Lowlands and Highlands Wilderness Exploration 12 days

Lowlands and Highlands Wilderness Exploration 12 days

The best of Icelland┤s highlands and lowlands

BP39 Map

BP39 Map

AVAILABLE:
July 12 to September 5

DURATION:
12 days / 11 nights

CAR RENTAL DAYS:
10 Days

DEPARTURES:
Daily

TOUR ID:
BP39

Included

Not Included

Itinerary

Day 1. Arrival


Upon your arrival at Keflavik airport, a meet and greet service is provided by a TOURIS representative who will take you to your accommodation in Reykjavik.

Overnight: ReykjavÝk

Day 2. The Great Golden Circle


Pick up your car in the morning and take the highway to Ůingvellir National Park, a unique place from a geological point of view and a place of exceptional beauty. Thingvellir was accepted as a UNESCO world heritage site in 2004. Drive further to the Great Geysir area where the powerful geyser Strokkur erupts every few minutes. From here, drive to the majestic waterfall Gullfoss, one of Icelands most beautiful waterfall. Continue to the impressive volcanic crater Keri­ which is 270 meters wide and 55 meters deep. Proceed to the south coast.

Driving distance
250 kilometers

Highlights:
Gullfoss Waterfall and Geysir Hot Springs
Keri­
Ůingvellir

Overnight: Hella Area

Day 3. The South Shore


Head east along the south coast to the waterfall Seljalandsfoss and later to the larger Skˇgafoss. In the summertime it is possible to walk behind Seljalandsfoss, - this is a quite interesting experience. On March 20th 2010, a volcanic eruption began on Fimmv÷r­uhßls, a mountain ridge between the glaciers, Eyjafjallaj÷kull and Mřrdalsj÷kull. The eruption on Fimmv÷r­uhßls lasted a couple of weeks. After the eruption came to an end, a new and more powerful eruption started underneath the nearby icecap of Eyjafjallaj÷kull Glacier. This eruption came to an end on 23. May 2010. Continue along the south coast to Dyrhˇlaey natural reserve and a nesting colony of numerous seabirds in summer. (Dyrhˇlaey is closed for all traffic during the nesting period until June 25th). Drive to Reynishverfi with beautiful coast, spectacular rock formations and thousands of nesting seabirds. Continue across Mřrdalssandur floodplains and Eldhraun, the most extensive lava field ever to flow on face of Earth in historical times, and to the small village KirkjubŠjarklaustur. Fja­rßrglj˙fur is a beautiful canyon worth taking a look at a few km. to the west from KirkjubŠjarklaustur. At KirkjubŠjarklaustur, see Kirkjugˇlfi­ (the Church Floor), a protected natural monument just east of the village. Kirkjugˇlfi­ is columnar basalt, shaped and eroded by water and wind, only a few minutesĺ walk from the road.

Driving distance
200 kilometers

Highlights:
Seljalandsfoss Waterfall
Skˇgafoss Waterfall and Skˇgar
Glacier Walk
Snowmobiling on Solheimajokull Glacier
Reynisfjara beach
Dyrhˇlaey Nature Reserve
VÝk town
Fja­rßrglj˙fur Canyon
KirkjubŠjarklaustur town
Kirkjugˇlf Basalt Columns

Overnight: KirkjubŠjarklaustur Area

Day 4. Skaftafell National Park - J÷kulsßrlˇn Glacial Lagoon -


Continue from KirkjubŠjarklaustur over Skeidarßrsandur, vast tracts of black sand desert, washed down by numerous torrential glacial rivers. Vatnaj÷kull, the largest glacier in Europe is to the north from here. In the afternoon of 21. May 2011, a sub-glacial eruption started in the GrÝmsv÷tn volcanic system underneath Vatnaj÷kull Glacier. Later the same day, the eruption broke the ice cover of the glacier and started spewing volcanic ash into the air. The amount of ash fall was the greatest close to the village KirkjubŠjarklaustur. The eruption went on for about a week. It ceased on 28. May 2011. Stop at Skaftafell National Park, an oasis wedged between glacier and sand plains. Its natural beauty is a result of favorable weather conditions and the interaction of fire and ice. One of the many interesting hiking trails takes you to Svartifoss, one of Icelandĺs most picturesque waterfalls, framed in by beautiful basalt columns that surround it. Continue to the Glacial Lagoon J÷kulsarlˇn, where huge icebergs, true sculptures of nature, broken off Brei­amerkurj÷kull glacier, float and grind together in the blue waters of the lagoon. An interesting cruise among the icebergs on the Lagoon is available during the summer months. Return to KirkjubŠjarklaustur.

Driving distance
240 kilometers

Highlights:
Skaftafell National Park
Svartifoss waterfall
J÷kulsßrlˇn Glacial Lagoon

Overnight: KirkjubŠjarklaustur Area

Day 5. Fjallabak Route - Landmannalaugar


The Fjallabak route is one of the most scenic trails in the interior highlands of Iceland, perhaps the most colourful and diversified of the many interesting mountain tracks, rugged colourful landscape of unsurpassed beauty. One of the highlights of the route is Eldgjß, one of the most interesting sights in this part of the country. Here nature has created a unique spectacle splitting mountains and valleys in its course creating a gigantic 30 km long gash into the earth, in some places is up to 600m wide and up to 200m deep. The volcanic fissure is considered to be the greatest of its kind on earth. Only a small part of Eldgjß can be visited by car. ËfŠrufoss, used to be one of the country┤s most beautiful waterfall, framed by a natural bridge, arching over the rivers gorge that collapsed years ago. From Eldgjß, drive along twisting route west along and over a winding rough trail skirting the base of mountains and sometimes through narrow defiles where snow remains long into summer. There is marvellous scenery along the route. Continue to Landmannalaugar, nesting under the high edge of an obsidian lava flow. Here is a wardens station, mountain hut and a camping site. Near the hut is a warm water pool created by the confluence of natural hot water and a coldwater springs which issue within a short distance of one another from underneath the high edge of the obsidian lava above. The scenic interest in the area is tremendous. The mountains here are perhaps the most varied and colourful in Iceland. A hike to nearby Blßhnj˙kur, where the visitor has unobstructed view of the surrounding countryside is highly recommended, also to J÷kulgil, a long rugged defile with several side canyons and tributary gullies. High up on the slopes above the lava under which the hut nestles is a colourful thermal area, springs emitting sulphurous odours. Leave Landmannalaugar and pass lake Frostasta­avatn, surrounded by colourful mountains and craters. Continue on a trail that proceeds cutting across some relatively recent lava streams and through the Dˇmadalur valley. Come to Landmannahellir, a cave that runs some distance into a hillside. The track passes through a wide variety of canyons, valleys, over rock ridges and black lava, weird plain of lava rocks surrounded by captivating mountains. The mountain track over Landmannalei­ offers some of the finest scenic views available throughout this fascinating region. Off the track there are various trails leading to the volcano Hekla, which is in view on and off to the south of the trail. At the end of the route continue to Hella. On March 20th 2010, a volcanic eruption started on Fimmv÷r­uhßls, a mountain ridge between the glaciers, Eyjafjallaj÷kull and Mřrdalsj÷kull. The eruption on Fimmv÷r­uhßls lasted a couple of weeks. After this eruption came to an end a new and bigger eruption started underneath the nearby icecap of Eyjafjallaj÷kull Glacier. This eruption came to an end on 23. May 2010.

Driving distance
220 kilometers

Highlights:
Eldgjß Canyon
Landmannalaugar
Lake Frostasta­avatn
Mt. Hekla

Overnight: Hella Area

Day 6. Sprengisandur Highland Trail to the North


Continue to the north across the central highlands on the Sprengisandur route. On a fine day, the route over Sprengisandur provides a splendid trip through the magnificent interior of Iceland, with spectacular and far reaching views. The route follows roughly the ancient horse trail that linked southern and northern Iceland. It affords a good cross section of views of the interior highlands. Much of the landscape along it consists of a desert sand, gravel and wind eroded lava beds. In total it has a grandeur of its own, a haunting quality of size and emptiness, above all, the sense of space and freedom, tranquillity and grim beauty. There are some hydro electrical power stations along the route at Vatnsfell, Sigalda and at Hrauneyjar. The track goes west of lake Thorisvatn ( ١risvatn ) with an area of 70 sq km., it is the second largest lake in Iceland. The lake, on a high elevation and holding an enormous volume of water, posses a great water power potential. All around encircling the horizon are the rugged mountains of the highlands and the sparkling white ice fields, Hofsj÷kull and Vatnaj÷kull with fretted glaciers. The white of the ice fields looks incredibly vivid against the sombre background all around.. The drive follows the undulations of the land, down into defiles and to the top of high ridges that run near parallel to one another along this stretch. Just before coming to the huts at the entrance to Nřidalur valley, ford J÷kulkvÝsl, sometimes a treacherous river where due care should be observed. Near the mouth of Nřidalur, altitude795m are mountain huts, a wardens station and a campsite.Leaving Nřidalur, the track passes through a wide variety of high country scenery, rock-strewn tracts, gravely plain and patches of eroded lavas, all almost bare of vegetation. In spite of its apparent sameness the trail displays many stark but beautiful views, trackless desert, vast ice fields and near and distant mountains. The landscape is scattered with the debris of ice age glaciers and the evidence of stationary ice sheets that once occupied the plateau may be seen on all sides.The track passes Fjˇr­ungsvatn, a crescent shaped lake under a low mountain ridge. From a low hill, a tall cairn stands to commemorate one of the pioneering spirits of highland travel. Here is the highest elevation of the track, 826 m above sea level. This is the water divide. North of here all rivers and streams drain to the Arctic Ocean. Along the route there are occasional glimpses of Skjßlfandafljˇt, a glacial river which flows in deep bed to the east.Green moss and later grass starts to appear again to soften the starkness of the scene. The altitude drops gradually and the country assumes a more verdant appearance. In the innermost reaches of Bßr­ardalur the track comes to ═shˇlsvatn, a small lake between low grassy ridges. At the northern end of lake ═shˇlsvatn there is a short side fork which runs over intervening hills to an interesting low watrfall in the Skjßlfandafljˇt river around and below the waterfall Aldeyjarfoss, variously twisted and formed basalt columns. The track ends at Mřri farm, the last outpost of habitation to the north in the Bßr­ardalur valley. Driving north along the valley the landscape becomes progressively more fertile and more inhabited. Stop at the beautiful waterfall Go­afoss, close to Fosshˇll. Continue to H˙savÝk area for overnight.

Driving distance
370 kilometers

Highlights:
H˙savÝk Town
Go­afoss waterfall

Overnight: H˙savÝk Area

Day 7. Tj÷rnes - J÷kulsßrglj˙fur - ┴sbyrgi - Dettifoss - Lake Mřvatn - Akureyri


Leave H˙savÝk and drive to the north to the Íxarfj÷r­ur Bay. Make a detour to Hljˇ­aklettar, Echo rocks, an extremely beautiful canyon carved by the great glacial river J÷kulsß ß Fj÷llum that takes its source in Vatnaj÷kull, Icelands largest glacier. This area offers many interesting hiking trails to explore the many wonders of the J÷kulsßrglj˙fur National Park. Visit the nearby horse-shoe shaped ┴sbyrgi canyon. Continue to the south road to Dettifoss waterfall the mightiest waterfall in Europe, further upstream in J÷kulsß ß Fj÷llum. Continue to the magnificent Lake Mřvatn area. Stop at Nßmaskar­ pass where boiling mud pools and flashing colours of the pass merge with lava and ash from the Krafla volcanic system. The Lake Mřvatn area is known world wide for the abundance of birdlife and its exceptionally many breeding duck species. The lake's surroundings show great variety in stunning landscapes and amazing geological formations. Stop at Dimmuborgir, the "Dark Castles" and see the pseudocraters near Sk˙tusta­ir and many other scenic spots in the area surrounding the lake. The Nature Baths at Mřvatn are a great attraction, where one can take a bath in geothermal water under the open sky. Continue to Akureyri area for overnight.

Driving distance
300 kilometers

Highlights:
Hverfell Crater
Lake Mřvatn area
Dimmuborgir
Hverfell Crater
Mřvatn Nature Baths
Nßmaskar­

Overnight: Akureyri Area

Day 8. Akureyri - Skagafj÷r­ur


Drive through the majestic mountains surrounding Íxnadalur valley and across the Íxnadalshei­i pass which leads to the Skagafjordur district. Popular horse riding tours for beginners and experienced riders are available here. In Skagafj÷r­ur you will also be able to join some of the best white water rafting in Iceland. Here we recommend a visit to the old turf and stone farm / museum at GlaumbŠr and the old tini church at VÝ­imřri.

Driving distance
120 kilometers

Highlights:
Akureyri
VarmahlÝ­
GlaumbŠr Folk Museum
Sau­ßrkrˇkur Town

Overnight: Northwest area


Different option:

Explore Tr÷llaskagi Peninsula. Take road 82 to the north along the western shore of Eyjafj÷r­ur Fjord to DalvÝk town. A short (15 min.) ferry ride is available several times daily (every 1-2 hours) during summer from ┴rskˇgssandur to the Island HrÝsey. HrÝsey has earned a reputation as a bird watching destination. There are no natural predators on the island, making it an ideal bird sanctuary. Drive further to the north to Ëlafsfj÷r­ur town. An approximately 11 km new tunnel has recently been opened that cuts driving distance between Siglufj÷r­ur and Ëlafsfj÷r­ur by about 47 km. It enables easy access to the isolated and pretty HÚ­insfj÷r­ur valley, that in the past used to be the most remote settlement in North Iceland. Due to the remoteness, the valley was abandoned in the middle of the 20th century.
The tunnel is in two sections: Siglufj÷r­ur to HÚ­insfj÷r­ur: 3.7 km and from HÚ­infj÷r­ur to Ëlafsfj÷r­ur 6.9 km. Drive to Siglufj÷r­ur fishing town, a remotely located fishing town that during the herring boom in early 20th century used to be the most prosperous fishing town in Iceland. Visit the award-winning Siglufj÷r­ur Herring Era Museum. It charts the rise and decline of the former "Herring Capital of the World" and the great Herring Adventure that lasted until 1968. Continue on 76 to the south along the shores of Skagafj÷r­ur Fjord to Hofsˇs town and further to Sau­ßrkrˇkur.
Driving distance approximately 180 km.

Day 9. SnŠfellsnes Peninsula


The Icelandic Seal Center at Hvammstangi town is an interesting place to visit. It is a research and exhibition center investigating the lives of seals found in and around Iceland. Around Vatnsnes peninsula you have a unique opportunity to watch both harbour seals and grey seals in their natural habitat. The main watching locations are Svalbar­ and at Illugasta­ir on the west coast and and at Ësar on the east coast. The Icelandic Seal Center at Hvammstangi gives more information about these locations and how to approach the seals with care. It is usually best to see the selas at low tide since seals usually rest ashore during low tide but feed during high tide. After driving through the fertile farmlands of H˙navatnssřsla County and along the shores of Hr˙tafj÷r­ur Fjord, head for B˙­ardalur. Visit the Viking Age museum at EirÝkssta­ir, the former home of Erik the Red and birthplace of his son Leif Eiriksson, who discovered America around the year 1000. Head for the SnŠfellsnes Peninsula towards the charming village of Stykkishˇlmur.

Driving distance
280 kilometers

Highlights:
HvÝtserkur Cliff
Stykkishˇlmur Town

Overnight: SnŠfellsnes Area

Day 10. SnŠfellsj÷kull National Park


Spend the day to explore the countless natural wonders of the SnŠfellsnes peninsula that divides the west coast of Iceland into two large bays. Head to the west towards the tip of the peninsula passing the small fishing towns Grundarfj÷r­ur, ËlafsvÝk, Rif and Hellissandur. Much of interesting geological phenomena and historic sites can be found in the SnŠfellsj÷kull National Park, the most recent one in Iceland. Among many places of interest are DritvÝk, Dj˙palˇnssandur and Índver­arnes a former fishing station. Make a short detour to Dj˙palˇnssandur and take a short walk along a marked path to the beach. Drive around the tip of the peninsula at the foot of SnŠfellsj÷kull, a glaciated volcano, the backdrop for the famous novel ôThe Journey to the Centre of the Earthö written by the famous French author, Jules Verne. Ů˙fubjarg is a spectacular cliff and a nesting colony of numerous seabirds, only a few minutesĺ walk from the road, shortly after passing Lˇndrangar. Continue to Arnarstapi and Hellnar to view beautiful and spectacular coast and interesting birdlife. There is an interesting museum at Hellnar. Visit B˙­ir, a pretty site located on a natural inlet. From B˙­ir head to the east along the south coast of the peninsula. Seals can often be seen on land or in the water at the farm Ytri Tunga, only a few hundred meters drive from the main road. Head for Borgarnes town and continue to the historic Reykholt and see the hot pool Snorralaug. Stop enroute at Deildartunguhver hot spring, the largest hot spring in Europe. Drive further inland to the beautiful Hraunfossar and Barnafossar Waterfalls. Make the waterfalls a turnaround point and head back to Borgarnes. Return to ReykavÝk.

Driving distance
430 kilometers

Highlights:
Brei­af÷r­ur Bay
SnŠfellsj÷kull Glacier
Dj˙palˇnssandur
Lˇndrangar rock formation
Arnarstapi
Hellnar hamlet
Borgarnes town
Reykholt
Deildartunguhver
Hraunfossar

Overnight: ReykjavÝk

Recommended optional activity:
The Settlement Exhibition and The Egil Saga Exhibition

Day 11. The Blue Lagoon


Drive to the Blue Lagoon before you end the tour at your hotel in ReykjavÝk. Enjoy a relaxing bath at the Blue Lagoon in an otherworldly setting where lava and thermal water complement each other to prepare you for your journey home. Filled with mineral-rich waters, the Blue Lagoon has become famous for providing soothing relief for sufferers of skin disorders, as well as for others simply looking for a sensational bathing experience. Soak in the refreshing waters of the lagoon and have a wonderful last unforgettable taste of Iceland that ensures you will be fully relaxed when you leave the country. If you plan to take a bath at the Blue Lagoon, we strongly recommend that you book your ticket in advance. It can be booked at www.bluelagoon.com Return to ReykjavÝk and drop off the car.

Driving distance
110 kilometers

Highlights:
The Blue Lagoon

Overnight: ReykjavÝk

Day 12. Departure

Transfer from your hotel to the KeflavÝk airport by Flybus

ACCOMMODATION

Cat 1

Cat 1

Rooms in guesthouses with shared facilities but sometimes with washbasins in the rooms. Breakfast is included.
Double rooms at most Icelandic hotels are twin rooms with two single beds. In most cases the two single beds can be put together to make a double bed. However this varies from one hotel / guesthouse to another.
Triple rooms are in most cases double rooms with an extra bed and therefore floor space may be limited when an extra bed has been added.

Cat 2

Cat 2

Rooms in guesthouses or hotels with private shower or bath and WC. Breakfast is included.

Cat 3

Cat 3

Rooms in the best quality accommodation available with private shower or bath and WC. Breakfast is included.
Double rooms at most Icelandic hotels are twin rooms with two single beds. In most cases the two single beds can be put together to make a double bed. However this varies from one hotel / guesthouse to another.
Triple rooms are in most cases double rooms with an extra bed and therefore floor space may be limited when an extra bed has been added.

CARS

13.K - Toyota Landcruiser 4WD or similar - Automatic -

13.K - Toyota Landcruiser 4WD or similar - Automatic -

Transmission: Automatic
Seats: 5
Suitcases: 4
Doors: 5

Optional Extra: Would you like to do some extra activities? Below activities can be added to this tour.

Useful Information: Here you will find other information for this tour.

Pick up of rental car is the morning of day 2.

Drop off is in ReykjavÝk the day prior to your departure ľ day 11.

An extra day will be charged if the car is returned later.

Due to road conditions routes may have to be altered without prior notice. The highland tracks of Iceland are usually not expected to be open until early June and due to road conditions some routes may temporarily not be passable without prior notice.

Types of car recommended: A 4 wheel drive car is needed for this tour.

Accommodation is according to your choice in farmhouses, guesthouses or hotels, cat. 1, 2 or 3. including breakfast. Due to limited availability of accommodation in the Icelandic countryside and a great demand for summer, we are only able to confirm specific category but not a specific hotel in each locality until booking has been made and confirmed.


Early morning arrival: Check in time at hotels is usually between 14:00 - 16:00. If you arrive early morning, you may not be able to check in immediately on arrival.
A credit card imprint will be taken at the start of all rentals for security reasons, even when a voucher covers the cost of the rental. Cash and debit card deposits will not be accepted. This credit card imprint may be used to pay all extra charges, including extra driven kilometres if applicable, extra insurance, parking fines, damages or any costs due to the car rental company as a result of the hirer's use of the car. Map displayed is only for quick reference and is not to scale.

Travel Insurance: To avoid dispute in case of cancellation, we strongly recommend that our clients purchase a comprehensive travel insurance in their home country, that covers your cost should you have to cancel your tour. This kind of travel insurance is usually not expensive and it frequently covers other risks too.

Price Calculator: There are several factors that determine the price of self drive packages:

1. Time of the year.

2. Number of people traveling together

3. Type of car (we offer more than 15 different types of cars)

4. Type of accommodation (we offer 3 different categories of accommodation)

There is a special Price Calculator button at our website with every self drive tour package where you can enter your choice of type of accommodation and car, number of people and when you want to begin the tour (arrival date) and the Price Calculator will calculate and display the price of different options.

Note: Day(s) can be added before and / or after if your arrival and departure does not fit the itinerary of this tour. Additional day tours can be added for the additional day/s. If you have any questions please don┤t hesitate to contact us by email to tour@tour.is and we will be more than happy to advice.

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