Grand Iceland Tour – Thursday 23rd June to Sunday 10th July 2022
Accommodation and Draft Outline Itinerary
Thursday 23rd June
We arrive during the afternoon at Keflavik airport where we will collect our transport, these being a 15 seater Mercedes 4WD minibus and a 5 seater Toyota Rav 4WD.
My drivers (who are an integral part of the group) will drive us to the outskirts of Reykjavik to check into our hotel /guesthouse. Once settled, there will be an opportunity to visit and use the new sea spa local to Reykjavik. The evening will be spent in Reykjavik with a dinner at a recommended restaurant near the port. We shall return to our accommodation by our transport around midnight.
Friday 24th June
We shall spend the morning with a further optional tour of Reykjavik and then go to view the new volcanic eruption and explore the Reykjanes Peninsular. We shall stay at the delightful Northern Light Inn which sits on the volcanic Reykjanes Peninsula less than an hour from Reykjavik. Rooms are comfortable and are geothermally heated, making this a cosy bolthole. A stay here is all about the panoramic views of moss-covered lava fields. The hotel also has a Wellness Spa and gym.
Guests should be aware that the Northern Light Inn is situated not far from a geo-thermal plant and can be seen from parts of the hotel complex. This plant which forms part of the Blue Lagoon complex, not only provides clean, green energy but also supplies the water to the lagoon. Local dining options, include the hotel restaurant and the nearby Lava Restaurant at the Blue Lagoon. Access to the hotel spa is for an additional cost although we are endeavouring to obtain discounted passes for the group.
Saturday 25th June
Heading north and west to the Snaefellsnes peninsula we will stop at Djupalonssandur (black sand beach), Ytri Tunga (seal colony), Arnarstapi (a wonderful walk along the cliffs), Saxholl (crater) and Kirkjufell mountain. There may be opportunities to hike on the lower slopes of the Snaefellsjokull volcano itself. This prominent volcano was the supposed location of the Journey to the Centre of the Earth by Jules Verne.
We shall stay at the Fosshotel , located in the charming town of Stykkishólmur on the north side of the beautiful Snæfellsnes Peninsula. The hotel offers simply furnished and comfortable en suite rooms and a restaurant with spectacular views of Breiðafjörður Bay. A golf course and swimming pool are nearby.
Sunday 26th June
We take the ferry from Stykkisholmur to Brjanslaekur and explore the southern part of the North Western Fjords. An itinerary for the day will be provided by Discover The World (DTW).
Fosshotel Westfjords is located in the small fishing village of Patreksfjörður. All rooms have en suite bathroom, Wi-Fi, flatscreen tv, phone and offer views over the fjord or the mountains. The hotel has a restaurant and bar. Decor is contemporary and Scandinavian in style.
Monday 27th June
We continue north, exploring Latrabjarg bird cliffs and the village of Bildudalur. Once again DTW will provide an itinerary.
We will reach the Fisherman Hotel in Suðureyri for two nights stay. The hotel offers a variety of simple and well-equipped accommodation, mostly with private facilities. The restaurant specialises in fish, as you might expect, and also serves a buffet-style breakfast.
Tuesday 28th June
We will explore the North West Fjords, including Isafjordur, Flateyri and the Dynjandi Waterfall. A detailed itinerary is being prepared for us by DTW. We stay the night again at The Fisherman’s Hotel.
Wednesday 29th June
We will continue to travel along the NW Fjords and eventually leave this amazing part of Iceland and eventually reach Laugarbakki. On the way, we will stop at Holmavik for a whale watching tour. This is a new and very exciting venture, in a remote, but beautiful and unspoilt part of Iceland, with the most acrobatic species of whales. The fjord outside Hólmavík is known to host many humpback whales in the summer. Humpbacks are the favourite species for many whale watchers around the world, as they are the most playful, acrobatic and curious of all whales. Other species we can expect to see are minke whales and white-beaked dolphins. Occasional visitors are blue whales, orcas, pilot whales and possibly even sperm whales.
Located in a small village just off Iceland's Route 1 in North West Iceland, Hotel Laugarbakki is a comfortable hotel offering a restaurant serving local food. The hotel also features outdoor hot tubs.
Thursday 30th June
We drive to Siglufjordur, the most northerly town in Iceland. It’s set amongst spectacular mountain and fjord scenery and has been the setting for several Scandi TV dramas. We will visit Skagafjordur and the town of Hofsos on the way.
Siglunes Guesthouse is located in the heart of Siglufjörður and is the oldest guesthouse in the village. A combination of the old traditional cosy interior with a selection of Icelandic art to give guests a temporarily home. The ensuite rooms are all located on the second and third floor. There is a restaurant that is open for breakfast and dinner. as well as a bar and lounge. (We may eat out at one of the popular vibrant restaurants)
Friday 1st June
We head South and East to the popular Lake Myvatn, and on the way, visiting Dalvik, Akureyri and Godafoss. There will be an opportunity to explore Akureyri , the 2nd largest city in Iceland. This evening, we will experience a visit to the Myvatn Nature Baths which is the north of Iceland's answer to the Blue Lagoon. Set amongst a landscape of black lava and steaming craters, the silica-rich powder-blue water of this geothermal lake averages 35-40°C. Bathing here at any time of year is exhilarating and all part of the Iceland experience. You will have a locker in the changing rooms and access to the bathing area, steam bath, lagoon and hot tub.
We will stay at Myvatn for 3 nights in Vogafjós, a warm and cosy family-owned guesthouse close to the lake. Rooms are all en suite spread across three log houses. Traditional Icelandic breakfast is served in the cowshed cafe/restaurant a few minutes' walk from the guesthouses. While having breakfast you can watch the cows being milked and even taste the fresh warm milk. Lunch and dinner are also served here, with local ingredients and delicacies featuring on the menu. We also have some accommodation at Dimmuborgir. This guesthouse is on the banks of Lake Mývatn with a variety of accommodation. We have a private log cottage with access to kitchen facilities. The main house has free Wi-Fi, TV and the breakfast hall with beautiful views across the lake. We shall all eat dinners at Vogafjos or in local restaurants around the lake over the 3 evenings.
Saturday 2nd July
Myvatn - A circular tour exploring Husavik, Laxa Valley, Asbergi, Jokulsa Canyon and Dettifoss waterfall with several fascinating hikes interspersed.
Sunday 3rd July
Myvatn Exploring around the Lake, including Dimmuborgir, Namaskard, Krafla, the volcano Hverfjall and the strange pseudocraters. Also, an ideal opportunity for cycling and again some superb hiking in a variety of volcanic scenery.
Monday 4th July
We will drive off-road to the volcano and crater lake of Askja via the Herbubreid Volcano. This is the wildest part of the Tour, with some technical off-road driving. You will see the desert interior – the region has the lowest rainfall in Iceland being in the rain-shadow of the Vatnajokull, the 3rd largest icecap in the world ( Greenland and Antarctica being the largest). We will hike to the volcano rim and back. Accommodation will be simple in dormitories at the Dreki Mountain Huts. There are cooking facilities for dinner and breakfast which we will organise ourselves.
Tuesday 5th July
We travel to Seydisfjordur, on the East Coast exploring Kverkfjoll ice cave on the way if we have time, and the Hengifoss waterfall.
The Aldon hotel dates back to the 19th century. This charming hotel - formerly the Bank of Seydisfjordur - has just nine rooms, all with en suite bathrooms, wifi and television. Due to this historic building's layout, the delightful rooms vary considerably in shape and size, with antique furniture (and even a bed) tucked into the eaves, and skylights in the sloping ceilings. We shall take over the complete hotel for the night. We shall dine in the hotel's restaurant - located on the site of one of Iceland's oldest shops.
Wednesday 6th July
We follow the East fjords southwards as we make our way to Skaftafell via the Oxi Valley. Just before Skaftafell, we shall stop at the Jokulsarlon glacier lagoon and marvel as the Icebergs floating past and out to sea via Diamond Beach. Boat tours on Jokulsarlon are possibly available (at extra cost). Offering basic accommodation in a fantastic location, Hotel Skaftafell has a breathtaking mountain back drop and is only a five-minute drive from Vatnajökull National Park. With plenty of activities and hiking trails in the area, the hotel is the ideal base from which to explore this spectacular region, taking excursions into the park, out onto the glacier or to stunning local waterfalls. The hotel has a restaurant and bar with great views.
Thursday 7th July
We spend all day exploring the National Park with its still huge glaciers (albeit smaller now due to global warming), including the Svartifoss Waterfall.
Friday 8th July
We head for Hrauneyjar via Landmannalaugar. The off-road route from Route 1 to Landmannalaugar is a spectacular twisting road through the remote Southern Highlands. There will be an opportunity to relax in the natural hot springs at Landmannalaugar and a hike into the colourful Rhyolite Mountains before heading to the resort local to this remarkable region.
Hrauneyjar Resort sits at the edge of Iceland's most impressive and active volcanic area and the vast and untouched interior. Rooms are simple private bathrooms and showers. A sauna is available for guests, and the restaurant provides good value, hearty food based on traditional Icelandic dishes as well as fast food style snacks.
Saturday 9th July
We will explore the Southern Highlands today, including Pjorsmork and views of the Eyjafjallajokull Icecap and its volcano which caused that aviation havoc in 2010. We may even return to Landmannalaugar for a further hike in the multicoloured Rhyolite area. We shall return to Hrauneyjar resort for our final night.
Sunday 10th July
We will make our way to Keflavik for our flight home (or Reykjavik for those staying on), via Hekla and Katla volcanoes and if time a visit to Thingvellir, the fault line between the European/African and American tectonic plates.