Iceland Circumnavigation

Cruises, Escorted
Small ship Expedition Cruise from Reykjavik
12 Days
02 Jun 2020
General Prices

Situated in the Atlantic Ocean and with Greenland as its Western neighbour, Iceland is a remote volcanic island with mind-blowing landscapes and fascinating culture and history to please even the most discerning traveller. With most of the country uninhabited, the landscape is characterised by volcanoes, thundering waterfalls, geysers, geothermal hot springs, black sand beaches, bubbling mud pools and lava fields. With splendid birdlife and friendly locals, a circumnavigation of Iceland is an experience not to be missed.

IMPORTANT NOTE: in order to experience some of Iceland’s incredible scenery, a number of the shore excursions on this itinerary require overland coach travel away from the coast.

Expedition Highlights:
-Keep watch for blow holes, breaching and tail flukes as we spot whales in Húsavik
-Westfjords offer some of the remotest fjords, bays and pristine environments in Iceland – perfect for kayaking, hiking and bird-watching
-Visit Vatnajökull National Park featuring Europe’s largest glacier, glacial lagoons, black sand beaches, colourful mountains and rich birdlife, reindeers and seals
-On Heimay in the Westman Islands, see the remnants of houses buried by the 1973 volcanic eruption of Mount Eldfell and sail past UNESCO heritage-listed Surtsey Island, created by volcanic eruptions lasting 3.5 years starting in 1963
-Witness the incredible ‘heaven and hell’ contrast in landscape at Lake Mývatn – an area said to be the most geologically active area in Iceland

In true expedition style we encourage exploration and adventure, offering flexibility in challenging environments in a way that puts you among the action to see and do as much as possible. This itinerary is only a guide and subject to change due to ice and weather conditions.

Day 1 Keflavik - Reykjavik Arrival
Upon your arrival at Keflavik International Airport, coach transfer to the group hotel in Reykjavik and check in for 1 night.

Day 2 Embark the Greg Mortimer / Hvalfjördur
After breakfast at the hotel, transfer to the pier to board the Greg Mortimer. Sail into Hvalfjördur, a beautiful fjord just north of Reykjavik with wide areas of flat verdant land along majestic mountains, and beaches cut with creeks. The fjord is approximately 30 kilometres (19 miles) long and five (three miles) kilometres wide. The area is rich in bird life and is home to seals, perfect for Zodiac cruising, kayaking and hikes.

Day 3 Stykkisholmur / Látrabjarg Cliffs
Stykkisholmur is the gateway to Snæfellsjökull National Park-an area of diverse landscapes, characterised by lava fields and glistening fjords and home to bird-rich Breidafjordur Bay. The area is crowned by the magnificent, ice-capped Snæfellsjökull volcano, a 700,000-year-old dormant subglacial volcano, visible from Reykjavik on a clear day and immortalised in Jules Verne’s Journey to the Centre of the Earth.  Disembark the ship at approximately 8.30 am to commence today’s full day (7 hours) excursion visiting Arnarstapi, Bjarnarhöfn and Grundarfjörður areas. En route to Isafjordur, sail past the immense Látrabjarg cliffs, Iceland’s Westernmost point and home to a huge population of razorbills and puffins.

Days 4-5 Westfjords
Over the next two days, explore the Westfjords region featuring outstanding landscapes with jaw-dropping views of dramatic fjords carved by ancient glaciers, sheer table mountains that plunge into the sea and pristine North Atlantic vegetation. The region features attractive towns such as Isafjordur, the famous Dynjandi waterfall, and spectacular fjords offering kayaking excursions, hiking trails, and bird-watching. We plan to visit Hornstrandir peninsula, one of Iceland’s remotest and most pristine regions filled with many deep and dramatic fjords, towering bird cliffs, stunning natural beauty and opportunities for wildlife encounters. 

Day 6 Akureyri and Mývatn
Akureyri is Iceland’s second largest city, with a superb snow-capped mountain backdrop. Explore the old town before heading inland to nearby Lake Mývatn region – an area said to be the most geologically active area in Iceland.

Shore Excursions (choose one of the following):

Option 1 (up to 9 hours): Godafoss/Namaskard/Dettifoss/Asbyrgi

Option 2 (up to 7-8 hours): Akureyri Public Park and Botanic Garden/Godafoss/Dimmuborgir/Namaskard/Myvatn Nature Baths

Both options will end with a transfer to Husavik, where you can explore the small town at your own leisure before reboarding the ship to sail to Grímsey Island.

Day 7 Grímsey Island / Húsavik
Located approximately 40 km off the mainland, Grímsey Island is a fantastic place for Zodiac cruising, kayaking, and photographing seabirds such as guillemots, gulls and puffins. Back closer to Húsavik, a town known as the Iceland’s ‘whale watching capital’ spend time scanning the waters, home to up to 24 whale species and dolphins.

Day 8 Mjóifjördur
Mjóifjördur is a gem of a fjord on Iceland’s East coast cherished by locals. Hidden between Nordfjördur and Seydisfjördur mountains that provide shelter and pleasant weather, the fjord offers spectacular waterfalls and is ideal for kayaking and Zodiac cruising.

Day 9 Vatnajökull National Park
Höfn is a lively fishing town and gateway to Vatnajökull National Park, home to Europe’s largest glacier, Vatnajökull - our shore excursion for the day. Here you can find incredible glacial lagoons with floating icebergs, the highest peak in Iceland and Jökulsárlón, the deepest lagoon in the country. Visit Skaftafell National Park, part of the larger Vatnajökull National Park. Inside the National Park you can find glacier tongues resting on the green fields of the lowland, Jökulsárlón glacier lagoon, a glacial lagoon open to the ocean and filled with floating icebergs that wash up on shore and stand gleaming on the black beach, dubbed Diamond beach. The park also boasts colourful mountains and deep valleys, as well as rich birdlife, reindeers and seals.

Day 10 Westman Islands
Located off Iceland’s south coast, the Westman Islands (Vestmannaeyjar) were formed by volcanic eruptions around 10,000 years ago. Sail past Surtsey Island, a UNESCO World Heritage site that emerged from the sea in 1963 and is one the youngest land masses on Earth. Westman Islands are surrounded by 15 other uninhabited islands and around 30 rocks and skerries offering refuge for rich array of seabirds and the largest Atlantic puffin colony in the world. When sailing around the islands it is not uncommon to see puffins but also whales and seals. Heimaey is the main island in the archipelago and it has a population of around 4,200. Ashore on Heimaey, the only inhabited island in the archipelago, we see half-buried houses that remain from a violent 1973 eruption and visit the impressive Eldheimar Museum to learn about the volcanic eruption. Eruptions are a big part of the history of Westman Islands where there are two volcanoes – one that erupted around 6,000 years ago and Eldfell that erupted in 1973. Learn more about the story of the eruption and the aftermath at the fascinating Eldheimar museum.

Day 11 Reykjavik / Disembark the Greg Mortimer
Disembark in Reykjavik, where the voyage ends. Transfer to downtown Reykjavik and check in to your centrally located hotel for overnight accommodation.

Day 12 Reykjavik - Keflavik Departure
Arrangements end with coach transfer to Keflavik Airport.

Maximum number of passengers: 120

2020 Departure: 02 June only

Includes: return Keflavik airport coach transfers (Day 1, Day 12); overnight hotel accommodation with breakfast in Reykjavik (Day 1, Day 11); transfer from hotel to pier (Day 2); transfer from pier to downtown Reykjavik (Day 11)onboard accommodation during voyage including daily cabin service; all meals, snacks, tea and coffee during voyagebeer, house wine and soft drinks with dinner; all shore excursions and Zodiac cruiseseducational lectures and guiding services from expedition team; access to onboard doctor and basic medical services; 3-in-1 waterproof polar expedition jacket; complimentary use of muck boots during the voyagecomprehensive pre-departure information; a printed photo book produced with photos from your voyagePort surcharges, permits and landing fees. 

Excludes: optional activities; private airport transfers; Blue Lagoon stop-off or add a Reykjavik Classic Break tour - please enquire. Also excludes anything else not shown as included in itinerary. Gratuities for crew will automatically be added to your on-board bill, please advise at the time of settlement if you would like this to be removed. 

Optional activities: The following activity packages are available on this expedition at an additional cost and may require previous experience - register when booking.

Sea Kayaking in the far-flung corners of the world is an experience guaranteed to refresh your soul. Paddling in small groups, you'll glide between ice floes, brash ice and icebergs dotted with wildlife.

Photography FREE. All expeditions offer fantastic photography experiences. On selected expeditions, a photography expert will offer lectures and presentations

About the vessel, Greg Mortimer
This 104m ship is purpose-built for expeditions to world-class polar standards and capable of negotiating strong winds/waves. Accommodating 100 landing passengers plus kayakers and divers (in the polar regions), with an average of 120 per voyage, the ship is not only bigger to contend with adverse weather conditions, but its added creature comforts make for a more enjoyable journey out on the open ocean.

Nordic Travel is 100% Australian owned and operated

Please note the price for this cruise varies according to your choice of cabin. Please contact us for further details. 

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