Day 1: Reykjavík
Iceland’s cosmopolitan capital, Reykjavík was established in 874 AD. Powered by geothermal energy, Reykjavík is widely considered one of the cleanest, greenest cities on Earth. Food, culture and nightlife abound! The National Culture House preserves treasures like the Poetic Edda, and the Norse Sagas in their original manuscripts. We depart Reykjavík in the evening aboard the Ocean Endeavour.
Day 2: Rif, Snæfellsnes Peninsula
We begin our day at anchor at the former trading port of Rif, on the doorstep of Snæfellsjökull National Park. We’ll have an introduction to Icelandic culture with our local guides. For the more adventurous, the region offers outstanding hiking, including opportunities to visit spectacular waterfalls.
Day 3: The Westfjords
Only about ten percent of Iceland’s visitors ever see this region, known for its jagged bird cliffs and multihued beaches. Coastal fjords, immense mountains, and tiny villages can be found here, and a traditional lifestyle is embraced by the region’s inhabitants.
Day 4: Siglufjördur & Grimsey
In its heyday, Siglufjörður bustled with activity as the centre of the herring fishing industry. Now connected to the rest of Iceland by two tunnels through the surrounding mountains, Siglufjörður is resurngent. The herring museum -which includes reenactments- is wonderful. Foodies will enjoy visiting the superb bakery, chocolate factory, and brewery. The folk music centre is a wonderful resource for Icelandic folk music.
Grimsey Island lies on the Arctic Circle. Its human population of about a hundred inhabitants share the island with nearly a million seabirds! These include puffins, guillemots, and gulls. A Zodiac cruise among rock formations is a trip highlight.
Day 5: Akureyri
Iceland’s second-largest urban area, Akureyri enjoys a relatively mild climate and ice-free harbour. Shops, cafes, and restuarants make for good exploring of the urban kind. There are ten musuems to discover and explore.
Akuyeri’s botanical gardens are among the northernmost in the world, miraculously growing several thousand plant species. The view from the steps of the monumental Lutheran church is worth the walk!
Day 6: Húsavík
Húsavík, on Skjalfandi Bay, is known as the “Whale Capital” of Iceland. Fifteen different whale species frequent the area; we also hope to see dolphins, and dozens of varieties of birds. The Whale Museum will further our cetacean appreciation.
The Húsavík Museum is located by the harbour. There are also numerous other museums including the Exploration Museum, which houses artifacts from Apollo astronaut training in the area; a whale museum, and a turf house museum.
Day 7: Seydisfjördur
Seydisfjördur is nestled at the tip of its namesake fjord. The picturesque town of seven hundred is known for its flourishing art scene, cobbled rainbow road, and excellent handicrafts. There are numerous opportunities for hiking beginning in the town, including a walk up to Tvisongur sound sculpture on a nearby hill.
Nearby Skalanes Nature Reserve is family owned and operated. The centre for research and interpretation of Iceland’s environment and cultural history is a model for sustainable tourism. A visit to Vök hot springs tops off the offering.
Day 8: Southeast Iceland
The south of Iceland is home to some of the country’s most beautiful natural attractions. Here we have opportunities to explore a unique mix of volcanoes, lagoons, glaciers—as well as hot springs, geysers, and spectacular waterfalls.
Day 9: Heimaey, Vestmannaeyjar (Westman Islands)
Vestmannaeyjar lies off the south coast of Iceland and comprises fourteen islands, numerous rocks and skerries. Only the largest island, Heimaey, is inhabited. Heimaey rose to global prominence when it was nearly destroyed by the eruption of the volcano Eldfell in 1973. An excellent volcano museum built around a house excavated from the ash interprets the incident, and numerous walks offer dramatic views of, and from the island’s two volcanoes.
Heimaey’s harbor was kept open as the lava advanced by pumping seawater to cool it. Nearby sea cliffs dotted with massive sea caves offer excellent opportunities for birds, including the much-loved puffins.
Day 10: Reykjavík
Reykjavík, or “steamy bay”, is a cosmopolitan capital city and as much a part of the Icelandic experience as the midnight sun or the fire and ice that creates the island’s landscape.
Today we disembark the Ocean Endeavour and transfer to the airport.