Summary : After a classic Golden Circle Tour through Iceland’s volcanic wonderland, embark on a spectacular voyage into the High Arctic. Make calls on the enigmatic island of Jan Mayen and the glaciated islands of Svalbard. This is early summer, the air is filled with migrating birds – and sun never sets. When approaching Svalbard, scout for sea mammals and seal-hunting polar bears on the pack ice. This voyage is the perfect combination of adventure and natural science as well as a view into millennium-old history of Icelanders and their Viking ancestry. You can look forward to magnificent scenery on the northernmost islands of the planet.
Activities : Birding, Child-Friendly, Culture, Hiking, Photography, Dedicated Solo Cabins, Triple/Quad Cabins
$2,400 to $6,500
Arrive in Iceland and start your journey by visiting the most famous spot here, the Blue Lagoon. The peninsula is an active geothermal area with many hot springs and recent lava fields revealing a relatively barren landscape. Near the geothermal power plant Svartsengi, you'll reach the wellknown Blue Lagoon or the “Bláa Lónid”. Here you can take a healthy swim in the warm and very light blue water. The extraordinary color of the water is due to silicon mud and a special blue-green algae, which even has a healing effect on psoriasis. Stylish changing and bathing facilities are part of the visit. Remember to bring swim suit; towel and bathrobe can be rented on site. After the relaxing bath, continue towards the capitol of Iceland, Reykjavik. Upon arrival check in to your hotel and the rest of the day can be spent strolling the streets of this small and charming city.
After breakfast meet your local Icelandic guide and a bus to begin possibly the most classic excursion on Iceland: The Golden Circle.
Begin at Skálholt, where the island’s bishop’s diocese was established in 1056. There is a great view of the surrounding countryside, and in clear weather, Iceland’s most famous volcano, Hekla, is visible in the horizon. Next head to find the Gullfoss waterfall, possibly the most impressive sight in Iceland.
A short drive from Gullfoss is Geysir, the hot spring giving name to all other geysers. Geysir began erupting in the late 13th century, but today it is considered to be asleep. On your way to UNESCO-protected Thingvellir National Park, stop at Laugarvatn, a popular excursion destination for Reykjavík residents who come here during weekends to relax at the hot springs.Thingvellir is a fascinating geological place as well as being the frame of the oldest parliament in the world, dating back to the year 930.
A lunch will be served during the excursion. Upon returning to Reykjavík the rest of the evening is free in Reykjavík. The city has a large and rich selection of restaurants for all tastes and is definitely worth a night out.
Before embarking the expedition ship, the Ocean Atlantic, there’s now time to explore Reykjavik on your own. Take a stroll through the main street of Laugavegur, visit the full sized whaling exhibition, Whales of Iceland or visit the Hallgrímskirkja church. All this can be done before your journey through the North Atlantic to the high Arctic begins.
Mid afternoon you can board Ocean Atlantic and set course northbound through the Denmark Strait for your first destination, the remote Arctic island of Jan Mayen.
During the voyage your lecturers onboard will make inspiring and enriching presentations about both Iceland’s past history and about nature, wildlife and climatology.
Listen to a lecture from your experienced expedition staff, see a film about Arctic nature – or go out on deck to catch glimpses of migrating birds and hopefully some whales in their natural habitat.
The island is inhabited by only 18 persons, running the meteorological station and the Norwegian Defence. Go ashore at the narrowest part of the island, from either south or north, depending on the prevailing wind and surf. The volcanic origin is visible all over with cinder cones, lava flows and the Mount Fuji-like appearance of Beerenberg looming above. After a pleasant stroll on the narrow isthmus board the Zodiacs and Ocean Atlantic to continue your voyage north.
Lectures, movies or maybe a game are some of the activities on this sea day.
As you get closer towards the islands of Svalbard, it should be possible to spot the largest island, Spitsbergen, during the afternoon. The route for this day is much depending on conditions. Not least the pack ice coming from the Arctic Sea as well as from calving glaciers, and also solid winter sea ice. Keep an eye out for polar bear hunting for seals.
During the night the ship will sail towards the main town of Svalbard, Longyearbyen.
Disembark the ship after breakfast and transfer to the airport.
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.
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. Svalbard is filled with mesmerizing landscapes and amazing wildlife; and the expedition photographer is available to help elevate your photographic capabilities to beautifully capture the magical moments of your voyage.
Two pre-cruise hotel nights in Reykjavik; shipboard accommodations; parka to keep; digital photo journal of your trip; all meals onboard ship. Subject to change without notice.
Airfare; accommodations other than per the itinerary; 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 such as spa and 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