Day 1 – Welcome to Reykjavik
On arrival at the airport, you’ll be warmly greeted by our experienced Icelandic guide and escorted to your hotel for an early breakfast before touring the capital. Your sightseeing takes you along the city’s spectacular coastline and harbor district and through the vibrant university area and Old Quarter - with its traditional wooden homes. From the glass-domed Pearl, an innovative building that showcases sustainable Icelandic architecture and design, you’ll have terrific views of Reykjavik. You’ll also see the Hofdi House, the simple, turn-of-the-century clapboard house where Presidents Ronald Reagan and Mikhail Gorbachev met in 1986, the historic event that effectively marked the end of the Cold War. A guided visit through the National Museum reveals the island’s wealth of history and culture, from the medieval days of Viking settlement to contemporary life. Then check in to the Alda Hotel where you’ll have time to relax before a congenial welcome dinner with wine and beer. (B+D)
Day 2 – Explore the Golden Circle
Travel to Thingvellir National Park, a unique geological site where two tectonic plates meet. On the shores of Lake Thingvallavatn, you’ll see the world’s oldest democratic Parliament, founded more than 1,000 years ago! Then thrill to one of Iceland’s most famous geological wonders – the Strokkur Geyser that regularly erupts 100 feet into the air. At the Golden Waterfall, you’ll thrill to a thunderous cascade of icy water that plunges into a deep gorge. Then spend time on a family-owned village farm where you’ll see Icelandic horses, have lunch, and learn how greenhouse vegetables are able to thrive in this northerly climate.
In the afternoon, you’ll delight in a rejuvenating visit to the Laugarvatn Fontana Geothermal Baths. The fun begins as a sealed loaf pan is dug out of the hot earth. Served fresh from the ground with locally churned Icelandic butter, this home-made, Earth-baked bread is a tasty way to experience the island’s geothermal forces. Situated on the shores of Lake Laugarvatn, the Fontana Baths offer a variety of geothermal pools for you to enjoy this afternoon; varying in depth and temperature, they’re all filled from natural hot springs that have been harnessed for this purpose for almost a century. Return to your city-center hotel where your evening is at leisure. Our in-the-know guide will be happy to make personal dining recommendations. (B+L)
Day 3 – Onward to Akureyri
You’ll depart the capital after breakfast traveling northward through the Icelandic countryside. In Borgarnes, you’ll visit the Settlement Center where fascinating exhibits reveal the stories and history of the intrepid Vikings who conquered the open seas to settle Iceland long ago. Sit down to a congenial lunch in the pleasant coastal village of Hvammstangi and visit the Icelandic Seal Center to learn about these remarkable aquatic mammals.
Continue your northward journey to Glaumbaer Farm to see the 19th-century turf farmhouses that were typical throughout rural areas of the island until the early 1900’s. With few large tracts of forest for construction, the stone-and-turf design of these buildings required relatively little lumber. Nearby the century-old Vidimyri Church is considered one of Iceland’s most important architectural landmarks. Built of driftwood and turf, its altarpiece was brought from Denmark and dates to the early 17th century!
Arriving on the island’s scenic north coast, you’ll enjoy a city tour of Akureyri before checking in to the Hotel Kea here in the heart of this welcoming and culturally vibrant town. (B+L)
Day 4 – Local Flavors of the Northern Coast
Today’s exclusive excursion reveals the tastes and traditions of this remote region. Traveling along the rugged coast to visit small rural villages and by ferry to the picturesque island of Hrisey, you’ll spend time with residents who are eager to share their gastronomic knowledge – much of it passed down from generation to generation. These friendly Icelanders will offer authentic insight into their lives as fishermen, micro-brewers and farmers. Along the way, you’ll get to sample some wonderful, locally sourced products including beer, salted cod and fresh fish. (B)
Day 5 – Waterfall of the Gods and Lake Myvatn
Today’s excursion will reveal more about the natural wonders and geothermal forces of this pristine and breathtakingly beautiful region. Your first visit is the magnificent Godafoss Waterfall where thundering cascades plunge 40 feet across a chasm that stretches nearly 100 feet across. In the year 1000 after Christianity was declared the official religion of Iceland, statues of Norse Gods were thrown into the Falls – earning the cascades its name as the “Waterfall of the Gods.” Next you’ll discover the unusual lava pillars and other bizarre formations of the aptly named “Dark Castles.” Then see the steaming fumaroles of Hverir and a warm, startlingly clear underground river at the Grjotagja Rift.
At the Viti Crater, now filled with mineral-rich aquamarine water, you’ll learn about the 1724 volcanic eruption that created this geological, starkly beautiful natural wonder. Your sightseeing ends at the Myvatn Natural Baths where you can unwind in a steaming, natural geothermal pool surrounded by lava fields overlooking Lake Myvatn. Today’s guided touring also includes a hearty luncheon of traditional Icelandic stew and geyser-baked bread, finished with cake and coffee.
Back in Akureyri, your evening is free to relax, explore and dine as you wish. (B+L)
Day 6 – Return to Reykjavik
Take this free morning to discover more of Akureyri’s vibrant culture and sites at your own pace. It’s a great time to browse in the galleries and studios of town and to learn more about the region’s artists and artisans. In the afternoon, you’ll be escorted to the airport for your included flight to Reykjavik. On arrival, transfer back to the Alda Hotel where you’ll have time to relax and refresh. This evening’s farewell dinner is at one of our favorite restaurants in the city. (B+D)
Day 7 – Farewell Reykjavik
We’ll take you to the airport today for your flight home. If you wish, you can check out a bit earlier and
delight in a swim in the famous Blue Lagoon before continuing to the airport. (B)
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The prices shown are U.S. dollars per person, based on double occupancy, and subject to availability. Prices quoted for land/cruise arrangements are subject to increase without notice. Once we have received your deposit, land/cruise prices are guaranteed. Air prices quoted via phone or email are subject to increase and are guaranteed only from the time that full payment is received. Also, air prices or air promotions mentioned on this site or on the phone do not include baggage fees imposed by airlines.