(12 days/11 nights)  Tour Code: SH2
faxifoss close up

£4904 (double/twin/triple room), £6284 (single room)

We recommend triple rooms for 2 adults travelling with 1 child

VIP seating supplement £315

Prices are per person, excluding flights 

Travel around the whole of Iceland beyond the regular ‘ring road’ circuit – exploring both well-known sights and more remote areas including the beautiful southern Westfjords.  Enjoy ‘soft’ adventures and learning about the country’s history and culture on this small group (maximum 20 people) tour from one of our Icelandic partners. You will stay at simple but charming guesthouses, farms and tourist-class hotels (private facilities), many of them set in the most stunning locations. There are light walks each day and visits to 3 of Iceland’s National Parks. Enjoy a gourmet dinner on your return to Reykjavik. There are departures on Mondays between June and August 2018.

DAY 1 (Mon): WELCOME TO ICELAND (50 km)

The Flybus shuttle brings you from Keflavík International airport to Reykjavík where you spend your first night at Hotel Klettur. For your arrival day we will provide you with ideas on how to explore Iceland‘s capital on your own. Dinner this evening is not included, please let us know if you’d like some suggestions or a reservation made for you.

DAY 2 (Tue): GOLDEN CIRCLE (290 km)

Gulfoss.Gorge.summer (1) waterfall golden circle south icelandA day of classic highlights as you explore Gullfoss (the beautiful, double “Golden Falls”) and walk through the active geothermal area of Geysir, where Strokkur (“the Churn”) spouts up to 25 metres every few minutes. A visit to the ancient Viking Parliament area and UNESCO World Heritage site of Thingvellir National Park rounds off the day before you journey along the scenic shores of Hvalfjörður to your overnight accommodation in Borgarfjörður, West Iceland at Hotel Hamar.

 DAY 3 (Wed): SNÆFELLSNES PENINSULA,LAVA CAVE and FERRY to the WESTFJORDS (290 km)

This morning you are introduced to the Icelandic sagas at the settlement centre in Borgarnes. The Snæfellsnes (“peninsula of the snowy mountain”) juts out from Iceland’s West coast and is in many ways a microcosm of the whole island. Here you will visit volcanic craters, lava flows, an ice cap, glaciated peaks, fjords, sandy beaches and high cliffs, which together shape the landscape of the National Park.  Following in the footsteps of Jules Verne, you can take your own “journey to the centre of the Earth” on a lava cave tour that takes you 35 metres underground and about 200 meters into a lava tube. After lunch, board the ferry Baldur to cross Breidafjordur bay from the delightful town of Stykkisholmur to Brjanslaekur on the southern coast of the Westfjords. The Bay is one of the most beautiful in Iceland with hundreds of small islands and skerries, the largest of which is Flatey, still inhabited over the summer months. Once on the Westfjords, you’ll soon appreciate how undeveloped this area of Iceland has remained as you travel along the coast road towards Patreksfjordur, a delightful coastal town and your home for two nights. Stay at Foss Hotel Westfjords.

DAY 4 (Thur): ICELAND’S WESTERNMOST POINT (150 km)

harbour stykkisholmur west boatsToday’s journey takes you through this beautiful, remote and sparsely-populated region to the highly acclaimed bird cliffs of Látrabjarg, the westernmost point of Iceland (and Europe) where puffins can be seen from mid-May until mid-August along with  razorbills, guillemots, fulmars, cormorants, kittiwakes and other cliff birds flock in their hundreds, thousands and even in millions. The cliff walk is stunning and the views breathtaking, yet the birds are often very close. As long as the weather is good enough, the next stop is Raudisandur beach –  you will hardly believe that this can be Iceland! The roads are narrow and winding and the journey is slow but well worth it for the magnificent shades of orange, yellow and red and hopefully also, seals and sea birds too. A great photographic opportunity and fantastic walking. Spend a second night in Patreksfjörður. Please note that wildlife sightings vary from month to month. Puffins are usually to be seen from May to mid August, see also Day 9 of the tour.

DAY 5 (Fri): BEAUTIFUL WEST FJORDS (390 km)

Today,  travel over mountains and along the shore of truly scenic fjords to reach the majestic fjord Arnarfjörður, surrounded by high mountains. At the bottom of the fjord, lies the unique ’embroidered lace’ waterfall Dynjandi, with its seven steps of plunging and cascading water, declared the country’s most beautiful waterfall by the people of Iceland. There is a good walking path beside the waterfall, and wonderful to photograph close up as well as from a distance. The route continues along the southern shores of the West Fjords,  a route very definitely less travelled,  characterized by sheer cliffs, deep cut bays and narrow stretches of coastal lowland. The overnight stay at the remote Vogur Country Lodge in West Iceland, a truly peaceful and beautiful place  close to Breiðafjörður Bay, giving you  a real feeling of being all alone in Iceland.

DAY 6 (Sat): HEADING NORTH (350 km)

Akureyri.North.Iceland

In the morning you travel east from the Westfjords area, still following off-the-beaten-paths, with abandoned farms, beautiful little country churches, and Icelandic horses. At Haukadalur, there’s an intriguing replica of the homestead of Erik the Red, the famous explorer who founded the Icelandic colony in Greenland. His son Leif-the-Lucky, born in Haukadalur, Iceland, was the first European to set foot in North America. Now the excavated and reconstructed farm in Haukadalur is a living Viking museum, a fun, informative and a photogenic place. The landscape is dominated by mountains, lakes, valleys, sea and wide open spaces. We head north and stop at a local farm for lunch and a horse show where we learn about the unique qualities of Iceland’s special breed. Afterward, we travel through the fertile farmlands and fjord landscapes of Northwest Iceland before we reach the charming town of Akureyri, Iceland’s second-largest city. We will stay two nights in the capital of North Iceland at Hotel Kea.

 DAY 7 (Sun): EVEN FURTHER NORTH (160 km)

Siglufjordur fishing north iceland harbourToday’s tour takes you to the Trollaskagi peninsula, and Siglufjordur, the mainland’s most northern town. This is a mountainous area with small fishing villages hugging the coast, and at Siglufjordur, included in the day’s trip is the chance to explore the Herring Museum and to go beer tasting at the local mirco-brewery. There is free time during the afternoon and the choice of shopping, exploring, swimming or taking an optional whale watching tour during the afternoon or evening.

DAY 8 (Mon): GEOLOGICAL WONDERS AND NATURE BATHS (150 km)

Today, you explore Goðafoss (“the waterfall of the Gods”) before continuing to Lake Mývatn, with its rich bird life and extraordinary volcanic landscapes. You will visit pseudo craters, walk through a lava field, climb to the rim of an ash crater, see hot springs and bubbling mud pools, and travel to a crater lake. In the afternoon there’s the chance to relax and soak at the delightful Mývatn Nature Baths. Overnight near Lake Mývatn at Hotel Laxa.

DAY 9 (Tue): THE SECRET OF THE EAST (290 km)

myvatn lake north icelandThis morning begins with a visit to Dettifoss, Europe’s most powerful waterfall, located in the northern part of Vatnajökull National Park. The round-trip walk here takes about 40-60 minutes. From there, the bus continues east through the bare and sometimes deserted landscape with mountains all around. Along the way, make a stop at Möðrudalur Farm, the all-year residence at the highest altitude in Iceland, 469m above sea level. In the summertime, there is a shop and cafe here, which is a perfect place to enjoy the view of Herðubreið, the queen of the Icelandic mountains. You will also visit the church at the farm, built by hand in 1949 by the former farmer in the memory of his late wife. From there the journey continues through the uninhabited highlands to East Iceland, where you can explore the northernmost fjord on the East Fjord mountain range. The very isolated settlement of Bakkagerði at Borgarfjörður-Eystri has only 120 inhabitants yet it is a charming village, built snugly next to the steep mountainside. Driving to there is both dramatic and rewarding: the colourful mountains are unique and impressive, and it is worth watching out for birds on the lakes and ponds along the way. Borgarfjörður-Eystri is one of Iceland’s most beautiful treasures, this off-the ring road location remains still seldom visited. There is a coffee house in the village, displaying some works of Jóhannes Kjarval, the well-known Icelandic painter who grew up in Borgarfjörður-Eystri. His hometown and its landscape have much influenced his job. Borgarfjörður-Eystri is also home to an extensive population of elves – judging by the 172 local folk tales involving elves. In the village, visit Álfaborg, a protected site where the queen of elves is believed to live in a uniquely shaped rock castle. The elf stories provide a fascinating lecture, especially for the younger generation. From there, you continue round the bay to the local harbour to look out for kittiwakes, puffins, and other seabirds, staying overnight and for dinner at a Country Guesthouse Alfheimar in this special part of Iceland.

DAY 10 (Wed): FJORDS, GLACIERS AND ICE (430 km)

It’s a day to marvel at  still more dramatic fjord landscapes (though they are different from the Westfjords) and the tiny fishing villages at the end of twisty roads in the East Fjords, and en route we visit Petra’s fascinating rock collection. A naturalist and a collector,  Petra gathered geological specimens throughout her whole life and stored them in her garden. From the day she opened her eyes for the first time she perceived her surrounding differently from most of her compatriots, and it is almost as her parents knew when they named her. The word “Petra” simply means “stone” in Greek. Petra collected for nearly 80 years this unique treasure of rocks, crystals, zeolites, quartz and more, all from the nearby area in the Eastfjords. The rocks and stones are beautifully laid out in her home and garden. Her descendants proudly take good care of this unique exhibition. In the afternoon the landscape changes again as you approach Vatnajökull, Europe’s biggest glacier, that is visible all over Southeast Iceland. Past the town of Höfn, and  stop for a boat ride amongst the floating icebergs on the magnificent Jökulsárlón glacial lagoon, considered one of the highlights on any tour around Iceland. We spend the night near Skaftafell in the southern part of Vatnajökull National Park, another fabulous Icelandic location. Foss Hotel Glacier Lagoon.

DAY 11 (Thur): VATNAJÖKULL NATIONAL PARK AND THE SOUTH (370 km)

Today’s visit begins in the Vatnajökull National Park which covers about 14 % of Iceland, making it Europe’s 2nd largest national park in terms of area after Yugyd Va in Russia. Explore the region of Skaftafell that is nestled below Iceland’s highest mountain and the second biggest stratovolcano in Europe, the 2,110-meter high Hvannadalshnjúkur and then walk close to one of the many glacial tongues in the area – a Kodak moment. Back on the bus, cross a sandy desert and drive along the south coast, always between the sea, rugged mountains, glaciers, and waterfalls. There’s time for a  stroll along the black lava beach and bird cliffs near the village of Vík and later, a stop at the Skógafoss waterfall, another must-see location in South Iceland. The crashing water creates a mist that results in frequent and magical rainbows, just adding some more memorable experiences to the sheer beauty of this stunning scenery and place. Afterward, at Seljalandsfoss waterfall, you can follow a narrow trail and walk right behind the falls, though be prepared and bring a raincoat and good boots as you will get wet. To finish, visit the newly opened Lava Center in Hvlosvöllur, to watch a documentary film about volcanic eruptions in the past years in Iceland.  The last night of the Grand Tour is spent in Iceland’s capital,  at Hotel Klettur, Reykjavik with a  farewell dinner at a local restaurant to end the tour.

 DAY 12 (Fri): DEPARTURE (50 km)

The Flybus airport shuttle picks you up at your hotel and takes you to Keflavík International airport for your flight home.  If you would like to extend your stay with extra nights in Reykjavík at the start or end of your holiday.

NOTE:

  • Total mileage in 10 days is about 2,800 km (1,738 miles), which is an average of 280 km (173 miles) per day. You spend about 4 hours per day on the bus, depending on road conditions, traffic, and daily distances. On some days, especially in the West Fjords, the driving might be longer than on some other days.
  • This tour has an average of 1-2 hours light walking each day, mostly short walks of 5-20 minutes, to explore and reach many of the natural treasures around Iceland. It is an easy tour for nearly everyone to participate. Grand Tour of Iceland is NOT a hiking/walking tour, but most trails in Iceland are nature trails which include uneven terrain, gravels, stairs and unpaved trails.
  • Most hotels, farms, and guesthouses used on this tour are simple tourist-class category, many of them set in the most stunning locations
  • VIP seating is available for a surcharge –  this gives you a guaranteed window seat and the seat next to you. VIP seats in the front of the bus are allocated on a first come first served basis.

Included:

  • Airport transfers
  • 11x breakfast and 10 x dinner (3 courses or buffet) and 1 x lunch (day 6)
  • 11 nights accommodation in ensuite with shower (hotels listed may be subject to change)
  • Visit to three National Parks
  • Entrance and visit to lava cave on the Snæfellsnes peninsula
  • Admission to folk and transport museum Hnjotur
  • Ferry trip to the West Fjords
  • Visit to Erik the Red homestead
  • Horse show in northwest Iceland
  • Entrance to Herring museum
  • Visit to micro beer brewery
  • Entrance fee with towel to the Nature Baths at Lake Mývatn
  • Visit to stone collection in the East Fjords
  • Boat trip between floating icebergs on glacial lagoon
  • Visit to Lava centre

Not included:

  • Extra nights, please ask us if you would like to extend your stay

 

NATURE FEES: It is possible that some of the natural sites visited on this tour may charge a small entrance fee. These are not included in the price and must be paid locally on the day.

DEPARTURES 2018 (Mondays):

  • 4,11,25 June 2018
  • 9,23,30 July 2018
  • 6,20,27 August 2018

For bookings, or to check availability, please contact us here

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