(9 days/8 nights) Tour Code: ISCS16
£1645 per person (based on two people sharing a double/twin room), excluding flights
This itinerary is based on one created for clients who travelled in June 2015 and includes three nights in car hire from Days 4 – 9 and accommodation in comfortable, 3* country hotels for five nights. It can be made shorter or longer than that outlined here and, if you have a specific interest in bird-watching and natural history, geology, or hiking, we can adapt the tour accordingly. Please note that accommodation outside the capital is limited and many hotels are booked up well in advance for summer stays (we reserved those used on this tour in October 2014) so, if you would like us to arrange a similar trip for you, the earlier you can contact us to start planning, the better.,
Arrive inon an afternoon flight and transfer to your chosen hotel (please contact us for details of available options). In the evening, we recommend a visit to the cosy loft Cinema at the Old Harbour to see short films about the natural wonders of Iceland, followed by dinner at Höfnin restaurant next-door. You could choose to do either or both of these on Day 3.
After breakfast, you will be picked up from your hotel for a small-grouptour, with an experienced local guide, to visit and learn about some of Iceland’s most famous and spectacular sights, including Gullfoss, one the country’s most beautiful waterfalls, the Geysir geothermal area and Thingvellir National Park. A stop for lunch (not included) will be made en route.
Today you can choose either to take a whale-watching boat tour (pick-up from your hotel) or a walking tour of, meeting your local guide at the iconic Hallgrimskirkja church. Both options last around three hours so you will also have free time for shopping or further sightseeing. If you have not done so on Day 1, you could see a film at the Cinema followed by dinner at Höfnin in the evening.
Check out of your hotel and transfer by taxi to the domestic airport for your short, morning flight to Höfn (the name means “harbour”) on Iceland’s south-east coast, where you will collect your hire car. By flying out from and driving back to, you will not be covering the same ground twice. Depending on the time you have available, you could choose to head North to explore the dramatic landscape and small fishing villages of the less-visited East Fjörds region, or to spend the night at a hotel in or near Höfn.
Today you will visit the spectacular Jökulsárlón glacial lagoon where the opening scenes of the James Bond film A View To A Kill were shot. Taking one of the two types of boat tour on offer (we can pre-book your tickets), you will get close to the glaciers and learn about the formation of the lagoon.
Drving through the Vatnajökull National Park (the largest in Europe), make a stop at the Skaftafell visitor centre. From here, you can take a short walk to the area’s most photographed attraction, the beautiful Svartifoss waterfall, surrounded on both sides by black basalt columns, or take a guided glacier hike (extra cost). One thousand metres thick in places, Vatnajökull is the largest icecap in the world outside the polar regions. You should also take route 206 to the spectacular gorge on the edge of the Laki lava field.
Set amid a dramatic stretch of coastline is the small town of Vík, which has a café, shops (including a wool/craft emporium) and an all-important petrol station. Be sure to go down to the black lava beach and see the amazing rock formations out to sea. After leaving Vík, take the road to Reynisfjara where the staggering columnar basalt cliffs – inhabited by colonies of arctic terns – led to it being voted one of the world’s top 10 beaches (the only one outside the tropics) by US magazine Islands. Stay tonight in the village of Skógar, with its dramatic waterfall and a folk museum, the most visited of its kind in Iceland.
Before leaving Skógar, visit the nearby Iceland Erupts exhibition to learn about life beside Eyjafjallajökull, the volcano whose eruption in April 2010 caused such disruption to international air travel. Your next stop should be at Seljalandsfoss where, if you don’t mind getting wet, you can take the trail that goes behind the waterfall. Your route from here takes you through the town of Selfoss (a good place to eat and fill up the car) and to the geothermal pools at Krysuvík and Seltun. Your final night is spent at a hotel near to Keflavík International Airport.
Depending on the time of your flight, you could spend a couple of hours at the nearby Blue Lagoon before dropping off your car at the airport and heading home.
- 8 nights accommodation, with breakfast, in 3* hotels (upgrades available at extra cost)
- internal flight between and Höfn
- car hire from Day 4 – Day 9 (VW Golf or similar – upgrade available at extra cost – with GPS and full insurance)
- excursions and activities as detailed above
- International flights
- Meals other than breakfast