Circle Iceland: An I.N.D.Y. Travel Society Small Group Tour
This small group escorted private tour with a maximum of 11 passengers of both genders plus escort and official Icelandic guide will circle Iceland.
We will spend 2 nights in beautiful Reykjavik, this island country's capital city, and 5 nights in the countryside. October provides plenty of hours of daylight to savour the natural beauty of Iceland's unique landscapes yet many hours of darkness to scan the skies for the Aurora Borealis, better known as the Northern Lights.
Whether or not we are graced by the elusive Northern Lights we will have plenty to do and see. Each day provides a full schedule. The itinerary is not physically strenuous per se; rather, the days will be long with regard to activities and travelling. People with average fitness ability should have no problem enjoying this tour.
There will be some climbing involved but nothing terribly difficult. And if climbing is difficult for some the tour escort will stay with those who are not comfortable with or are not able to participate in a particular activity. No one will be left alone.
Having such a small group allows a certain amount of flexibility in our schedule. If more rest stops are needed we can accommodate that need. If we wish to linger a bit longer at one place and not as long at another, again, we have some flexibility.
We will also get the opportunity to get to know one another, to forge friendships with others who love travelling as much as we all do.
Iceland can be an expensive destination. By having your accommodation, many meals and touring included in your tour price you should be able to enjoy the country without breaking the bank, so to speak.
You will be responsible for paying only for your lunches and two dinners. Along the way, there may be a stop or two that we may make for which the admission has not been paid in your tour price. This type of stop cannot be planned ahead of time because it is dependent on a variety of factors such as weather, time of day, road conditions, etc.
When conditions are favourable and we do make stops like these they will be short and not expensive (perhaps even free); it will be your choice whether to participate or not.
One thing is for sure, come rain or shine - whether or not we see the Northern Lights - Iceland's natural beauty is unquestionable and perhaps even unparalleled.
At worst, a tour of Iceland cannot be a waste of time. Icelanders are among the friendliest people on Earth and genuinely welcome visitors. Icelanders’ history and culture, their food, positivity, kind nature, gentility and artistic creativity ensure that each visitor will feel welcome in their homeland.
A visit to Iceland can be a life altering experience, a study of nature's perfection - a study best enjoyed with a small group rather than a motor coach full of 50 people or one ones' own driving the ring road, watching for signs and bends in the road.
Traveling with a small group is the way to go. We hope you'll join us.
Those who are flying to Iceland from the USA will arrive on October 6, which is considered to be Day 1 of this tour.
Upon arrival in Reykjavik, we will proceed to the Hotel Klettur, where we will be staying the first night. It will be too early to check in so we will store our luggage in a secure room with the assistance of the front desk staff.
Once the luggage is stored we will be free to eat breakfast (included in the cost of the tour).
The breakfast buffet opens at 7:00 a.m. and it is excellent. If you are arriving in Iceland independently our meeting point will be the Hotel Klettur. You may join us anytime after 7:00 a.m. and join us for breakfast, which is included in the cost of our tour.
At 9:00 a.m. we will enjoy an introductory walking tour of Reykjavik. This tour will be just for our group and will take place within the city center, an easy walk. It is incredibly interesting and we will be permitted to ask as many questions as we wish about Iceland, its history, economy, culture, educational and political systems.
Starting with a walking tour is a great way to wake up again after the long flight and hearty breakfast at the hotel. Following our walking tour, we will visit the Northern Lights Center, Web address: aurorareykjavik.is (Just type those letters; that's all you need.)
The following description was taken directly from the Website listed above. "Take a walk through history and learn how people and cultures around the world saw the Northern Lights via legends and myths connected to this amazing phenomenon. There are interactive displays as well as a specially equipped ‘photo booth’ where you can learn how to adjust your camera’s settings should you want to try your hand at capturing the auroras yourself.
The high point of your visit to the center will certainly be our theatre where a continuously running HD film is playing throughout the day. Projected onto a 7 metre wide screen, you can sit back and enjoy this 20 minute film that features some of the most magnificent auroral displays seen over Iceland.
The film is accompanied by soft music in surround-sound, making this a therapeutic and restful experience. You’ll feel like you have just come back from a blissful holiday!" Like the walking tour, this visit to the Northern Lights Center will prepare us for what we will be seeing the rest of the week. It will offer detailed information about the Auroras, especially the Aurora Borealis which is seen in the higher latitudes of the Northern Hemisphere, including Iceland. Admission is included in your Iceland Tour.
After our Northern Lights Center visit, we will have lunch. People in the group may wish to dine together or some may wish to go off on their own. Lunch is not included in the cost of your Iceland Tour. Plan to spend at least $20 for a light lunch if you plan to eat in a restaurant. Some folks may prefer to stop at a small grocery store and pick up a sandwich, fruit (or Iceland's speciality, Skyr) and a drink to bring back to the hotel. After lunch, we will have free time for the rest of the day.
There is much to see for free or you can rest up from the jet lag you may be experiencing by this point in the day. Evening in Reykjavik During our two nights in Reykjavik, on the first and last full days of our tour, dinner is not included in the tour price. We are not planning a group dinner on either of those evenings for one reason: flexibility.
On this first night of our Icelandic adventure, the most important concern is that of fatigue. Some of us may be jet lagged and want to eat early in order to retire early. We will be hitting the ground running upon arrival in Iceland and most of us will not have slept much, if at all, en route.
We must try to stay rested and boost our immune system as best we can in order to enjoy the upcoming days. Those with energy to spare, however, may wish to take advantage of some of the optional night tours on offer at the hotel. Some leave quite early in the evening, others later. Scheduling a group dinner would pretty much keep anyone from taking part in the night tours on offer.
We will be a small group and can check with each other to find out who prefers to do what. Surely some of us will wind up eating together while others may prefer to do their own thing. While we are in the countryside for 5 nights we will be eating together at our accommodation.
Those dinners are included in your Icelandic tour. The two nights in Reykjavik will offer you the opportunity to seek out whatever type of fare at whatever price range is best for you. Reykjavik is known for its fantastic and eclectic food choices. There is something for everyone; eateries of all kinds abound.
Dining out can be expensive in Iceland, no doubt, but it is also possible to get an excellent meal in a restaurant for the equivalent of between $25 and $30 US if you don't mind simple foods like fish and chips, marvelous soups and stews, fresh veggies and salads, and less expensive cuts of meat. Seafood and fish lovers will think they are in heaven while in Reykjavik as will lamb lovers. For those trying to stay within a budget, one should also try a true Icelandic hot dog at least once. They are really delicious and are healthier than most hot dogs. They are a combination of lamb, beef and pork served with an absolutely *delicious*. And there are speciality eateries for vegetarians/vegans too.
After dinner, some of us may be exhausted and wish to return to the hotel to turn in early in preparation for the busy week ahead.
Others may prefer to stay out and enjoy the city and its street art, clubs, cafes and bars.
Reykjavik is charming, safe and easy to navigate on foot. It is colourful, magical and the perfect place to throw away one's cares, at least for a while.
After breakfast at the hotel, we will begin with a second tour of the Reykjavik (about 1 1/2 hours long) that covers areas not seen the previous day.
Among places we will see are the old harbour, more of the city centre, Hallgrimskirkja church and the Perla (Pearl). We then leave Reykjavik and continue to Þingvellir (Parliament Plains), the location of the old parliament and a geological phenomenon.
From there we drive to the Geysir geothermal area to view Strokkur Geysir and other spouting hot springs and boiling mud pools.
Then it's off to Gullfoss, the magnificent, thundering Golden Waterfall, where on a sunny day you can see a rainbow in the spray above the waters. From there we proceed to our overnight stay.
Accommodation: Country hotel Smaratun (www.smaratun.is). Smaratun is also a horse farm.
The Icelandic Horse is a one-of-a-kind breed that we will spend some time learning about throughout our trip. The Icelandic horse is short in stature, looking a bit like a pony. However, never call the Icelandic horse a pony in front of an Icelander! The Icelandic horse is sturdy, dependable, gentle and beautiful.
It is also the only horse in the world with 5 gaits. You will see them demonstrated because we will be staying at two guest houses that are also horse farms. If you want to ride an Icelandic horse during our stay at one of these horse farms, please let it be known as soon as possible.
Reservations must be made in advance and the number of horses available will be limited. Any rides taken would be at an additional cost. Tonight we dine together in the restaurant at the Smaratun Farm.
Following dinner, if the weather and solar activity cooperate, we will go outdoors and await the appearance of the Northern Lights.
This farm, when conditions are right, provides a spectacular display of the Aurora.
In 2015 our group was there and the Lights were visible for hours. We were incredibly lucky. If they show themselves it will be one of the highlights of your life.
We will be staying only a short distance from E-15, the volcano that erupted in 2010 and wreaked havoc with all flights going in and out of Europe for two weeks. E-15's Icelandic name is Eyafjallajokull.
I think you'll agree that E-15 is a lot easier to say!
Following breakfast, at the Smaratun Guest House, we start the day by visiting two of the most beautiful waterfalls in Iceland: Seljalandsfoss and Skogarfoss.
Both of these breathtaking waterfalls soar to around 200 feet. One can walk behind the Falls at Seljalandfoss. At Skogafoss one can walk the 377 steps to the top of the Falls and be treated to a stunning panoramic view all the way to the ocean.
Accommodation: Guesthouse Gerdi (www.gerdi.is) We will stop for lunch around midday. Lunch is not included in the cost of your tour. If you'd like, you may request a pre-packed lunch the evening prior at the Smaratun Farm and bring that lunch with you. Otherwise, you can eat at the eatery where we will be stopping. For budgeting purposes, $20 should easily purchase a tasty, filling lunch with beverage.
Next, we learn about the Laki eruption. Lakagigar is a single mountain, Laki is the name given to the chain of craters of the 1783 eruption For eight months between 1783 and 1784 the 135 fissures near old crater of Lakigar and the adjoining volcano Grímsvötn spewed an estimated 42 billion tons of basalt lava and clouds of poisonous hydrofluoric acid and sulfur dioxide compounds that contaminated the soil, leading to the death of over 50% of Iceland's livestock population and the destruction of the vast majority of all crops. This led to a famine which then killed approximately 25% of the island's human population. The lava flows also destroyed 20 villages.
Source: Wikipedia and Scientific American, June 2013 The Laki eruption and its aftermath caused a drop in global temperatures, as 120 million tons of sulfur dioxide was spewed into the Northern Hemisphere. This caused crop failures in Europe and may have caused droughts in North Africa and India. That eruption has also been credited with the outbreak of the French Revolution due to the resulting crop failures and scarcity of food. Not far from the site of the Laki eruption and very near the quaint village of Vik, Reynisfjall is a 340 m high tuff mountain arising out of a volcanic eruption from under a glacier in the penultimate Ice Age. Alternating in an irregular manner are layers of tuff, pillow lava and columnar basalt veins and loops. Reynisdrangar stacks are a collection of 66 m high rock pillars that rise out of the sea and are of the same geological formation as Reynisfjall. On Reynisfjöru beach, very beautiful basalt formations in the south part of the mountain can be seen, and there you will find an exceedingly beautiful cave called Hálsanefshellir.
Their unique beauty and that of surrounding black sand beach, the roar of the wild ocean and ever-changing skies beckon photographers, both professional and amateur, to spend as much time as possible capturing the beauty of what has been ranked as one of the top 10 non-tropical beaches in the world.
Next on our agenda is a drive to the Glacier Lagoon (Jokulsarlon) for a boat tour between the icebergs. If conditions are right we will also make a brief stop at Diamond Beach to view large chucks of ice that look like large diamonds on the beach.
After a full day of sightseeing, we will continue on to the Gerdi Guest House in Hofn and check in for the night.
After dinner in the lovely restaurant we can go for a stroll and if conditions are right, search the skies once again for the elusive Aurora Borealis.
Today is the day that we leave so many of the other tours of Iceland behind.
Our tour does not end on the South Coast of Iceland, rather we continue north along the beautiful eastern coastal region of the East Fjords, with spectacular landscape, high mountains and deep fjords.
East Iceland is one of the most beautiful parts of the island and one that the majority of travellers don’t visit since it's out of the way unless you’re driving the ring road. Between the slick black sands of the south-east coast, and the magnificent mountains of the east fjords, it really is an amazing area.
After the almost completely smooth south coast of Iceland, the East fjords stand out in stark contrast – tall basaltic mountains grooved with narrow inlets separated by peninsulas and almost no flat land.
The main road after Höfn crosses two of the narrower of these fjords before following Berufjörður all the way around. Berufjörður fjord is a geological wonderland filled with unusual mineral formations., These abandoned fjords and tiny fishing villages are some of the best places to get away from the more frequented tourist spots in Iceland.
We will stop in the small town of Egilsstadir and from Egilsstadir we drive over mountain roads to Modrudalur Valley, the highest inhabited place in the country.
Accommodation: Guesthouse Fjalladyrd (www.fjalladyrd.is). The following information was taken from "A Guide To Iceland." Go to this link to read the article in full and view some wonderful photos: https://guidetoiceland.is/connect-with-locals/regina/modrudalur-the-highest-located-farm-in-iceland." Right in the middle of "nowhere" in the wilderness of Iceland, you will find the highest inhabited farm in Iceland - Möðrudalur in Öræfi or Möðrudalur á Fjöllum as it is also called, at 469 meters (1,539 ft) above sea level. It is like entering an oasis after having driven through the rugged wilderness of Iceland.
There has been a farm in Möðrudalur since the settlement of Iceland and one of the leading farms of Iceland was located here in the olden times.
There is some ancient farm-ruins north of the farm in Möðrudalur, which have been declared as protected. The farmland here at Möðrudalur is one of the most extensive in the country. Möðrudalur was once on the ring-road 1, but when the ring-road was moved north of Möðrudalur in 2001, Möðrudalur was literally cut off.
The farmers were thinking of closing down and moving away. But Vilhjálmur Vernharðsson, the son of the owners of the farm, who by now was living in Reykjavík, decided on building up his birthplace. Vilhjálmur's ancestors had lived on Möðrudalur farm since 1875 and Vilhjálmur couldn't bear the thought of his family's farm being abandoned.
Vilhjálmur's friends thought he had gone mad, moving to Möðrudalur after it had been cut off from ring-road 1, but Möðrudalur is thriving today, with a restaurant, accommodation, guided day-tours, 100 sheep and 14 goats.
Here high up in the wilderness of Iceland you will find the restaurant Fjallakaffi or the Café in the Mountain, which serves traditional local food. Although being so far away from everything, as it were, Fjallakaffi is well known across Iceland for its locally sourced, traditional food. The lamb on the menu comes from the Möðrudalur farm, the Arctic char was caught by the farmers and the geese on the menu were shot by the farmers. The farmers in Möðrudalur also smoke their own meat and fish.
So you see that it cannot get any more local than that. For sale at Fjallakaffi, you will find the traditional Icelandic woollen sweaters — which can come in handy in the highlands.
The houses in Möðrudalur are built in the old turf house style, which was the traditional way of building houses here in Iceland. Möðrudalur farm offers accommodation for up to 27 people, and 14 people at a time can stay in two houses called the Baðstofa.
The view from Möðrudalur is unparalleled as you can both see far and wide with no trees to block the view. And the beautiful Queen of Icelandic Mountains, Mt. Herðubreið, can be seen from here. It is such a lovely place and it is so nice to visit it after driving through the barren landscape of Öræfi - which literally means wilderness. Möðrudalur is located in northeast Iceland, 95 km from Egilsstaðir and 80 km away from Mývatn.
Tonight we will dine in at the Fjalladyrd Guest House.
Afterwards, we will enjoy our third night scanning the skies for the Northern Lights.
Following breakfast today we will we drive over mountain roads to the magnificent waterfall Dettifoss, Europe's mightiest waterfall.
Referred to by some as ´The Beast’ in comparison to ‘The Beauty’ of Goðafoss, this monstrous behemoth of a waterfall is guaranteed to steal your breath away. Set within stark, rocky surrounds with bone-shatteringly sheer drops on either side, there couldn´t be a more fitting backdrop for such untethered natural power.
It’s a truly unmissable jewel in the Diamond Circle’s crown, one you will never forget. The name Dettifoss could be loosely translated as ‘The Collapsing Waterfall’. Officially holding the title of the most powerful waterfall in Europe, an average of 96,500 gallons of water crosses its bow every single second. Such is its force, the mist from the falls is visible from several miles away. Straddling a 100-metre wide abyss, Dettifoss plummets 45 metres to the craggy shores below. To put this into perspective, this is about the height of the Statue of Liberty. Dettifoss was recently featured in the opening scene of Ridley Scott’s 2012 Aliens prequel, Prometheus.
From Dettifoss we head towards Lake Myvatn. This is one of the most interesting geological and geographical areas of the northern hemisphere. Among the interesting sights are a solfatara area with boiling and bubbling mud pots, the lava labyrinth Dimmuborgir and the pseudo crater group at Skutustadir. Dimmuborgir (‘Black Forts') is a large area of chaotic lava, situated east of Lake Myvatn, in North Iceland.
With its dramatic view, Dimmuborgir is one of Iceland's most popular attractions. The area is composed of various volcanic caves and rock formations, reminiscent of an ancient collapsed citadel. In folklore the Dimmuborgir lava field has been connected with hell, Satan was to have landed there after being cast from heaven and the Norwegian symphonic black metal band derives its name from the region.
Mývatn is a lake near Akureyri in North Iceland. The lake was formed during a massive eruption 2300 years ago. Today the area is best known for the huge numbers of birds that visit in the summer, and for the weird and inspiring volcanic features that surround the lake.
The name "Mývatn" is derived from the vast numbers of midges that gather at the lake and are sure to leave an impression on all who visit. Due to the number of wetlands surrounding the lake there are an exceptional number of waterbirds, and the area is recognized as one of the premier bird-watching sites in the world.
Over 115 species of birds have been sighted at the lake, including thirteen species of ducks that nest in the lake area. Mývatn has formed after a massive eruption 2300 years ago, and it remains geothermally active today. The lake is located along the western side of the volcanic zone which bisects Iceland and is an extension of the Mid-Atlantic Ridge.
Most recently, eruptions of the Krafla volcano from 1975 until 1984 produced fresh lava flows in the area. This volcanic activity is seen today in the relatively shallow lake, the many pseudocraters that surround it, and the fantastic lava formations and craters in the area.
The shores along the south side of the lake are home to many pseudocraters, formed during volcanic eruptions when lava flowed over wetlands, eventually resulting in steam eruptions and forming these medium-sized craters.
There are a series of trails in the town of Skútustaðir that lead through these craters and provide further information about the geology behind these formations. A rootless cone, also formerly called a pseudocrater, is a volcanic landform which resembles a true volcanic crater, but differs in that it is not an actual vent from which lava has erupted.
They are characterised by the absence of any magma conduit which connects below the surface of a planet. Rootless cones are formed by steam explosions as flowing hot lava crosses over a wet surface, such as a swamp, a lake, or a pond. The explosive gases break through the lava surface in a manner similar to a phreatic eruption, and the tephra builds up crater-like forms which can appear very similar to real volcanic craters.
Well, known examples are found in Iceland like the craters in the lake Mývatn (Skútustaðagígar) --Source: Wikipedia
Accommodation: Guesthouse Narfastadir (www.farmhotel.is). Tonight we will dine at our accommodation, the Guesthouse Narfastadir.
The main building is a former sheep-stable and a barn which has been converted into elegant and comfortable facilities for tourists and the old farmhouse are also a guesthouse and has been renewed for that purpose.
The old house was build in 1907 (front house made of timber) and 1925 (back house made of cement).
After dark, we will keep watch for the Aurora Borealis once again.
After breakfast, we head for Akureyri. Our first stop en route will be Godafoss Waterfall.
Nicknamed by one local as ‘The Beauty’ in comparison to ‘The Beast’ of Dettifoss, the name Goðafoss could be translated roughly as The Waterfall of The Gods.
In the year 999, a holy man by the name of Þorgeir made Christianity the official religion of Iceland. To mark the occasion, he chucked some Pagan statues into the water here, making Goðafoss the famous symbolic site of Iceland´s conversion.
The water of the river Skjálfandafljót falls from a height of 12 meters over a width of 30 meters. The river has its origin deep in the Icelandic highland and runs from the highland through the Bárðardalur valley, all the way from Sprengisandur in the Highlands.
The rock formations in and around the waterfall make it one of the greatest natural wonders in Iceland. Akureyri is Iceland's second largest urban area after Reykjavik. It has an ice-free harbour and served as a base for Allied Forces during WWII.
Today, the city has an airport and a healthy economy and cultural life. Because of the town's position at the head of a long fjord surrounded by high mountains, the climate is more typically inland than coastal, with greater variations in temperature (warmer summers, colder winters) than in many other inhabited parts of Iceland.
However, the mountains shield the town from strong winds. The relatively warm climate (for its latitude) allows the Botanical Gardens to flourish without the need of a greenhouse.
The area around Akureyri has one of the warmest climates in Iceland even though it is only 100 km (62 mi) from the Arctic Circle. We will take in the highlights of this wonderful little city on a tour with our guide.
Next, we head to one of the hidden Icelandic gems: the Tröllaskagi Peninsula, a truly astonishing and fascinating kingdom a bit separated from the rest of the country because of the high and dense mountains which cover it.
The highest point is Mount Kerling, Kerlingarfjöll, elevation 1538 meters, and two fjords flank the peninsula. Skagafjörður on the West is the gateway to northwestern Iceland while Eyjafjörður on the East gets the name from the presence of an island in it: Hrísey, a pleasant green and flat island accessible several times a day by ferry from Dalvík or from the small village of Árskógssandur.
The main town in Tröllaskagi, Siglufjörður, is in the northernmost part of the peninsula, framed by steep mountain slopes on three sides and by the water of a small fjord on the fourth.
The location is extraordinarily spectacular and the feeling of almost total inaccessibility gives, even more, charm to this already charming town where you can find one of the best museums of all Iceland.
The Herring Era Museum successfully recreates, in several beautiful buildings along the main street, the life of the town in its golden age, which is to say between 1867 and 1968 when Siglufjörður was the herring fishing capital of the whole world. Siglufjörður lies less than 1 degree from the Arctic Circle. During the winter it is a winter sports enthusiast's paradise.
In the summer there is equally as much to enjoy with all mountains, lake, black sand beach, golf, sailing, hiking, fishing and swimming. If our schedule allows, we will make a stop in the tiny village of Hofsos (pop. 200) to swim in the thermal public pool. This could be a once in a lifetime experience because the pool is situated almost on the water's edge with unparalleled views of the fjords.
Swimming is optional and the entrance fee is not included in your tour. The Hofsós swimming pool is quite simply magnificent. Arguably the most beautiful swimming pool in Iceland, it is designed by the same architect responsible for the famous Blue Lagoon.
It may not be Olympic size, but because it has been built into the hillside above the sea, the views over to Drangey are breathtaking. Come rain or shine, the vista from the pool is a combination of marvellous different shades of blue; the clear blue colour of the swimming pool itself, the green blue sea, the dark blue of the islands and mountains in the distance, and finally the blueness of the sky on a clear day.
The Hofsós swimming pool is not strictly an infinity pool, but the impression you get as you swim in the geothermal waters is that you're right next to the sea's edge." Source: www.northiceland.is
As we continue on our day's journey we drive along Víðidalur, we will come to Kolugil Farm which stands beside the Víðidalsá river.
Just below the farm, the waters flow peacefully downwards to plunge into the deep, rugged gorge called Kolugljúfur. Their journey then sends them cascading over many waterfalls which bear the name Kolufossar Falls in honour of the giantess, Kola. It is a breathtaking sight to drive across the bridge and watch the calm waters of the river suddenly leap and tumble onwards over so many impressive falls - a sight which will leave no one unmoved. --Icelandroadguide.com
Tonight we will dine at our accommodation, the Gauksmiri Guest House and Horse Farm. www.gauksmiri.com.
If you are interested in riding, reservations are necessary as the number of horses available is limited. It's first to come, first served.
The cost of riding is *not* included in the cost of your tour.
Following dinner and riding, we will spend our last night watching the skies while in the countryside.
Tomorrow night we will be back in Reykjavik.
Today we head down the western part of Iceland towards Reykjavik to close our circle.
Our first stop is the old volcano Grabrok. Grabrok is the largest of 3 volcanic craters in a short fissure.
The small volcanic field around the Grábrók craters consists mainly of the spatter cones Stóra Grábrók, Litla Grábrók and Grábrókarfell and is located at about 30 km northwest of Borgarnes in the west of Iceland.
It is part of Ljósufjöll volcanic system. Not to worry, the last eruption was around 960 years ago. This is a very special experience, indeed.
We will be climbing onto the edge of the volcano! It's a long climb but not a particularly arduous one if you take your time. There are stairs all the way. The views are superb. Be sure to go to the interactive map and click on this site to see the video of Grabrok. Another interesting fact about Grabrok is that the water at Grábrók Spring which has been filtered through 4,000-year-old lava is now being used by Reyka, Iceland's first distillery, to make Reyka Vodka (a wonderful gift to bring home for a friend or loved one).
Our next stops are Hraunfossar and Barnafoss Waterfalls. The waterfalls of Hraunfossar are a real treasure.
They are best described as a collection of countless creeks and cascades small and big streaming out of the lava over a distance of about 900 meters. The glacier Langjökull is visible from this point of view and this lava field is a result of one of the volcanoes lying under the glacier.
What is unique about this phenomenal lava flow is the colour of the water on the river. Sometimes it's dazzling and turquoise but occasionally you will see it as milky white. Whatever the colour it's an impressive scene both worth enjoying and photographing.
Above Hraunfossar (lava falls) there is another famous waterfall called Barnafoss (children´s fall).
According to legend, Barnafoss takes its name from two children who fell into the waterfall. The story is something like this: A long time ago there was a widow living on a farm nearby with her two young children. One day the widow went to a Christmas service but left her children at home. When the widow came back from the evening service her children had disappeared. People went searching and found their footsteps leading to the stone arch over the river. Their mother had the arch destroyed promising that no one would ever cross the falls alive again. Happily, this is just a story, one of the multitudes that lend to Iceland's colourful history. Credit: www.guidetoiceland.is
Our next stop is Deildartunguhver, which is a hot spring in Reykholtsdalur, Iceland. It is characterized by a very high flow rate for a hot spring (180 litres/second) and water emerges at 97 °C. It is the highest-flow hot spring in Europe.
Some of the water is used for heating, being piped 34 kilometres to Borgarnes and 64 kilometres to Akranes. A fern called the "deer fern" or "hard fern" grows near Deildartunguhver. This fern grows nowhere else in Iceland.
Now it is time to embark on the last leg of our journey back to Reykjavik through the 36 km. long Hrutafjordur (the Whale Fjord). It is an incredibly scenic drive. When we arrive back in Reykjavik we will go directly to the Hotel Klettur to check in for our last night in Iceland.
Dinner is not included on this last night in Reykjavik.
As explained at the beginning of this itinerary, we are opting to keep this evening flexible in the event that fellow traveller wishes to take an optional tour, attend a show, visit, shop or whatever makes them happy.
We will discuss options for the evening on site in plenty of time to ensure that no one will be alone unless s/he prefers to be alone.
Today is the last day of our tour. We will have breakfast together at the Hotel Klettur and say our goodbyes.
Check out will most likely be around 10:00 a.m.
The exact time will be reconfirmed at the hotel the evening before.
***Please note that this tour is open to men as well as women.***
Maximum participants on tour 11 + escort + plus private Icelandic guide
Includes 8 breakfasts/5 dinners, touring in a private vehicle, accommodation with tax for 7 nights
8 days/7 nights
October is a good time to visit Iceland. There are enough hours of darkness to improve chances of seeing the magnificent Aurora Borealis, better known as the Northern Lights, yet still enough hours of daylight to be able to view many of Iceland’s most magnificent landscapes. In fact, this itinerary was developed with the Northern Lights in mind. We will spend 5 nights in the countryside, away from ambient city light. This darkness provides optimal conditions for star gazing as well as viewing the Aurora. Of course there’s never any guarantee that the Aurora will be visible. It’s all a matter of luck and cloud cover. Nonetheless, we will have plenty of marvels of nature to experience, whether or not we get to view the Northern Lights.
Never fear, you will not miss out on the bright lights of the city. We will spend our first and last night in Iceland’s energetic, colorful, and quirky capital city of Reykjavik where there is something for everyone, from dining on some of Iceland’s delicious seafood delights and dancing into the wee hours at the clubs, to taking in a world class orchestral performance at the Harpa. With a population of only around 125,000 in the central capital area district, Reykjavik has a small town flavor and is easily navigated on foot or by using the public bus system. And there is so much to do. Museums abound as do a plethora of eateries from hot dog stands to those featuring 5 star gourmet cuisine. Perhaps you’d enjoy swimming in one of the public pools that are geothermally heated or simply soaking in their relaxing thermal spas. Afterwards, you can explore the numerous art galleries and beautiful street art – all of these opportunities and so many more help to make Reykjavik *the* hip and happening place to be.
The weather in October is quite mild relatively speaking, making our wait under the night sky for the Aurora to show herself more comfortable than it would be in the dead of winter. Furthermore, because we are traveling before the cold weather forces the closing of some roads and tracks, we can still venture to the north and east of the country, something that can only be done with difficulty, if at all in some areas, in the coldest winter months. Our I.N.D.Y. Adventure will in fact circle the island. We will not limit ourselves to visiting the southern coast, as so many tours do.
Throughout our tour you will experience the natural beauty of one of the most beautiful countries on Earth. You will visit many thundering waterfalls up close and personal; you can even walk behind one of them! You will learn about the unparalleled pent up energy biding its time below Iceland’s 30 active volcanoes as well as the surging geothermal energy beneath this island country’s geysers, mud pools and natural thermal baths with curative mineral waters.
You will glide amongst breathtakingly beautiful blue-hued icebergs on a boat ride in Glacier Lagoon. If conditions are right we will also visit nearby Diamond Beach where chunks of ice have washed up on the black shore and shine gloriously in sunlight. Majestic mountains and deep fjords will be the order of the day as you travel, mouth agape, through stunning scenery in our private vehicle with our private English-speaking guide along Iceland’s roadways. You will walk along the black sand beaches near Vik on the south coast with the roar of ocean waves echoing in your ears. You will stroll through moss-covered moonscapes of lava flows from past volcanic eruptions.
There is something very special about light and the sky in Iceland. The Land of Fire and Ice is a photographer’s paradise. Color seems to take on an other-worldly dimension, an ethereal brilliance in quietude. This may be due to the constantly changing atmospheric conditions, the high latitude or the clouds chasing each other as they race past the sun giving birth to shadows, light, shadows, light.
Whatever the reasons for Iceland’s extraordinary beauty, it’s hard not to experience a spiritual cleansing or rebirth when safely enveloped in nature’s arms utterly and completely. When in Iceland one can’t help but to allow their spirit to soar and meet the heavens. And if we’re lucky while we’re there, the Northern Lights will reach down to meet us half way.
INCLUDED in the cost of our tour are the following:
- Arrival & departure private airport transfers in Iceland with the group flight only
- Fully escorted 9 day/7 night private escorted small group tour (maximum of
10 participants) + an English-speaking Icelandic guide and U.S. escort from
upstate New York
- Touring in our own private vehicle
- 2 nights hotel in Reykjavik & 5 nights in the countryside at guest houses, B&B’s
or lodges including tax
- 8 breakfasts and 5 dinners
- Touring as indicated in the daily itinerary
- Mandatory comprehensive travel insurance