Volcanoes and Northern Lights Escorted Tour (In Pictures)

Thursday, 30th August 2018

Debbie Smallwood

iceland debbiekelly 8wd

I was very lucky to be part of the first departure for our Volcanoes and Northern Lights Escorted Tour last season. Everything in Iceland is absolutely breathtaking so it’s difficult to pick a favourite part. However, here are the highlights!

The Highlands & Landmannalaugur in our impressive 8WD truck!

I’d recommend the Icelandic Highlands to people looking to see a different side of Iceland without the hoards of people! There are incredibly dramatic landscapes, craters, lakes, volcanoes and lava fields. Although we were on a bus most of the day, there are regular stops as you go to walk around the sites and for lunch!

The highlands in the winter is like no place I’ve seen before. As we left Hotel Highlands, the black volcanic ash deserts where sprinkled with dustings of snow like one big Black Forest gateau. Lava rocks started to rule the terrain as we passed lava fields, where it felt like black was fighting with white.

There were no other colours in the landscape, and no other life here either. It was just us and the silence, which was a really surreal experience.

north iceland volcanic landscape winter3 ap

Us, Another Superjeep and a Snowman!

We were breaking the way as we were the first group of tourists to be driving this route in the winter. Out of all the thousands of tourists in Iceland at that moment it was just the twenty of us who were witnessing and experiencing this part of the country. The fact we were alone is awe-inspiring.

As we headed deeper into the unknown, white started to win the battle against black as the landscape became covered in miles of virgin snow. We thundered on in our giant truck; nothing could stop us now! Located just below the Sprengisandur route in the south of the highlands, Landmannalaugar is very remote; you can’t get there in a regular vehicle.

It’s famous for its natural hot springs – the pool is completely natural and is part of a running river, but there are change rooms with basic toilet/shower facilities.

As it’s running water, it isn’t blue in colour like Iceland’s most famous place to bathe in naturally hot water, the Blue Lagoon. There’s no silica mud either. It’s also much more off the beaten track  – we were the only folks there when we visited!  We were there for about 2.5 hours, which included lunch, a lovely walk into the valley and a swim in the pool.

The Famed Golden Circle

On our first day, we visited the Golden Circle – Gullfoss waterfall, Geysir to see Strokkur erupt, and Thingvellir National Park. All three are a must-see and we were left amazed!

Thorsmork, South Coast & Northern Lights

Our second day in the truck was visiting the equally remote Thorsmork Valley. We went from Hotel Highland, fording rivers and traversing the terrain up to the foot of the glacier.

We also saw some of the most beautiful waterfalls on the south coast – including Seljalandsfoss! And we were even treated to incredible displays of the northern lights!

Reykjanes Peninsula

Before heading home, there was also time to explore the Reykjanes Peninsula, including the bubbling mud pools of Krisuvik and a walk across the bridge between two continents.

This was a truly fantastic trip and if you are a fan of the off the beaten track then this tour certainly takes that to the next level!

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