Iceland | Reykjavík to the Highlands
A vast volcanic laboratory where mighty forces shape the earth
10 days/9 nights
Venture to one of today’s hottest travel destinations: Iceland! The Land of Fire and Ice is home to some 30 active volcanoes, steaming hot springs, and gushing geysers, just to name a few of its natural attractions.
Explore the Golden Circle by foot, sea kayak, horseback ride and zodiac boat tour along the southwest coast, trek the mountainous Highlands and strap on your crampons for a glacier walk! Come discover the rich and vibrant culture of this fascinating destination and find out why it’s worth it to check Iceland off of your travel bucket list!
Take in the highlights of Reykjavik, the northernmost capital of the world, including the colorful old town center and harbor, the Pearl, and the National Museum
Ooh and ahh over an eruption of the world-famous Strokkur geyser; it erupts approximately every 4-8 minutes
Visit Gullfoss, the queen of Icelandic waterfalls before a visit to Thingvellir National Park, where the world’s oldest Parliament was founded
Saddle up for a horseback ride along Iceland’s southwest coast on a small yet mighty Icelandic horse
Strap on crampons for a glacier walk with a professional glacier guide in Vatnajökull National Park
Rest your legs and rejuvenate your soul in some of Iceland’s most stunning natural hot springs
Zoom around in a zodiac boat among floating icebergs at the amazing Glacial Lagoon Jökulsárlón
A few more reasons why you've gotta go:
The Midnight Sun: Because of Iceland's location just below the Arctic Circle, the summertime brings nearly 24/7 daylight from mid-May to late-July!
The Highlands: Home to astonishing natural wonders in the "heart of Iceland," a visit to this remote area promises to be unique and memorable.
The Geothermal Features: If you've ever wanted to soak in the picturesque Blue Lagoon, you'll have your chance on Day 1 of this adventure!
Reykjavik, Iceland KEF
Reykjavik, Iceland KEF
Welcome to “The Land of Fire and Ice!” You’ll be met during your morning arrival at the Keflavík International Airport where a guide will meet and transfer you to the nearby Viking World Museum for breakfast. Head to the famous Blue Lagoon near the town of Grindavík for a dip in the soothing cerulean waters. Don’t forget to give yourself a silica mud facial! Next, we drive to the point where the European and American plates come together ashore, a fusion where the New World meets the Old World, geologically speaking, where many signs of environmental disturbances can be seen. This afternoon, enjoy some time to relax on your own in Reykjavík before you meet up with your guide for a welcome dinner.
About Hlemmur Square
Hlemmur Square is a new and innovative concept of accommodating international travelers in both a luxury hotel and hostel all in one building. It was to create an environment where all walks of life come together and enjoy their new “home away from home” in Reykjavik where all age groups meet and mingle, enjoying each company together at the well-known bar and the restaurant. Located conveniently on Laugavegur, the main and famous street in Reykjavik where most of the shopping, nightlife, restaurants, art galleries, swimming pools and spas are located, the harbor and Parliament Square and all museums are literally a 15 – 20 minute walk away from Hlemmur Square.
Golden Circle / Geysir / Gullfoss / Thingvellir National Park
Today we take it easy by starting off with a sightseeing tour of the geothermally active valley of Haukadalur along the Golden Circle. Here we visit the famous Geysir and its neighboring geyser Strokkur, quite the fascinating spectacle when it erupts every 4-8 minutes. Next awaits us the magnificent Gullfoss, the queen of Iceland’s waterfalls, situated on the white colored Hvítá River. Enjoy an outdoor lunch taking in spectacular views. Explore Thingvellir National Park, where the oldest Parliament in the world was founded. A pleasant hike around Thingvellir will show off its amazing landscape and the tectonic plate boundaries of the Mid-Atlantic Ridge. Transfer back to the Capital for a nice dinner on your own tonight.
Hellisheidi / Reykjadalur Valley / Hveragerdi
Say goodbye to the city (for now) as we travel to the Geothermal Exhibition in the Hellisheidi area, one of the most powerful and impressive geothermal zones in Iceland located only a stone’s throw from Reykjavík. After learning all about how Iceland produces green, sustainable energy, it’s time to tie our shoe laces and hike an amazing route from the Geothermal Power station in Hellisheidi down to the Reykjadalur valley. After a nice day’s hike, kick back and relax in a geothermally-heated river before heading down to the Hveragerdi village for check-in at Hotel Örk (Arch). Come together for dinner in Hveragerdi tonight.
About Hótel Örk
Hotel Örk is a first class hotel in the town of Hveragerdi, Iceland’s “hottest town”, only 44 km form Reykjavík. The hotel offers friendly accommodation and well-equipped facilities in beautiful surroundings. Be sure to try out the outdoor swimming pool with waterslide, hot tubs and geothermal sauna!
Stokkseyri Sea Kayak & Horseback / Highland Hotel Hrauneyjar
Leave the quaint town of Hveragerdi behind as we set our sights on the coast for a sea kayaking trip near the town of Stokkseyri. After lunch at Fjörubordid Restaurant, we saddle up for a horseback ride on the small yet strong Icelandic horses. After our scenic ride, we drive even further into the quiet and peaceful inlands where we happen upon our accommodation, the Highland Hotel Hrauneyjar, the perfect base to explore the Icelandic highlands. The vastness and lack of human impact on the surrounding area makes it truly one of the last places in Europe where freedom, natural beauty and solitude are combined in a breathtakingly powerful experience.
About Highland Hotel Hrauneyjar
At The Highland Center you will discover accommodation designed with comfort in mind. The modern ensuite rooms feature spacious bathrooms, quality linens and beautiful views across the volcanic landscape. The Highland Center’s restaurant offers excellent home-cooked cuisine in a comfortable and relaxed environment.
Hiking Landmannalaugar / Kirkjubæjarklaustur
Today we head to the Highlands of Iceland to a place called Landmannalaugar, known for its characteristic yellow rhyolite mountains and geothermal activity. We spend the day hiking through a beautiful landscape that will take your breath away around every bend. Add to this scenery the promise of a pleasant hot spring soak and you have a day fit for kings! Transfer to your accommodation for the night in the little town of Kirkjubæjarklaustur. Situated halfway between two picturesque glaciers, Icelandair Hotel Klaustur offers comfortable, modern accommodations in beautiful Southeast Iceland. Designated an Official European Beauty spot, enjoy expansive views, outdoor activities and easy access to Skaftafell National Park and Vatnajokull glacier.
About Icelandair Hotel Klaustur
Icelandair Hotel Klaustur is a comfortable country hotel in spectacular surroundings. Klaustur is renowned for its mild and good weather and there is a magnificent view from the hotel of Vatnajökull glacier, the largest one in Europe, and Sidufjoll mountains. It is a short distance from Icelandair Hotel Klaustur to many beautiful natural wonders of Iceland, like Jökulsarlon glacial lagoon and Skaftafell National Park.
Glacier Walk in Vatnajökull National Park
Skaftafell, a part of the Vatnajökull National Park, is a place of great beauty nestled under the enormous Vatnajökull glacier. Embark on a short hike to the beautiful Svartifoss waterfall, dropping from the edge of a wide cliff of basalt columns. We’ll also get out on the ice with a glacier-walk in Vatnajökull National Park with a pro glacier-guide. With crampons on and tips by your guide, you’ll be able to safely walk on and learn about this fascinating “river of ice”. Transfer to the South East of Iceland for dinner and accommodation.
About Hali Country Hotel
Hali Country Hotel is located on the farm Hali in the South East of Iceland Hali offers comfortable and cozy accommodation, a historical museum and a fully licensed restaurant serving primarily local food. Currently there are 35 cows and 120 sheep on the farm. There can also be found an extensive aquaculture, foremost with the farming of arctic char. The museum, Þórbergssetur, bears witness of how people lived through the centuries in the countryside of Suðursveit and on the farm Hali.
Zodiac Glacial Lagoon Jökulsárlón / Kirkjubæjarklaustur
After breakfast and packing your bags, spend time at the amazing Glacial Lagoon Jökulsárlón, bordering Vatnajökull National Park in southeastern Iceland. Its still, blue waters are dotted with icebergs from the surrounding Breiðamerkurjökull Glacier, part of larger Vatnajökull Glacier. Zoom around on a zodiac boat ride among the floating icebergs, keeping an eye out for seal heads popping up out of the water. Back on land, we take a walk on the seashore and witness up close how the Glacial Lagoon flows through a short waterway into the Atlantic Ocean, leaving chunks of ice on a black sand beach. Transfer down south back to the little town of Kirkjubæjarklaustur where you can enjoy the evening on your own.
Hiking Fjaðrárgljúfur Canyon / Reykjavík
Fjadrárgljúfur Canyon is a 9,000-year-old canyon standing over 300 feet high and more than a mile in length. Explore the canyon’s colors and shapes by foot, being sure to get plenty of photos from many different angles. On our way back to Reykjavík we will stop at the Lava Exhibition Centre for a lovely dinner and to see this ambitious Exhibition on volcanoes and earthquakes in the land of Fire and Ice. After filling our stomachs and our minds, we head to the Capital for a good night rest.
On our last day together, we start by going on a cultural walk around the downtown of Reykjavík exploring the highlights of the city. The rest of the day is yours to enjoy as you see fit. Some of our suggestions: a whale watching rib boat tour, Segway tour in the city, Reykjavík foodie tour, or visiting more nearby geothermally heated pools (afternoon activities not included in trip price). In the evening, we meet back up as a group for a final farewell dinner at a nice restaurant in the city center.
Arrival & Departure
Day 1 of your trip begins with a morning pick-up by your guide at the Keflavík International Airport. Your trip ends with an afternoon drop-off on Day 10 at Keflavík International Airport. We recommend drop-off approximately 3 hours prior to your flight departure time.
Hiking: Most days include 1 to 4 mile guided hikes ranging from easy to moderate. Sometimes more than one walk or hike will be done in a day. This adventure includes hikes in geothermal basins, to waterfalls, in national parks, through mountainous areas, along canyons and down black sand beaches. Day 3 features a 9.5 mile hike that will be completed over the course of an entire day and is rated moderate.
Sea Kayaking: 2 hour paddle along the southwestern coast of Iceland on the lookout for sea life. No experience necessary. Professional kayak guide will provide instruction.
Horseback Riding: 2 hour horseback ride on the small but strong Icelandic horse. No experience necessary. Professional riding guides will provide instruction.
Swimming/Soaking: Swim and soak in a multitude of natural geothermal hot springs throughout the journey.
Glacier Walking: 3 hour (1.5 hours on ice) glacier walk on a glacier. Professional glacier guide will provide gear and instructions.
Zodiac Boating: Zodiac boat tour among floating icebergs at the Glacial Lagoon Jökulsárlón, bordering Vatnajökull National Park.
Discovery: An underpopulated island marooned near the top of the globe, Iceland is, literally, a country in the making. It’s an immense volcanic laboratory where mighty forces shape the earth: geysers spurt, mudpots bubble, ice-covered volcanoes grumble and glaciers cut great pathways through the mountains. Its supercharged splendor seems designed to remind visitors of their utter insignificance in the greater scheme of things. And it works a treat: some crisp clean air, an eyeful of the cinematic landscapes, and everyone is transfixed. It’s the power of Icelandic nature to turn the plain into the extraordinary. A dip in a pool becomes a soak in a geothermal lagoon; a casual stroll can transform into a trek across a glittering glacier; and a quiet night at your accommodation may mean front-row seats to the aurora borealis’ curtains of fire, or the soft, pinkish hue of the midnight sun. Come play in Iceland with the experts in adventure travel!
The hallmark of an Austin Adventures vacation is our exceptional dining. All meals: breakfasts, lunches, and dinners are included as indicated by itinerary. (B = Breakfast, L = Lunch, D = Dinner). Alcoholic beverages and related gratuities are not included in the trip price.
Included in Trip Price
- Double occupancy rooms with private baths.
- Meals as listed in itinerary. B = Breakfast, L = Lunch, D = Dinner.
- Water and snacks on the bus from Days 2 – 9.
- Fully trained, first-aid certified professional guides and knowledgeable local partners.
- Any other necessary equipment – all safe and well maintained.
- Vehicle support and land transportation during the trip.
- Austin Adventures T-shirt, water bottle, luggage tags and luggage service.
- Pre-departure and packing information.
- Entrance fees into national parks.
Not Included in the Trip Price
- Alcoholic beverages and other beverages like soda and water.
- Meals as not included in itinerary.
- Pre-and post-trip accommodations and associated expenses.
- Air and land transportation to/from host cities.
- All types of personal insurance.
- Personal expenses.
Activity levels are subjective depending on your general level of fitness and your experience; however, all of our trips are self-paced.1 Easy (1)
Activity levels are subjective depending on your general level of fitness and your experience; however, all of our trips are self-paced.2 Moderately Easy (2)
Activity levels are subjective depending on your general level of fitness and your experience; however, all of our trips are self-paced.3 Moderate (3)
Want to know how to fully experience the depth of beauty and culture in a place? Ask Carol Austin. A Montana native who treasures the land and people in her own backyard—be it Yellowstone, the Beartooths, or the family around her dinner table—Carol knows how to embrace any destination she explores, a feat at 40+ countries and counting. And with more than 20 years in the travel industry, she’s really good at helping guests plan—and fully enjoy—their adventure vacation, too. She co-founded Austin Adventures with her husband, Dan Austin.