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Iceland Explorer

from $3,499.00

Highlights of the vast, and starkly beautiful landscape of Iceland

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  • Vacation Style Holiday Type
    Guided
  • Activity Level Leisurely / Moderate
  • Group Size Small Group
    6 - 16
All about the Iceland Explorer.

Iceland is a vast, evocative country, constantly evolving and changing through the sheer power of the geological forces that created it. There is a huge amount to see outside of the better known tourist spots of the south. We do of course see these, including Geysir, Thingvellir and Gullfoss, and get to understand why they are so popular! Our journey however continues, to explore areas less frequented by the average visitor. The starkly beautiful Icelandic coastline, the immense glaciers and the beauty of the Eastern Fjords are just some of the treasures that await, to say nothing of the almost indescribeable geology of the north.Choose between the frozen landscape of the winter, when we see the sun rise and set every day and have the chance of Northern Lights, and the seemingly endless days of summer with 24hr daylight. It’s no surprise so many blockbusters and TV series are filmed here, as dramatic landscapes go, this takes some beating.

The tour package inclusions and exclusions at a glance
What is included in this tour?Items that are included in the cost of tour price.

* All breakfasts and 1 dinner included
* All accommodation (see accommodation section)
* All transport and listed activities
* Tour leader throughout
* Airport transfers (at designated times)

What is not included in this tour?
  • Flights
  • Single Accommodation (available on request, inquire for supplement)

Highlights

  • Volcanoes, waterfalls and geysers
  • Fishing villages and puffins
  • 24hr daylight in summer, chance for Northern Lights in winter
  • 9 nights hotels and guesthouses
  • Travel by specialist overland vehicle
  • Group normally 6 to 16, plus leader. Min age 16 yrs

 

  1. Day 1 Our trip begins in Reykjavik with a short briefing at the hotel.

    Our trip begins in Reykjavik with a short briefing at the hotel.

  2. Day 2 Visit Thingvellir volcanic rift, Geysir waterspouts and Gullfoss Waterfall; to Hella.

    Today we drive inland to the Thingvellir World Heritage Area, where the world’s first ’democratic parliament’ meeting took place – the area became Iceland’s first National Park in 1928 and a World Heritage area in 2004. Sitting right on top of a major fault line it is the best place in Iceland to see the continental drift – the movement of the Eurasion and North Amercian tectonic plates. Here they are literally pulling the earth apart as they inch away from each other causing the land between to subside. Not surprisingly the area abounds with waterfalls, immense fissures and the largest lake in the country. We then carry on to see the world famous geysers. The most reliable eruption comes every 5-10 minutes from one called ’Strokkur’; the 30-metre jet of water and steam is spectacular. To round off the day we drive a short distance on to Gullfoss, a huge dramatic waterfall located in a 70m deep canyon of River Hvita (White River).

  3. Day 3 Across southern Iceland towards the Eyafjallajokull Volcano Ice Cap, visiting Seljalandsfoss and Skogafoss Waterfalls plus sea-cliffs, famous for puffins.

    We head east to the foot of the infamous Eyjafjallajokull Ice Cap; this area was heavily affected by ash fall during the eruption of 2010 and a great deal of ice was melted by the boiling lava. The glacier feeds many beautiful waterfalls and we visit two of them. Seljalandsfoss Skogafoss. Both have rushing water dropping 60m, and in the case of Skogafoss, this wall of water rushes down in a 25m wide sheet, providing quite a spectacle.Continuing east, we cross the black flood-plain of Solheimasandur, before reaching the green valley of Myrdalur and continuing to Dyrholaey. This dramatic 120-metre high promontory is the southernmost point in Iceland. It is rich in birdlife, and a nesting site for Puffins and Arctic terns in spring. If we are lucky we might see whales and seals from the promontory on calm days. We continue further east to our accommodation in Vik, Iceland’s southernmost town, a great place from which to see the Reynisdrangar needles.

  4. Day 4 Into Skaftafell where glaciers tumble down from Vatnajokull Ice Cap; to Jokulsarlon glacial lagoon for exploration, the black beach and further to the fishing village Hofn.

    We begin with an excursion into Skaftafell on the edge of Europe’s largest ice cap, Vatnajokull. Here we have the option to climb the low hills overlooking the ice where we will be rewarded with vistas of the contrasting landscapes of mountainous icy peaks, volcanic floodplains and the distant Atlantic shore. Leaving the area we travel east to one of Iceland’s most famous highlights – the Glacier Lagoon at Jokulsarlon where thousands of icebergs are separating from the country’s largest glacier and are floating in the pale green sea-level lagoon. We take a walk beside the lagoon for excellent views and if conditions allow can head down to the black sand beach where chunks of ice are washed back up onto the shore by the sea, creating some wonderful shapes and formations. We then continue further east with the steep mountains of Vatnajokull on one side and the exposed south coast on the other, to the fishing village Hofn.

  5. Day 5 Drive through the stunning Eastern Fjords to Egilsstadir.

    A day of scenic driving, with a number of stops as we travel through fjord country. We start by crossing the Almannaskard Pass and leave the flat south coast as we climb into the alpine landscape of the Eastern Fjords. This stunning mountain region has been sculpted as much by glaciers as volcanic activity. The spectacular road winds from one fjord to another, passing a few farms in each fjord where there is enough flat land  for hayfields. The birdlife is rich and in late summer thousands of moulting whooper swans feed in the sheltered lagoon of Alftafjordur (Swan fjord). We then continue to the town of Egilsstadir.

  6. Day 6 Inland through volcanic landscapes to Dettifoss Waterfall; to Asbyrgi Canyon.

    Heading inland and west we pass through the starkly contrasting desert scenery of the North East Highlands and follow the track that takes us north to the enormous Dettifoss Waterfall. This is Europe’s most powerful waterfall, bizarrely set in an arid area of sand and rock formations. Further north is the Asbyrgi Canyon; a phenomenal dry canyon thought to have been carved out in a single day by an immense flood wave caused by an eruption underneath the Vatnajokull Ice Cap. We walk into Asbyrgi to have a closer look at the strange lava-cliffs and view the nesting fulmars. We continue west to our guesthouse, which stands on the north border of the inland lava field, where countless springs and crystal clear streams flow from subterranean channels to the lowland of Axarfjordur.

  7. Day 7 To Husavik and then to Lake Myvatn, an area of pseudo craters, lava flows and hot springs.

    From Axarfjordur we drive west to the steep ’fracture zone’ of the eastern Tjornes Peninsula. West of Tjornes is the lively fishing village Husavik at the east side of Skjalfandi Bay. From Husavik we continue towards Lake Myvatn. We explore the fascinating geology of the area. Sitting on the mid-Atlantic ridge it has a striking appearance thanks to the countless small crater-like islands. Furthermore its position in the rain shadow of the Vatnajokull Ice Cap makes it statistically the driest place in Iceland. We explore the pseudo craters of Skutustadir, the mysterious lava towers and arcs of Dimmuborgir and climb (optional) the 160 metre high crater Hverfjall which was formed in a steam explosion some 2500 years ago. After the crater traverse we head to the Godafoss Waterfall en route to Akureyri. On arrival in Akureyri we take a sightseeing tour around this interesting town, nicknamed the Capital of the North.

  8. Day 8 Free day to explore the 'capital of the north' Akureyri

    A free day in Akureyri. Akureyri is a town of some 17,000 inhabitants and is the biggest town outside the capital. It is the cultural, commercial and educational centre for northern Iceland and is 60 km south of the Arctic Circle. This northerly town is remarkably green and has the northernmost botanical garden in the world. For those who want an active day there are many optional activities available that can all be booked locally through our guide.

  9. Day 9 We head back to Reykjavik making stops at some of the fascinating places along the way.

    Our journey back to Reykjavik is a final opportunity to enjoy Iceland. It is a long drive (approximately 5 hours) but there’s no need for in-car entertainment, we have everything we need right outside. Heading towards Reykjavik there are various options for stops, depending on conditions. We will try to head out to the beautiful Snaefellsness Peninsula, on the western tip of Iceland, and see some of the lovely old fishing villages such as Stykkisholmar, as the landscape unfolds and we near the capital.

  10. Day 10 End Reykjavik

    Our trip ends in Reykjavik after breakfast. Flybus transfers are available to the airport.

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Where you stay

Hotels & Guesthouses

This tour is based on a mixture of hotels and simple guesthouses. As with everything in Iceland accommodation is very expensive, so we have tried to choose places with prices that allow us to keep the holiday affordable. Starting out in a comfortable Reykjavik hotel with en suite facilities, the accommodation on this trip consists of twin rooms, although single rooms are also available. All accommodation has private facilities.  While we pre-book all accommodation according to the itinerary, as space is limited we may move to alternative accommodation according to availability. A limited number of single rooms are available, at a supplement on a strictly first come first served basis. Please contact our sales team for details.

Eating and Drinking

All breakfasts and 1 dinner is included.

Breakfasts are mainly continental style, lunches will be taken in cafés or restaurants, or even service station cafés depending on our location. The main meal of the day is usually local fish or lamb specialities, plus European standards such as pasta, chicken etc. Vegetarians and those with special dietary requirements can be catered for, but may get a little less variety in the meals provided. It is still common practice for restaurants receiving big groups to offer a restricted menu. Our leader will do their best to ensure as much choice as possible is available.

Please advise us of any special dietary requirements at the time of booking.

This trip is graded level 2, leisurely/moderate
Much of this trip is touring by small bus, with plenty of stops to visit the highlights detailed in the itinerary. Iceland is bigger than many people expect, so there are some significant distances to cover. Many of the exploration of the highlights themselves are done on foot, often on uneven ground. Some sites do have walkways, however many do not. In winter ice is not uncommon, however if required snow grips are provided to fit over regular shoes. Please see the packing list for further information on footwear.
We use a comfortable bus, ruggedly built to Icelandic standards and able to cope with most types of terrain. Most roads we travel on this trip are tarmac allowing for a reasonably smooth ride.
Accommodation in Iceland is expensive and often very basic. Those well-travelled clients will find the comparison with similarly priced accommodations in mainland Europe to be disappointing. However, we source good quality, competitively-priced guesthouses and hotels on the itinerary.

Daylight hours vary enormously throughout the year in Iceland. In winter we will depart before sunrise (though this isn’t a particularly early start) in order to maximise the daylight, meaning we’ll see the sun rise every day.

In May, June and the first half of July we will experience 24hr daylight, before a few hours of darkness around midnight (and the chance of Northern Lights) returns.

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February 2, 2020
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