My Iceland Tour Experience

Callie Winters Iceland Tour with Wildland Trekking

“Rosalind!!!” My dad and I called out simultaneously, spotting our hiking buddy as we wandered around Reykjavik trying to shake the jet lag before meeting our tour group. Reuniting, we exchanged hugs with our friend who was attempting the same time zone adjustment. 

In fact, it was Rosalind who first introduced us to Wildland Trekking’s international hiking trips and suggested the Iceland itinerary. As an introvert, I had never considered group travel. Yet over the years since, I have come to find the lifelong friendships made with other travelers and my knowledgeable guides, to be even more impactful than the actual destinations I’ve visited.

Our Iceland Itinerary

Our first night in Iceland, we met our guide Michael in the lobby of our cozy accommodations. Known as the pre-trip orientation, this is where we reviewed our itinerary and received our gear for the week. We also met the rest of our small-but-mighty group. My dad, Rosalind and I, were joined by Mary, new to hiking and traveling alone, and Brenda and Leddy, two travel friends who met on a Wildland Trekking trip. It didn’t take long for us all to bond over travel stories and add more locations to each other’s bucket lists (already way too long to begin with!). 

As avid hikers, Iceland had been at the top of our bucket list for years, although I had been deterred by the amount of driving between the major attractions. As the second largest island in Europe, many of the main hikes and viewpoints are well spread out. However, I was surprised to find every mile we drove was truly prettier than the last, especially with someone else at the wheel. 

Iceland road

Iceland is known for its diverse landscape and has become a popular tourist destination. It’s easy to see why. The travel time quickly proved worthwhile with each waterfall, glacier, iceberg, volcano, lava field, and mountain we visited. Can you believe all of that fits on one European island?

On our first day of hiking we traveled to the Seljalandsfoss Waterfall. Our group was in awe, taking pictures from every angle as we approached the rushing water. Michael encouraged us to wear our rain gear, a staple on our Wildland Trekking-provided gear list, as we had the opportunity to get so close enough to the waterfall to get wet. Shockingly, experts estimate there to be over 10,000 waterfalls in Iceland. 

While we didn’t nearly have enough time in our week-long trip to even scratch the surface, we got to see some of the most spectacular falls in the world. In fact, a core memory I will never forget was enjoying a picnic lunch with our group during a warm and sunny day (rare for Iceland!) at the base of the Svartifoss Waterfall. There is simply no better way to enjoy a meal with stunning views and even better company. Iceland waterfall hiking trail


Rated a 2 out of 5 for difficulty level, this trip was accurately depicted as having more frequent short hikes and options to rest or drive in between stops. While the Mountains to Fjords Hut to Hut trek I took with the company in Norway – a level 4 of 5 – encompassed a variety of stunning, yet lengthy hikes over more treacherous terrain. 

Norway Mountains to Fjords

The highlight of my time in Iceland came after a rugged trek in our 4 x 4 that kept all of us holding our breath through deep water and over rugged boulders, and which resulted in lots of laughs, clapping, and highfives to our amazing driver for keeping us safe. We finally made it to Landmannalaugar, a popular attraction known for multi-colored mountains, geothermal pools, and lava fields that look positively otherworldly. 

My dad and I split from our group here to opt for the more treacherous hiking option, crossing through water to enjoy the jaw dropping colors of the mountains and eat lunch in the middle of a lava field –something I never thought possible! We ended the day with the opportunity to immerse our tired legs in the large natural hot springs. This spot is always my first recommendation when I hear of friends traveling to Iceland.


We lucked out tremendously traveling in mid-July to amazing weather for a normally cold and rainy country. The only day we really had to use our rain gear (besides when up and close to the waterfalls) was our last day of the trip when the rain was truly coming down sideways. Even our expensive, top of the line rain gear could not stand up to the weather.


 Our group opted out of the hikes and into an alternative option, wherein our amazing guide Michael came up with a spontaneous plan B, taking us to a small local farm to enjoy the local cuisine, see some cattle, and enjoy freshly made ice cream, a highlight of the trip! I never was a soup lover until this trip, where we had the most exquisite mushroom soup any of us had ever experienced.


Speaking of food, as a self-proclaimed foodie with a picky palate, I am always eager, yet sometimes hesitant to try food in a new country. Visiting an island as a non-seafood eater is always slightly terrifying. To my surprise, Iceland is known for their fresh cuisine and has some of the tastiest soups and beef I have ever had. We had a group with a variety of dietary restrictions including gluten free, seafood free, and meat free diets, all of which were easily accommodated.

Iceland father daughter trip with Wildland Trekking

Getting the most out your experience

Having gone on many guided hiking trips, I would make a few recommendations if it is your first time. 

  • First, know what you like and book accordingly. While I love camping, my father is more of a “glamper,” making lodge or hut-based options perfect for us. We can enjoy the outdoors by day while coming back to the comfort of a warm shower and bed every night. 
  • Next, be honest about your hiking abilities. Wildland Trekking appropriately rates each of their trips by difficulty level and truly has something for people of all abilities and interests. There is no worse feeling than being uncomfortable or unprepared for treacherous terrain. 
  • Last but not least, follow the gear list! I made the mistake of not following the gear list one time and will never make it again. Your guides prepare these lists to keep you comfortable and safe. Most people on our trip did not bring a bug net for their face and were paying 3 times as much to buy them last minute for protection from the pesky Iceland midges! 

Iceland houses

Iceland is a bucket list destination for many people and I couldn’t recommend a guided tour enough. Our whole group agreed that the country would be difficult to navigate on our own with the long drives, difficult to comprehend language, and local knowledge needed to find the amazing destinations we trekked outside of the day-trip proximity from Reykjavik. 

Because of Wildland Trekking’s expert guides, we were lucky enough to travel further along the south coast to see less-touristy attractions, go on some iconic hikes, and truly soak in the beauty of the country. I can’t wait to come back in the wintertime to experience the northern lights. 

Iceland Northern Lights TOUR

I hope this article has landed Iceland on your bucket list. Happy hiking!

About Callie Winters

Past Iceland Lodge Based Guest and Wildland Blog Contributor

-Past Wildland Guest and Blog Contributor-

Callie Justine is a freelance writer, travel-enthusiast, fitness fanatic, dog mom with a passion for all things adventure and outdoor sports. In 2014, Callie’s life changed when her dad took her to Chamonix, France as a college graduation present to hike the world-renowned Tour du Mont Blanc. Since catching a travel bug from that very trip, she has had the opportunity to hike in beautiful destinations such as, Norway, Iceland, Italy, Switzerland, Scotland, and many National Parks across the United States. Callie lives outside of Chicago with her husband and pets, Darcy and Clarkson. In her free time, you will find her with her nose in a book, crushing CrossFit workouts, or catching a flight to explore a new destination any chance she can. Her dream bucket list destinations are skiing in Japan and snowshoeing in Finland!

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