Day 1: U.S. / Fly to Reykjavik, IcelandDepart home today for flights to Reykjavik, Iceland, where you'll begin the Circumnavation of Iceland.
Day 2: Reykjavik / EmbarkArrive in Reykjavik, the world’s northernmost capital, which lies only a fraction below the Arctic Circle and receives just four hours of sunlight in winter and 22 in summer. Have a guided overview of the Old Town, including Hallgrimskirkja Cathedral with its 210-foot tower, and perhaps shed some light on Nordic culture at the National Museum, with its Viking treasures and artifacts, and unusual whalebone carvings on display. Embark National Geographic Explorer.
Day 3: Explore the West Coast of IcelandNational Geographic Explorer navigates Iceland’s wild western frontier, sailing past the immense Latrabjarg cliffs, the westernmost point of Iceland and home to a huge population of razorbills. The cliffs are an area once famous for egg collecting; the men were tied to ropes and lowered like spiders down onto the ledges. Continue to Flatey Island, a trading post for many centuries, for walks around the charming little hamlet that grew here, and take a Zodiac cruise along the coast.
Day 4: IsafjördurLocated in the Western Fjords, Ísafjördur is surrounded by water on three sides, sculpted by glaciers. Renowned for its traditional eider down production, it is a picture postcard of traditional Icelandic life and a great place for hiking, kayaking and for spotting eider ducks.
Day 5: North Coast of IcelandSiglufjordur was the center of Iceland’s once-thriving herring industry. Stop by the Herring Museum for a talk and a tasting. Continue to picturesque Akureyri, backed by snow-capped mountains. Explore the old town, with its beautifully maintained period houses, or visit the botanical garden.
Day 6: Lake Mývatn / HúsavíkDrive to Mývatn, the most geologically active area in Iceland. This is world-class field geology! See the bizarre mud pools at Hverarönd — so hot they actually bubble. At the Krafla geothermal area see the explosion crater at Viti and continue to an unforgettable sight: Godafoss, the waterfall of the gods. Meet the ship in Húsavík, and watch for whales, as you sail north to the land of the midnight sun. Take Zodiacs ashore to the tiny island of Grimsey, which lies exactly on the Arctic Circle. Celebrate being officially in the Arctic, in the company of nesting arctic terns, fulmars, and puffins in burrows, all bathing, courting and fishing — another wonderful photo op.
Day 7: Exploring Northeast IcelandWith plenty of rarely-visited coastline, this day is left open to explore Iceland’s rugged east coast. Join naturalists for a hike or a Zodiac cruise to get a better view of the beautiful stacks at the end of the peninsula. Or, conditions permitting, you may have the first chance to kayak today under the steep cliffs.
Day 8: Djúpivogur, IcelandDock in Djupivogur to explore the vast Vatnajokull ice cap. Via small boat, get up-close and personal with the deep blue icebergs of the large ice lagoon of Jökulsárlón. Photo lovers may set off together with the National Geographic photographer.
Day 9: Islands of Heimaey / Surtsey, Westman IslandsThe Westman Islands were formed by undersea volcanoes between 5,000 and 10,000 years ago and are among the youngest of the world’s archipelagos. In 1963, the world witnessed on film the birth of its newest island, Surtsey — a UNESCO World Heritage Site — which you see on the cruise past the coast. In 1973, Heimaey was threatened by lava flows that nearly closed off its harbor. Visit the crater, where the earth is still hot, and have amazing views of areas that had been engulfed by lava.
Day 10: Reykjavík / HomeComplete the circumnavigation of Iceland, disembarking in Reykjavík. Stop by the famous Blue Lagoon thermal baths, prior to your flight home. Whether you choose to enjoy the surreal bath and spa facilities or just stroll around the fascinating environs, the Blue Lagoon is unforgettable!
Photo Expeditions: All departures
The photo team, a National Geographic Photographer and a Photo Specialist, will enhance your voyage by working with you on photo composition and exposure; helping you develop your own unique vision; showing you how professionals edit and store images while on the go; and sharing the stories behind some of their greatest images. Whether expert or interested beginner, you'll find added benefits such as walks ashore and Zodiac cruises dedicated to photography, presentations on the creative and technical aspects of photography, and one-on-one mentoring and coaching in the field.
Ship accommodations; meals onboard; excursions; services of expedition staff and expert guides; use of kayaks; all port charges and service taxes.
Air transportation; visa/immigration fees; personal items such as alcoholic beverages, emails, laundry, etc.; discretionary tips to ship’s crew; fuel surcharge may apply.
Photos © Ralph Lee Hopkins