In the Footsteps of Elves



In the Footsteps of Elves

Spend five days hiking and exploring Iceland's awe-inspiring Eastfjords including the hidden gem of Víknaslóðir, or the 'Deserted Inlets' near the beautiful village of Borgarfjörður Eystri. Discover a landscape of deep fjords, colourful rhyolite mountains, black beaches, hot springs and waterfalls and enjoy local food and folklore along the way. An ideal package for avid hikers who enjoy venturing off the beaten track. Along the way we will enjoy the hospitality of local people and fresh food at local restaurants. Bird watching is a frequent pastime en-route and sidetracks will take us to deserted inlets that tell us the story of a past far removed from the mobile phone contacts of today. Sundays from 1 June to 22 September. 

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Borgarfjörður eystri - Eastfjords

The tour is based at Guesthouse Álfheimar in the village of Borgarfjörður eystri. Among Icelanders the vicinity of Borgarfjörður is known for its great natural beauty and incredible walking and hiking routes but is still untouched by mass tourism. This isolated region is also considered to be a central province of the elves, from Icelandic folklore. In the Álfaborg fortress (Elf-hill) their queen has long resided, governing and watching over her realm...

Highlights

  • Discover Iceland´s awe-inspiring Eastfjords
  • Hike along incredible ancient routes still untouched by mass tourism
  • See birds and other wildlife
  • Explore the many natural wonders around Lake Mývatn
  • Meet the locals, visit farms and gain insight into Icelandic folklore
  • Enjoy Icelandic cusine

Trip difficulty

  • 3 of 5 possible
  • 11 - 16 km hiking on hiking days
  • Elevation up to 700m

Included

  • Pick up from and back to Egilsstaðir airport and all transport within the area
  • Accommodation in a double room with private/en-suite bathroom
  • Full board, local cuisine at restaurant Álfheimar
  • Museum admissions and city walk through the village of Bakkagerði
  • Knowledgable local English-speaking guide
  • Day tour to Lake Mývatn, Dettifoss, Krafla and Nature Baths

Itinerary

Open all

Day 1 - Sunday | Borgarfjörður

Hike: At 12:00 to Borgarfjörður valley. Rather easy day, walking about 12 km and traversing 400 m of elevation.

Arrival from Reykjavík to Egilsstaðir airport in the morning. One hours' drive to Borgarfjörður to the locally owned Álfheimar Guesthouse where we will stay next for the next 5 nights.

We start the day with a 3-hour hike in the village stopping by an old turf house, concert hall, local fish factory, rock gallery and many other interesting places along the way. After a light lunch we hike on unmarked trails in the valley of Borgarfjörður. From the village, we take sheep trails up to Dimmidalur (the Dark Valley) and Jökuldalur (Glacier Valley) to see their rugged, beautiful landscape, right under Dyrfjöll (the Door Mountains). Not only do we walk through the elf community of Lobbuhraun, but we visit their home in Dimmidalur Valley. When we return to Bakkagerði we walk through the village, noticing its many interesting aspects and of course also visiting the queen of the elves at Álfaborg (Elf Hill).

Accommodation at Guesthouse Álfheimar.

Day 2 - Monday | Stapavík to Njarðvík

Hike: Hike around 11 km, traverses 415 m.

We do a 15 minutes' drive from Borgarfjörður and stop at Unaós farm. We hike along Selfljót river to the seashore and to Stapavík cove, a former unloading place for ships. From Stapavík we take a rather easy hike along Gönguskörð pass largely along an old riding trail. This was the main route between Borgarfjörður and Fljótsdalshérað Valley for 1,000 years, until the road over Vatnskarð pass was finished in 1955. Pick up at Njarðvík farm and drive to Borgarfjörður.

Accommodation at Guesthouse Álfheimar.

Day 3 - Tuesday | East Iceland’s best-kept secret: Stórurð

Hike: A somewhat difficult hike because of gravelly areas and screes on about 15% on the way. Around 16 km. Traverses 500 m of elevation.

From Vatnskarð pass (431 m), we start the day's hike by going up and crossing the mountain Geldingafjall (640 m), then continuing inland west of Súlur peaks. We will enjoy excellent views over Njarðvík, Fljótsdalshérað Valley, the black sandy beach of Héraðsflói bay and perhaps even towards Vatnajökull Glacier and Mt. Snæfell in the eastern part of the central highlands. We then go down into Stórurð (Boulder Hollow), an expanse of enormous rocks intersected by a small river. Calm turquoise-coloured basins of icy water lie hidden among the huge boulders, often with flat banks of short, tender, green grass. Returning from this mysterious place, we can opt either for the hike along Dyrfjöll (Door Mountains) or the easy way down the valley below Rjúpnafell peak.

Accommodation at Guesthouse Álfheimar.

Day 4 - Wednesday | Breiðuvík

Hike: Easy hike of about 15 km. Traverses 400 m of elevation.

Transport to Afrétt and then an easy hike over moors and gravelly ground, including the light brown rhyolite around Urðarhólavatn lake, and farther on to Gæsavötn and Víknaheiði, before reaching Breiðavík inlet. The rhyolite mountains along the way display an incredible range of pastel colours. After a short stop on the black sands of Breiðavík beach with its Siberian driftwood, we hike up to Gagnheiði ridge (479 m), which has a viewpoint indicator and fabulous panoramic views. We return to Bakkagerði after an eventful day with wide views over many of the area's amazing mountains.

Accommodation at Guesthouse Álfheimar.

Day 5 - Thursday | Brúnavík Bay

Hike: Walking about 16 km and traversing 700 m of elevation.

We start the day after transport at the environmentally friendly harbour of Borgarfjörður, Hafnarhólmi, to visit the puffins and other birds nesting there. We then hike up from the coast through vegetated mountain screes to Brúnavík pass, at 345 m, and down to Brúnavík inlet. There we visit another beach of black sand, with lots of beautiful stones lying on it, and listen to the waves. After taking our shoes off to ford the small stream, we enjoy a relaxing barefooted walk to the other end of the beach. On our way back we hike over Hofstrandarskarð pass, 321 m high, and walk alongside the colourful canyon Helgárgil towards Bakkagerði village.

Accommodation at Guesthouse Álfheimar.

Day 6 - Friday | Lake Mývatn

Hike: Driving about 5 hours, easy hike about 4 hours.

After a good breakfast we will say good-bye to the peaceful Borgarfjörður and the local people. We drive towards Lake Mývatn, stopping at Möðrudalur farm in the open space of the eastern highlands along the way. Before we reach Lake Mývatn we visit the powerful Dettifoss Waterfall and hike in the smoking lava of Leirhnjúkur, last active 30 years ago. From Leirhnjúkur we drive to the Hverir area with its bubbling mud pools and smoking steam. We go over to Lake Mývatn and enjoy a relaxing dip and refreshments at the Nature Baths after an interesting day. We then drive back to Egilsstaðir for our evening flight to Reykjavík or continue our travels in East Iceland.

Prices

€998 per person in a double room
€193 single room supplement

Groups: minimum 2 to maximum 14 participants.
Age limit: 12 years.

Departures

Sundays from 1 June - 22 September.

Difficulty of hikes

The walks are rather medium, so anyone who is able to go for a 3-4 hours' brisk walk can join the tour. On the other hand we recommend that you exercise for at least one or two weeks before departure, for example by taking brisk walks of 1-2 hours, 3-4 times per week.

 

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