Day 1: Depart USADepart this evening on your independent overnight flight to Reykjavík.
Day 2: Reykjavík, IcelandArrive in the Icelandic capital this morning and transfer to your hotel. Lunch and the remainder of the day are at leisure to enjoy this fascinating and colorful city. Gather this evening for a welcome reception followed by dinner and overnight at your hotel.
Day 3: Reykjavik / Embark Island SkyAfter breakfast, set out to explore Iceland’s classic scenic wonders known as the Golden Circle. Begin with Thingvellir National Park, a UNESCO World Heritage Site surrounded by mountains and encompassing a vast lava plain of green moss and wildflowers. Continue to Gullfoss Waterfall where the Hvita River drops 96 feet in two voluminous cascades. The Geysir Center is a huge geothermal field of both boiling and tranquil multi-hued hot springs and bubbling mud pools. After lunch in these picturesque surroundings proceed to the pier, making a photo stop at a scenic viewpoint before boarding the Island Sky.
Day 4: Flatey Island / LátrabjargBy Zodiac, trace the coastline of Flatey Island before going ashore for a walking tour of the village. View the uniquely painted island church and the restored houses of islanders who earn a living fishing for cod and lumpfish. This evening sail past Iceland’s westernmost cape, the Látrabjarg cliff, a breeding ground for millions of seabirds.
Day 5: Vigur Island / ÍsafjördurAfter breakfast take a walking tour of small, verdant Vigur, the summer home to vast numbers of puffins, black guillemots, Arctic terns, and eiders. The tiny community dates back to the late 1800s and boasts Iceland’s only windmill. During lunch on board, cruise northward to Ísafjördur, the trading and cultural center of the West Fjords. A cultural tour reveals the history and daily life of one of Iceland’s oldest fishing settlements and visits the region’s scenic highlights. This afternoon, enjoy free time in town to browse the local shops.
Day 6: Adalvik / HornvikBeautiful Adalvik Bay is a five-mile-wide cove flanked by impressive mountains. Zodiacs bring you to Hornstrandir Nature Reserve for hikes along the sandy beaches and flower-bedecked tundra to view prolific birdlife and the old houses of Hesteyri, a fishing village that was abandoned in 1952 due to its remoteness. After lunch, board Zodiacs for an afternoon cruise through Hornvik Cove, situated at the very top of Iceland. The stunning cliffs that flank the cove are home to thousands of nesting birds.
Day 7: Grímsey IslandThough Grímsey Island sits astride the Arctic Circle, it enjoys a mild climate and is covered with rich vegetation. Weather permitting, go ashore to visit the Viking hamlet of Sandvik, home to about 100 permanent residents who earn their living from fishing and fish processing. A Zodiac cruise along Grímsey’s basaltic cliffs provides an exhilarating view of the incredible birdlife including kittiwakes, razorbills, fulmars, and puffins.
Day 8: Siglufjördur / AkureyriThis morning visit Siglufjördur, once the undisputed herring fishing capital of the Atlantic. The Herring Era Museum vividly depicts this period and a lively song and dance reenactment, accompanied by local delicacies, brings the herring boom era to life. During lunch on board, cruise into the spectacular Eyjafjördur Fjord and come alongside in friendly Akureyri, Iceland’s second-largest city. The evening is at leisure to explore this northern cultural capital with the opportunity to dine ashore.
Day 9: Akureyri / HúsavíkAfter an early breakfast, depart on a full-day inland tour of the Mývatn region. Thousands of years ago, volcanic eruptions created this dramatic landscape of labyrinthine lava formations, seething sulfur pits, and boiling mud pools. Oasis-like Lake Mývatn sits on the edge of a vast highland lava desert; one of Europe’s richest waterfowl breeding areas, it supports enormous numbers of breeding ducks and whooper swans. Continue to Húsavík to reboard the Island Sky. Be on deck this evening to watch for humpback, minke, fin, orca, and sei whales, along with dolphins and harbor porpoises.
Day 10: Thistilfjord BayFrom stunning Thistilfjord Bay, set out on nature walks and take in the views from the cliff tops. Explore this area by Zodiac, cruising past chiseled headlands and dramatic sea stacks that rise from the bay.
Day 11: SeydisfjördurThe 11-mile cruise along Seydisfjördur showcases a scenic wonderland of stunning geology, cascading waterfalls, and soaring mountains. At its head, a natural harbor shelters the fishing town of the same name, renowned for its brightly painted 19th-century wooden buildings. Options this morning include Skalanes Nature Reserve to view an important archaeological site and search for 47 species of birds, or a hike to the magnificent Hengifoss Waterfall.
Day 12: HöfnSituated on a large, enclosed bay, the fishing community of Höfn is also the gateway to Europe’s largest glacier. While most of Iceland is pastoral and green, its southeastern corner is covered by the shimmering white Vatnajökull Glacier, a 1,000-foot-thick ice field. A spectacular drive brings you to a fleet of waiting snowmobiles for an exhilarating guided excursion across the vast expanses of glittering whiteness. After lunch, set out on an unforgettable boat ride on Jökulsárlón Lake, sailing among aquamarine icebergs.
Day 13: Heimaey Island / Surtsey IslandOn Heimaey Island, visit the Herjolfsdalur Valley to view ruins of farmhouses dating back to 650 A.D., and from Storhofdi, the views over the island are simply breathtaking. You will also pass between two volcanoes, one 5,000 years old, the other born only in 1973, and drive right across the new volcano’s crater and into the town known as the “Pompeii of the North.” Later this afternoon circumnavigate Surtsey Island, a fire-and-brimstone result of a 1963 undersea eruption. Today, approximately 56 species of vascular plants grow on the island and seals haul out to breed on its shores. Nearly 90 species of migrating birds use the island as a rest stop.
Day 14: Reykjavík / Disembark / HomeAfter breakfast, disembark for a fascinating tour of Krýsuvík and the surrounding geothermal wonderland. Continue to the famous Blue Lagoon for lunch before departing for the airport and your independent flight homeward.
Accommodations in hotels and on board as outlined in the itinerary; all onboard meals; all group meals on land; group transfers; services of the expedition staff, including lectures, briefings, slide/film shows; all group activities and excursions; landing and port fees; all gratuities; emergency medical coverage (maximum benefit per paying passenger of $50,000)*; evacuation coverage (maximum benefit per paying passenger of $75,000)*.
All air transportation; excess baggage charges; airport arrival and departure taxes; transfers for independent arrivals and departures; passport and/or visa fees; accident/baggage/cancellation insurance; items of a personal nature such as laundry, bar charges, alcoholic beverages, email/Internet/fax/ telephone charges.
*Emergency Medical & Evacuation Insurance:
Emergency medical coverage to a maximum benefit per paying passenger of $50,000 is included in the cost of this expedition, as well as evacuation coverage to a maximum benefit per paying passenger of $75,000. Insurance is underwritten by National Union Fire Insurance Company of Pittsburgh, PA. The policy will contain reductions, limitations, exclusions and termination provisions. All coverages may not be available in all states. Please note this coverage does not cover you against trip cancellation or for additional days of travel prior to and/or after the expedition trip dates. ExpeditionTrips strongly advises all clients to purchase travel insurance which includes trip cancellation and interruption coverage for the entire duration of your trip.