Days of Darkness | 5 Day Winter Experience in East Iceland

Days of Darkness | 5 Day Winter Experience in East Iceland
A riverbed in the East Highlands, Fljótsdalur, Iceland.
Reindeer grazing in high winter in the heights surrounding the Fljótsdalur valley, East Iceland.
A traditional Baðstofa, or common room loft, in an Icelandic farm.
Locally sourced food will be served throughout the trip.
An old turf house used as a sheep shed, near Skriðuklaustur manor, East Iceland.
A church at sundown, in eastern Iceland.

This 5-day tour offers an authentic experience where nature meets with history and local culture. Enjoy the adventurous interactive exhibitions and hot springs, sleep in a museum, taste local delicacy and explore the wilderness with experienced guides. 

This tour will take you to the stunning Hengifoss waterfall, the most recognised attraction in East Iceland and during the hike you get the added benefit of seeing Litlanesfoss waterfall, surrounded by impressive basalt pillars. We will also search for the serpent monster living in lake Lagarfljót. 

At the Wilderness Center, the innermost farm of the valley, you will sleep in a museum and enjoy the meticulously crafted exhibitions that stretches through every nook and cranny of the premises, indoors and outdoors. The exhibition tells the story of life and travel in and next to Northern Europe’s most extensive wilderness. 

You will see impressive canyons, deserted highland plains, many beautiful waterfalls, and towering mountains. At Laugarfell highland hostel you will spend a night as well as enjoying their natural hot springs and listen to the adventures of past explorers of the wilderness. 

The tour has a great blend of adventure and culture. We will take you to Valþjófsstaður local church where we see an old silent film about the famous outlaw; Fjalla-Eyvindur, or Eyvindur of the Mountains. Afterwards, we hike to the abandoned farm of Kleif, and those who are adventurous at heart can experience the thrill of crossing a 50-meter-wide river canyon in a renovated cable ferry. 

During the entire tour, you will be enjoying locally sourced food and traditional Icelandic meals and snacks. On the 4th day, there will be a feast where locals and guests come together and prepare food from local ingredients and talk about Icelandic food traditions. 

On the last day the journey takes you to Akureyri visiting Möðrudalur highland farm. On the way, you will be treated to a view of the stunning Queen of the Icelandic mountains; Mt Herðubreið. Before reaching Akureyri, we also stop at Lake Mývatn and take a dip in the Geothermal Nature Baths and lastly stopping at Goðafoss waterfall. 

Quick facts

Tour information:
  • Available: Feb. - Nov.
  • Duration: 5 days
  • Activities: Sightseeing, Northern lights hunting, Hot Spring Bathing, Cultural Activity
  • Difficulty: Easy
  • Languages: English, Icelandic
  • Highlights: Akureyri, Mývatn, Goðafoss, Egilsstaðir, Skriðuklaustur, Mývatn Nature Baths, Lagarfljót, Hengifoss, Laugarfell, Hallormsstaðaskógur, East Fjords
Pickup information:
  • Pickup time : Flexible.

Pick-up: Egilsstaðir Airport, or your accommodation in Egilsstaðir, around 8:30 a.m. (first morning flight)

Drop-off: Akureyri Airport, or your accommodation in Akureyri, around 6:00 p.m. (last evening flight)

  • Fully guided tour

  • All meals

  • Accommodation at the Wilderness Centre

  • Tickets to exhibitions, nature baths and all activities listed in itinerary.

  • Pick up at Egilsstaðir Airport (first flight in the morning), Drop of at Akureyri Airport (last flight in the evening) and all transportation on tour

  • Local food and fare during the tour

  • Flights (Domestic and international)

  • Drinks

What to bring:
  • Warm clothes

  • Good shoes

  • Flashlight/headlight

  • Camera

Good to know:

Maximum 16 travellers per tour. For guaranteed departure, minimum of two persons or twice the individual rate. Tour is available on other days upon request. To upgrade, please contact us directly by pressing 'inquire about this tour'.

Please note that the itinerary is subject to change should weather conditions be unfavourable.

Daily itinerary

Day 1 - Hengifoss falls, Skriduklaustur Manor and Lake Monsters

Days of Darkness | 5 Day Winter Experience in East Iceland

We begin the day with a walk up to Hengifoss waterfall, the most famous sight in East Iceland. For lunch, we have a lunch buffet and enjoy the exhibition at Skriðuklaustur, one of the few manorhouses in Iceland, built by writer Gunnar Gunnarsson. Outside, the site of a 15th-century monastery was discovered with extensive new insights into Icelandic history. 

From there, we go in search of the world famous river monster of Lagarfljót. Over a pot of coffee down by the lake, we listen to stories of the beast. 

Then we head on towards the innermost farm, the Wilderness Center. There we will get an insight into the life and travels in and next to the wilderness through exhibitions both indoors and outdoors. After dinner, we will hear stories in the Baðstofa, - the common room loft. Tranquillity prevails at this authentic and one of a kind accommodation.

Day 2 - Turf Houses, High Moors and Hot Springs

Days of Darkness | 5 Day Winter Experience in East Iceland

After breakfast we visit our neighbour; the last farmer in Iceland that keeps all his sheep in traditional turf-and-stone buildings. The atmosphere in the sheep sheds is one of a kind. From there, we travel up to the Fljótsdalsheiði moors and drive around the vast heath on a lookout for reindeer.

We will have lunch in the highlands and let the weather and state of the roads decide if we drive to Hafrahvammaglúfur canyons or enjoy the beauty of Eyjabakkar and Sanddalur valley. Today we will stay overnight at the Laugarfell highland hostel with natural hot springs and hear stories from adventures of the wilderness.

Day 3 - Abandoned Farms, Cable Carts, Outlaws and Other Natives

Days of Darkness | 5 Day Winter Experience in East Iceland

Today we start with a short hike where magnificent waterfalls can be seen. After lunch, we watch an old silent film in the local church at Valþjófsstaður. The film tells the story of the famous outlaw, Fjalla-Eyvindur before returning to the Wilderness Center.

Once we get there, we warm up with hot chocolate and pancakes before we head out for a dusk walk towards the abandoned farm of Kleif. At Kleif we hear funny tales of the former occupants. Those who that want can try their hand at crossing the 50-meter-wide river canyon in a renovated cable ferry. Finally, local food is served at the Wilderness Center with ingredients from the farm and local sources.

Day 4 - National Parks, Native Dishes and Nature at its Best

Days of Darkness | 5 Day Winter Experience in East Iceland

We start the day with a breakfast at the Wilderness Center, before we head on to see an exciting exhibition about the Vatnajökull National Park – the largest of it's kind in Western Europe. On our way there, we stop at an old turf smokehouse and taste the local delicacy, smoked lamb. Next, guests try their skills at all sorts of Wilderness games.

In the evening we get together for a veritable wilderness feast. Locals and guests alike cook many dishes from locally sourced ingredients and learn about Icelandic food tradition. After the feast the evening continues with entertainment, singing and playing.

Day 5 - Modrudalur Highlands, Lake Myvatn and Akureyri

Days of Darkness | 5 Day Winter Experience in East Iceland

On our last day, we head back into the highlands to Möðrudalur highland valley and enjoy its beauty and the stunning view of Mt. Herðubreið, while hearing of the hilarious artist Stórval. After lunch at Möðrudalur, we stop by an old mountain hut near the river; Jökulsá á Fjöllum.

There we will hear stories of Mountain-Bensi who wandered into the wild in any weather looking for stray sheep. He is the protagonist of the classic Icelandic novella, Advent by Gunnar Gunnarsson. Next, we experience the geothermal area by Lake Mývatn and take a dip in the Nature Baths. Lastly, we make a stop at the waterfall Goðafoss. Guests are dropped off at Akureyri Airport around 6 pm.

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