Iceland is a country like no other, with exceptional landscapes, some of the world's finest waterfalls, erupting geysers, stunning fjords, magical lagoons, active volcanoes, majestic glaciers and powerful lava flows as well as tranquil lakes with rare-breeding bird life. This small group tour takes you on an unforgettable journey around Iceland, including Snæfellsnes peninsula and the magical West Fjords. Experience the spectacular splendour and untamed beauty of Iceland's nature, breathtaking scenery and unique Icelandic history and culture. We stay in simple and charming guesthouses, farm and tourist-class hotels, many of them set in the most stunning locations.
"The best I have ever been on. Everything went like clockwork and the hotels, food and guide were exceptional. Well worth every penny.” - Val K. Sydney, Australia 2018
On arrival at Keflavik Airport take the coach shuttle to your Reykjavík hotel. The small city centre is 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 in Reykjavik.
Depart Reykjavik this morning. We explore Gullfoss' beautiful, double 'Golden Falls' and walk through the active geothermal area of Geysir, where Strokkur 'the Churn' spouts up to 25m every 5-7 minutes. A visit to the ancient Viking Parliament area, then the UNESCO world heritage site of Þingvellir National Park before travelling along the scenic shores of Hvalfjörður fjord. Stop at a geothermal greenhouse and horse stables. Overnight in Borgarfjörður, West Iceland.
The Snæfellsnes Peninsula, 'the peninsula of the snowy mountain', juts out from Iceland's west coast, like a long arm with a clenched fist at its tip, and is in many ways a microcosm of the whole island. A rugged mountain chain runs its length, capped by the 1446m Snæfellsjökull, a mystical cone-shaped strato volcano. We travel around Snæfellsnes Peninsula, through lava fields and along the ocean with many classic photo opportunities. We visit the national park where volcanic craters, lava flows, an ice cap, glaciated peaks, fjords, sandy beaches and high cliffs shape its landscapes, the setting for Jules Verne's classic science fiction novel Journey to the Centre of the Earth. You can also enjoy an excursion under the glacier Snæfellsjökull, on a lava cave tour that takes you 35m underground and about 200m into the lava cube of Vatnshellir. During the tour you reach two different sections of the cave via a long, narrow staircase. The upper section has great features and unique formations of natural lava statues carved on the sides tube. In the lower part of the lava cave you experience total quietness and darkness when your guide switches off the light!
In the afternoon, we catch the car ferry Baldur from Stykkishólmur to Brjánslækur in the West Fjords. On the 2.5 hour journey over Breiðafjörður Bay, we pass the island of Flatey, which is inhabited only during the summer. If the weather is nice, you enjoy a magnificent view of the bay's countless islands as well as Snæfellsjökull glacier. We will stay two nights in the area of Patreksfjörður.
We follow the coastline and stop at the folk and transport museum in Hnjótur. We continue through very remote and sparsely populated region to the bird cliffs of Látrabjarg, the westernmost point of Iceland (and Europe) where you can see puffins (mid-May to mid-August). We take a memorable walk to the top of the highest bird cliff in Iceland. Látrabjarg is known for its density of Nordic birds - puffins, razorbills, guillemots, fulmars, cormorants, kittiwakes and other cliff birds flock in great numbers. This is a place where you can get very close to the seabirds and even if you're not a birdwatcher, you will be entertained by the comic puffins and mesmerised by the sheer number of birds.
We travel over mountains and along the shore of many scenic fjords until we reach majestic Arnarfjörður, surrounded by high mountains. At the bottom of the fjord we come across the unique waterfall Dynjandi with its seven levels of plunging water, declared the country's most beautiful waterfall by the people of Iceland. We continue over a mountain pass and travel along the southern shores of the West Fjords. This is a route less travelled and is characterised by sheer cliffs, deep cut bays and narrow stretches of coastal lowland. Overnight is at remote Vogur Country Lodge in West Iceland. This is a truly peaceful and beautiful place near Breiðafjörður Bay, giving you the feeling of being all alone in Iceland.
In the morning we travel mostly off-the-beaten path, seeing abandoned farms, beautiful little country churches and Icelandic horses. At Haukadalur, there is a replica of the homestead of Erik the Red, the famous explorer who founded the Icelandic colony in Greenland. His son Leif-the-Lucky, born in Haukadalur, Iceland, was the first European to set foot in North America. Now the excavated and reconstructed farm in Haukadalur is a living Viking museum. The landscape is dominated by mountains, lakes, valleys, sea and wide open spaces. We head north and stop at Glaumbaer turf farm and folk museum. Afterwards we travel through the fertile farmlands and fjord landscapes of Northwest Iceland before we visit the charming town of Akureyri, Iceland's 2nd largest city. Two nights in Akureyri.
During todays excursion we see spectacular fjord landscapes while travelling to Siglufjörður, Iceland's northernmost town and known as the herring capital of the North Atlantic. Siglufjörður is located on the mountainous Tröllaskagi Peninsula. On the way we pass small fishing villages and stop at a deserted valley that even most Icelanders have not seen. Included is a visit to the Herring Museum and also a whale watching and sea angling boat tour. 2nd night in Akureyri.
We explore Goðafoss, the waterfall of the Gods, and continue to Lake Mývatn, known for its rich bird life and extraordinary volcanic lava landscapes. We visit pseudo craters, walk in the lava field Dimmuborgir, see the ash crater Hverfjall, explore the hot springs and bubbling mud pools of Námaskarð, and travel to the crater lake Víti in the Krafla geothermal fields. In the afternoon relax and soak at the Mývatn Nature Baths. Overnight near Lake Mývatn.
We travel to Dettifoss, Europe's most powerful waterfall, in the northern part of Vatnajökull National Park, here we take a 40-60 minute walk. Then stop at Mordrudalur for a view of Herdubreid mountain. From there we head through the uninhabited highlands to East Iceland. We explore the northernmost fjord on the East Fjord mountain range. The isolated village Bakkagerði has only 120 inhabitants and is a charming village, built snugly next to the steep mountainside. Driving to Borgarfjörður-Eystri is dramatic and rewarding. The colourful mountains are simply unique and impressive. Overnight in Borgafjordur area.
Today admire the dramatic fjord landscape and its tiny fishing villages at the end of twisting roads in the East Fjords and en route visit Petra's interesting stone collection. In the afternoon we see Vatnajökull - Europe's biggest glacier - visible all over Southeast Iceland. Past the town of Höfn, we stop for a boat ride amongst the floating icebergs on the glacial lagoon at Jökulsárlón. Overnight near Skaftafell on the southern part of Vatnajökull National Park.
Visit Skaftafell at the Vatnajökull National Park, covered by ice and nestled below Iceland's highest mountain, Hvannadalshnjúkur (2110m). We walk close to one of the many glacial tongues in the area, then cross a sandy desert and drive along the south coast, always between the sea, mountainous cliffs, glaciers and waterfalls. We stroll along the black lava beaches and bird cliffs near the village of Vík. We stop next at the Skógafoss waterfall. Stop at Seljalandsfoss waterfall, then we visit the Lava Centre in Hvlosvöllur, where we watch a documentary film about volcanic eruptions in the past years in Iceland. Farewell dinner and overnight in Reykjavík.
Arrangements end with your transfer by coach back to Keflavik Airport.
Maximum Group Size: 20 persons
Accommodation is in the following hotels (or similar) Reykjavik: Hotel Klettur (first and last night); Borgarfjörður: Icelandair Hotel Hamar (1 night); West Fjords: Fosshotel West Fjords (2 nights); Dalir region: Country Lodge Vogur (1 night); Akuryeri: Hotel Kea (2 nights); Lake Myvatn: Sel Hotel Myvatn (1 night); East Iceland: Country Guesthouse Alfheimar, Borgarfjöður Eystri (1 night); Vatnajökull National Park: Fosshotel Glacier Lagoon (1 night).
*Optional seating choices:
Empty Seating – This is for passengers who would like to practise social distancing on the bus, and have a bit more space. Passengers get 2 x seats per person, meaning their seat PLUS an empty seat next to them, including a guaranteed Window Seat.
VIP Seating – Passengers will be seated in the front rows of the bus and also have 2 x seats per person - their seat PLUS the seat beside them, guaranteeing them a Window Seat. More space, more comfort and social distancing.