Iceland: Land of Fire and Ice
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Iceland: Land of fire and ice - Sold Out!


July 12-22, 2024
Double Occupancy: $7495 per person
Single Occupancy: $8795 per person
Airfare is not included.

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Tour Highlights


It was during my enchanted days of travel that the idea came to me, which, through the years, has come into my thoughts again and again and always happily—the idea that geology is the music of the earth." — Hans Cloos

Reykjavik

Join us on an Icelandic adventure to explore the island’s iconic volcanoes, rivers, waterfalls, glaciers, and beaches. On this 11-day adventure, we’ll take in the natural beauty of the island and learn about the formation of these features from Holly Godsey, University of Utah geologist. Holly’s enthusiasm is infectious, and you’ll soon find yourself excited by diverging tectonic plates, active geysers, and glacial lagoons (if you weren’t already excited before). We’ll also explore the history and culture of Iceland and discuss its modern energy production and farming techniques. Join us on this unique, focused tour, and learn about why Iceland is the land of fire and ice. This is a physically demanding adventure with hiking and walks nearly every day, so make sure you pack your hiking boots and stamina!

Tour Highlights Include:

Puffin

  • Visits to all three of Iceland’s national parks
  • All on-island transportation, including tour bus and ferry to Heimaey Island
  • All lodging
  • The surreal Fjaðrárgljúfur Canyon that is so breathtaking words can NOT do it justice!
  • Visits to waterfalls, beaches, volcanoes and fault lines; all accompanied by your resident geologist
  • Spectacular hikes to waterfalls, hidden canyons and hot springs
  • Visits to national parks, historical and cultural sites, and working agriculture farms
  • A free day on Heimaey Island to watch puffins, hike a newly formed volcano, explore breathtaking views, and learn about the island’s unique history of battles with nature and man
  • Free time to explore Reykjavik and take in any of the sites that interest you there

Photos courtesy Marco Bellucci, Bragl Thor

Daily Itinerary

Friday, July 12, 2024 - Day 1: Arrival

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 travels. Reykjavik has a rich history and a visit to the National Museum of Iceland or the Saga Museum is a 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 geologically-inspired architecture.

Hotel: Reykjavík Lights Hotel
Meal: D
Activity Level: Moderate


Saturday, July 13, 2024 - Day 2: Golden Circle – Þingvellir – Friðheimar – Geysir – Gullfoss

pingvellerOur journey begins with a tour of the Golden Circle and some of Iceland’s most spectacular natural wonders. We’ll 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 Flúðir.

Hotel: Hótel Flúðir
Meals: B, L, D
Activity Level: Moderate to Strenuous


Sunday, July 14, 2024 - Day 3: Hjálparfoss – Þjóðveldisbærinn – Stöng – Gjáin – Reynisfjara

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 Gjáin Gorge. We’ll take scenic drives through the vast volcanic landscape at the foot of the mighty Hekla volcano and 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 then finish the day in the quaint town of Vík with dinner at a local favorite restaurant with spectacular views.

Hotel: Hotel Vík
Meals: B, L, D
Activity Level: Moderate to Strenuous


Monday, July 15, 2024 - Day 4: Fjaðrárgljúfur – Glacier Lagoon – Skaftafell National Park

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 Vík for a lovely dinner at our hotel.

Hotel: Hotel Vík
Meals: B, D
Activity Level: Moderate to Strenuous

glacial outwash plains


Tuesday, July 16, 2024 - Day 5: Sólheimajökull – Skógafoss – Skógar – Landeyjarhöfn

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 that plunges over 60 m (nearly 200 ft) to a pool below. It’s possible to walk behind the waterfall here but, again, plan on getting wet if you do! We’ll then head to Landeyjahöfn 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
Activity Level: Moderate to Strenuous


Wednesday, July 17, 2024 - Day 6: Free Day for leisure

island of HeimaeyToday you’ll get a chance to explore the island of Heimaey, also known as the “Pompeii of the North.” You’ll 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 who 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 today! 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
Meal: B


Thursday, July 18, 2024 - Day 7: Landeyjarhöfn – Barnafossar


Snaefellsnes PeninsulaToday we take the ferry back to the mainland in the morning and visit an interactive museum to experience some high-tech visualization of the geologic processes that are responsible for the beauty of Iceland and tour Iceland’s premiere geothermal energy plant. We’ll then head up north to the charming village of Reykholt, home of the famous medieval writer, chieftain, and scholar, Snorri Sturluson. Here we’ll take a walk along some beautiful cascades that trickle through an old lava field, and end the day with a dinner and an optional soak in the hotel’s lovely hot pools.

Hotel: Fosshotel Reykholt
Meals: B, D
Activity Level: Moderate to Strenuous


Friday, July 19, 2024 - Day 8

Snaefellsnes PeninsulaToday is choose-your-own-adventure day as we head up to Husafell, one of the most popular hiking and vacation destinations for local Icelanders. Here you’ll have the option of hiking on one of the many trails, visiting the world’s largest lava cave, or taking a tour of an ice cave. We’ll complete the afternoon with a soak in the Krauma baths before heading to our hotel.

Hotel: Hotel Búðir
Meals: B, D
Activity Level: Strenuous


Saturday, July 20, 2024 - Day 9: Búðir Church – Arnarstapi – Hellnar – Lóndrangar – Djúpalónssandur – Skarðsvík – Kirkjufell

Today we’ll circle the Snæfellsnes Peninsula to visit the beaches, lava fields, and volcanoes that make up Snæfellsnes National Park. This part of Iceland contains 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 2013 film “The Secret Life of Walter Mitty,” and then return to our hotel for a well-earned rest.

Hotel: Hotel Búðir
Meals: B, L, D
Activity Level: Moderate to Strenuous



Sunday, July 21, 2024 - Day 10: Drive back to Reykjavík – Afternoon free for leisure

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

Hotel: Sand Hotel by KEA Hotels
Meals: B, D
Activity Level: Moderate


Monday, July 22, 2024 - Day 11: Departure

We’ll say goodbye like a true Icelander by saying bless bless! We’re so grateful for the time we were able to spend together. May your travels be safe and your adventures plentiful!

Meal: B


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

Holly Godsey

Col. Steve HallHolly Godsey is an Associate Professor (Lecturer) in the Department of Geology and Geophysics, and the Director of Student Success in the Center for Science and Mathematics Education at the University of Utah. Holly has been sharing her love of geology with students, scientists, teachers and travelers for 20 years. She first became interested in geology when she realized that she could combine her love of the outdoors with her love of science and still make a living! As a former river guide, she's led geology-focused trips down the Yampa, Green, Colorado, and San Juan rivers. She's also guided excursions on the Colorado Plateau for Native Americans, and led trips for college students to western Wyoming and New Zealand. More recently, her interest in Iceland has been spiked by a connection to her research on ancient Lake Bonneville in Utah! Holly believes that the best experiences come from interacting with people, discovering new landscapes, and of course, enjoying good food.

Details and What to Expect

PjorsardalurPre-Departure

Like all Go Learn journeys, the adventure begins before you ever leave home. Go Learn will supply you with all the information, tips, and documents you'll need to have an enjoyable tour. We're always available to answer questions, too—let us know how we can make your journey a smooth one!

About Iceland

Iceland is defined by its landscape—from it glaciers and volcanoes, to beaches and hot springs, a trip to Iceland means outdoor exploration. We’ll visit national parks, geysers, waterfalls and rivers, and hear from our resident geologist on what makes this island so special. Iceland is rich in human history as well, with Celtic, Norse, and Swedish influences still evident in picturesque villages dotted throughout the countryside. Iceland has no shortage of activities—between birdwatching, hiking, hot spring bathing, and rock-watching (yes, that’s a thing!), you’ll be happily exhausted at the end of each day.

Weather

July is the warmest month in Iceland, but that doesn’t make it particularly warm. Daytime highs will be around 56 degrees, and nighttime lows are around 45. Be sure to bring a warm jacket, hat and gloves! The days are very long this far north, so there will be plenty of daylight to explore!

We'll probably see some rain, and lots of cloud cover. Please pack raingear and waterproof shoes for this tour. An umbrella can be useful but only if the wind is not blowing! The good news? Mosquitoes are not found on Iceland!

Activity levels and restrictions

ReynisfjaraWe'll walk every day since that’s the best way to see Iceland’s terrain. Travelers should be able to walk at least five continuous miles on rugged, slick surfaces. We will encounter stairs, rocks, hills, and unpaved trails. We'll begin each day around 8:00 A.M., and sometimes will not be at the hotel until early evening. The trip is categorized as Level 3 because of all of the walking and hiking involved. If you have concerns about your ability to walk, stand, and hike for the full duration of this trip, please contact Go Learn so that we can advise you whether this trip is right for you.

Learn more about our

Dates
July 12 - July 22, 2024

Size
Trip is limited to 20 participants

Cost
Double Occupancy: $7,495 per person
Single Supplement: $8,795
See for payment and cancellation details.

Included:

  • Small group size to maximize learning, comfort, and flexibility
  • Subject-matter expert Professor Holly Godsey for the entire classroom experience and tour
  • 10 nights' accommodation at comfortable and centrally-located hotels
  • Hand-picked culinary highlights for lunch or dinner, as well as all breakfasts included
  • Entrance fees for all scheduled sightseeing and activities
  • Transportation to and from daily destinations and activities, including conveyance from each tour location to the next one
  • Comprehensive tour insurance, which includes coverage for sickness, accidents, emergency evacuation. (For tour cancellation insurance, please see a travel agent immediately after booking with Go Learn.)
  • Free time to explore several of the locations on your own

Not included:

  • Airfare to and from Iceland
  • Meals that are not specifically noted in itinerary
  • Cancellation and lost luggage insurance
  • Any costs outside of the itinerary

Photos courtesy kanbron, Marco Nurnberger