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Iceland Circumnavigation

Small ship Expedition Cruise from Reykjavik
Vestmannaeyjar Westman Islands, Iceland © Shutterstock

Explore the ‘Land of Ice and Fire’ where snow-capped peaks rise above glaciers and active volcanoes rumble. Walk along a black sand beach, discover geysers and fumaroles and bubbling mud pools, explore spectacular fjords and impressive waterfalls, in one of the most geologically active places on earth. Our specialist naturalists and historians will reveal the Iceland below the surface – a land rich in wildlife, culture and fascinating human history.


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. FossHotel or similar.

Day 2 Embarkation

Explore the main sights of Reykjavik on a half day city tour before transferring to the pier for embarkation.

Day 3 Stykkisholmur / Snæfellsnes / 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. Disembark the ship to commence today's full day 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 birdcliffs at Latrabjarg, and spectacular fjords where you can kayak, hike and birdwatch. In genuine expeditionary style, we keep our itinerary flexible to allow for spontaneity to discover 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. Enjoy the bountiful silence and magnificent landscapes seen by the few adventurers that make their way here.  

Day 6 Akureyri and Mývatn

Picturesque Akureyri is Iceland’s second largest city outside the capital area with a superb snow-capped mountain backdrop. Explore the old town, with its beautifully maintained period houses before heading inland to nearby Mývatn region – an area said to be the most geologically active area in Iceland. Shore Excursion including Akureyri Public Parkand Botanic Garden; Goðafoss waterfall; Námaskarð and Mývatn Nature Baths. The excursion will end with a transfer to Húsavik, 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 40km 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 Seydisfjördur

Located in the east coast of Iceland, we enjoy a sail along a long, scenic, calm and deep fjord that snakes from its mouth to the head of the fjord to the town of Seydisfjordur, nestled beneath Mounts Strandartindur and Bjolfur. Seydisfjordur is a picturesque fishing village that is renowned for its charming collection of colourful wooden buildings located around the lagoon. Take a stroll around town and discover the timber houses that are remnants from when the Norwegians settled here and established the herring fishing facilities from 1870-1900. From the valley above the town, the river Fjardara tumbles down in beautiful cascades to the lagoon. There are a number of delightful hiking trails to explore, or alternatively, you can discover a flourishing cultural scene with an arts centre, the Technical Museum of East Iceland, the famous blue church that stages music concerts, and the only two cinemas in the east of Iceland. Located on a mountainside above the town you will find Tvisongur, a unique sound sculpture by German artist Lukas Kühne. To reach the sculpture, hike for 20 minutes on a gravel road that starts from the Brimberg Fish Factory. Back in town, browse the stores where you will discover handicrafts by local artists and artisans.

Day 9 Höfn - Vatnajökull National Park

Höfn is a lively fishing town with a healthy population of 1,800, and gateway to Vatnajökull National Park – one of the most spectacular and special parts of Iceland, home to Europe’s largest glacier, Vatnajökull - our shore excursion for the day. We’ll also hike in Skaftafell National Park, which was established in 1967, but from 2008 it became part of the larger Vatnajökull National Park, Europe’s second largest after Yugyd Va in Russia. The park also boasts colourful mountains and deep valleys, as well as rich birdlife, reindeers and seals. Inside the national park you can find glacier tongues resting on the green fields of the lowland, Jökulsárlón glacier lagoon, a glacial lagoon filled with floating icebergs that wash up on shore and stand gleaming on the nearby black-sand beach, dubbed Diamond beach. Enjoy an amphibian boat excursion on the lagoon to photograph the icebergs. 

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, plus 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 1973 eruption and visit the impressive Eldheimar Museum.

Day 11 Disembarkation / Reykjavik Departure

Disembark in Reykjavik, where the voyage ends. Group transfer to downtown Reykjavik or Keflavik airport. End of arrangements.

2024 departure: 21 May


Maximum number of passengers: 132

We do not recommend booking flights departing prior to 12.00pm on the day of disembarkation in case there are delays.

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 blows, breaching and tail flukes as we whalewatch in Húsavík
-Explore Látrabjarg bird cliffs, the largest seabird cliffs in Europe
-Visit Vatnajökull National Park, featuring Europe’s largest glacier, iceberg-speckled glacial lakes, black sand beaches, reindeer and rich birdlife
-Discover Mjóifjördur, a hidden gem of a fjord cherished by locals

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.

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, Sylvia Earle:
The Sylvia Earle is a floating ambassador for the conservation of the planet. Paying tribute to Dr. Sylvia Earle and six pioneering conservationists with public decks honouring their contributions and shining a light on their important conservation causes. Certified 100% Carbon Neutral, with a fully equipped Citizen Science Centre, expert lectures and participative Citizen science programs, to enrich your knowledge and connection to the places we travel to. The Sylvia Earle is a comfortable base camp for adventure. With an average of 130-140 expeditioners, our aim is to get you off ship experiencing the natural environment as much as possible and our smaller groups also mean we can tread lightly, making a positive impact to the environment.

Nordic Travel is 100% Australian owned and operated