School Trek - Iceland Land of Extremes

A trek on varied terrain in the Land of Ice and Fire





From $2,100 Land only

Book this holiday

Holiday Overview


  • Learn about the remarkable geography of Iceland
  • Take a dip in the sublime hot springs at Landmannalaugar
  • Visit europe`s most majestic waterfalls, Skogarfoss and Gullfoss
  • A trekking holiday and a unique wilderness experience

This itinerary provides a mixture of adventure and education and is a logical choice for School Groups. Your group will be able to let off steam and explore this weird and wonderful country of great contrast - from the modern city of Reykjavik to the volcanoes, hot springs, glaciers and tortured lava formations of the interior. We have chosen to complete what is arguably Iceland's finest trek, which starts out from the hot springs of Landmannalaugar and heads southwards across the Fjallabak Nature Reserve, one of the most spectacular areas in the whole of Europe. Offering 5 days of wonderfully diverse trekking, this is renowned as one of the world's classic walks. From Reykjavik, Iceland's remarkable capital city, the drive to the start of the trek takes us close to Hekla, the country's most active volcano. We take the opportunity to sample the famous hot springs of Landmannalaugar, before setting off on our walk. Iceland's volcanic legacy is clearly demonstrated to us, as we cross the wilderness of the Hrafntinnusker Plateau to reach beautiful Lake Alftavatn and then traverse the extraordinary black sands below the Myrdaljokull Icecap. Finally, from the picturesque glaciated valleys and birch forests of Porsmork, we make the challenging climb over Fimmvorduhals Pass, which lies between the icecaps of Eyjafjallajokull and Myrdalsjokull. Well-equipped campsites and discreet vehicle support, means that hardships are kept to a minimum. There are few places on earth where you can encounter such diverse scenery in so short a space of time. This tried and tested KE Schools itinerary can be adjusted to better fit the needs of your group - please call and speak to a KE School Groups Coordinator or email


Is this holiday for you?

This is real wilderness travel, with the landscape changing dramatically each day. The trails will change from good paths to rocky scree, from sandy deserts to walking across the snow, from green valley pastures to windswept passes. There will be river crossings on most days and the weather can be very unpredictable. We will walk for between 5 and 8 hours each day, with average climbs and descents of around 400 metres per day. The final day’s trekking is the most challenging with 1000 metres of ascent and descent. This is an adventurous itinerary, suitable for school groups with hillwalking experience.

Brief Itinerary

View in full
  • Meet at the group guesthouse in Reykjavik. A transfer from Keflavik Airport is provided.
  • Drive via Mount Hekla to Landmannalaugar. Set up camp and take a dip in the fabulous hot springs.
  • Trek through the volcanic Fjallabak landscape of lava flows and steam vents to Hrafntinnusker.
  • Trek via a chaotic canyon system to the beautiful lake of Alftavatn (Swan Lake).
  • Cross rivers and a black sand plain, with views of Myrdalsjokull Icecap. Overnight at Emstrur.
  • Trek through the Markarfljot Canyons to the spectacular Porsmork Valley.
  • Trek across Fimmvorduhals Pass (1116m) to the waterfall of Skogarfoss. Drive back to Reykjavik.
  • Departure day.

Land Only

The price of our trips does not include international air travel to the start location in the destination city and country. The start location for joining the trip is identified for each trip. It's usually a centrally located hotel. KE can easily arrange all airport transfers for you.

International Air Travel

Please contact us at KE for air travel advice. We will be happy to discuss the flight arrangement which best suits your group.

2 teachers FREE

The Guide Price assumes that 2 teachers will accompany the group. Their Land Only costs are covered by the group's payment.

Guide Price $2,100*
Park Fees/permits N/A
Other Charges N/A

* We give a price estimate for all of our school trips. This is based on 12-16 pupils and includes two free teacher places. If you are interested in a specific trip, we will send you a quote letter. You may wish to take extra teachers or add on additional days and this can all be included into your quote, on request.

Map & Itinerary

The Route

  • point
  • trip direction
  • peaks
  • transfer
  • trek

Holiday Itinerary

  • Meet at the group guesthouse in Reykjavik. A transfer from Keflavik Airport is provided.

    Meet at the group’s guesthouse in Reykjavik. An airport transfers is provided. KE Land Only package services begin with the overnight at the guesthouse. Reykjavik is a modern city that is home to 190,000 of Iceland’s tiny total population of 280,000. Its centre is small and easy to walk around from our accommodation. There will be an initial meeting with the local guide at the guesthouse at 7 pm. He or she will provide a briefing on what to expect over the next week, and will recommend several restaurants for the evening meal.

    • Accommodation Guesthouse

  • Drive via Mount Hekla to Landmannalaugar. Set up camp and take a dip in the fabulous hot springs.

    We start the morning by going out to the bus terminal to catch the scheduled bus to Landmannalaugar. The drive takes around 5 hours, but is very interesting throughout, as this is one of the most scenic routes in Iceland. We drive eastwards, crossing the high moorland of Hellisheidi and passing south of the steaming volcano, Hengill. We pass also the greenhouses of Hveragerdi Village, where hot water is cheaper than cold water and keeping buildings cool is more of an issue than heating! East of the Thjorsa River, we head inland and cross to the north of Mount Hekla, one of Iceland’s most infamous volcanoes, which last erupted as recently as February 2000. We now enter the black Domadalur (Valley of Doom), which is gateway to the Fjallabak (Backcountry). The Fjallabak Nature Reserve is a huge mountainous wilderness that is constantly built up by ongoing volcanic activity and eroded by glaciers, rivers and wind. Finally reaching Landmannalaugar, we head straight for a refreshing dip in the famous hot springs which are situated right on the edge of our campsite. We set up our camp and enjoy a traditional dinner in the mess tent, a meal that may include fresh arctic char from a nearby mountain lake.

    • Accommodation Camping

    • Meals bld

  • Trek through the volcanic Fjallabak landscape of lava flows and steam vents to Hrafntinnusker.

    We pack our daysacks and put our tents and other equipment into the support jeep that will transport all of our equipment to Hrafntinnusker. Our trekking route is far away from the jeep track and we start by crossing the 500-year-old Laugahraun lava flow that is still giving heat to the Landmannalaugar hot springs. Climbing steadily past numerous sulphur vents, we top a succession of rolling rhyolite hills before descending to the steaming hot springs at Storihver. This is a mysterious landscape that would not be out of place in any of the Lord of the Rings films. As we get higher, the better we can understand the forces of nature. Whole mountains have been created and remoulded by thousands of years of boiling sulphuric vents and glacial erosion. Up on the plateau, steam rises in all directions from unseen vents. We put up our tents in a shallow south-facing valley, close to a huge boiling spring at Hrafntinnusker.

    • Accommodation Camping

    • Ascent 800m

    • Distance 12km

    • gps data View now

    • Meals bld

    • Descent 400m

    • Time 5 hrs trekking

  • Trek via a chaotic canyon system to the beautiful lake of Alftavatn (Swan Lake).

    The idea that there is always some logic to landscape is proved to be false today. The canyon complex south of Hrafntinnusker is just as chaotic as it is charming. The route meanders easily southwards, crossing snow bridges and passing yet more steaming hot springs. If weather permits, we might take a side trip, climbing up to the snowfields of the Kaldaklof Mountains and possibly reaching the summit of Mount Haskerdingur (1281m), one of Iceland’s most spectacular viewpoints. On a good day there are views right across the dark volcanic plains to the huge icecap of the Myrdalsjokull Glacier. On the southern edge of the Torfajokull Massif, we descend a long slope towards the black sands and palagonite ridges around Lake Alftavatn. We camp right at the edge of the lake, one of the most beautiful sites on our route.

    • Accommodation Camping

    • Ascent 500m

    • Distance 13km

    • gps data View now

    • Meals bld

    • Descent 1000m

    • Time 5 hrs trekking

  • Cross rivers and a black sand plain, with views of Myrdalsjokull Icecap. Overnight at Emstrur.

    There are several rivers to cross today, as we head southwards and towards the white ice cliffs of the Myrdalsjokull Icecap. Some of these glacial streams and rivers are bridged, but others need to be forded – a chilly experience for the feet. After a long, but gentle climb, we descend to the green oasis of Hvanngil, where there is a mountain hut. We continue our walk, crossing another couple of rivers, to reach a surreal 5 kilometre wide plain of black sand and pumice, beneath the conical peak of Storasula. Here, we are also much closer to the impressive Myrdalsjokull Icecap. The scenery changes again on the final stretch of today’s walk, as we cross a desert of low hills to reach our campsite at Emstrur. There are relatively minor ups and downs today.

    • Accommodation Camping

    • Ascent 550m

    • Distance 19km

    • gps data View now

    • Meals bld

    • Descent 600m

    • Time 6 hrs trekking

  • Trek through the Markarfljot Canyons to the spectacular Porsmork Valley.

    The first challenge today is to cross the bridge across the Emstrur River. Having overcome this obstacle, we trek through the magnificent Markarfljot Canyon, which was carved out by thundering floods, caused by volcanic eruptions under the ice cap. The effects of erosional forces are visible at every step on this trip and nowhere more obvious than in the Porsmork Valley. For the first time on our trek, we enter a green and well-vegetated valley, which becomes more luxuriant the closer we get to Porsmork. The last part of the hike is through thick birch forest, where even the lava ridges are covered with scrubby trees and the lovely arctic flowers that bloom for a few weeks each summer. Porsmork means Thor’s forest and it is not hard to see why this lovely area should be considered to belong to a god. It is out of this world! The valley is guarded on all sides by tremendous, fast-flowing rivers and steep glacier-clad mountains. It is one of the most beautiful spots in Iceland and the favourite weekend retreat of many of Reykjavik’s walkers.

    • Accommodation Camping

    • Ascent 600m

    • Distance 17km

    • gps data View now

    • Meals bld

    • Descent 850m

    • Time 6 hrs trekking

  • Trek across Fimmvorduhals Pass (1116m) to the waterfall of Skogarfoss. Drive back to Reykjavik.

    This is the hardest day of our trek, but we should be ready for it after 4 days of walking. Anyone not feeling up to the challenge can stay with the support vehicle today. But, it would be a shame to miss out on what is one of the most spectacular walking days in Iceland. Our route up to Fimmvorduhals Pass takes us past Falcon Cliff into a narrow canyon and then up onto the knife-edge ridge of Kattahryggur. Beyond this ridge, we reach the remarkably flat Morinsheidi Plateau, which is surrounded by vertical cliffs on all sides. Fimmvorduhals Pass (1116m) is directly between the two glacier covered volcanoes of Myrdalsjokull (1460m) to the east and the infamous Eyjafjallajokull (1666m) to the west. It is a dramatic place. To the north, we have a bird’s-eye view over the Porsmork Valley, the volcano, Tindfjoll and parts of our trekking route. To the south, we can see the black southern coast of Iceland and the volcanic Westmann Islands. En route to the lowlands, we explore the Skogar Canyons and then end our trek beneath the thundering, 60 metre (200 feet) high Skogarfoss Waterfall. We then have a 3-hour drive back to Reykjavík, where we check in at our guesthouse accommodation.

    • Accommodation Guesthouse

    • Ascent 1300m

    • Distance 28km

    • gps data View now

    • Meals bl

    • Descent 1500m

    • Time 9 hrs trekking

  • Departure day.

    KE Land Only package services end with breakfast at the hotel.

    • Meals b

Holiday Information

  • A qualified UK KE Schools leader
  • Professional English-speaking local guide
  • Keflavik Airport transfers
  • All accommodation as detailed in the trip dossier
  • Meals as detailed in the Meal Plan
  • Full service trekking with all equipment (excluding personal equipment)
  • Vehicle transport and baggage transfer throughout the trip

  • Travel insurance
  • Some meals as detailed in the Meal Plan
  • Miscellaneous personal expenses - drinks and souvenirs etc.

During this trip the group will spend 2 nights in basic hotel or guesthouse accommodation, situated within a short walk of central Reykjavik. The accommodation here will be based on twin room sharing. Whilst on trek we will be camping and will use 3-person tunnel tents for 2 persons. Most of our camping places will be beside mountain huts which will have shower facilities available for a small charge. We do not use the mountain huts because they are regularly overbooked and crowded. We can get a better night's sleep in our tents.

View the gallery below for images of the style of accommodation used

Meals are provided, with the exception of lunches and dinners when in Reykjavik.

All food is purchased in Reykjavik, with the emphasis on fresh produce and easily-prepared meals. The trip leader, together with the support vehicle driver, will prepare the group’s evening meals. Local specialities predominate, including excellent sea-fish and Icelandic lamb, as well as the chance of fresh Arctic char. Breakfasts will consist of porridge, muesli, bread, jam, cheese, ham, plus tea and coffee. At breakfast, snack items and sandwich materials will be made available so that group members can make up their own packed lunches.

Keflavik Airport transfers are included on arrival and departure. The KE School Group Leader or KE representative will meet you on arrival and assist with the transfers to the group hotel. Full joining instructions along with hotel contact details and an emergency number will be provided with the booking confirmation.

A support vehicle carries all of our camping and personal equipment during the day. Although this vehicle can not follow the trekking route, it will meet up with us each evening at camp. Participants will carry just a daysack, which is large enough to pack a spare fleece, waterproofs and other extras such as your camera. We usually get up fairly early (around 6.00 a.m.) and after breakfast in the large mess tent, we will help to dismantle the camp and pack our equipment into the support vehicle. We will walk for between 5 and 8 hours each day, stopping off at a suitable spot for a picnic lunch. On arrival at camp, we will help to set up our own tents. Whilst the guide and driver will prepare the full 3-course evening meal, they will appreciate help with this. Most of the campsites we use are close to mountain huts, which will have good toilet facilities and which can also offer the chance of a hot shower for a small charge.

This trip will be led by an experienced KE Schools leader. In addition, there will be a professional, English-speaking Icelandic guide and one or more support vehicles and drivers.

Approximately £120 should be allowed for miscellaneous expenses, including the non-included meals. Group members will be expected to pay for their own meals (other than breakfasts) whilst in Reykjavik. Iceland is famously expensive and you should allow £60 to comfortably cover the 2 dinners which you will need to buy whilst in Reykjavik on Day 1 and Day 7. We recommend that you carry your travel money in the form of currency rather than travellers cheques, since you will exchange the majority of this on the day of your arrival in Reykjavik. If you are intending to buy expensive souvenirs, you should budget accordingly (credit cards can be useful in this respect). The Icelandic unit of currency is the Krona (plural - Kronur).

Your baggage on trek will be carried in the support vehicle. Group members should travel with the KE trek bag (provided) and a 30 litre rucksack. There is no weight limit on your baggage other than that imposed by your international carrier. It is possible to leave travel clothes or other items not required on trek at the group hotel in Reykjavik.

All KE clients will receive a FREE KE trek bag.  These have been specially made to stand up to the rigours of adventure travel.  Your KE bag will be posted to you when your trip is guaranteed to run or on receipt of your booking if the trip is already guaranteed.  If you have travelled with us before and already have a KE trek bag you can select an alternative free gift in the booking process.

This holiday does not involve any significant ascent to altitude and we would not expect any altitude issues with this trip.

The following checklist should help you with your packing. As a general rule, you should always try to keep the weight of your equipment to a minimum.

You must bring the following items:

  • Sturdy and waterproof hiking boots
  • Gaiters
  • Sandals or similar (for river crossings)
  • Socks and underwear
  • Trekking trousers / pants
  • Waterproof overtrousers / rain-pants
  • Baselayer shirts (1 short sleeve, 1 long sleeve)
  • Midlayer fleece
  • Fleece jacket or jumper
  • Casual shirt or T-shirt (for Rekjavik evenings)
  • Warm jacket (down or synthetic)
  • Waterproof jacket
  • Warm hat
  • Light thermal gloves and waterproof overgloves or mittens
  • Eyewear - sunglasses
  • Sleeping bag (comfort rating 0 degrees centigrade)
  • Thermarest or similar camping mattress
  • Drybags to keep items in your KE trek bag dry
  • Daypack of approximately 30 litres capacity
  • Sun protection (including for lips)
  • Water bottles x 2 (1 Litre / Quart))
  • Washbag and toiletries
  • Swimwear (for hot springs)
  • Small trek towel
  • Antibacterial handwash
  • Basic First Aid Kit. Including: antiseptic cream, throat lozenges, diarrhoea treatment (Imodium), painkillers, plasters and blister treatment, Insect repellent, and re-hydration salts (Dioralite).

The following items are optional:

  • Sleeping bag liner
  • Trainers / sneakers
  • Trekking poles
  • Shorts
  • Spare laces
  • Headtorch / headlamp
  • Eye cover to assist sleeping in the near 24-hour daylight
  • Travel clothes
  • Repair kit – (eg. needle, thread, duct tape)
  • Camera and batteries
  • Pen-knife (remember to put all sharp objects in hold baggage)
  • Small padlock (to lock trek bag)

For each holiday there is a minimum number of participants required to enable it to go ahead. Once the minimum number is reached, the trip status will change from 'Available' to 'Guaranteed to run'. You can check the trip status for each departure in ‘Dates and Prices’ table. Other than in exceptional circumstances, we will not cancel a trip once it has achieved this guaranteed to run status and so you are free to proceed with your international flight booking and other travel arrangements.

A passport with 6 months remaining validity at the end of your stay is generally required. The information that we provide is for UK passport holders. Please check the relevant embassy or consulate for other nationalities. It is your responsibility to ensure that you have the correct travel documents and visas for your holiday. Visa requirements and charges are subject to change without notice. If you are travelling outside the EU you should have at least 2 blank pages in your passport.

We recommend you check if you require an adaptor for your electrical items at:

As a reputable tour operator, KE supports the British Foreign & Commonwealth Offices ‘Know before you go’ campaign to enable British citizens to prepare for their journeys overseas, and we recommend that all KE travellers take a look at the FCO Travel Advice for their chosen destination on the official FCO website: North Americans can also check out the U.S. Department of State website: for essential travel advice and tips.

KE treat the safety and security of all clients as the most important aspect of any trip we organise. We would not run any trip that we did not consider reasonably safe.  Should the FCO advise against travel for any reason, we will contact everyone booked to travel to discuss the situation.  We receive regular updates direct from the FCO and are in constant touch with our contacts on the ground.  If you have any questions about government travel advice, please call our office.

The weather in Iceland during the summer seaon is generally fairly good. We can expect daytime temperatures anywhere from 10 to 20 degrees centigrade, dropping to just above zero in the evenings. High on our climbs, we can also expect to encounter cold conditions. At any time of year in Iceland, there is a chance of poor weather, with rain and wind. But, equally, we should also encounter good days that are clear and sunny. In short, you need to be prepared for English Lake District walking. Bring your waterproofs!

The Rough Guide to Iceland. Lonely Planet. Iceland, Greenland and the Faroe Islands. The Insight Guide to Iceland. Iceland. Photo Book. Colin Baxter.

Mal og Menning. Fjallabak. Hekla - Laki. 1:100,000 scale.

The Icelandic maps published by Mal og Menning are good. There are several series and another of the useful sheets is entitled: Island (the whole island) 1:600,000 scale.

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