Skaftafell National Park and Jökulsár Glacial Lagoon

Itinerary

Day 1. (Thursday afternoon or evening*):e will start by fetching you at the Keflavik International Airport as you disembark from your continental Europe to Iceland flight, either in the afternoon ,from Copenhagen (Kastrup) or late evening from London (Stansted) and whisk you off to Reykjavik (about 30 miles from the airport). For those arriving early enough, we'll be stopping off on the way at the renowned Blue-Lagoon geothermal power plant and bathing resort for a quick swim and early taste of Iceland.
Overnight place of stay in Reykjavík or close vicinity.

Day 2 (Friday). We'll start off early the next morning (8.00 a.m.) by driving eastwards out of Reykjavík, through the Svínahraun lava-field, towards the Hellisheiđi plateau but just before reaching it, we'll veer off the main road and head south through the Ţrengsli pass, where one of Iceland's longest lava-caves, the so-called Raufarhólshellir which actually passes underneath the roadway, is to be found.
Shortly thereafter, from the top of the hillside, the immense southern shoreline of Iceland, dotted with a few fishing villages, will come into view and, in good visibility, the Vestman Islands offshore can also be seen.
Once in the southern lowlands, our route first passes along the shoreline, across the new bridge on the Ölfusá river estuary, where anglers and seals can often be spotted competing with one another for the catch of the ever elusive salmon.
Next, we pass through the first of these coastal villages, Eyrarbakki, which used to be one of Iceland 's main trading posts throughout the Middle-Ages, past Litla-Hraun, the country's main penitentiary, and on to Stokkeyri, an old fishing village whose main claim to glory is to have been the place where Ţuríđur formađur, a female fishing boat captain and her crew used to set sails in the early 19th century. A tiny folk museum dedicated to her endeavors can be found in the village centre.
Having passed Stokkseyri, the immensity of the South-Iceland lowlands, with it's endless fields and pastures, will stretch out before our eyes until we reach another estuary, that of Iceland's longest river, the Ţjórsá which, unfortunately, is not bridged here so that we are forced to cross it north of the Urriđafoss waterfall which is well worth a visit.
Both Hella and Hvolsvöllur, the next inland towns on our way, are perfectly suited for a mid morning halt for refreshments, and from there we will proceed alongside the Fljótshlíđ hillside, renowned for it's saga times events.Crossing over the washout of yet another big river, the Markarfljót this time, we will perceive the Eyjafjallajökull which is both a glacier and an active volcano at the same time, and the tall but lean Seljalandsfoss, a much admired waterfall.
The district on the southern side of the Eyjafjalla-and Mýrdalsjökull glaciers, being extremely well sheltered from the northern winds,enjoys a micro climate all of it's own, as attested by the numerous wheat and barley fields which have been planted there in recent years. But suddenly, another spectacular waterfall springs into view: the magnificent 180 ft high Skógafoss.
We will arrive at the picturesque village of Vík í Mýrdal,which is situated on the southernmost tip of the Icelandic coastline,around lunchtime and after refreshments, we will drive further east, across the vast expanses of the Mýrdalssandur sandy desert and the tremendous Eldhraun lava-field which is the country's biggest in historical times, covering an area of almost 560 sq.km.
The scenic little village of Kirkjubćjarklaustur now has a permanent exhibition, covering both the many important geological events which have taken place in this region and it 's historical importance (present archaeological excavations) and also the lives and times of .The curious rock formation "kirkjugólf" ,literlly the "church floor", nearby is also well worth a visit.
Dinner and overnight stay at Kirkjubćjarklaustur.

Day 3 (Saturday).
Another interesting rock formation i.e.basaltic columns, can be found near the farm of Foss á Síđu, and we can also visit the tiny 18th century chapel at Núpsstađur just before reaching the vast expanses of the Skeiđarársandur area, where a gigantic flood, due to a volcanic eruption underneath the Vatnajökull glacier, played havoc for three days, in the first week of November 1996.
Almost all of the damage of this spectacular flood has been repaired, however, some steel beams from the partially washed-out bridge over the river Skeiđará have been put on display near the eastern end of it, so that people can imagine the power of terrible forces of nature which were at work here at that time.
We will pursue our route for theJökulsár Glacial lagoon 35 miles to the east of Skaftafell. Of course, on the way, we will be observing the usual spectacular features of the Örćfi region's landscape i.e. the sandy deserts, the numerous cascading glaciers, and hopefully also Iceland's highest peak, the Örćfajökull (2.109,6 meters, 6.821 ft)
The famous amphibious boat trips on the Glacial lagoon are only operated during the summer season, but out of season, the floating icebergs can just as well be observed from the shoreline, and a stroll down along Iceland 's shortest glacial river (about a quarter of a mile!) to it 's outlet into the sea, where seals can often be spotted, is also very rewarding.
Another possibility for taking an adventurous trip this morning is, weather permitting, to go on the trailer tour to Cape Ingólfshöfđi, operated by a father and son team in the Örćfasveit county. This trip is especially rewarding during the puffin breeding season, from early spring onwards.
Arriving back at Skaftafell National Park for lunch, we will go on a short hike, either to the edge of the Skaftafell glacier, the Svínafell glacier, or head up to the acclaimed Svartifoss waterfall which falls off a cliff of basaltic columns. At the vantage point Sjónarsker, an incomparable view can be had over the Skeiđarársandur desert and the surrounding peaks and glaciers
In the afternoon,on our return journey, we will also make a few stops along the way in spots which we may have omitted or missed the previous day.
Dinner and ovvernight stay at either one of the village's Hvolsvöllur or Hella.

Day 4 (Sunday).On this final day, we set off early in order to take maximum advantage of the little time available, first by heading westwards towards the town of Selfoss, hopefully catching a good view of the volcano Hekla, which is only about 30 miles to the north of our road. Crossing back over the Ölfusá river, we reach shortly thereafter the "geo-thermal" village of Hveragerđi, where we can switch to a more favorable climate by going to see the flowering tropical plants, banana trees and coffee plants, at the greenhouse and souvenir centre Eden.
Heading south, along the southern edge of the Reykjanes Peninsula, you will be impressed by the numerous cascading flows of lava which have come from the volcanic ridge slightly to the north of here, the so-called Reykjanes ridge, which, at the tip of the peninsula disappears into the ocean, where it continues to stretch southwards for hundreds and even thousands of miles. At several places in this peninsula, there are signs of intense volcanic, hot spring and geo-thermal activity, the most famous of which is the Svartsengi Power Plant area and the Blue Lagoon bathing resort. If we haven't managed to take advantage of it on the first day, i.e. the highly interesting Skógar Folk Museum, we will do it now, by taking a swim in the Lagoon, before taking you back to the international airport at Keflavik, and your afternoon return flight.

*Note: If preferred, this tour can also be taken from a Friday evening until Monday afternoon, or modified differently according to your flight schedules. Contact us.

Duration of tour: 3 days, 3 nights. Mileage: 450
Minimum number of passengers: 2 persons Max: 10. (Bigger private groups can be accommodated)
Departures: Thursdays by-weekly or by request. All year round.

The Skaftafell Tour only:
Reykjavík-
Skaftafell/Jökulsárlagoon
-Reykjavík
Season:
Validity:
Price:
Winter
(-> 30 April, Oct-Dec.)
Summer
( May-September)

Deposit amount at reservation: 20% ; Single room supplement: +16%
Scheduled departures: see schedules

Conditions of sale.

Services included: Four-wheel drive transportation* and guidance, accommodation in double rooms with en suite facilities,
Meals: half-board (breakfast & dinner), starting breakfast on day 2, and ending with breakfast on day 4 .
*The (4x4) Vehicles generally used:
1 > 4 Passengers : Toyota Landcruiser ; 5 > 10: Ford Econoline,
Necessary gear: Good outdoor clothing and sturdy footwear. Also bring your swimsuit.

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