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Hiking in South Iceland: The Drama of Nature

Program No. 10537RJ
Discover stunning natural beauty as you explore colorful volcanic landscapes, bubbling geothermal pools and sparkling waterfalls with local experts.

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Prices displayed below are based on per person,doubleoccupancy.
DATES & starting prices
Jul 16 - Jul 24, 2024
Starting at
Aug 6 - Aug 14, 2024
Starting at
Sep 3 - Sep 11, 2024
Starting at
Itinerary Note

This departure will stay at Hotel Smyrlabjorg in Hornafjordur on days six and seven.

Sep 10 - Sep 18, 2024
Starting at
Sep 17 - Sep 25, 2024
Starting at
DATES & starting prices
Jul 16 - Jul 24, 2024
Starting at
Aug 6 - Aug 14, 2024
Starting at
Sep 3 - Sep 11, 2024
Starting at
Itinerary Note

This departure will stay at Hotel Smyrlabjorg in Hornafjordur on days six and seven.

Sep 10 - Sep 18, 2024
Starting at
Sep 17 - Sep 25, 2024
Starting at

At a Glance

The world’s 18th-largest island is also one of the most fascinating, where eons of glaciation, combined with an active molten core, have resulted in a landscape like few others on the planet. Traverse the landscape and national parks on foot, studying Iceland’s natural and cultural history with local experts. Don’t miss a chance to revitalize in one of South Iceland’s many thermal pools.
Activity Level
Outdoor: Challenging
Hikes can be between 6-8 miles on uneven terrain; both established trails and “off trail” routes, elevation changes up to 1,500 feet on hikes.
Small Group
Small Group
Love to learn and explore in a small-group setting? These adventures offer small, personal experiences with groups of 13 to 24 participants.

Best of all, you’ll…

  • Learn about Iceland’s geothermal energy source.
  • Explore Skaftafell National Park, which spans three glaciers on the southern edge of Vatnajökull.
  • Soak in a naturally heated river in the colorful, volcanic Landmannalaugar region.
Visit the Road Scholar Bookshop
You can find many of the books we recommend at the Road Scholar store on bookshop.org, a website that supports local bookstores.
North: The New Nordic Cuisine of Iceland
by Evan Sung (Photographer), Jody Eddy, Gunnar Gislason
Catering to a rising interest in Nordic cuisine, this cookbook celebrates Iceland’s food alongside its haunting landscapes, portrayed in starkly beautiful, full-color photos.
Independent People, An Epic
by Halldor Laxness
Rich in local color, this great mock-epic by the Icelandic Nobel Prize-winner features the indelible Bjartur of Summerhouses, a hard-headed, independent-minded sheep farmer.
Island on Fire: The Extraordinary Story of a Forgotten Volcano That Changed the World
by Jeff Kanipe, Alexandra Witze
Two science writers discuss the political and natural ramifications of the 1783 eruption of Iceland’s largest volcano, Laki, which led to global death, famine and even revolution. Great for the geologically minded but accessible to all with an interest in volcanoes.
The Almost Nearly Perfect People, Behind the Myth of the Scandinavian Utopia
by Michael Booth
Guardian journalist Booth writes with laugh-out-loud humor and brutal candor about the Scandinavians, mixing history and his own experiences in Nordic regions in this searing cultural portrait.
The Sagas of Icelanders
by Jane Smiley (Editor), Robert Kellog (Introduction)
Nine sagas and six tales composed between the years 1000 and 1500, including an account of Leif Eriksson's voyage to North America, all newly translated.
Butterflies in November
by Brian Fitzgibbon (Translator), Auour Ava Olafsdottir
Scorned by love, a quirky, unapologetically independent 33-year-old woman takes a spontaneous trip along Iceland’s Ring Road, her best friend’s 4-year-old deaf-mute son in tow. Evocative of the Icelandic spirit.
The Control of Nature
by John McPhee
In the classic McPhee tradition, these sparkling essays explore our generally feeble attempts to combat all-powerful nature, including valiant efforts by Icelanders to control the flow of a volcano across the harbor at Heimaey in the Westman Islands.
A Naturalist's Guide to the Arctic
by E.C. Pielou
A primer on Arctic climate, geography, plants, birds, mammals and insects in a single nicely written book. It's a highly recommended, enthusiastic guide to natural history throughout the Circumpolar North.
Iceland Adventure Map
by National Geographic
A detailed map at a scale of 1:465,000, printed on handy tear- and water-resistant paper.
Auroras, Fire in the Sky
by Dan Bortolotti, Yuichi Takasaka (Photographer)
These 80 color photos by Yuichi Takasaka celebrate the beauty, history, folklore and science of the northern lights.
The Arctic, A Guide to Coastal Wildlife
by Tony Soper
An essential handbook for the ship-based traveler, this compact guide to the plants, marine mammals and birds of the Circumpolar North features handsome watercolor illustrations and lively text. This new edition includes a section on the Bering Sea.
Jar City
by Arnaldur Indridason
Indridason's first moody police procedural finds Reykjavik detective Erlendur Sveinsson investigating the brutal murder of a lonely pensioner and the man's connection to the deaths of a number of young women. Made into a darkly superb film.
Penguin Historical Atlas of the Vikings
by John Haywood
This history of the Vikings tells their story through a series of innovative maps and excellent photographs. It traces the routes of 9th-century Viking merchants and explorers throughout Europe and the New World.
The Vikings, Lords of the Seas
by Yves Cohat
An indispensable reference that fits in your pocket, this slim volume is packed with maps, archival photographs and illustrations.
Iceland Imagined
by Karen Oslund
This cultural and environmental history explores the geography, literature, language, culture, politics and symbolism of Iceland, Greenland, northern Norway and the Faroe Islands.
Song of the Vikings, Snorri and the Making of Norse Myths
by Nancy Marie Brown
Brown brings to life not just the great Norse tales of medieval Iceland but also the life and times of the worldly Icelandic chieftain, known as the "Homer of the North."
Last Places, A Journey in the North
by Lawrence Millman, Paul Theroux (Introduction)
Millman explores the culture and history of the Faroes, Iceland and Greenland in this hilarious account of his travels in the wake of the ancient Vikings.
Letters from Iceland
by W.H. Auden
Written with fellow poet Louis MacNiece, this quirky, under-appreciated masterpiece captures the spirit of Iceland, its people and landscapes.
The Windows of Brimnes, An American in Iceland
by Bill Holm
In these provocative essays, Minnesotan Bill Holm writes about the fate of America from his fisherman's cottage on the shore of a creek in northern Iceland.
Ring of Seasons, Iceland, Its Culture and History
by Terry G. Lacy
A longtime resident of Reykjavik, Lacy weaves tales of family life, anecdote, lore and history into this illuminating personal portrait of Iceland.
Insight Guide Iceland
by Insight Guides
This guide emphasizes culture and history, with wonderful photographs, maps and essays from experts.
Iceland, Land of the Sagas
by Jon Krakauer (Photographer), David Roberts
Krakauer and colleague Roberts hike and climb around Iceland in this classic travel narrative, reissued as a paperback and featuring Krakauer's color photographs. The book interweaves the natural and cultural history of the island with the authors' own adventures.

Important registration tip:
If you want to attend the live lecture, please do not wait until the last minute to enroll.
If you enroll after a lecture is complete, we’ll send you a recording of the event.