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 (4.88)
Program No. 3342RJ
Length
12 days
Starts at
5,399
Flights start at
625
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12 days
11 nights
30 meals
11 B 11 L 8 D
DAY
1
In Transit to Program
In Flight
DAY
2
Reykjanes Peninsula, Blue Lagoon
Grindavik
B,L,D
Northern Light Inn

Activity note: Check-in available from 2:00 PM. Please note that towels are provided at the Blue Lagoon. Slippers, bathrobes and spa treatments are available at an additional cost.

Breakfast: At a local restaurant. On this program, breakfasts will offer a typical European style breakfast buffet with breads, cheeses, cold-cuts, yogurt, fruit, cereals, juice, milk, coffee, tea and water. Please note that water is included in the program cost at all meals.

Morning: We will drive from the Inn and begin 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. We’ll return to the hotel by motorcoach.

Lunch: At a local restaurant. Lunches on this program are typically a two course set menu.

Afternoon: After lunch we will check in at the hotel. 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. 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.

Dinner: Hotel dining room. Dinners on this program are typically a three course set menu. Please note that water is included in the program cost at all meals.

Evening: At leisure.

DAY
3
Grindavik, Hvanneyri
Borgarnes
B,L,D
Hotel Borgarnes

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: At a country restaurant.

Afternoon: We’ll visit Hvanneyri, an Agricultural Science Center for an expert-led lecture and introduction to Icelandic agriculture. Arrival and check-in at hotel.

Dinner: Hotel dining room.

Evening: At leisure.

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

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

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 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

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. 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.

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.

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 local restaurant.

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,L
Hotel Reykjavik Centrum

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. Take this opportunity for personal independent exploration to see and do what interests you most. The Group Leader will be happy to offer suggestions and give directions.

Lunch: At a local restaurant.

Afternoon: After lunch we’ll fly from Akureyri to Reykjavík, and transfer to our hotel by motorcoach. 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.

Evening: At leisure.

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

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 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: 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
Arbær Open Air Museum, Reykjavik
Reykjavik
B,L,D
Hotel Reykjavik Centrum

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 a field trip to the Arbær open air museum, an incredible representation of how life used to be in Reykjavik.

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
Departures
In Flight
B,L

Breakfast: Hotel dining room.

Morning: Free time.

Lunch: In the hotel dining room.

Afternoon: Transfer to Keflavík International Airport (KEF) for departures. This concludes our program. Please join our Facebook page and share photos of your program. Visit us at www.facebook.com/rsadventures.






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