Gems of Iceland ~ Land of Fire & Ice
September 30 - October 6
Sep 30 – Oct 1: Overnight flight to Reykjavik
Depart on your overnight flight to Reykjavik arriving the next day.
Upon arrival, you’ll be met by a local representative and transferred to the Viking World Museum for breakfast and time to learn a little history of the early settlers. The balance of the afternoon is free to explore Reykjavik before joining your group for a welcome dinner.
Reykjavik is Iceland’s capital city of 100,000 people with a variety of restaurants, museums, galleries and theaters. Heated entirely by geothermal water, it is home to the “smoking bay”, so named for the rising steam that greeted the city’s Viking founder, Angolfr Arnarsson, as he sailed into the bay here in 874 AD. The city center is the heart of Reykjavik and home to many charming historic buildings of stone and timber contrasting with imaginative modern architecture. It has the features of a modern society complemented by a close connection to natural wonders right on the city’s doorstep. Hot springs, glaciers, lava fields, midnight sun, waterfalls, northern lights, volcanoes and bizarre landscapes – the city has them all! (B, D)
Oct 2: Incredible Iceland
Enjoy scenic drives along the geological and historic sites of the island. Your excursion includes a drive to the UNESCO World Heritage Site of Thingvellir National Park. A remarkable geological site, it is one of the few spots in the world where the Mid-Atlantic Ridge is seen above water. The amazing canyon that runs through the park is a meeting point of two of the earth’s tectonic plates. The park is situated by Lake Thingvallavatn, the largest lake on the island. The park is also the most historic site on the island as the world’s oldest democratic parliament was founded here in 930 AD. You’ll see outstanding natural wonders when you visit Geysir, Iceland’s most famous area for thermal activity. Warm up with a glass of Geysir Schnapps while viewing ‘Strokkur’, one of Iceland’s most active geysers, and ‘Gullfoss’ (Golden Waterfall), Iceland’s most famous waterfall.
Arrive this evening in Kirkubaerklaustur and your hotel for the next two evenings. Locate along the Ring Road and between two of Iceland’s glaciers; Vatnajökull and Mýrdalsjökul. This remote location offers the best chance to catch the Aurora Borealis, Northern Lights, dancing across the night sky. It’s also the perfect location to explore the remote beauty of Eastern Iceland. (B, D)
Oct 3: Ice Beauty
Spend your day with a scenic trip through Vatnajökull National Park
and Skaftafell Nature preserve. Visit Lake Jökulsárlón filled with the melt-water from Breiðamerkurjökull, an outlet glacier of Europe’s largest ice cap, Vatnajökull. Floating in the water are massive, blue and white icebergs that have broken off the glacier. Keep an eye out for seals that can often be seen lounging on top of the “bergs”. Stop at the black sand beach nicknamed, The Diamond Beach.
Weather permitting you’ll have an opportunity to walk on the glacier to Svartifoss waterfall or tour one of the ice caves. (B, D)
Oct 4: Rainbows & Waterfalls
Today you’ll adventure west along the South Shore with views of Mt. Hekla, the most active volcano in Iceland, and the towering, ice-capped strato volcano Eyjafjallajokull, which last erupted in 2010. Iceland is also famous for its waterfalls and you’ll see two of the most magnificent —the Seljalandsfoss which tumbles over high rock escarpments allowing you to walk behind the waterfall, and Skogafoss. Exploration continues to Dyrholaey, a magnificent rocky headland with sheer cliffs, enroute to the village of Vik. Head to the seashore, flanked by steep bird cliffs rising high above the beautiful black sand beach. In the sea, just outside of Vik, see the Reynisdrangar Rocks which stand 216 feet above sea level at their highest point. Visit Hellisheidavirkjun, the largest geothermal power station in Iceland and the second-largest in the world. Return to Reykjavik this evening watching for those elusive Northern Lights. (B, D)
Oct 5: Reykjavik and the Blue Lagoon
Join your local guide this morning for a panoramic city tour of the world’s most northerly capital, see the old town center, Parliament, cathedral, harbor, National Museum, ‘Pearl’ and Hofoi House (site of the Iceland summit of 1986), and Hallgrímskirkja Church whose steeple is a landmark of the city.
After lunch you’ll head for the rough tracks of Reykjanes, one of the
most active volcanic areas in Iceland. Visit the geothermal area of
Krysuvik and Lake Kleifarvatn with its hot springs and solfatares.
The moonlike surroundings of the lake never fails to leave a strong
impression on visitors! A remarkable life enriching experience is a visit to the Blue Lagoon – a lake of warm-mineral rich geothermal water, internationally renowned for its healing prowess. Located in the middle of a lava field in the pure and beautiful Icelandic wilderness, water is heated by underground volcanic activity at a depth of 5,400 feet and is pumped to the surface to form this man-made wonder. The Blue Lagoon is known for its special properties and its beneficial effect on the skin. Visitors from all over the world come here in search of health, relaxation and an exotic experience. You’ll have an opportunity to soak in the pleasantly warm mineral-rich water. This evening, join your travel companions for a farewell dinner. (B, D)
Oct 6– Return to USA
After breakfast enjoy free time in Reykavik before transferring to Keflavik Airport. Bid a fond farewell to amazing Iceland, as you return home with memorable life enriching experiences to cherish. (B)
(B) = Breakfast (D) = Dinner