A satisfying 360° experience: wildness, culture, geology & more
Experience an enchanting land of geological extremes on a satisfying circumnavigation of this land of fire and ice. Encounter vast volcanic landscapes on one of the world’s youngest islands, walk on lava fields and ice sheets, and feel the power of gushing hot springs and cascading waterfalls. Cruise into the beautiful, remote Westfjords and spend time on the Arctic Circle spotting nesting seabirds. Zodiac cruise into fjords and serene bays and go hiking on magnificent and remote stretches of the coast. Cap off the adventure with a soak in the famous Blue Lagoon. Along the voyage, Icelandic experts and musicians will add local insight and energy to the expedition.
Experience all of Iceland’s geological manifestations: glaciers, geysers, thundering waterfalls, immense cliffs, geothermal springs, boiling mud pots, and lava-scapes of unearthly beauty
Meet Iceland’s people and learn about their unique cultural heritage and contemporary character
Explore Iceland’s wild western coast; Siglufjörður in the north; the rarely visited rugged east coast; and the Westman islands in the south, among the planet’s youngest archipelagos
Actively explore by taking Zodiacs into fjords and serene bays
Customize your experience by choosing from four expedition extensions
Get out to hike and Zodiac cruise. Meet welcoming Icelanders and learn about their unique history and contemporary character. Explore havens for wildlife. Options abound to make the expedition as active as you choose, and each day join a different naturalist for more viewpoints. Plus, get top shots with the help of a National Geographic photographer.
We will cover your bar tab and all tips for the crew on all National Geographic Resolution,National Geographic Explorer, National Geographic Endurance, and National Geographic Orion voyages.
EARLY BOOKING SAVINGS
Book 2023 departures and get 2022 rates if booked by November 30, 2021. Valid for new bookings on departures on Lindblad-National Geographic ships, Delfin II, and The Jahan made by Nov 30, 2021, subject to availability, not applicable on extensions, and may not be combined with other offers. Call for details.
Certain offers may be combinable, up to two savings opportunities, except where noted otherwise. For example, travel with a group of 8 or more on back-to-back expeditions, and take advantage of both savings.
BRINGING THE KIDS
We believe sharing an expedition with your kids or grandkids is a life-enhancing experience. So take $500 off for each child under the age of 18.
Save 10% on any consecutive journeys taken on board one of our expedition ships. This savings is applicable on voyage fares only, and are not valid on extensions or airfare.
TRAVELING AS A GROUP
Save 5% when traveling as a group of 8 or more people. Take advantage of these great savings, while enjoying traveling with your friends and family. This savings is applicable to voyage fares only, and is not valid on extensions or airfare. Deposit, final payments, and cancellation policies for group travel vary from our regular policies.
Dates, Rates & Cabins
Travel on this itinerary from $11,920 per person
Browse our team directory to discover the full cast of expedition staff
During the early hours of the morning, the National Geographic Endurance sailed off the southwest coast of Iceland, heading towards the Westman islands. This archipelago is formed by fifteen main islands, but only one of them is inhabited with a population of more than 4,000 people. Our arrival was estimated for the late morning, so we spent our shipboard time attending presentations and even touring the unique art displayed throughout the ship. After circumnavigating Surtsey Island (one of the youngest islands on the planet), we made our dramatic entry to a bay once threatened by the volcanic explosion of Eldfell volcano in 1973. The narrow bay was the perfect excuse for the captain to show the capabilities and maneuverability of the National Geographic Endurance. With a powerful Azipod gearless 360° steerable propulsion system, the ship can rotate 180 degrees in only a matter of seconds and aim for a perfect docking experience! Once well fed by our hotel and galley crew, we set off to explore Eldfell volcano itself and various other key points of the Island. Although the geology of Heimaey was the highlight of the day, the cuteness of puffin chicks (known as pufflings) stole everyone’s attention when a few locals requested safe passage for several young birds to the open sea. It is this time of the year when pufflings are ready to head to sea. However, there are always a good number who get confused and end up inland, mistakenly attracted to the city lights. Locals of all ages set off with the task of finding these young birds to keep them safe until they find willing volunteers from ferries, tour ships, and fishing boats to take them to open waters to release them. We were delighted to be chosen for such a task, and once at sea, several pufflings were released under the cheerful voices of encouragement from our guests for the young birds to have a happy and healthy life, and for their safe return to these grounds five years from now!
When we imagine Iceland, land of fire and ice, we dream of glaciers, geothermal pools, volcanos, and waterfalls, perhaps with a smattering of Viking legend. Today we found all of this in abundance. Iceland has countless breathtakingly beautiful waterfalls, and at Borgarfjörður, the Hvita (“white”) river) emerges, spring-fed, from the lava field above, carving out bridges and stone arches at Barnafoss, and cascading down to the Hraunfossar waterfalls below, which stretch for almost 1 kilometer. After this, some of us went on to climb the Grábrók volcano, a dramatic cinder cone, which had erupted from a 600m long fissure about 3,200 years ago. We have spectacular views from the top into the crater. The old lava flows are red from oxidized iron. At Krauma, another group of us answered the call of the warm bubbling geothermal baths. Here a flow of water emerges naturally from a powerful hot spring at a temperature of 212°F and runs constantly through a series of pools at decreasing temperatures, to the delight of the happy bathers. A chillier experience awaited the rest at Langjökull (“long glacier”), the second largest glacier in Iceland. After crossing part of the glacier in a specially converted vehicle (formerly a NATO rocket-launcher!) fitted out with crampons, we left the bright Icelandic sunshine behind to explore 650 meters of man-made tunnels and caves within its icy depths. As a “temperate” glacier, Langjökull maintains a constant temperature of 32°F, but this extensive ice dome is shrinking rapidly. It’s forecasted to disappear completely in the next forty years or so.
Before breakfast began, we docked at the small port community of Grundarfjordur. The day was overcast with a fluffy cloud cover but not threatening rain. The wind was a slight light breeze – a promising morning for a hike along the coast to a waterfall. This picturesque spot was surrounded by a mountainous landscape inland but prominently on a peninsula was the isolated peak of Mount Kirkjufell. Those desiring a longer hike to stretch their legs left the ship first. Passing through the quiet streets of the village, the first groups then followed a very well-kept trail inland from the coast to the waterfall inland. Others wanting a somewhat shorter hike followed. From the ship, others chose to meander through the clean immaculate village and being a Sunday morning, there was very little evidence that any locals were moving about yet in the early hours of the day. The small but tall church steeple was prominently perched the highest point in the village. Seafood processing facilities lined the small port area, and a lone small trawler was the only fishing vessel sharing the port with the National Geographic Endurance. By mid-day, everyone had returned from their morning's exploration and the ship pulled away for the afternoon's destination. Following an afternoon presentation, the route of the ship had taken us to the very western end of the Snaefellsnes Peninsula. Jutting out to the west from the mainland, it was not surprising that the wind had caused the sea surface to have some whitecaps and choppy conditions. But most guests chose to brave the weather and boarded the Zodiacs. During the time in the Zodiacs, we were treated to a sudden and ephemeral rainbow as well as glimpses of the highest mountains with snow patches and glacier partially visible. But the highlight of the excursion was the basaltic formations and the lovely waterfalls pouring off the coastal edges of the land. Columnar basalts were extremely interesting and forming natural sculptures with swirls and bends. At the very end of the land, the basaltic columns formed wide hexagonal platforms for black-legged kittiwakes to nest. Some of the newly grown chicks were coming and going from their nest sites hoping to get another meal from the remaining dutiful parents. Fortunately, the return to the ship was not as splashy and wet as anticipated as the wind had dropped. The day concluded with a short recaps and a session of answers to questions about Iceland that people had previously submitted. Yet again another wonderful day in Iceland.
On a foggy morning, the National Geographic Endurance anchored near Vigur Island in the northeastern part of Iceland. Right next to the landing site, there was mixed a colony of harbor seals and gray seals. The seals and their pups were resting on kelp-covered rocks and were not afraid of us. Gradually, as the fog lifted, we saw a breath-taking picture of magnificent basalt cliffs on the other side of the fjord. The owner of the island explained that Vigur is a private nature reserve which has been protecting colonies of eider ducks and puffins for many decades, though he only bought the island two years ago. In so many ways this place is unique in the world. According to the Icelandic sagas, it was settled in 1220, exactly 801 years ago, and it has been inhabited ever since. The island has a long history, and we could see many artifacts from different time periods, including the farmhouses, boats, and even Iceland’s oldest windmill, which is still functional. We also learned fascinating stories of successful nature conservation. This island is the largest eider farm in the world, although all eiders are wild birds. We visited an exhibition and a current workshop for processing the eider down. In the afternoon, on the way to Dynjandi waterfall, Silja, our guest speaker, had her presentation interrupted by a spectacular show of several pods of humpback whales around our ship. We arrived to Dynjandi waterfall in the afternoon, where guests had an option for a long hike or a medium hike, both ending at the waterfall site. This was the most spectacular waterfall I have ever seen. The volume of water falling from the height of several hundred meters was very impressive on its own, but the falls also have a very unusual convex shape—if you were to look from the top you would see them curving outwards. Waterfalls are typically concave, so this feature also made an impression on me. During dinner we cruised along the magnificent cliffs of Iceland’s westfjords and enjoyed a view of numerous glacial cirques and glacially cut valleys.
We spent our day today in two small fjords on the east coast of Iceland, dividing our time between enjoying some time out in our own small
boats – kayaks and zodiacs – on the calm waters of Hèðinsfjörður in the morning
and learning about the historic use of small fishing boats in Iceland at the
wonderful Herring Era Museum in Siglufjörður.