Summary : Sail beneath the midnight sun, over seas steeped in Norse mythology, and along the route of the boldest Vikings who ventured west. Meet the welcoming islanders who call the scenic Faroes home—Danes by nationality and Vikings by blood. See the graves of their Viking ancestors and explore their tiny towns of turf-roofed homes. On Scotland’s outlying isles you’ll discover a 5,000-year-old village and see the mysterious standing stones of the Ring of Brodgar. And in the west, on a near circumnavigation of Iceland, see this geologically roiling land just as the Vikings must have, from thundering waterfalls and boiling springs, to islands so young the earth still steams. This expedition enables you to see Iceland’s vast Vatnajökull icecap, third largest in the world, a seldom-seen sight to behold that is the focus of so much media attention. Sail under the towering bird cliffs of Noss that teem with murres and kittiwakes, and visit a colony of thousands of charismatic puffins in the Faroes. Discover a land of living geology: from boiling mud pools to spectacular waterfalls to the world’s youngest island. Meet welcoming locals—modern day Vikings—who make their lives in these spectacularly remote and beautiful lands. See the dramatic cliffs and sea stacks and stunning Viking relics.
All departures are photo expeditions, see end of page for details.
Activities : Birding, Child-Friendly, Culture, Hiking, Kayaking, Photography, Dedicated Solo Cabins
New starting 2017: Most beverages and crew tips included
Free Chronicle: Receive a free video chronicle of your trip, compliments of ExpeditionTrips!
$999,999,999 to $0
Fly overnight to Bergen, one of the major cities of the powerful Hanseatic League. The Hansa merchants operated in the historic Bryggens Wharf area, now a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Explore its wooden buildings from the Middle Ages before embarking National Geographic Orion. (L,D)
Have a relaxing morning at sea. Hear talks from staff, browse in the Library, head to the Wellness Deck for a sauna and massage or wake up with a cappuccino in the Chart Room. This afternoon the Stone Age sites of Orkney await you. See the standing stones at the Ring of Brodgar and the excavated stone-slab village of Skara Brae—5,000 years old! Next, step into the world of the Vikings at the red sandstone cathedral of St. Magnus, built by the Vikings in 1137. (B,L,D)
This morning the ship glides past the towering bird cliffs of Noss for views of murres and kittiwakes. Pause to photograph Shetland ponies on your way to the Jarlshof archaeological site—with the ruins of 4,000 years of settlement. Weather permitting, at nearby Mousa Island, see a fine example of an Iron Age broch (fortified stone tower). (B,L,D)
Arrive in the easternmost of the Faroe Islands. Though citizens of Denmark, the rugged Faroese are proud of their Viking ancestry, reflected in their ancient language and love of the sea. Your intrepid ship navigates between the towering coasts of Streymoy and Vágar to Vestmanna. Explore northern Streymoy, with its historic settlements and Viking graves. (B,L,D)
The ship ties up alongside the tiny capital of Tórshavn. Beautiful wooden boats bob at anchor in the harbor, their curling stems and sterns proudly proclaiming their Viking ancestry. Explore the town, mingling with the modern-day Vikings. Visit the surprising natural history museum, 12th-century St. Olav’s Church and the Kirkjubøur archaeological site, a medieval farming and religious center. (B,L,D)
Zodiacs take you ashore to tranquil Mykines, known for its overwhelming number of puffins. Take a walk to the nesting grounds, where thousands of puffins take off, land and sit in their burrows—seemingly waiting for you to take their photos. Continue to the tiny lighthouse, tethered down with steel cords, an indicator of winter storms. Then stroll through the tiny village with its turf-roofed houses and turf-roofed church. (B,L,D)
Arrive in Iceland and see firsthand how the country got its chilly name. From Djúpivogur, explore the vast Vatnajökull icecap, third largest in the world. For a closer look at the ice, take a boat ride through Jökulsárlón, a lagoon strewn with large, sculpted icebergs. (B,L,D)
Have a relaxing day at sea to browse the library, hit the gym or the bridge, and to hear presentations preparing you for exciting days ahead. Sail northward to the land of the midnight sun, taking Zodiacs ashore to the tiny island of Grimsey, which lies exactly on the Arctic Circle. Celebrate being officially in the Arctic, in the company of nesting arctic terns and puffins. (B,L,D)
Complete the circumnavigation of Iceland, disembarking in Reykjavík. Stop by the famous Blue Lagoon thermal baths, prior to your flight home. Whether you choose to enjoy the surreal bath and spa facilities or just stroll around the fascinating environs, the Blue Lagoon is unforgettable!
Located in the Western Fjords, Ísafjördur is surrounded by water on three sides and is a great place for hiking. Visit a working eiderdown farm, where the farmer shows how the feathers are collected from the incredible numbers of nesting eider ducks here and gives insight into life on this isolated peninsula. (B,L,D)
National Geographic Orion sails past the immense Látrabjarg cliffs, the westernmost point of Iceland and home to a huge population of razorbills. The cliffs are an area famous for egg collecting; the men were tied to ropes and lowered like spiders down onto the ledges. Continue to Flatey Island, a trading post for many centuries, for walks around the charming hamlet that grew here, and take a Zodiac cruise along the coast. (B,L,D)
The Westman Islands were formed by undersea volcanoes between 5,000 and 10,000 years ago and are among the youngest of the world’s archipelagos. In 1963, the world witnessed on film the birth of its newest island, Surtsey—a newly designated UNESCO World Heritage Site—which can be seen as you cruise past the coast. In 1973, Heimaey was threatened by lava flows that nearly closed off its harbor. Visit the crater, where the earth is still hot, and have amazing views of areas that had been engulfed by lava. (B,L,D)
Today complete a near circumnavigation of Iceland, disembarking in Reykjavík, the world’s northernmost capital. Join a guided overview of the old town and visit the famous Blue Lagoon thermal baths, prior to your flight home. Whether you choose to enjoy the surreal bath and spa facilities or just stroll around the fascinating environs, the Blue Lagoon is unforgettable! (B,L)
This itinerary is subject to change. ExpeditionTrips.com is not responsible for itinerary changes.
Reverse Itinerary: 8/13/2017
Special Photo Expedition: 6/22/2017
Join National Geographic photographer, Erika Larsen on board for this special photo expedition. For more than a decade, Erika Larsen has used photography to learn intimately about and document cultures that maintain strong connections with nature. She has followed Sami reindeer herders in the Scandinavian arctic and explored the significance of the horse in Native American culture for National Geographic magazine. Her work has been shown in the Smithsonian National Portrait Gallery, the Swedish Museum of Ethnography, and Ájtte Sámi Museum. Larsen is also the recipient of a Fulbright Fellowship, which sponsored her study of the North Sami language. She has recently published her first book of photographs, Sámi, Walking With Reindeer.
Special Photo Expedition: 8/13/2017
Join National Geographic photographers, Diane Cook and Len Jenshel on board for this special photo expedition. Over two-plus decades as National Geographic contributing photographers, Diane Cook and Len Jenshel have shot more than ten feature articles for National Geographic magazine and many more for National Geographic Traveler. Their work spans nature and beauty, culture, the environment, and science, and is represented in more than 100 major museum collections worldwide.
Lindblad-National Geographic Certified Photo Instructor:
On all departures, a certified photo instructor will be at your side and at your service to inspire and assist you. Take advantage of talks, presentations, slideshows and “laptop gallery” sharing events. All skill and interest levels are welcome; the instructors can meet you wherever you are on your journey. All you need to participate is a camera— point-and-shoot, smartphone, DSLR, whatever—and a sense of adventure. And you’re sure to return home with amazing photos.
Optional Pre-Trip or Post-Trip Extension:
Reykjavik’s Golden Circle & Blue Lagoon: Extend your stay in Reykjavik, the world's northernmost capital. Enjoy the surreal Blue Lagoon, and have a guided in-depth experience along the famed Golden Circle. From $920 per person. (1 Day)
Travel with a National Geographic photographer and certified photo instructor—at your side and at your service to inspire and assist you. And, take advantage of talks, presentations, slideshows and “laptop gallery” sharing events. All skill and interest levels are welcome; the expert photographers and instructors can meet you wherever you are on your journey. All you need to participate is a camera— point-and-shoot, smartphone, DSLR, whatever—and a sense of adventure. And you’re sure to return home with amazing photos.
Ship accommodations; meals onboard and most alcoholic beverages; services of expedition staff and expert guides; use of kayaks; port charges and service taxes; bar tab and gratuities to ship's crew. Subject to change without notice.
Air transportation; passport and visa/immigration fees; personal items such emails, laundry, etc.; fuel surcharge may apply.
Photo Credit: © Ralph Lee Hopkins (glacier ice, puffins, Blue Lagoon, house); © Steward Cohen (woman photographer)