of Fire and Ice & Nature’s Paradise!
July 13-22, 2020
Outdoors enthusiasts grab your binoculars and cameras, and come explore Iceland! Discover Iceland in all of its great beauty.
Iceland has captured the imagination of people all over the world since Jules Verne wrote “Journey to the Center of the Earth” in 1871. Iceland has a proud heritage-it is the world’s oldest democracy. Its wildlife and natural wonders are truly magical!
Come join an excellent Icelandic naturalist Oskar Halldorsson, and see for yourself! This trip is a tremendous introduction to the heritage of Iceland, from geology to history and wildlife!
Days 1/2 New York to Reykjavik
Today we will depart from JFK International Airport
(or other IcelandAir gateways) for Reykjavik. Arrive on
the morning of Day 2. Meet your Iceland naturalist/guide and transfer to Hotel (2 nights). This morning
enjoy a Reykjavik city tour before stepping back in
time at the Settlement Museum. You are free to continue
to explore Reykjavik on your own this afternoon.
Welcome dinner. B,D
Day 3 Gullfoss Falls & Thingvellir Plain
Today we will visit Thingvellir (the “plains of
parliament”), where Iceland’s democracy began in
930 AD. See the dependable Strokkur geyser erupting
and also the incredible Gullfoss Falls, Iceland’s star
attraction. We’ll also walk atop an astonishing geologic
feature, the Mid-Atlantic Ridge, which separates
Europe & North America! B
2016 group photo
Day 4 Reykjavik, Snaefellsnes Peninsula & Stykkisholmur
Depart for the Snaefellsnes Peninsula this morning.
Words cannot express the mystery, wonder and almost
surreal energy of this spectacular site! The major landmark
is the Snaefellsjokull Glacier which is renowned
for its mystical powers and has captured the imagination
of people all over the world, ever since Jules Verne
wrote “The Journey to the Center of the Earth” in 1871.
The area features extraordinary moorlands, meadows,
marshlands, rivers, streams, and small ponds along
with beautiful rock and lava formations.
The Snaefellsnes Peninsula is without a doubt one
of the best places in Iceland for nature and wildlife
watching during summer. Today we can expect to
see a great variety of birds, seals and possibly a few
cetacean species. Birds we can expect to see include
the Harlequin Duck, Atlantic Puffin, Thick-billed
Murre, Black Guillemot, White-tailed Eagle, Arctic
Tern and many more. In recent years both Grey
Seals and Harbor Seals have been seen in the area
and the cetaceans seen from land include Orcas and
Minke Whales. After traveling around the Peninsula
we will make our way to the north shore.
Stykkisholmur Hotel. B
Day 5 Breidafjordur Bay & Flatey Island
We will start today with a visit
to the Eldfjallasafn Volcano Museum in Stykkisholmur.
View a unique exhibition of international art old and
new, showing volcanic eruptions as well as objects,
artifacts, volcanic rocks from the unique collection of
professor Haraldur Sigurdsson who has carried out
research on volcanoes worldwide for forty years.
Next we will enjoy a nature and bird watching boat
tour. The wildlife in the area holds millions of seabirds
with species such as Atlantic Puffin, Black Guillemot,
Northern Fulmar and Shag being abundant. The area
is also the main breeding area for the White-tailed
Eagle. Sample fresh scallops and sea urchin roe when
a small net is cast overboard and shellfish delicacies
are brought on board.
This afternoon our ferry will be waiting to take us
to Breidafjordur Bay. This bay is located between the
Westfjords in the North and Snaefellsnes Peninsula in
the south and has both landscape and seascape of a
different kind. It consists of small fjords and bays and
is literally dotted with around 3,000 islands, islets,
After making a tour among the islands we will land
on Flatey Island where we stay for the night. Flatey
Island is a small inhabited island almost in the middle
of the bay, and once the most important centre of
culture and education of the country. The hamlet,
which developed on the island is mostly intact and
the remaining houses have been renovated and are
occupied by their owners and then families during
summer. The birdlife on the island is very used to
living closely with people, so there may be extremely
tame individuals. The eiderdown farmers can pick up
some of the female Eiders, collect part of their down
and put them comfortably back on their nests.
This evening watch for Puffins diving for sand eels...
Black Guillemot returning to their nests with Butterfish
in their beak... Northern Fulmar gliding right by you...
Black-legged Kittiwakes telling their stories in the
cliffs... Rednecked Phalarope spinning on the water
and looking for the rare Red Phalarope. Night at
charming Hotel Flatey (shared facilities). B,D
Day 6 Flatey Island, Latrabjarg Bird Cliff & Westfjords
This morning we will continue by ferry to the
other side of Breidafjordur Bay. From here we make
our way through the remote Westfjords towards
the magnificent Latrabjarg Bird Cliff. This cliff is one
of the most spectacular seabird rookeries in Iceland
(and Europe!). It is the largest seabird colony in
Europe and extends over a 14 km long cliff. You
will be astonished by the numbers, sounds and
smell of seabirds along the cliff. The Puffins are so
tame here that you can almost pick them up with
your bare hands! While Snow Buntings feed on
the cliff tops, thousands of Thick-billed Murre,
Common Murre, Razorbills and Black-legged
Kittiwakes throng the cliffs. We will visit the Egill
Olafsson Museum at Hnjótur with a unique
collection from the Westfjords which offers insight
into daily life and people’s struggle for existence and
the resourcefulness it took to survive under harsh
conditions in centuries past. Flokalundur Hotel near
Day 7 The Westfjords & Hvammstangi
Today we will make our way along the rugged
southern coastline of the Westfjords peninsula
through spectacular fjords and past thundering
waterfalls to the Daeli Holiday Farm in northern
Iceland. Much of the day will be spent driving through
dramatic scenery en route, passing numerous
waterfalls and impressive fjords. This afternoon you
are free to relax or visit Steinbogi Waterfall and
Kolugljúfur Canion. Steinbogi or “Stone Arc” (direct
translation) is a waterfall with a natural stone bridge.
The hike offers variety of birdlife, views of nearby
horse farms and a beautiful view. The canyon, which
is situated south of Dæli (in the bottom of the valley),
is a memorable place to visit and will leave no one
disappointed. Daeli Holiday Farm near
Day 8 The North, Myvatn
Today we head to Lake Myvatn. On the way we will
look for families of Pink-footed Geese along a glacial river.
We will stop for lunch and stroll through the Akureyri
Botanic Garden. The garden is one of the northernmost
botanical gardens in the world. A wide variety of
both Icelandic and foreign flora is to be found here.
For a nature enthusiast to describe the Lake Myvatn
area with words is virtually impossible. The whole
area is a natural wonder of its own in a world that has
nothing else like it. Even people with no interest in
nature and wildlife are impressed by the variety and
magnitude of both the birdlife as well as the different
natural phenomenon that surround you in the area.
The lake itself is approximately 37 sq km, making it
Iceland’s fourth largest lake.
This area has been described as a meeting place
of two worlds where you are able to find flora and
fauna from both the temperate and the Arctic zones.
It is also a highly active volcanic area situated on the
west edge of the meeting point of the Eurasian and
North American plates. By the end of the day you
have been traveling by and visiting a range of pseudocraters,
volcanoes of different sizes, hot springs, and
new lava fields with lava pillars.
You are likely to have seen a variety of bird species,
including the Common Loon (Great Northern Diver),
Horned Grebe, Barrow’s Goldeneye, Harlequin Duck,
Greater Scaup, Red-necked Phalarope, Redwing,
Common Snipe and Redshank. You will also have
an excellent chance to see the Gyr Falcon today. The
Lake Myvatn area is the only place in Europe where
the Barrow’s Goldeneye breeds and Iceland is also
the only country in Europe where Harlequin Duck
and Great Northern Diver breed. Hotel,B
Day 9 Lake Myvatn & Husavik
This morning we will continue to explore the
geological wonders of Myvatn including a relaxing
soak in the Myvatn Nature Baths before making our
way to Husavik.
Visit the Husavik Whale Museum in the early
afternoon before a whale watching trip on Skjalfandi
floi Bay. This bay is arguably the best area in Iceland
to watch whales. Astonishing numbers of cetacean
species have been recorded in the bay (up to
12 species in total). During the trip we might see
Minke Whales (which are the most common species
in the bay), White-beaked Dolphins, Humpback
Whales, and Porpoises. Species such as Orcas (Killer
whales) and the largest animal believed to have ever
breathed on earth—the magnificent Blue Whale—have
also been seen regularly in the area in recent years.
Day 10 Husavik, Akureyri, Reykjavik to USA
Today we make our way to Akureyri where we take a
short flight to the Keflavik Airport for our return flight
to the USA. B
2016 group photo
$3,995 plus air.