The Best Hiking Boots for Iceland | Katlatrack

The Best Hiking Boots for Iceland | Katlatrack

Finding a good pair of hiking boots can sometimes be better than making a new friend!  You laugh, but I’m serious.  After all some people spend hours if not days in their hiking boots trekking for miles or hours.  Especially when you are taking a trip to Iceland.  Having proper shoes that can make or break a day adventuring around.

Choosing the best hiking boots for Iceland can be a lot of research and can be oh-so overwhelming.  But don’t fret!  We have created a guide that covers everything you need to consider when buying new hiking boots.  Fair to say, our Katlatrack adventure tours team is well versed on choosing the best hiking boots for Iceland.  Come along with us as we share with you our two cents on the topic!

Will I need hiking boots in Iceland?

Depending on the kind of Iceland itinerary, you are planning you may or may not need hiking boots.  For example, if you’re a city explorer, just wanting to come to Reykjavik to experience the foodie spots and nightlife and do not want to run around in nature then your Iceland packing list could get away with no boots.

But if you intend on discovering Iceland’s magnificent countryside and natural wonders, you need to invest in a pair.  Why?  To keep your feet supported, comfortable, dry, and you adventuring on all types of landscapes safely!

Welcome to Your Guide to the Best Hiking Boots for Iceland

Choosing what type of hiking shoes you need will depend on the activities you plan on doing.  For example, if you are just walking to and from the mainstream tourist locations like Gullfoss, Thingvellir National Park, Seljalandsfoss, and Skogafoss Waterfalls then a pair of trail running shoes will suit.  Whereas, if you’re heading out on a full day hike or into an Iceland ice cave with us, you’ll see that we are all likely in backpacking or mountaineering boots.  All that said, we would love to walk you through the different types of hiking boots for Iceland adventures to consider!

Hiking Sandals

Only in during the summer months in Iceland would we suggest bringing along a pair of hiking sandals to Iceland.  The main use would be crossing rivers in them because they offer traction and dry fast versus water logging your boots.  Our favorite brands for Keen hiking sandals.

Trail Running Shoes

If your days in Iceland are going to be spent going to tourist locations and hiking around less than 30 minutes at time, then trail running shoes may be a good fit for you.

The Pros of Trail Running Shoes:

  • They are very lightweight.
  • Comfortable like a pair of running shoes.
  • Fast drying.

The Cons of Trail Running Shoes:

  • Not long lasting or durable.
  • No ankle support.
  • The grip is not suitable for winter hiking conditions (snow or ice).
  • You cannot attach crampons to them.

Our favorite trail running shoes for outdoor activities in Iceland follow:

  1. La Sportiva
  2. Salomon

The Best Hiking Boots for Iceland Pro Tip:  If planning short hikes during your Iceland itinerary, then wearing these plus a pair of Sealskinz socks will keep you going strong during summertime in Iceland!

Hiking Shoes

Wait a second, are you confused by the title?  Believe it or not there is a difference between hiking shoes and hiking boots!  Let us educate you on the differences…  Basic difference is that hiking shoes, are basically stronger “trail running shoes” because they offer a stiffer reinforced support throughout the shoe and a bit better traction to tackle more rugged terrain.  In contrast, a hiking boot will offer ankle support and a perfect choice for sloped or longer trail hiking.

Hiking Shoes Pros:

  • The midsole and body of the shoe is stiffer.
  • Breaths
  • If waterproof, they are suitable for Iceland in winter.
  • Great for rougher terrain day-hiking.

Hiking Shoes Cons:

  • Longer to dry.
  • Not good for several day hiking with wet conditions.
  • Not suitable for steep hikes or hard snow / icy terrain.

Selecting the best hiking shoes for Iceland may begin at your favorite recreational outdoor store or online.  Our favorite when we’ve traveled in the US is REI.  They by far, have the best selection of hiking shoes for Iceland.  Brands like Arc’teryx, Merrell, La Sportiva, Oboz, Salomon, Asolo will all withstand the test of time and visiting Iceland!

Iceland Hiking Boots

A pair of proper hiking boots can be the difference between a happy day trekking or a dreaded day filled with blisters.  Spending a few extra bucks to ensure you have hiking boots that will support your ankles, feet, last for more than a few hikes, and allow you to reach tops of mountains without batting an eyelash.

Furthermore, hiking boots is what we suggest you to wear while glacier hiking with us to an ice cave.  Why?  They offer higher support to stabilize your ankles and also allow our crampons to flawlessly be put on to them.  Whereas if you did hiking shoes, the crampons would make your shoes collapse inward.

Pros of Hiking Boots:

  • Insulated and warmer.
  • Waterproof hiking boots for Iceland (most models are).
  • Thorough ankle support and extra stability
  • Suitable for longer hikes (scree slops, difficult terrain, and fresh snow).

Cons of Hiking Boots:

  • Do not allow you to be as mobile as the above options.
  • Heavier and do not breathe or dry fast.

Because you want your hiking boots to last more than a trip or two, it’s important to invest.  Our favorite brands of the best hiking boots for Iceland follow:

  1. Scarpa Hiking Boots
  2. Salomon Hiking Boots
  3. La Sportiva Hikers
  4. Merrell Hiking Boots
  5. Asolo

Backpacking Boots

Likely, you’re wondering what the difference if between hiking boots and backpacking boots, right?  Good question and we are thrilled to enlighten you more on that topic!  As you noticed in our description above, hiking boots offer ankle support and are likely more waterproof.  While backpacking boots are meant for multi-day hiking, and offer better balance overall in a boot.

Some of the pros and cons of backpacking boots follow below.  Note: We do not recommend these for hiking in Iceland unless you truly are running around with a backpack on your back for several days.

Good hiking boots for Iceland can mean a lot of things to different people.  So choosing the best hiking boots for Iceland really depends on what you intend on doing on your adventure.  Spend some time weighing the pros and cons to ensure you select the best for the terrain your trekking on.

Backpacking Boots Pros:

  • They offer durability and protect your feet well.
  • Ideal boots for winter hiking conditions.
  • Higher cut on your feet allowing for full support of ankles, stability, and more motion control. Basically overall better balance for you!
  • Perfect for off trail hiking or steep mountainous terrain.

Backpacking Boots Cons:

  • They tire your feet quicker than other boot types.
  •  
  • You must spend a longer time “breaking them in.”
  • At sometimes you could become “over confident” and have an ankle injury from the false sense of security they bring.

Many of our previous Vik Iceland ice cave clients have been happy in these at the glacier.  But in our opinion, they may be bit much for our regular tour.  However, for a private tour they would be perfect if you want more time on the glacier discovering other secret ice caves!

Our favorite backpacking boots follow:

  1. Lowa Tibet GTX Backpacking Boots because of the fearless design.
  2. Asolo TPS 520 GV Evo Backpacking Boots because they last across unforgiving terrain, daily!
  3. Scarpa ZG Trek GTX Backpacking Boots for the thoughtful waterproof stable design.

Mountaineering Boots

If you’re interest lies in technical climbing both on mountains and on glaciers then it would be smart to invest in a pair of mountaineering boots.  Here in Iceland, there are many places throughout the country you can technically climb.  Specifically several of our glacier guides wear these to be able to set ropes in and outside of the ice cave.  For example, they would also do this for safety and to set paths that you will use.  The best mountaineering boots come with pros and cons for sure and here are some thoughts to consider…

Mountaineering Boots Pros:

  • The best boots for challenging conditions both terrain and weather (For instance, glacier adventures and high elevation hiking).
  • Rigid soles to apply technical climbing crampons.
  • High cut on your ankles for the best balance, support, control and overall stability.

Mountaineering Boots Cons:

  • Feel bulky (almost clumsy to some) and less responsive on and off snow or icy conditions.
  • Most expensive outdoor boot out there.
  • Need to be broken in before your big climbs.
  • Takes a long while to dry out.

Hands down the best hiking boots for Iceland mountaineering or ice climbing are Scarpa and La Sportiva.  Specifically following models our team often personally uses:

  1. Scarpa Mont Blanc Pro GTX Mountaineering Boots
  2. La Sportiva Nepal Cube GTX Mountaineering Boots

Where to buy Iceland Hiking Boots?

Where to find boots for Iceland, can be a loaded question.  Therefore, it is clever to do it in steps so you end up happy.  We’ll start with some helpful tips to consider before buying… Firstly, do not leave buying hiking boots for Iceland for the last minute or when you are here.  Iceland is one of the most expensive countries in the world and practically everything is imported and taxed at the high rate.  You are much better off buying your hiking boots before you come.

Second, do not buy hiking boots used.  Never ever do this!  Many companies put a material inside of the sole that molds to your foot shape to increase comfort.  Therefore, your foot isn’t going to likely be a match with someone else’s and will cause blisters or irritation to your foot.

Thirdly, the steps you should consider as you figure out the best place to buy your Iceland hiking boots:

  1. Make a list of the activities you will do using the boots.
  2. Determine what type of boot will suit the trip.
  3. Research online the different brands.
  4. Read reviews.
  5. If the brand is sold near you anywhere, jump into a store and try them on!
  6. Figure out where you can get the best price. It’s been our experience that REI Co-op has an incredible selection.  And Amazon, if you are ready to buy a specific brand and model.

How Much to Spend on Hiking Boots for Iceland?

Choosing the best hiking boots for Iceland, is not dependent on price.  Rather, the quality and comfort of the boot you need for the activity you are embarking on.  Meanwhile, it is important we know to have in mind how much you may need to budget for the type of hiking boot you need.  On that same note, we would like to share with you a quick guide on how much to spend on shoes for hiking for your upcoming trip to Iceland.  Ranges follow by type…

  • Hiking Sandals: $50-120 USD
  • Hiking Shoes: $75-200 USD
  • Hiking Boots: $100-350 USD
  • Backpacking Boots: $250-350 USD
  • Mountaineering Boots: $275-625 USD
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How to Clean and Store your Hiking Boots

High pathetically let’s say that you take the plunge and buy new hiking boots… Hang on a sec, now how do you take care of them after you break them in after your hiking adventures in Iceland?  Valuable question!  Allow us to provide some steps to follow:

Step 1: Remove the insoles (Iceland Hiking Boot Tip: If they smell, sprinkle baking soda on them!).

Step 2: Take out the laces.  To wash them, use dish soap and warm water.  Hang dry.

Step 3: Grab a brush and go to town on the outside of the boot removing dirt deposits.

Step 4: Using a tooth brush (soft bristles) and dish soap, gently scrub away!  Hiking Boot Cleaning Tip: You can use a pencil eraser to remove stubborn scuff marks.

Step 5: Wipe away the soap with a wet warm cloth.

Step 6: Time for waterproofing again!  Make sure the boots are dry before applying.

Step 7: Condition your hiking boots with wax or oil depending on the material.

Step 8: Dry your boots away from direct sunlight or extreme heat.

Step 9: Do not put your hiking shoes away until they are completely dry.  Then store them in a cool dry area until you’re ready to adventure again!

Caution: Never put your hiking shoes or boots in the washing machine, you’ll damage them!

Accessories for your Iceland Hiking Boots:

Did you know you can accessorize your hiking boots?  I don’t mean bling them out.  For instance, there are things you can purchase alongside of the best hiking boots for Iceland to make them even more amazing for you.  To illustrate, please read on…

  • Waterproofing Spray – When you first buy your boots, you’ll want to spray them and reapply after you wash them. It’s important to the cleaning and storing process as we alluded to above to ensuring your trekking boots are long lasting! 
  • Oil or Wax – Dependent on if your boots are leather or suede, you’ll need one or the other to condition the outside of the Iceland hiking boot.
  • Sealskinz Socks –The ultimate socks for adventures! If you choose to go the lightweight hiking shoes for Iceland, then pairing them with these is a killer combo!  Imagine crossing rivers and not even feeling your toes get wet!
  • Extra Laces – Not many people consider having an extra set of laces on hand. But if you’re an active hiker, you’ll likely need to change them because of fraying, splitting or breaking.
  • Extra socks – As a general rule of thumb bringing along extra socks while hiking in Iceland is a smart decision. In fact, we often bring two!

Best Hiking Boots for Glacier Adventures

When it comes to picking out the best hiking boots for Iceland glacier adventures, we would suggest formal hiking boots.  Trail running and regular hiking shoes are not comfortable once you slip on our crampons.  Throughout winter in Iceland, we recommend you wear a pair of snow boots for hiking.  Which mainly means that they are insulated against extreme conditions.  Curious about what else to pack for your super jeep adventure?  We’ve previously put together an informative what to pack list!

Hopefully working your way through this thorough advice post on the very best hiking boots for Iceland has educated you.  Specifically also made you more confident in your next purchase of them too!  We dare you to pick your favorite tour and give those new hiking boots a whirl at our amazing offbeat locations!  Lastly, if you really want to be challenged, then book a custom tour with us if you’re into more technical adventures on the glacier.  We’re happy to make sure you get good use out of hiking boots, that’s for sure!!

Your Adventure Awaits,

The Katlatrack Team

The Best Time of Year to Visit Iceland | Katlatrack

The Best Time of Year to Visit Iceland | Katlatrack

Once in a lifetime bucket list trips usually center around traveling to a place that will leave you inspired and stir your soul.  Many people, couples, or families may find that taking road trips exploring a new country or city is the BEST adventure to have.  Whereas others may think climbing to the top of a mountain, witnessing the natural phenomena of the Aurora Borealis, or stepping foot inside of an ice cave is where adventure is found.  No matter what avenue you go down, Iceland will not leave you disappointed.  And today our team would love to share with you the best time of year to visit Iceland!

Choosing the Best Time of Year to Visit Iceland

It’s fair to say that Iceland is the most unpredictable weather place you will ever visit regardless of the time of year you come.  All that said, you’re likely wondering when is best time of year to go to Iceland?  Our answer differs depending on the objective of your trip.  Some folks come to Iceland to chase the Northern Lights (aka Aurora Borealis) whereas others want to get lost among the dynamic and otherworldly landscapes.  For example, ice caves, mountain hiking, lush green waterfalls, lunar landscapes, geothermal hot pots, 360 views, rock formations, caves, the list is truly endless!

Our Katlatrack super jeep team would like to explain what Iceland looks like season by season and month by month.  Maybe then you can decide what time of year sounds ideal to you!

Furthermore, have you heard the saying, “There’s not bad weather, just bad gear?”  Making sure you are ready for Mother Nature is important during wintertime in Iceland.  Checkout our blog post on what to pack for your Iceland super jeep tour while you’re at it!

Visiting Iceland in Winter

Winter in Iceland can be both challenging and invigorating!  Overall in the South of Iceland, we typically get milder winters compared to the North of Iceland.  What does that mean?  Since we are in the Golf Stream we experience temperatures that range from 30 to 42 °F (-1.1°C to 5.6°C).  But the feel like temperature can be much colder because of the wind and storms.  Not to mention the long dark nights of November-March. 

However, the tradeoff is being able to experience the Aurora Borealis and hopefully a wintery wonderland.  If you’re brave enough to endure the winter weather conditions in Iceland, we encourage you to read our previous blog post on weather advice when preparing for your unique Iceland Ice Cave Tour with us!

November in Iceland

During the month of November in Iceland, you can expect significantly less daylight hours than in summer.  At the start of the month we have sunrise happening at 9:10am and sunset 5:10pm with a total of 8 hours of daylight.  Then at the end of the month you could expect more like 5 hours of daylight being sunrise around 10:45am and sunset 3:50pm. 

Rainfall is an average of around 8 inches but in Vik, that can easily translate to light rain to light / freezing rain or snow every day, especially up at the glacier!  If the sun emitted solar flares the days before and the sky is clear there could be a good chance during this month that you are witness to the Northern Lights!  Good luck! 

Iceland during December and Christmastime

Deciding for yourself the best time of year to visit Iceland can be tricky.  Mainly because we know most people try to balance their vacation time with family events, workload, and maybe even extended holiday time.  December can be an ideal month if you like spending holidays abroad. 

In contrast though, be aware that December in Iceland is our darkest and second rainiest month.  Also, most days are not filled with sunshine during the token daylight hours which vary from having 5 hours at the beginning of the month to only 4 at the end.  If there is not snow on the ground it can feel like a very dark day all day.  Fun Fact: Having snow on the ground reflects light and makes the day and night appear to be brighter.

The good news, is if you are not embarking on an Iceland self-drive itinerary, our team offers a pickup in Reykjavik for our Iceland Cave tour allowing you to experience the best of Southern Iceland from the luxury of the city limits too!  On the way, you’ll relax, cat nap, hear stories about the 13 Icelandic Yule Lads, and see all of the amazing local houses and business dressed in sparkling lights!

On that same note, we have seen some of the best Northern Lights after all of the firework madness tones down too.  Did you know Iceland only allows fireworks legally to happen between Christmas day and New Years Eve?  Imagine celebrating Christmas Eve or New Years Eve with seeing fireworks and Northern Lights!  …mind blown!

January in Iceland

When January rolls in, our Katlatrack adventure tour team rejoices because we go from having 4.5 hours or daylight to 7 hours by the end!  More daylight to adventure in!!  Likewise, there can still be rain, snow, and wind storms happening but it just adds to that “I survived Iceland” accomplished feeling you get at the end of it.  In January in Iceland, you can expect less rain than the previous two winter months but be prepared for it regardless!

Iceland in February

February is easily one of our favorite months as it is full on ice cave season and most times we have a bit of a winter wonderland on our hands too!  Super exciting for those of you that are looking for the best time of year to travel to Iceland to see snow!  We promise that you are in good hands with our Katlatrack Adventure Tour team… For real have you seen how prepared our team is with last year’s addition of a super sweet snow cat?

On the other hand, what can you expect in regards to weather in February in Iceland?  Firstly, beginning the month of February we have 7 hours of daylight and end the month being back to 10 hours of daylight to run around in!  Secondly, the month of February on average only bring around 6 inches of rain.  Better snow than rain, eh?  Nevertheless, February also can bring winter storms that bring along gale force winds and blizzards (aka white out conditions).  Don’t fret, our team of local experienced drivers and GPS systems will keep you safe!

March in Iceland

The last of the token winter months in Iceland is March.  Fair to expect temperatures somewhere between 29-42 °F and hit or miss with snow.  Often we have very snowy conditions the first week or so in March in and around Vik and then it transitions to slush.  By the end of the month, the snow begins to melt and the landscape starts to unravel.  Rain levels are about the same at February and you have at least 10 hours at the beginning of the month of daylight and almost 13.5 by the end!

Traveling to Iceland in Spring

Spring comes to Iceland during the months of April and May.  In fact, I think spring everywhere in the world is about a new beginnings.  Believe it or not it’s a transition month for Iceland too!  April increases a bit with rain and daylight (Average Sunrise: 6am and Sunset: 9pm) giving you from 13.5 hours to 20 hours by the end of May!  The mountain tops slowly melt and the piles of snow begin to also melt in the highlands. 

As this season begins all of the big “blue ice caves” close because stability if jeopardized.  Good for us, because our offbeat ice cave area becomes a shining star and one of the only ice caves accessible year round!  Did you know there are at least 8 different types of ice caves in Iceland to experience?

Experiencing Iceland in April

Explorers often see April as the best time of year to visit Iceland because it can be a slower month for tourists and many take off time during spring break (or Easter if you celebrate).  Airlines like Icelandair also often issue travel deals.  Conversely, of Route 1 can be accessed in an economy car if you plan to do self driving in Iceland.  April has also been the start of whale watching season in Iceland.  Could be a great time to experience the Golden Circle at a slightly more less touristy time.  Maybe even think about a self-driving itinerary through Iceland too!  Anticipated rainfall is usually under 7 inches and the temperatures vary between 36-45.5°F, well above freezing.

Iceland Weather in May

May in Iceland, Icelanders like to refer to as “gluggaveður” meaning “window weather.”  For example, this is usually the type of weather where you look outside and see the most amazing day outside and then you walk out in your shorts or pretty dress only to be greeted with FRIGED temperatures!  We have a lot of these days in May and it also happens to be the driest month in Iceland of the year.  Take advantage of it and make time to visit Iceland and explore it!

Visiting Iceland in Summer

Care to be surrounded by midnight sun and the warmest temperatures of the year in Iceland?

Dare you to come and visit during June, July, and August our full on summer months!  During summer you experience anywhere between 14-21 hours of daylight.  Even when the sun “sets” it doesn’t it still is very light outside and for most people it’s not enough to fall asleep very easily.

Visiting Iceland in June

Throughout the month of June, no matter the weather Icelanders will enjoy the first official summer month.  BBQ’s are in full swing and people trying to grab as much vitamin D as possible so get outside!  The highlands road begin to open too so screw going to the Blue Lagoon and take an offbeat adventure to a more o’natural hot spring instead! 

Some of the best activities to do in Iceland in June happen in our hometown of Vik too!  To illustrate, the best time of year to visit Iceland to you could mean celebrating the summer solstice while drinking a beer in a hot spring or what about celebrating it by a private ice cave tour with all of your favorite people?

Iceland July Adventures

Adventuring around in July in Iceland is THE BEST!  Our warmest temperatures of the year typically fill this month at a balmy 47-52 °F.  With the sun shining I’d dare to say it has had a “feel like” temperature of 60-70 degrees °F.  Further, the average time the sun rises is around 3:40am and it falls into sunset around 11:30pm, but faster and earlier if up in the mountains!  Speaking of mountains, our Hidden Mountains tour is extremely popular in during summer and specifically in July in Iceland

Best Month to Visit Iceland: August

August in Iceland wins the award for the greenest month! Comparing all the summer months, August is our favorite because it also is our warmest month because the scale hits 50-55 °F on some days!  Don’t let the warm temps and lush greens fool you though, as August in Iceland can have quite a bit of rain, especially in Vik.  Then again, how else do you expect to have the areas be so green without it?!

What does Fall look like in Iceland?

Fall happens in Iceland!  For real!!  Now, we don’t have cider mills, pumpkin pie, nor corn mazes, but we are lucky enough to have the usual fall colors!  You’ll see oranges, red, and yellows emerge from the ground cover and on the leaves on the trees.  It’s a really special sight to see and capture in photos.  The formal fall months in Iceland are September and October.  The main benefit of traveling to Iceland during this time is that hotels may have a slightly discounted rate as it can be for some “shoulder season.”

September in Iceland

Believe it or not, some say this is the best month to come to Iceland if wanting a taste of both summer and winter.  The average temperature is between 43-52 °F (which is 6-11 Celsius).  All that said, September is our rainiest month in Vik and with that comes wind most times. Then again, you can hardly expect anything else, no matter when you visit Iceland!  

September weather in Iceland is just as unpredictable as during any other month of the year, just be prepared for it!  This month also begins our formal Northern Lights season.  We have heard sightings as early as September 2nd  in Vik Iceland!  Next, you can expect sharing space with less tourists than compared in July or August.  Moreover, keeping traditions alive in our hometown of Vik, becomes a priority during the month of September in Iceland. 

Traveling to Iceland in October:

Planning a trip to Iceland in October could very well be the best time of year to visit Iceland if you love fall colors!  Colors are at their peak usually the first 2 weeks of October.  For instance, can you imagine chasing waterfalls brimming of fall colors and then ending it in a hot tub watching the Northern Lights?  Sounds like an ideal October adventure day!  Interesting Fact: The Peace Tower is officially lit on Viðey Island in October.

Best time of year to visit Iceland to see the Northern Lights

On the top of most people’s minds and a questions we get asked often is… What is the best time of year to visit Iceland to see Northern Lights?  Formally the months there are possibilities are between September to the beginning of April.  However, the weather in Iceland is the definition of unpredictable and unfortunately, you need a clear sky to even have a chance of seeing them (alongside several other factors).  A fantastic local website you can check to see the Northern Lights forecast is from the Icelandic Met Office.

Best time of year to visit Iceland for Ice Caves

Depending on who you talk to, you may get mixed answers.  Why?  In most people’s minds, formal ice cave season in Iceland is only between Mid-October-March.  But that is for the overrun touristy blue ice caves.  Rather, our Katlatrack team provides year round ice cave experiences but our ice caves can vary in size, color, and texture.  Just rest assured they are 100% natural and it’s a crazy fun ADVENTURE to get there!!

Visiting Iceland Travel Tips:

Although Iceland has grown so popular now, that there really isn’t a line drawn for most between shoulder season and high season.  Most accommodations super jeep adventures, and tour companies offer the same year round pricing.  But you will likely see a difference in the cost of car rentals between seasons so take tidbit of travel tips with you when you leave today. 

Lastly, as you plan your trip to Iceland, we would love for you to keep our team in mind if you’re looking for a bespoke unique adventure in Vik Iceland!  Our team would love the opportunity to “wow” you just as we have other happy customers!  See more feedback on Trip Advisor and Google!

Your Adventure Awaits,

Guðjón + the Katlatrack Team

Visiting A Black Sand Beach in Iceland | Katlatrack

Visiting A Black Sand Beach in Iceland | Katlatrack

The black sand beaches of Iceland, are an awe inspiring landscape texture travelers often flock to.  I mean you can go anywhere else in the world and bask on golden or white sands.  But in Iceland you do not come to the black beach in Iceland to layout and relax on.  Rather you come to explore and marvel over its picture perfect creation!

Discovering a black beach with your loved ones will be something you always remember.  From the volcanic feel of the sand, basalt or lava rocks, to the sound of the ocean waves take your pick!  There are for sure more black sand beaches than white, yellow, or golden especially along the southern coast of Iceland!

Why are the beaches black in Iceland?

With over 100 volcanos across the island, Iceland is one of the most volcanic landscapes in the world.  Likewise, the very reason why it is also abundant with an endless supply of black sand beaches.  Specifically our hometown of Vik in Southern Iceland is incredibly rich lava fragments and minerals which create the black sands.

Where is Reynisfjara Beach?

One of the most famous places in Iceland and a “must go to” when you day trip around Iceland, is Reynisfjara Beach.  From downtown Reykjavik, you can expect the trip to get there in 2 hours and 30 minutes (map link).  Or better yet, if staying at our Volcano Apartments, it is only a 1 hour drive (85km)!

There is a reason why Reynisfjara has been voted “the most Instagramable beach” in the world.  Nothing can quite reach its uniqueness with crazy basalt stacks piercing into the skyline.  Plus on the same beach there are a few caves to adventure in, basalt columns to get your picture taken on, and never-ending bird watching opportunities (hello summer Puffin sightings!). 

Truly it is a special place not to be missed when you embark on your 3, 5, 7 or 10 day Iceland itinerary.  Did you know from the town of Vik, there is also a hiking trail you can take to the top of the mountain?  There you will have 360 views of the southern coast which include 2 glaciers, Dyrholaey Sea Arch and the Reynisdrangar basalt rocks.  Good news too, if you’re not a hiker but still want to visit the stop of the mountain you can book out “Best of Vik” tour, as our team has special permission to drive to the top!

Safety considerations when visiting Reynisfjara Beach

Although Reynisfjara Black Beach is a stunning beach to photograph, there is some responsibility that comes with visiting as a traveler.  When arriving to the area, please make sure you park where directed (not on grassy areas, only stone / pavement).  Next, take the time to read the signs (they are in English).  Reynisfjara can be a very dangerous beach due to sneaker waves and riptides.  For example, you could be watching the waves for 10 minutes and see the waves vary in length they come up.  And then one in a set of 5-10 always has a pull attached and goes further up a dry beach.

Nature rules here, so respect it.  Do not try to dip your toes in the water or walk where the stones / sand appear wet.  Keep a safe distance from the water and the rock formations.  Also know during the months of October to April the cave is not typically accessible safely.  Special Note: In this area, there has been several deaths so please heed our warnings and be careful when visiting Reynisfjara.

Which movies were filmed on Reynisfjara Black Beach?

It is no secret that Iceland has been a very popular filming location for Hollywood movies.  2014 movie, Noah with Russel Crow is hands down likely the most known film that has been shot on Reynisfjara black beach.  Literally the last 20 minutes is all filmed there featuring the beach, cave, and rock formations as the “new world.”  Fun Fact, our local super jeep guide, David Geir Jonasson worked on the film personally and would be happy to provide you with more intimate knowledge if you’re on a tour with him!

Reynisdrangar and the Legend of the Trolls

Not only does this infamous beach come with picturesque beauty, but it also comes with a memorable Icelandic folklore legend!  Curious?  Pretty sure our Vik super jeep guides tell it better than I’ll write it bu I’ll give it a go!

To illustrate, two trolls were told how beautiful the south coast of Iceland is, so they decided to relocate.  Dragging their 3 mast ship in the night the husband and wife troll couple spotted the cave at Reynisfjara in the distance and went for it.  Sadly, they were not quick enough to make it there before dawn broke and they were turned to stone! 

Standing there in the water, the husband, wife, and their ship dragging behind still stand there as a reminder and warning to other trolls to not venture towards the beach.  After all the cave on that beach is in the light or sun for a good part of the day!

Is Reynisfjara the only black sand beach in Iceland?

Contrary to popular belief, Reynisfjara is not the only black beach in Iceland.  In fact, there are countless!  Ideas for visiting Iceland black beaches on your own…  Firstly, if you hike from Reynisfjara going west (ocean on your left side) you’ll find the black beaches of Dyrholaey.  Secondly, in the town of Vik, you’ll find a different view of the basalt stacks at the Vik Black Beach.

Thirdly, if you plan on visiting the Westmann Islands, there is a lovely black beach where the primary ferry leaves that has a shipwreck and a fantastic view of the islands.  Fourthly, ever dream about having dinner overlooking a black sand beach?  The seaside restaurant, Hafið Bláa has a jaw dropping view of black sand dunes!  Fourth, if you are game for a hike and want to see a piece of American history crashed on a black beach / desert then you can take a hike out to the abandoned Solheimasandur DC-3 Plane Wreck (about a 45-60 minute hike 1 way).

Lastly, if your trip to Iceland brings you further east than Vik and all the way to Hofn, we encourage you to check out a local favorite.  The black beach of Stokksnes with the magical Vestarahorn Mountain behind is unforgettable!  Please note there is an entrance fee you must pay to the landowner (inside the café) but it also allows you entrance into the aging Viking village too!  When you visit and pay the fee, you’ll be able to drive down a bit or park at the café and spend the afternoon exploring by foot!

What Iceland Tours Visit Black Beaches:

Maybe you are a bit shy with directions and driving in Iceland and want a professional to take the wheel?  Several of our Vik super jeep tours will provide you an up closer and personal experience on driving on a black sand beach in Iceland and exploring!  Imagine yourself right now in the super jeep cruising down the beach next to the crashing waves… Really an invigorating experience!

In conclusion, the Katla Ice Cave Tour; South Coast Tour from Reykjavik; and the Private Ice Cave Tour will take you from the glacier and ice cave area to ending on our favorite local black beach!

On that same note, the Best of Vik – 1 Hour Express Tour will also give you inspiring views of several black beaches in Iceland!

How would you like to visit a private black sand beach in Iceland?

Visiting an Icelandic black beach is often a highlight for so many.  There is just something so mysterious yet so alive feeling when you experience it.  Adding in the fact that Iceland south coast beaches also come with interesting features like sea arches, waterfalls, dunes, basalt stacks, etc you cannot choose a bad one!

Furthermore, our Vik Iceland tour guides and super jeeps can also take you to several private property black sand beaches.  Being able to get permission from the local landowners goes a long way and amping up your adventure too!  Because having a black beach all to yourself is a really special experience.  You’ll get an intimate “just discovered it” feeling and that’s pretty powerful among the tourist locations.

Feel free to inquire about a custom tour with us if you find yourself yearning to explore more black sand beaches in Iceland!

Your Adventure Awaits,

–Guðjón and the Katlatrack Team

Super Jeep Tours in Iceland

Super Jeep Tours in Iceland

Super Jeep Tours in Iceland | Katlatrack 

Super Jeeps rule the road here in Iceland.  When you see one pass by, you look.  In fact, everyone looks!  They are so badass to adventure around in.  But for our Katlatrack team, our super jeep tours in Iceland are raw, real and local.  We don’t ever stay on the main road and go to tourist locations in them.  Rather, we’d like to introduce you to the offbeat sides of Iceland! 

Why a Super Jeep is the ONLY way to Experience Iceland

Chances are you’ve stumbled upon this Iceland Super Jeep Tours post because you’ve been here before and or you were seeking something different.  With how popular Iceland has become in the Instagram world, it wouldn’t surprise us if a lot of your friends and family have visited Iceland already.  So maybe for your visit to Iceland, you were looking for to really talk about and I dare to say even “one-up them!”  You’ve come to the right place… Planning an Iceland 4×4 tour with our super jeep team will do it! 

The only way to experience the pure, untouched, wild side of Iceland is to get up and into the Icelandic Highlands.  It’s a rugged area that we believe requires an experienced and professional driver.  Mainly due to the fact that there are numerous glacier river crossings, landslides, and road deterioration (because the roads are not serviced).  Not to mention, it is also best to have a local guide with you to know and understand how the area is changing, like the glacier.  As it can be a dangerous place if you do not have that right knowledge and gear!

Imagine yourself rolling up to our meeting spot in Vik and jumping into one of our badass super jeeps!  No matter the weather or season, our tours go!  And prepping before you come can be key to a super jeep tour in the highlands, so make sure you head back to our What to Pack for your Vik Iceland Super Jeep Tour!  From the moment we turn off of Route 1 and venture into the highlands the energy is high!  That’s just it, a ride in the super jeep on private roads, tracks, and F-roads is a mind blowing 5 senses EXPERIENCE!  

What to look for when choosing a Super Jeep Tour Operator

Choosing a Super Jeep Tour operator in Iceland can be tricky as there are several websites that are booking agents only.  And although that is a fantastic way to book many aspects of your trip, you may find booking directly with an Iceland super jeep team is better suited for you to ask questions, etc.  When researching between South Iceland super jeep tour companies, here are several aspects you want to make sure you know before booking:

  • Solid Reviews on a third party website (like Trip Advisor or Google). And look at the lowest ones.
  • Professional trucks (are they rust buckets?) and gear (as needed like crampons, helmets, headlamps, etc).
  • Locals operating the tours.
  • Licensed and experienced drivers with navigation systems.
  • Size of the groups.
  • What they say to wear and pack during the Iceland super jeep tour.
  • The experience (compare what they put on their website to the previous reviews).

Take a Super Jeep Tour with Katlatrack:

There are so many textures and tones throughout the Icelandic landscape.  What type catches your attention the most?  For example, if you’re hoping to visit an ice cave during any season in Iceland, we offer our regularly scheduled Katla Ice Cave Tour via our super jeeps.  If ice caves aren’t your thing, we have an incredibly unique Hidden Mountains super jeep tour you should check out!

And if you find yourself with less time or money, we offer a more budget minded option too called the Fast Track (no frills).  But, booking a super jeep tour in Iceland with our Katlatrack team ensures you will have an unforgettable experience!  So today we would like to share with you 10 reasons why that’ll happen during your Vik super jeep tours with us:

1- Local Experience & Knowledge:

Our driver guides are Icelanders and have been out adventuring and scouting all around the Vik Iceland area from our very first memories as children.  Our tracks were set decades ago with permission from the local landowners, village, and government and we remain up to date on all permissions.  While on one of our custom or open tours, you’ll also delight in hearing local history, geology and folklore stories.

Additionally, our driver guides are experienced in driving the routes for years.  If weather becomes a problem, all of our super jeeps are equipped with GPS systems with the routes saved.  This can be a day saver if conditions become challenging.  Could very well be the difference in getting stuck or not during your super jeep day trip. 

2- Our Team:

Our team are not just “drivers.”  Part of our local experience during our super jeep (4×4) tours is the personality of our guide.  They are passionate about the areas, they are full of local knowledge and their enthusiasm is contagious!  Not to mention they also have all of the proper driving certifications to safely and legally drive you. 

Fun Fact: Part of our training for our Iceland Ice Cave Tour guides is to see how many times they can get stuck in a day (without guests) and how fast they can get unstuck.  Because let’s be honest, if your super driver has never gotten stuck he’s not a real super jeep guy!  You will want someone who is experienced in all types of weather situations, have a plan ready for worst-case scenarios, can navigate through it flawlessly, safely, and keep you calm in the process.

Another defining factor is that more than half of our team is part of the Iceland SAR (Search and Rescue) team.  So how does this benefit you?  Because we always plan ahead and go in with your safety in mind whether it is on the way in the super jeep or at the glacier area. 

Our guides have often been first responders to high pressure / stressful rescue missions involving glacier or mountain rescues when hikers have lost their way or hurt themselves in some way.  They understand how to keep someone calm, stabilize the situation, and react quickly.  And the few guides who are not formally apart of the SAR team are still trained to our company’s high standards in first aid.

Fun Fact: One of our super jeeps is actually one of the old Vik Iceland SAR team trucks!

3-  Offbeat and Unique Locations:

It’s been our mission since 2009, to show travellers to Iceland something more than the usually overcrowded tourist hotspots.  Likewise to also share a side of Iceland that very few will ever experience.  Come see Iceland from a local’s perspective on a super jeep private tour in Vik! 

4- Speaker System:

It’s a priority for us to ensure your super jeep tour experience is enhanced by being able to here our guides tell you about the local area and folklore.  We do this by having all of our super jeeps rigged with mic/speaker systems so you do not miss out during your Iceland adventure tour with us!

5- Reliable and Maintained Trucks:

Our Katlatrack team takes pride in having safe and dependable 4×4 Super Jeeps for you to adventure in.  The fleet is carefully maintained by our guides and/or other professional mechanics that specialize in highland vehicles.  Having a super jeep requires a lot of require maintenance and we never skimp on doing this.  But know, in the rare occasion something does happen, we have plan “b” ready to put into action!

6- Approved Glacier Gear:

It’s important to us that you stay safe.  At the beginning of our super jeep adventure tour in Vik Iceland we provide you with approved glacier gear.  So what does that mean?  It means you’re going to get a helmet, crampons and headlamps that professional mountaineers may have in their gear bags. 

7- Small Groups:

We’re a small company, so we take you on small group tours to keep the experience personal (typically you can expect 2-12 people).  Because come on, who wants to visit an ice cave with 50+ other strangers?!  And if you want an even more of a private experience, check out our custom tours

8- Our Iceland Travel Blog:

Katlatrack Adventure Tours, not only wants to be your number one choice for super jeep tours in Vik Iceland, but we also want to provide you with helpful information on visiting the area.  So rather than blogging about areas outside of Vik Iceland, we remain true to our area.  It’s our mission to go beyond the tour and allow you to learn about the local culture of Vik (Fun Fact: Did you know we are only a village of 300ish people?)!  Check out our previous post on Things to do in Vik! 

9- Katlatrack Reviews:

We are tried and true.  Our business is only run in the Vik Iceland area (we are often referred to as experts in our territory).  You can see for yourself that our team has countless reviews on Trip Advisor and also on Google.

10- The FUN You’re Going to Have:

You’re not going to want leave us!  Between the amazing offbeat areas we are going to share with you, the stories, history, and the vibe our tour just in general has you’re going to want to keep hitting the REWIND button on your adventure!

We dare you to craft your very own adventure full of secret waterfalls, hidden volcanoes, movie locations and more… Or let our team create it for you via a private tour in Iceland!

So ditch the usual hot tourist spots like the national parks and book on of our small group Iceland jeep tours!  See the real Iceland with our local guides. Maybe you’ll visit a dormant volcano, an iconic black sand beach, a stunning waterfall emerging from a glacier and much more.  We’d love to show you our local area of Vik, ice caves, and even build you a custom tour.  Feel free to contact us for more information on getting that adventure started!

Your Adventure Awaits,

– The Katlatrack Super Jeep Team in Vik Iceland

Iceland Private Tours | Book A Custom Tour | Katlatrack

Iceland Private Tours | Book A Custom Tour | Katlatrack

Iceland Private Tours – The Perfect Way to Explore Iceland

Having privacy at sight-seeing locations in Iceland is often rare.  Especially if you are venturing out on your own self-drive Iceland adventures.  You’ll find countless tour buses throughout the most known tourist locations.  All of which can be a major bummer if you’re looking to have a peaceful moment or take a photograph without hundreds of people in them.  But don’t worry, there is another option… Our Katlatrack team based in Vik offers extraordinary Iceland private tours!

Why Book an Iceland Private Tour:

When you choose to do a self-drive itinerary to explore Iceland, you miss a lot.  Mainly because you’re paying attention to driving and not enjoying the incredible scenery!  By booking an Iceland private tour, you and your partner (or family) can enjoy looking out the window with zero stress of driving!  Leave the work to our professional super jeep team!

Plus, by having a private super jeep tour in Iceland, you’ll have the truck to yourselves!  So ask all the questions you want, spread your stuff out, have a snack, put your feet up, or even take a nap between stops all sprawled out!  The luxury super jeep and guide are yours for the day!

Although private tours in Iceland, cost more than a typical “open tour,” they go at YOUR PACE.  So if you want to spend 15 extra minutes discovering a private waterfall, you can!  Our private day tours offer you the flexibility of spending more time at some locations and less at others.

Furthermore, there is something to be said about arriving at an offbeat location within the south coast of Iceland and seeing it all by yourself!  Our local guides are happy to take you to private black sand beaches, ice caves, exclusive waterfalls, unique viewpoints, Game of Thrones filming locations, isolated side of a glacier, secret mountains, canyons the list is endless!

Super Jeeps: The best mode of transport in Iceland:

Your sense of adventure is heightened when you embark on super jeep tours in Iceland.  Frankly, you just feel immediately way more badass to start!  Then the super jeep trucks normally sit high up on 38” to 46” tires towering above just about everyone. 

Furthermore, for the sustainability of the landscape and the smoothness of your ride, the majority of our Katlatrack super jeeps also have deflation systems.  And if they do not, we still deflate before we adventure into the highlands and inflate after!  For instance, by doing this it allows our trucks and local guides to be more capable in extreme snow conditions or rivers.

With our professional driver guides, you will find yourself crossing rivers to get to your epic locations!  Imagine how unforgettable it will be splashing through rivers as you pass by crazily shaped mountains to get to a private waterfall or secret ice cave!  Locations you can only get to by booking an Iceland private tour via super jeep with our Vik Iceland guides!  Super jeeps are seriously the best mode of transport in Iceland!

Types of Iceland Private Tours:

Likely your curiosity is peaked as to what types of Iceland Private Tours we can offer you, right?  Happy to elaborate!  A few ideas to get your mind stirring to follow below:

  • Private Ice Cave Tour – Do you want to several different types of ice caves? We scout weekly so if you’re adventurous enough, we can take you to come amazing ice caves privately!  If you want something less intensive we can also do our Katla Ice Cave as a private tour for you at an additional cost.

 

  • Ice Climbing at Katla Glacier– A few of our guides are experienced ice climbers and can offer you year-round ice climbing at Katla Glacier. Please contact us for more information.

 

  • Best of Vik Tour– Our daily tour that allows you to discover the offbeat side of Vik Iceland can also be available privately, please contact us for more information.

 

  • Hidden Mountains Tour– Are you intrigued by crazy shaped mountains, caves, trolls, and canyons? A private version of our hidden mountains tour may be exciting for you!

 

  • A Secret Waterfall Hunting Expedition– There are countless waterfalls that are far away from the tourist locations we would love to show you on an Iceland private waterfall tour!

 

  • Family Friendly Super Jeep Tour- Let us know the ages of children and capabilities of the family and we can put together a private family friendly tour for you in Southern Iceland!

 

  • Southern Iceland Ghost Tour- Did you know South Iceland is one of the most haunted areas of Iceland? There are countless stories our super jeep team can tell you about.  And places!  Picture yourself exploring a haunted mountain hut and listening to the stories that come along with it!  It’ll intrigue you and send shivers down your spine!

 

  • Trolls and Folklore Tour in Iceland- Are you fascinated by culture, mystery, and enchanted locations? You may love an Iceland private tour that focuses on trolls, elves, and all of the mysterious folklore Iceland has!

 

  • Iceland Luxury Adventure Tour- Do you want to experience private landscapes as a VIP and have lunch as an EXPERIENCE?! Imagine having a luxury picnic inside of a private ice cave?!  We can make it happen for you!

 

  • Craft Your Own Private Super Jeep Tour to exactly what you are interested in seeing and doing. Do you envision yourself visiting a private hot spring, discovering a secluded private black sand beach?  Or exploring private ice caves without the crowds? Contact us for more information!

As Iceland Changes…

With travel to Iceland increasing every single year with no sign of stopping, the country is at a point of over-tourism in numerous areas.  For instance, just to name a few would be the Golden Circle, Blue Lagoon, glacier lagoon, and many of the attractions in the south shore. The majority of those Iceland sightseeing locations have thousands of visitors every day.  More ropes and barriers go up every week to protect the quick deteriorating landscape. 

So as you finalize your Iceland travel plans, why not find your way away from the typical and overpopulated tourist places?  You can do this by booking an offbeat adventure to non-touristy locations throughout Southern Iceland and specifically in Vik via super jeep!  Feel free to contact us for more information on an Iceland Private Tour via super jeep!

Your Adventure Awaits,

– The Katlatrack Super Jeep Team in Vik Iceland