Nupsstadaskogur to Skaftafell | 5-Day Trekking Tour in the Highlands

Nupsstadaskogur to Skaftafell | 5-Day Trekking Tour in the Highlands
Welcome to the glacier! An ash covered glacier from a volcanic eruption waiting to be crossed.
A hiker prepared for the day, heading out to the highlands.
Hiking in the ryolite mountains of south-east Iceland.
Massive peaks towering over the hiking paths near Skaftafell, Iceland.
A group hiking over a glacier on their way to the Skaftafell national park.
Camping on the edge of a mountain glacier lagoon, far away from any settlements.

Join us on one of the great classic treks of Iceland. The tour offers some of Iceland's most unique landscapes on a trail not frequented by many. The trail takes you on a remarkable journey along the canyons of Núpsá river, over the Skeiðarárjökull glacier and to the gorgeous Norðurdalur valley. The path will also take you across the beautiful Skaftafell Mountains, over to Morsárdalur glacier valley and into Skaftafell in Vatnajökull National Park.

Your adventure begins early in Reykjavík where you will meet your guide at BSI Bus Terminal and be transported to the beautiful Núpsstaðaskógur Valley. Here, you will start your hike into the canyon toward the unique twin waterfalls Tvílitihylur. You will put up camp in the canyon for the night. On the second day, you will ascend out of the canyon and onto the plains of Sléttur. Some of today's highlights are epic rock walls that reach up to 200 meters, otherworldly lava fields and fantastic glacier views of Skeiðarárjökull glacier. 

Your third day is glacier crossing day, where you will strap on your crampons and traverse Skeiðarárjökull glacier - a 10 km long glacier walk. When you reach solid ground in the Skaftafell area of Vatnajökull National Park, you're in probably the most impressive camping spot of the whole country, with panoramic views over several outlet glaciers and glacial lagoons with floating icebergs. This is where you will set camp for the night. Day four takes you to the beautiful Arctic birch forest of Bæjarstaðaskógur, with amazing views on the way there over colourful rhyolite mountains, as well as Hvannadalshnúkur, Iceland's highest mountain. Finally, on day five, you will explore the Skaftafell area further before catching the bus back to Reykjavík.

 Book this all-inclusive trip now while spots are still available, and experience Icelandic nature in a unique, immersive way. Check availability by choosing a date.


Quick facts

Tour information:
  • Available: Jul. - Dec.
  • Duration: 5 days
  • Activities: Glacier Hiking, Hiking, Sightseeing
  • Difficulty: Moderate
  • Minimum age: 16 years.
  • Languages: English
  • Highlights: Hvannadalshnúkur, Skaftafell, Skeiðarársandur, Skaftafellsjökull
Pickup information:
  • Departure time : 07:15.

BSI Bus terminal

Please be ready at BSI Bus terminal at 07:15.

Included:
  • Experienced and qualified guide

  • Camping accommodation in two person tent

  • Transport at the beginning and end of trek

  • Breakfast (4), Lunch (5), Dinner (4)

  • Safety equipment for glacier crossing

  • Transfer of luggage

  • Mattress

  • Sleeping bag


What to bring:
  • Boots and clothing:

  • Sturdy Hiking Boots – waterproof with good ankle support. 

  • Long sleeve shirt (thermal underwear) – Wool or synthetic. 

  • T-shirt (thermal underwear) – Wool or synthetic. 

  • Light wool or fleece sweater (2nd layer).

  • Trousers – Strong, light and quick drying e.g. soft-shell. 

  • Jacket with a good hood – windproof, waterproof and breathable. 

  • Rain trousers – windproof, waterproof and breathable. Please note that full raingear is mandatory in Iceland. 

  • Gloves 1 – 2 pairs – Wool or synthetic. 

  • Socks – Wool or synthetic. Two to three pairs. 

  • Warm hat – Wool or synthetic. 

  • Long Johns (thermal underwear) – Wool or synthetic.

  • Warm jacket/sweater – Wool or fleece (3rd layer).

  • Puffy jacket (e.g. Primaloft or down).

  • Other gear:

  • Backpack – (woman size: 50-60 litres - man size: 60-75 litres) – note that each guest will need about 15 – 20L of space free for food, tents and other communal gear. 

  • River shoes – Closed sandals or old running shoes with, along with a pair of warm socks or neoprene socks. Open sandals or flip-flops will not do the job. 

  • Sleeping bag – Down or fibre. Light weight and warm

  • Insulation mattress / thermarest.

  • Towel – light and packable. 

  • Sunglasses & sun protection. 

  • Change of clothes – e.g. long and short underwear.

  • Water container – thermos flask or water bottle 0,5 – 1L. 

  • Camera, spare batteries and a memory card.

  • Personal first aid kit – including blister care. 

  • Prescription medication and other personal health items.

  • Toiletries; Toothbrush, toothpaste etc. 

  • Swim suit (depends on tour).

  • Dry-bags for electronics and extra clothing. 

  • Headlamp.

  • Optional gear:

  • Walking pole(s).

  • Gaiters

  • Neoprene socks – highly recommended for river crossings. 

  • Pen knife. 

  • Sun/rain Hat or a Cap. Shorts

  • Heart-warming spirits.



Daily itinerary

Day 1 - Reykjavik To Nupstadarskogar Valley


Nupsstadaskogur to Skaftafell | 5-Day Trekking Tour in the Highlands


Your adventure begins at BSÍ bus terminal.  From there, we take the bus at 7:30 am to the east. During this scenic drive, you will go rivers and into the valley with its rich covering of Arctic Birch. After leaving the bus, we head off for the first part of the trek. The short climb from the valley's floor will reward you with a breathtaking view of the Tvílitihylur waterfall. As we head up the naturally formed canyons, you will witness the lower part of Núpsá river. We spend the night camping in the canyon.


Day 2 - Nupsa canyon - Slettur Plains


Nupsstadaskogur to Skaftafell | 5-Day Trekking Tour in the Highlands


The day starts off with making our way out of the canyon to see the vast plains of Sléttur. After hiking up the Eggjar hills, we get a magnificent view of the Vatnajökull ice cap and its enormous glacier tongue Skeiðarárjökull. We set up our tents close to the glacier for the evening.


Day 3 - Crossing Skeidararjokull Glacier


Nupsstadaskogur to Skaftafell | 5-Day Trekking Tour in the Highlands


The 10 km trek across this stunning glacier to reach the Norðurdalur valley will occupy us for the full day. The trek was well worth the effort, for awe-inspiring scenery awaits us in the valley. You will have views of glacial lakes with floating icebergs and vibrant rhyolite mountains as the backdrop of our camping area.


Day 4 - From the Nordurdalur Valley to Baejarstadarskogur Forrest


Nupsstadaskogur to Skaftafell | 5-Day Trekking Tour in the Highlands


During the beginning of the day, we ascend to a narrow mountain ridge to view the vibrant rhyolite valley of Kjós and Iceland’s highest mountain, Hvannadalshnúkur. As we make our way down to Morsárdalur valley, we begin to see more vegetation lining the trail. Bæjarstaðarskógur's beautiful Arctic birch forest greets us as we enter this area and set up camp for the evening.


Day 5 - Heading Back to Reykjavik


Nupsstadaskogur to Skaftafell | 5-Day Trekking Tour in the Highlands


After exploring Morsárdalur valley, we make our way to Skaftafell National Park. There, we catch a bus back to Reykjavík and conclude your epic trek in East Iceland.


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