gj-99-vatnaj-kull-national-park-glacier.k.jpgPhoto Credit: GJ

The Grand Tour of Iceland

From $6346 Per Person

Guided, 12 Days/11 Nights

2020 dates: June 15 & 29; July 13 & 27; August 10 & 24

This tour of Iceland is an unforgettable journey around Iceland including the Snaefellsnes Peninsula and the magical West Fjords. Untamed beauty of Iceland´s nature, breathtaking scenery, and unique Icelandic history and culture await you. Discover some of the most remote parts of the country and visit many well-known highlights as well. Each day combines touring by bus, going for light walks, having soft adventures, and experiencing Icelandic culture and history. 

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Dates: June 15 & 29; July 13 & 27; August 10 & 24, 2020

Group Size: Maximum 20 persons.

Day 1: Welcome to Iceland (50 km/31 miles)

Individual transfer by Flybus shuttle bus from Keflavik Airport to where you will spend the night. 

Accommodation at Hotel Klettur

Day 2: Golden Circle (290 km/180 miles)

See classic highlights today. Explore Gullfoss, the beautiful double “Golden Falls” and walk through the active geothermal area of Geysir, where Strokkur “the churn” spouts up to 25 meters (70 feet) every five to ten minutes. The next stop is the ancient Viking Parliament area and UNESCO world heritage site of Thingvellir National Park. The Thingvellir plain is situated on a tectonic-plate boundary where North America and Europe are slowly tearing away from each other. As a result, the plain is scarred by dramatic fissures, ponds, and rivers, including the great rift Almannagja. Continue your journey along the scenic Hvalfjordur fjord.

Accommodation at Hotel Hamar

Day 3: Snaefellsnes Peninsula & Ferry trip to West Fjords (290 km/180 miles)

Today explore the Snaefellsnes Peninsula, which juts out from Iceland’s West Coast. A rugged mountain chain runs its length, capped by the 1,446-meter Snaefellsjokull glacier, a mystical cone-shaped stratovolcano. Travel around the Snaefellsnes Peninsula, through lava fields, and along the ocean with many classic Icelandic photo opportunities. See the most popular sites at the Snaefellsnes National Park where volcanic craters, lava flows, an ice cap, glaciated peaks, fjords, sandy beaches, and high cliffs shape its landscapes. Follow the adventure of Jules Verne’s classic science-fiction novel about “The Journey to the Center of the Earth”. Do not miss your chance to go on a trip to the interior of the earth under the glacier Snaefellsjokull! This lava cave tour takes you 35 meters underground and about 200 meters into the lava tube called Vatnshellir. In the afternoon, catch the car ferry Baldur from Stykkisholmur to Brjanslaekur in the West Fjords. On the 2-5 hour journey over Breidafjordur Bay, pass the island of Flatey, which is inhabited only during the summertime. If the weather is nice, you enjoy a magnificent view of the bay’s countless isles as well as the glacier Snaefellsjokull.

Accommodation at Fosshotel Westfjords

Day 4: Iceland's Westernmost Point (150 km/93 miles)

Follow the coastline and stop at the folk and transport museum in Hnjotur. Continue through a very remote and sparsely populated region to the bird cliffs of Latrabjarg, the most abundant seabird cliff and the westernmost point of Iceland and Europe, where you can see puffins from mid-May till mid-August. Take a walk in the wilderness to the top of the highest bird cliff in Iceland. Latrabjarg is known in the world for its density of Nordic birds. Puffins, razorbills, guillemots, fulmars, cormorants, kittiwakes and other cliff birds flock either in hundreds, thousands or even in millions. Latrabjarg is a place where you can get very close to the seabirds, and even if you’re not into bird watching, you are entertained by the comic puffins and mesmerized by the sheer number of birds. If weather and road conditions allow, travel to Raudisandur beach with endless red sand. Well, not endless, but 10 km is a lot. The magnificent hues of the sand differ with daylight, tides, and weather. This pure sand beach is home to countless seabirds and seals and is an oasis of unique tranquility. Forget everything, except maybe getting the perfect shot of the ever-changing hues of yellow, orange, and red.

Accommodation at Fosshotel Westfjords

Day 5: Beautiful Westfjords (320 km/199 miles)

Travel over mountains and along the shore of scenic fjords to reach the majestic fjord Arnarfjordur, surrounded by high mountains. At the bottom of the fjord, come across the unique waterfall Dynjandi with its seven levels of plunging water, declared the country’s most beautiful waterfall by the people of Iceland. Continue over a mountain pass and along the southern shores of the West Fjords, which is a route less traveled and is characterized by sheer cliffs, deep cut bays and narrow stretches of coastal lowland. Overnight at the remote Vogur Country Lodge in West Iceland. This overnight location is a truly peaceful and beautiful place close to Breidafjordur Bay, giving you the feeling of being all alone in Iceland.

Accommodation at Vogur Country Lodge

Day 6: Heading North (350 km/217 miles)

Travel mostly off-the-beaten-path this morning. See abandoned farms, beautiful little country churches, and Icelandic horses. At Haukadalur, there’s a rather authentic-looking replica of the homestead of Erik the Red, the famous explorer who founded the Icelandic colony in Greenland. His son Leif-the-Lucky, born in Haukadalur, Iceland, was the first European to set foot in North America. Now the excavated and reconstructed farm in Haukadalur is a living Viking museum, a fun, informative and photogenic place. The landscape is dominated by mountains, lakes, valleys, sea and wide-open spaces. Head north and stop at a local farm for lunch and a horse show where you will learn about the unique qualities of Iceland’s special breed. Afterwards, travel through the fertile farmlands and fjord landscapes of Northwest Iceland before reaching the charming town of Akureyri, Iceland’s second-largest city. Stay for two nights in the capital of North Iceland.

Accommodation at KEA Hotel Akureyri

Day 7: Northernmost Town (160 km/99 miles)

During a 6-hour excursion, see spectacular fjord landscapes while travelling to Siglufjordur, Iceland’s northernmost town and known as the herring capital of the North Atlantic. Siglufjordur is located on the mountainous Trollaskagi Peninsula. On the way, pass small fishing villages and stop at a deserted valley that even most Icelanders have not seen. Included is a visit to the Herring Museum and also beer tasting at Kaldi, a local micro-brewery. The rest of the day is free at leisure. Maybe you would like to go shopping, visit a geothermal swimming pool, stroll through the local botanical garden or try an optional whale watching or horseback riding tour at 17:00. Overnight and dinner in Akureyri.

Accommodation at KEA Hotel Akureyri

Day 8: Geological Wonders and Nature Baths (150 km/93 miles)

Explore Godafoss, the waterfall of the Gods, and continue to Lake Myvatn, known for its abundant bird life and amazing volcanic lava landscapes. See pseudo craters, walk in the mysterious lava field Dimmuborgir, see the tephra cone Hverfjall, explore the hot springs, fumaroles and bubbling mud pools of Namaskard, and travel to the explosion crater lake Víti in the Krafla geothermal fields. In the afternoon, relax and soak at the Myvatn Nature Baths. Overnight near Lake Myvatn.

Accommodation at Hotel Laxa

Day 9: Secret of the East (290 km/180 miles)

Travel to Dettifoss, Europe’s most powerful waterfall, in the northern part of Vatnajökull National Park. The round-trip walk takes about 40-60 minutes. Continue east through the bare and sometimes deserted landscape with mountains all around. Along the way, stop at Modrudalur, the all-year residence at the highest altitude in Iceland, 469m above sea level. In the summertime, an on-site service center is a perfect place to enjoy the view of Herdubreid, the queen of the Icelandic mountains. Visit the church at the farm, built by hand in 1949 by the former farmer in the memory of his late wife. From there head through the uninhabited highlands to East Iceland. Explore the northernmost fjord on the East Fjord mountain range. The isolated village Bakkagerdi at Borgarfjordur-Eystri has only 120 inhabitants and is a charming village, built snugly next to the steep mountainside. The drive there is dramatic and rewarding. The colorful mountains are unique and impressive. Experience an unusual opportunity to visit a traditional Icelandic fishing village, still relying on the small boat fishing. Even though Borgarfjordur-Eystri is one of Iceland’s most beautiful treasures, this off-the ring road location remains seldom visited. There is a coffee house in the village, displaying some works of Johannes Kjarval, a well-known Icelandic painter who grew up in Borgarfjordur-Eystri. His hometown and its landscape have much influenced his job. We also see the remarkable altarpiece, an extraordinary artwork painted by Johannes Kjarval. Borgarfjordur-Eystri is home to an extensive population of elves – judging by the 172 local folk tales involving elves. In the village, find Alfaborg, a protected site where the queen of elves is believed to live in a uniquely shaped rock castle. The elf stories provide a fascinating lecture, especially for the younger generation. Continue to the local harbor to look out for kittiwakes, puffins, and other seabirds.

Accommodation at Guesthouse Afheimar

Day 10: Fjords, Glaciers and the Glacier Lagoon (450 km/280 miles)

It’s a day to admire the dramatic fjord landscape and its tiny fishing villages at the end of twisty roads in the East Fjords, and en route visit Petra’s fascinating rock collection. A naturalist and a collector are two terms that have been used to describe Petra since she was a little girl. From the day she opened her eyes for the first time she perceived her surrounding differently from most of her compatriots, and it is almost as if her parents knew when they named her. The word “Petra” simply means “stone” in Greek. Petra collected for nearly 80 years this unique treasure of rocks, crystals, zeolites, quartz and more, all from the nearby area in the Eastfjords. The rocks and stones are beautifully laid out in her home and garden. Her descendants proudly take good care of this unique exhibition. In the afternoon see Vatnajokull, Europe’s biggest glacier that is visible all-over Southeast Iceland. Past the town of Hofn, we stop for a boat ride among the floating icebergs on the magnificent Jökulsárlón glacial lagoon, considered one of the highlights of a tour around Iceland. Spend the night near Skaftafell in the southern part of Vatnajökull National Park.

Accommodation at Fosshotel Glacier Lagoon

Day 11: Vatnajokull National Park and the South Coast (340 km/221 miles)

Today visit Vatnajökull National Park which covers about 14% of Iceland, making it Europe’s 2nd largest national park in terms of area after Yugyd Va in Russia. Explore the region of Skaftafell that is nestled below Iceland’s highest mountain and the second biggest stratovolcano in Europe, the 2,110-meter high Hvannadalshnjukur. Walk close to one of the many glacial tongues in the area – a Kodak moment. We cross a sandy desert and drive along the South Coast, always between the sea, rugged mountains, glaciers, and waterfalls. We stroll along the black lava beach and bird cliffs near the village of Vík. Stop at the Skogafoss waterfall, another must-see location in South Iceland. The crashing water creates a mist that results in frequent and magical rainbows, just adding some more memorable experiences to the sheer beauty of this stunning scenery and place. Afterwards, we reach Seljalandsfoss waterfall where you can follow a slick and wet trail and walk right behind the falls. Come prepared and bring a raincoat and good boots as you will get wet. Then we visit the Lava Center in Hvolsvollur, where you will watch a documentary film about volcanic eruptions in the past years in Iceland. Farewell dinner at a local restaurant in Reykjavik. Spend the last night of the Grand Tour in Iceland’s capital.

Accommodation at Hotel Klettur

Day 12: Farewell to Iceland (150 km/93 miles)

Individual transfer by Flybus shuttle from your accommodation in Reykjavik to Keflavik airport. 
Or extend your stay in Iceland (or Scandinavia)

Group Size: Maximum 20 persons.

Your Trip includes the following:
Additional Services that can be added at time of booking:

NOTE: During the off season, from September to May, in rare cases, a change of itinerary might be necessary especially during winter in Iceland, should snow, road and weather conditions not allow to follow the scheduled itinerary, and certain outdoor activities/day trips might be cancelled. In this case no refund will be given, but we will try to find reasonable alternatives where and whenever possible.

This package is priced LAND ONLY. If you need assistance with booking your airfare, let us know and we will be happy to help you.

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