Sacred Earth Travel - Sustainable Nature and Adventure Travel


Trek through the elves mountains, Iceland

The Viknaslodir Trail and the Great South Coast

In 2005 National Geographic Magazine nominated this trek as one of the 25 most beautiful treks in the world!

Cotton GrassVíknaslóðir, 'the Elves Mountain Trek', is one of our favourite hikes. It leads us between mountains and ocean along one of the most magnificent shorelines of Iceland. This is a 4x4 supported trek, so hikers only need to carry a light daypack. And to sustain you through all this, we provide the finest cuisine. Local foods - simple, fresh, wholesome - prepared by your guide, who knows exactly what a tired, hungry hiker needs!

A fabulous 6 day adventure, comprising of four and a half days supported trekking with moderate to strenuous hiking and three and a half days easy touring on the South Coast, starting and finishing in Reykjavik.

The Víknaslóðir trails ('Trails of the Deserted Inlets') in the northeast of Iceland are in an area where coastal mountains plunge abruptly into the sea. This isolated region is thought to be the central province of the elves. Their queen resides in her fortress at Álfaborg (Behind the small wooden Bakkagerði church in eastern Borgarfjörður Bay).

The imposing mountain massif of the area displays the entire colour spectrum of rhyolite, an acidic form of lava (If you know Landmannalaugar already, just imagine it softer, surrounded by ocean, with the sound of crashing waves and the cries of thousands of nesting seabirds - a truly stunning location!). From these blue, pink and ochre colours, fortresses of dark rock soar hundreds of feet into the sky. In lush, green valleys, limpid torrents run from peat marshes carrying the white, fluffy seed heads of cotton grass with them. The ocean's colour changes with its moods - from the most exotic opal and turquoise to oil-black. Almost as if by an invisible, magic hand, a lid of mist descends on the landscape in the evening, adding to the mystery of the night. Just as methodically, the gleaming morning sun burns through these layers which, after some resistance, escape spectre-like through the mountain pass.

Down on the riverside there are beautiful cottages, very comfortable and each equipped with a wood-burning stove. Driftwood in large numbers, whitened by the salt of the sea, arrives regularly from Siberia and washes up on these lonely black sand beaches. You will be sure to bring home with you the memory of one of those magical evenings around a fire on the inlet bank, a most serene ambience in this extreme corner of the world.

As the fulmars soar over the surf, a curious seal comes for a glance. And on the mountain above the cliffs, where the smoke of our fire mixes with the haze of the evening, the invisible elves will be observing you. They already see you coming.

Upon return from the East Coast to Reykjavik we will discover the amazing scenery of the strange and magnificent South Coast that is host to the huge Vatnajökull glacier and imposing volcanoes. Stopping at small settlements, such as Vik or Kirkjubæjarklaustur, we will also have a chance to meet the original Icelandic culture, the result of a long resilient battle between these courageous people and the forces of nature.

"Those who wander are not necessarily lost" - JRR Tolkien

itinerary (1K)

The itinerary may be operated in reverse (R)

(B: breakfast - L: lunch - D: dinner)

Day 1: Flight to Egilsstaðir - Bakkagerði

Alfaborg, IcelandDomestic flight around 11 am from Reykjavik domestic to Egilsstaðir. An awe-inspiring 60 minutes flight over the Icelandic Highlands to Egilsstaðir in eastern Iceland includes views of Mount Hekla, the Vatnajökull ice cap, and Mount Askja. Rendezvous with your guide at Egilsstaðir domestic Airport. From Egilsstaðir we will drive North to the shore of Héradsfloi bay. Our trek starts by hiking in the grandiose Dyrfjöll Mountains, whose massive presence dominates the bay of Borgarfjörður. Crossing of the Vatnaskarð pass, between the faces of the Skeggjaklettur cliff ('Bearded Cliff') to reach Stórurð ('Big Rocky Ground'), an enormous chaos of large rocks intersected by a glacial river. Between the gloomy rocks rest calm turquoise-collared basins of icy water surrounded by tender green short grass. On the other side we arrive at the coastal village of Bakkagerði. The rocky hill Álfaborg, right next to Bakkagerði, is the source of the fjord's name. Acknowledged home to the fairies, it is said to be the dwelling-place of their queen in Iceland. We walk to the islet Fagrihóll, current fishing harbour for the locality. A great variety of birds nest here; among common species are the fulmar, kittiwake, eider duck and puffin.
Elevation: 300m
Walking: 3-4 hours
Accommodation: Hostel or Hotel

Day 2: The Dyrfjöll Mountains

Our trek starts by hiking in the grandiose Dyrfjöll Mountains, whose massive presence dominates the bay of Borgarfjörður. We cross the Vatnaskarð pass, between the faces of the Skeggjaklettur cliff ('Bearded Cliff') to reach Stórurð ('Big Rocky Ground'), an enormous chaos of large rocks intersected by a glacial river. Between the gloomy rocks rest calm turquoise-collared basins of icy water surrounded by tender green short grass.
Elevation: 500m
Walking:7-8 hours
Accommodation: Hostel or Hotel
Meals: B,L,D

Day 3: Breiðavík

puffinWe leave Bakkagerði, progress across stunningly massive rhyolite mountains displaying an incredible range of all possible ochre and pastel colours from blue to pink. Then, via Brúnavík ('Brown Bay'), downhill toward the beautiful wild bay of Breiðavík. A wonderful place with coastal marsh and black sandy beach covered with incredible amounts of Siberian driftwood and other treasures of the sea. Curious seals will almost certainly come to observe our evening fire and strange behaviour!
Elevation: +400 m
Walking: 6-7 hours
Accommodation: Hut or Camp
Meals: B, L, D

Day 4: Húsavík

We walk over hills and moorland to the foot of Mount Hvítserkur, one of the most picturesque and bizarre mountains in the country. Hvítserkur consists of bright ignimbrite, fancifully streaked with darker veins. Descend toward Húsavík. The lodge is located on the site of a small, old farm, deserted in the 1950s after centuries of occupation.

Elevation: +/- 300m
Walking: 5-6 hours
Accommodation: Hut or camp
Meals: B, L, D

Lodmundarfjordur, Iceland

Day 5: Loðmundarfjörður

A dramatic mountain pass to continue along the side track to the deserted Loðmundarfjörður fjord, which was, for many years, one of the most isolated and inaccessible communities of Iceland (it's now uninhabited). There are thousands of nesting eider ducks in the fjord, as well as seals and reindeers and some wild horses in the vast moorland and swamps in the bottom of the large fjord.
Elevation: +/- 300 m
Walking: 5-6 hours
Accommodation: Hut or camp
Meals: B, L, D

Day 6: Seyðisfjörður

On this last day of the trek we'll hike over impressive green mountains and plateaus down to colourful Seyðisfjörður, an important fishing village and the port for the only ferry that connects Iceland with Europe. Drive up the plateau to the little town of Egilstaðir on the bank of the long turquoise lake of Lagarfljót, where lives the legendary monster Lagarfljótsormurinn, close cousin of the one in Loch Ness in Scotland. We fly back to Reykjavik in the afternoon
Elevation: +/- 300 m
Walking: 5-6 hours
Meals: B, L, D


Departures in 2018

TVS 627: Jun 27 - Jul 3  
TVS 706 Jul 4 - Jul 10 R
TVS 715 Jul 15 - Jul 21  
TVS 722: Jul 22 - Jul 26 R
TVS 801 Aug 01 - Aug 07  
TVS 808 Aug 08 - Aug 14 R
TVS 819 Aug 19 - Aug 25  
TVS 902 Sep 02 - Sep 15  
TVS 916 Sep 09 - Sep 15  

Rates on request

Itinerary may be slightly modified depending on the weather, especially prior to mid-July or after end of August. The duration of the daily hikes are only estimates and can be shorter or longer depending on weather, terrain and the physical fitness level of the group.

Prices do not include airport transfers and accommodation in Reykjavik. Keflavik International Airport is 50 km from Reykjavik City center.

There are hotels of every budget and comfort level available in Reykjavik. You can book your own or we can make arrangements for you.

Included Not included:

English speaking guide from D1 to D6
Domestic flight to Egilsstadir D1 and return D6
Bus transfers on the East coast D1 and D6
Transport of luggage by 4x4 vehicle
All accommodation as described
All meals from lunch D1 to Lunch D6

Fights to/from Iceland
Transfers from/to airport
Single tent accommodation supplement
Single room accommodation when returning by the coast supplement
Accommodation and meals in Reykjavik
Entrance fees for museums, swimming pools and optional excursions
Drinks and other personal expenses
Personal travel insurance

Accommodation during the trip: Sleeping bag accommodation in tents with a comfortable insulation mattress and in mountain huts (usually one, comfortable, mixed bunkhouse) and depending on the route and conditions, at the peak of the season. Showers are available in most of the huts. The two nights on the South Coast are in twin double room in hostel or standard B&B.

Trip preparation and notes: Walking level - Moderate. 6-day assisted trek, carrying a light daypack. This should present no serious difficulty for persons with at least some mountain walking experience, plus a good level of personal fitness. An experienced Icelandic guide assisted by a driver leads the trek. The group is expected to assist with all aspects of making and breaking camp, including meal preparation. Once in the mountains, each group becomes an independent entity. The camaraderie, teamwork and friendships forged, add much to the richness of each person's experience. This trek passes through some areas of complete wilderness. Most of the trekking is off-track, with underfoot conditions constantly changing. Therefore, sturdy, well worn-in hiking boots are a must. Most days involve river crossings, so it is essential that all trekkers carry suitable footwear to change into. See our kit list for more information. We trek for 6-7 hours per day, on average, but this may be longer, depending on weather conditions and group's speed. Maximum altitude no more than 700m. Elevation change for most days should be no more than 400m, rising to 600m for the crossing of the Dyrfjöll pass. No real narrow ridges for those who suffer from vertigo.

Predeparture Notes and Kit List

Important: Iceland is an extremely geoactive island. Earthquakes and volcanic activity can occur at any time, which may impact your travel plans. We can not take responsibility for the way in which the forces of nature interfere with travel plans. It is therefore of utmost importance that you purchase adequate travel insurance and trip cancellation insurance. It is important to make sure your travel insurance covers 'adventurous activities'.

For further information and booking inquiries please send us and e-mail.