Essential Iceland

Enjoy the essential places of the west & south plus the uninhabited highlands
8 days
Jun - Aug
Itinerary
General Prices
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Enjoy the essential places of west and south Iceland and the uninhabited interior highlands, Europe's last true wilderness, a landscape of stark, desolate and raw beauty. Visit the Westman Islands, one of the best-kept secrets in Iceland, enjoy a boat trip on the Jökulsárlón glacial lagoon, a monster truck expedition on Langjökull glacier and a visit deep inside one of the world's largest man-made ice caverns.

Day 1 Reykjavik Arrival   
On arrival in Reykjavik take the airport bus to your hotel for an overnight stay in Reykjavík. The city centre is a small area characterised by eclectic and colourful houses, good shopping, dining and drinking. Reykjavík has recently established itself as a haven for food lovers, with numerous restaurants taking advantage of the abundance of local seafood, meat and game. Reykjavik has many wonderful museums including the National Museum displaying artefacts from the first settlement to the modern age, giving an excellent overview of Iceland’s history and culture, the Reykjavik 871+2 Settlement Museum, an archaeological museum based around a 10th-century Viking longhouse unearthed in 2001, the Reykjavik Art Museum and the National Gallery.

Day 2 Blue Lagoon and Westman Islands  
At 09:00 meet your guide and fellow travellers and leave Reykjavik, heading for the Reykjanes Peninsula with its hot springs, mountains, bird cliffs, lunar landscapes and fishing villages. Our first stop is the famous Blue Lagoon, where you can soak in the warm, mineral rich waters. In the afternoon, we continue to Grænavatn, a small green lake in a very deep explosion crater. Next, we explore Krýsuvík, an area with solfataras, fumaroles, mud pots and hot springs, with soil coloured bright yellow, red and green. We then travel towards the south through large lava fields, alongside mountains and the Atlantic Ocean. Around 5 pm we take a short ferry ride to the Westman Islands where we stay for one night. Tonight enjoy a welcome drink & dinner at the hotel. 

Day 3 Westman Islands and Vatnajökull National Park 
Today we explore the town of Heimaey and this extraordinary island by foot and by bus. The volcanic eruption in 1973 was the largest natural disaster in Iceland in recent history - it began on January 23 on the outskirts of Heimaey, the only populated island in the Vestmannaeyjar archipelago. After the evacuation of the 5,300 inhabitants, and during the 5 months while the eruption lasted, there was much uncertainty as to whether or not the island could ever be repopulated. During our tour we explore bird cliffs, walk up a volcano crater and visit the "Pompeii of the North", a volcanic excavation project. There you can see houses which were dug up from the thick layer of pumice after 40 years, and an exhibition about Surtsey Island, a small island created by the volcanic eruption. The afternoon is free for you to explore on your own. At around 4 pm, we take the ferry back to the mainland, and continue by bus to our hotel in the Vatnajökull National Park, where we stay for two nights. Tonight dinner at the hotel is included.

Day 4 Jökulsárlón Glacier Lagoon and Vatnajökull National Park 
We start the day with a visit to Jökulsárlón glacier lagoon, one of the most beautiful and dramatic spots in the whole of Iceland, and enjoy an amphibian boat ride among floating icebergs. Huge pieces of ice calve from the glacier and end up floating in the lagoon and out to sea. We also take a walk alongside the lagoon and on the black sandy shores, called Diamond Beach, to look for seals and stranded icebergs. In the afternoon, we visit the tiny turf church at Hof and spend time at Europe’s second largest national park, which has Iceland’s highest mountains, an alpine environment, and Europe's largest glacier. We walk up to the waterfall Svartifoss, which is surrounded by black basalt columns, and on to Sjónsker cliff, where we have a magnificent view of Hvannadalshnjúkur, Iceland's highest peak at  2110 metres.

Day 5 South Coast  
Fjaðrárglúfur Canyon is an amazing and spectacular gorge. We take an easy walk on a good path to the right of the gorge, to the top end of the canyon for spectacular views. The next stop is Vík in Mýrdalur, the southernmost village on the Icelandic mainland. The area has rich birdlife, including puffins, fulmars, and guillemots. We visit Reynisfjara shore, an impressive black sand and pebble beach with an amazing cliff of regular basalt columns, resembling a rocky step pyramid. Out in the sea are the spectacularly shaped basalt sea stacks Reynisdrangar- according to folklore, two trolls attempted to drag a ship to land but were turned to stone as daylight broke! Further west we reach the 62 metre high Skógafoss waterfall, then travel along the famous Eyjafjallajökull glacier and volcano to the narrow but high Seljalandsfoss waterfall. We end the day at the new Lava Centre, an interactive, high-tech educational exhibition depicting volcanic activity, earthquakes and the creation of Iceland over millions of years. For the next two nights, we stay in Hveragerði, known for its outdoor geothermal swimming pool and hot tubs.

Day 6 Gullfoss, Geysir & Kerlingarfjöll 
We start the day by exploring Gullfoss, the beautiful double "Golden Falls" that tumbles 34 metres into the Hvítá river. Then we go into the Icelandic Highlands, to see the colourful Kerlingarfjöll rhyolite mountain massif. We take a hike of about 2 hours to discover fuming steam vents, boiling mud pots and hot streams, close to snow and ice.  In the evening we visit the active geothermal area of Geysir, where we can see Strokkur, "the churn", spout up to 25 metres every five to ten minutes.

Day 7 Þingvellir, Kaldidalur, Glacier Cave  and West Iceland  
In the morning we travel to Þingvellir National Park, a UNESCO world heritage site, and an area of exceptional geological and historical interest. The gravel mountain road Kaldidalur takes us to Húsafell in West Iceland for a fabulous visit to a man made ice tunnel and caves, located on Langjökull Glacier. The caverns are composed of an extensive system of tunnels and chambers that stretch close to 300 metres into the solid ice cap, towards a breathtaking natural ice cave at the heart of the glacier. Making your way inside the glacier you are able to explore various nooks and chambers and see a huge ice crevasse - as you walk further along the tunnel, the ice gets older and its colour gradually changes from white to deep blue, and also the acoustics change. The trip includes an 8WD drive monster truck expedition on the glacier.

In the afternoon we visit the magnificent Hraunfossar and Barnafoss waterfalls, where the water seems to magically appear from underneath the lava before cascading over a long and moss covered lava wall. Our final stop for today is at Deildartungahver, Europe's most powerful hot spring - the water that flows here is boiling and sizzling. We then travel along Hvalfjörður fjord to reach Reykjavík in the evening, for overnight and a farewell dinner.

Day 8 Reykjavik Departure
Arrangements end with your return coach transfer to Keflavik Airport.

Departures 2018: 23, 30 June; 07, 14, 21, 28 July; 11, 18, 25 August

Group size: maximum 20 persons

Includes: Arrival & departure Keflavik airport/hotel transfers by coach; 6 day escorted coach tour with English speaking guide or driver-guide; 7 nights accommodation in rooms with private facilities; daily breakfast; 3 x 3-course dinners on Days 2, 3 and 7; welcome drink at the hotel on the Westman Islands; visits to two national parks; entrance & use of towel at the Blue Lagoon; ferry to/from Westman Islands; entrance to Pompeii of the North Exhibition; boat trip on Jökulsárlón glacial lagoon; admission to Lava & Volcano Exhibition in Hvolsvöllur; monster truck tour on Langjökull glacier and ice cave visit.

This tour includes some hiking and walking on uneven terrain and natural trails.

Accommodation at the following hotels or similar: First and last night Hotel Reykjavík Centrum Reykjavík; 2nd night Hotel Vestmannaeyjar Westman Islands; 3rd and 4th nights Hotel Skaftafell Vatnajökull National Park;
5th and 6th nights Hotel Örk Hveragerði.

                                     Nordic Travel is 100% Australian owned and operated              

Price per person FROM:
Double AUD$ 4890.00
Single AUD$ 6280.00

Includes: Arrival & departure Keflavik airport/hotel transfers by coach; 6 day escorted coach tour with English speaking guide or driver-guide; 7 nights accommodation in rooms with private facilities; daily breakfast; 3 x 3-course dinners on Days 2, 3 and 7; welcome drink at the hotel on the Westman Islands; visits to two national parks; entrance & use of towel at the Blue Lagoon; ferry to/from Westman Islands; entrance to Pompeii of the North Exhibition; boat trip on Jökulsárlón glacial lagoon; admission to Lava & Volcano Exhibition in Hvolsvöllur; monster truck tour on Langjökull glacier and ice cave visit.

 

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