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National Geographic Expeditions - Iceland

The forces of nature in Iceland - With National Geographic

Highlights

  • Travel and landscape photographer Andreas Huber will be the expert who will guide you through the magical Iceland landscapes.

  • Expedition through the ice channel of the Sólheimajökull glacier.

  • Discover Iceland's best-kept secrets: Westman Islands and crossing the Arctic Circle from Grimsey Island

  • Zodiac boat tour through Vatnajökull, the largest glacial lake in Europe

  • Accommodation in Húsafell will be at a National Geographic Unique Lodges of the World

Description

Iceland - the country of fire and ice. A mystical place where you can find active volcanoes, glaciers of endless ice, vast fjord landscapes, and legends about elves. The small island in the North Atlantic Ocean is a destination for nature lovers and adventure seekers. Experience the unusual yet remarkable power of the Icelandic nature. Travel to another world where pristine landscapes and colorful skies come to life.

Despite the rugged volcanic rock and icy glaciers, hundreds of animal species live in colonies of thousands on the slopes of the kilometer-long fjords. With a population of about 350,000 inhabitants, Iceland is a rather small country. Yet, it repeatedly produces outstanding athletes and philosophers who belong to the world' s leading experts in their field. Contrasts of the peculiar and the unknown are what makes Iceland’s mighty beauty so distinctive. Everyone needs to experience this extraordinary place, at least one in their life.

Destination

Europe

Reykjavik - Úlfljótsvatn - Hafnarfjörðu - Fáskrúðsfjörður - Mývatn - Siglufjörður - Húsafell

Travel date: July 2021

Expert: Andreas Huber

Andreas Huber is a travel and landscape photographer, as well as an organizer and speaker of multi-vision shows. He shares his passion with the world through organized photo expeditions and in live reports and lectures. Since he feels most at home in Iceland's north winds, he offers an unforgettable adventure to some of his favorite photo spots: icy glaciers, mighty waterfalls, and mystical volcanoes. Experience behind-the-scene moments of Huber capturing cultural encounters and natural wonders of our planet.

Welcome to the tiny island of fire and ice! When you land at Keflavík Airport, your private driver will collect you from the baggage claim and take you to your first accommodation. Drive for 45-minutes until you reach Iceland's lively city, Reykjavík. Even as you sit in the car, you will already begin to see the country's stunning landscapes. Pass by the vast lava fields and stretches of coastline as you daydream about the coming days.

At tonight's dinner, you will meet the rest of the group and get to know everyone! Are you ready to explore the mysterious sceneries of Iceland?

Travel time Keflavík Airport - Reykjavík: approx. 48 km / approx. 45 minutes

1 night at Sandhotel**** with half board in a standard room, Reykjavík, Iceland

During today's journey, soak up the grandeur of the famous Golden Circle. The 300-kilometer route takes you along picturesque landscapes and to three of the southwest's highlights: Þingvellir where tectonic plates meet, Geysir where water erupts more than 100 times a day, and the roaring Gullfoss waterfall.

Experience the earth come to life: hot springs, mud pots, and a geyser that shoots up meter-high fountains of water every few minutes.

Afterward, you will visit the Fontana Geothermal Bakery, where you will get to watch the bakers dig up loaves of bread from the hot black sand. You will even get to try it fresh!

Next on today's journey is a visit to Friðheimar, a greenhouse in Reykholt. This unique experience includes a tour of the tomato-focused greenhouse and learning about horticulture. Try these delicious vegetables during a freshly prepared lunch!

Duration of the tour: approx. 8 hours

2 nights at Hotel Rangá**** with half board in a standard room, Hvolsvöllur, Iceland

Eager to discover one of Iceland's best-kept secrets? Well, you're in luck! Hop onto a boat and sail out to sea for a few kilometers until the 15 Westman Islands come into view. This natural phenomenon is surrounded by mountains, islands, volcanoes, puffins, and other seabirds. The archipelago not only has a breathtaking landscape, but it also has a rich history. The islands' name alludes to the Irish, who were once called Westman by the first Icelandic-Viking settler, Hjörleifur. They were brought to Iceland as slaves to be sold to other Vikings.

The islands were created by submarine volcanoes 11,000 years ago except for the newest of the bunch: Surtsey. In 1963, this island magically appeared from beneath the waves and is now a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Heimaey is the only inhabited island because of a devastating volcanic eruption that burned everything - locals lost their homes, and the entire island was covered in lava. Learn more details about the catastrophe at the Eldheim Museum and search for traces of the disaster in the so-called "Pompeii of the North ''. A walk to the top of the volcano gives you a breathtaking view of the chain of islands and the most vivid lava fields in the country today.

At noon, replenish your energy with lunch before you continue exploring.

Heimaey is also a famous destination because of puffins! Around 10 million of these colorful, eye-catching birds come here to breed. After crossing with a ferry, get into a RIB (rigid inflatable boat, aka Zodiac boat) for a two-hour boat tour around the islands. Enjoy views of the rigid coastlines, hidden caves, and possibly even some sea creatures like sea lions and whales!

The diverse southern coast of Iceland has all kinds of surprises in store for adventurers: expansive jet-black lava beaches as far as the eye can see, massive waterfalls, fascinating rock formations, and abstract glacier tongues. This beautiful combination of landscapes borders the rough Atlantic Ocean in the south, colossal ice caps in the north, and broad glacial rivers in the east and west. These typical sceneries are what makes Iceland famous!

In the morning, a unique experience awaits: You will have the opportunity to hike to the glacier tongue of the Sólheimajökull glacier! In the winter, you can trek into the long tunnel, a cave complex of frozen glacier water, which constantly changes its course by thawing, shifting, and then freezing again. The ice layer of the massive walls is several meters thick, so it is safe to explore with an experienced guide. In summer, with a little luck, you may discover small ice tunnels that melt and deform due to thawing. Of course, the tour will be led by an experienced guide for your safety.

Further along the coast, you will stop at the charming village of Vík í Mýrdal. You will then discover the most famous waterfall in Iceland: Seljalandsfoss. The 60-meter high phenomenon thunders off the lower mountains of the Eyjafjallajökull volcano from miles away.

Day trip duration: approx. 11 hours

1 night at Fosshótel Glacier Lagoon**** with half board in a standard room, Hnappavellir, Iceland

Today's explorations will take you and National Geographic to the biggest glacial lake in Iceland: Jökulsárlón. Also known as the glacial lagoon, this natural phenomenon has formed from the water that slowly melts away from the neighboring Vatnajökull Glacier, the largest glacier in Europe. Head out to sea on a Zodiac boat (aka RIB) and admire magnificent views of the surrounding mountains.

In the afternoon, continue your excursion along the coast and visit quaint fishing villages. You can really feel the island life in these areas, where clocks slow down, and the air vibrates with a pleasant ambience.

Day trip duration: approx. 10 hours

1 night at Fosshótel Eastfjords*** with half board in a standard room, Fáskrúðsfjörður, Iceland

In many crevices of Iceland, the pristine nature prevails. Crisp, icy air blows across the endless landscapes while herds of reindeer roam freely. Serene moments like these are memories you will keep forever. Today's route leads you along the coastal roads, promising dramatic views of the vast fjords. These natural harbors offer postcard-perfect scenes.

Begin driving toward Hafnarhólmi, close to Borgarfjörður Eystri. Observe the 10,000 puffins that come here to build nests every summer while enchanting landscapes impress its visitors. Wooden shelters and platforms lead you up to the cliffs where you can approach the small birds - a perfect spot to take beautiful pictures of them.

Depending on your time frame, you will also visit Námafjall in the afternoon. Visit the sulfurous mud springs, also known as solfataras, for remarkable moments and memorable photo opportunities.

In the afternoon, you will arrive at your hotel at Lake Mývatn.

Day trip duration: approx. 11 hours

2 nights at Fosshotel Mývatn*** with half board in a standard room, Mývatn, Iceland

Lake Mývatn, translated as Mosquito Lake, is located within the Krafla volcanic system and gets its name from the harmless swarms of mosquitoes that are often found here in the summer. The humid and warm region offers these famous mosquitos ideal living conditions, which results in an excellent place for Icelandic birds and fish to thrive as well. Bird lovers will adore this area because the region is primarily known for its diverse species of ducks.

To better understand this unique landscape and its origins, take a trip into the mystical world of darkness. During a five-hour excursion through the Lofthellir Lava Cave, you will not only marvel at Iceland's natural ice sculptures but also learn many interesting facts about the formation of the island.

Distinguished by active volcanoes, the region is also a popular destination for its diverse lava formations. When you discover Dimmuborgir, you will find many lava fields traces of lava lakes, along with panoramic views of Leirhnjúkur volcano. Have your camera ready because there are many photo opportunities here!

If you didn't make it to Námafjall yesterday, then use the rest of today for witnessing the beautiful mud springs!

Day trip duration: approx. 11 hours

Come and see the spectacular Ásbyrgi Canyon, a horseshoe-shaped gorge in the northeast of Iceland, steeped in folklore. Legend has it that the strange rock formation was created by a hoof print of Sleipnir, the eight-legged warhorse of the Nordic god Odin. It is about one kilometer wide and three and a half kilometers long, with steep cliffs up to 100 meters high. Researchers will explain that this natural spectacle started forming as far back as the last Ice Age! It then was created from many volcanic eruptions, causing many masses of ice and water to transform the land.

In the afternoon, the second most powerful waterfall in Europe, Dettifoss Waterfall, awaits you! Dettifoss gushing waters flow from the Vatnajökull glacier, which is the reason why this natural phenomenon is so powerful!

Day tour duration: approx. 10 hours

2 nights at Hotel Kea Akureyri‎**** with breakfast in a standard room, Akureyri‎, Iceland

You will start today's day trip from the Dalvík harbor and take an hour and a half's boat ride across the Arctic Circle. The boat trip is an experience in itself, as the boats are often escorted by dolphins, humpback whales, and sometimes even blue whales.

Once on the island, an absolute highlight for all nature fans awaits - a snorkeling excursion with puffins. As clumsy and awkward as these little animals may seem on land, they are nimble and agile underwater and in the air. Use the time to learn all about these resilient survivors - or simply unwind.

By the early evening, you will return to the mainland.

Day trip duration: approx. 12 hours

Vatnsnes is a peninsula of natural beauty. Since it is nestled in the north of Iceland, the peninsula is home to many seal colonies! Protected by national organizations, the seals and other wildlife animals are safe from harm. For a good view of the animals without disturbing them, a small stone hut was built seamlessly into the rocky landscape.

A few kilometers to the east is Hvítserkur. Also known as The White Caftan, the gigantic jutting rock resembles a large animal or a fossilized creature from another dimension. It rises up off the coast and tells enchanting tales. Icelandic legend says it is a troll that became petrified by the sun because it threw stones at Þingeyrar monastery.

In the afternoon, visit one of Iceland's most precious gems: the Borgarvirki Fortress. The historical site dates back to the tenth or eleventh century and is one of the few medieval buildings in Iceland.

Duration of the tour: 10 hours

2 nights at Hótel Húsafell**** in a standard room, Húsafell, Iceland

From the hotel, make your way back to the coast to the Snæfellsnes peninsula. In Jules Verne's 1894 novel, Captain Antifer, he chose this region as the entrance to the underworld on a journey to the center of the earth. Over the years, Snæfellsnes has inspired a variety of artists and writers and plays a crucial role in Icelandic literary history.

The contrasting landscape boasts rugged cliff sides and rough coastlines. Stykkisholmur village commands an incomparable view of the bay of Breiðufjörður Fjord, renowned for its countless small islands and the diverse wildlife. During a two-hour kayaking tour, get to know the Icelandic coastlines and magnificent rock formations. Stay on the lookout for the animal inhabitants of this pristine landscape!

Day trip duration: approx. 11 hours

Several kilometers into the country, the Borgarfjörður fjord is known for its treacherous currents and unforeseen shoals. At the same time, the remote region is also characterized by marvelously rugged landscapes with countless waterfalls. These landscapes are an integral part of numerous legends and songs. On your tour, you will also visit Hraunfossar flowing over an open lava field into the Hvítá River and cascades of the Barnafoss Waterfall. At noon, you will make a shortstop in the romantic village of Reykholt. Then you will make your way to one of the most robust geothermal springs in Europe, the Deildartunguhver Spring.

Recharge your batteries during lunch because, in the afternoon, you can look forward to an unforgettable experience: explore the inside of a glacier! There are only a few man-made ice caves and tunnels in the world, and Iceland's are amongst the largest of its kind because of its high and remote location. Don't miss the unparalleled opportunity to explore the world beneath a glacier - an exciting journey into a world of fascinating ice masses and shimmering blue walls.

In the evening, you will reach your hotel in Reykjavík, where you will stay for the remainder of your time in Iceland.

Day trip duration: approx. 10 hours

2 nights at Sandhotel**** with half board in a standard room, Reykjavík, Iceland

Reykjavík is the social, economic, and cultural center of the country, with almost 130,000 inhabitants. On a four-hour sightseeing tour, you will discover famous sights such as the Hallgrímskirkja, one of the tallest buildings in the country, and the city's landmark.

After the city tour, you will set off for one of Iceland's popular attractions: the Blue Lagoon. First, you will recharge with an energizing lunch before your afternoon of relaxation. The Blue Lagoon Premium Package includes bathrobes and a face mask made of algae. Relax in the sauna or reflect on your recent experiences while you bask in the warm water. Today is dedicated to relaxation and well-being, a deserved ending to an unforgettable journey.

Day trip duration: approx. 8 hours

Enjoy your last breakfast in Iceland before hopping into your private transfer back to the airport. As you take off back to your home country, Iceland says goodbye with a view of the Reykjanesskagi Peninsula from your airplane window.

Travel time from Reykjavík to Keflavík Airport: approx. 48 km / approx. 45 minutes

Sandhotel****, Reykjavík, Iceland (3 nights)

Nestled in the center of the lively city, this hotel proves to be the perfect starting point for all things fun. The brand new boutique hotel is lavished in high-quality furniture, excellent customer service, and gorgeous art deco design. Enjoy your stay in an atmosphere that perfectly combines Icelandic legends with the local artists' state-of-the-art craftsmanship.

Hotel Rangá ****, Hvolsvöllur, Iceland (2 nights)

This luxurious rural hotel boasts coziness and 4-star quality service in southern Iceland. The snug log cabin has earned an excellent reputation for delicious cuisine, homely rooms, and welcoming customer service. End your eventful day in one of the elegantly decorated rooms while views of the breathtaking landscapes surround you.

Fosshótel Glacier Lagoon****, Hnappavellir, Iceland (1 night)

The new 4-star hotel is the perfect accommodation for nature lovers because of its ideal location at the foot of the glacial lagoon, Jökulsárlón. The famous climbing region boasts rugged volcanic landscapes and glistening icy lakes.

Enjoy modern, Icelandic cuisine and incredible views of the sparkling lake at the hotel's restaurant. For a relaxed evening, head to the lounge and sip on a delicious cocktail while you look back on your adventure-packed day.

Fosshótel Eastfjords***, Fáskrúðsfjörður, Iceland (1 night)

The four-building hotel was built in the 19th century for French fishermen. Visit the hotel's museum, where visitors can learn about the fishermen's lives, or try the French-inspired restaurant, L’Abri. From your comfortable bed, enjoy views of the majestic fjord and mighty mountains.

Fosshotel Mývatn***, Mývatn, Iceland (2 nights)

Since the summer of 2017, Fosshotel Mývatn has welcomed guests to its beautiful destination on Mývatn Lake. The hotel has 92 beautifully designed rooms built by passionate architects whose priority was eco-friendly construction materials and furniture. The building's wooden finish and green roofs set the hotel in perfect harmony with nature. In the comfort of your room, enjoy flawless views of the glistening lake and surrounding landscape.

Hotel Kea Akureyri‎****, Akureyri, Iceland (2 nights)

Welcome to the heart of Akureyri - the gateway to the northeastern party of Iceland's lush nature. Comfort, relaxation, and luxury are of utmost importance at Hotel Kea. In one of the 104 rooms, guests can unwind and share stories about their adventurous two weeks. Enjoy French, Italian, and Danish-inspired dishes combined with Icelandic ingredients at the hotel's restaurant, Mulaberg Bistro & Bar.

Hótel Húsafell****, Húsafell, Iceland (2 nights)

Are you looking forward to one of the highlights of your trip? Hótel Húsafell is part of the National Geographic Unique Lodges of the World and combines Iceland's interesting history with the region's stunning beauty. The area's mild climate promises gorgeous flora and fauna that you won't find anywhere else in Iceland.

Closest airport: Keflavik International Airport

Duration of the trip: July 2021

Minimum number of participants: 2

Including

  • 13 nights in the mentioned accommodations

  • Meals according to the program

  • Guide and accompanying expert

  • Transfers

  • All admission to the listed sights

Activities included

Geothermal bakery and Friðheimar:

  • Visit a geothermal bakery
  • Private guided tour of the Friðheimar greenhouse
  • Lunch in the greenhouse

Westman Islands:

  • 2-hour guided tour

South Coast:

  • Guided glacier tour

Jökulsárlón:

  • Zodiac boat tour

Myvatn:

  • Guided cave expedition through Lofthellir Lava Cave

Grímsey:

  • Day tour including boat trip across the Arctic Circle
  • Snorkeling trip including wetsuit, mask, and fins

Snæfellsnes:

  • Kayak tour

Borgarfjörður:

  • Guided tour under the glacier

Reykjavik:

  • City tour
  • Blue lagoon premium package

Excluding

  • International flights

  • Personal insurance

  • Lunch on days 1, 4, 6, 8, 10, 11, 14

  • Dinner on days 8, 9, 12, 14

  • Drinks during meals unless specifically mentioned

  • All other services that are not mentioned above

  • Optional trips

  • Airport fees and baggage fees

  • Personal expenses, such as tips and souvenirs

  • Visa, if required

Services & Notes

  • Visits depend on the weather and the season. It can be easily modified by the tour guide on site.

  • Group size: maximum of 8 people

  • The duration of the excursions stated in the program is approximate and may change due to local conditions.

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