In the Shadow of Vatnajokull

from £1766
excluding flights *
5 nights Jul-Sep


Covering 50km, this 4-day guided hike takes you to the stunning, little visited nature reserve of Lonsoraefi in southeast Iceland. Skirting the snow-capped volcano of Mt Snaefell, the trail leads through spectacular mountain scenery at the very edge of the mighty Vatnajokull icecap. Carrying lightweight backpacks and sleeping in mountain huts, you’ll walk through canyons and colourful rhyolite mountains, ford glacial rivers and stride out along wild valleys roamed by reindeer.


  • Discover one of Iceland’s most remote and challenging hiking areas
  • Trek in rugged wilderness with amazing views of Europe’s largest glacier
  • Explore well off the beaten track in a small group led by a local guide
  • With luck, encounter herds of free-roaming reindeer
  • Spend your nights in well-equipped mountain huts

What's Included

  • Accommodation in rooms with private bathroom
  • All breakfasts, 4 lunches, 3 dinners
  • Domestic flights Reykjavik - Egilsstadir and Hofn - Reykjavik
  • Trek as per itinerary
  • 24 hour emergency assistance from our team during your holiday
  • No surcharge guarantee

Full description

Lonsoraefi Nature Reserve

The setting for this hike is Lonsoraefi – the ‘wilderness of Lon’ ­– a rugged land of multi-hued rhyolite mountains, glacial torrents and wind-swept moor rucked up against the frigid eastern flank of the Vatnajokull icecap. Lonsoraefi is one of Iceland’s largest conservation areas. It could also be one of its best-kept secrets for hikers.

Highlights of the trek

From Egilsstadir in East Iceland, you will be transferred to the trailhead near Mt Snaefell, hunkered down on the edge of the Highlands. As you begin walking, following the Jokulsa River and scaling the mountain of Geldingafell, there are breathtaking views of Vatnajokull, as well as its outlet glaciers and glacial lagoons. From free-roaming reindeer and remote lakes dotted with wild geese and ducks to extraordinary cliffs of columnar basalt and purple, orange and pink rhyolite mountains, the next few days will transport you into a mesmerising realm of rock and ice.

On the trail

Expect to walk 6-8 hours per day, covering 11-15km. You will need to carry your own backpack with personal gear (such as a sleeping bag liner, spare clothing and toiletries) as well as fresh food. Your pack shouldn’t weigh more than 7-10kg since each of the mountain huts is well equipped with sleeping bags, blankets, mattresses, cooking gear and basic supplies. Although you will be led by a professional local guide, this is a remote location, involving some challenging trekking (with river crossings and a wide range of terrain), so previous hiking experience is useful.

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Prices & Dates *

Airfares start from around £70 per person and are quoted separately to the holiday price. When enquiring, our Travel Specialists will provide the best fare possible from your preferred airline / airport.

These are starting prices in £ per person based on rooms with private facilities, unless otherwise stated.

Start End Twin Price (pp) Single Price
Sun 14 Jul 2019 Fri 19 Jul 2019 £1,766 £1,876
Mon 05 Aug 2019 Sat 10 Aug 2019 £1,766 £1,876
Mon 26 Aug 2019 Sat 31 Aug 2019 £1,766 £1,876

What's Included

  • Accommodation in rooms with private bathroom
  • Accommoation in rooms with shared facilities for 3 nights in mountain huts on full board basis (except breakfast on day one and dinner on the last day of the trek)
  • All breakfasts, 4 lunches, 3 dinners
  • Domestic flights Reykjavik - Egilsstadir and Hofn - Reykjavik
  • Bus transportation as per itinerary
  • Sleeping bag & cooking gear
  • Services of guide
  • 24 hour emergency assistance from our team during your holiday
  • No surcharge guarantee

Group Size

This escorted group requires a minimum of 6 participants in order to operate, and will have a maximum of 15.

Note: on occasion tours may operate with less than the minimum number of participants specified above (or exceed the maximum number indicated) – please refer to our booking conditions for more details

Itinerary & Accommodation

Itinerary & Accommodation


Day 1: arrive Iceland

Fly to Keflavik and transfer to Hotel Cabin in Reykjavik for an overnight stay.

Day 2: Reykjavík - Egilsstadir - Geldingafell

Take an early-morning flight from Reykavik to Egilsstadir where you will be met at the airport before being transferred to the Eyjabakkar area east of Mt. Snaefell for the start of your hike. Following the glacial Jokulsa River, you should have spectacular views of Snaefell – the snow-capped volcano (also known as ‘King of the Mountains) looming dramatically above the landscape. Turning east towards the Geldingafell mountain at the edge of Vatnajokull, you enter rougher terrain baring the scars of glaciation. Keep an eye open for reindeer – the free-roaming herds of East Iceland often frequent this area. Accommodation tonight is in the first of a chain of cosy mountain huts where you can relax and enjoy a hearty meal. Distance: 15km Walking time: 6-8hrs Ascent: 150m

Day 3: Geldingafell - Egilssel

Today’s hike across Geldingafell provides stunning views over the Vatnajokull icecap and its outlet glaciers. Following the Vesturdalur valley, you’ll descend to Lake Kollumulavatn where pintail ducks can often be seen. Overnight in the Egilssel mountain hut beside the lake.
Distance: 15km
Walking time: 6-8hrs
Ascent/Descent: 300m//500m

Day 4: Egilssel - Mulaskali

Walking around the lake, visit the columnar basalt formations in the impressive Trollakrokar cliffs and enjoy the views of the surrounding mountains. Later, you will hike into a colourful realm of rhyolite where mountainsides are daubed with a rich palette of purple, orange and even pink. Continuing into the valley of the glacial river Jokulsa i Loni, arrive at your final mountain hut for the night.
Distance: 12km
Walking time: 5-7hrs
Ascent/Descent: 200m/450m

Day 5: Mulaskali - Eskifell - Hornafjordur - Reykjavík

The final day’s walking begins with a crossing of the glacial river on a footbridge before climbing the hill of Illikambur for yet more spectacular views. Following the river south, you reach the old farmstead of Eskifell where a bus will transfer you to Höfn. Take an evening flight to Reykjavik and transfer to Hotel Cabin. *Departures on a Friday will spend this night in a hostel in Hofn and fly to Reykjavik on Wednesday morning.
Distance: 11km
Walking time: 6-8hrs
Ascent/Descent: 250m/300m

Day 6: depart Iceland

Transfer from your hotel in Reykjavik to Keflavik International Airport for your flight home.

Hotel Cabin, Reykjavik


Grade: Standard

Type: Hotel

Superb value for your money, this 252-room hotel is for guests looking for simple yet comfortable accommodation.

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