Mon, Aug 13: Fly from Indianapolis to Reykjavik, Iceland.
Tue, Aug 14: Arrive in the morning and transfer from the Kevflavik International Airport to Reykjavik, Iceland’s capital. Along the way, a local guide will introduce you to Reykjavik and all its wonders while driving through the magnificent landscape of Reykjanes peninsula—moss covered lava fields as far as the eye can see! Explore the old harbour, see Hallgrimskirkja, the church that is likely the most iconic and recognizable structure in Reykjavik’s city skyline. Pass the swan-filled pond and city hall, Harpa concert hall, Solfari the Sun Voyager and lastly the vibrant downtown area with all its colorful small houses. Stay overnight in the downtown area at a new and modern hotel. After the city tour, the day is at leisure.
Wed, Aug 15: Today is yours to spend taking to the streets of Reykjavik. You may choose to take the optional day trip to the Blue Lagoon, one of the most visited attractions in Iceland. The lagoon is located in a lava field on the Reykjanes Peninsula, which you drove through yesterday. The warm waters are rich in minerals like silica and sulfur, and bathing in the Blue Lagoon is reputed to help people suffering from skin diseases such as psoriasis. Have another evening on your own. (Meal: Breakfast)
Thu, Aug 16: After leaving Reykjavik, travel the popular Golden Circle to Gullfoss, the beautiful double “Golden Falls” and the active geothermal area of Geysir, where you will see the Strokkur (or churn) geyser spout up to 70 feet every five to seven minutes. A visit to the ancient Viking Parliament area of Thingvellir National Park tops off the day before heading to the most beautiful area of the Borgarfjordur, where some city-dwellers keep summer homes in the rolling countryside. Check in to the Hotel Husafell. Having just opened in July of 2015, this new hotel offers superb views of its natural, pristine surroundings. Enjoy an exquisite meal in the hotel dining room this evening. (B,D)
Fri, Aug 17: Depart Borgarnes after breakfast to explore Hraunfossar, a series of waterfalls pouring from beneath a long row of lava fields into Hvita River. Visit Europe's most powerful hot spring and see the Grabrok volcano crater, stopping along the way to gain insight into Icleand’s past at Glaumbaer Farm & Folk Museum. Take the road less traveled along the Trollaskagi peninsula in northern Iceland between the fjords of Eyjafjordur and Skagafjorour to the little fishing town of Siglufjordur, a town of about 1,300 people. It is the northernmost town of Iceland’s mainland, and along with the natural beauty of the surrounding mountains, is also home to the Herring Era Museum and Folk Music Museum. Stay at the modern Hotel Siglo and enjoy a group dinner in this fascinating town. (B,D)
Sat, Aug 18: Begin the day with majestic scenery as you make the short drive to Arskogssandur and board the ferry to Hrisey Island, located in the middle of Iceland’s longest fjord, and home to thousands of sea birds. Take a guided tractor-pulled tour through the island village as a local islander paints a historical portrait of this peaceful place along the way. Ferry back to the mainland. Return to Siglo hotel. The rest of the day is at leisure. (B)
Sun, Aug 19: Travel from Siglufjordur to Hauganes for a chance to meet with the gentle giants of the ocean on a whale watching tour. Take a stroll through Akureyri, “the capital in the north.” Walk through Akureyri´s beautiful botanical garden, explore the Akureyri church—counting the steps of the church as you climb is a ritual here—and enjoy your reward for climbing them— a magnificent view from up top. After having explored Akureyri, continue back to Siglufjordur. (B,D)
Mon, Aug 20: Head to Godafoss, the Waterfall of the Gods, on your way to Asbyrgi Canyon, fashioned in the shape of a horseshoe and said to be formed by the God Odinn´s horse, Sleipnir. The cliffs of Asbyrgi´s walls reach up to 100 meters in height and its small lake, Botnstjorn, is home to a variety of waterfowl species. Next, explore the magnificence of Dettifoss waterfall, the most powerfull waterfall in Europe, with its glacial water coming all the way from Vatnajokull glacier. Tonight’s overnight accommodation will be in Akureyri. (B)
Tue, Aug 21: Leave Akureyri and set out for Lake Myvatn, known for its rich bird life and extraordinary volcanic lava landscapes. Visit pseudo craters, walk in the lava field of Dimmuborgir, and if you like, climb up to the rim of the ash crater Hverfjall. See the hot springs and bubbling mud pools of Namaskard, and travel to Viti crater lake in the Mount Krafla geothermal fields. After exploring, continue east to secluded Breiodalsvik (population 139) for a rustic, yet cozy stay at Hotel Blafell. Have dinner with your fellow travelers surrounded by majestic mountains and black sand seascapes. (B,D)
Wed, Aug 22: Tour the east of Iceland today, visiting Egilsstadir, a town set on the banks of the Lagarfljot river. The town is young even by Icelandic standards, established in 1947 as a regional service centre for the surrounding farms. Visit Hallormsstadur with its large (at least by Icelandic standards) forest, having been protected since 1905 and thereby becoming Iceland´s first national forest. Continue on to Petra´s Stone Museum, housing a number of beautiful stones and rock formations from Petra’s personal collection and displayed in her own home. Return back to Hotel Blafell for the night. (B,L,D)
Thu, Aug 23: Start the trek south through the eastfjords to the famous Jokulsarlon Glacier Lagoon. There you will enjoy an amphibian boat ride through the glacial icebergs on the lagoon. Drive through Skaftafell National Park underneath Vatnajokull Glacier— the one that created a stir in 2008, sending an ash plume into the sky and drawing international attention. End the day at Vik, known for its black sand beaches. (B,D)
Fri, Aug 24: Complete the tour on the last full day in Iceland by visiting the black sandy beach of Reynisfjara. The powerful waves can be very dangerous, so we will enjoy the roar of the ocean from a safe distance. Continue on to final waterfall visits: first Skogafoss Waterfall, then Seljalandsfoss—where you may take an exhilarating walk behind the falls! Continue to Reykjavik for the last overnight of the tour and a farewell dinner. (B,D)
Sat, Aug 25: Transfer to the airport for flights home. (B)
Hotel Skuggi, Reykjavik
Centrally located in Reykjavik, the hotel is in walking distance from Iceland’s main shopping street Laugavegur, Highlights: comfortable, modern guest rooms • in-room coffee and tea maker • free WiFi • bar/lounge
Hotel Husafell, Borgarfjordur
Relax and rejuvenate at this new, contemporary hotel that combines luxurious comfort with the unique wonders of Icelandic nature. The hotel only uses 100% pure energy from small hydro power plants that are driven by crystal clear spring water. Highlights: spacious deluxe guestrooms with terrace, decorated with paintings by a local artist • bathrobe provided during stay • in-room coffee and tea maker and mini-refrigerator • complimentary Wi-Fi- access and USB connection in guestroom • restaurant • bar/lounge • 24-hour room service • geothermal baths • outdoor geothermal-heated pool.
Hotel Siglo, Siglufjordur
Located on the fisherman’s marina, this new hotel has views of the beautiful surrounding mountains and peaceful environment of Siglufjord. Highlights: cozy guestrooms • walk-in showers • complimentary Wi-Fi access • three restaurants • bar/lounge • outdoor spas and sauna • volleyball court • giant chess board • mini golf course.
Kea Hotel, Akureyri
Located in the heart of Akureyri, gateway to the rich natural splendor of northeast Iceland, Hotel Kea has been welcoming guests since 1944 (but you wouldn’t guess it from the modern elegance of the rooms! Highlights: • comfortable guest rooms • bathrooms • in-room coffee and tea maker • free WiFi• restaurant • bar/lounge • room service
Hotel Blafell, Breiddalsvik
Tucked between breathtaking coastal mountains and black sand beaches, Hotel Blafell is a tranquil oasis of rustic charm amid the rugged beauty of Breiodalsvik in East Iceland. Highlights: Comfortable, bright guest rooms with natural wood décor • Free WiFi • restaurant • bar • wellness sauna • library/lounge with fireplace • on-site shop
Hotel Dyrholaey, Vik (Pjodvegur)
Located on a hill overlooking the coast, Hotel Dyrholaey offers impressive views of the Myrdalsjokull Glacier and the Atlantic Ocean. Highlights: comfortable guest rooms • in-room electric kettle • Free Wifi • restaurant • bar