Tour code: CA1
£1564 (double/twin room), £1769 (single room)
Prices are per person, excluding flights
Taking a less visited area of Iceland and travelling at a leisurely pace makes this journey through the North and West of Iceland really interesting. From Akureyri, travel west and follow the coastline of the Troll peninsula stopping in small villages to see how life was lived by fishermen, traders and members of the church. See a lovely example of columnar basalt rock, and visit the leather tannery, where fish skin is transformed into beautiful leather. Heading south, visit Reykholt (home of Snorri Sturluson), see two wonderful waterfalls and the highest flowing geothermal hot spring in Europe. Returning to the coast, travel through the wonderful Vatsnes area to look for wild seals and to see one of Iceland’s most photographed features, the rock formation Hvitserkur. One of the extra features of this programme is the opportunity to do some walking, both in and around Akureyri and to one of our favourite places – the beautiful Grabrok crater, an easy stepped climb with magnificent views from the top (as well as from half way up!)
Day 1, 26 April: Thursday The flight to Akureyri departs in the early afternoon, and takes about 2 hours. The airport is 5 minutes from the town and your holiday begins with a sightseeing tour of Akureyri and then a transfer to the hotel which is located on the outskirts of the town by the Kjarnaskógur Woodlands Park . This is a lovely area for easy walking and there are a number of marked trails for walks in the nature. Dinner this evening is at the Kjarnalundur hotel. Rooms for tonight are ensuite, standard accommodation.
Day 2, 27 April: Friday After breakfast, there is some free time to explore Akureyri to visit the shops and museums, or to go for a walk. Akureyri has a charming botanic gardens with a marked trail in to town. There’ll be a bus transfer for anyone who would like one. Leaving at around midday, you will head towards Siglufjordur on the troll peninsula, stopping at Gáseyri (ruins of the old trading port) and Hjalteyri fishing village with remains of the old herring plant now partly used as an artists‘ workshop. From there, through the town of Dalvík along the scenic coastal road and the tunnels to Ólafsfjördur and Siglufjördur fishing village. Here you visit the award winning Herring Era museum and can also learn something about Icelandic folk music at the Folk Music Centre. There may also be a visit to a local microbrewery. Your overnight stay is at the Siglo Hotel, where dinner will also be served. Here, rooms are ensuite, classic accommodation.
Day 3, 28 April: Saturday Today’s drive continues around the Tröllaskagi (Troll peninsula) to Skagafjördur. After a short drive through another narrow tunnel the view opens to the North Atlantic, superb mountain views along the coastline and later along the way the islands of Skagafjördur – Málmey and Drangey. We stop at Hófsós villagem the old trading port with a chance to take a look at the columnar basalt formations by the sea. The next destination is Hólar, the old bishopric and educational centre from the first times of christianity. Here you can have a look a the charming cathedral, dating from the 18th century. Hólar is also a present day University centre, and also one of the best places to learn all about Icelandic horse breading. From Hólar, the road leads on to the west and to Saudarkrókur, famous most recently for turning fish skin into fashionable and sought after leather. Hopefully it will be possible to visit the tannery where among other things high fashion items are designed and made from the fish skin. Continuing on to Blönduós, the day’s journey ends at Hotel Laugarbakki, for dinner and an overnight stay, in superior ensuite rooms.
Day 4, 29 April: Sunday Continuing south, today’s route crosses Holtavörduheidi mountain pass to Borgarfjördur. Don’t miss the opportunity to take the easy hike to the top (or even part of the way up the side) of Grábrók crater which rises above moss-grown lava field. From here there are fantastic views over the surrounding area, and in clear weather you can see all the way to the Langjökull glacier. After Grábrók, the next stop is at Deildartunguhver, Europe‘s highest flowing hot spring and from there it’s on to the important historical area of Reykholt, the home of the medieval chieftan and poet Snorri Sturluson. Another highlight is a stop and easy hike to two impressive waterfalls just a short distance apart. Hraunfossar springs from under a lava field above the Hvítá glacial river and Barnafoss, a narrow cascading series of waterfalls with a sad story to tell. The day ends in the delightful town of Borgarnes, with dinner and an overnight stay in standard ensuite rooms at Hotel Borganes.
Day 5, 30 April: Monday Heading north again, today’s route explores the north west with a stop at the town of Hvammstangi, home of Iceland’s Seal Centre, followed by a tour of the Vatnsnes peninsula where seals are often spotted sunbathing on the skerries close to the shore. The Vatnsnes coastline offers fantastic sea views and a stop will be made at the Hvitserkur rock formation. This stunning natural feature rises from the ocean not far from the shore and there is a viewing platform and marked trails to follow at the site. From there, the route makes another detour to the impressive Kolugljúfur gorge and Kolufossar waterfalls, and from there back to Blönduós and direct to Akureyri. Dinner this evening is in Akureyri, and you return to the hotel at Kjarnalundur where you spent your last night.
Day 6, 1 May: Tuesday Departure day, and time for a leisurely breakfast and perhaps a walk before making the transfer to Akureyri airport in time for departure of charter flight scheduled for the early afternoon.
Group size 20-40
Included in the price:
- Private coach with driver as per itinerary from arrival to departure in Iceland
- Local English speaking guide
- 5 nights accommodation in double/twin rooms with private facilities
- Half board all days (breakfast and dinners)
- Admission to Herring Era museum incl. herring tasting & visit to Folk Music Centre
- Admission to Snorrastofa Cultural Centre
- Admission to Seal Centre
- Visit to 2 microbreweries with bear tasting (on day 1 & 4)
- Visit to Atlantic Leather tannery in Sauðárkókur
Flight cost approx £350 inc taxes, subject to confirmation. This is a charter from Cardiff airport to Akureyri, please contact us for information about transfers to Cardiff from your home area.
Please note that the details of the itinerary may change as plans are always dependent upon the conditions on the day.
Departure date: Thursday April 26 2018