Explore the island of fire and ice, discover stunning scenery and dramatic landscapes. Enjoy the unspoiled Icelandic countryside with volcanoes, lava fields, hot springs, mountains, fjords, glaciers and waterfalls. This tour takes you to the best loved natural wonders, plus some lesser-known sights. From October to April the grounds of the countryside hotels also offer an excellent location for seeking the fabled Northern Lights each night, if the weather conditions are right.
"We went on the Iceland Exploration Tour and thoroughly enjoyed it. Our tour only had 6 people on it so it felt personal. Our guide/driver met us and the tour began. The tour included many stops at interesting places. We were given time to see the various sites before traveling along. The nice thing was if we mentioned we would like to see something along the way that was not on the itinerary, the guide would make it happen. The guide was well versed on the birds, plant life, history and generally was able to provide valuable information as well as stories to keep the tour fun and interesting. I would highly recommend using their tours." - Cherie, U.S.A. 2018
On arrival transfer by Flybus shuttle bus from Keflavik Airport to your accommodation in Reykjavík. Time to explore Iceland's capital on your own. 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 Icelandair Hotel Natura or similar.
Meet your guide at your hotel this morning and depart Reykjavik. Travel west, passing the town of Borgarnes and climb the Grábrók volcano crater. Further north we stop at the turf church of Víðimýri which has been extensively restored to its original form and is widely considered one of the purest and most beautiful examples of traditional Icelandic architecture. We continue past scenic fjord landscapes and over several mountain passes until we reach Akureyri, the capital of North Iceland. Overnight in Akureyri at Icelandair Hotel Akureyri or similar.
In the morning we explore Akureyri, a charming town of 17,000 inhabitants, visit the botanical gardens, and enjoy the panoramic view over Eyjafjörður fjord. In the afternoon, we travel to an important place in Iceland's history, Goðafoss, the spectacular waterfalls of the Gods. We continue to Lake Mývatn which is known for its geological wonders, (seasonal) active bird life, bizarre lava formations at Kálfaströnd, pseudo craters at Skutustadir and the tephra cone at Hverfjall. Then enjoy a relaxing soak at the Mývatn Nature Baths, in waters that contain a unique blend of minerals, silicates and geothermal micro-organisms. The warm soothing waters benefit both skin and spirit alike! Overnight at Hotel Sel-Mývatn at Lake Mývatn or similar.
In the morning we hike in a lava labyrinth at Dimmuborgir 'the dark castles', hoping to get a glimpse of the trolls who are said to live there..... In the afternoon we visit the hot springs area of Námaskarð with bubbling mud pools and steaming solfataras. We head through the uninhabited highlands and moonlike surroundings to East Iceland. With some luck we might spot an Arctic fox or see reindeer here. From June to August only, the tour today includes a detour to Dettifoss, Europe's most powerful waterfall, in the northern part of Vatnajökull National Park. Overnight at Icelandair Hotel Hérað in Egilsstaðir or Álfheimar Guesthouse in Borgarfjörður-Eystri or similar.
Today admire the dramatic fjord landscapes and the many tiny fishing villages at the end of twisted roads in the East Fjords. En route we may visit the interesting Petra's stone and mineral collection. In the afternoon, we see Vatnajökull – Europe's biggest glacier, visible from all over Southeast Iceland and continue to the town of Höfn. Overnight at Hotel Höfn, Fosshotel Glacier Lagoon or similar.
This morning we stop at Jökulsárlón, a glacial lagoon filled with floating icebergs, and we explore the extraordinary sight; we may see seals swimming in the arctic waters. You can walk on the black sandy beach where large icebergs get stranded. Enjoy a boat trip on the lagoon (May - Sep only). We then travel along the southern part of the glacier Vatnajökull and spend time at Europe's largest national park, which has Iceland's highest mountains, an alpine environment, and Europe's largest glacier.
A beautiful drive with many natural wonders awaits as we head across the Eldhraun lava field, across the sandy desert of the south coast, overlooked by mountainous cliffs, glaciers and waterfalls. We stroll along the black lava beach of Reynisfjara near Vík. In the small village of Skógar, there is Skógafoss waterfall which is 60m high and one of the most impressive waterfalls in the country. Next stop is at the Skógar Folk Museum, one of Iceland's finest museums, with its turf houses, assemblage of traditions and territorial relics on display. We continue to the high but narrow Seljalandsfoss waterfall which plunges over the mountain. There is an interesting trail that goes behind the fall – if you are prepared to get wet! Overnight at Hotel Eyjafjallajökull, Stracta Hotel Hella or similar.
We explore classics today as we travel the route of the Golden Circle sights. We start the day at Friðheimar, where you will meet small and charming Icelandic horses and learn about their special qualities and history, and visit a geothermal greenhouse. Later, we see steam from the Geysir geothermal fields as we arrive. There is a variety of hot springs and bubbling pools here - the original geyser is now dormant but has been replaced by Strokkur 'the Churn' which erupts at 5-10 minute intervals. We continue to Gullfoss, 'the Golden Falls', which is a double waterfall that tumbles 34m into the Hvítá River and is a truly glorious sight. We then travel inland to Thingvellir National Park, a UNESCO World Heritage site. On our return to Reykjavík, enjoy a short city tour to show you the highlights of the world's northern-most capital. Overnight in Reykjavik at Icelandair Hotel Natura or similar. From September to mid-April optional Northern Lights evening tours can be booked at the lobby of your hotel, should weather conditions be favourable. Purchased locally only.
Transfer by coach from your hotel to Keflavík Airport and end of arrangements.
Maximum Group size: 25 persons