Spectacular Iceland

Iceland's West & South + the interior highlands
8 days
Jun - Aug
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Enjoy the spectacular scenery of West and South Iceland and the interior highlands, with incredible sights and natural wonders. Several days are spent in the interior highlands, Europe’s last true wilderness, a landscape of stark, desolate and raw beauty. The interior is uninhabited, and offers cinematic vistas of seemingly infinite gravel plains, glacial rivers and lava fields punctuated by ice caps, volcanoes and jagged mountains.  Also visit the Westman Islands, one of the best-kept secrets in Iceland, and enjoy a boat trip on 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 Welcome To Iceland
On arrival at Keflavik Airport take the coach shuttle to Reykjavík where you spend the night. 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. Overnight at Hotel Centrum or similar. Please note dinner tonight is NOT included

Day 2 Blue Lagoon & Westman Islands 
At 09:00 meet your tour guide and fellow travellers, before heading out to 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 enjoy bathing in the warm, blue waters for approximately 2 hours. In the afternoon, we explore Krýsuvík, an area with solfataras, fumaroles, mud pots and hot springs, where the soil is coloured bright yellow, red and green. We then continue on to Gænavatn, a lake in an explosion crater, and travel towards the south through large lava fields, past mountains and the Atlantic ocean. Around 5 pm we take the short ferry ride to the Westman Islands, where we stay for one night at Hotel Vestmannæjar (or similar). Enjoy dinner at the hotel tonight.

Day 3 Westman Islands & Vatnajokull National Park  
Today we explore the town of Heimaey and this extraordinary island by foot and by bus. The volcanic eruption in 1973 is considered the largest natural disaster in Iceland in recent history. The eruption began on January 23rd on the island of Heimaey, the only populated island in the Vestmannaeyjar archipelago. After the evacuation of the inhabitants, and during the 5 months while the eruption lasted, there was much uncertainty as to whether or not the island could ever be re-populated. We explore bird cliffs, walk up the volcano crater and visit the "Pompeii of the North", a volcanic excavation project. The afternoon is free to wander around the town of Heimaey on your own and enjoy the birds and the signs of past volcanic eruptions. Depending on weather conditions, an optional 1.5-hour boat trip around the Islands to experience lively bird cliffs, an interesting lava coastline and colourful ocean caves may be available, and if so this can be purchased locally. At 4 pm, we take the ferry back to the mainland and continue on to the Vatnajökull National Park, where we stay for 2 nights at Hotel Skaftafell or similar. Enjoy dinner at the hotel tonight.

Day 4  Vatnajokull 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 of Diamond Beach, and look for seals and stranded icebergs. In the afternoon, we visit the tiny turf church at Hof and spend time in Europe’s largest national park, which has Iceland’s highest mountains, an alpine environment, and Europe's largest glacier. We hike up to the waterfall Svartifoss, which is surrounded by black basalt columns. From there we continue to Sjónsker view cliff, for a magnificent view of Mount Hvannadalshnjúkur, Iceland's highest mountain, and the area that was flooded during an eruption under the ice cap in the year 1996. 2nd night at Hotel Skaftafell or similar. Please note dinner tonight is NOT included.

Day 5 South Coast 
Fjaðrárglúfur Canyon is an amazing and spectacular gorge, where you can take an easy walk on a good path up to the top end of the canyon, with some spectacular views and breathtaking scenery along the way. The next stop is Vik in Myrdalur, the southern most village on the Icelandic mainland and an area with rich birdlife, including puffins, fulmars and guillemots. Nearby Reynisfjara shore is an impressive black sand and pebble beach featuring an amazing cliff of regular basalt columns, resembling a rocky step pyramid. In the sea here are also the spectacularly shaped basalt sea stacks Reynisdrangar, which according to folklore were 2  trolls who attempted to drag a ship to land but were turned to stone as daylight broke! Next to the west we reach the 60 metre high Skógafoss waterfall, after which we travel along the famous Eyjafjallajökull glacier and volcano to visit the narrow Seljalandsfoss waterfall, with a trail that leads behind the falls. 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. 2 nights at Hotel Örk or similar in Hveragerði, a town known for its outdoor geothermal swimming pool and hot tubs. Please note dinner tonight is NOT included.

Day 6 Secret Lagoon, Gullfoss, Geysir and Kerlingafoll 
We start the day at the “Secret Lagoon”, a natural hot spring in a small village called Flúðir, where you can get a true Icelandic bathing experience. The surroundings of the geothermal pools and its steam rising into the air give a magical feeling to the place. Next, we explore Gullfoss, the beautiful double “Golden Falls” that tumbles 34 metres into the Hvítá river. Then on to Kerlingarfjöll mountain massif, both colourful and rich in contrasts with its peaks and valleys, glaciers, snowfields and lively geothermal activity, where we hike for 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 seven minutes. 2nd overnight in Hveragerði. Please note dinner tonight is NOT included.

Day 7 Þingvellir, Kaldidalur, Glacier Cave & 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 once-in-a-lifetime tour to visit the ice tunnel and caves located on one of Europe's largest glaciers, Langjökull. Here an extensive system of tunnels and chambers stretch 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.  You will also enjoy an expedition onto the glacier in an 8 wheeled monster truck. In the afternoon, we visit the magnificent Hraunfossar and Barnafoss waterfalls, where the water seems to magically appear from underneath the lava, cascading over a long and moss covered lava wall and falling into a bright, turquoise-coloured river. Our final stop for today is at Deildartungahver, Europe's most powerful hot springs by volume of water produced, where the water that flow is boiling and sizzling. Finally, we travel along the Hvalfjörður Fjord, to reach Reykjavík in the evening. Overnight at Hotel Centrum or similar and a farewell dinner in a downtown restaurant.

Day 8 Departure
Transfer by coach from your hotel to Keflavik Airport and end of arrangements.

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

Includes: arrival & departure transfer by FLYBUS airport shuttle; 6 day fully escorted coach tour with English speaking guide or driver-guide; 7 nights accommodation in rooms with private shower/wc; 7 breakfasts; 3 x 3-course dinners on Days 2, 3 and 7; visit to two national parks; entrance & use of towel at Blue Lagoon; ferry to/from Westman Islands; entrance to Pompeii of the North Exhibition on Westman Islands; boat trip on Jökulsárlón glacial lagoon; entrance to Lava & Volcano Exhibition in Hvolsvöllur; entrance & use of towel at the Secret Lagoon; monster truck tour on Langjökull glacier and ice cave visit

Excludes: optional excursions

Group size: 20 persons

Accommodation is in a mix of 3 and 4 star hotels as follows (or similar) First and last nights Hotel Centrum Reykjavík /2nd night Hotel Vestmannaeyjar Westman Islands/3rd & 4th nights Hotel Skaftafell Vatnajökull National Park/ 5th & 6th nights Hotel Örk Hveragerði, South Iceland

                                                Nordic Travel is 100% Australian owned and operated

Includes: arrival & departure transfer by FLYBUS airport shuttle; 6 day fully escorted coach tour with English speaking guide or driver-guide; 7 nights accommodation in rooms with private shower/wc; 7 breakfasts; 3 x 3-course dinners on Days 2, 3 and 7; visit to two national parks; entrance & use of towel at Blue Lagoon; ferry to/from Westman Islands; entrance to Pompeii of the North Exhibition on Westman Islands; boat trip on Jökulsárlón glacial lagoon; entrance to Lava & Volcano Exhibition in Hvolsvöllur; entrance & use of towel at the Secret Lagoon; monster truck tour on Langjökull glacier and ice cave visit

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