Hidden Iceland

September 2021 • 8 Days • Price TBA**

Join us for our Hidden Iceland Adventure as we explore unearthly, volcano-sculpted panoramas punctuated by pristine fjords, and dramatic ice-crusted waterfalls, waiting for a veil of winter darkness to descends each night, enabling our search for the mesmerizing Aurora Borealis!

**Traveler Rewards Program: New Travelers receive a $100 discount on the Hidden Iceland tour! Returning travelers receive our Alumni Traveler Discount of 5-10% off the main tour price. Terms, exclusions and conditions apply. Check out our Traveler Rewards page for more details.

South Iceland Extension

September 2021 • 4 Days • Price TBA

Some of the island’s most recognizable sights are found along this captivating coastline. We will savor memorable strolls amidst Iceland’s surreal and majestic landscapes, in places like Skógafoss, Skaftafell, and Jökulsárlón, while also learning about Iceland’s Viking roots.

Now accepting Early Bird deposits on this potential 2021 tour! An Early Bird is a $50 deposit that holds your spot during the planning stages of a trip, when we don’t have a set itinerary or dates. Early Birds are always refundable!

Hidden Iceland

While Iceland, the Land of Fire and Ice, has been trending very hot lately when it comes to tourism, this adventure takes you to unspeakably beautiful regions of this island nation that far fewer travelers ever explore…   the spectacular Snaefellsnes Peninsula and the wild and wonderful Westfjords.

This is a draft itinerary. Revisions will be made, and an updated itinerary with dates and pricing will be made available!

Including:

Pricing is based on double occupancy.

  • Airport to hotel group transfers on first and last day
  • All land travel as outlined
  • Tourist-class or better hotel accommodations
  • All breakfasts and a selection of dinners
  • Walks as listed
  • Fees for IVV walking credit (sanctioning applied for)
  • All tipping for local guides and coach drivers
  • Cultural and historical expertise of our national guide throughout
  • WAI guide service throughout (2 guides)
  • Northern Lights lectures and viewing (when possible) with guide
  • Pricing is based on double occupancy. A limited number of single rooms are available for a supplement. We also provide a roommate matching service.

Activities/Visits to:

  • Grábrók volcanic crater
  • Hraunfossar lava falls
  • Borgarnes Settlement Center
  • Bjarnarhöfn Shark Museum
  • Viking Sushi Cruise from Stykkishólmur
  • Kirkjufell waterfall and mountain
  • Reykjanes Peninsula tour
  • Sights in the Westfjords area
  • Friðheimar geothermal greenhouse and horse stables
  • Geysir geothermal area
  • Gullfoss waterfall
  • Þingvellir National Park
  • Plus more fun stops and amazing sights than we can list!

Optional Excursion:

  • Langjökull Into the Glacier Experience

South Iceland Extension

Consider adding a few more days of adventure in splendid southern Iceland. This action-packed extension is full of waterfalls, geothermal springs, photogenic lagoons, sweeping coastal vistas, strange rock formations, and a chance to walk on top of one of Iceland’s dazzling blue glaciers.

This is a draft itinerary. Revisions will be made, and an updated itinerary with dates and pricing will be made available!

Including:

Pricing is based on double occupancy.

  • Hotel to airport group transfer on last day
  • All land travel as outlined
  • Tourist-class or better hotel accommodations
  • All breakfasts and a selection of lunches and dinners
  • Walks as listed
  • Fees for IVV walking credit (sanctioning applied for)
  • All tipping for local guides and coach drivers
  • Cultural and historical expertise of our national guide throughout
  • WAI guide service throughout (2 guides)
  • Northern Lights lectures and viewing (when possible) with guide
  • Pricing is based on double occupancy. A limited number of single rooms are available for a supplement. We also provide a roommate matching service.

Activities/Visits to:

  • Skógafoss waterfall
  • Skógar Folk Museum
  • Jökulsárlón Lagoon
  • Skaftafell National Park
  • Plus more fun stops and amazing sights than we can list!

Optional Excursion:

  • Svínafellsjökull Outlet Glacier Walk

Adventure Pace

Tour Pace: 1 2 3 4 5
Walk Challenge: 1 2 3 4 5

Important Info

Group Size

24-28 travelers

Hotels

Strategically located Tourist Class hotels or better

Meals

Breakfasts included with a selection of lunches and dinners

Airfare

Not Included. Travelers will be met at the start/finish point, Iceland’s Keflavík International Airport.

Transportation

Included.

Traveler Age

Our travelers usually range from 50–75 years of age. All ages welcome!

Your Guides

Walking Adventures Guide Scott IsomScott Isom has had a passion for the outdoors ever since his childhood days spent exploring the waterfalls and outstanding hiking trails of the Columbia River Gorge with his family. Scott has led tours on all 7 continents and is one of WAI’s busiest guides and on-site Adventure planners. Scott will be leading this departure of the Hidden Iceland tour along with a WAI Assistant and support from a national guide.

Itinerary

Hidden Iceland

This is a draft itinerary. We intend to add a day or two exploring the Westfjords area. More details will be available soon.

Click on each day to reveal more details. BLD refers to meals included, Breakfast, Lunch or Dinner.

Day 1: Arrive Reykjavík (D)

Reykjavík Nordic Capital Walk – 8 km, rated 1B

Upon arrival into Keflavík International Airport (KEF), your transfer to our downtown Reykjavík hotel will be provided.  Details of this transfer will come later, when we send out the Adventure Advice.  Because flights arrive in Iceland in the early morning, our first group activity is a Welcome Orientation at the hotel at 11 am. Following a break for lunch, we meet our local guide for this Adventure and enjoy a walking tour through old Reykjavík, the planet’s northernmost capital. After a thought-provoking look at a culture that has endured a multitude of challenges in its 1200-year history, we’ll enjoy this evening’s welcome dinner together, anticipating our upcoming winter adventure that will hopefully be filled with the ethereal hues of the Northern Lights!

Day 2: Reykjavík - Borgarnes (D)

Grábrók & Hraunfossar Stroll – 3 km, rated 2C

Journeying north from Reykjavík, we dive into the history of Borgarfjörður, known as the Saga Valley because of its many important historical events, on our way to a walk at Grábrók volcanic crater. A short drive up the valley to Hraunfossar, marvel at a series of waterfalls that pour from beneath a wide lava field.

This afternoon, consider joining us on an optional “Into the Glacier” adventure at Langjökull, Iceland’s second largest glacier.  Riding modified glacier vehicles from Húsafell, this well-reviewed 3-4 hour tour traverses glistening white slopes, taking you deep inside man-made ice tunnels leading to the blue heart of a glacier.  Price TBA

We spend the first of two nights near Borgarnes in West Iceland, where entrance to the fascinating and educational Borgarnes Settlement Center is included.  Following dinner at our hotel, prepare for more potential sightings of the Aurora Borealis in the night sky.

Day 3: Activities from Borgarnes (BLD)

Kirkjufell Walk – 6 km, rated 1C

The Snæfellsnes Peninsula, “the peninsula of the snowy mountain,” juts out from Iceland’s west coast, like a long arm with a clenched fist at its tip, and is in many ways a microcosm of the whole island. A rugged mountain chain runs its length. A uniquely Icelandic “treat“ awaits us at Bjarnarhöfn, where the specialty is Hákarl – fermented shark.  Next, we travel to the charming fishing town of Stykkishólmur for a Viking sushi cruise in the Breiðafjörður fjord. After a light lunch on board our ship, we visit the fishing village of Grundarfjörður, a place with an impressive coastline and mountains, lakes and waterfalls behind the village. Jutting out into the bay rises one of the most photographed mountains in Iceland, Kirkjufell, which we plan to circumnavigate on our featured walk of the day.   Back in Borgarnes, once darkness falls, we savor a final dinner together and hope that the mesmerizing hues of the Northern Lights grace us with their presence!

Day 4: Borgarnes - Reykjavík (B)

Our route takes us across the Reykjanes (smoky) Peninsula. Viking settlers used this name to describe venting geothermal steam they mistook for smoke. Amidst the rugged moonscape, we stop to admire geothermal wonders along with dramatic seaside vistas at Reykjanestá, the most southwestern tip of Iceland. The aptly-named Bridge Between the Continents, a simple footbridge, gives us a chance to straddle the tectonic plates of Eurasia and North America on our way back to Reykjavík.

Day 5: Activities from Reykjavík (B)

Þingvellir Walk – 4 km, rated 1C

We venture toward the renowned Golden Circle of Iceland this morning, stopping first at the Friðheimar geothermal greenhouse and stables for a sampling of tomato soup and a look at the country’s famous Icelandic horses.  Continuing our circuit, we gaze in wonder at Geysir, the cluster of geysers that gave their name to this geological phenomenon.  Following lunch, the fun continues with a visit to Gulfoss, which is arguably the most spectacular waterfall in the country!  Our last stop along the Golden Circle comes at Þingvellir, Iceland’s oldest national park and the site of our featured walk for the day. We amble toward Lögberg, medieval meeting point of the AlÞing, the Icelandic Viking parliament established in A.D. 930, continuing from North America to Europe as we cross the easily identifiable rift zone marking the tumultuous meeting of these two tectonic plates. Our winter wonderland day concludes in Reykjavík, where you are free to enjoy dinner on your own near our downtown hotel.

Day 6: Reykjavík - Home (B)

Our Hidden Iceland Adventure comes to an end this morning.  Travelers not continuing on the South Iceland Extension say a reluctant farewell to walking friends made over the past few days amidst the wintry world of Iceland.  Enjoy additional time exploring Reykjavik before your flight home.  Included transfer vouchers will be provided for you to arrange your transportation to the airport at a time that is convenient.

South Iceland Extension

This is a draft itinerary. We’ll be revising this itinerary and more details will be available soon.

Day 1: Reykjavík - Skaftafell (BD)

Skógafoss Walk – 3 km, rated 2D

Today we leave the capital city of Reykjavík and travel along the gorgeous south coast of Iceland, enjoying a brief visit to the iconic cascade of Seljalandsfoss.  Further east we pass by the occasionally rumbling mountain of Eyjafjallajökull on our way to one of Iceland’s finest folk museums. The Skógar Museum contains an outstanding collection of farm and domestic artifacts from Iceland’s past and several turf-built houses. Nearby, our walk of the day takes place at Skógafoss waterfall, which is 62 meters high and one of the most impressive waterfalls in the country.  In the afternoon we depart for our hotel in the Vatnajökull National Park region, located in darkness, and ideal for glimpsing the Northern Lights.

Day 2: Activities from Skaftafell (BD)

Svartifoss Walk – 5 km, rated 3C 
Skaftafell Walk – 4 km, rated 1C

First stop today is at Jökulsárlón, a 600-foot deep river lagoon crowded with icebergs calved from the glacier Breiðamerkurjökull, where we might see seals swimming in the arctic waters.  Nearby these floating crystal pyramids is a black sand beach that is often coated with glistening chunks of glacial ice. In the afternoon at Skaftafell National Park, our first featured trail today explores a forested hillside resisting the force of two gargantuan glaciers flowing down from the massive Vatnajökull ice field. The route passes lovely Svartifoss (black waterfall) and visits a lonely group of deserted 19th century farm buildings.  Our second stroll of the day takes us on an easy trail to the glacial snout and lagoon fronting Skaftafellsjökull.  Following a short coach ride, we return to our hotel near Vatnajökull National Park for a group dinner and another evening attempt at viewing the Aurora Borealis!

Day 3: Skaftafell - Dyrhólaey (BD)

This morning offers a one-of-a-kind optional experience of walking on the surreal surface of a glacier in Vatnajökull National Park.  This Blue Ice guided adventure on the beautiful Svínafellsjökull outlet glacier involves the use of crampons and ice axe but is very safe and relatively easy.  Strolling through a natural Eden of periwinkle blue ice ridges, deep crevasses and intricately formed ice sculptures, the surrounding scenery is sure to take your breath away.  Price TBA

For those not participating in the Svínafellsjökull Outlet Glacier Optional Experience, enjoy a slower start to your morning and the possibility of a short bonus walk in Skaftafell before lunch.  In the afternoon we depart Skaftafell by bus and take a stroll on a black lava beach and along bird cliffs at Reynisfjara in South Iceland.  We also witness the rocky elevated vantage point of the Dyrhólaey Lighthouse, complete with views of a lovely sea arch, before retiring to our nearby hotel for dinner and another hunt for the brilliant Northern Lights.

Day 4: Dyrhólaey - Reykjavík (B)

We head back to Reykjavík this morning as our South Iceland Adventure comes to an end. Enjoy additional time exploring Reykjavik before your flight home.  Included transfer vouchers will be provided for you to arrange your transportation to the airport at a time that is convenient.

More Details

Click on each heading for more details.

How do I lock in my place on this Adventure?

Call or mail in your Early Bird ($50) to save your spot! We’ll take 24-28 travelers on this tour, with 2 Walking Adventures guides, accompanied by our national guide, offering a guide to traveler ratio of 1:9.

What’s an Early Bird? Early Bird deposits are refundable $50 deposits which serve to hold your spot on a tour until dates and pricing have been confirmed. Once all details on a tour have been finalized, travelers can then register with an additional $450 deposit to bring their total on a tour up to $500.

Traveler Rewards Program

New Travelers receive a $100 discount on the Hidden Iceland tour! Returning travelers receive our Alumni Traveler Discount of 5-10% off the main tour price. Terms, exclusions and conditions apply. See the Traveler Rewards page for more details or contact us with any questions at 800.779.0353 or [email protected].

Note: The New Traveler and Alumni Traveler Discounts apply only to the main tour price. The South Iceland Extension is not eligible for these discounts.

High Adventure Tour

Though 11% of Iceland is covered in ice, its nickname “Island of Fire & Ice” refers to epic volcanic activity. Volcanic eruptions have characterized life in Iceland for all of human history, and often devastated hardy Viking settlements. The result is a landscape that is mesmerizing for its blend of moonscape lava flows, often covered by layers of moss that range from green to gray depending on the season. Our trails often pass through lava, creating uneven and unyielding terrain.  For this reason, though hills and elevation gain are, on average, not significant, many of our walks could more accurately be described as “hikes”!

This is especially the case during the winter conditions  which we will experience on our Hidden Iceland Adventure, where snow and ice will likely be added to the uneven volcanic footing.  For this reason, we recommend warm hiking boots, walking sticks, and the use of portable crampons (traction devices that can be strapped to your hiking boots) to help you safely enjoy the gorgeous Icelandic landscape during our winter escapades.  More advice on specific gear to bring and how to prepare for this unique adventure will be coming later in our Tips and Tidbits Factsheet.

Be aware that participation in the Hidden Iceland Adventure will require a higher level of “adventure readiness” than most of our other tours due to  sometimes challenging and icy terrain and due to Iceland’s occasionally moody winter weather.  The rewards of experiencing Iceland’s magical winter landscape and the potential of seeing the Northern Lights are worth the preparation and effort, but this adventure is not for the faint of heart.

Volcanoes happen!

In 2010, Eyjafjallajökull volcano erupted, and the resulting ash clouds disrupted air traffic between Europe and North America for several days. Due to prevailing winds and the direction of the eruption, the impact on the ground in Iceland was relatively minor. Our 2010 tour occurred later that year and was not affected. A bigger threat to the local population than ash clouds is the flooding that can happen when icefields sitting atop erupting volcanoes melt! At present, things are quiet on the volcano front, by Icelandic standards. Should an eruption occur, however, it is possible that our itinerary may need to be adjusted or rerouted.

How is airfare arranged?

The official start and finish point for this Adventure is Iceland’s Keflavík International Airport (airport code KEF). More details about flight arrangements and travel agent contact information will be provided after this tour has been finalized.

What about the walks?

We generally walk at a relaxed but steady pace of 2 to 3 miles per hour. In most cases, we are not “strolling,” but in Iceland during the winter, we do tend to slow down the pace a bit to make sure we are being safe in occasionally icy or snowy conditions.  We also offer slightly shorter walks during Hidden Iceland due to fewer accessible trails during the winter months.  Still, your experience will be significantly affected by your level of physical fitness, and because Hidden Iceland requires the use of crampons and takes place in winter conditions, proper preparedness is critical for this adventure. The success of these Iceland walks is predicated upon walkers having this minimum level of fitness and the ability to handle colder conditions than we usually experience on the average Adventure. If not walking regularly at home, we strongly recommend that you make a priority of “training” beforehand in order to both enjoy the trip and avoid medical issues due to overexertion. If you have questions about your ability to participate, please talk with our office at 1.800.779.0353.

We have adopted a walk difficulty rating system which contains a numeric indicator for trail incline and an alpha indicator for trail terrain. The explanation for this system is presented below:

INCLINE

1. Very small hills or very little stair climbing. Cumulative elevation gain from Starting Point: up to 200 feet.
2. Some moderate hills and stair climbing. Cumulative elevation gain from Starting Point: 200-1000 feet.
3. Some significant hill or stair climbing. Cumulative elevation gain from Starting Point: 1000-2000 feet.
4. Lots of significant hills or stair climbing. Cumulative elevation gain from Starting Point: 2000-3500 feet.
5. Many steep hills. Cumulative elevation gain from Starting Point: more than 3500 feet.

TERRAIN

A. Almost entirely on pavement.
B. A significant part of the route is on well-groomed trails with very few obstacles.
C. A significant part of the route is on somewhat difficult terrain (rocky / rooted paths or soft sand).
D. A significant part of the route is on very difficult terrain.
E. The majority of the route is on very difficult terrain.

What happens next?

We are currently developing the itinerary for this Adventure. Once the itinerary is released, we will accept registration deposits ($500) to save space.

If you have Early Birded with a refundable $50 deposit, your spot on the tour will be held for 2 weeks after the itinerary is published while you make a decision on whether or not you’d like to register with an additional $450 fee, bringing your deposit on tour up to $500. If you decide not to join us for this tour, your Early Bird can be refunded or transferred to another tour.