The land of fire and ice
Extend your stay in Iceland—it only makes sense to explore the land of fire and ice. This volcanic isle, near the Arctic Circle, is the home of Europe's oldest body of representative government, the Althing, established by the Vikings. But what makes Iceland truly unforgettable is its geological wonders in the heart of the Icelandic wilderness: towering glaciers and gushing hot springs, boiling mud pools, lava fields and thundering waterfalls.
After an overnight flight and early morning arrival at Iceland’s Keflavik airport, we make the classic introduction to Iceland with a visit to the famous Blue Lagoon thermal baths. Whether you choose to enjoy the surreal bath and spa facilities or just stroll around the fascinating environs, the Blue Lagoon is an essential part of any visit to Iceland. It is also efficiently and conveniently designed to allow for bathing and easy changing. We’ll wash off our overnight flights and be dazzled by Iceland’s living landscape before driving to the capital city of Reykjavik. We'll arrive to the heart of the city and lunch will be served. After that, we will check in to our rooms to relax and unpack. We’ll have dinner together in Reykjavik. (L,D)
The Golden Circle is the name given to the driving route in southwest Iceland that captures some of the country’s most unique and impressive sites. We’ll get an early start and leave for a full day that starts with a visit to Geysir, site of the spouting water vent for which the phenomenon is named. While the original is now inactive, the area is alive with boiling and bubbling pools, and the neighboring geyser “Strokkur” is sure to put on a show. Continue on for a short walk to Gullfoss, a spectacular two-tiered waterfall. After lunch we drive to Thingvellir National Park, a valley where one can clearly see the two oceanic plates splitting Europe and North America. Not only is Thingvellir an impressive geological landscape, it is also the site of the famous Icelandic “ting”, an annual gathering of the Icelandic Viking chiefs, starting in the 10th century. Return to Reykjavik and have dinner on your own. (B,L)
After breakfast, we explore the capital city of Reykjavik, with a guided introduction on foot. Mid-morning we will take a short fight to Akureyri, and upon arrival check into our hotel. Late afternoon, explore the town on a walking tour with visit to the Botanical Garden and the Cathedral. (B,D)
Today visit the incredible Lake Mývatn region, in the Northeast of Iceland. Mývatn is known for geothermal and volcanic activity, as well as a great variety of bird life. Leave Akureyri and drive over the mountains to Goðafoss, one of the largest waterfalls in Iceland. Continue on to Námaskarð, with its boiling mud pots and fumaroles. Take a walk through Dimmuborgir (the "Dark City"), a valley of incredible lava formations that was once a giant magma flow through this region. Finish the day at Skútustaðir, the incredible field of pseduocraters. Return to Akureyri for dinner at a local restaurant.(B,L,D)
After breakfast, we depart this morning with a short flight back to Reykjavik. On arrival, transfer to the Grand Hotel, where you will join the main group. (B,D)
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