Summary : Embark on a thrilling expedition to breathtaking southeastern Iceland, the isolated and unique Faroe Islands and off-the-beaten-path Norwegian fjords. Soak up the lava-crafted, windswept wilds of Hofn, Iceland; visit the brightly colored façades of the Torshavn harbor; and discover the myth and magic of the Sami people in the Vesteralen islands. Enjoy active exploration throughout, including hiking and kayaking with Explorer-in-Residence Fiann Paul.
Activities : Birding, Culture, Hiking, Kayaking, Triple/Quad Cabins
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Arrive in modern Reykjavik and transfer to your hotel. Set off on a walking tour of the colorful city center before gathering tonight for a welcome event.
Despite its small size, the northerly capital of Reykjavik is a vibrant city packed with eye-popping art, buzzy restaurants and historic treasures. Enjoy a morning at leisure to explore the city. After lunch, board ‘Le Boreal,’ your luxury megayacht for the next nine nights.
Arrive in the archipelago of the Westman Islands. Discover Heimaey island’s unique geography and local farmhouse ruins. Opt, if you wish, for a moderate or vigorous walk up to the island’s storied volcano before heading to Eldheimar, a museum home to interactive exhibits that detail the crater’s powerful eruption in 1973. This evening, attend the Captain’s Welcome Reception and get to know your fellow adventurers.
At the foot of the massive Vatnajokull ice cap lies an otherworldly, strikingly picturesque glacier lagoon. Board a small craft and watch these masses of polished and sculpted blue ice float by in peaceful procession on their way to the Atlantic Ocean. Soaring mountains ring the lagoon, providing an inspiring backdrop for your cruise. Back on land, take in the rugged, spiky peaks of Vestrahorn Mountain before heading back to the ship.
Tiny villages and jaw-droppingly dramatic landscapes dot the northern shores, where you begin your exploration of the rarely visited Faroe Islands. Of mixed Norse and Gaelic heritage, Faroe Islanders likely came from the Irish Sea and the Upper Hebrides of Scotland originally. Known to be fiercely independent, the Faroes maintain the oldest existing parliament in the world today. The islands have a total area of roughly 540 square miles and a population of about 50,000 — along with 70,000 sheep. During your visit, take in Torshavn, the Faroes’ capital city. Torshavn’s old town, Tinganes, is packed with sod-roof houses crowded together on a small peninsula. Old Torshavn contrasts strongly with the new, as modern boutiques and coffeehouses alternate with historic buildings, boisterously sung ballads and traditional chain dancing.
Join your expedition staff on deck to look for the whales that populate the Norwegian Sea. Pilot whales, minke whales, orcas and majestic humpbacks all make their homes in these waters. Don’t forget to look up for razorbills, glaucous gulls or kittiwakes as they wheel toward you above the ship. August is an excellent month to spot the northern fulmar or Atlantic puffin in these waters, and your onboard ornithologist helps you identify what you’re observing.
The legendary beauty of this region calls to many travelers, and many have included the stunning Norwegian fjords on their bucket lists. A fjord is a deep, narrow sea or lake drain with steep land on three sides. Norway’s fjords were formed by giant glaciers that descended over the course of several ice ages and carved out the current landscape. Fjords are natural harbors; fascinating cultures developed in the tiny hamlets that formed on their shores. Some of the areas you may visit include:
This fjord, the third longest in Norway, offers the iconic landscapes and green mountain paradise most people imagine when envisioning the fjords.
Quaint, brightly colored historic residences and shops line the River Nidelva. Cyclists glide by on wide streets, and pedestrians make their way to bustling cafés in this upbeat metropolis of nearly 200,000 people.
A UNESCO World Heritage Site, Vega Island is emblematic of how fishermen and farmers survived the harsh Arctic climate for centuries. You might climb 2,000 steps to experience an unbelievable view. Or you may visit an artist’s studio and try your hand at making pottery the way it has been made here for generations.
Myths, magic and reindeer herding fill the lives of the Sami people, who welcome you into their homes for a seat near a cozy fireplace. You might also hike the mountains of Vesteralen with a local guide, head out on a mountain biking excursion or meet locals from Hadsel Island, who wish to share their favorite dishes with you. Prepare to say goodbye to your newfound friends and the rich cultures of these Arctic regions at the Captain’s Farewell Dinner on one of these evenings.
Disembark this morning in colorful, charming Tromso and visit the Polar Museum that highlights the heroics of great explorers Fridtjof Nansen and Roald Amundsen. Time permitting, visit playful seals Bella and Mai San at Polaria, the northernmost aquarium in the world. In due course, board your charter flight to Oslo. Attentive staff will guide you to the airport hotel. Recount your adventures as you join your fellow travelers for dinner this evening at the hotel.
Transfer to the airport for your flights homeward as your journey comes to an end.
Read this itinerary as a guide only; the exact route and program varies according to ice and weather conditions - and the wildlife you encounter. Flexibility is the key to the success of this expedition. ExpeditionTrips is not responsible for itinerary changes.
Mandatory Travel Insurance:
As a requirement of participation on this expedition, all passengers must purchase emergency evacuation/repatriation insurance at a minimum coverage of $100,000. Other conditions may apply based on pre-existing conditions. ExpeditionTrips strongly recommends at least $200,000 Emergency Medical/Evacuation coverage for trips which includes coverage for cancellation, trip disruption, baggage and personal property. ExpeditionTrips can assist U.S. residents with travel protection options.
One pre-cruise hotel night in Reykjavik with breakfast; one post-cruise hotel night in Tromso with breakfast; transfer between Reykjavik airport/hotel/ship; transfer from ship/hotel/airport in Norway; shipboard accommodations; Wi-Fi onboard ship and in hotel; valet laundry service onboard ship (limited amount, excludes dry cleaning); kayaking excursion; gear to keep (parka, backpack); gear on loan (boots, walking poles, waterproof pants); all meals onboard the ship; room service onboard ship; most beverages onboard ship; complimentary local beer and wine for included meals onshore; gratuities for ship's crew and expedition staff; memory book upon return (one per booking). Additional Inclusion for Suites (Categories 5-8): Butler service onboard ship. Subject to change without notice.
Airfare; passport and visa expenses; laundry other than mentioned as included; meals not mentioned as included; premium alcohol, spirits and Champagne; communication charges not mentioned as included; all items of a personal nature; required travel insurance; excess baggage charges; airport departure tax; fuel surcharge may apply.
Photos: © A&K Image Library