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22981
Iceland

A Long Weekend in Iceland: From Reykjavik to the Golden Circle

Think you don’t have time to discover the natural wonders of Iceland? Think again! Experience the best of Iceland as you explore from Reykjavik to the countryside.
Rating (4.95)
Program No. 22981RJ
Length
6 days
Starts at
1,999
Flights start at
625
Iceland

A Long Weekend in Iceland: From Reykjavik to the Golden Circle

Think you don’t have time to discover the natural wonders of Iceland? Think again! Experience the best of Iceland as you explore from Reykjavik to the countryside.
Length
6 days
Starts at
1,999
Flights start at
625
Program No. 22981 RJ
Prefer to enroll or inquire by phone? 800-454-5768
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itinerary
Please Note:
The itinerary for this program is different on certain dates.
Select your type of room
Price will update based on selection
Prices displayed below are based on per person,doubleoccupancy.
DATES & starting prices
PRICES
Sep 22 - Sep 27, 2021
Starting at
1,999
Itinerary Note

On this departure, weather permitting, we may have an opportunity to view the Northern Lights.

Oct 6 - Oct 11, 2021
Starting at
1,999
Itinerary Note

On this departure, weather permitting, we may have an opportunity to view the Northern Lights.

Oct 13 - Oct 18, 2021
Starting at
1,999
Itinerary Note

On this departure, weather permitting, we may have an opportunity to view the Northern Lights.

Oct 20 - Oct 25, 2021
Starting at
1,999
Itinerary Note

On this departure, weather permitting, we may have an opportunity to view the Northern Lights.

Nov 3 - Nov 8, 2021
Starting at
1,999
Itinerary Note

On this departure, weather permitting, we may have an opportunity to view the Northern Lights.

Nov 10 - Nov 15, 2021
Starting at
1,999
Itinerary Note

On this departure, weather permitting, we may have an opportunity to view the Northern Lights.

Dec 1 - Dec 6, 2021
Starting at
1,999
Itinerary Note

On this departure, weather permitting, we may have an opportunity to view the Northern Lights.

DATES & starting prices
PRICES
Sep 22 - Sep 27, 2021
Starting at
2,299
Itinerary Note

On this departure, weather permitting, we may have an opportunity to view the Northern Lights.

Oct 6 - Oct 11, 2021
Starting at
2,299
Itinerary Note

On this departure, weather permitting, we may have an opportunity to view the Northern Lights.

Oct 13 - Oct 18, 2021
Starting at
2,299
Itinerary Note

On this departure, weather permitting, we may have an opportunity to view the Northern Lights.

Oct 20 - Oct 25, 2021
Starting at
2,299
Itinerary Note

On this departure, weather permitting, we may have an opportunity to view the Northern Lights.

Nov 3 - Nov 8, 2021
Starting at
2,299
Itinerary Note

On this departure, weather permitting, we may have an opportunity to view the Northern Lights.

Nov 10 - Nov 15, 2021
Starting at
2,299
Itinerary Note

On this departure, weather permitting, we may have an opportunity to view the Northern Lights.

Dec 1 - Dec 6, 2021
Starting at
2,299
Itinerary Note

On this departure, weather permitting, we may have an opportunity to view the Northern Lights.

At a Glance

There’s more than enough time to discover the natural beauty of this incredible island during this exciting learning adventure! Beginning in Reykjavik, soak in the healing waters of the Blue Lagoon — Iceland’s most famous geothermal gem. Then, venture into the countryside to explore the Golden Circle, home to the historic Thingvellir National Park, the Gullfoss waterfall and active Strokkur geyser. Walk along the black sand beach below the Myrdalsjokull glacier, and learn about the creation of Iceland at the Lava Centre. Depending on the time of year, search for the magical northern lights or enjoy the calming stillness of a late night sunset in the countryside.
Activity Level
On Your Feet
Walking up to two miles on uneven, hilly terrain.
Small Group
Small Group
Love to learn and explore in a small-group setting? These adventures offer small, personal experiences with groups of 10 to 24 participants.

Best of all, you'll ...

  • Learn about Iceland's past and present, from the legends of Iceland's ancient parliament to the refreshing waters of the Blue Lagoon.
  • Savor a greenhouse-fresh lunch while learning how geothermal energy is used to grow vegetables in Iceland's short summer season.
  • Marvel at the many natural wonders of Iceland, including a geyser, glacier, black sand beach and waterfalls.
Featured Expert
All Experts
Profile Image
Baldur Gylfason
Born and raised in Iceland, Baldur Gylfason has traveled extensively and now calls Reykjavik home. Today, Baldur works as a full-time group leader. He has ties to Canada, where he spent part of his childhood and later completed his university degrees. He has experience as a trained psychologist and a mobility instructor for the blind, developing adventure-based programs in Iceland. Through his work and in his free time, Baldur loves to explore Iceland and capture its beauty in photographs.

Please note: This expert may not be available for every date of this program.

Profile Image of Baldur Gylfason
Baldur Gylfason View biography
Born and raised in Iceland, Baldur Gylfason has traveled extensively and now calls Reykjavik home. Today, Baldur works as a full-time group leader. He has ties to Canada, where he spent part of his childhood and later completed his university degrees. He has experience as a trained psychologist and a mobility instructor for the blind, developing adventure-based programs in Iceland. Through his work and in his free time, Baldur loves to explore Iceland and capture its beauty in photographs.
Visit the Road Scholar Bookshop
You can find many of the books we recommend at the Road Scholar store on bookshop.org, a website that supports local bookstores.
The Northern Lights, The True Story of the Man Who Unlocked the Secrets of the Aurora Borealis
by Lucy Jago
The compelling story of Kristian Birkeland, the turn-of-the-century Norwegian scientist who devoted his career to understanding the aurora borealis, this book also covers the science, history, myth and romance of the phenomenon.
North: The New Nordic Cuisine of Iceland
by Evan Sung (Photographer), Jody Eddy, Gunnar Gislason
Catering to a rising interest in Nordic cuisine, this cookbook celebrates Iceland’s food alongside its haunting landscapes, portrayed in starkly beautiful, full-color photos.
The Windows of Brimnes, An American in Iceland
by Bill Holm
In these provocative essays, Minnesotan Bill Holm writes about the fate of America from his fisherman's cottage on the shore of a creek in northern Iceland.
Ring of Seasons, Iceland, Its Culture and History
by Terry G. Lacy
A longtime resident of Reykjavik, Lacy weaves tales of family life, anecdote, lore and history into this illuminating personal portrait of Iceland.
A Naturalist's Guide to the Arctic
by E.C. Pielou
A primer on Arctic climate, geography, plants, birds, mammals and insects in a single nicely written book. It's a highly recommended, enthusiastic guide to natural history throughout the Circumpolar North.
Last Places, A Journey in the North
by Lawrence Millman, Paul Theroux (Introduction)
Millman explores the culture and history of the Faroes, Iceland and Greenland in this hilarious account of his travels in the wake of the ancient Vikings.
Jar City
by Arnaldur Indridason
Indridason's first moody police procedural finds Reykjavik detective Erlendur Sveinsson investigating the brutal murder of a lonely pensioner and the man's connection to the deaths of a number of young women. Made into a darkly superb film.
The Northern Lights, Celestial Performances of the Aurora Borealis
by Calvin Hall (Photographer), Daryl Pederson (Photographer)
Shot in Alaska, one of the best places to watch the northern lights, these images capture the natural phenomenon in all its splendor and majesty. Hall and Pederson’s 160 photographs were taken with ultra-HD cameras during a period of unusually high solar activity.
Butterflies in November
by Brian Fitzgibbon (Translator), Auour Ava Olafsdottir
Scorned by love, a quirky, unapologetically independent 33-year-old woman takes a spontaneous trip along Iceland’s Ring Road, her best friend’s 4-year-old deaf-mute son in tow. Evocative of the Icelandic spirit.
Hrafnkel's Saga and Other Icelandic Stories
by Herman Palsson (Translator)
This collection of the most famous of Icelandic sagas includes stories with titles like Thorstein the Staff-Struck and Ale Hood. Dating from the 12th century, these tales vividly recreate the society of medieval Iceland.
The Sagas of Icelanders
by Jane Smiley (Editor), Robert Kellog (Introduction)
Nine sagas and six tales composed between the years 1000 and 1500, including an account of Leif Eriksson's voyage to North America, all newly translated.
Iceland, Land of the Sagas
by Jon Krakauer (Photographer), David Roberts
Krakauer and colleague Roberts hike and climb around Iceland in this classic travel narrative, reissued as a paperback and featuring Krakauer's color photographs. The book interweaves the natural and cultural history of the island with the authors' own adventures.
The Prose Edda
by Snorri Sturluson, Jesse Byock (Translator)
A new translation of one of the most influential and entertaining medieval Icelandic sagas, the source for much of what we know of Norse mythology.
The Almost Nearly Perfect People, Behind the Myth of the Scandinavian Utopia
by Michael Booth
Guardian journalist Booth writes with laugh-out-loud humor and brutal candor about the Scandinavians, mixing history and his own experiences in Nordic regions in this searing cultural portrait.
Island on Fire: The Extraordinary Story of a Forgotten Volcano That Changed the World
by Jeff Kanipe, Alexandra Witze
Two science writers discuss the political and natural ramifications of the 1783 eruption of Iceland’s largest volcano, Laki, which led to global death, famine and even revolution. Great for the geologically minded but accessible to all with an interest in volcanoes.
Independent People, An Epic
by Halldor Laxness
Rich in local color, this great mock-epic by the Icelandic Nobel Prize-winner features the indelible Bjartur of Summerhouses, a hard-headed, independent-minded sheep farmer.
Lonely Planet Pocket Reykjavik
by Lonely Planet
With a section of not-to-be-missed highlights, pullout map, and a calendar of annual events.
The Control of Nature
by John McPhee
In the classic McPhee tradition, these sparkling essays explore our generally feeble attempts to combat all-powerful nature, including valiant efforts by Icelanders to control the flow of a volcano across the harbor at Heimaey in the Westman Islands.
Iceland Adventure Map
by National Geographic
A detailed map at a scale of 1:465,000, printed on handy tear- and water-resistant paper.
Iceland Imagined
by Karen Oslund
This cultural and environmental history explores the geography, literature, language, culture, politics and symbolism of Iceland, Greenland, northern Norway and the Faroe Islands.
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6 days
5 nights
13 meals
5 B 4 L 4 D
DAY
1
In Transit to Program
In Flight
DAY
2
Arrive Iceland, Blue Lagoon, Check-in, Orientation
Reykjavik
B,L,D
Icelandair Hotel Reykjavik Marina

Activity note: Walking from the airport terminal with luggage to the coach to driving 10 minutes to Viking World. Getting on/off motorcoach; driving about 15 miles to Blue Lagoon, approximately 1/2 hour; about 35 miles to hotel, approximately 1 hour. If you wish to swim in the Blue Lagoon, please remember to pack your bathing suit in your carry-on luggage. Towels will be provided. Slippers, bathrobes and spa treatments are available at an additional cost.

Breakfast: At Viking World. Upon arrival, you will be met with a transfer to the famed museum, located a short distance from the airport. The breakfast buffet offers choices such as cold cuts, cheeses, cereals, yogurt, fruit, breads, juice, milk, coffee, tea, water. If arriving independently, please arrive to the Viking World Museum no later than 10:00 a.m. to avoid missing any program content.

Morning: After meeting our group at Viking World, we will depart via motorcoach at approximately 11 a.m. to the Bridge Between Continents to see where Europe and North America meet.

Lunch: At a local restaurant, we'll enjoy a two-course plated and served meal with coffee, tea, water included; other beverages available for purchase.

Afternoon: We will board a motorcoach and continue our Icelandic adventure with a soak in the mineral-rich, geothermally heated waters of the Blue Lagoon. (Entrance fee and towels included at Blue Lagoon; slippers and bathrobes available at additional cost.) There are other “blue lagoons” but this one is truly unique. The stark volcanic terrain that surrounds it creates an otherworldly feeling. The lava field is surely natural, but in fact the lagoon owes its existence to a geothermal power station built in 1975. Superheated water from a nearby lava flow feeds into the power plant system and finally flows into the lagoon, where the temperature stays between 98°-104°F (36°-40° C). Minerals from the underground geological layers account for the coloration. Not only is lounging in the waters delightfully comfortable, the minerals and white silica mud are reputed to provide benefits for skin conditions. After, we'll continue our transfer to central Reykjavik to check into our hotel. The rest of the afternoon is free time to relax before dinner.

Dinner: In the hotel restaurant, we will have a 3-course plated meal with coffee, tea, water included; other beverages available for purchase.

Evening: Orientation: The Group Leader will greet everyone and lead introductions. We will review the up-to-date program schedule, discuss roles and responsibilities, logistics, safety guidelines, emergency procedures, and answer questions. European-style breakfast buffets will offer choices such as cold cuts, cheeses, cereals, yogurt, fruit, breads, juice, milk, coffee, tea, water. Unless otherwise noted, dinners will typically be 3-course plated meals. Water is included with all meals. Periods in the schedule designated as “Free time” and “At leisure” offer opportunities to do what you like and make your experience even more meaningful and memorable according to your personal preferences. The Group Leader will be happy to offer suggestions. Program activities, schedules, personnel, and indicated distances or times may change due to local circumstances/conditions. In the event of changes, we will alert you as quickly as possible. Thank you for your understanding. A word about the Northern Lights (Aurora Borealis): The phenomenon is caused by electrically charged particles from the sun colliding with gases in the earth’s atmosphere. They are seen around the magnetic poles of the northern and southern hemispheres. If the sun is in an inactive phase, there will be no aurora. Even the best display will be invisible from the ground if the weather is bad and the sky is cloudy. Accordingly, there is no guarantee they will be visible during our program. Cameras can gather more light than the human eye, so photographs will generally be more intensely colored than anything you will be able to see. We will hope for the best! The remainder of the evening is free to continue getting to know your fellow Road Scholars. Then settle in and get a good night’s rest for the day ahead. Prepare for check-out and transfer in the morning.

DAY
3
The Golden Circle of Landscape & History
Fludir
B,L,D
Icelandair Hotel Fludir

Activity note: Getting on/off a motorcoach; driving about 185 miles, approximately 4 hours aboard motorcoach. Walking distances up to 2 miles; uneven, hilly terrain.

Breakfast: In the hotel dining room, the breakfast buffet offers choices such as cold cuts, cheeses, cereals, yogurt, fruit, breads, juice, milk, coffee, tea, water.

Morning: After checking out of the hotel, we will board a motorcoach for a field trip around the Golden Circle. Our field trip will begin with a visit to the UNESCO-listed Thingvellir National Park, site of the original parliament, which is known as the most sacred place in Iceland due to its geological and historical significance. The Althing, or General Assembly, was established here in 930 CE and is the world’s oldest existing parliament. Not only historically significant, the site is located on the meeting point of the American and European continental plates. Next, we’ll ride to the Friðheimar tomato farm and learn about greenhouse horticulture.

Lunch: In the Friðheimar greenhouse restaurant, we’ll have a light lunch with coffee, tea, water included; other beverages available for purchase.

Afternoon: Moving on, we’ll reach Gullfoss — golden falls — the most famous waterfall in Iceland. Water from the Langjökull glacier flows into the Hvítá (White) River. When it reaches the great Gullfossgjúfur canyon, it falls in two stages more than 100 feet (32 meters). We’ll experience the stillness and beauty of the wintry countryside and the frozen waterfall. We’ll then continue our ride to Geysir, where the active Strokkur geyser bursts forth every few minutes in a cloud of steam, before arriving at our hotel for check-in.

Dinner: Hotel plated meal.

Evening: At leisure. We’ll keep our fingers crossed that cosmic conditions will permit us to see the magical northern lights in the quiet and remote location of our hotel.

DAY
4
South Coast, Lava Centre
Fludir
B,L,D
Icelandair Hotel Fludir

Activity note: Getting on/off a motorcoach; driving about 80 miles, approximately 2.5 hours. Walking up to 2 miles; uneven, hilly terrain.

Breakfast: Hotel buffet.

Morning: Boarding our motorcoach, we’ll set out for a field trip along the scenic south coast of Iceland. As we ride, we will see white snow and black lava contrast starkly in the peaceful winter landscape. We will start the day with a visit to the new Lava Centre, a high-tech interactive exhibit depicting volcanic activities, earthquakes, and the creation of Iceland over millions of years. We will then continue riding along the coast, stopping by the Seljalandsfoss waterfall and glimpsing the famous Eyjafjallajökull volcano on our way.

Lunch: At a local restaurant, we’ll have a 2-course plated meal with coffee, tea, water included; other beverages available for purchase.

Afternoon: En route to the Skógar Museum, we will stop to see the impressive Skógafoss Waterfall, one of the largest in Iceland that drops 200 feet (60 meters) and is nearly 50 feet (15 meters) wide. On sunny days, there is a good chance of catching a rainbow thanks to the spray. The Skógá River and its waterfalls play a central role in local folk stories of magic and hidden treasure, about which we’ll learn more. The Skógar Museum focuses on three areas of Icelandic history and culture. The folk museum displays a large collection of artifacts representing aspects of agriculture, fishing, and natural history — some dating back to the Viking age. There is also a technical area that traces the country’s development in the 19th and 20th centuries, and an open-air museum with rebuilt turf houses representing how Icelanders lived centuries ago. Returning to the hotel, we’ll have some time to freshen up and relax before dinner.

Dinner: Hotel plated meal.

Evening: At leisure. Prepare for check-out and transfer in the morning.

DAY
5
Hellisheiði Geothermal Power Plant, Reykjavik
Reykjavik
B,L,D
Icelandair Hotel Reykjavik Marina

Activity note: Getting on/off a motorcoach; driving about 80 miles, approximately 3 hours. Walking up to 2 miles; uneven, hilly terrain and paved city sidewalks.

Breakfast: Hotel buffet.

Morning: We will check out of the hotel and begin our journey back to Reykjavik by motorcoach. On the way, we will stop at the Hellisheiði geothermal power plant. The largest in Iceland, it’s the second largest in the world, situated in the Hengill volcano area. We’ll learn about this renewable resource and how geothermal energy is used in Iceland before driving on to Reykjavik.

Lunch: At a Reykjavik restaurant, we’ll have a 2-course plated meal with coffee, tea, water included; other beverages available for purchase.

Afternoon: We’ll set out by motorcoach and see highlights of the city including Hofdi house, Lake Tjornin, City Hall, and the old Parliament as we ride. At the amazing site called Perlan, we’ll have unforgettable 360-degree views of the city from the observation deck atop the museum that is itself situated on gigantic tanks filled with geothermal hot water. We’ll also have an expert-led field trip to the National Museum of Iceland. In addition to a permanent exhibition on the making of a nation, there are special exhibits on a variety of history and culture topics.

Dinner: At a downtown Reykjavik restaurant, we’ll have a 3-course plated meal with beverage choices of a glass of wine or beer, coffee, tea, water; other beverages available for purchase. Share favorite experiences with new Road Scholar friends during our farewell dinner.

Evening: At leisure. Prepare for check-out and departure tomorrow.

DAY
6
Program Concludes, In Transit from Program
In Flight
B

Activity note: Hotel check-out 12:00 Noon. See your program’s travel details regarding transfers.

Breakfast: Hotel buffet.

Morning: Staggered transfers to Keflavík International Airport based on final flight times. This concludes our program. If you are returning home, safe travels. If you are staying on independently, have a wonderful time. If you are transferring to another Road Scholar program, detailed instructions are included in your Information Packet for that program. We hope you enjoy Road Scholar learning adventures and look forward to having you on rewarding programs in the future. Don’t forget to join our Facebook page and follow us on Instagram. Best wishes for all your journeys!






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