Iceland, Here We Come
After canceling two previous trips to Europe we are anticipating a month-long adventure in Iceland. From epic trails to an active volcano adventure abounds in Iceland.
Crystal was the first to fly with Icelandair in 2014. She and our oldest daughter were on their way to walk the Camino de Santiago and flew Icelandair from Anchorage, Alaska to Paris via Keflavik. In 2016 we stopped over together along with our two younger daughters on a return from Europe. We enjoyed the Blue Lagoon and a counterclockwise trip around the Golden Circle taking advantage of an Icelandair Stopover.
In 2018 Crystal and our oldest returned again for another quick stopover. They hit the Blue Lagoon and Snorkeled between the continents. Our 2020 plans included a 4-day stopover with plans to visit the Westman Islands and explore a bit more of the south coast. Well just like everyone else our 2020 plans quickly changed.
Rounding up vouchers and refunds for 70 days of travel proved to be a bit daunting but in the end, we had resources in hand to plan a future adventure. As fall 2020 arrived and 2021 flight schedules were posted we planned another trip to Europe, only to roll through the winter of 2020-2021 and realize that those plans would need to be canceled. With Icelandair vouchers burning a hole in our pocket, we watched the changing travel scene looking for an opening to fill our wanderlust. When Iceland announced that they would be opening to fully vaccinated travelers, we took the bait, hook line, and sinker. After months of planning, we are nearly ready for an epic visit to a place that in many ways reminds us of our Alaskan home.
Laugavegur and Fimmvörðuháls Trails
After arriving and quarantining until we get our test results. We will overnight at an Airbnb and catch the Reykavik Excursions Highlands bus to Landmannalaugar. After enjoying some day hikes in Landmannalaugar and the swimmable hot springs we will venture out on a four-day trek from Landmannalaugar to Porsmork.
After arriving in Porsmork we will catch the evening bus to Skogar where we will overnight prior to hiking the Fimmvorduhals Trail back to Porsmork. Back in Porsmork, after 6 days in a tent sleeping on the ground, it will be time to enjoy some glamping at Volcano Huts.
From Volcano Huts the Reykjavik Excursions Highlands bus will deliver us back to Reykjavik where we will overnight at Reykjavik Campsite and then pick up our Blue Car rental in the morning.
Road Trip Part 1
The current plan is to drive all the way to Diamond Beach and Jökulsárlón.
From there we will make our way back to Skaftafell and camp for the night. The next day we hope to hike to Svartifoss and to complete the Kristínartindar hike. Onward travel will include roadside attractions with a plan of camping in Vik.
From Vik, we will hit Seljalandsfoss and other sites along the way overnighting at another campsite before catching the ferry to the Westman Islands.
In the Westman Islands, we will enjoy day hiking and spending a couple of nights off the ground, staying at Glamping and Camping Vestmasnnaeyjar. From the Islands, we will head back to Reykjavik for four nights, staying in an Airbnb taking daily road trips from downtown. We booked this Airbnb with the anticipation of this being the end of the trip. At the time of booking one of the reasons we wanted to be back near the city was to facilitate our Covid testing prior to returning to the U.S. With Reykjavik as our base, we plan to enjoy the cityscape and complete day trips that will include The Thermal River, and Geldingadalir the active volcano.
This video has some of the best images of the volcano I have seen. Some NSFW language but amazing images.
These four days may include a hike up Esjan, Fridheimar, for some soup, and possibly revisiting a few stops on the Golden Circle.
One last stop before we give up our rental car for a week will be The Sky Lagoon. Reykjavik's newest spa.
Austur or Vestur (East or West)
This next week remains unplanned. Part of the reason for that is the logistic and expense have us pausing, taking a look at our budget and the realities of remote transportation.
West- If we choose West we will fly from Reykjavik's domestic airport to Ísafjörður from there we would take a boat ride to Hornstrandir where we would enjoy 4-5 days of wilderness hiking in one of the most stunningly beautiful places you can visit.
Safetravels.is has a useful guide for visiting the area.
East- if we go East we will again be flying, this time into Egilsstaðir. From Egilsstaðir we will hitchhike or access rural bus route to hike Seyðisfjörður to Borgarfjörður, East Fjords, the Víknaslóðir, "The trails of the inlets."
Road Trip Part 2
Back to Reykjavik will bring us to a rental car once again for the final portion of our journey. The destination is the North but we will be starting with the Snæfellsnes Peninsula.
The North brings lots of freedom in a road trip and two destinations that will be the center of our road trip.
The first being the Bjórböðin Beer Spa which includes a soak in the elements of beer, a beer bath, followed by outdoor tubs enjoying the view while sampling local Icelandic beers.
Did I mention that during your 30-minute session the tap is available the whole time.
Finally, it is off to the Diamond Circle. "...the Diamond Circle is comprised of four major sites; Lake Mývatn, Dettifoss Waterfall, Ásbyrgi Canyon and the fishing town of Húsavík."
On the way out we will have another day or two in the Reykjavik area to accommodate our exit testing, then back to our Kodiak home via Seattle.
Days like the one above have been really rare here in Kodiak over the past month. We know in Iceland we may experience many wet and cold days along the way, with the right gear and the right attitude we are anticipating a fantastic Onfoot.life adventure.