3342
Iceland

The Best of Iceland: A Country of Beautiful Contrasts

Traverse the wonders of Iceland with locals and scholarly experts, delving deep into a landscape of stunning geological features, glaciers, and bubbling thermal pools.
Rating (4.82)
Program No. 3342RJ
Length
12 days
Starts at
4,899
Flights start at
625
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12 days
11 nights
28 meals
11 B 9 L 8 D
DAY
1
In Transit to Program
In Flight
DAY
2
Arrive Iceland, Blue Lagoon, Check-in, Orientation
Grindavik
B,L,D
Northern Light Inn

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. Northern Lights Inn check-in from 2:00 p.m.

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 the Northern Lights Inn for check-in. 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. 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
Grindavik, Borgarnes
Borgarnes
B,L,D
Hotel Borgarnes

Activity note: Getting on/off a motorcoach; driving about 80 miles, approximately 2.5 hours. Walking up to 2 miles; standing in the museum and the fish processing center.

Breakfast: Hotel dining room.

Morning: We’ll set out from the hotel for an expert-led visit to Grindavik's fish processing factory, where we’ll also learn about the Icelandic fishing industry during a lecture.

Lunch: Buffet lunch at the Borgarnes Settlement Center.

Afternoon: We'll visit the Borgarnes Settlement Center which is devoted to recreating Iceland's history over the last 1000 years. The Settlement Center uses the meticulously written Book of Icelanders and The Book of Settlement, both from the 13th century, as the resource for creating this exhibition. Arrival and check-in at hotel.

Dinner: Hotel dining room.

Evening: At leisure.

DAY
4
Reykholt, Borgarfjördur Region
Borgarnes
B,L,D
Hotel Borgarnes

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

Breakfast: Hotel dining room.

Morning: We’ll depart by motorcoach for Reykholt, homestead of the famous Saga writer, Snorri Sturluson. Here we’ll learn how Snorri’s poetic and political lives intertwined in medieval Iceland’s turbulent parliament and royal court.

Lunch: En route at a local restaurant.

Afternoon: After lunch we’ll take a field trip by motorcoach through the Borgarfjördur region. Stops include Deildartunguhver, Europe’s most prolific hot spring; Hraunfossar, rare and beautiful waterfalls; and Borg, the homestead of Viking/poet Egill Skallagrímsson in the 10th century.

Dinner: Hotel dining room.

Evening: At the hotel we’ll enjoy an evening of traditional Icelandic folk music and dance.

DAY
5
Snæfellsnes Peninsula, Breidafjördur Boat Ride
Borgarnes
B,L,D
Hotel Borgarnes

Activity note: Getting on/off a motorcoach; driving about 130 miles, approximately 3 hours. Walking up to 3 miles; uneven, hilly terrain. Getting on/off a boat, assistance provided as needed. The boat ride is approximately 2 hours.

Breakfast: Hotel dining room.

Morning: We’ll set out by motorcoach for Stykkisholmur, a fishing village on the Snæfellsnes peninsula. From here, we’ll take a two-hour boat ride among the islands of Breidafjördur, watching locals fishing for scallops and tasting some of their catch!

Lunch: At a local restaurant.

Afternoon: We'll visit the Bjarnarhöfn shark farm and museum to learn about shark processing, where we'll have the chance to taste this special Icelandic delicacy. Then we'll take a peek into the tiny church at Bjarnarhöfn.

Dinner: Hotel dining room.

Evening: At leisure.

DAY
6
Horse Farm, Textile Exhibition, Glaumbær Folk Museum
Akureyri
B,L,D
Hotel KEA

Activity note: Getting on/off a motorcoach; driving about 210 miles, approximately 4 hours. Walking and standing up to 3 miles; uneven, hilly terrain.

Breakfast: Hotel dining room.

Morning: We’ll set out by motorcoach to transfer to Akureyri, North Iceland. En route we will visit a horse farm, where we will become acquainted with the Icelandic horse, enjoying an informative talk from the farmer about life at the farm, and meeting the remarkable breed during a "horse show."

Lunch: At a country restaurant.

Afternoon: As we continue our transfer by motorcoach, we’ll stop at the textile exhibition at Heimilisiðnaðarsafnið, to see its beautiful collection of wool, national costumes, and tools of the trade including looms and spinning wheels. We’ll then enjoy an expert-led visit of the Glaumbær Folk Museum, located on an old turf farm that was inhabited until 1947. The farmhouse is a great example of the typical building method used in Iceland for centuries, and the exhibition focuses on rural life in Iceland in the 18th and 19th centuries. After, we will stop by the Vidimyri Church. The church was built in 1836 and is one of the six turf churches still preserved in Iceland. We’ll then continue to Akureyri, and check in to our hotel in the late afternoon.

Dinner: At the hotel.

Evening: At leisure.

DAY
7
Lake Mývatn
Akureyri
B,L
Hotel KEA

Activity note: Did you know that the word "myvatn" means "midge" in Icelandic? Please be aware that you may encounter midges (small flies) at Lake Myvatn. If you do, it is better to be prepared. We recommend bringing insect repellent and a mosquito head net. Getting on/off a motorcoach; driving about 100 miles, approximately 2.5 hours. Walking and standing up to 3 miles; uneven, hilly terrain.

Breakfast: Hotel dining room.

Morning: We’ll begin our day with a lecture on Iceland’s geology, at a venue 5 minutes’ walk from our hotel. We’ll then set out by motorcoach to Lake Mývatn, for a full day's exploration of one of the richest nesting grounds for water birds in the world.

Lunch: En route at Sel Hotel Mývatn.

Afternoon: We’ll continue our full-day field trip to Lake Mývatn. The pseudocraters, solfataras, craters and volcanoes of the surrounding landscape make for a fascinating geological study. We’ll return by motorcoach to our hotel in Akureyri.

Dinner: This meal has been excluded from the program cost and is on your own to enjoy what you like. The Group Leader will be happy to offer suggestions.

Evening: At leisure.

DAY
8
Whale Watching Excursion, Akureyri Exploration
Akureyri
B,L,D
Hotel KEA

Activity note: If weather permits you to embark on the Whale Watching excursion, please be aware that you will be required to stand for most of the time. There are only some seats on the boat. Getting on/off a motorcoach; walking up to 2 miles on paved streets.

Breakfast: Hotel dining room.

Morning: Weather permitting, we’ll embark on a whale-watching excursion in the beautiful Eyjafjördur bay to get a closer look at the gentle giants inhabiting Iceland's waters.

Lunch: At a family-owned restaurant where we will also enjoy a tour of the fish-processing factory.

Afternoon: We’ll spend some time getting to know Akureyri, Iceland's second largest city, with a sightseeing excursion through Akureyri by bus and on foot. We’ll walk through the Botanical Garden, explore Akureyri's church, and view the distinctive architecture of the Hof Cultural Center.

Dinner: At a local restaurant.

Evening: We’ll attend a music performance at the Minjasafnið Museum church.

DAY
9
Akureyri, Fly to Reykjavik
Reykjavik
B
Icelandair Hotel Reykjavik Marina

Activity note: Please note that today's internal flight is an Air Iceland flight, and is approx. 45 minutes long. The luggage limit is 44 pounds, and the hand luggage limit is 13 pounds. Please see Internal Flight Luggage Note for further luggage information.

Breakfast: Hotel dining room.

Morning: We’ll attend a lecture on Iceland’s flora and birds at a venue 5 minutes’ walk from our hotel. The rest of the morning is free time depending on the flight time. Take this opportunity for personal independent exploration to see and do what interests you most.

Lunch: At a local restaurant or in the airport pre-flight.

Afternoon: We’ll fly from Akureyri to Reykjavík. Upon arrival we'll board a motorcoach for a panoramic field trip through Reykjavik, first seeing the historic Höfði House, site of the 1986 summit between Ronald Reagan and Mikhail Gorbachev that precipitated the end of the Cold War. We will also drive by Lake Tjornin, a small lake in downtown Reykjavik known for its birdlife, as well as the Parliament House and City Hall, worth a visit for its large topographic map of Iceland. We’ll check in to the hotel mid-afternoon, and the rest of the afternoon is free time to settle in and explore the local area.

Dinner: Explore local fare on your own. The Group Leader will be happy to offer suggestions and give directions.

Evening: At leisure.

DAY
10
Hellisheiði, Þingvellir, Gullfoss, Geysir
Reykjavik
B,L,D
Icelandair Hotel Reykjavik Marina

Activity note: Getting on/off a motorcoach; driving about 150 miles, approximately 3.5 hours aboard motorcoach. Walking distances up to 2 miles; uneven, hilly terrain.

Breakfast: Hotel dining room.

Morning: We’ll set out from the hotel on a full-day field trip by motorcoach, beginning at the Hellisheiði geothermal power plant. The largest in Iceland, it’s the second largest in the world, situated in the Hengill volcano area. Here we’ll learn about this renewable resource and how geothermal energy is used in Iceland. We’ll then visit Espiflot and learn about how flower greenhouses work.

Lunch: At a local restaurant, we’ll have a light lunch with coffee, tea, water included; other beverages available for purchase.

Afternoon: Our full-day field trip will also take us to the fascinating sites of Iceland’s “Golden Circle”. þingvellir National Park, site of the original parliament, 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. Gullfoss — golden falls — is 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. At Geysir, the site from which all geysers take their name, the active Strokkur geyser bursts forth every few minutes in a cloud of steam. We’ll return to our hotel late in the afternoon by motorcoach.

Dinner: At a local restaurant.

Evening: At leisure.

DAY
11
National Museum, Reykjavik
Reykjavik
B,L,D
Icelandair Hotel Reykjavik Marina

Activity note: Getting on/off a motorcoach. Walking distances up to 2 miles.

Breakfast: Hotel dining room.

Morning: At the hotel, we’ll attend a lecture on Iceland’s past and present. We’ll then board a motorcoach for 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.

Lunch: At a local restaurant.

Afternoon: 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 set out by motorcoach and see highlights of the city including Hofdi House, Lake Tjornin, City Hall, and the old Parliament as we return to our hotel.

Dinner: A farewell Dinner at a downtown restaurant, accompanied by evening entertainment.

Evening: At leisure.

DAY
12
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: Free time.

Lunch: On your own based on departure flight time.

Afternoon: 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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