Tour code: CA2
£1476 (double/twin room), £1796 (single room)
Prices are per person, excluding flights
The highlights of this guided and escorted trip are the spectacular sights of the ‘Diamond Circle’ of North Iceland, the beauty and tranquility of Lake Myvatn, whale watching, visits of cultural and natural history interest and relatively little travelling as 3 of the 5 night are spent in the brand new Foss Hotel at Lake Myvatn, opening in 2017. Combining stunning landscapes, natural geological features and visits to a traditional turf house and extensive bird collection, the holiday offers a real insight into this less visited area of Iceland together with opportunities for walking, swimming and photography. Staying in an area without light pollution does also offer the possibility of a late season Aurora sighting, you never know! This is a round tour from Akureyri, to Myvatn, Husavik and back to Akureyri.
Day 1, 26 April: Thursday On arrival at the airport at Akureyri, the journey begins with a drive along the shores of Iceland’s longest fjord, Eyjafjördur, before heading east over the Vikurskar mountain pass and through scenic landscapes of glacial valleys, farmland and mountains. At Godafoss waterfall – one of the most beautiful in North Iceland, there will be time to stop for photographs and to experience the power and splendour of this feature, known as ‘the waterfall of the Gods’. From there, you continue on to Lake Myvatn, an area of very varied geological features waiting to be explored over the coming days. Accommodation for the next 3 nights is at Foss Hotel Myvatn, which opens in 2017 and is located close to the northern end of the lake. Dinner will be at the hotel this evening.
Day 2, 27 April: Friday Today’s local sightseeing focuses on the area of Lake Mvyatn, and includes the Skútustadagígar pseudocraters (these are conical ‘hills’ that rise up in and between the lakes), a walk through the Dimmuborgir lava maze, the Grjótagjá fissure, inside which there is an underground geothermal river, the strangely coloured Hverir solfatara field at Námaskar and the impressive Viti crater at Mt Krafla. Also included in the day is a stop at Sigurgeir‘s Bird Museum. This is an amazing personal collection which has been cleverly displayed so that beginners and experts alike can learn about the many birds that inhabit the lake and surroundings. Dinner is served at the hotel this evening.
Day 3, 28 April: Saturday No holiday to this area of Iceland is complete without going to see Dettifoss, Europe‘s most powerful waterfall, and this is the destination for the morning. At this time of the year there may still be snow on the path that leads from the parking to the waterfall, so good waterproof walking boots are needed for today, and also recommended for this holiday. In the afternoon, you return to Lake Myvatn and can enjoy a free afternoon. We can recommend a visit to the Nature Baths, a natural geothermal pool close to the Grjótagjá fissure, visited yesterday . The pool is fully equipped with modern changing rooms and a cafe, so a civilised experience in an authentic setting. The water is warm and relaxing, the view is wonderful and it is generally much less crowded than other pools and lagoons in Iceland. There is also the opportunity to spend the afternoon doing some walking along the well marked paths amongst the lakes and pseudocraters. In the evening, dinner will be at a local restaurant, where delicious locally produced food is served.
Day 4, 29 April: Sunday Leaving the lakes behind, today’s journey introduces you to much wilder landscapes as you start the drive to the north across the Hólasandur ‘desert’, over the hills to the Reykjadalur valley and past the Laxávirkjun hydro-power station. There’s a stop at an Icelandic turf house, also home to the Grenjadarstadur folk museum to see how settlers to Iceland used to live. It is surprising to learn how recently Icelanders were living with very little in the way of modern amenities, and also to realise just how inhospitable a place Iceland was to live in. From the farming land in the geothermal ‘Smokey valley’ you continue across the lava fields, now inhabited by small birch trees, towards Husavik and from there around the dramatic Tjörnes peninsula. On a clear day, the coastal road offers view all the way to Grimsey Island on the arctic circle. Next, drive into one of the most beautiful natural features in North Iceland – Ásbyrgi, a horseshoe shaped canyon where Odin‘s horse Sleipnir is said to have hit earth with one his eight hooves. At the excellent Jökulsárgljúfur Visitors‘ Centre, learn more about the national park and the creation of Ásbyrgi and the Jökulsárgljúfur canyon from the fascinating exhibition and helpful staff that are there. You return to the town of Húsavík, for dinner and an overnight stay at Foss Hotel Husavik.
Day 5, 30 April: Monday Husavik is justifiably described as the whale watching capital of Iceland, so in the morning, take a 3-hour whale watching tour from Húsavik. The boats are all fully equipped for the trip into the beautiful bay, and there are overalls and all the accessories needed to keep everyone warm and dry. Hats and gloves are recommended too. Upon arrival back at Husavik harbour, the journey continues to Akureyri, and a short sightseeing tour of the town and then free time for the rest of the day. This is a beautiful town with walking trails, small galleries and shops, together with a delightful botanic garden and of course Eyjafjordur, stretching to the north and south. Dinner this evening is your own choice, and your accommodation is at Hotel Nordurland.
Day 6, 1 May: Tuesday Departure: There’s time for a leisurely breakfast this morning before the transfer to Akureyri airport for the return flight home.
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 including breakfast
- 4 dinners (in Myvatn and Husavik)
- Admission fee to Sigurgeir‘s Bird museum
- Admission fee to Grenjadastadur Folk museum
- Whale watching boat tour from Husavik /3 hours
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