They say that opposites attract. Does that explain Iceland? Heath beside ocean. Glaciers atop volcanoes. Icebergs the size of trucks washed up on black-sand beaches. A temperate climate yet a name like Iceland. Rumor has it that adults and kids even gravitate toward one another here. While hiking gray lava flats and white ice fields. Traveling by bike, foot, Zodiac, plane, horse and "super jeep" then relaxing in geothermal pools. It seems totally implausible. To have such extremes so close. But maybe it's just the natural order.
We want to make sure you're on the right trip and that you have the best experience possible. Every Backroads trip is unique and this one is no exception.
Accommodations & MealsPlease note that Hotel Skaftafell is significantly more basic than the usual Backroads standard. We’ve chosen this property in the remote area of southeast Iceland for its superb location, amazing glacier views and proximity to our trip activities.Some dinners tend toward a local buffet-style affair; buffet dinners are simply a part of the cultural experience in Iceland.
ClimateThe combination of Iceland’s prolific waterfalls, vast icefields, vibrant green landscape and warm ocean currents makes this island like no other place in the world. The island's climate can be as surprising as its terrain, with weather patterns and microclimates that can bring sun, wind, sleet, rain, and snow all in the same day (or hour!). Please be sure to bring warm layers and waterproof gear for every day of the trip.
Days 1-3 Explore a glacial lagoon by Zodiac boat and on foot, marveling at a ghostly iceberg "sculpture garden" in the jewel-blue water While grown-ups hike in the highlands, kids follow a path to the toe of the massive Skaftafellsjökull glacier - and try to pronounce its name five times fast View out-of-this-world ice formations, water caldrons, crevasses and a breathtaking icefall during a trek on a glacier in Skaftafell National Park Walk at Dyrhólaey, a sanctuary for puffins and arctic terns on Iceland's southernmost tip Kids saddle up for a ride on agile Icelandic ponies.
Day 4 Ready for a different kind of adventure? Ride in a "super jeep" across creeks and rivers near simmering Katla Volcano Discover Thórsmörk, an alpine oasis of lime-hued hillsides, caves, icy peaks and wildflowers Hike from bizarre rock formations and canyons to a glacier tongue with views of pristine vales and brilliant lakes Enjoy the ride as our super jeep navigates glacial river crossings and lunar landscapes back to the hotel.
Days 5-6 Check out steaming mud pools and thermal rivers Set out on two wheels to explore Thjórsárdalur Valley, with scenes of flourishing birch woods and stunning waterfalls Visit a replica of an early Icelandic settlement that was buried in ash from an eruption of Mount Hekla in 1104 Kids are in for an afternoon of adventure on the shore of Lake Thingvellir Ramble in the Hengill geothermal area, where verdant lava fields are crisscrossed with steaming tributaries.
- Explore a mystical, raw, wild landscape by land, water and air
- Incredible geologic wonders, from glaciers and geysers to volcanoes and sea stacks
- Go for a trot on hardy Icelandic horses
- Crisp coastal air and fresh seafood
- Meet puffins, kittiwakes and other feathered residents
Premiere & Casual Inns
Hotel Skaftafell (2 nights): A very basic lodge chosen for its proximity to Skaftafell National Park.
Hotel Rangá (2 nights): A countryside log cabin-style resort with hot tubs overlooking a river and the Hekla Volcano.
Hotel Ion (1 night): This sleek modern hotel sits amid geothermal pools and near the shore of Lake Thingvallavatn. (spa)
Every Backroads trip is designed to appeal to a wide variety of
interests and fitness levels. We know your pace may vary from one
day to the next-and your traveling companion's may differ somewhat
from yours. So we present a range of mileage options, and each
day you decide exactly what and how much you want to do.
Routes For All Abilities
|Daily Route Options|
|Level 1||Level 2||Level 3||Level 4||Level 5|
|miles||feet gain||miles||feet gain||miles||feet gain||miles||feet gain||miles||feet gain|
|Other||Zodiac Boat Ride (1 Hour)|
|Kids||Waterfalls & Glacier Hike (6.7 Miles; 600’ elevation gain)|
|Other||Ice Walk (3 Hours)|
|Kids||Horseback Riding in Hestheimar (1.5 Hours)|
|Other||Super Jeep Expedition (3 Hours)|
|Kids||Úlfljótsvatn Adventure Park (3 Hours)|
|Kids||Ropes Course (1.5 Hours)|
To make for the most comfortable ride to this particular trip, we've outfitted our titanium road bike with slightly wider tires.
* Includes a shuttle
2015 Dates & Pricing*
- 6/16-21 Price: $5048 pp dbl. occ., (+ $1090 for sgl. occ.), Internal Air: $490
- 6/23-28 Price: $4598 pp dbl. occ., (+ $1090 for sgl. occ.), Internal Air: $490
- 6/30-7/5 Price: $4598 pp dbl. occ., (+ $1090 for sgl. occ.), Internal Air: $490
- 7/7-12 Price: $4848 pp dbl. occ., (+ $1090 for sgl. occ.), Internal Air: $490
- 7/14-19 Price: $4598 pp dbl. occ., (+ $1090 for sgl. occ.), Internal Air: $490
- 8/18-23 Price: $4598 pp dbl. occ., (+ $1090 for sgl. occ.), Internal Air: $490
*Prices may change. Once you book your trip, your price is guaranteed.
Recommended Kids Ages
- Recommended minimum age for the trip: 9 years
- Minimum age restriction to ride own bike: 9 years
- Minimum age restriction to horseback ride: 6 years
- No Burleys or Piccolos available on this trip
General Info on Minimum Ages:We strongly encourage families to join our Family Trips, designed with kid- and adult-friendly features. Please note that we have a minimum age requirement of 1 year for all Inn trips and 2 years for all Camping trips. Other than that, we do not restrict trips to a minimum age except in the rare case of a hotel age restriction. We do, however, recommend minimum ages based on the following criteria:
- 12+ amount of cultural appreciation, difficulty of activities, routes
- 9+ difficulty of activities/activity age restrictions, routes
- 6+ several longer dinners; routes are difficult for pulling a Burley and therefore not appropriate for younger children; difficulty of activities/activity age restrictions
Private Trips Options & Pricing
Gather your favorite people to share a Backroads adventure on a ready-to-book Private Trip - featuring all the legendary Backroads hallmarks from expert leaders to unforgettable activities.
You can pick from a large selection of dates for your group of 8 or more. Call us for date availability.
If your party has fewer than 8 guests, or if your preferred date is not available, we'll create a departure just for you.
Pricing for Private Trips (prices may vary based on departure date)
|8 - 9 guests from $5,398 pp dbl. occ.||12 or more guests from $4,598 pp dbl. occ.|
|10 - 11 guests from $4,898 pp dbl. occ.|
For groups of 2 to 7 guests, please call for Custom Trip pricing.
Youth savings do not apply to Private Trips.
Guest Trip Reviews
Exceeded my expectations. I am amazed at all that we were able to do in six full days. Every hike was unique and beautiful. Loved having options on the different hikes and the magnificent landscapes, geological formations and varied activities we had throughout the trip. I was so impressed with the ease and smoothness of the running of this trip, knowing we were the third (or second) trip for Backroads in Iceland. I was so impressed with the research that was conducted before offering this trip to your guests. Our leaders seemed so experienced in their knowledge of the country, in their ability to navigate, and their choices of the local areas we visited and the guides we had.- Longboat Key, F
The Iceland trip was impeccably organized to every last detail. The whole experience was fabulous start to finish. We LOVE Backroads! Amazing family vacation. Thank you!- Bethesda, MD
I had not experienced a group trip before and my anticipation was that this was expensive and that I could get better value on my own. This has been disproved. It was not only good value but thoroughly enjoyable, the credit for which must go primarily to the three tour leaders who were unstinting in their attention to all our needs. We accomplished more on this trip than I could possibly have done on my own.- London, England