Tour Code: CA7
£ 1585 (double/twin room), £ 1925 (single room)
Prices are per person, excluding flights
In Iceland, wellness and wilderness (or getting out into the nature), go hand in hand. As one of the happiest and healthiest nations of the world, Icelanders certainly do know how to thrive and enjoy life, so it’s a pleasure to be able to offer some of these treats to the visitors joining this small group trip. Start and finish with geothermal hot water, choose some massage and yoga and enjoy stunning views of the Icelandic highlands while you bathe. In between, discover the secrets of Iceland’s farming lifestyle, brought up to 21st century standards of space and comfort. Enjoy locally produced foods, cook with local Icelanders to prepare a feast, hike to a waterfall and spend an evening stargazing through a telescope. Every day is peppered with wonderful photographic opportunities including reindeer, birds, seals and of course plenty of landscape.
Day 1, 26 April: Thursday Your flight to Akureyri arrives in the afternoon, and from there you’ll be picked up and driven to your modern and comfortable centrally located apartment. Situated on a beautiful Icelandic fjord, Akureyri and the surrounding mountains are a perfect backdrop for relaxation and feelings of wellness, and the holiday really begins upon arrival at the private Spa to begin an evening of yoga, relaxation and refreshment. The evening includes dinner and transport back to your accommodation for a great night’s sleep. If you wish, the whole experience can be enhanced with a choice of massage treatments or, if some excitement and adventure would complete your day then we can arrange dogsledding!
Day 2, 27 April: Friday After breakfast you’ll be picked up by your private driver guide for the start of the wilderness part of the holiday. From Akureyri, you drive east, making the first stop at the waterfall Goðafoss, which broadly translates to ‘Waterfall of the Gods’.
The next stop is at Dimmuborgir, a large area of unusually shaped lava fields east of lake Mývatn. The area is composed of various volcanic caves and rock formations, reminiscent of an ancient collapsed citadel. The dramatic structures are one of Iceland’s most popular natural tourist attractions. Then you head further east to the tundra areas of the wilderness. By the big glacial river Jökulsá á Fjöllum, hear stories of Mountain-Bensi who used to travel around in all winter weathers looking for stray sheep. He is the protagonist of a classic Icelandic novella, Aðventa (Advent) by Gunnar Gunnarsson. At lunch time, the stop is at Möðrudalur, the highest farm over sea level where (clouds permitting) you can enjoy its beauty and the view to Mt. Herðubreið and hear tales of the colourful artist Stefán from Möðrudalur.
After lunch, the next stop is at the Wilderness Centre, driving a scenic route along lake Lagarfljót, the home of the river monster Lagarfljótsormur. After travelling through narrow valleys, rich with escarpments and undergrowth, the route turns inwards to the edge of the wilderness. Once at the authentic Wilderness Centre you can settle into your rooms, which are designed in such a way that you “sleep in a museum” because the house is fashioned exactly as a traditional farm house, but with modern facilities and alterations, one of which means that the beds are large enough for 21st century adults.
The day continues with a local Icelandic cake buffet, and then local guides take you on a tour through the creative Wilderness exhibitions, giving an exceptional insight into the adventures and history of the wilderness, both indoor and outdoor. This tour ends in the turf smoke hut where you sample traditional home smoked meat. In the evening, enjoy trout from the local lake for dinner and hear stories in the common room loft. Tranquility prevails at this authentic and unique location and sleep will surely soon follow.
Day 3, 28 April: Saturday After a good breakfast in the homely kitchen, your first destination for the day is Hengifoss, one of the highest waterfalls in Iceland. It takes 45-60 minutes to walk from the parking lot to the waterfall. On the way is another astonishing waterfall, Litlanesfoss, which is crowned by exceptional high basalt columns, making it totally unique and photogenic. After the hike, enjoy the famous lunch buffet and the exhibition at Skriðuklaustur manor house, built by writer Gunnar Gunnarsson. Outside, the site of a 15th century monastery has been discovered with important insights into Icelandic history.
From there it’s a pleasant journey to the abandoned farm of Kleif where you can take time to absorb the beautiful surroundings and have a look into the old farmhouse and hear quirky stories of the farmer who lived there. Those who dare can try their hand at winching themselves across the glacier river using a traditional cableway. Riding an Icelandic horse is something you should also experience at least once in your life, connecting to these calm and friendly animals. Travelling on horseback* in the wilderness is for those who want a real feeling of exclusive freedom and in our experience, riding a horse in Iceland just once is definitely not enough! After the ride, return to feast on a local dinner in the open kitchen of the Wilderness Centre.
*If you don’t want to go horseback riding, you can choose to get a mountain bike or hike to the cable bridge/abandoned farm.
Day 4, 29 April: Sunday After breakfast, drive back into the past, visiting the last farmer in Iceland who still keeps his sheep in traditional turf-and-stone buildings. The atmosphere in the sheep shed is unique and very special. From there, the next stop is at the excellent National Park Exhibition Centre to see a fun and educational exhibition about the Vatnajökull National Park which is the largest in Europe and lies to the south. Since you are also located in the main area with wild reindeers, there’s time go reindeer “hunting,” but with only cameras as weapons. These beautiful creatures together with the visual landscape of the East give perfect photo opportunities. Finally, we will go in search of the world-famous monster of Lagarfljót and see a video clip of the monster which attracted world wide attention a few years ago. Over a pot of coffee down by the lake, we hear stories of the ‘wyrm’, Iceland’s answer to Scotland’s own Loch Ness monster. In the evening, there is a veritable wilderness feast. Locals and guests cook together to prepare many dishes from local ingredients and the mistress of the house tells us all about Icelandic food tradition. The feast is followed by an evening of entertainment with playing and singing. After dinner, it’s time to go stargazing in authentically built stargazing station, with a great telescope for stargazing and the perfect spot for northern lights.
Day 5, 30 April: Monday In the morning we visit the wonderful organic farm at Vallanes and enjoy breakfast in the Aspen lodge. This is a wonderful start to any day, and everything is made from their own home grown and prepared products. From there it is on to Húsey, a farm by the black beaches of Héraðssandur. Here the seals roam at the shore, and the driftwood makes intriguing visual effects. Lunch is at Lake hotel Egilsstaðir, and from there head into the highlands, make a short stop once again by the by the big river Jökulsá á Fjöllum. Next, stop and see the fumaroles and colourful streams at the geothermal area by Lake Mývatn and then have a well-earned dip in the Nature Baths there, with a great view of the lake to end the day. Your overnight stay and dinner are at Lake Myvatn.
Day 6, 1 May: Tuesday Before leaving this beautiful area, you will stop at Höfði, a rocky promontory which reaches into the waters of Lake Mývatn. The view from here is good, giving a vista of the lake’s coves and inlets, besides being an excellent site for bird watching. Unusual lava formations both off and onshore, and these rocky outcrops, named Klasar and Kálfastrandarstrípar, have done much to earn Kálfastrandarvogur and Höfði their reputation for being among the most beautiful areas around Mývatn. From Lake Mývatn we have only about 1 hour drive to Akureyri and we will make another stop at the waterfall Goðafoss, where the weather and light conditions are bound to differ from your visit here a few days ago! When in Akureyri there will be some time for everyone to find some lunch, and take a stroll through this delightful fjord side town before driving the short transfer to the airport for the flight back home, complete with bag full of memories, and feeling refreshed and relaxed.
Included in the price:
- Private airport transfer on arrival in Akureyri
- Yoga, Spa and wellness evening on Day 1
- Private driver guide from Day 2 to Day 6
- Entry to all exhibitions and attractions (except those listed below)
- 5 nights’ bed and breakfast accommodation
- All lunches and dinners from Day 2 to Day 5
Not included in the price:
- Lunch on arrival day and departure day
- Dinner on arrival day
- Additional massage treatments on Day 1
- Dogsledding experience on Day 1
- Single room accommodation
- International flights (see below)
Flight cost approx. £350 inc taxes, subject to confirmation. This is a charter flight 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 day: Thursday April 26 2018