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Colors of Iceland: Fire, Earth, Ice & Water

- 15-days geology and photo tour to Iceland -

15 days Iceland (summer) | 15 days Iceland (winter program)

15 days Iceland (summer)

Day 1: Arrival & meeting in Reykjavik

After your arrival in Keflavik International Airport you will be be taken to your accomodation in Reykjavik where you may use the afternoon for a relaxing walk through the old town before the group meets up in the evening.
Acc.: Guesthouse in Reykjavik

Day 2: From Reykjavik via Geysir / Gullfoss to Kerlingarfjöll

We leave Reykjavik to drive into the thermal area of ​​Neskjavellir and continue to the national park Thingvellir. Thingvellir is so special because there is hardly no other place on earth that illustrates so well the vertical and horizontal movements of the earth's crust. This national park is furthermore known for its natural beauty and also represents one of the most important moments of human history as here, in 930, the oldest democratic parliament in the world was founded. An hour's drive away is the Geysir geothermal area, famous for its colorful springs, pools and numerous water and steam vents. Whereas the Great Geyser´s centuries-long activity ended in 1915, his world famous neighbour Strokkur is still active and explosively shoots up its water masses every 10 minutes. A few minutes' drive away we arrive at the Gullfoss, one of the most impressive waterfalls in Europe. Above its two cascades rises a water vapor cloud which shimmers in all colours of the rainbow, probably giving him the name "Goldwaterfall". Afterwards we take a two-hour trip to the western highlands and the rhyolite area of ​​Kerlingarfjöll.
Acc.: Simple mountain hut in Kerlingarfjöll (B, L, D)

Day 3: Kerlingarfjöll - the golden mountains

Today we have the whole day to explore the unique rhyolite area of Kerlingarfjöll as the "Woman mountain" is a high-temperature thermal area with wonderful short and longer hiking possibilities in a volcanically extraordinary landscape: colorful mountains, dark obsidian and white glaciers - altogether a bizarre landscape which is unique in the world. Kerlingarfjöll was formed by volcanic eruptions in the later ice age when its mountains were made of rhyolite rock as well as globally rare ocher and almost black hyaloclastite rocks. This explains the strong contrast in both shapes and colours between Kerlingarfjöll and the surrounding landscape.
Acc.: The same mountain hut in Kerlingarfjöll (B, L, D)

Day 4: Kerlingarfjöll to lake Myvatn

Early in the morning we travel to area of Hveravellir and its fascinating world of hot thermal springs where we can take a hot bath. We then drive through the northern part of the Kjölur highlands towards the Blöndulón reservoirs and the river delta of the Héraðsvötn, where the old peaty farmstead Glaumbær and small peat church of Víðimýriand represent the harsh living conditions of the 19th and early 20th century. We continue to Akureyri, the main town of the north, where we take a short stop of about 2 hours before continuing to Godafoss and Myvatn Lake. In the evening we treat ourselves to a relaxing bath in a blue thermal bath in the rustic volcanic landscape.
Acc.: Guesthouse in Myvatn (B, L, D)

Day 5: Lake Myvatn and surroundings

There are many unique volcanic phenomena around Myvatn lake: pseudocraters, deep fault crevasses, explosion craters, active fissure volcanoes, old lava lakes, ... We undertake some short walks to explore this variety of volcanic landscapes and structures and in the evening enjoy an exceptional geothermal bath near Myvatn.
Acc.: Same guesthouse in Myvatn (B,L,D)

Day 6: Dettifoss waterfall and the volcanic desert

In the early morning we will set off for the mighty waterfall of Dettifoss where we will discover one of the most original glacier landscapes in the world. In the afternoon we drive southwards past the ancient volcanoes Hrossaborg and Herdubreid through the desert into the volcanic massif of Askja in Iceland´s central highland.
Acc.: Mountain hut (B, L, D)

Day 7: Askja caldera - Kverkfjöll

Askja volcano has a huge collapse scaldera with a diameter of about seven kilometers inside which the young explosive crater Víti awaits us also known as ´the entrance to hell´. Lake Öskjuvatn is situated in the immediate vicinity and the deepest lake of Iceland contains many secrets... Routes F910 and F902 lead us to Kverkfjöll: with clear weather, one can already distinguish the steep flanks of this mighty mountain massif from a large distance. Below it resides one of Iceland´s largest magmatic chambers and around it the ice masses of Vatnajökull, Iceland´s largest glacier - together they produce countless bizarre forms and exciting phenomena. Depending on your preference and the weather conditions on arrival we will climb up to Virkisfell mountain or take a short hike to the impressive glacier.
Acc.: Mountain hut at Kverkfjöll (B, L, D)

Day 8: Kverkfjöll - A landscape with high dynamics

Today we will explore the impressive Kverkfjöll area during a more intensive hike. Since the landscape around Kverkfjöll is subject to constant changes due to its high dynamics, we will go with one of the hut operators´ regularly guided tours (depending on weather / optional, approx. 85, - Euro / person, 6-8 hours). This is the best way to reach the impressive geothermal area at 1,900 meters high on the west flank of Kverkfjöll. If you do not want to join this ascent you can also take small hikes to enjoy the surrounding mountain views.
Acc.: Same mountain hut at Kverkfjöll (B, L, D)

Day 9: From Kverkfjöll to Berufjörður

We leave early in the morning and travel eastward on adventurous trails. Before we leave the highlands we drive across the embankment of the famous Kárahnjúkar dam. After a stopover in Egilsstaðir, the traffic and administrative center of East Iceland, we enter the quiet world of Iceland´s East Fjords. We will spend the night on a lovingly restored farm at the outskirts of Berufjörður.
Acc.: Guesthouse at an old farm (B, L, D)

Day 10: Berufjörður - waterfalls, puffins and icebergs

There are different options to spend the first part of this day depending on your preferences and the weather: less strenuous hikes lead to Fossárdalur or the bird sanctuary at Djúpivogur. From here one can also take a boat to the island of Papey (optional, about 38, - Euro / person, 4-5 hours, not in August). In the afternoon we continue our travels southward across the wide delta of the glacier river Jökulsá í Lóni, home to thousands of singing swans in the summer. Further south it is the huge plateau of Vatnajökull glacier that dominates the landscape. Depending on the weather and your preference, we can go on an excursion to the fascinating ice world of the glacier lagoon Jökulsárlón in the evening.
Acc.: Holiday house (B, L, D)

Day 11: Via Skaftafell to Landmannalaugar - mountains, glaciers and volcanoes

On our way to Skaftafell national park we will pass the glacier lagoon Jökulsárlón again and be able visit it for the second time. Amazing biodiversity characterises the Skaftafell mountain ridge which is surrounded on three sides by the ice masses of the Vatnajökull. Hikes of different difficulty and length are possible. The highlight is the Svartifoss waterfall which showcases basalt columns that look like organ pipes. Afterwards we cross the expanse of the Sanderðarársandur desert and continue onwards to the southern highlands whilst passing by Eldgjá, one of the world´s largest fissure volcanos. In the evening we reach the colorful world of Landmannalaugar.
Acc.: Simple mountain hut (B, L, D)

Day 12: Landmannalaugar - colourful mountains and hot springs

Already the first settlers of Iceland enjoyed the hot springs of this region as a welcome break from the stressful highland crossings. The region around Landmannalaugar offers fascinating color contrasts. At the foot of colorful rhyolite mountains lies a black obsidian lava flow which forms a natural dam at the wide valley of the glacial river Jökugilskvísl. Many delightful trails through the area are possible.
Acc.: Same mountain hut as before (B, L, D)

Day 13: From Landmannalaugar to the forest of Thor

We leave the highlands via the Fjallabaksvegur Nyrðri road with the striking silhouette of Hekla volcano. Once on the main road No. 1 we turn east again and drive deep into the valley of the large glacial river Markafljód, where at the end we find our wonderful hut in the forest of Thor (Thorsmörk). Here we have once more the possibility to experience the Icelandic combination of deep green with bizarre mountain scenery, glaciers and volcanoes on small walks over rugged mountains and deep canyons with magnificent views and fabulous waterfalls.
Acc.: Mountain hut (B, L, D)

Day 14: Return to Reykjavik

We leave early and return to Reykjavik so that there is still time for an extended visit of the city or an individual excursion to the Blue Lagoon near the airport.
Acc.: Guesthouse in Reykjavik (B, L)

Day 15: Departure from Iceland

Transfer to the airport in time for your flight.
Acc.: none (B)

15 days Iceland (winter program)

Note:
Wintertime in the arctic is a unique experience, especially when it is not dark the hole day. In March we have 12 hours light a day and the air is very clear, the light is the most time edge light. These are beautiful conditions for a very impressing photo-excursion deep into a country which is worldwide singular.
Join us for this arctic experience underneath the arctic circle. We move anticlockwise around the biggest volcanic island and will see impressing icy waterfalls, frozen glacier lakes, rough north Atlantic Sea, volcanic crater, lonely landscape and a lot of hot springs in a winter and authentic scenery. And last but not least we will see the amazing glow of the northern light which it is not possible during summertime.
All in all: we will witness Iceland which is completely different to the well known Iceland during the summertime.

Day 1: Arrival & meeting in Reykjavik

After your arrival in Keflavik International Airport you will be be taken to your accomodation in Reykjavik where you may use the afternoon for a relaxing walk through the old town before the group meets up in the evening.
Acc.: Guesthouse in Reykjavik

Day 2: Reykjanes over geyser - the Stöng Highlands - Gullfoss

We leave Grindavik and drive to the thermal area of Neskjavellir and to the Thingvellir National Park. Thingvellir is a geologically important area and we can discover basalt columns, faults and other signs of tectonic movements. Here was also founded the oldes democratic parliament. An hour's drive away there is the high thermal area Geyser, which is famous for its colorful springs, pools and numerous water and steam escapes. Known is also the Great Geyser (whose centuries-long occupation ended in 1915) and the still active "neighbor", Strokkur. Its waters shoot every 10 minutes explosively up to 20 meters in height.
After a short drive we will arrive at Gullfoss, one of the most impressive waterfalls in Europe. Over his two cascades rises a vapor cloud shimmering in all colors of the rainbow. This has probably brought him the pictorial name "Gold Waterfall".
We drive back to the historic Viking homestead "Stoeng", the Highlands neighborhood.
Acc.: guesthouse (B, L, D)

Day 3: Winter Adventures in the Highlands

Today we will start at Hrauneyjar and explore the winter highlands and the sourrounding lakes. May be we will get to the direction of Landmannalaugar and will have a warm bath at the feet of the obsidian flow or we will discover the waterfalls around us. A great landscape for photography!
Acc.: as before (guesthouse) (B, L, D)

Day 4: Tour from Thorsádalur to the South Coast

Today we head south through the wide valley of Thorsa and past the famous volcano Hekla in direction to the south coast. We visit the two magnificent waterfalls Seljalandsfoss and Skogarfoss at the foot of the now worldwide known volcano Eyjafjallajökull. At the south cape "Cape Dyrhólaey" we discover the majestic stone bridge, whose arch of rock stands 120 meters above the sea. We will stay near Vik.
Acc.: guesthouse (B, L, D)

Day 5: Great South Coast

Today we will enjoy the discovery of the south coast. We will cross the lava field of "Eldhraun" that has covered much of the coastal plain after a huge eruption in the years 1783/84. It was one of the largest eruptions in human history.
After crossing the Skeidearásandur we reach the National Park of Skaftafell and take a short hike to Svartifoss. We will travel around the highest mountain of Iceland (2110m) the Hvannadalshnúkur. Shortly before we will arrive at our quarters we will pass the legendary glacier lagoon Jökulsárlón.
Acc.: guesthouse (B, L, D)

Day 6: Jökulsárlón and East Fjords

If the weather is favorable, we revisit the glacier lagoon before continuing along the wild east coast Djúpivogur. When possible, we will make a detour on the peninsula Stokksnes.
Acc.: guesthouse B, L, D

Day 7: From Fossadalur to Myvatn

We explore the most beautiful waterfalls in Fossádalur before heading towards Egilsstadir. Between Egilsstadir and Myvatn we cross a part of the eastern highlands, where except to two isolated farms nobody lives. The vastness and emptiness of the interior highlands in the winter is fascinating.
Acc.: guesthouse or farm (B, L, D)

Day 8: Myvatn

Today we have the whole day to explore the many volcanic phenomena around the Myvatn lake: explosion craters, volcanoes, columns, huge chasms, pseudo craters, solidified lava lakes and boiling solfatara. The fascinating day will end up with a hot bath in the "earthbath" or "hot pot"
Acc.: as before (guesthouse or farm) (B, L, D)

Day 9: Wintry North Coast

We leave the interesting area of Mývatn and - if permitted by the road conditions - drive towards Dettifoss, Europe's mightiest waterfall, which plunges 44 meters into a ravine. Our route takes us around the peninsula to the fishing town of Husavik Tjörnes. After a stop in the center we will return to the ring road and visit Godafoss, the god`s waterfall. Late afternoon drive to Akureyri, the "capital of the north"
Acc.: guesthouse (B, L, D)

Day 10: Fishing villages of the north

We leave Akureyri in north direction and pass through the fishing villages of Dalvik, Ólafsfördur Siglufjördur and in the wide area of Skagafjördur. South of Saudárkrókur we visit the old turf farm Glaumbaer, that was managed until the first half of 20th century. It gives a good impression of the traditional rural architecture.
Acc.: guesthouse (B, L, D)

Day 11: Let´s go to the west coast on Breidarfjördur and to Arnastapi

Today we head west. We reach the west coast on Breidarfjördur at Budar-Dalur and drive along the northern coast of the peninsula Snaefjellnes (Icelandic Snow Mountain Peninsula). After stunning coastal winter landscapes we finally reach the most western point in Arnastapi, where we will spend two days.
Acc.: guesthouse, B, L, D

Day 12: Far away...

Today we have plenty time to take photos the whole day around the Snaefjell area. We can explore the bizarre coastlines in our area or (optional, depending on weather and snow) do a snowmobile excursion to Snaefjell.
Acc.: as before (guesthouse) (B, L, D)

Day 13: Plenty of hot water

We leave the peninsula Snaefjellsnes and drive along the south coast towards Borganes and visit the beautiful valley of smokes - Reykholtsdalur. We have a look at the most plentiful hot springs in Europe, which can deliver up to 180 liters of boiling water per second. Visit of the oldest hot water pool at Reykholt Islands, which was built by the Vikings diplomat Snorri Sturluson in the 13th century. The crowning glory of the day are the fascinating filigree waterfalls Hraunfossar.
Acc.: guesthouse (B, L, D)

Day 14: Over Reykjavík to the peninsula Reykjanes

We leave the Reykholtsdalur to Reykjavík. On a side trip into the historic center of Reykjavík there will be time to explore the city on your own. The Protestant sober Hallgrimskyrka serves as a starting point. Depending on arrival time in Grindavik there is time for a swim in the "Blue Lagoon" (optional visit, about 35, - Euro / person). We will finish with a nice dinner.
Acc.: guesthouse (B)

Day 15: Departure from Iceland

Transfer to the airport in time for your flight.
Acc.: none (B)
15 days Iceland (summer) | 15 days Iceland (winter program)
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