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IC4 Lunar landscapes and barren beauty TOUR

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TOUR HIGHLIGHTS:

Enjoy the 'classic' route around Iceland: a 'full-circle' journey giving the traveller an in-depth touring experience; Boat tour on Jokulsarlon Glacial Lagoon; Explore the unique beauty of Lake Myvatn and its surroundings Whale watching trip in Husavik: one of the whale-watching capitals of the world; Snaefellsnes Peninsula tour with its enchanting landscape brimming with lava caves, waterfalls and mineral hot springs; The spectacular west coast of Greenland - early settlement remains, icebergs, wildlife

  • DATES & PRICES
  • FULL ITINERARY
  • MAP & HOTELS
  • TRIP INFORMATION

Dates & Prices

To book this tour, please refer to the sidebar ►

Prices are in US Dollars (USD), before taxes (if applicable) - All pricing reflects per-person Land Only expenses, however, we can book flights from virtually every city. Please call us for an air quote.


Start DateEnd DatePriceMore Info
Sat 30 Jul 2016Mon 15 Aug 2016 $10390

Optional Single Supplement: $1627 (number of singles limited).
This tour may require a mandatory single supplement charge of $832, if twin-sharing accommodation is unavailable.


Tour Overview


Join us true Icelandic experience: icecaps, geysers, whale watching and much more! Iceland is a destination like no other, with glorious landscapes and extraordinary geographical phenomena at every turn. We will circumnavigate the entire country in order to experience the natural wonders of its incredible geology, all of which we explore thoroughly on our 'full-circle' route. Our extension to Greenland features the west coast of the world's largest island, with its deep icy fjords and soaring glaciers, quaint towns and villages, and fascinating traces of human activity dating back centuries.

Regions visited: Western Europe
Countries visited: Iceland and Greenland


Testimonials


I loved Iceland and Greenland and I appreciate that AA takes the time to really explore a country and to make the trips somewhat physically active.

Full Itinerary

To book this tour, please refer to the sidebar ►

Day 1 Arrive in Reykjavik
Arrival in Reykjavik. After settling into the hotel you may have free time to explore the city on your own.

The first people known to have inhabited Iceland were Irish monks or hermits who came in the eighth century, but left with the arrival of the pagan Norsemen, who systematically settled Iceland in the period AD 870 - 930. Iceland was thus the last European country to be settled. Iceland is Europe's second largest island (103,000 sq. km), and the present population is approximately 320,000. More than half of this population lives in or around the capital, Reykjavik. The rest of the population is dispersed around the coastal fringes, leaving the highland center of the country uninhabited.

Overnight in Reykjavik.

Meal plan: dinner

Day 2 Reykjavik City Tour & Blue Lagoon
This morning we will enjoy a city tour of Reykjavik, the world's northernmost capital, and one of the newest, having established itself only in the late 19th century. Our sightseeing tour will include a visit to the Old town and the Old Town harbour. The Old Town is centered around the Tjornin, a small pond on whose shores, Ingolfur Arnarson, founded the original settlement in 874. It is here where both the Town Hall and Althing, or National Assembly, is located.

At the National Museum of Iceland we will learn about the Norse and Icelandic culture. This museum houses objects of religious and folk relics, and tools dating from the period of settlement. On our tour we will enjoy a short walk along seafront, and we will also see the city Cathedral, the City Hall and the House of Parliament.

We include an afternoon visit to Blue Lagoon before returning to Reykjavik for dinner.

Overnight in Reykjavik.

Meal plan: breakfast,dinner

Day 3 Geysir - Gullfoss Waterfall - South Shore - Vik
This morning we depart from Reykjavik and head towards some of the best-known natural phenomena in Iceland, a region often referred to as the Golden Circle. After passing through the village of Hveragerdi we will explore Gullfoss, the 'Golden Waterfall'. We then head to the nearby geothermal area spouting the hot springs of Geysir and Strokkur. This region is famous for its numerous hot springs and boiling mud pools.

We then continue along the south shore past the Eyjafjallajokull* ice cap, famous for its eruption in early 2010. The glacier feeds many beautiful waterfalls and we visit two of them, stopping to admire the enchanting waterfalls of Seljalandsfoss and Skogafoss before continuing to the village of Vik.

We will also enjoy a Jeep tour on Vatnajokull Glacier. Vatnajokull, translating as "glacier of rivers", is the largest glacier in Iceland and is located in the southeast of the country. At 8,100 square kilometres it is the second largest glacier in Europe and the average thickness of the ice is an incredible 400m. Under the glacier are numerous active volcanoes.

* A NOTE on Icelandic place names and spelling: the written Icelandic language relies on many special characters that are not necessarily compatible with many internationally used computer programs, most notably those responsible for the text on our website. While our preference is to render local place names as accurately as possible, for the sake of clarity, we have transliterated some special characters to their closest phonetic equivalent with our apologies to our Icelandic hosts.

Overnight in the Vik area.

Meal plan: breakfast,dinner

Day 4 Vik - Skaftafell National Park - Jokulsarlon Glacial Lagoon - Hofn
Upon departure this morning we will make a short visit to the black sand beach south of Vik. We then cross Eldhraun, the largest mass of lava ever to flow on the face of the earth, before reaching the small village Kirkjubaejarklaustur, a former site of a 12th-century Catholic convent. Even before the times of first Norse settlement in Iceland, Irish monks are thought to have lived here. Since 1186, a well-known convent of Benedictine nuns was located in Kirkjubaejarklaustur, until the Reformation in 1550.

Our tour continues over Skeidararsandur sands to Skaftafell National Park. We continue on to the breathtaking Jokulsarlon Glacial Lagoon to see the birthplace of icebergs. We will have some time to view this stunning area before we take a boat tour on the glacial lagoon. Jokulsarlon started to form in the early 1920's and is getting bigger every year. You will see many amazing blocks of ice that have broken off Europe's biggest glacier, Vatnajokull, and sail slowly towards the ocean, which is only a kilometer away.

Overnight in the Hofn area.

Meal plan: breakfast,dinner

Day 5 Hofn - East Fjords - Egilsstadir
Today we drive through some spectacular fjord scenery and visit charming fishing villages as we head to the capital of east Iceland, Egilsstadir. We will drive from Hofn through the Almannaskard pass, and stop and admire the majestic coastline.

We move on to witness the towering mountains plunging vertically into the sea that form the magnificent East Fjords. This stunning mountain region has been sculpted as much by glaciers as volcanic activity. The spectacular road winds from one fjord to another, passing a few farms in each fjord where there is enough flat land for hayfields. The bird life is rich and in late summer thousands of molting whooper swans feed in the sheltered lagoon of Alftafjordur (Swan fjord).

Along our route we will make a stop at Petra's stone collection in Stodvarfjordur. The area surrounding the town is abundant with different types of rocks and minerals, and many examples of these are displayed at this museum.

Overnight in the Egilsstadir area.

Meal plan: breakfast,dinner

Day 6 Egilsstadir - Jokulsargljufur - Asbyrgi - Husavik
Today we will explore the empty vastness of the highland desert plateau Modrudalsoraefi before heading to the wonderful Jokulsargljufur Canyon National Park, visiting sites such as the most powerful waterfall in Europe, Dettifoss and the horseshoe-shaped canyon Asbyrgi. Prepare yourself to be amazed by the unique natural beauty of Husavik, the hub of northeast Iceland. A Swedish Viking, Gardar Svavarsson, first settled this charming fishing village in 870. The name Husavik means "Bay of Houses" and is believed to be one of the oldest local names in the country.

Overnight in Husavik.

Meal plan: breakfast,dinner

Day 7 Husavik Whale Watching - Godafoss - Akureyri
Today we will begin the day with a whale-watching trip from Husavik. This is a beautiful coastal town and the 'whale watching capital of Europe'. Most commonly sighted are Minke whales and white beaked dolphins, but with luck we may see others such as humpbacks and even the giant blue whale. We will also be sure to visit the local Whale Museum.

Later we head towards the bustling northern port of Akureyri with a stop at the magnificent Godafoss waterfall and one of Iceland's best preserved turf farms at Laufas, dating from 1865. Akureyri, the 'Capital of the North', boasts some of the finest timber buildings in the country, beautifully restored to their original glory.

You will have time to explore the center of this charming town with its many galleries and shops. Located 60 km south of the Arctic Circle, this is the cultural, commercial and educational centre for northern Iceland. This northerly town is remarkably green and has the northernmost botanical garden in the world.

Overnight in Akureyri.

Meal plan: breakfast,dinner

Day 8 Akureyri - Lake Myvatn - Akureyri
Today will be spent exploring the Lake Myvatn and its surroundings.

The lake and its surrounding wetlands, created by a large basaltic lava eruption, have an exceptionally rich fauna of waterbirds. Laxa River, one of the most bountiful and sought after fishing rivers of the country, runs from Myvatn.

This is an area of natural beauty, including the peculiar lava formations at Dimmuborgir and the pseudocraters at Skutustaair. Today we will also see the volcano Krafla. Krafla is one of Iceland's most spectacular and most active volcanoes. During the 1970's and 1980's, it became famous for its "Krafla Fires" -- curtains of lava fountains from a system of fissures inside the huge caldera. Today we will also visit Namaskard Pass with its boiling mud pools and vibrant colours.

Nearby is the massive symmetrical crater of Hverfell. This 2500-year-old crater rises 463 meters high and is 1040 meters across.

We end the day by relaxing in the Myvatn Nature Baths and enjoy bathing in a pool of geothermal water drawn from depths of up to 2,500 meters.

Overnight in Akureyri area.

Meal plan: breakfast,dinner

Day 9 Skagafjordur - Snaefellsnes Peninsula
Today we make an early start as we head out to explore the western regions of Iceland.
Majestic mountains and narrow passes lead to Skagafjordur. A quarter of area residents here make their homes in the country, since Skagafjordur is one of Iceland's most prosperous agricultural regions, with widespread dairy and sheep farming in addition to the horse breeding for which the region is famed. Skagafjoraur is the only county in Iceland where horses outnumber people in population.

We will pass the small seaside village of Blonduos. The Blanda River, which divides the town in two parts, is one of the best rivers for salmon fishing in Iceland. Along the way we visit a reconstructed Viking house once home to Eirik the Red and his son Leif Eiriksson -- the two most famous travelling Vikings. The 'Eirikstadir' gives an interesting insight to way of life for the early settlers and an introduction to the historic tradition of the 'Icelandic Sagas'.

We continue to cross westward towards the Snaefellsnes Peninsula, situated to the west of Borgarfjordur. The land around the fjord has been inhabited since the time of Icelandic settlement.

Overnight on the Snaefellsnes Peninsula in Grundarfjordur or similar.

Meal plan: breakfast,dinner

Day 10 Reykjavik, Iceland - Narsarsuaq, Greenland - Narsaq
This morning we transfer to Reykjavik Domestic Airport and fly to to Narsarsuaq.* Welcome to Greenland!

Historic sites from the Viking Age, the Inland Ice Cap, fertile hills with sheep farms, deep blue fiords with multi-coloured icebergs, calving glaciers -- this is the area which Eric the Red found to be the best place to settle and where he found inspiration to name the new land: Greenland.

On arrival we transfer from the airport to the pier and by boat through Eric's Fjord to Narsaq where we transfer to our hotel for check-in. We'll have a welcome meeting followed by short city tour of Narsaq, a small but beautiful village located in the amazing fjord systems of South Greenland. On the outskirts of the village you will see Kvanefjeldet, a mountain which is known to contain many different minerals. It may well play an important role in Greenland's future focus on the mining industry.


Overnight in Narsaq.

Meal plan: breakfast,dinner

Day 11 Narsaq - Nuuk
Today we transfer to the heliport and fly to Nuuk (via Narsarsuaq). We transfer to the hotel for check-in and then enjoy a city tour of Nuuk including visit to the National Museum.

Nuuk, also known by its Danish name of Godthab (Good Hope), is the capital and administrative centre of Greenland, with a population of around 15,000 (about 1/4 the entire population of the country). Hans Egede founded Nuuk in 1728 at the mouth of a giant fjord system in Western Greenland. Today, the bustling city, by Greenlandic standards, is home to the Katuaq Culture Center, the National Museum as well as many other popular attractions.

The Greenland National Museum and Archives is the country’s first museum, dating from the middle of the 1960s. The collections cover the country's history during a period of 4,500 years and come from all parts of the country. The collection is housed in a number of distinctive warehouses that feature views of the fjord and contain the famous Arctic mummies from Qilakitsoq in North Greenland.

Overnight in Nuuk.

Meal plan: breakfast,dinner

Day 12 Nuuk - Ilulissat
Today we take a scheduled flight from Nuuk to Ilulissat, Western Greenland. We transfer to the hotel for check-in and then enjoy a guided city walk.

Located in the Disco Bay just by the Icefjord, from which it has gotten its name, Ilulissat has one of the most beautiful settings for a great Greenlandic experience. The town is located next to the sea filled with icebergs from the most active glacier in the world, Sermeq Kujalleq. Excavations of the valley reveal that people have inhabited the area for thousands of years, and it was once the largest town in Greenland. The town is also known for having almost the same number of sled dogs as people, currently the town is home to 4,600 people and nearly 3,500 sled dogs!

During our town walk, our guide will reveal the history of Ilulissat. We visit the old part of town and see buildings from the very start of the Danish trading station, the busy fishing harbour, the old church and the museum.

Overnight in Ilulissat.

Meal plan: breakfast,dinner

Day 13 Hunter's Settlement Ilimanaq
Today we have a guided tour (by boat) to the settlement of Ilimanaq, situated just south of the Kangia Ice Fjord. Ilimanaq has a population of approximately 80 people mainly dependant upon fishing and hunting -- a completely different world compared to the town of Ilulissat. A land that is clad in Arctic tundra and features a very brief growing season, an agriculture-based diet certainly did not come to thrive here. Instead, it was the animal-rich waters and terrain which would feed the people making this area home. Hunting is still an essential part of life for many living on Greenland's coasts and, done sustainably, the hunters use their skills and intimate knowledge of their home environment in order to successfully hunt this rugged terrain.

Overnight in Ilulissat.

Meal plan: breakfast,lunch,dinner

Day 14 Icebergs of Sermermiut
Today we have an excursion to the Icebergs of Sermermiut where we have a beautiful walk along the UNESCO designated Ilulissat Ice Fjord to Sermermiut, where traces from the old Inuit cultures can still be seen. Sermermiut is a fertile valley next to the Ice Fjord; here you can enjoy the flowers as well as the fantastic icebergs. Great photo opportunities!

This evening we will experience a Midnight Cruise to the Ice Fiord. As we cruise between the icebergs, the midnight sun and the warm red colours reflecting in the gigantic icebergs is a fantastic sight .

Overnight in Ilulissat.

Meal plan: breakfast,dinner

Day 15 Ilulissat, Greenland - Reykjavik, Iceland
This morning we enjoy a home visit with a local. The Greenlanders are famous for welcoming visitors into their homes, inviting everyone over for a cup of coffee and a piece of cake (our group may be divided among multiple homes depending on group size). It will also be possible to see the national costume and learn about life so very isolated from the rest of the world.

This afternoon we fly to Reykjavik Domestic Airport and transfer to our hotel.

Overnight in Reykjavik.

Meal plan: breakfast,dinner

Day 16 Icelandic Settlement Centre & Thingvellir National Park
Our sightseeing today will include the Icelandic Settlement Centre exhibition at the village of Borgarnes. This visit will be followed by a drive to Deildartunguhver, the most powerful hot spring in the world. We will make a stop to admire the beautiful Hraunfossar Waterfall. This is a series of waterfalls formed by rivulets streaming over a distance of about 900 meters out of the Hallmundarhraun, a lava field which flowed from an eruption of one of the volcanoes lying under the glacier Langjokull. We then continue over the breathtaking Kaldidalur mountain pass (depending on road and weather conditions).

We continue to Lake Thingvallavatn, Iceland's largest lake, and to Thingvellir National Park. The area became Iceland's first National Park in 1928 and a World Heritage area in 2004. Thingvellir World Heritage area is where the world's first 'democratic parliament' meeting took place. Geologically it is also unique as the American and European tectonic plates meet here. Sitting right on top of a major fault line, the area abounds with waterfalls, immense fissures and the largest lake in the country.

Overnight in Reykjavik.

Meal plan: breakfast,dinner

Day 17 Departure
Departure from Reykjavik.

GOAA FERO!

Meal plan: breakfast

Tour Map

To book this tour, please refer to the sidebar ►

*The red tour trail on the map does not represent the actual travel path.


Hotel List


The following is a list of sample hotels at some locations included on this tour. The hotels shown here are meant to provide a general sense of the standard of hotel we usually aim for; they are not necessarily confirmed for your chosen departure.


Hotel Reykjavik

Rating: 3 Star Accommodation3 Star Accommodation3 Star Accommodation
Location: Reykjavik
Country: Iceland

Best Western Hotel Reykjavík is a three star hotel located just a few minutes' walk from Reykjavík's main shopping street
... most popular attractions. The neighborhood has numerous restaurants, cafés, shops, museums and art galleries. With 85 rooms, the team at Best Western Hotel Reykjavík strives to cater to the individual needs of our guests with friendly and attentive service.
Read More.

Hotel Hofn

Rating: 3 Star Accommodation3 Star Accommodation3 Star Accommodation
Location: Hofn
Country: Iceland

Situated in south-eastern Iceland, in the coastal town of Höfn, this hotel offers local cuisine and modern en-suite rooms with
... flat-screen TV. Guests can enjoy free Wi-Fi and free private parking.

All of Hotel Höfn’s guest rooms feature a work desk and cable TV access, and some also include a tea/coffee maker. Guests can enjoy glacier and sea views from most rooms.

Höfn Hotel’s restaurant serves lobster and other specialities from the surrounding area. During nice weather guests can dine on the furnished terrace.

The hotel is within 10 minutes’ walk of Höfn Harbour and Silfurnes Golf Club, while the Jökulsarlón glacier lagoon is less than 1 hours’ drive away. Staff can help organise hiking trips.

Read More.

Hotel Kea

Rating: 3 Star Accommodation3 Star Accommodation3 Star Accommodation
Location: Akureyri
Country: Iceland

Located in the heart of Akureyri, gateway to the rich natural splendor of northeast Iceland, Hotel Kea has been welcoming
... since 1944 with the same high standards of elegance, quality, service and comfort which would be expected of one of Iceland’s well-established hotels. The hotel offers four halls for meetings and conferences, bars and restaurant.
Comfort, rest and relaxation come easily in all of the 104 bedrooms. They all have private bathroom, coffee and tea, making facilities hairdryer, telephone, radio and satellite television. There is room service from morning till evening and same day dry cleaning, to mention but few of the benefits of staying with us.

Read More.

Hotel Narsaq

Rating: 3 Star Accommodation3 Star Accommodation3 Star Accommodation
Location: Narsaq
Country: Greenland

We are here to make your stay in Narsaq something special!
In addition to top quality and service, Hotel Narsaq
... a personal touch and attention to detail.

Breakfast and dinner are served daily in the hotel restaurant. Guests can enjoy drinks at the hotel bar in the evenings.

All rooms have a television,
a refrigerator, and a safe.

Rooms with shared shower/toilet have washbasins and bathrobes.

Hotel rooms are cleaned daily.

Read More.

Hotel Arctic

Rating: 4 Star Accommodation4 Star Accommodation4 Star Accommodation4 Star Accommodation
Location: Ilulissat
Country: Greenland

The world’s most northerly 4 star hotel with a 5 star conference centre. Right on the edge of the Ilulissat
... Fjord - a wonder of the world which is on the UNESCO World Heritage List – and well within reach for everyone who wants the experience of a lifetime.
Read More.

Hotel Arctic

Rating: 4 Star Accommodation4 Star Accommodation4 Star Accommodation4 Star Accommodation
Location: Ilulissat
Country: Greenland

The world’s most northerly 4 star hotel with a 5 star conference centre. Right on the edge of the Ilulissat
... Fjord - a wonder of the world which is on the UNESCO World Heritage List – and well within reach for everyone who wants the experience of a lifetime.
Read More.


Trip Information

To book this tour, please refer to the sidebar ►

Inclusions

Breakfast and dinner (local restaurants & hotels) daily; some lunches in Greenland. All transport (including internal flights), accommodation, sightseeing and entrance fees for sites noted as 'visited' in the detailed itinerary. Gratuities for driver, restaurant staff, porters (if available). Airport transfers for land & air customers.

Exclusions

Tour Leader gratuities, most lunches, drinks, personal items (phone, laundry, etc), domestic and international air taxes (if applicable), any excursions referenced as 'optional'. Airport transfers for Land Only customers. Optional trip cancellation insurance. Our post-reservation trip notes offer further guidance on optional meal costs and shopping.

Seasonality and Weather

ICELAND: The range of temperatures experienced on tour will be WIDE. Though there will be many comfortable, summer-like days and locales visited, Iceland, as the name suggests, can still feel very wintry if you are near the sea, in a place exposed to winds, or near an icefield.

GREENLAND: Though situated outside of the Arctic Circle, the cold currents and inland ice sheet give Greenland a true Arctic climate. The temperatures vary between plus 5 to plus 15 C (41 to 59 F ) in the summer. However generally the temperatures do not feel as cold as in Europe as the air is very dry. You must be prepared for bitterly cold winds.

Transport and Travel Conditions

Land transport provided by private heated motor coach, 25-40 seats depending on ultimate group size. Many walking tours on uneven surfaces. Flight to Greenland via local carrier.

Larger distances are covered by scheduled air carriers; locally our ground transport will range from taxis to mini-bus and full-size touring coach. Only some road journeys are long (especially in Iceland), though stops for sightseeing will be frequent.

This is a fairly easy-going tour in terms of sites visited -- walking tours are conducted at a leisurely pace and sites of interest are not large, though in Greenland, in order to fully experience what this wild place has to offer, we have included a couple of walking excursions in remote places where roads do not exist.

You must be prepared to manage with your own luggage at airports. You should also not rely on the services of baggage handlers at the small hotels we utilize at some locations.

Accommodation

Mid-range (3*), well-located, heated, simple hotels and inns throughout. Many are smaller properties (2-3 story) and may not have elevators. All hotels have en suite toilet and bath, though some will have shower only (no tub). Porters may be available (see 'Inclusions'), though you must be prepared to manage your own luggage to and from your hotel room.

Staff and Support

Tour Leader, driver/s, local step-on guides at some locales.

Group Size

10-21 (plus Tour Leader)

IC4 TRIP DETAILS

DURATION17 days

TOUR STARTReykjavik

TOUR ENDReykjavik