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13th January 2019
An unforgettable journey around Iceland including Snæfellsnes peninsula and the magical West Fjords.
Iceland is a country like no other; with exceptional landscapes, some of the world's finest waterfalls, erupting geysers, magical lagoons, active volcanoes, majestic glaciers, powerful lava flows and rare-breeding bird life.
The Grand Tour of Iceland takes you on an escorted, unforgettable journey around Iceland including Snæfellsnes peninsula and the magical West Fjords. Experience the spectacular splendour and untamed beauty of Iceland´s nature, breathtaking scenery and unique Icelandic history and culture. You will discover some of the most remote parts of the country and visit many well-known highlights as well.
This Grand Tour of Iceland features all the best the country has to offer. Each day combines touring by bus, going for light walks, having soft adventures and experiencing Icelandic culture and history. staying in simple and charming guesthouses, farm and tourist-class hotels, many of them set in the most stunning locations.
This wonderful holiday includes your first and final night in Reykjavik, Iceland's colourful and quirky capital city.
Day 1 - Arrive Iceland and Reykjavik
Arrive Keflavik Airport by air from the UK. Flybus transfer (independent) to Reykjavik where you spend the first night in Iceland. Evening free to explore Reykjavik.
1 night REYKJAVIK - Hotel Klettur (3 star)
Day 2 - The Golden Circle
We see classic highlights today. We explore Gullfoss, the beautiful double "Golden Falls" and we walk through the active geothermal area of Geysir, where Strokkur "the churn" spouts up to 25 metres (70 feet) every five to seven minutes. A visit to the ancient Viking Parliament area and UNESCO World Heritage Site of Þingvellir National Park tops the day off before travelling along the scenic shores of Hvalfjörður fjord. Overnight in Borgarfjörður, West Iceland. Day's driving distance 290kms/180 miles.
Day 3 - Snæfellsnes Peninsula, Lava Cave and Ferry Trip to the West Fjords
Today, we explore the Snæfellsnes Peninsula, which juts out from Iceland's West Coast like a long arm with a clenched fist at its tip, and which is in many ways a microcosm of the whole island. A rugged mountain chain runs its length, capped by the 1,446-meter Snæfellsjökull glacier, a mystical cone-shaped stratovolcano. We travel around the Snæfellsnes Peninsula, through lava fields, and along the ocean with many classic Icelandic photo opportunities. We see the most popular sites at the Snæfellsnes National Park where volcanic craters, lava flows, an ice cap, glaciated peaks, fjords, sandy beaches, and high cliffs shape its landscapes. We follow the adventure of Jules Verne's classic science-fiction novel about "The Journey to the Center of the Earth". Do not miss your chance to go on your own trip to the interior of the earth under the glacier Snæfellsjökull! This lava cave tour takes you 35 meters underground and about 200 meters into the lava tube called Vatnshellir. During the trip, you reach two different sections of the cave by a long and narrow spiral staircase. The upper section has great features and unique formations of lava statues carved on the sides of the lava tube. In the lower part of the lava cave, you experience total quietness and even total darkness when your guide switches off the light. The duration of the lava cave tour is approximately one hour.
Snæfellsnes - Stykkisholmur light house.JPGIn the afternoon, we catch the car ferry Baldur from Stykkishólmur to Brjánslækur in the West Fjords. On the 2,5 hour journey over Breiðafjörður Bay, we pass the island of Flatey, which is inhabited only during the summertime. If the weather is nice, you enjoy a magnificent view of the bay's countless islands as well as the glacier Snæfellsjökull. We will stay two nights in the area of Patreksfjörður.
Day 4 - Iceland's Westernmost Point
We follow the coastline and stop at the folk and transport museum in Hnjótur. We continue through a very remote and sparsely populated region to the bird cliffs of Látrabjarg, the largest seabird cliff and the westernmost point of Iceland and Europe where you can see puffins from mid-May till mid-August. We take a walk in the wilderness to the top of the highest bird cliff in Iceland. Látrabjarg is known in the world for its density of Nordic birds. Puffins, razorbills, guillemots, fulmars, cormorants, kittiwakes and other cliff birds flock either in hundreds, thousands and even in millions. Látrabjarg is a place where you can get very close to the seabirds, and even if you're not into birdwatching, you are entertained by the comic puffins and mesmerized by the sheer number of birds. If weather and road Dynjandi waterfall, West Fjords.JPGconditions allow we travel to Rauðisandur beach with endless red sand. Well, not endless but 10 km is a lot. The magnificent hues of the sand differ with daylight, tights, and weather. This pure sand beach is home to countless of seabirds and seals and is an oasis of unique tranquility. Forget everything, except maybe getting the perfect shot of the ever-changing hues of yellow, orange and red. Day's driving distance 150 kms/93 miles.
Day 5 - Beautiful West Fjords
We travel over mountains and along the shore of many scenic fjords until we reach the majestic fjord Arnarfjörður, surrounded by high mountains. At the bottom of the fjord we come across the unique waterfall Dynjandi with its seven levels of plunging water, declared the country's most beautiful waterfall by the people of Iceland. We continue over a mountain pass and travel along the southern shores of the West Fjords. This is a route less travelled and is characterized by sheer cliffs, deep cut bays and narrow stretches of coastal lowland. We overnight at the remote Vogur Country Lodge in West Iceland. This is a truly peaceful and beautiful place close to Breiðafjörður Bay, giving you the feeling of being all alone in Iceland. Day's driving distance 320 kms/199 miles.
Day 6 - Heading North
In the morning we travel mostly off-the-beaten path, see abandoned farms, beautiful little country churches and Icelandic horses. At Haukadalur, there's a rather authentic replica of the homestead of Erik the Red, the famous explorer who founded the Icelandic colony in Greenland. His son Leif-the-Lucky, born in Haukadalur, Iceland, was the first European to set foot in North America. Now the excavated and reconstructed farm in Haukadalur is a living Viking museum, a fun, informative and a photogenic place. The landscape is dominated by mountains, lakes, valleys, sea and wide open spaces. We head north and stop at a local farm for a horse show where we learn about the unique qualities of Iceland's special breed. Afterwards we travel through the fertile farmlands and fjord landscapes of Northwest Iceland before we visit the charming town of Akureyri, Iceland's second largest city. We stay 2 nights in the capital of North Iceland. Day's driving distance 350kms/217 miles.
Day 7 - Northernmost Town
During a 6-hour excursion we see spectacular fjord landscapes while travelling to Siglufjörður, Iceland's northernmost town and known as the herring capital of the North Atlantic. Siglufjörður is located on the mountainous Tröllaskagi Peninsula. On the way we pass small fishing villages and stop at a deserted valley that even most Icelanders have not seen. Included is a visit to the Herring Museum and also beer tasting at a local micro-brewery. The rest of the day is free at leisure. Maybe you would like to go shopping, visit a geothermal swimming pool or join an optional whale watching tour at 17:00 or 20:30. Day's driving distance 160kms/99 miles.
Day 8 - Geological Wonders and Nature Baths
We explore Goðafoss, the waterfall of the Gods, and continue to lake Mývatn, known for its rich bird life and extraordinary volcanic lava landscapes. We visit pseudo craters, walk in the lava field Dimmuborgir, climb up to the rim of the ash crater Hverfjall, see the hot springs and bubbling mud pools of Námaskarð, and travel to the crater lake Víti in the Krafla geothermal fields. In the afternoon relax and soak at the Mývatn Nature Baths. Overnight near lake Mývatn. Day' driving distance 150 kms/93 miles.
Day 9 - The Secret of the East
We travel to Dettifoss, Europe's most powerful waterfall in the northern part of Vatnajökull National Park. From there we head through the uninhabited highlands to East Iceland. We explore the northernmost fjord on the East Fjord mountain range. The isolated village Bakkagerði has only 120 inhabitants and is a charming village, built snugly next to the steep mountainside. Driving to Borgarfjörður Eystri is dramatic and rewarding. The colourful mountains are simply unique and impressive. We experience an unusual opportunity to visit a traditional Icelandic fishing village, still relying on small boat fishing. There is an art gallery in the village, displaying the work of Jóhannes Kjarval who is a well-known Icelandic painter, who grew up in Borgarfjörður Eystri and his hometown and its landscape have much influenced his work. Borgarfjörður Eystri is home to an extensive population of elves – judging by the 172 local folk tales involving elves; on the outskirts of the village is Álfaborg, a protected site where the queen of elves is believed to live within a uniquely shaped rock castle... The elf stories provide a fascinating lecture especially for the younger generation. We continue to the local harbour to look out for kittiwakes, puffins, and other seabirds. Day's driving distance 290 kms/180 miles.
Day 10 - Fjords, Glaciers and Ice
It's a day to admire the dramatic fjord landscape and its tiny fishing villages at the end of twisty roads in the East Fjords, and en route we visit Petra's fascinating rock collection. A naturalist and a collector are two terms that have been used to describe Petra since she was a little girl. From the day she opened her eyes for the first time she perceived her surrounding differently from most of her compatriots, and it is almost as her parents knew when they named her. The word "Petra" simply means "stone" in Greek. Petra collected for nearly 80 years this unique treasure of rocks, crystals, zeolites, quartz and more, all from the nearby area in the Eastfjords. The rocks and stones are beautifully laid out in her home and garden. Her descendants proudly take good care of this unique exhibition. In the afternoon we see Vatnajökull, Europe's biggest glacier that is visible all over Southeast Iceland. Past the town of Höfn, we stop for a boat ride amongst the floating icebergs on the magnificent Jökulsárlón glacial lagoon, considered one of the highlights on tour around Iceland. We spend the night near Skaftafell in the southern part of Vatnajökull National Park. Day's driving distance 430 kms/267 miles.
Day 11 - Vatnajökull National Park and the South
Today we visit Vatnajökull National Park which covers about 14 % of Iceland, making it Europe's 2nd largest national park in terms of area after Yugyd Va in Russia. We explore the region of Skaftafell that is nestled below Iceland's highest mountain and the second biggest stratovolcano in Europe, the 2,110-meter high Hvannadalshnjúkur. We walk close to one of the many glacial tongues in the area – a Kodak moment. We cross a sandy desert and drive along the south coast, always between the sea, rugged mountains, glaciers, and waterfalls. We stroll along the black lava beach and bird cliffs near the village of Vík. We stop at the Skógafoss waterfall, another must-see location in South Iceland. The crashing water creates a mist that results in frequent and magical rainbows, just adding some more memorable experiences to the sheer beauty of this stunning scenery and place. Afterward, we reach Seljalandsfoss waterfall where you can follow a slick and wet trail and walk right behind the falls. Come prepared and bring a raincoat and good boots as you will get wet. Then we visit the Lava Center in Hvlosvöllur, where we watch a documentary film about volcanic eruptions in the past years in Iceland. Farewell dinner at a local restaurant in Reykjavík and we will spend the last night of the Grand Tour in Iceland's capital. Day's driving distance 370 kms/230 miles.
Day 12 - Farewell to Iceland
Transfer by Flybus to Keflavik Airport for your return flight to the UK.
Departure Dates: See below
Duration: 11 nights
Prices from: Prices are per person and are based on two people sharing a twin/double room throughout.
|Departure Dates||Price per person||Sgl Supp|
|4, 11 & 25 June 2018
9, 23 & 30 July 2018
6, 20 & 27 August 2018
Price includes: Prices are based on two people travelling together and sharing a double/twin room
OPTIONAL VIP SEATING: Supplement for guaranteed window seat on fully escorted coach tours which includes a window seat and next seat remaining empty (a passenger gets actually two seats). Seats will be reserved in the front rows of the bus on a first come, first served basis. £495 per person.
Grand Tour of Iceland
This is an escorted tour which means you will find all the excursions detailed in the itinerary.
Here you will find extra information regarding your tour. If there is anything you can't find just let us know and we will add it to the list.
What is the maximum group size?
Will there be any changes to the itinerary?
In rare cases a change of itinerary might be necessary should weather conditions not allow the scheduled itinerary to be followed. In this case certain outdoor activities may also need to be cancelled. In this case no refund will be given, but GJ Travel will try to find reasonable alternatives where and whenever possible.
What sort of clothing will I need?
You will need clothes for cold/cooler outdoor weather: warm trousers, a woollen pullover or fleece sweater, a warm wind and waterproof jacket and rain pants. Sturdy comfortable (hiking) boots are necessary for walking on uneven terrain.
Buildings are often very warm, so bring light indoor clothes – t-shirts, lighter shirts and blouses. Bathing suits are essential, as a lot of the natural hot water is used to fill swimming pools, which are all over the country. This tour includes a visit to the Blue Lagoon. Towels can be rented at most swimming pools.
Do I need to bring any sort of equipment with me?
We would recommend the following:
Would you recommend I buy Duty-Free items?
If you like a drink every now and then, consider stopping at the duty-free store on arrival at Keflavik Airport because alcoholic beverages are very expensive in Iceland. The same applies to tobacco. Travellers are allowed to bring 1 litre of strong liquor as well as 1 litre of wine or similar drinks into the country, and 1 carton of cigarettes.
What standard of accommodation is featured?
Accommodation is provided in simple but charming tourist-class hotels and cottages, in rooms with private facilities. Luggage handling is not included and you will be required to transport your own luggage to/from the bus and your room. All rooms have private shower/wc.
How much walking does this tour feature?
This tour has an average of 1-2 hours light walking each day, mostly short walks of 5-20 minutes, to explore and reach many of the natural treasures around Iceland. It is an easy tour for nearly everyone to participate. Grand Tour of Iceland is NOT a hiking/walking tour, but most trails in Iceland are nature trails which include uneven terrain, gravels, stairs and unpaved trails.
What is VIP seating?
This is an optional supplement for passengers that require more space and extra comfort on the coach. Passengers will be allocated two seats per person on the bus and a guaranteed window seat in the front rows of the bus - also a pillow and blanket for extra comfort.
Can you cater for special diets?
Absolutely! Just let us know at the time of booking in order that we may ensure a delicious suitable alternative is provided. In Reykjavik you are free to explore the numerous excellent restaurants on your own. In the countryside, a 2-course dinner is included. For lunch the group will either stop at road side shops or restaurants.
Are there any additional fees to pay locally?
There is a possibility that some of the nature attractions around Iceland might charge an entrance fee during the trip. These entrance fees are not included in the tour price and need to be paid by all tour members additionally on the spot, when entering any of these nature sites. Locations, amount of entrance fee, form of payment and other details are not known at the present time and are subject to change. This is a new introduction and when we have more information we will provide it for you.