage, willing to accept rustic comfort, total isolation and an evolving route.
This assisted trek takes place in areas which are only accessible on foot. Except wearing a medium bag (3-5 kg) for the day, all material, food and luggage are transported by a 4WD vehicle driving on the few tortuous tracks that wander through the Highlands. For us and for our guides, the purpose of these exploration trekking is to recognize new routes rarely taken previously, to go further to improve our understanding of the Öræfi, and to maintain our enthusiasm.
To privatize this trek:
This trek, as described here, can be privatized for your family, for your hiking club, for your university, or for your company.
- either on one of our scheduled dates still available
- or on any other date if availability allows
Price / Estimated
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Day 1: Reykjavík - Eldgjá break
5 hrs. drive – Hut
Early morning rendezvous with your guide at your accommodation. Hiking clothes and daypack ready for trekking (A bag with clean clothes for the end of your trip can be stored in your Reykjavik accommodation or in our store in the village of Hella). Departure to Eldgjá with one of our company jeep or by a regular bus line on the road along the South Coast through Vík-í-Myrdal or by the Fjallabak Trail through Landmannalaugar .
Important. Please notice that in some circumstance, on starting day your guide may be already in Eldgjá where he will be waiting for your arrival. That means that you will travel alone this day on a regular bus to Eldgjá and that the lunch this day will be at your charge. You can buy sandwiches, fruits, snack and drinks to bring with you at the Reykjavik bus station, but also at the little coffee-shop in Landmannalaugar where the bus stop for two hours if you take the mountains bus or in the cafeteria of Vík-í-Myrdal gas station if you take the South Coast route. We will pick you up at your accommodation between 07:15 and 8:00 AM to bring you to your bus at the Reykjavik Central bus station.
Day 2: Eldgjá – Öxnatindar
5-6 hours – ca. 16 km (10 miles) – Alt. 330 to 450 m (1080 to 1480 feet)
We walk again throughout the Eldgjá break, “throat of fire”, the biggest eruption break on our planet. Despite all these superlatives, tiny little landscapes are comfortable: springs, streams of clear water, small Zen gardens...We reach the heavy Skaftá and its powerful and worrisome waters. On the other side lies the endless lava of Laki, which is the largest lava emission of historical times (1783-1785).
Day 3: Skaftá – Sveinstindur
5-6 hours – ca. 18 km (11 miles) – Alt. 450 to 600 m (1480 to 1970 feet)
We reach Sveinstindur, the first cone of the divided chain of Fögrufjöll, with its conical black and green volcanoes. Easy ascent of Mount Sveinstindur, from where you can admire a fabulous panorama view. To the north and the mighty Vatnajökull the fabulous jade green narrow lake of Langisjór. At the South lie the strange lava fields of Laki, covered with green fluorescent moss, and partly flooded by the overflows of Skaftá.
Day 4: Langisjór and Fagrifjöll
7-8 hours – ca. 20 km (12 miles) – Alt. 600 to 600 m (1970 to 1970 feet)
Along Langisjór and up on easy hills we follow the narrow ridge of the Fagrifjöll. Their name means the beautiful mountains. Knowing the sobriety of the Icelandic language, they must be on to deserve such an appellation. We are moving on the narrow green and black backs of Fagrifjöll, sometimes on the shore of the lake, sometimes the easiest buttes. Second night in the small hut of Sveinstindur.
Day 5: Langisjór - Hólaskjól
7-8 hours – ca. 20 km (12 miles) – Alt. 600 to 600 m (1970 to 1970 feet)
Day 6: Grænafjallsgarður - Holaskjol - Landmannalaugar - Reykjavik
2-3 hour hike - approx. 10 km - 120 km track - 120 km road
(Possibility to leave the group at Landmannalaugar if you want to visit this famous region by yourself: ask us for information) We progress due west on a black and green valley bordered by imposing palagonite alignments of Grænafjallsgarður and Grettir to reach first by walking, then with the help of our jeep the Fjallabak North track. Either we return by the south coast or via Landmannalaugar where we stop for a short walk of 2 or 3 hours. Late arrival in the capital around 8 p.m.
Currently it is not possible for us to specify in advance which route will be chosen to return to Reykjavik. But we will try to answer you before the trip if you need this information.
Itinerary and security: the day by day program can be modified or even reversed. However, these changes are rather rare for reasons of safety due to natural phenomena: volcanism, early or late snowfall, bad weather, flooding rivers, exceptionally unfavorable weather ... The guide knows the terrain well and is sole master in interpreting the whims of all-powerful nature on this volcanic earth under these high latitudes, and to make the necessary decisions.
Composition of the group: In general, the participants of our trips come from several countries: French speaking from France, Switzerland, Belgium and Quebec but also English speaking people from Great Britain, Ireland, United States (Democratic trending), Australians, New Zealanders or other nations who know how to express themselves in English like Scandinavians, Germans, sometimes Japanese or Russians, and even sometimes Icelanders.
Your Icelandic or French guide is fluent in French and English and masters very well at least one other European language. Traveling with Fjallabak can represent a unique opportunity to meet, exchange ideas and socialize with companions from other countries than yours that you might otherwise never have approached. A unique opportunity to make friends from all around the world and twist the neck to certain prejudices and misconceptions inked
Languages spoken: the departure dates are all marked as:
¬ International, (multinational is more accurate) this means that the guide can express himself both in English and in French (possibly in other languages). Participants can be from all around the world if they speak at least one of these two languages: French and / or English
¬ French, it means that the guide is French-speaking as the group that is composed solely of participants from French-speaking countries (Swiss, French, Belgian, Belgian, etc.) or non-French speakers wanting to improve their French. If you want to test your French, do not hesitate
¬ English means that the guide and the group speaks English. That said, this guide probably speaks also other languages, which may be French (please consult). The group is made up of participants from English-speaking countries or participants from non-English speaking countries with good English skills.
Group size: Group of 6 to 12 (+/- 1) participants (Note: for groups of 6-4 people, a small group supplement applies) Fjallabak staff or representatives of Fjallabak accompanying professionals (photographers , Journalists, etc.) and other discounted travelers such as children are excluded from the number of participants (minimum and maximum).
Extra charge per person for small groups: (Non commissionable)
- 40.000 ISK / p.pers (approx. + 270 €) for 5 participants
- 78.000 ISK / p.pers. (approx. + 540 €) for 4 participants
Accommodation: sleeping bag (your own) in mountain refuges and huts: Bunks with comfortable mattresses. Running water and kitchen in the shelter, but the toilets and sinks are usually outside, a few yards in a small building apart. Warm hot showers with charge are available in some huts. If you want more privacy during the night while we sleep, we offer you the possibility of sleeping in tents that we provide, please notify us in advance. On the treks where camping nights are planned, the camps are made up of double tents (or single on request) with a comfortable and insulated mattress and a large equipped mess tent.Electricity: take enough batteries for your camera because you will not often be able to recharge batteries in the huts. Also take a normal charger (220v for European standard outlets) as there are some shelter that have electricity.
Food: We pride ourselves for providing the best cuisine in the highlands! Breakfast is Scandinavian style, with muesli, breads, jams, smoked fish, charcuterie and cheese. The picnics can be a bit repetitive after a week (we are in Iceland), with a variety of sandwiches, smoked meats and fish, excellent local cheeses, green salad, tomatoes and cucumbers. Dinners, varied and often excellent, include fish and lamb dishes, served with pasta, rice or potatoes, vegetables and a green salad.
However, vegans will have to supplement their luggage even though we can accommodate their needs.
For conviviality, but without obligation, you can bring with you a specialty of your country as well as a good bottle of alcohol.
Accommodation during the trek: Sleeping bag accommodation in mountain huts and huts (usually a comfortable and mixed lodging) and according to the itinerary and the conditions, at the peak of the season a few nights might be spent in spacious double tents equipped with comfortable mattresses. Showers are available in some huts, not all.
Food, special diets: It is essential that vegetarians specify what is banned from their menu, such as those suffering from food allergies (lactose, gluten, etc.). It is important that you advise us of your special food requirements at the time of booking. If the list is long or there is danger with certain allergies, please send us the details by mail to these two addresses <email@example.com> and <firstname.lastname@example.org> so that the team of our warehouse/storage can take this into account in the preparation of food. Your guide will be aware of your plan, but it does not necessarily mean that he is a specialist in that matter, so it's up to you to tell him about it at the beginning of the journey when preparing the first meal! It is also up to you to control at each meal what suits you.
Each day a 4x4 vehicle carries the luggage and the food from hut to hut. We do not see this vehicle during the day, because it takes tracks that we rarely encounter. Someone feeling tired one day can make the trip with the driver (often a friendly guide of our team) which will make him discover another aspect of the highlands. A 4x4 assistance vehicle carries the luggage, food supplies and equipment between shelters and camps. We do not see this vehicle during the day, because it takes tracks that we rarely encounter. Someone feeling tired one day can make the trip with the driver (often a friendly guide of our team) which will make him discover another aspect of the highlands. Our carbon impact is lower because the kilometric average of the vehicle does not exceed 30km / day.
Preparation of the trip and notes: This is an assisted hut to hut trekking. At the peak of the season, we might camp for a night or two. The level of walking is moderate to sustained. You only carry a light bag containing what you need for the day. This trek does not present any serious difficulty for people in good physical shape having at least some experience of long walks in the mountains. An experienced guide leads the trek. This trek passes through totally desert areas. Most of the walking is off-trail, with ever-changing terrain conditions. Therefore, sturdy hiking shoes that fit well your feet are a must. Most days involve river crossing, so it is essential not to forget your sandals. See our kits list for more information. You hike 6-7 hours per day, on average, but it can be longer, depending on the weather, the average level of the group. The maximum altitude does not rise more than 1000m. The change of altitude for most days does not exceed 300 m.
Participation: An experienced Icelandic guide leads the trek. As we are not in Nepal but in Iceland, it is expected that the members of the group lend a helping hand to their guide in the preparation of meals, washing the dishes, cleaning the floors before leaving the huts, setting up and taking down the tents when camping. Once in the mountains, the group becomes an independent entity. Fellowship, teamwork and forged friendships add much to the richness of each person's experience.
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 camping, tents are provided. You will be responsible for bringing your mattress and sleeping bag.
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.
For quantities for each item listed, use your own judgement, based on the expected weather conditions and overall packing/weight restrictions for your luggage.
- Regular underwear. Synthetics are easier to wash and dry
- Synthetic thermal underwear
- Long-sleeved, synthetic or wool shirt
- Short-sleeved synthetic or cotton/synthetic T-shirts
- Medium-weight synthetic fleece sweater or jacket
- Full-length pants, quick-drying synthetic fabric
- Down jacket from mid-August to September (optional)
- Hiking shorts, quick-drying synthetic fabric
- Pile/fleece pants, ideal for around the camp
- Sun & rain hat
- Wool hat
- Gloves (wool or pile)
- Waterproofed shell gloves
- Medium weight synthetic socks
- Gore-Tex rain/wind parka
- Gore-Tex rain/wind pants
- Hiking boots, medium-weight, all leather, with padded ankle, good arch and ankle support, and a lug sole traction. Your hiking boots should be waterproof, well broken in, and suitable for rocky terrain or possibly snow.
- Comfortable shoes to wear when not hiking (optional) Teva-type sandals for river crossing. Absolutely recommended! Gaiters. Highly recommended.
- Comfortable sleeping bag +10°C to –10°C which can be opened all the way
- Cotton sheet to cover the hut’s mattress
- Pillow if you can’t sleep without one (optional)
- Hiking poles
- Swimsuit and towel for hot spring bathing and swimming pool
- 1-to-2 liters capacity unbreakable water bottle or thermos
- Hermetic sandwich box
- Hiking mug
- Small hermetic bag with zipper for your wallet and passport
- Small hermetic bag with zipper for your mobile phone
- Headlamp or small flashlight with spare batteries (essential from August onwards)
- Swiss Army-type pocket knife (Must be kept in duffle bag, not in hand luggage, when flying !)
- Eye shades. Highly recommended from April to last July!
- Wax ear plugs
- Spare pair of prescription glasses, prescription sunglasses, or contact lenses (but not only lenses, as wind-blown dust can make them very uncomfortable)
- Toiletry kit—soap, toothbrush, and so on.
- Moisturizing lotion. (The air in Iceland is very dry)
- Sunscreen and lip protection (The sun in Iceland is much more intense than you probably imagine)
- Personal first aid kit
Optional Travel Accessories
- 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
- Your own food reserves if you are vegan
- 1 or 2 good bottles of wine or a bottle of something stronger
- Netting hood in June and July *
There are no mosquitoes in Iceland (not yet), but in early summer midges swarms invade the banks of rivers and lakes in the lowlands like Lake Myvatn "Lake of gnats." With global warming now midges start to colonize certain areas of higher land with swamps vegetation. The outbreak period is short, but extremely difficult for the hiker. Gloves a long sleeve shirt and especially a safety netting hood that slips over your hat or cap can save you if you find yourself a day without wind in the midst of clouds of these very annoying critters. You will certainly not use it but in case... and that's not a huge investment.
This is an interactive map. Click on the icons and the trail to get more information and photos.
(If you zoom in very close, the landscape changes to a winter wonderland. That is because the satellite images were taken in winter. There will be no snow on your trek.)