Reykjavik to Tromso
15 days with Silversea Rating:
Day 1 Reykjavik
Sprawling Reykjavík, the nation's nerve center and government seat, is home to half the island's population. On a bay overlooked by proud Mt. Esja (pronounced eh-shyuh), with its ever-changing hues, Reykjavík presents a colorful sight, its concrete houses painted in light colors and topped by vibrant red, blue, and green roofs. In contrast to the almost treeless countryside, Reykjavík has many tall, native birches, rowans, and willows, as well as imported aspen, pines, and spruces.Reykjavík's name comes from the Icelandic words for smoke, reykur, and bay, vík.
Day 2 Latrabjarg Cliffs, Dynjandi Waterfalls
On Iceland’s north coast and close to the westernmost tip of the country are the impressive cliffs of Latrabjarg; Europe’s largest bird cliff. Millions of individual seabirds make their home along the promontory safe from the range of scavenging foxes on the steep ledges. Atlantic Puffins, Northern Gannets, Razorbills and guillemots have each selected their preferred areas in and above the cliff in which to roost and nest. The Latrabjarg cliffs reach heights of up to 440 meters along a staggering 14 kilometer stretch of the coast.
Iceland is well-known for its spectacular waterfalls. The iconic Dynjandi waterfall, located in the Westfjords region, is regarded as one of Iceland’s most impressive and majestic waterfalls. At the top, the cascading water is roughly 100 feet wide and tumbles down about 330 feet into the fjord. Its name Dynjandi means, “the thundering one” and its vast size, enormous sound, and sheer force is overwhelming. It has also been nicknamed, ‘The Bridal Veil’ because of the way the water sprays and spreads over the rocks.
Day 3 Vigur Island, Cruise Along Hornbjard Cliffs
Vigur Island is a little more than a mile (1.6 km) in length and about 450 yards (412 m) wide. This green oasis punctuates the waters of the Ísafjarðardjúp fjord east of the town of Isafjordur. The island is home to a single farming family and has some meticulously preserved historical landmarks including Iceland’s only windmill, built in 1840 and used until 1917 for grinding imported wheat from Denmark; and a 200-year-old rowing boat, which is still in use to ferry sheep to the mainland. Summer is the best time to see large numbers of Atlantic Puffins, Arctic Terns and Black Guillemots.
Day 4 Akureyri
Akureyri, called the Capital of the North is the second largest urban area in Iceland, and a lively one at that. Hemmed by the 60-km (37-mile) long Eyjafjörður, Akureyri is sheltered from the ocean winds and embraced by mountains on three sides. Late 19th-century wooden houses impart a sense of history, and the twin spires of a modern Lutheran church rising on a green hill near the waterfront, provide a focal point. To the south of Akureyri is the pyramid-shape rhyolite mountain Súlur. Beyond it is Kerling, the highest peak in Eyjafjörður District.
Day 5 Day At Sea
Days at sea are the perfect opportunity to relax, unwind and catch up with what you’ve been meaning to do. So whether that is whale watching from the Observatory Lounge, writing home to your loved ones or simply topping up your tan by the pool, these blue sea days are the perfect balance to busy days spent exploring shore side.
Day 6 Jan Mayen Island
Humpback and minke whales cavort and feed in the waters around the impressive volcanic island of Jan Mayen with its towering ebony peaks and broad black lava beaches. The primordial landscape is dominated to the north by the 7,500 feet high (2,300 meters) Mt Beerenberg, an active volcano covered in glacial ice that last erupted in 1985. With permission from the Norwegian authorities, a landing is possible at this rarely visited outpost.
Day 7 Day At Sea
Days 8-10 Svalbard Northern Region
There are several deep fjords and prominent glaciers in the northern reaches of Svalbard, as well as the northern hemisphere’s widest glacier front. Ice conditions will dictate how much can be accessed in terms of cruising bird islets like the Andøyane Islets or approaching glaciers like Monaco Glacier and Seliger Glacier. The Northern Region is also known to have several walrus haul-outs and areas defined as “Arctic Desert”. Walks and hikes ashore to have a closer look at flora and wildlife are a possibility in the spectacular Northern Region of Svalbard.
Days 11-13 Svalbard Southern Region
Svalbard’s Southern Region and specifically Spitsbergen’s west coast is less ice-clogged than the rest of Svalbard due to the moderating influence of the Gulf Stream. Several fjords cut into the western coast of Spitsbergen and have been used by trappers and hunters, as well as the different mining companies that tried to exploit the riches of the archipelago’s largest island of Spitsbergen. Remains of huts and mines, as well as active commercial and scientific settlements can be found and visited. Depending on the time of the season, glaciers can be visited on foot or by sea.
Day 14 Cruise & Explore Bear Island (Svalbard)
Almost half way between Tromsø and Svalbard is isolated Bear Island – considered the southernmost island of the Svalbard Archipelago. The unglaciated island is an impressive Nature Reserve of steep, high cliffs that are frequented by seabirds, specifically at the southern tip. Brünnich’s Guillemots, Common Guillemots, Black Guillemots, Razorbills, Little Auks, Northern Fulmars, Glaucous Gulls, Black-legged Kittiwakes, and even Atlantic Puffins and Northern Gannets nest along the cliffs south of Sørhamna.
Day 15 Tromso
Tromsø surprised visitors in the 1800s: they thought it very sophisticated and cultured for being so close to the North Pole—hence its nickname, the Paris of the North. It looks the way a polar town should—with ice-capped mountain ridges and jagged architecture that is an echo of the peaks. The midnight sun shines from May 21 to July 21, and it is said that the northern lights decorate the night skies over Tromsø more than over any other city in Norway.
All This Included
Welcome to the Realm of the Polar Bear! With over 60% of the Svalbard region covered in ice, the breathtakingly beautiful icebergs and glaciers of the Svalbard Archipelago will not fail to disappoint. Elusive and serene, the King of the Arctic makes his happy home here; Zodiac cruises provide ample opportunities to get as close to the wondrous beast as possible, meaning you can cross off this bucket list must see.
Cruising: Cabin onboard Silver Cloud
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