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Essence of Iceland

Essence of Iceland

Lundi
  • 7 Days - US$6899

Trip Introduction

You’ll be surprised how much you’ll fit into one week exploring Iceland, from Reykjavík in the east to Höfn in the west. It’s no secret that Iceland is a feast for the eyes, but what you may not know is how fascinating Icelandic people are. You’ll witness their self sufficiency and learn about their proud viking heritage, in fact, their language today is very similar to what it was during the Viking Age! Iceland is commonly ranked as one of the happiest nations in the world, so prepare to have some of this attitude rub off, when you’re out and about exploring with the locals. Hiking is the main activity on this trip, with a touch of kayaking on a lagoon in Vatnajökull National Park.

Highlights

• Experience Reykjavík “Smokey Bay”
• Explore Þingvellir and Vatnajökull National Parks
• Visit Vestmannaeyjar Islands
• Hike Eldfell Volcano
• Visit Öxaràrfoss, Gullfoss, Seljalandsfoss, Skógafoss, Kvernufoss & Svartifoss Waterfalls
• Hike the Ingólfshöfði headland to view wild puffin colonies
• Visit Jökulsárlón Lagoon, sea kayak Heinabergsjökull Lagoon

What's included in our Iceland trips?

  • All guiding services
    - Two experienced guides per trip. In Iceland you'll have a Kiwi trip leader and a team of local Icelandic guides.
  • All accommodations
    - Local hotels chosen for their comfort, charm and sublime views. On the 'Stelkur' multi-day trip you'll stay in backcountry cabins.
  • All meals
    - Breakfast, lunch and dinner. You'll be treated to a culinary experience, to rival any in the world.
  • All activities
    - Hiking, kayaking, wildlife viewing, historical sites and more.
  • All transport once at your joining hotel
    - When you're not travelling under your own steam, they'll be comfortable air-conditioned vans to stretch your legs.
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Interactive Trip Map

Itinerary

Day 1 — Arrive Reykjavík

Our trip begins in Reykjavík, the world’s northernmost capital and Iceland’s cultural hub. If you’ve flown in this morning, you’ll be free to make your own way from Keflavík International Airport to the city. Bear in mind you won’t be able to check-in to your hotel until 2pm, so we recommend unwinding after your flight at the famous Blue Lagoon hot pools that are on the way to Reykjavík - remember to keep your swimwear handy!  After dropping your bags at the hotel you’ll have some free time to take in the vibrant streets - grab some last-minute gear at the many outdoor clothing stores or explore the harbour. Later, we’ll all meet at the hotel bar for a trip briefing and a welcome drink, where you’ll get to know your fellow travellers and guides before having a delicious meal in a local restaurant. You might find your first evening a little strange, to be strolling around in daylight!
Centerhótel Miðgarður, Reykjavík (Dinner) 

Day 2 — Explore Þingvellir National Park

Today the adventure really begins, as we head north east to Þingvellir National Park, home to Iceland’s first National Assembly.  We’ll stretch our legs at our first waterfall called Öxàrarfoss (‘foss’ is Icelandic for waterfall). As strange as it may sound, this is actually a human-made waterfall, as the water was diverted, back in the 9th Century, to provide members and visitors of the Icelandic parliament ‘Althingi’ with water. There are further fascinating folklores about this region that you’ll soon discover! After a picnic lunch on the lake we’ll continue towards the highlands, with stops to learn about Iceland’s Laugarvatan cave people, view the original Geysir Nature Reserve and the Gullfoss waterfall.
Flúðir Hótel, Flúðir (All meals)
HIKING DISTANCE: Multiple short hikes

Day 3 — Visit the Vestmannaeyjar Islands

This morning we’ll journey south down the coast to board a ferry. Our scenic crossing takes us to the bustling fishing port of Haeimaey, the only inhabited island in the Vestmannaeyjar archipelago. This tiny island hosts a recent, rich volcanic history that we’ll learn about at the world class Eldheimar Exhibition. After fueling up the body we’ll experience the lava fields with a volcanic hike to the Eldfell peak. At the top you’ll be rewarded with views across to the mainland and a further appreciation for the 1973 eruption. For those that feel up to it, there’s the option to continue on and complete the ‘Three Peaks Hike’. The rewards don’t stop there; on our return to the town we’ll sample the local beer at Brothers Brewery, a fantastic spot that lays claim to the best beer in Iceland!
Hótel Vestmannaeyjar, Vestmannaeyjar (All meals) 
HIKING DISTANCE: 2 kilometres (1.2 miles) or more depending on where you choose to finish
ASCENT: 200 metres (656 feet)
DESCENT: 200 metres (656 feet)

Day 4 — Hike and explore Seljalandsfoss, Skógafoss & Kvernufoss Waterfalls

After returning to the mainland we’ll take a hike to the top of Iceland’s most famous and spectacular waterfalls; first to Seljalandsfoss (where we can also walk behind the falls) and then to Skógafoss. After lunch we’ll hunt for stone trolls along the wild and beautiful South Coast - these trolls occupy an immense portion of Icelandic folklore, described as big, stupid and greedy, but sometimes kind and wise... Our journey continues alongside the soaring sea cliffs and moss-covered lava fields, where we’ll be able to see the infamous E15 ‘Eyjafjallajökull’ Volcano, Vatnajökull ice cap and its outlet glaciers. Tonight, we’ll relax in the wonderfully appointed Fosshótel, with impressive views down towards the coast.
Fosshótel Glacier Lagoon, Öraefi (All meals)
HIKING DISTANCE: Multiple short hikes

Day 5 — Hike the Ingólfshöfði headland, spotting ‘Lundi‘

Pack your binoculars this morning as we’re looking for ‘Lundi’, also known as puffin, Iceland’s iconic and beloved bird. As we hike the high sea cliffs of the Ingólfshöfði headland we’ll also catch glimpses of guillemots and skuas. After our hike and a bite to eat we’ll head off to view yet another waterfall, known as Svartifoss, where nearby there are views across Europe’s largest outlet glacier, Skeiðarárjökull.

Optional: Ice Hike (add US$159)

An alternative option to the afternoon’s waterfall hike is to strap on crampons, pick up an ice axe and hike on the Svínafellsjökull glacier! Led by specialist glacier guides you’ll explore amazing ice formations checking out the crevasses, seracs, tunnels and pools of glacial meltwater - no previous experience is required! The constant movement of the glacier means every day is different, so your guides will cut steps in the ice and make sure you make the most of the conditions. The ice hike is popular, so we offer advance reservations with the guiding company. At the time of booking, or up until one month before your trip, we can reserve a space for you, or you can leave your decision until the start of your trip and your guides will get you a spot, if it’s available.

Afterwards, we’ll regroup and head back to the Fosshótel, for another relaxing evening.
Fosshótel Glacier Lagoon, Öraefi (All meals)
HIKING DISTANCE: 12 kilometres (7.5 miles) 
ASCENT: 500 metres (1640 feet)
DESCENT: 500 metres (1640 feet)

Day 6 — Visit Jökulsárlón Lagoon, sea kayak Heinabergsjökull Lagoon

After breakfast we’ll visit Jökulsárlón Lagoon, a photographer’s dream and a spot where you may see seals playing amongst the icebergs. After hiking the entire length of Iceland’s shortest river (blink and you’ll miss it), we’ll end up on the beach surrounded by stranded icebergs. After lunch it’s time to swap our hiking boots for a kayak paddle and venture out on the Heinabergsjökull Lagoon. Our professional kayak guides will keep you warm and dry, supplying you with all the necessary gear. We’ll explore amongst the icebergs and if conditions permit, get up close to the terminal face!  
Hótel Höfn or similar, Höfn (All meals)
KAYAKING DISTANCE: 8 kilometres (5 miles)

Day 7 — Return home

This morning, it’s a short, domestic flight from Höfn to Reykjavík to connect with afternoon international departures. If you’re staying on in Iceland be sure to ask us for advice about where to explore next! (Breakfast)

Dates

Trip Date Price Status  
May 12, 2019 – May 18, 2019 US$6899 Great
May 19, 2019 – May 25, 2019 US$6899 Great
May 26, 2019 – Jun 01, 2019 US$6899 Filling up
Jun 02, 2019 – Jun 08, 2019 US$6899 Great
Jun 09, 2019 – Jun 15, 2019 US$6899 Great
Jul 07, 2019 – Jul 13, 2019 US$6899 Great
Jul 21, 2019 – Jul 27, 2019 US$6899 Great
Aug 04, 2019 – Aug 10, 2019 US$6899 Great
Aug 18, 2019 – Aug 24, 2019 US$6899 Great
Sep 15, 2019 – Sep 21, 2019 US$6899 Filling up

Useful Info

No Forced Single Supplement:

Most other travel companies charge all solo travellers a single supplement fee. We don't! When it comes to accommodation, our trip fares are based on a twin-share rate, which means we'll match you up with another person of the same gender to share a room with. If there's no one suitable to share with, there's no forced single supplement!

Trip Start:

If you arrive on the first day of your trip, you’ll be free to make your own way to your accommodation in Reykjavík. An Active Adventures Europe representative will meet you at the joining hotel bar in the evening for welcome drinks and a briefing.

Trip End:

On the last day of your trip you'll need to organise your own transfer to Keflavík International Airport (KEF), in time for your departing flight (you can book a flight home departing anytime). If you’re staying on in Reykjavík, we’ll be happy to book your extra accommodation.

Fitness:

We’ve designed this trip to be fun, challenging and varied. Our trips aren’t scenic bus trips where you observe from a bus window or stand on a touristy viewing platform to take pretty pictures. We’ll get you into the back country to experience Iceland up close so you’ll need a reasonable level of fitness to enjoy yourself. Age and experience are not important, so you don’t need to be young or extremely fit but you should be in the habit of doing some regular exercise. So get out there with a daypack on a short hike from time to time and you’ll be ready to join us.

Transport:

Iceland is a small country, but not quite small enough to get around under your own steam the whole time!  We arrange comfortable, private transport with plenty of room to stretch your legs. Our guides make every journey informative and fun and may even play some local Icelandic music along the way.

Reviews

Why travel with Active Adventures?

Above all, we aim to be amazing hosts. We're proud of our kiwi roots, and our professional, warm and relaxed style of running trips around the world is unforgettable.

We're VERY picky about who we select to work in our team, and we have people from all over the world lining up to guide our trips. So we get to hire the absolute BEST in the business.

As soon as you get off the plane, we've got all the details of your vacation covered – top notch meals, comfortable transport & accommodation, amazing guides and INCREDIBLE service.

Whether you’re new to adventure travel, or you’ve never travelled in a group before, you’ll find yourself arriving home positively different from when you left.

With our small groups (no more than 14), you'll get to know our team, your fellow travellers, and have the flexibility and freedom to do as much (or as little!) as you like.

It's all about getting there under your own steam – on foot, in a sea kayak, or by bike. What better way is there to experience mind blowing scenery? If it's your first time, no worries – our expert guides have got you covered.

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