Iceland Summer Discovery
- Reykjavik and the Golden Circle
- Gullfoss, Seljalandfoss, Skogafoss and Godafoss Waterfalls
- Reynisfjara beach and the Puffin colonies of Dyrhólaey
- Vatnajökull National Park and the Jökulsárlón glacier lagoon
- Puffins at Ingolfshofdi
- Lake Myvatn with Dettifoss Waterfall and Asbyrgi Canyon
- Snaefellsness Peninsula and whale-watching boat cruise
- Thingvellir National Park
- Blue Lagoon
Summer in Iceland is the brightest and most colourful season. In July, when we will visit, the sun rises at around 02h00 and sets again at 00h30 in the north of the island, while in Reykjavik the sun rises at around 03h00 and sets at 23h55. With longer, clearer, and warmer days, it is the best time of year for a road trip around the entire island to see places that are harder to reach in winter.
The wonder of Iceland is that even if you visit in the middle of summer, you can still explore the glaciers and while you won’t see the Northern Lights, there are many other sights to look forward to like the massive colonies of puffins that descend on the island to breed.
It is also the best time of year to spot humpback whales, minkes and dolphins and if you’re lucky, orcas and blue whales. The roads are more accessible, nature is in bloom, the weather is mild (but unpredictable, so prepare for four seasons in one day), travelling around is easy and you will have the perfect light for your pictures at all hours of the day, quite literally.
Join us from 18 to 27 July 2022 as we discover Iceland in summer.
DAY 1: REYKJAVIK
Welcome to Iceland! Upon arrival you will transfer from Keflavik international airport to Reykjavik. Our hotel is situated in the heart of the city. Depending on our arrival time, we meet our guide for an informative, yet relaxed walking tour including visits to the Harpa Concert Hall and the impressive Hallgrímskirkja Church.
Enjoy a welcome dinner at a local restaurant in the harbour.
Overnight at the Hotel Room with a View or similar, including dinner.
DAY 2: GOLDEN CIRCLE AND SOUTH SHORE
In the morning we will head out of the city, first inland to view steaming geysers before travelling towards the shoreline to view some of Iceland’s most iconic waterfalls and ending on the impressive coast.
First, we travel to Haukadalur where we see steam rising from the Geysir geothermal fields before we even arrive. The original geyser is now dormant, but Strokkur "the Churn" erupts at five to 10-minute intervals.
Next up is Gullfoss waterfall, only a few minutes away – an incredible double waterfall that tumbles 34 meters into the Hvítá river. It is called the Golden Waterfall in English and it is during the summer months that visitors can see why.
From here we head toward the coast and stop to view the high, but narrow, Seljalandsfoss waterfall which plunges over a mountain.
Skogafoss Waterfall, one of the largest waterfalls in Iceland, located near the small village of Skógar, is our next stop. This awe-inspiring torrent drops an impressive 60 meters and is one of the most photographed waterfalls in Iceland.
After lunch we head towards the black lava beach and the bird cliffs at Reynisfjara beach and we end our day at Dyrhólaey to catch our first glimpse of one of many puffin colonies that call Iceland home during the summer months.
Dyrhólaey Rock Arch is an enormous landmark that curves out from a row of cliffs into the tumultuous ocean. Up close, you will see that it has unusual, hexagonal basalt columns, rare formations that can only be found in a few places around the world and a great example of Iceland’s dramatic landscapes, shaped over millennia by fire and water. It is possible to approach the arch both from the beach and from atop the cliffs, and both vantage points will reveal to you the vast puffin colony that nests here throughout summer.
Overnight and dinner at Hotel Katla or similar, including breakfast, lunch, and dinner.
DAY 3: SOUTH EAST ICELAND
After breakfast we head across the serene Eldhraun lava field. Eldhraun, created in one of the greatest volcano eruptions in recorded history. We'll make a stop in the charming town of Kirkjubæjarklaustur to view Kirkjugólf, also known as ‘the Church Floor’. It's an approx. 80 m² expanse of columnar basalt, eroded and shaped by glaciers and waves. The hexagonal ‘tiles’ look every bit as if they were man-made flooring but there has never been a church or any other building on the site. Basalt is formed when lava flow gets cooled and contraction forces build up. Cracks then form horizontally and the extensive fracture network that develops results in the six-sided formation of the columns.
Much of our time over the next few days will be spent in the Vatnajökull National Park which is the largest National Park in Europe at about 12,000 square kilometres.
We start with some more puffins! Ingolfshofdi is a remote peninsula on the coast halfway between Skaftafell in the vast Vatnajökull National Park and the Jökulsárlón glacier lagoon, where we will head later today. This historical nature reserve is home of thousands of nesting seabirds, like puffins and great skuas. The peninsula is named after the first settler of Iceland, Ingolfur Arnarson, who spent his first winter in the country here in the year 874 AD.
Our mode of transport to reach Ingolfshofdi is a tractor-drawn haycart driven by a local guide. It is a 6-kilometre drive across marshlands and on arrival we take an easy walk along the cape. Our guide will tell stories and explain the birdlife as we carefully navigate the nesting grounds.
Please note that the circle hike around the nature reserve is 2-3 km long. In the beginning we need to walk up a steep sand slope, and then through rocky terrain, but then it gets easier, mostly hiking on flat grassland and we make many stops along the way. We don't recommend that guests participate in this activity unless they can walk unaided.
From here we travel to the picturesque Jökulsárlón glacial lagoon filled with floating icebergs, the black sandy beach below called the "Diamond" beach where you can see stranded icebergs glittering like diamonds along the coast. We enjoy a boat cruise on the glacier lagoon, sailing among the giant icebergs.
After a full and exciting day, we head to our hotel in Höfn for dinner.
Overnight at Fosshotel Vatnajökull or similar, including breakfast, lunch and dinner.
DAY 4: EAST FJORDS TO SEYDISFJORDUR
Morning departure from hotel. From the town of Höfn we drive through Almannaskard pass, with its dramatic coastline. The scenic East Fjords are one of the oldest areas in Iceland. Visit Petra’s Museum of local stones and minerals, this is a unique and quirky collection built by a local enthusiast and collector, Petra Sveinsdóttir.
Our destination today is Seydisfjordur, nestled between Mt. Bjólfur (1085m) and Strandartindur (1010m). This tranquil town has a relaxed atmosphere and is known for its many original early 19th-century timber houses and picturesque setting around the lagoon. The town stretches along the south side of the fjord, but along the shoreline, you can find access to the sea, rocky beaches, a puffin colony and ruins of former war activity.
Overnight at Hotel Aldan or similar, including breakfast, lunch and dinner.
DAY 5: LAKE MÝVATN AREA
Prepare for some unique and extraordinary landscapes today. Driving the mountain road over a desert plateau we reach the Lake Mývatn area.
We visit the thundering Dettifoss, known as “the Beast” (in comparison to “the Beauty” of Godafoss, which we will visit tomorrow) and reputed to be the second-most powerful waterfall in Europe after Switzerland’s Rhine Falls. It drops 45 metres into Iceland’s largest canyon, the Jokulsargljufur Canyon. Situated on the Jokulsa a Fjollum river, which flows from the Vatnajökull glacier, Dettifoss still lies within the Vatnajökull National Park.
Ásbyrgi Canyon is a spectacular horseshoe-shaped depression in the northeast of Iceland, steeped in folklore, and our next stop today. The canyon has 100-metre-high cliff faces surrounding a thick woodland of birch and willow trees below – a site that is extremely unique for Iceland.
From here we head to Námaskarð, an area like nowhere else with Martian landscapes, boiling sulfuric mud pools and other-worldly colours. Explore the bizarre lava formations at Dimmuborgir and the pseudo craters at Skutustadir and Laxa river before we end our day in the luxury of the Lake Mývatn nature baths.
Overnight at Fosshotel Mývatn or similar, including breakfast, lunch and dinner.
DAY 6: MÝVATN – AKUREYRI – SIGLUFJÖRDUR
Today’s first stop is Godafoss, also known as the Waterfall of the Gods, one of the most enchanting falls in Iceland. This elegant horseshoe-shaped waterfall sits between Lake Myvatn and Akureyri, just off the Ring Road. From hear we head to Akureyi, the capital of the North. It lies just 100 kilometres away from the Arctic Circle and is Iceland’s second-largest urban area with a population of about 17,800.
For the rest of the day we travel away from the beaten path and into the region northwest of Akureyri, between the fjords of Skagafjörður and Eyjafjöður. This scenic route is steeped in rich history and offers a glimpse into small-town Icelandic life. Steep-sided mountains drop into the fjords on either side of the Tröllaskagi (Troll Peninsula) with deep green valleys, lush pastures, natural hot pools, far-flung farmhouses, and historic towns between them.
Our destination is the small fishing town of Siglufjördur, set in a narrow fjord with the same name, and Iceland’s northernmost town on the mainland.
Overnight and dinner at Hotel Siglo or similar, including breakfast, lunch, and dinner.
DAY 7: SIGLUFJÖRDUR – BORGARNES
Before leaving the charming village of Siglufjördur this morning we will first visit the Herring Era Museum. The museum is Iceland’s largest maritime and industrial museum, where visitors can get to know the herring fishery and processing industry that underpinned Iceland’s economy for much of the twentieth century. Three very different museum buildings provide visitors with an insight into the captivating herring industry. The Róaldsbrakki is a Norwegian herring station dating back to 1907. Most of this building is as it was in the past, when herring girls (referring to the women who mostly worked in the factories) lived in the building throughout the summer. Grána is an example of a small herring factory of the 1930s and visitors can see the workings of the reduction industry, which has long been seen as Iceland’s first major industry. The Boathouse seeks to recreate a portion of a herring port, with the fleet alongside one evening in 1950 and allows visitors to mull over what it must have been like to walk the quaysides around the middle of the last century.
After our visit we head south, visiting the Glaumbær Turf Museum before heading for Borgarnes. En-route we will enjoy an Icelandic horse show and learn about the special traits of these unique horses and the fifth gait - the tölt. We continue to the town of Blönduós. The great glacial river Blanda flows through the town. Blanda is the longest and the most powerful salmon river in Iceland.
Our last stop of this eventful day is in the charming town of Borgarnes, where we will spend the next two nights.
Overnight at the Hotel Borgarnes or similar including breakfast, lunch, and dinner.
DAY 8: SNAEFELLSNESS PENINSULA
The Snæfellsnes Peninsula sticks out from Iceland’s west coast and is in many ways a miniature of the whole island. We travel along the peninsula to the northern side where we visit Stykkishólmur. From the harbour in Stykkishólmur we take a boat tour in the Breidafjördur fjord, where whales are often spotted. This activity is weather dependent.
We visit Grundarfjördur with its impressive coastline and mountains, lakes, and waterfalls behind the village. Here you will also find one of Iceland´s most photographed mountains, Kirkjufell.
Enjoy a packed lunch at a spot chosen by our guide.
We will explore the peninsula with our guide taking in its incredible landscape and views of the Snaefellsjokull glacier. Time-permitting, the guide will also take us to the beautiful Skardsvik beach with its golden sands and black lava rocks. Return to the hotel for dinner and overnight.
Overnight at the Hotel Borgarnes or similar including breakfast, lunch, and dinner
DAY 9: VALLEY OF BORGARFJÖRÐUR – THINGVELLIR – BLUE LAGOON - KEFLAVIK
We start heading south to the Borgarfjordur district. Borgarfjordur has a rich history and is known as the Saga valley. Our day includes a visit to Deildartunguhver, Europe's most powerful hot spring producing 180 litres per second of nearly boiling water at 97° Celsius. From here we continue to the beautiful Hraunfossar which pours from a lava field in a series of waterfalls.
Before we head back to Reykjavik, we make one final stop. No visit to Iceland is complete without a stroll in the Thingvellir National Park, a UNESCO World Heritage site. The island, which is still expanding by about 5 cm per year, owes its existence to a volcanic hotspot created by a fissure in the Mid-Atlantic Ridge, where the Eurasian and American tectonic plates meet. It is at Thingvellir National Park where this is evident in a spectacular and understandable way. You can almost see the rift with the naked eye.
In the evening we will end our tour with a visit to the famous Blue Lagoon, surrounded by lava fields.
After a relaxing swim we enjoy a traditional Icelandic dinner at the amazing Lava Restaurant.
Overnight at the Hotel Berg or similar including breakfast, lunch, and dinner
DAY 10: DEPARTURE
Sadly, today marks the end of our incredible journey. After an early/ packed breakfast and hotel check-out, we transfer to the airport for our onward departure flight.
Including breakfast (may be a packed breakfast, depending on flight departure time)
END OF SERVICE
18 July 2022 - 27 July 2022
LAND PACKAGE COST:
Per person sharing: EUR 4,320.00
Single Supplement: EUR 590.00
LAND PACKAGE COST INCLUDES:
- Meet and greet upon arrival
- Services of a qualified English-speaking local driver guide
- All transfers in an air-conditioned vehicle
- 09 Nights’ accommodation
- All meals (9 breakfasts, 8 lunches and 9 dinners)
- All sightseeing and excursions as specified, including:
- Amphibian Boat Tour on Jökulsárlón glacial lagoon
- Lake Myvatn geothermal bathing entrance with towel
- Era Herring Museum Siglufjördur
- Glaumbær Turf House Museum
- Icelandic Horse Show
- Whale-watching fjord cruise from Stykkisholmur
- Blue Lagoon geothermal bathing entrance with towel and drink
LAND PACKAGE COST EXCLUDES:
- All domestic and international flights and airport taxes (quoted separately)
- Visa Fees
- Driver guide and local escort gratuities (approx. EUR 60 per person)
- Any items of a personal nature such as telephone bill, curios, and laundry
- Comprehensive travel insurance
- Any expenses related to mandatory COVID-19 government health requirements
- This tour requires a minimum of eight (8) participents to offer it at the quoted price.
- South African passport holders require a Schengen visa to enter Iceland.
- All travellers to Iceland must be fully vaccinated and will require proof of a negative COVID-19 PCR test not older than 72 hours.
- South Africa requires proof of a negative COVID-19 PCR test result not older than 72 hours on return. The cost for this test in Iceland is currently approx. EUR 50 per person.
- Mandatory COVID-19 government health requirements are subject to change with no prior notice.
- Prices for flights, airport taxes or park fees may be changed without prior notice. This is beyond our control and any increase levied will be for the traveller’s account.