Summary : Be inspired by Iceland! Circumnavigate the land of fire and ice, delving deep into the country’s natural and cultural highlights along the way. From the crystal clear icy waters of Djupivogur and the phenomenal bird cliffs of Hornbjarg, to the dazzling waterfalls of Dynjandi, this voyage is a chance to hike, photograph, eat and even kayak your way around this amazing country.
Activities : Birding, Culture, Hiking, Kayaking, Photography, Triple/Quad Cabins
$12,200 to $37,500
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Arrive in Reykjavik and embark the ship.
The name Vestmannaeyjar refers to both a town and an archipelago off the south coast of Iceland. The largest Vestmannaeyjar island is called Heimaey. It is the only inhabited island in the group and is home to over 4,000 people. The eruption of the Eldfell Volcano put Vestmannaeyjar into the international lime light in 1973. The volcano’s eruption destroyed many buildings and forced an evacuation of the residents to mainland Iceland. The lava flow was stopped in its tracks by the application of billions of liters of cold sea water. Since the eruption, life on the small island outpost has returned to the natural ebb and flow of a small coastal fishing community on the edge of the chilly and wild North Atlantic.
On 14 November 1963, a trawler passing the southernmost point of Iceland spotted a column of smoke rising from the sea. Expecting to find a burning boat they were surprised to find instead, explosive volcanic eruptions. They were witnessing the birth of a new island. Columns of ash reached heights of almost 30,000 feet in the sky and could be seen on clear days as far away as Reykjavík. The eruptions continued for three and a half years, ending in June 1967. Once formed, Surtsey was 492 feet above sea level and covered an area of almost 2 square miles. The island was named after the Norse fire god Surtur. It is a perfect scientific study area used to understand the colonization process of new land by plant and animal life.
Slow the pace, and discover the refreshing approach to life that Djupivogur has made its trademark. You can leave your phone behind as you step out into this Icelandic town, which has won awards celebrating its leisurely outlook and stubborn rebellion against the frenetic pace of modern life. After all, who needs emails and notifications when you have some of the most humbling monochrome scenery and gashed fjords, waiting on your doorstep? Sitting on a peninsula to the south-east of Iceland, the glacial approach to life here wins many hearts. A place where hammers knock on metal in workshops, artists ladle paint onto canvases, and wild ponies roam across mountains, Djupivogur is an uninhibited artistic hub - full of makers and creatives. The most expansive project is the 34 egg sculptures that dot the coastline, created by the Icelandic artist, Sigurður Guðmundsson. Each egg represents a different native bird species.
Fishing remains the primary industry, and you can savor the fruits of their labor in restaurants serving up smoked trout and fish soup within their cozy confines. Wander the surrounding landscapes, where snow-freckled mountains rise, and lazy seals lie on dark rock beaches, to feel Djupivogur's natural inspiration seeping under your skin. Alive with greens and golds in summer, further ventures reveal bright blue glaciers and the sprawling waterfalls of Vatnajökull National Park. The cliff-hugging puffins of Papey Island are a short boat ride away, while Bulandstindur Mountain's pyramid shape is a stand out even among these fairy-tale landscapes.
Located in northeast Iceland, Langanes Peninsula, whose name translates as, “long peak” and extends 25 miles out to sea, ending in a thin strip of land called Fontur. The mostly flat peninsula is verdent green in summer, covered by mossy meadows studded with crumbling remains of long-ago settlements. The coastline is fringed by seemingly endless beaches that are peppered with driftwood. In spring, the sea cliffs are full of guillemots, kittiwakes, gannets and puffins.
There's simply nowhere better than Husavilk - the European capital of whale watching - for getting up close and personal with the majestic giants of the ocean. Feel the awe as whales breach the waves around you, before gulping in air and plunging away with almighty tale flicks. Pretty Husavik is framed by the majestic Húsavíkurfjall mountain, which swells up behind, creating a stunning backdrop for the town's tiny wooden warehouses, cherry red houses and undulating fishing ships. The little wooden church has been a beacon of light, guiding tired fishermen back to the shores of Iceland's oldest settlement, since 1907. Let the wind rip through your hair and the sea speckle your face, as you ride waves out among the region's almighty marine creatures, who throw their weight around so spectacularly. Sail among gentle giants in Shaky Bay, spotting humpbacks, minke whales and the world's biggest – blue whales. You may also see teams of smaller white-beaked dolphins skipping across the waves, displaying the full range of acrobatic skills.
The town's whale museum is an interesting journey through Iceland's relationship with the sea giants, while its restaurants serve up local specialties – taste juicy reindeer burger and plokkfiskur, a buttery mash of local fish. Hikes and horseback rides into the surrounding countryside can take you up around Lake Botnsvatn, to views down from the slopes of the Húsavíkurfjall - where purple spired lupin flowers spill down amongst the emerald slopes. From the summit, look out over views of the bay, reaching out to the crumpled snowy peaks beyond. Or feel the full force of this land of natural power, at Dettifloss Waterfall, one of Europe's most powerful, thrashing flumes.
Iceland’s Capital of the North is the gateway to a thrilling land of roaring waterfalls, soaring volcanoes and glorious wildlife. It may lie a mere 60 miles from the Arctic Circle, but Akureyi blossoms with a bright, cosmopolitan feel, and explodes into life during the summer months, when its outdoor cafes and open-air bathing spots fill up with visitors ready to immerse themselves in Iceland’s cinematic scenery. Feel the thundering impact of Iceland’s celebrated natural wonders shaking your bones at Godafoss Waterfalls, known as the ‘Waterfalls of the Gods’. Here, the Skjálfandafljót river unleashes a colossal torrent of water over charcoal-black rocks below. Or, find some peace at the Botanical Gardens, which opened in 1957 and offer space for contemplation - amid plants that bloom with unexpected vibrancy, even at this northerly latitude.
The Lutheran, Akureyrarkirkja Church rises like a grand church organ and is the town’s most striking landmark. The 112-step climb is worth the effort to see light flooding in through its narrow stain glass windows, spreading colorful patchworks across the interior. Magic and mythology are important elements of Icelandic folklore, and you’ll even bump into giant sculptures of grizzled, child-snatching trolls on the town’s high street. Or, meet more earthly - but no less magical - creatures in the waters around Akureyi, where immense blue whales cruise by and dolphins playfully leap. A trip to the northerly Grimsey Island will take you on an inspiring adventure traversing the Arctic Circle to a remote island where flame-beaked puffins nod on cliff-side perches and razorbills nest.
The Hornbjarg Cliffs are found in the northernmost part of Iceland’s Westfjords and are considered to be among Iceland’s most spectacular bird cliffs. As part of the Hornstrandir Nature Reserve the cliffs rise high on the seaside to then slope down on the landward side as green lush hills. Thousands of Northern Fulmars, Common and Brünnich’s Guillemots, Atlantic Puffins and gulls can be seen in the cliffs or soaring in the updrafts.
Vigur Island is a little more than a mile in length and about 450 yards wide. This green oasis punctuates the waters of the Ísafjarðardjúp fjord east of the town of Isafjordur. The island is home to a single farming family and has some meticulously preserved historical landmarks including Iceland’s only windmill, built in 1840 and used until 1917 for grinding imported wheat from Denmark; and a 200-year-old rowing boat, which is still in use to ferry sheep to the mainland. Summer is the best time to see large numbers of Atlantic Puffins, Arctic Terns and Black Guillemots. One of the export articles from this small island was eider down and one can see where the eider ducks nest and how the down is collected and cleaned.
Iceland is well-known for its spectacular waterfalls. The iconic Dynjandi waterfall, located in the Westfjords region, is regarded as one of Iceland’s most impressive and majestic waterfalls. At the top, the cascading water is roughly 100 feet wide and tumbles down about 330 feet into the fjord. Its name Dynjandi means, “the thundering one” and its vast size, enormous sound, and sheer force is overwhelming. It has also been nicknamed, ‘The Bridal Veil’ because of the way the water sprays and spreads over the rocks.
On Iceland’s north coast and close to the westernmost tip of the country are the impressive cliffs of Latrabjarg; Europe’s largest bird cliff. Millions of individual seabirds make their home along the promontory safe from the range of scavenging foxes on the steep ledges. Atlantic Puffins, Northern Gannets, Razorbills and guillemots have each selected their preferred areas in and above the cliff in which to roost and nest.
Stykkishólmur, located in western Iceland at the northern end of the Snæfellsnes Peninsula, is the commerce center for the area. Its natural harbor allowed this town to become an important trading center early in Iceland’s history. The first trading post was established in the 1550s, and still today fishing is the major industry. The town center boasts beautiful and well-preserved old houses from earlier times. Stykkisholmur is very environmentally conscious – it was the first community in Europe to get the EarthCheck environmental certification, was the first municipality in Iceland to start fully sorting its waste, and was the first town in Iceland to receive the prestigious Blue flag eco-label for its harbor. It has also been a European Destination of Excellence (EDEN), since 2011.
Disembark the ship after breakfast.
This itinerary is subject to change. ExpeditionTrips is not responsible for itinerary changes.
Although travel insurance is not mandatory to participate in this voyage, ExpeditionTrips strongly recommends at least $200,000 Emergency Medical/Evacuation coverage which includes coverage for cancellation, trip disruption, baggage and personal property. Other conditions may apply based on pre-existing conditions. ExpeditionTrips can assist U.S. residents with travel protection options.
Utilize the ship's new Photo Studio as a hub for the multifaceted enrichment program. With both private and group lessons, guests can learn to master the art of digital photography through the Academy, which provides an array of specialty workshops for both beginners and pros.
Kayaking will be offered complimentary and will run on a lottery system. Guests cannot pre-book the kayak tours. Participation requires good physical condition and right of participation is reserved. The kayak guides will make the final determination if a guest is fit to participate. Kayaking will be weather dependent. Minimum age 16. Guests should know how to use a rudder on a kayak.
Shipboard accommodations; Wi-Fi onboard ship (1x device per guest for Vista-Deluxe Veranda; 2x devices per guest for Medallion-Owner's suites); kayaking (lottery system); parka; backpack; one voyage highlights USB per cabin; most meals onboard ship; butler service onboard ship; most beverages onboard ship; gratuities onboard ship (except spa). Royal, Grand, and Owner’s Suites also include: receive laundry service throughout the voyage, 1x dinner for two in La Dame, and two hours of worldwide phone use from your suite. Subject to change without notice.
Airfare; transfers and luggage handling; meals onboard at La Dame Restaurant unless mentioned above as included; some alcoholic premium beverages; travel insurance; government fees and taxes; visa and passport expenses; boot rental; gifts and items of a personal nature such as laundry (unless mentioned as included) and spa options; fuel surcharge may apply.
Photos ©: Creative Services at Silversea Cruises, Daniela Plaza, Pablo Bianco