There must be quite a few things that a hot bath won’t cure, but I don’t know many of them.
— Sylvia Plath
Our journey begins with a tour of the Golden Circle and some of Iceland’s most spectacular natural wonders. We will visit the site where Vikings first gathered in the oldest parliament in 930 AD in Þingvellir National Park and marvel at the site of Almannagjá Canyon, one of only two places on the planet where diverging tectonic plates can be observed. We’ll take a walk on one of the numerous lovely walking trails and view the crystal clear waters in the Silfra fissure. We’ll stop for lunch at one of Iceland’s hidden gems – The Fridheimar Tomato and Horse Farm. After lunch we’ll head to the highly active Geysir hot spring area with boiling mud pits, exploding geysers and the lively Strokkur which spouts water 30 meters (100 feet) into the air every few minutes. When we’re done exploring this area, we’ll travel to the iconic Gulfoss waterfall for a spectacular view of the power and beauty of water and rock. We’ll finish the day with a lovely dinner at our hotel in Fludir .
Hotel: Hotel Gulfoss
On day two we will visit the lesser-known Þjórsárdalur valley where we’ll have the option to hike to a restored Viking longhouse or just explore the volcanic fairyland of the Gjain Gorge. We’ll also visit Skógafoss, a stunning broad waterfall that you can walk right up to—but prepare to get drenched if you do! We’ll dry off with a visit to the nearby Skogar Museum to explore a restored turf house, church, and other historic buildings from the old days of Iceland. Afterward, we’ll take a brief stroll on the Reynisfjara Black Sand Beach to see the black basalt cliffs and the Reynisdrangar sea stacks. Reynisfjara Beach is also a great puffin watching location. After this exhilarating day, we’ll spend the night in a quaint family-run guesthouse in the beautiful and peaceful surroundings of Skaftártunga in South-Iceland, between the two towns of Vík and Kirkjubæjarklaustur.
Hotel: Hrifunes Guesthouse
Meals: B, L, D
Today is a day of breathtaking landscapes, black sand plateaus, vibrant glaciers, rivers and icy lagoons, volcanoes, majestic mountain peaks and dynamic flora. We’ll visit another of Iceland’s spectacular national parks and have the option of taking a ~3 mi hike to the Svartifoss waterfall, one of the most scenic waterfalls in Iceland, or just exploring the region around the Skaftafell Visitor Center. In the afternoon, we’ll head to the mystical Jökulsárlon Glacier Lagoon with its surreal ice formation that change color with the shifting clouds . Our last stop of the day will be to the nearby Diamond Beach to see the millions of glistening ice chunks scattered across a black sand beach. We’ll spend the evening back at the lovely Hrifunes Guesthouse.
Hotel: Hrifunes Guesthouse
We’ll start the day with a hike on the dramatic Solheimajokull Glacier to explore the ice sculptures, water cauldrons, ridges, and deep crevasses of this beautiful landscape. After lunch, we’ll visit the famous Seljanlandsfoss waterfall and the lesser known Gljúfrabúi Waterfall. Seljalandsfoss plunges over 60 m (nearly 200 ft) to a pool below and it’s actually possible to walk behind the waterfall. From there, we’ll head to the Landeyjahofn harbor and board a ferry for Heimaey Island. Heimaey Island is the largest island in the Westman Island chain and is the only one that is inhabited. In 1973, the island became famous when the volcano Edfell erupted and buried a good portion of the town. Once we arrive at Heimaey, we’ll head to the Hotel Vestmannaeyjar to relax, then regroup for an elegant dinner in the Einsi Kaldi Restaurant.
Hotel: Hotel Vestmannaeyar
Today we’ll get to take our time exploring the island of Heimaey, also known as the “Pompeii of the North.” You will have the option of visiting several sites on your own this day, including the Eldheimar Museum where you can revisit the volcanic eruption that buried much of the island in 1973. You can stroll through the Sæheimar Natural History Museum and Aquarium or go for a more strenuous hike on the still-steaming Edfell Volcano. Bird lovers might opt to go puffin-watching in Storhofdi or take a boat ride around the Westman Islands to see the wide variety of seabirds that call this place home. For those of you that can’t get enough geology, you can take a boat ride to Surtsey, the youngest of the Westman Islands that was formed by a submarine volcanic eruption between 1963 and 1967, or stick with your rock-loving tour guide to learn about current research that connects ancient Lake Bonneville of Utah to this actively growing island in Iceland! Lunch and dinner are on your own this day and you’ll have a variety of options to choose from ranging from fine dining to pub fare at the local Brothers Brewery.
Hotel: Hotel Vestmannaeyar
On our final day of the trip we’ll visit Hvergaerdi which has the highest concentration of greenhouse in the country. Residents have been harnessing geothermal energy here since 1920 to provide the country with much of its homegrown produce, including exotic varieties like papayas and bananas. On this morning you’ll have the option of taking a greenhouse tour, exploring the geothermal gardens, or taking a hike up the iconic Reykjadalur Valley for a refreshing soak in a natural hot spring. From here will head to one of the most popular destinations in Iceland, the Blue Lagoon. The Blue Lagoon is actually is an enormous man-made hot pool that was formed in 1976 during the operation of the nearby geothermal power plant. The mineral-rich water is thought to have restorative properties. We’ll spend a few hours relaxing in the Blue Lagoon before heading to our hotel in Reykjavik. We’ll finish the day (and the trip) off with a memorable farewell dinner in the city.
Hotel: City Park Hotel
Meals: B, D
After breakfast in the hotel this morning, make your way home or on to your next destination. We’ll reunite in about a month to reminisce and share photos
Double Occupancy: $5590
Single Supplement: $630
Airfare is not included.
Reserve your spot!
Photos courtesy Audrey, Simon Bonaventure, Dan (catching up), Thomas Qulne, David Stanley, Brl