Reykjavik and the Golden Circle

Reykjavik and the Golden Circle

It might be small, but Reykjavik thrives on being different, and unlike most cities, you are standing directly on Mother Nature’s doorstep

It acquired its name, meaning ‘Smoky Bay’, after one of the first settlers, Ingolfur Arnarson, a Norwegian Viking, saw plumes of steam rising from the geothermal springs in AD 874.

In actual fact, Reykjavik is a completely smoke-free city heated almost exclusively by geothermal and hydro power. Icelanders are proud of having the cleanest, freshest air on the planet. Given the country’s latitude of 64ºN, the temperature is warmer than one might expect, courtesy of the Gulf Stream. During summer the nights are bright with the sun setting around midnight. There are excellent shops, most being independently owned, and even two shopping malls a short taxi drive away, great cafes selling home-made food and superb restaurants. Whatever your interests, Reykjavik has something to offer. Whether you are seeking the bustling energy and nightlife of a cosmopolitan city or the quiet green energy of the landscape surrounding the city, Reykjavik promises a memorable break.

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Short Break, 3 nights

Prices from: £850

To book, call us on:

01274 875 199

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Day 1

Arrive at Iceland's Keflavik Airport by air from the UK and take the airport bus to your hotel (approx. 50mins). You then have the remainder of the day to enjoy Iceland's capital city at your leisure.

3 nights REYKJAVIK - Fosshotel Reykjavik*** or Hotel Reykjavik Centrum **** (B)


Day 2

A free day to explore the quirky city of Reykjavik or take a pre-booked optional excursion. We will provide you with plenty of recommendations of things to do and see including a visit to the top of Hallgrímskirkjá church for panoramic views of the entire city showcasing all the colourful houses.


Day 3

Depart at 0830 from your hotel for your included full day Golden Circle tour as part of a small-group. This tour needs little introduction and includes some of Iceland’s most stunning sights; you will see the hot spring Strokkur shoot a column of water up to 30 metres into the air every 4-8 minutes - a thrilling experience you will anticipate each time. You will also visit the magnificent Gullfoss waterfall, created where the river Hvítá tumbles and plunges into a crevice some 32 m deep. Your tour also includes the historical and geological wonder that is Thingvellir National Park, where the American and Eurasian tectonic plates are pulling apart at a rate of a few centimetres per year. Additionally you make a short stop at the majestic Faxi waterfall, by no means as big or powerfall as Gullfoss but still very impressive. Return to your hotel around 1700 leaving plenty of time to get ready for dinner!


Day 4

After breakfast transfer to Keflavik Airport for your return flight to the UK. If time permits, why not visit the Blue Lagoon on departure? See Excursion tab for for details.

Departure Day: Daily
Departure Dates: 1 May - 30 September 2017
Duration: 3 nights
Prices per person: Prices are per person and are based on two people travelling together and sharing a double/twin room. Single supplements and extra night prices as shown.

FOSSHOTEL REYKJAVIK ***plus
Dep. Date Price per
person
Single supp.
per night
Extra
night
1 - 11 May 2017 £850 £68 £92
12 May - 26 Sep 2017 £985 £95 £128

 

HOTEL REYKJAVIK CENTRUM ****
Dep. Date Price per
Person
Single supp.
per night
Extra
night
 1 - 11 May 2017  £998  £69 £140
12 May - 26 Sep 2017 £1195 £90 £195

Price Includes:

  • Scheduled return flights with Icelandair from the UK to Keflavik including taxes. Includes 23kgs of checked luggage and one piece of hand-luggage per person. Alternative airports and airlines are available - please ask for details and prices.
  • Airport bus (Flybus) transfer on arrival and departure.
  • 3 nights hotel accommodation based on two people sharing a standard double room with shower and WC at Fosshotel Reykjavik and a deluxe double with shower and WC at Hotel Reyjkavik Centrum including breakfast.
  • The Golden Circle small group excursion by mini-bus with pick-up and drop-off at hotel

 

PRIVATE TRANSFERS
We are able to organise private transfers from/to your hotel in Reykjavik and Keflavik Airport. Please note, you would reduce the holiday package price by £17 per person for each airport transfer.

PRIVATE TRANSFER PRICES
Taxi/Mini-bus, Max 4 passengers £140 in total
Mini-bus, Max 8 passengers £210 in total
Mini-bus, Max 14 passengers £260 in total

Hotel Reykjavik Centrum ****

Hotel Reykjavik Centrum

On the doorstep of Reykjavik's main attractions, this hotel comprises of three charming 18th century style buildings. Proudly opened in 2005 and consists of 89 elegantly decorated en-suite rooms all with satellite and TV, cable and wireless internet, mini-bar, room safe, hairdryer, ironing board and tea/coffee making facilities. The hotel has its own restaurant serving breakfast, lunch and dinner and a bar/cafe offering light refreshment during the day. 


Fosshotel Reykjavik ***

Fosshotel Reykjavik, Iceland

Fosshotel Reykjavík is located in the city centre, it's a large hotel that still offers personal touches in both appearance and service. Only a short walking distance from Laugavegur, the main shopping street, it's the ideal location for any visitor to Reykjavik.

The hotel has 16 floors with many rooms offering magnificent views of the city and the bay area. We recommend unwinding with Icelandic draught beer at the Bjórgarðurinn / Beer Garden or enjoy dining at their restaurant, Haust. All rooms are en suite and equipped with modern facilities including Wifi.

HEKLA VOLCANO AND LANDMANNALAUGAR from Reykjavik

Description:  After boarding your Superjeep in Reykjavik, you cross fertile South Iceland farmlands, opening up to grand views – weather permitting – of Hekla volcano's snow-covered top (elev. 1491m). Hekla's next eruption is long overdue and could be expected at any time! Since Iceland´s human settlement in the ninth century, Hekla's 20-30 eruptions have ranged from pretty little tourist attractions to explosive disasters. No wonder Hekla has long been taken for the entrance to Hell for damned souls! Conditions permitting, you may make it up onto the volcano’s eruptive ridge, ca 900m above sea level, where the air is crisp and the views incomparable. Pushing deeper into Iceland's eruptive interior, you take in and touch scenery so unreal it is repeatedly used for other-world Hollywood A-films. In Landmannalaugar you can hike, or dip in Iceland's most famous natural hot pool, or both. When you have been suitably geothermally cooked, it’s Superjeep time again, heading north through “does-this-really-exist” looking surroundings towards Reykjavík.
Operates:  15 June to 30 September
Departures:  Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday at 0800. Pick-up from your hotel.
Duration:  9-10 hours.
Price:  £295 per person.


INSIDE THE VOLCANO from Reykjavik

Description:  Journey into the depths of a dormant volcano on this exhilarating expedition from Reykjavik. After hiking through the lava fields of the Blue Mountains, arrive at the rim of Thrihnukagigur volcano. It’s also the only place on Earth where you can take an elevator inside a volcano’s magma chamber!  The whole programme takes about 5–6 hours to complete, in which time you will:

  • Take a very scenic hike across a lava field, often compared to the surface of the moon.
  • Get to know a bunch of stuff about volcanoes and volcanic activity in Iceland.
  • Enjoy an amazing view of Reykjavik and the Reykjanes peninsula.
  • Get your adrenaline pumping, without doubt.
  • Have a very, very, very close encounter with a volcano.
  • Taste a delicious traditional Icelandic meat soup. In fact, you can have as much of it as you like!

The total duration of the tour is between 5 and 6 hours and includes a hike of around 45/50 minutes each way over relatively even ground.

For the trip inside the volcano itself they utilise an innovative method to lower visitors down through the crater’s opening (roughly 4×4 m/12×12 ft width). They use a system that’s normally used to carry window cleaners on the side of skyscrapers – an open elevator system. A basket that holds 6–7 people is connected to a crane that has been placed vertically over the crater opening. Massive cable wires move the basket up and down the bottle-shaped vault. The 120 m/400 ft journey takes about 6 minutes to complete, giving you an idea of how slowly you will be moving down into the crater. The slow speed is to ensure the safety of passengers, but also to provide the opportunity to enjoy the amazing scenery.
Operates:  15 May to 15 October
Duration: 5 - 6 hours
Departs:  0800, 1000, 1200, 1400 with included transfer from Reykjavik
Price: £320 per person
Includes:  Pick-up and drop-off at your hotel, guided tour, all safety equipment including helmets, harnesses etc, traditional Icelandic meat stew (vegetarian and special diet options available, please advise at time of booking)


REYKJAVIK FOOD WALK from Reykjavik

Description:  During the Reykjavik Food Walk, you will explore the downtown area through 13 traditional cuisines that are rarely mentioned in the typical “to-do in Iceland“ itinerary. On this 4-hour long guided tour, you will stroll around the city and visit six unique restaurants and shops. Despite the tour being centred around traditional Icelandic food, you will be delighted to hear that fermented shark, rams’ testicles and sheepsheads are left off the menu! Instead, you will taste the traditional Icelandic food Icelanders still enjoy today. On the menu is skyr, homemade ice cream, a hot dog from the famous Icelandic hot dog stand and much more.

If unique cuisines, local restaurants and making new friends is something you enjoy, you will definitely enjoy the Reykjavik Food Walk. Taste your way through downtown Reykjavik!

Operates:  All year, daily except Sunday
Duration:  Approximately 4 hours
Price:  £105 per person
Includes:  Local guide for walking tour and all food.  Meeting point is Harpa Concert Hall. 


SOUTH COAST TOUR from Reykjavik

Description:  The South Coast of Iceland has so much to offer. This part of the country is very rich in magnificent and diverse landscapes, ranging from vast farmlands, active volcanoes, numerous ice caps, glacier outlets and Glacier Rivers, amazing waterfalls, wide black sandy plains and beaches of black and fascinating basalt rock formations. The area is also renowned for its abundant bird life. 

This tour is rich in information about Iceland, its geology, its rich culture and its landscapes. After pick up, we start driving along highway #1. On the way, we stop to visit some of the main highlights of the south coast. These highlights include: 

  • Seljalandsfoss and Skogafoss, both of them are amazingly beautiful waterfalls that receive their water directly from Eyjafjallajokull glacier that sits on top of the volcano of the same name that erupted in 2010 and caused trouble to the air traffic in Europe at that time.
  • Reynisfjara black sandy beach. There, you discover some amazing basalt rock formations(columnar basalt) and the black volcanic sand. During summer season(from May to end of August) puffins can be seen on top of the cliffs in the area. That is one of their main breeding areas in Iceland.
  • Vik village where you have enough time to enjoy a lunch break. Here you can also visit the local wool factory before starting the drive back to Reykjavik.
  • Sólheimajökull and outlet (snout) originating from Mýrdalsjokull, Iceland´s fourth largest glacier. There, we go for a short walk to get closer to the glacier. This is one of the best examples about how fast glaciers melt due to the global warming(climate change).

Operates:  All year, Wednesday, Thursday, Friday and Sunday
Duration:  Approximately 9 hours
Price:  £110 per person
Includes:  Pick-up and drop-off at your hotel, guided tour by mini-bus. Refreshments are not included but you will be able to buy something to eat for lunch in Vik.

VARIATIONS

SOUTH COAST TOUR WITH GLACIER HIKE
This glacier hike tour will provide you with an amazing experience of the glaciers' unique environment and it is an ideal opportunity to discover the world of ice and glaciers. It is also one of the best examples to understand the impact of global warming on glaciers. 

The tour takes you to Sólheimajökull glacier on the south coast of Iceland. It is only about a 2-hour drive from Reykjavík. On the way to the glacier you will visit the magnificent waterfalls Seljalandsfoss and Skógafoss. Continue to Sólheimajökull, a glacier outlet from the fourth largest glacier in Iceland, Mýrdalsjökull. Once reaching the glacier hike base, your ice guide will provide you with safety equipment and then walks with you all the way to the glacier. After safety instruction and learning how to put on and using you crampons on ice, you start the hike. On the ice field you discover the stunning ice landscape of the glacier with many crevasses, ridges and multiform ice production.  

The glacier walk does not require any special skills, therefore, anyone in good health can enjoy amazing the experience. 

Price:  £205 per person (this also includes the South Coast excursion as detailed above). 


THE BLUE LAGOON ON ARRIVAL OR DEPARTURE from Reykjavik

Description: What better way to start or end your holiday than bathing in the famous Blue Lagoon geothermal spa to soothe and refresh body and soul? Relax in the milky-blue seawater (37-39ºC) and try out the sauna, steam bath and powerful massage waterfall. Bliss.
Operates: Daily, all year.
Duration: Length of time in the Blue Lagoon can be from 1.5 to 3 hours. The Blue Lagoon is 20 mins from Keflavik Airport and approximately 35 minutes from Reykjavik City Centre.
Price: £67 per adult, child 12-15 pay 50%, under 12 free. NB. This tour price has already been adjusted to deduct the cost of the one-way Flybus transfer which is included in all our holidays beginning and ending in Reykjavik. Those with a hire car i.e. where no transfer is included will pay £72 per person for advance booking.


WHALE WATCHING DURING THE SUMMER from Reykjavik

Description: This trip departs directly from Reykjavik Harbour which is a short walk from most of Reykjavik's city hotels. Here you will find the Visitor Centre, facilitated on board a converted fishing vessel permanently placed by the pier, which is where you will meet your crew for the day. Before (or after) the tour you can have a drink at the Whale Café or enjoy the onboard whale exhibition located in the hull of the boat. The show includes multimedia images and videos of whales as well as fun facts about the cetaceans and other marine animals you are likely to come across on the tour. 

Once on board the tour boat you will find several outdoor viewing platforms, a large indoor saloon with an on board café where you can buy light refreshments, basic bathroom facilities and a cloak room where you can borrow a blanket or overalls for cooler days. You can either stay outside in the fresh air or inside the heated lounge and observe the views from within, through large panoramic windows. One of your guides will talk about the sights and views at hand through the intercom system and will be available to answer any questions you may have throughout the tour.

Summer season (1 April - 31 October) is great for whale watching, as the wildlife in the bay is at it's highest peak! The most common cetacean in the area are the Minke whales, White-beaked dolphins and Harbour porpoises. Occasionally we spot other species including Humpback whales, Killer whales/Orcas, Fin whales and Blue whales to name but a few.

The weather can change quite frequently in Iceland and therefore we reserve the right to alter routes and itineraries by sailing from other harbours in the nearby area where the weather or sightings are more favourable each time, which could result in a slightly longer tour. Please be aware also that the tours are run in wild nature and we can never guarantee sightings on a particular tour. The estimated duration of tours are standard times and can change according to conditions at sea. Although the success rate is high, the cetacean abundance is unpredictable and varies with the food availability off-shore.
Departures:  0900, 0930, 1000, 1300, 1400, 1700, 1900, 2030
Duration:  Approximately 3 hours.
Price:  £75 per person
Includes:  Entry to the Whale Museum, guided whale safari, free use of blankets and overalls, WiFi on-board for those who can't wait to share their experience!


Who is this holiday suitable for?
That's easy, this holiday is suitable for everyone. The beauty of Iceland is that you can actually see and do an awful lot from the city centre. Some of the excursions are quite active and some are geared towards leisurely sightseeing, most of the excursions we leave as optional so that you may tailor your holiday to your own taste, ability and interest.

What is the language in Iceland?
The language of Iceland is Icelandic, the original old norse language. Don't worry though, English is the second language and is widely spoken by most people (Cable TV has helped with this enormously as they do not dub in Iceland!).

Can you recommend any good restaurants in Reykjavik?
There are lots of really great restaurants to choose from in Reykjavik's compact city centre. It really depends on what your taste is. Clearly the fish and seafood are amazing and as fresh as it comes, but did you also know that Icelandic lamb is fantastic? If you follow a meat-free or plant based diet you also have a good variety of restaurants to choose from. Rather than make individual recommendations, we are happy to supply you with a link where you will find a large variety of the restaurants and other dining and wining establishments in the city centre.

What is the weather like in Iceland in the summer?
Iceland is a North Atlantic island and the westernmost country in Europe, midway between North America and mainland Europe. As such it can suffer from wind, rain and chilly temperatures in the summer, however, it can also have beautiful, blazing sunshine.

The little pun told by Icelanders is; if you don't like the weather, just wait five minutes. Thanks to the Gulf Stream, Iceland enjoys a cool, temperate maritime climate; refreshing summers and fairly mild winters. However, the weather is also affected by the East Greenland polar current curving south-eastwards round the north and east coasts. As a result, sudden weather changes are common, and travellers should prepare accordingly. 

What sort of clothing will I need for a holiday in the summer?
We recommend you take layers rather than individual cool or warm pieces of clothing. Don't forget a good waterproof jacket/coat. A good pair of hiking boots are essential if you intend to do any walking as there can be a fair bit of uneven ground. Apart from this, take exactly the same sort of clothing as you would if having a holiday in the UK! There are no dress codes in Iceland, jeans are acceptable everywhere, but don't push your luck either...shorts and flipflops are not very respectful in quality restaurants and bars!!

Where can I exchange money?
At any bank. The banks are located in the city centre and around the city as well as at Keflavík airport. Note that the banks in Reykjavík are usually closed on weekends. You can also exchange money at the Tourist Information Centre in Aðalstræti 2, in the city centre, as well as at several hotels.

Where can I claim my tax refund?
You can claim your tax refund (15% of the retail price) at Keflavík airport, which is open during departing flights, from around 6 a.m. to 6 p.m. There are also tax refund offices in the main shopping malls at Kringlan and Smáralind. Note that the payslip for individual refunds of 5,000kr and over will need to be stamped at the customs office at Keflavík Airport. Goods purchased generating 5,000kr and over in refunds will also need to be inspected at the same time. These rules do not apply to purchases of woollen goods.

What is the time difference in Iceland?
Iceland is on Greenwich Mean Time (GMT) throughout the year. However, unlike most of Europe, summer daylight-saving time is not observed in Iceland.

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