“Hi, I'm planning a trip for 3 athletic people (mid-thirties) for the beginning of July. We are looking for a trip that has really great hiking with minimal hut staying in (<3 nights). In particular I am interested in Hvannadalshnukur. Potentially also interested in Laugavegur as well as Eyjafjallajokull and Skaftafell and snaefellsjokull. In addition to hiking would like to do whale watching, silfra, a hot spring (blue lagoon?) and potentially helicopter over volcano.”
Rico Bittner, a local specialist from Iceland, helped this traveler put together a customized itinerary.
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Trip planning highlights
Summary of the trip planning conversation
There are a few different ways we can do this, so I will start by asking you some questions:
- Would you want to combine this trip with some self-drive sightseeing, or you prefer making a base in a few different locations around Iceland and do day hiking trips from there?
- Are you looking for guided hikes, self-guided, or a mix of both? There are more options available with local guides as not all hikes are advisable to do on your own (for both safety and other reasons), but of course still many good hikes you can do on your own (I will include advice for the self-guided hikes in the itinerary).
- What is your preferred stay arrangement? Triple room, double+single, or perhaps private apartments/cottages are ok? Hotels with private bath or shared bath?
Please note that available hotels are getting hard to find in July in many of the most convenient locations, but there are still enough options when it comes to cheaper accommodation. So if you don’t need to stay in hotels then it will both lower the price of your trip and increase your options. I can also offer you a package with hotels where available but otherwise guesthouses/cottages/apartments etc, depending on what you are comfortable with.
It is possible to entirely avoid hiking huts, lodges and tents, although there are the occasional places where you can hike further and get a greater experience by staying one night in these. But if you really don’t like the hut variety then you can still have an amazing experience despite omiting them completely.
Finally the surer you are of the group size and your dates, the easier it is for me to give you a realistic itinerary and a more accurate quote. I understand that some people might be undecided but it can be hard to add people later on because of availability problems for both accommodations and tours. For the same reason the earlier we are able to finalise the trip plan the easier it is and the more options we will have.
-- Yes--I was actually thinking of something like Reyjavik to Laugavegur hike (4 day trek to Skogar) (okay with a few days of huts in there) versus potentially not doing Laugavegur and instead doing Eyjafjallajokull volcano (not sure how different it is to climb to the top of the volcano versus doing the last leg of Skogar) to Skaftafell for a day/ then HVANNADALSHNUKUR then back to Reyjavik and then potentially up to Snaefellsjokull. I was looking into planning this myself but it is obviously pretty complicated with all of these steps and I wondered into this website.
I would definitely be willing to do self guided for most things as long as the trails are well marked. The ones where I would prefer a guide would be the more adventurous climbs (ie HVANNADALSHNUKUR and anything involving a glacier).
Would also be willing to do a combination of some epic hikes + some other activities ie whale watching tour, golden circle tour, silfra snorkel (or diving-we are certified), helicopter tour, blue lagoon.
The only places to stay on the Laugavegur trail are huts and camping grounds. The huts are always heavily booked in advance but I have submitted a request for availability on any July dates, to see if a 4 day & 3 night hike with hut stays is still possible. Then we could work the rest of your trip around this. You can extend the Laugavegur hike by a day or two taking you over Fimmvorduhals pass (between Eyjafjallajokull and Myrdalsjokull) and down to Skogar, it is a long and challenging hike in one day but more comfortable in two, however there is another crucial hut midway which is highly sought after as well.
I can incorporate all the other mentioned activities into your trip.
You are right in that you should never do glacial hiking without a local guide.
It's good that you are flexible on accommodations, then we will have no problems to at least find something.
Will get back shortly once I know more about Laugavegur.
I now have enough info in order to put together a suggested itinerary for you. All the multi-day & day tours you book with us will be at the official retail price, and I will of course book the exact tours you have already decided on (if at all possible). However before I do that I just want you to know that I can never match the absolute lowest offers you will get by booking directly, like f.e. the 10% discount offered by MountainGuides is a special offer which I can not match. Instead I offer a comprehensive planning and booking service, a package including accommodation and car rental, with tips on sightseeing and the hikes you can do on your own. So before proceeding I just want to make sure you are aware of it that there is some extra cost associated with my services, as compared to some of the prices you have been finding online.
Also before I start making the itinerary please confirm your exact travel dates, as it is impractical to suggest an exact itinerary otherwise.
Here is the itinerary I can offer:
1st July – Arrival at KEF airport. Pick up rental car and visit the Blue Lagoon. Overnight in Reykjavik.
2nd July – Helicopter tour. Afternoon drive to the Snaefellsnes peninsula. Stay two nights in Snaefellsnes.
3rd July – Hike to the top of Snaefellsjokull glacier. Some time for sightseeing in the area.
4th July – Short morning coastal hike on your own in Snaefellsnes national park, followed by a whale watching tour in the afternoon. Overnight in the West.
5th July – Morning hike up to Glymur waterfall. Explore the Golden Circle on your own in the afternoon. Drop off rental car and overnight in Hella. You can keep excess luggage here until 9th July.
6th July – Pickup for the 3-day Laugavegur hiking tour.
8th July – Finish Laugavegur hiking tour in Thorsmork. Overnight in Thorsmork.
9th July – Hike on your own over the Fimmvorduhals mountain pass to Skogar. Take evening bus to Hella and stay overnight.
10th July – Pick up rental car, travel Southeast and do a short afternoon hike in Skaftafell on your own and a short puffin watching tour to Ingolfshofdi. Also visit the Jokulsarlon glacial lagoon. Dropoff Christie in Hofn so she can catch an 18:45 flight back to Reykjavik. Overnight in the area.
11th July – Hike to the top of Hvannadalshnukur. Overnight in the area.
12th July – Drive back to Reykjavik, optional whether to stay last night in the city or in Keflavik town closer to the airport. Free day.
13th July – Drop off rental car. Departure from KEF airport.