loading spinner
Iceland

The Best of Iceland: A Country of Beautiful Contrasts

Program No. 3342RJ
Traverse the wonders of Iceland with locals and scholarly experts, delving deep into a landscape of stunning geological features, glaciers and bubbling thermal pools.
Length
12 days
Rating (4.86)
Activity Level
Starts at
5,499
Flights start at
700

Your well-being is our #1 priority

To make your experience as safe as possible, we require all participants to be fully vaccinated. See our Safety Roadmap

Enroll with Confidence

We want your Road Scholar learning adventure to be something to look forward to—not worry about. Learn more

Prefer to enroll or inquire by phone? 800-454-5768
airfare
Need airfare?
Our airfare tool can help. Check it out
climate
Plan ahead.
What kind of weather can you expect? Take a look!
Select your type of room
Price will update based on selection
Prices displayed below are based on per person,doubleoccupancy.
DATES & starting prices
PRICES
May 9 - May 20, 2023
Starting at
5,499
May 23 - Jun 3, 2023
Starting at
5,599
Jun 6 - Jun 17, 2023
Starting at
6,099
Jun 20 - Jul 1, 2023
Starting at
6,099
Jul 11 - Jul 22, 2023
Starting at
6,099
Jul 25 - Aug 5, 2023
Starting at
6,099
Aug 1 - Aug 12, 2023
Starting at
6,099
Aug 8 - Aug 19, 2023
Starting at
6,099
Aug 15 - Aug 26, 2023
Starting at
6,099
Aug 29 - Sep 9, 2023
Starting at
6,099
Sep 12 - Sep 23, 2023
Starting at
6,099
Sep 19 - Sep 30, 2023
Starting at
6,099
Sep 26 - Oct 7, 2023
Starting at
5,599
DATES & starting prices
PRICES
May 9 - May 20, 2023
Starting at
6,099
May 23 - Jun 3, 2023
Starting at
6,269
Jun 6 - Jun 17, 2023
Starting at
7,079
Jun 20 - Jul 1, 2023
Starting at
7,079
Jul 11 - Jul 22, 2023
Starting at
7,079
Jul 25 - Aug 5, 2023
Starting at
7,079
Aug 1 - Aug 12, 2023
Starting at
7,079
Aug 8 - Aug 19, 2023
Starting at
7,079
Aug 15 - Aug 26, 2023
Starting at
7,079
Aug 29 - Sep 9, 2023
Starting at
7,079
Sep 12 - Sep 23, 2023
Starting at
7,079
Sep 19 - Sep 30, 2023
Starting at
7,079
Sep 26 - Oct 7, 2023
Starting at
6,269

At a Glance

Named by a Scandinavian explorer inspired by the beauty of icebergs bobbing through a fjord, Iceland is in fact not very icy at all, boasting abundant vegetation, a veritable menagerie of wildlife and stunning geological features. Journey through Iceland’s north, south and west with native experts who introduce you to their country’s history, music, food and traditions. Learn about the sagas of Icelanders and explore a dramatic landscape, from the coast to the Blue Lagoon.
Activity Level
On Your Feet
Walking up to 3 miles per day, most days on uneven and 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 13 to 24 participants.

Best of all, you’ll…

  • Witness geology in action in the “Land of Fire and Ice” and visit a geothermal power plant.
  • Enjoy a scallop fishing demonstration on a boat excursion in the Breidafjördur and take a bite out of another Icelandic delicacy: shark.
  • Experience 1000 years of Icelandic history at the Borgarnes Settlement Center.
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.
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.
Penguin Historical Atlas of the Vikings
by John Haywood
This history of the Vikings tells their story through a series of innovative maps and excellent photographs. It traces the routes of 9th-century Viking merchants and explorers throughout Europe and the New World.
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.
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.
The History of Iceland
by Gunnar Karlsson
A history of Iceland from the Viking-era through colonization, independence and the 20th century. Karlsson draws on the sagas and rich literature of Iceland in presenting this comprehensive history.
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.
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.
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.
Insight Guide Iceland
by Insight Guides
This guide emphasizes culture and history, with wonderful photographs, maps and essays from experts.
Letters from Iceland
by W.H. Auden
Written with fellow poet Louis MacNiece, this quirky, under-appreciated masterpiece captures the spirit of Iceland, its people and landscapes.
Iceland Adventure Map
by National Geographic
A detailed map at a scale of 1:465,000, printed on handy tear- and water-resistant paper.
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.
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.
Names for the Sea, Strangers in Iceland
by Sarah Moss
A stranger in a strange land, British novelist Sarah Moss captures the spirit of Iceland in this tale of a year in the Reykjavik with her husband and two children.
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.
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.
16 Reviews
Sort by
Most Recent
  • Most Recent
  • Most Favorable
  • Least Favorable
4.86 Average
(4) Review left 10/17/2022

We had a fabulous time in Iceland and recommend everyone take a trip there! The Northern Lights are more beautiful than you can imagine. People aren't kidding when they say it is expensive, but it's worth your time and effort. Once we got to Iceland, we were very happy with all the tours, the food, and especially our Group Leader, Einar. We can't forget to mention his bus driver/side kick, Morton! The people at the hotels were all very friendly, with a shout out to Kevin at the Hotel Marina in Reykjavik. The only downside to our Road Scholar experience (our first international trip with them) was dealing with their travel people. Not being able to get anyone to answer a phone (unless you call the emergency line) is not OK. The awful routing they chose got us to Iceland with 2 stops (way too many travel hours). They paid no attention to the flights we asked for, with 1 stop. It was like dealing with a bunch of 'newbies' to the travel booking industry - very painful - not a good introduction to Road Scholar! Except for the travel agency difficulties, Iceland was everything we hoped for and more!

(5) Review left 10/04/2022

This trip had never been on my bucket list, but it definitely should have been! It truly was an amazing and incredible experience capped off by luckily getting to see the Northern Lights on two occasions. Even without that, the trip should not be missed!

(5) Review left 9/30/2022

This program is perfect for people who like to learn about the history, culture, food and natural beauty of a country that is beginning to attract the attention of tourists.

(5) Review left 9/24/2022

We were able to see and enjoy the Best of Iceland!!!!!Food and accommodations were the best we have had on any RS trip.

This reviewer did not give a star rating. Review left 8/06/2022

While my trip to Iceland was amazing in many ways, I feel compelled to relay that our leader was not the best at his game. Although he answered all direct questions, solved some challenges along the way, and offered sightseeing information, overall he seemed disorganized and detached from the group. He rarely interacted with group members, and many of us agreed that by the end of the trip we believed that he did not even know our names. At times, also, he did a cursory count before a number of our field trips, and if individuals had not raised objection, the bus would have left with some of us missing. Meanwhile, let me reiterate.....the Road Scholar trip itself was excellent! We all experienced so many varied and interesting things, and I, for one, will definitely recommend this trip to others. Thank you for planning such an awesome travel experience for all of us!

(5) Review left 7/29/2022

When you see Iceland on a map, it appears small, but when you're on the ground it's amazing just how large this little island is. Finding out just how these Icelanders survived and thrived is a real eye opener. Trust me, if you like history, this program is for you and if you enjoy nature, this program is for you.

(5) Review left 7/23/2022

Iceland is an interesting and exciting place to visit.

(5) Review left 6/18/2022

Wonderful beautiful country with very helpful people. I would highly recommend this adventure.

(5) Review left 6/17/2022

Best of Iceland provided a great overview of most famous cultural and natural sites in Iceland and will have you wanting to come back and stay longer.

(4) Review left 6/17/2022

The Best of Iceland is a spectacular trip, and our leader was wonderful. But Iceland is a rugged, demanding country, and getting a close-up look at its natural wonders takes some physical energy. Make sure you are up to it.

(5) Review left 10/19/2021

You MUST put this trip on your list. Culturally fascinating and the land is stunning. The variety of places we visited and learned about were just right. Our group leader, Inga was the absolute best. I would follow her anywhere! I'm still dreaming about it.

(5) Review left 8/27/2021

A great overview of Iceland! It's not very strenuous so you can leave the walking poles at home unless you need them for mobility. And no need to get any cash at the airport as credit cards really are used for everything. Do bring the recommended layers. We had mild weather and almost no rain, yet often layered up and down during the course of a day.

(5) Review left 9/30/2019

Highly recommend this trip.

This reviewer did not give a star rating. Review left 6/30/2019

We had some trouble coordinating our travel with the start and finish of the trip, but once we were there, all went well. We had to join the rest of the group already at the Blue Lagoon, and it would have been better if the whole group could have gone at the same time. However, once that was over, the rest of the tour was fantastic. Eirikur, our guide, was great, knowledgeable on everything, birds, history, politics, life style, anything we asked him. I especially enjoyed the entertainment we had, and seeing the dairy, the tomato greenhouse, the fish processing plant, the sod house, the puffins, the whales, oh heck, I loved everything! I would have liked an earlier plane from Akureyri to Reykjavik, as we had more free time in the former than we needed and less in Reykjavik. However, our schedule depends on the airlines, of course. Maybe one more day in Reykjavik. so we could have enjoyed more of the Pearl than just the restaurant. And that reminds me, the food was fantastic! And the desserts! One of our group was lactose intolerant and everyone was so helpful with her. I hated to leave. I love Iceland (in the summer, anyway!)

(5) Review left 6/30/2019

I do not usually travel with Road Scholar but found this trip to be especially diverse in its activities with lectures, farm visits, scenic waterfalls, historical locations, whale watching and the Blue Lagoon among others. There were so many opportunities to learn all about Iceland which is one reason I travel!

(5) Review left 6/10/2019

My wife and I recommend the Best of Iceland tour very strongly, although we are glad we went in shoulder season as crowds were never a real problem. The trip itself was an engrossing mixture of experiences. We came away much impressed with Iceland and (again) much impressed with Road Scholar.






Important registration tip:
If you want to attend the live lecture, please do not wait until the last minute to enroll.
If you enroll after a lecture is complete, we’ll send you a recording of the event.