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22nd February 2018
Its diverse landscape often makes Iceland difficult to describe, but ‘lunar’ and ‘Mars-like’ are words which we feel suit it best...
On this fabulous driving holiday there are plenty of opportunities to stop off at long sandy beaches, spectacular rock formations, lava fields, craters, high-temperature geothermal areas, Europe’s most powerful waterfall and pretty fishing villages and see amazing bird life - including the opportunity to go whale watching!
If you recognise any of the places you see, that's probably because you've seen them in films!
Arrive Keflavik Airport and collect your hire car. Drive through lava fields, via Reykjavik, heading northwards taking the subsea tunnel under Hvalfjörður (Whale Fjord) to the mountainous Akranes peninusula. Across the Borgarfjörður by Iceland´s second longest bridge to Borgarnes then north-west, via Eldborg crater and lava fields, for the stunning drive along the southern shore of the Snæfellsnes peninsula to the luxury Hotel Buðir. (137 miles).
2 nights BUÐIR - Hotel Buðir (B,D)
Explore the Snaefellsnes peninsula. Continue clockwise around the peninsula encircling the mighty 1446 m high Snæfellsjökull (Snow Mountain Glacier), which is actually a 700 000 year-old strato volcano with a glacier covering its summit and made famous in Jules Verne’s novel, A Journey to the Centre of the Earth.
Head northwards through an everchanging patchwork of mountains, plains, lakes, rivers marshland and lava fields to the pretty fishing town of Siglufjörður, surrounded by steep mountains. This is also Iceland’s most northerly town with the Arctic Circle, only 25 miles away (243 miles).
2 nights SIGLUFJÖRÐUR - Siglo Hotel (B,D)
A free day to explore your beautiful surroundings at leisure.
Continue clockwise around the peninsula via two road tunnels (11 km in total) to Akureyri then eastwards on the ‘Ring Road’ to Reykjahið on the northern shore of Lake Myvatn (109 miles).
3 nights MÝVATN - Hotel Laxá (HB)
This area is brimming with spectacular landscapes and views. We highly recommend visiting Dettifoss, Europe’s most powerful waterfall, and one of the major attractions on the Diamond Circle route.
Why not soak in Mývatn Nature Baths or join the whale safari from Húsavik? See Optional Activities.
Drop off your hire car at Akureyri Airport before your 45 mins flight to Reykjavik Domestic Airport. Take a taxi to your nearby hotel and have the rest of the day to soak up Reykjavik’s quirky atmosphere.
1 night REYKJAVIK - Hotel Reykjavik Centrum (BB)
Airport bus from your hotel to Keflavik Airport for your return flight to the UK.
Departure Day: Daily
Departure Dates: 1 May - 30 September
Duration: 8 nights
Price per person: Please call 01274 875199 for a quotation for this holiday
Not included (to be paid locally)
Airport Service Charge of 5400 ISK (approx £28) and an Environmental fee of 650 ISK (approx £3.50)
Hotel Buðir ****
Hotel Búðir is one of the finest hotels in the country and without a doubt set in one of the most beautiful places in Iceland. This elegant hotel is in a league of its own, boasting all amenities, a charming atmosphere, great service, and a restaurant renowned for its exquisite cuisine.
Located at the edge of the Snaefellsjokull National Park with the glacier at the center of the park, Hotel Búðir a perfect place to explore the wild Icelandic elements. Snaefellsjokull became world famous when Jules Verne used it as a "gateway to the center of the earth" in his book "Journey to the center of the earth".
Hotel Laxá is a stylish new hotel that was opened in summer 2014. All rooms are decorated in contemporary Scandic design with wooden floors and excellent facilities in a prime location by Lake Mývatn. From the hotel, you can enjoy uninterrupted views of Mother Nature, including River Laxá.
When you're not out exploring, you can relax in the hotel's lounge and bar, or enjoy a delicious meal in the restaurant whilst at the same time admiring the beauty of your surroundings.
At the newly opened Siglo Hotel, enjoy its inspiring location and relaxing environment with a classic and romantic design. All rooms have views over the beautiful surrounding mountains and marina and from the cosy windowseat you can watch life go by in this quiet little haven in north Iceland. The rooms are very spacious and decorated with pictures from Siglufjords Photo Museum spanning its history and culture. And after a long day of sightseeing you also have access to the hotel's outdoor spas and sauna - highly recommended!
HOTEL REYKJAVIK CENTRUM (4 star) - Reykjavik
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.
West and North Iceland Explorer
We have the following suggestions for things to see and do during your trip.
Why not visit the small but rather unique Shark Museum nestling amongst a spectacular landscape of lava fields nearby Stykkishólmur. You have the oppoortunity to try the delicacy 'hákarl', better known as rotten shark! To see how the meat is prepared using traditional methods don't forget to go to the drying shed behind the museum, but beware of the smell!
Gentle Giants Whale Safari
Experience a thrilling whale watching tour from Húsavik considered the 'whale watching capital of Europe'.
Price £49 per person.
Lake Mývatn Nature Baths
After an active day of sightseeing, relax and unwind at Mývatn Nature Baths. These unique geothermal pools are North Iceland’s very own ‘Blue Lagoon’ but on a smaller, more intimate scale. Open until midnight in summer for those who like a relaxing soak before bedtime! Located just a short drive from hotel Laxá.
Price: Approx £20 per person (Pay locally)
Diamond Circle Route
South Iceland has the famous Golden Circle route but North Iceland has the more hidden treasures along the Diamond Circle route! Drive northwards from Akureyri to Húsavik, where numerous whale-watching trips are available (see above), then around the beautiful Tjörnes peninsula to Ásbryegi, a horse-shoe shaped 100 m wide canyon before heading southwards to Europe's most powerful waterfall, Dettifoss. Then to the surreal Lake Mývatn area with its many attractions such as the weird lava formations at Dimmubogir, Viti explosion crater and Namafjall Hverir geothermal area with its bubbling mud pools and fumaroles and not forgetting the Mývatn Nature Baths, very similar to the Blue Lagoon! Lastly, finishing up at Goðafoss - waterfall of the gods.
Who is this holiday suitable for?
People who love the freedom of having a car and enjoy their own independence.
Want to know more about driving in Iceland?
This animated video shows you exactly what to expect, and provides tips and road rules.