Summary : Experience Iceland in high season, where nature displays its full splendor with bright nights and a vibrant birdlife. Onboard Ocean Atlantic you will reach areas of Iceland not easily accessible otherwise and catch a glimpse of whales swimming freely nearby. In selected locations. Zodiacs will be used to further explore the area and its surroundings. From lowlands to glacier ice, you’ll see the entire coast of Iceland with unforgettable experiences both on the mainland and on the many islands where seals and puffin seabirds gather. Along the way, visit national parks and cozy little towns, stand on the Polar Circle, enter the black lava sand and learn about the Icelandic sagas, an intrinsic part of the Icelanders’ history.
Activities : Birding, Child-Friendly, Culture, Hiking, Kayaking, Photography, Dedicated Solo Cabins, Triple/Quad Cabins
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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 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 or in a conventional coach.
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.
In the early morning wind and twist your way through the long and deep fjord called Seydisfjordur.
Your morning port of call is the relatively small town with the same name as the fjord. With around 700 inhabitants, that call themselves "one big family", so you are in good hands today. Starting it's life as a herring fishing community by Norwegians in 1870, the town grew and received its town charter by the end of the century.
The deep harbor is still home to industry, fishing and a scheduled ferry to the Faroe Islands as well as Denmark.
An optional excursion (extra fee) to the nearby Skalanes area for a nice nature hiking experience will also be offered.
In the morning, you will have arrived at the island of Grimsey, which is located about 40 kilometers from the mainland and 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 every year in June.
Over 100 inhabitants reside in the little rocky island, all living close to the harbor in the only city in the island. The fishing banks in the surrounding seas make the economy flourish, the port is expanded, and there is a small airport with daily flights to the mainland and the school for the children. The island has been inhabited right back from the settlement of Iceland and is mentioned in the sagas as an important land, rich in fish and birds.
The seabirds far exceed the number of inhabitants on Grimsey, 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 morning to experience the local life and explore the island's bird life.
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.
Here you also have the opportunity to join a 7-hour optional excursion (extra fee) to fabulous Goðafoss & Lake Mývatn.
The west fjords offer one unforgettable experience after another. We 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 take you on a walk around the island, and coffee and light refreshments will be served in the local café.
In the evening, sail towards the southern part of the West Fjords.
Pass Iceland’s westernmost point, the huge bird cliffs of Latraberg early in the morning. After breakfast make a landing at the 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 100-kilometer long 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 nest on 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 Earth". The volcano with the almost perfect cone shape and the surrounding area became in 2001 the Snæfellsjökull National Park.
You will make a landing at Snaefellsnes.
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, as well as printed proof of insurance available for the Expedition Team if requested while onboard our vessel. 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 for shore landings); digital photo journal of your trip; all meals onboard 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