Following the deserted fjords you will wander far from the beaten track as you go deep into the heart of elf country. Enjoy the warm hospitality of local people in the countryside.
You will explore the magnificent scenery of the distant East Fjords and learn all about elf folklore, visiting well-known elf habitats and kingdoms in places so remote there are reputed to be more ´hidden people’ than regular people. You will certainly encounter few tourists in these parts!
June 4th - September 17th
Meet on location
- Tour highlights
- Stóraurð (Giant Boulder Hollow)
- Gönguskurð (Gonguskurd Pass)
- Breiðuvík (Breiduvik Bay)
- Borgarfjörður (Borgafjordur Valley)
- Brúnavík (Brunavik Bay)
- Accommodation in a country hotel
- Local guide
- Museum admissions
- All meals from lunch on day 1 to lunch on day 5
Departure time: 09:00 am flight departure from Reykjavík Domestic Airport to Egilsstaðir if you have booked this option. The tour departs at 10:00 am from Egilsstaðir Airport.
This five-day East Iceland trekking tour will really show you the superb majesty and outstanding natural beauty around the East Fjords (Austfirðir) of Iceland. If you love mystical folklore, history and legends together with spectacular ocean and mountain landscapes this is the guided Iceland hiking tour for you!
The deep Eastern Fjords, where steeply jagged and sometimes softly curved colorful mountains meet the ocean waves, are filled with history, folklore and mystical legends which your knowledgeable guide is sure to share with you. There is a special way in which the landscape will bring alive a local story, never more so than in this place – local color, character, and culture are very strong here.
Some say this area has the biggest population of elves or hidden people in Iceland. Elf folklore and legends are heavily reflected in many of the place names in this region, for example, Álfaborg (Elf Fortress or City) where the Elf Queen is said to live. Although the Borgarfjörður Eystri area is widely known for the spellbinding drama of its beauty, the places we will visit are still untouched by mass-tourism. Just a few people visit to enjoy the peace, quiet, birdlife and spaciousness of the region.
Our base will be at a country hotel in Borgarfjörður Eystri where serenity reigns supreme. Accommodation is in double rooms with private toilet facilities, comfortable beds and full board. Don´t forget your camera!
Local culture and knowledge
We will enjoy the hospitality and services of local people who love to share their knowledge of the area and its culture. There are opportunities to appreciate fresh local food at country restaurants. Bird watching is a frequent pastime. We often allow the lure of a deserted inlet to take us slightly off-track, to that special place where a legend from the past will really come alive.
Difficulty of the hikes
The walks are easy to moderate so that anyone able to walk briskly for three to four hours can join the tour. We recommend that those unused to hiking prepare themselves in the weeks before the tour. For example, by taking brisk walks of 1-2 hours, 3-4 times per week. The hikes are between 11 km and 16 km each day with elevation gains of 400 m to 700 m. For details of each East Iceland hike please see the itinerary.
Remember to bring: Please check our detailed equipment list.
Guaranteed departure dates for 2017:
Those who are not already staying the Egilsstaðir area will need to take the morning flight from Reykjavík Domestic Airport. Your small-group tour sets off from Egilsstaðir Airport at 10:00 am.
It will take us about an hour to drive along remote roads, through spectacular scenery to the Elf Guesthouse in Borgarfjörður. This locally owned guesthouse will be our ‘home´ for the duration of the tour. Our first hike is an interesting walk around the village, there are many points of interest including the old turf house, concert hall, local fish factory, everything from rock to art are on our agenda!
We enjoy a light lunch before our afternoon hike into the valley of Borgarfjörður following unmarked trails through stunning scenery. Our hike will take us along the old sheep trails up to Dimmidalur (the Dark Valley) and Jökuldalur (Glacier Valley) to see the rugged and very beautiful mountain landscapes, beneath Mount Dyrfjöll (Door Mountain) which rises to an impressive 1136 m. This mountain is so named because there is a large gap or door in the middle of it, many say Dyrfjöll is an elf habitat. However, there is more elfin lore! We walk on through Lobbuhraun, a warm and well-known elf community on our return to the village of Bakkagerði. We will, of course, also visit the Elf Queen at Álfaborg!
Hiking info: Rather easy day, walking about 12 km, gaining an elevation of 400 m.
- Scenic flight to Egilsstaðir
- Hiking around the village
- Dimmidalur (the Dark Valley)
- Jökuldalur (the Glacier valley)
- Hiking guide
- Lunch and dinner
On the Monday we hike through the mountains to Brúnavík Bay. First, we will be transported to the environmentally friendly harbor of Hafnarhólmi in Borgarfjörður to see the puffins and other birds nesting there. After enjoying the birdlife we will begin our hike proper! Trekking up from the coast through vegetated mountain scree areas to the Brúnavík pass, at 345 m. From here, on a clear day, there are outstanding mountain views, we then make our way back down to sea level at the Brúnavík inlet. Here we will explore a black sand beach, which is unusual because there are a lot of beautiful stones to be found there. We will take our time, following the heartbeat of nature and listening to the waves. We slip our boots off to ford a small stream, before enjoying a relaxing barefoot walk to the other end of the beach. We lace up our boots once again! Trekking up to the 321m high pass at Hofstrandarskarð, our walk will then follow alongside Helgárgil, a surprisingly colorful canyon, on our return journey to the little village of Bakkagerði.
Hiking info: traversing about 16 km and gaining 700 m of elevation.
- Bird life
- Black sand beach
- Helgarárgil Canyon
- Hiking Guide
- Breakfast, lunch and dinner
Tuesday you will visit East Iceland’s best-kept secret, Stórurð (Large Boulder Hollow). Your Stórurð hike will start from the Vatnskarð pass (431 m), taking you up across Mount Geldingafjall (640 m) with stunning scenery all around us, we then walk inland going west of the Súlur peaks. From here there are superb views over Njarðvík, the valley of Fljótsdalshérað and the dramatic black sandy beach at Héraðsflói Bay. On a particularly clear day our views will extend as far as Vatnajökull, the largest glacier in Europe and Mount Snæfell in the eastern part of the central highlands. Next, our hike will take us down into Stórurð, a unique and magnificent expanse of enormous rocky boulders which are intersected by a small scenic river. Very secluded and almost hidden calm turquoise-colored pools of icy water can be found in the hollows around these huge boulders, many of these pools have flat banks carpeted with short, tender, green grass. This is a dreamy and extremely beautiful place, the peaceful and mystical air adds to the otherworldly nature of the scenery.
To return from this mysterious place we have a choice! The more challenging option is to hike along Mount Dyrfjöll (Door Mountains), or, we could take the easy way down through the valley below Rjúpnafell, dramatic mountain peak which rises to 550 m above sea level.
Hiking info: This is a somewhat challenging hike because there are loose gravel scree areas for about 15% of the route. 16 km with an elevation gain of 500 m.
- Súlur peaks
- Mountain views
- Hiking Guide
- Breakfast, lunch and dinner
Your Breiðafjörður hike today will show you the beauties of Breiðavík (Wide Bay). You will be transported to Afrétt to begin an easy hike over moorland and gravel, you will see the light sandy brown rhyolite around Urðarhólavatn, a beautiful 0.7 km long lake above Breiðavík. The walk will continue by Gæsavötn, another lake and across Víknaheiði, a stunning and mystical heathland with stupendous views. Finally, your hike will take you down into the inlet at Breiðavík. Along the way you will pass rhyolite mountains which display an incredible range of amazing pastel colors. We take short rest at the black sand beach of Breiðavík, where the feeling of Arctic vastness is much enhanced by the Siberian driftwood on the shoreline. Our hike will then take us up to the ridge at Gagnheiði (479 m), there is a viewpoint indicator here and the most fabulous panoramic views. Finally, after an eventful and fascinating day we head back to Bakkagerði with expansive and spectacular views over the area’s amazing mountains.
Hiking info: An easy hike. 15 km gaining an elevation of 400 m.
- Rhyolite mountains
- Hiking Guide
- Breakfast, lunch and dinner
On Thursday we hike from Stapavík to Njarðvík. First, you are driven for around 15 minutes from Borgarfjörður to the Unaós Farm. Our hike will take us alongside the Selfljót River down to the seashore at a lovely cove, Stapavík, this is the place where they unloaded the ships in the olden days, so the atmosphere of the past will be all around us! From Stapavík we take a rather easy hike through the pass at Gönguskörð (206 M), following an old riding trail most of the way. For 1000 years this was the only land route between Borgarfjörður and the valley of Fljótsdalshérað, the road over the Vatnskarð pass was not completed until 1955. Your walk will finish at another farm, Njarðavík, you will be picked up from there and driven to back to Borgarfjörður. In the afternoon, we will drive back to the little town of Egilsstaðir in plenty of time to catch the evening flight to Reykjavík.
Hiking info: Easy/moderate. 11 km gaining an elevation of 415 m.
- Selfljót river
- Gönguskarð Pass
- Hiking Guide
- Breakfast and lunch
All of our tours are small group experiences. We have a maximum of 16 participants on the hut tour and 14 participants on the camping tour.
Yes, you can fill your water bottles with tap water at the huts/campsites. It’s perfectly safe to drink. There are also a few streams along the way with safe drinking water, just ask your guide.
Gaiters are optional but we always recommend that our participants use them. The weather in Iceland can be quite wet so the trails subsequently get wet as well. They are not necessary but being drenched on a hike when conditions are wet and muddy is very unpleasant. Some rain pants have straps at the bottom which serve a similar purpose as gaiters so if you are equipped with those you don’t need both.
Hiking poles are also optional. The choice of using them or not of course depends on your own personal preference. Note that we do recommend hiking poles if you are used to hiking with them.
All our tours are undertaken on the responsibility of its participants. Arctic Adventures does not assume any responsibility for accidents that are caused by its customers or can be traced to their own actions. Participants have to sign a waiver before undertaking all trips stating that they realize that all outdoor activities carry an inherent risk.
Price from 175.990 ISK per person.
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