Circumnavigation of Iceland
30th Anniversary Signature Voyage
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.
Based on the expeditionary nature of our trips, there may be ongoing enhancements to this itinerary.
Depart USAJune 10
Board your independent, overnight flight to Reykjavik.
Reykjavik, IcelandJune 11
Arrive in Reykjavik this morning and transfer to our hotel. Lunch and the remainder of the day are at leisure to enjoy this fascinating and colorful capital city. Gather this evening for a welcome reception followed by dinner and overnight at our hotel.
Reykjavik / Embark Le BellotJune 12
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, bubbling mud pools, and geysers. Then visit a traditional farm where Icelandic horses are raised. After lunch in these picturesque surroundings proceed to the pier, making a photo stop at a scenic viewpoint before boarding Le Bellot.
Flatey Island / LátrabjargJune 13
By Zodiac, trace the coastline of Flatey Island before going ashore for guided walks with our naturalists through the tiny village. View the uniquely painted island church and the restored houses of islanders that are now mainly used as vacation homes. This evening sail past Iceland's westernmost cape, the Látrabjarg cliff, a breeding ground for millions of seabirds.
After breakfast step ashore in 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.
In the afternoon, 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.
Akureyri / HúsavíkJune 16
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 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 Le Bellot. Be on deck this evening to watch for humpback whale, with a possibility of dolphins.
Grímsey IslandJune 17
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 fantastic views of the incredible birdlife which includes kittiwakes, razorbills, fulmars, and puffins.
Take a walking tour of this small town and visit the Arctic Henge, a huge stone monument overlooking the town.
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 explore an important archaeological site and search for 47 species of birds, or a hike to the magnificent Hengifoss Waterfall.
The tiny port of Djupivogur is 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 to cruise among aquamarine icebergs.
Heimaey Island / Surtsey IslandJune 21
On Heimaey Island, join a local tour of this incredible town with roots dating back to 650 AD. From Storhofdi, the views over the island are simply spectacular. Passing between two volcanoes, one that formed 5,000 years ago, the other in 1973 when its eruption engulfed parts of the town and almost closed the harbor. Drive right across the younger volcano’s crater and into the town known as the “Pompeii of the North.” Later this afternoon circumnavigate Surtsey, a fire-and-brimstone resulting from a 1963 undersea eruption. This island is now an important natural scientific experiment on how island flora and fauna evolves, with approximately 56 species of vascular plants now occurring.
Reykjavik / Disembark / USAJune 22
After breakfast, disembark for a fascinating tour of Hellisheiði Geothermal Power Plant where you will learn about geosciences, geothermal technology, and the environmental history of the area. Continue to the famous Blue Lagoon for lunch before departing for the airport and your independent flight homeward.