Day 1: Depart U.S. for Reykjavik, Iceland
Day 2: Arrive Reykjavik/Borgarbyggo Upon our early morning arrival in Iceland’s capital, we meet our Odysseys Unlimited Tour Director and enjoy a scenic drive north, stopping for breakfast along the way. Then we take an excursion to the thermal areas of Deildartunguhver and Hraunfossar Falls; and visit the Settlement Center, an interactive museum detailing the story of Iceland’s earliest settlers, including that of famed 10th-century Viking Egil Skallagrimsson. After reaching our hotel mid-afternoon, we have time to relax before this evening's briefing on the journey ahead followed by a welcome dinner. B,D
Day 3: Borgarbyggo/Snaefellsnes Peninsula Today we encounter the stupendous scenery of the Snaefellsnes Peninsula. We begin with a walk along the shell sand beach at the abandoned fishing village of Budir, surrounded by a vast lava field. We also explore the caves and bizarre rock formations along the rugged shore at Arnarstapi, site of thousands of nesting cliff birds. After stopping for lunch – a traditional fresh seafood soup – at a rustic oceanfront restaurant, we visit Djupalonssandur where we see the haunting remains of abandoned coastal farms. B,L,D
Day 4: Borgarbyggo/Akureyri We travel towards the northeast corner of Iceland today, and to Akureyri, Iceland’s northern capital situated at the head of the island's longest fjord. Along the way we stop at Grabrok Crater for scenic views, and at a Gauksmyri farm featuring famed Icelandic horses – small, hardy, and with long manes. We also tour Glaumbaer, a folk museum featuring authentic turf houses. Upon arrival in Akureyri, we take a guided coach and walking tour of this urban gem before checking in at our hotel. B,D
Day 5: Akureyri/Lake Myvatn Today we travel to beautiful Lake Myvatn. One of the world’s natural wonders, Lake Myvatn and its environs of bubbling mud flats, lava fields, and lunar-like volcanic craters comprise a stunningly beautiful national park. Our explorations begin with a walk up to the fascinating Hverfjall crater, a local landmark. Later we see the region’s unique “pseudo craters,” the boiling mud pots at Namaskard, the bizarre lava formations at Dimmuborgir, and the flat volcano system at Krafla. Our last stop is the incredible Glacial River Canyon National Park, yet another of Iceland’s natural wonders, where we walk to jaw-dropping Dettifoss, Europe’s most powerful waterfall and Iceland’s “Niagara.” After this day of stunning scenery, we return to our hotel in time for dinner on our own tonight. B,L
Day 6: Akureyri/Jökulsárgljúfur National Park This morning we visit Hljodaklettar Echo Cliffs where we explore the labyrinth of “echoing rocks” created by the spiral basalt formations of arches and canyons here. We travel next to Asbyrgi, a huge canyon enveloped by towering walls; in the middle of the partially wooded canyon sits a huge hoof-shaped rock called “The Island.” We continue on to Husavik, where mid-afternoon we embark on a bird-watching cruise to Puffin Island to see the thousands of seabirds here (based on seasonality): puffins, black guillemots, fulmars, and Arctic terns. Then en route back to Akureyri, we stop at Godafoss, the “waterfall of the gods” named for the carvings of Norse gods discarded here when the country was declared Christian a thousand years ago. B,D
Day 7: Akureyri/Reykjavik/Selfoss This morning we fly to Reykjavik; upon arrival we coach to Thingvellir National Park, known both for its historic import and as the place where the fissure between the geological plates of North America and Europe is most evident. It’s also a gem of nature, with canyons, caves, waterfalls, and ponds surrounded by snow-capped mountains. We learn about the historic parliament founded here in 930 CE, and walk along a gorge into the rift valley itself. After lunch at a local restaurant, we depart for famed Great Geysir and Gullfoss, Iceland’s immensely popular “golden” waterfall. Then we drive down to the southern coast to the beautiful agricultural area of Selfoss. B,L
Day 8: Selfoss/Vik This morning we walk along the black-sand beach at Reynisfjara, lined with columnar basalt-filled caves. Next we visit picturesque Seljalandsfoss, Iceland’s most visited waterfall, followed by a stop at the Skogar Folk Museum, which depicts traditional life in Iceland. From here we walk to nearby Skogafoss, one of Iceland’s most popular waterfalls, known for its rainbows on sunny days. After lunch on our own at the museum, we continue on to lovely Vik, Iceland’s southernmost town, where we’re free to explore on our own and to shop for items of locally produced wool. En route to our hotel, we stop by the Solheimajokull “sliding” glacier, so named for its rapid advance in the 1990s. B,D
Day 9: Selfoss/Reykjavik Heading back to Reykjavik today we travel through “saga” country, the setting of one of the country’s famous medieval stories. We stop along the way to see the geothermal exhibit at the Hellisheidi Power Plant, Iceland's largest. Upon arrival in Reykjavik, we have lunch at a local restaurant then embark on a city tour of the Icelandic capital. Home to more than half of Iceland’s population, Reykjavik ranks as one of the world’s safest and cleanest cities. Later, we check in at our well-located hotel in the city center. Dinner tonight is on our own in this stylish city. B,L
Day 10: Reykjavik Today is at leisure to explore and enjoy Reykjavik as we please; those who wish can join in an optional tour to the Blue Lagoon for a soothing bath in geothermal waters rich with silica, sulfur, and other minerals. The city is a sophisticated European urban center with museums and galleries; theater, symphony, and dance; boutiques and restaurants. Tonight we celebrate our adventure over a farewell dinner. B,D
Day 11: Depart for U.S. Today we depart for the airport and our return flights to the U.S. B
Please note: This trip involves considerable walking on uneven terrain in a natural environment. You should be in good physical condition to enjoy this tour to the fullest.
Iceland’s Northern Lights
Although many factors, including local weather conditions, contribute to the chances of seeing this natural phenomenon, generally the best opportunities for witnessing the Northern Lights in Iceland occur between mid-September and mid-April. Our September and October tour dates offer a good combination of touring conditions (still warm enough for outdoor activities/excursions) and shorter daylight hours with darker nights (prime elements for the aurora borealis).
B = Breakfast included L = Lunch included D = Dinner included