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Circumnavigation of IcelandJune 13, 2014 - June 26, 2014
Priced from: $10,970
Below please find the day-by-day itinerary for this expedition. Unless otherwise noted, daily excursion options are included in the cost of the trip. We do our best to adhere to the scheduled itinerary, but in the spirit of our expeditionary style of travel we may deviate slightly to take full advantage of encounters with the destination and its people, culture, and wildlife.
June 13 Depart USA
Depart this evening on your independent overnight flight to Reykjavík.
June 14 Reykjavik, Iceland
Arrive in the Icelandic capital this morning and transfer to the Grand Hotel Reykjavik. Lunch and the remainder of the day are at leisure to enjoy this fascinating and colorful city. Gather this evening for a welcome reception followed by dinner and overnight at our hotel.
June 15 Reykjavik / Embark Island Sky
After breakfast, set out to explore Iceland’s classic scenic wonders known as the Golden Circle. Begin with Thingvellir National Park, a UNESCO World Heritage Site surrounded by mountains and encompassing a vast lava plain of green moss and wildflowers. Continue to Gullfoss Waterfall where the Hvita River drops 96 feet in two voluminous cascades. The Geysir Center is a huge geothermal field of both boiling and tranquil multi-hued hot springs and bubbling mud pools. After lunch in these picturesque surroundings proceed to the pier, making a photo stop at a scenic viewpoint before boarding the Island Sky.
June 16 Flatey Island / Látrabjarg
By Zodiac, trace the coastline of Flatey Island before going ashore for a walking tour of the village. View the uniquely painted island church and the restored houses of islanders who earn a living fishing for cod and lumpfish. This evening sail past Iceland’s westernmost cape, the Látrabjarg cliff, a breeding ground for millions of seabirds.
June 17 Vigur Island / Ísafjördur
After breakfast take a walking tour of small, verdant Vigur, the summer home to vast numbers of puffins, black guillemots, Arctic terns, and eiders. The tiny community dates back to the late 1800s and boasts Iceland’s only windmill. During lunch on board, cruise northward to Ísafjördur, the trading and cultural center of the West Fjords. A cultural tour reveals the history and daily life of one of Iceland’s oldest fishing settlements and visits the region’s scenic highlights. This afternoon, enjoy free time in town to browse the local shops.
June 18 Adalvik / Hornvik
Beautiful Adalvik Bay is a five-mile-wide cove flanked by impressive mountains. Zodiacs bring you to Hornstrandir Nature Reserve for hikes along the sandy beaches and flower-bedecked tundra to view prolific birdlife and the old houses of Hesteyri, a fishing village that was abandoned in 1952 due to its remoteness. After lunch, board Zodiacs for an afternoon cruise through Hornvik Cove, situated at the very top of Iceland. The stunning cliffs that flank the cove are home to thousands of nesting birds.
June 19 Grímsey Island
Though Grímsey Island sits astride the Arctic Circle, it enjoys a mild climate and is covered with rich vegetation. Weather permitting, go ashore to visit the Viking hamlet of Sandvik, home to about 100 permanent residents who earn their living from fishing and fish processing. A Zodiac cruise along Grímsey’s basaltic cliffs provides an exhilarating view of the incredible birdlife including kittiwakes, razorbills, fulmars, and puffins.
June 20 Siglufjördur / Akureyri
This morning visit Siglufjördur, once the undisputed herring fishing capital of the Atlantic. The Herring Era Museum vividly depicts this period and a lively song and dance reenactment, accompanied by local delicacies, brings the herring boom era to life. During lunch on board, cruise into the spectacular Eyjafjördur Fjord and come alongside in friendly Akureyri, Iceland’s second-largest city. The evening is at leisure to explore this northern cultural capital with the opportunity to dine ashore.
June 21 Akureyri / Húsavík
After an early breakfast, depart on a full-day inland tour of the Mývatn region. Thousands of years ago, volcanic eruptions created this dramatic landscape of labyrinthine lava formations, seething sulfur pits, and boiling mud pools. Oasis-like Lake Mývatn sits on the edge of a vast highland lava desert; one of Europe’s richest waterfowl breeding areas, it supports enormous numbers of breeding ducks and whooper swans. Continue to Húsavík to reboard the Island Sky. Be on deck this evening to watch for humpback, minke, fin, orca, and sei whales, along with dolphins and harbor porpoises.
June 22 Thistilfjord Bay
From stunning Thistilfjord Bay, set out on nature walks and take in the views from the cliff tops. Explore this area by Zodiac, cruising past chiseled headlands and dramatic sea stacks that rise from the bay.
June 23 Seydisfjördur
The 11-mile cruise along Seydisfjördur showcases a scenic wonderland of stunning geology, cascading waterfalls, and soaring mountains. At its head, a natural harbor shelters the fishing town of the same name, renowned for its brightly painted 19th-century wooden buildings. Options this morning include Skalanes Nature Reserve to view an important archaeological site and search for 47 species of birds, or a hike to the magnificent Hengifoss Waterfall.
June 24 Höfn
Situated on a large, enclosed bay, the fishing community of Höfn is also the gateway to Europe’s largest glacier. While most of Iceland is pastoral and green, its southeastern corner is covered by the shimmering white Vatnajökull Glacier, a 1,000-foot-thick ice field. A spectacular drive brings you to a fleet of waiting snowmobiles for an exhilarating guided excursion across the vast expanses of glittering whiteness. After lunch, set out on an unforgettable boat ride on Jökulsárlón Lake, sailing among aquamarine icebergs.
June 25 Heimaey Island / Surtsey Island
On Heimaey Island, visit the Herjolfsdalur Valley to view ruins of farmhouses dating back to 650 A.D., and from Storhofdi, the views over the island are simply breathtaking. You will also pass between two volcanoes, one 5,000 years old, the other born only in 1973, and drive right across the new volcano’s crater and into the town known as the “Pompeii of the North.” Later this afternoon circumnavigate Surtsey Island, a fire-and-brimstone result of a 1963 undersea eruption. Today, approximately 56 species of vascular plants grow on the island and seals haul out to breed on its shores. Nearly 90 species of migrating birds use the island as a rest stop.
June 26 Reykjavík / Disembark / USA
After breakfast, disembark for a fascinating tour of Krýsuvík and the surrounding geothermal wonderland. Continue to the famous Blue Lagoon for lunch before departing for the airport and your independent flight homeward.