Discover South Iceland's astonishing raw nature. Glaciers, icebergs, hot springs and volcanoes dominate this beautiful, yet rugged landscape. Experience the hidden powers of the island including views of the notorious Eyjafjallajokull volcano, black volcanic sand beaches, mighty Vatnajokull glacier and breath taking Jokulsarlon glacial lagoon. With three nights spent in stunning rural locations, you'll be perfectly placed to hunt for the magical Northern Lights.
On arrival in Reykjavik transfer by coach to your hotel. 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.
Start the day by visiting the fascinating Northern Lights Centre in Reykjavik to learn about the science and meaning of the Northern lights. Then we leave the city and travel to Thingvellir National Park, a UNESCO World Heritage site, where the Althing, the oldest legislative assembly in the world, was first convened, and a place of great significance and sense of national identity. The National Park also lies in a rift valley that marks the crest of the Mid-Atlantic Ridge and the boundary between the North American and Eurasian tectonic plates - this is one of Iceland's most fascinating and visually stunning geological places, on the shores of Iceland's largest lake. Continue through farmland areas to the geothermal fields of Geysir with bubbling mud pools and the high-spouting Strokkur hot spring. Last but not least, visit the dramatic two-tiered Gullfoss waterfall, a spectacular sight in winter when frozen mid-cascade. Stop at Skalholt, Iceland's capital during the Middle Ages and now a culture centre with a beautiful church. During the day you will also visit Laugarvatnshellir cave where two Icelandic families built a cosy homestead and farm during the early 20th century. The furnishings and buildings in the cave have been restored to show how the residents once lived. Dinner and overnight in the south coast area. Here there is no light pollution and the elusive Northern Lights might just come out and play.
We drive along the south shore, an area of Iceland that is absolutely beautiful in the winter. This is one of the main farming regions of the country, and the road passes typical Icelandic farms, often with the charming, small and shaggy Icelandic horses in the fields. This part of Iceland is home to the new Lava Centre, an interactive, high-tech educational exhibition depicting volcanic activity, earthquakes and the creation of Iceland over millions of years. Here we have time to enjoy the exhibits and view an interesting film about volcanoes. Next we visit the high but narrow Seljalandsfoss Waterfall, which plunges over the mountain; you can walk the trail that goes behind the falls – if you are prepared to get wet! Nearby is Skógafoss Waterfall, which at 60m high is one of the most impressive waterfalls in the country. Heading onwards, we pass by Myrdalsjokull Glacier, to visit Reynisfjara black sand beach. Take a walk on the unique sands, admiring the extraordinary rock formations and thundering waves of the Atlantic Ocean. Two nights in the Kirkjubaejarklaustur area. Winter 2020 - 2021 departures: visit an Icelandic Search and Rescue (ICE-SAR) base.
Today we enter the area of Vatnajokull National Park, the largest park in Europe and with Europe's largest glacier. The park's Skaftafell region is a site of outstanding natural beauty, dominated by the mighty Vatnajokull glacier. We visit Jokulsarlon Glacial Lagoon, where you can enjoy the breathtaking sight of floating icebergs on the vibrant blue waters of the fantastic, 180m deep glacial lagoon. You may even see seals swimming in the arctic waters, and you can walk on the black sandy beach, where large icebergs often get stranded. Then view Svinafellsjokull, one of the most beautiful of the glacial outlets emerging from Vatnajokull, and the famous Skaftafell area, a site of outstanding natural beauty dominated by Vatnajokull glacier. 2nd overnight in the Kirkjubaejarklaustur area.
Today we head towards the village of Hveragerdi, which is one of the few villages in the world located directly on top of a geothermal area. Hveragerdi is often called "the flower village" because of its many greenhouses, heated by hot water from the nearby springs, and it is a true showcase for clean, geothermal energy, which Iceland relies heavily on for heating, both commercially and domestically. We then continue along the coast, with breath taking sea views, and through a community once flourishing and now deserted. On to the Reykjanes peninsula where we enjoy a visit to the famous Blue Lagoon. The Lagoon is a unique wonder, spectacularly situated in the middle of a black lava field - relax and enjoy the calming, healing properties of the mineral laden air and bathe in the warm, aquamarine waters. We then return to Reykjavik in the early evening, for overnight.
Arrangements end with transfer from your hotel by coach to Keflavik Airport.
Group size: Maximim 36 persons
2 different levels of accommodation:
Comfort: standard rooms with private facilites in hotels, guesthouses & farmhouse accommodation. 3 star hotel in Reykjavik.
Quality: standard rooms with private facilites in hotels, guesthouses & farmhouse accommodation. 4 star hotel in Reykjavik.