Today we depart the USA on our overnight flight to Keflavik, Iceland.
Iceland is full of surprises - for one, it isn’t covered in ice! It’s a stunning mix of green plains, wild volcanic scenery, beautiful coasts and lakes, spouting geysers, hot springs, mud pools and sophisticated cities. Marvel at the clean, fresh air, and unique natural beauty of the country. Reykjavik, our home for the next five nights, is Iceland’s capital city of 100,000 people and unique in many ways. This capital is a modern city with a variety of restaurants, museums, galleries, and theaters. Heated entirely by geothermal water, it is home to the “smoking bay,” so named for the rising steam that greeted the city’s Viking founder, Angolfr Arnarsson, as he sailed in to the bay here in 874 AD. The city center is the heart of Reykjavik and home to many charming historic buildings of stone and timber contrasting with imaginative modern architecture. It has the features of a modern society complemented b a close connection to natural wonders right on the city’s doorstep. Hot springs, glaciers, lava fields, midnight sun, waterfalls, northern lights, volcanoes and bizarre landscapes - the city has them all!
On an included panoramic city tour of the world’s most northerly capital, we’ll see the old town center, Parliament, cathedral, harbor, National Museum, ‘Pearl’ and Hofoi House, and Hallgrimskirkja Church whose steeple is a landmark of the city. A welcome dinner is included at a local restaurant. (D)
Our adventure begins with a drive over the mountain pass Hellisheidi where magnificent views of the wide plains formed by glacial rivers unfold before us. Continue through small villages and farmlands to the majestic mountains with views including Mt. Hekla, the most active volcano in Iceland, and the towering, ice-capped strato volcano Eyjafjallajokull, which last erupted in 2010. Stop at the Porvaldseyri Volcano Visitor Center, at the foot of the volcano, to experience first-hand the sights, sounds and feeling of a volcanic eruption. Learn about the dramatic history of these eruptions through visual displays in text and imagery.
Iceland is famous for its waterfalls and we’ll see two of the most magnificent-the Seljalandsfoss, which tumbles over high rock escarpments allowing us to walk behind the waterfall, and Skogafoss. Continue to Dyrholaey, a magnificent rocky headland with sheer cliffs, en route to the village of Vik. Head to the seashore, flanked by steep bird cliffs rising high above the black sand beach. In the sea, just outside of Vik, see the Reynisdrangar Rocks which stand 216 feet above sea level at their highest point. (B)
Head for the rough tracks of Reykjanes, one of the most active volcanic areas in Iceland. Visit the geothermal area of Krysuvik and Lake Kleifarvin with its hot springs and solfatares. The moonlike surroundings of the lake never fail to leave a strong impression on visitors!
A remarkable experience is a visit to the Blue Lagoon - a lake of warm-mineral rich geothermal water, internationally renowned for its healing prowess. Located in the middle of a lava field, water is heated by underground volcanic activity at a depth of 5,400 feet and is pumped to the surface to form this man-made wonder. We’ll have an opportunity to soak in the pleasantly warm mineral-rich water. (B)
Today is free for independent exploration. If we wish, we may join the optional whale-watching excursion. (B)
Our excursion begins with a drive to the UNESCO World Heritage Site of Thingvellir National Park, one of the few spots in the world where the Mid-Atlantic Ridge comes above water. The canyon that runs through the park is a meeting point of two of the earth’s tectonic plates.
See outstanding natural wonders when we visit Geysir, Iceland’s most famous area for thermal activity. View ‘Strokkur’, one of the most active geysers, and ‘Gullfoss’ (Golden Waterfall), Iceland’s most famous waterfall. A visit to a local farm gives us the chance to meet some of the native Icelandic horses, as well as learn about the growing of healthy tomatoes using green energy, pure water and organic pest controls. This evening a farewell dinner is held at a local restaurant in Reykjavik. (B,D)
We transfer to the airport and bid a fond farewell to amazing Iceland. We return home with memorable, life enriching experiences to cherish. (B)