Summary : Experience Iceland in high season, where nature displays its full splendor with bright nights and a vibrant birdlife. You will not want to go to sleep during this trip, as the landscape constantly changes, and there are whales to be spotted. Ocean Atlantic can reach areas of Iceland that are not reachable on land, and in selected locations, the ship's Zodiac fleet will help to further explore the area. From lowlands to glacier ice, see the entire coast of Iceland with unforgettable experiences both on the mainland and on the many islands where seals and puffins gather. Along the way, you'll visit isolated islands, cozy little towns, stand on the polar circle and black lava sand, and feel a breath of saga history.
Activities : Birding, Child-Friendly, Culture, Hiking, Kayaking, Photography, Dedicated Solo Cabins, Triple/Quad Cabins
$2,700 to $7,000
Embark the vessel and begin your journey.
The Westman Islands were on the headlines of the world press in January 1973, when a volcano erupted in the Heimaey island. All 5,000 inhabitants evacuated, but most have now returned, and today the population is about 4,000.
Start the day by passing close to one of the world's newest islands, Surtsey. The island rose from the sea in 1963 and arrived in 2008 on UNESCO's list of world natural heritage sites. The island is closed to the public and only researchers are allowed.
In the morning, head to Heimaey, the only inhabited island in the archipelago, where you can see the recently excavated houses from the outbreak in 1973.
After an exciting day at Heimaey, set course to the southeastern corner of Iceland on the edge of Vatnajökull National Park.
Make a morning call to the small, cozy port town of Djupivogur. Sheltered, but still very accessible from the ocean, the port is actually one of the oldest in Iceland, and the people from Djupivogur take great pride in preserving some of the old houses. The town attracts creative folks and the art exhibitions are worth a visit, not least the Eggin i Gleðivík's, 34 oversized bird eggs, carved out of granite. The Cultural Centre is located in the beautiful red timber house, Langabúð, and opposite this on the other side of the small harbor is the old Hotel Framtid.
An optional excursion (additional fee) is available from Djúpivogur by Super Jeeps, the work horse in modern Iceland.
In the afternoon, re-embark Ocean Atlantic and continue north along the dramatic coastline of the east fjords. The area has the lowest population in Iceland, and fishing is the big business. One of the fjords you’ll pass is Mjóifjörður, which means the narrow fjord, flanked by high mountains with steep cliff sides and numerous waterfalls.
By mid-evening reach the fjord Borgarfjörður Eystri. Your destination is the small island of Hafnarhólmi, now connected to the mainland by a narrow pier. This little hilltop might well be the best place to observe the fascinating puffins. The birds arrive to Hafnarhólmi from their winter stay in mid-April, and nest on rock shelves or in the tufty grass slopes completely carefree from the many bird watchers that pass daily on the wooden trails built into the hill. As well as the puffins, eiders, fulmar and kittiwakes breed here on Hafnarhólmi.
Sail into the bay of Husavík, known to be one of the best places to observe whales in Iceland. Many whale species have been observed in these waters, and the most likely to be seen are the acrobatic Humpbacks, the small and agile Minke, and occasionally the gigantic Blue Whale and Sperm Whale. Sail slowly around the bay with everyone's eyes searching for these fascinating creatures.
At noon, sail further north to the island of Grimsey and reach the northernmost point of the journey. Grímsey is the only part of Iceland, with an Arctic designation. The Polar circle crosses the island at 66 ° 33 'N, and gives the island one full day of 24-hour sunlight – on June 21st!
The seabirds far exceed the number of inhabitants on Grímsey, and bird cries can be heard 24 hours a day over the bright Arctic summer. Up to 36 different species breed on the island and have their nests on the rocks. One of Iceland's largest tern colonies is here, and it is said that the runway must be cleared for terns before the aircraft can land.
You’ll make landing by Zodiac during the afternoon to experience the local life and explore the island's bird life.
During the night and early morning, Ocean Atlantic cruises through one of Iceland's longest fjords, Eyjafjörður, cutting south into the land from the north coast. Sitting astride in the middle of the fjord, Hrisey is home to 200 islanders, and after Heimaey, is the second largest island off the coast of Iceland. You'll make a morning call by Zodiac into the small town on the south point of the island, and enjoy an easy stroll through the settlement and into the outlying grass plains. As hunting has been prohibited for many years, birdlife is unusually rich. Especially ptarmigans and eiders are ubiquitous.
Continue the voyage a few miles further south to reach the beautiful city of Akureyri, where you disembark just after lunch. The climate of Akureyri is unique in these latitudes, with many more hours of sunshine and higher temperatures than the rest of Iceland.
Akureyri is a center of trade and culture and is Iceland's second largest city. With the emerging educational environment, the many cultural events and the big fishing industry, Akureyri grows steadily, with more Icelanders – and tourists – heading to the north coast's sunshine city.
Just stroll around town and enjoy the lively atmosphere with cozy cafés and great restaurants, as well as lush gardens and the splendid view from the city church, Akureyrarkirkja.
Or join an optional five-hour excursion to fabulous Goðafoss & Lake Mývatn (additional fee).
The west fjords offer one unforgettable experience after another. Start the morning sailing along the coast of Hornstrandir, the northernmost part of the West Fjords. In 1975 the area was converted into nature reserves, and currently has some of the strictest rules to protect the peculiar and fragile nature. Along the coast, there are good opportunities to see whales and seals, and the mountainside is alive with the rich bird life. Continue into Hornvik Bay, which is considered one of the most beautiful places in Iceland, to see two of the largest bird cliffs in Europe where millions of seabirds breed.
In the afternoon, sail further into Isafjardardjúp, and take a walk on the island of Vigur at the mouth of Hestfjördur to enjoy the view of the steep mountains and see the terrific aerobatics of the Arctic Terns.
A local guide will takes the group on a walk around the island, and coffee and light refreshments will be served in the local café.
In the evening, leave Isafjardardjúp and sail towards the southern part of the West Fjords.
At this stage, the ship has passed Iceland’s westernmost point, the huge bird cliffs of Latraberg early in the morning. After breakfast, make a landing at island of Flatey, the only one of Breidafjördur's numerous islands inhabited all year. However, most of the colorful houses are holiday homes only used in the summer months.
The island has a rich part in the history of Iceland and previously had great cultural significance when in the 1100s an Augustine monastery was at the highest point of the island. Later, the island became a focal point for trade with the northwestern part of Iceland when the Danish king appointed Flatey as an official trading station in 1777. Until the end of the last century, the population grew until the island almost overcrowded in comparison to its small size. Today, only two inhabited farms are left.
In the afternoon, sail along the peninsula Snaefellsnes, which with its dramatic cliff coast, hardened lava floods, sandy beaches and volcanic peaks, is a picture of Iceland in mini-format. Round the peninsula and enjoy the view of the nearly 1,500-meter-high snow-covered volcano Snæfellsjökull, which was the center of Jules Vernes novel "The Journey to the Center of the Carth". The volcano with the almost perfect cone shape and the surrounding area became in 2001 the Snæfellsjökull National Park.
Disembark the ship after breakfast.
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; minimum $200,000. The medical insurance must be able to cover all existing health issues the passenger might have. It must also cover medical treatment and medical evacuation in any of the areas traveled. Other conditions may apply based on pre-existing conditions. ExpeditionTrips strongly recommends at least $200,000 Emergency Medical/Evacuation coverage which includes coverage for cancellation, trip disruption, baggage and personal property. ExpeditionTrips can assist U.S. residents with travel protection options.
All guests interested in Kayaking need to participate in Kayaking information meetings and safety briefing on day one. After the briefing they need to be approved by the Kayak Master. If they are not approved by the Kayak Master they are not allowed to participate. All kayaks are double kayaks (no single), and there are 6 of them on board. 12 guests per outing. They try to get 2-3 kayaking outings on one Expedition (subject to weather conditions). Exercise your body while engaging your mind and heart in an unforgettable outing, safely guided by kayak masters throughout the journey. The Antarctic region, weather, sea and ice conditions will dictate when and where kayaking may be possible in order to ensure your safety and improve your experience. Kayaking is weather dependent.
Onboard Expedition Photographer:
Each voyage has a dedicated expedition photographer onboard to document the voyage and share their passion for photography through lectures and during landings and Zodiac cruises. Iceland is filled with mesmerizing landscapes, and the expedition photographer is available to help elevate your photographic capabilities to beautifully capture the magical moments of your voyage.
Shipboard accommodations; gear on loan (boots); digital photo journal of your trip; all meals onboard ship; coffee and tea onboard the ship. Subject to change without notice.
Airfare; accommodations other than aboard the ship; transfers; passport and visa expenses; optional excursions; alcohol, soft drinks and other beverages besides coffee and tea; Wi-Fi; communication charges; all items of a personal nature; laundry; required travel insurance; gratuities (gratuities will be automatically added to your onboard account; gratuities are adjustable); excess baggage charges; airport departure tax; fuel surcharge may apply.
Photos © Albatros Expeditions