Iceland: Land of Fire and Ice
Go Learn

July 22-August 03, 2023
Double Occupancy: $6600 per person
Single Occupancy: $7870 per person
Airfare is not included.

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Daily Itinerary

Saturday, July 22

Trip ParticipantsWelcome to Iceland! Today is about getting acclimated to this spectacular country and experiencing the sites on your own until we meet for a welcome dinner in the lively downtown Reykjavik. If your flight arrives in the morning, we recommend visiting the Blue Lagoon for a soak in the warm mineral-rich waters to recover from your flight. Reykjavik has a rich history and a visit to the National Museum of Iceland or the Saga Museum is must. Before dinner, do a little shopping or people watching on the main street of Laugavegur, or visit the stunning Hallgrimskirkja church and the Harpa Concert Hall with their geologicially-inspired architecture.

Hotel: Grand Hotel
Meals: D

Sunday, July 23

pingvellerOur 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 930 AD for the oldest running parliament at 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 on land. 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 a working tomato greenhouse before heading 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 near Geysir.

Hotel: Litli Geysir
Meals: B,L,D

Monday, July 24

Þjórsárdalur valleyOn day three we will visit the lesser known Þjórsárdalur valley where we’ll visit a restored Viking longhouse and explore the volcanic fairyland of the Gjain Gorge. We’ll take scenic drive through the vast volcanic landscape at the foot of the mighty Hekla volcano and visit an interactive museum to experience some high-tech visualization of the geologic processes that are responsible for the beauty 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. We’ll have dinner on the road and then finish the day in the quaint town of Kirkjubæjarklaustur (or Klauster for short).

Hotel: Hotel Klaustur
Meals: B,L,D

Tuesday, July 25

Today is a day of breathtaking landscapes, expansive “sandur” glacial outwash plains, glaciers, rivers and icy lagoons, volcanoes, and majestic mountain peaks. We’ll visit the surreal Fjaðrárgljúfur Canyon (words can NOT describe this place!) before heading east to the mystical Jökulsárlon Glacier Lagoon to spot some drifting icebergs (and hopefully some seals), and the nearby Diamond Beach to see the millions of glistening ice chunks scattered across a black sand beach. Afterward, we’ll head to Vatnajokull National Park where you’ll 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. We’ll then head back to Kirkjubæjarklaustur for a lovely dinner at our hotel.

Hotel: Hotel Klaustur
Meals: B,L,D

glacial outwash plains

Wednesday, July 26

Solheimajokull GlacierWe start off Day 5 with a visit to Skógafoss, a stunningly 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. After lunch, we’ll visit the famous Seljalandsfoss waterfall and the lesser known Gljúfrabúi Waterfall. Seljalandsfoss plunges over 60 m (nearly 200 ft) to a pool below and it’s possible to walk behind the waterfall (again, plan on getting wet!). We’ll then head to Landeyjahofn harbor and board a ferry for Heimaey Island. Heimaey 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 before regrouping for an elegant dinner at the Einsi Kaldi Restaurant.

Hotel: Hotel Vestmannaeyjar
Meals: B,L,D

Thursday, July 27

island of HeimaeyToday you’ll get a chance to explore 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. Rent a bike and ride out to Storhofdi to see the largest puffin colony in Iceland or climb the challenging series of ladders and ropes to the peak of Heimaklettur for a spectacular view of the island. 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 craft beers at the local Brothers Brewery.

Hotel: Hotel Vestmannaeyjar
Meals: B

Friday, July 28

Snaefellsnes PeninsulaOn Day 7, we take the ferry back to the mainland in the morning and head up north to the charming village of Reykholt, home of the famous medieval writer, chieftain, and scholar, Snorri Sturluson. Here we will visit Snorrastofa, a cultural research center for medieval studies, take a walk along some beautiful cascades that trickle through an old lava field, and end the day with a soak in the Krauma baths which are sourced from Deildartunguhver, the highest volume hot spring in all of Europe, and water from the nearby ex-glacier “Ok” (rhymes with talk).

Hotel: Fosshotel Reykholt
Meals: B, L, D

Saturday, July 29

Snaefellsnes PeninsulaBig travel day today as we head to Iceland’s second largest city, Akureryri! On the way we’ll see spectacular and diverse scenery ranging from bucolic farmland to dramatic mountains and valleys. We’ll visit a restored turf farm and learn about the mysterious history of the last beheading in Iceland. We’ll arrive in Akureryri mid-afternoon with some time to check out the shops before dinner.

Hotel: Hotel KEA
Meals: B, L

Sunday, July 30

If you thought you’ve seen everything Iceland has to offer, get ready to be pleasantly surprised! The landscape we’ll travel through today is unlike anything we’ll have seen on the trip thus far. The area around Lake Myvatn is lush and green, but also contains a wide variety of bizarre rock formations, secret hot springs, and geothermal fields. And of course, a few amazing waterfalls! We’ll return in the evening for a second night at our hotel in Akureryri.

Hotel: Hotel KEA
Meals: B, L, D

Monday, July 31

We’ll spend the morning in and around Akureryi before returning toward the west today. If the weather cooperates, we may take a tour to see puffins on Drangey Island or hike up some unique gorges to see what lies at the other end! We’ll arrive at our hotel in time for a leisurely dinner in the lovely surroundings of Varmaland.

Hotel: Hotel Vermaland
Meals: B, L, D

Tuesday, August 1

Today we will circle the Snæfellsnes Peninsula to visit the beaches, lava fields, and volcanoes that make up Snæfellsnes National Park. This part of Iceland is considered to contain glorious examples of all the island’s unique features in a microcosm. We’ll take a pleasant stroll along the coastline between the towns of Arnastapi and Hellnar, see (and possibly dodge) lots of seabirds, visit the beautiful rock formations at Londragar, explore a rare (for Iceland) golden sand beach, and stop to photograph the iconic Mt. Kirkjufell. We’ll have dinner in the charming town of Stykkisholmur which was the site for the film, “The Secret Life of Walter Mitty” and then return to our hotel for a well-earned rest.

Hotel: Hotel Budir
Meals: B, L, D

Wednesday, August 2 - Return to Reykjavik

On the last day of our trip we will take a leisurely drive back to Reykjavik and then spend the afternoon on your own exploring the sites of this unique and vibrant city! We will finish the trip off with a wonderful farewell dinner in the heart of the downtown restaurant district.

Hotel: Grand Hotel
Meals: B, L, D

Thursday, August 3


Meals: B

Photos courtesy of Audrey, Simon Bonaventure, Dan (catching up), Thomas Qulne, David Stanley, Judy Zone, Brl