As an outdoor enthusiast and insatiable traveler, with international experiences in over 50 countries, my personal journeys and passions for the outdoors have involved more than 5 trips to Iceland, in all seasons. It still doesn't get old!
Upon arriving at Keflavik International Airport (KEF) at 7am on the morning of the 31st, you'll be transferred to the Blue Lagoon Spa to decompress from the overnight flight and get accustomed to the otherworldly nature of Iceland. While the Blue Lagoon secret is out, and it will be the most "touristy" experience of the trip, it's close proximity to the airport, its outrageously photogenic good looks, and a well-deserved excuse to pamper yourself makes it a worthwhile starting point. There's no denying that soaking in thermal hot springs of ethereal, milky-blue hues amongst a volcanic landscape is a worthwhile treat. After soaking to your heart's content, you'll be transferred to Reykjavik (about 45 minutes), for a bite to eat and a stroll along the city streets (should time permit), prior to Reykjavik's Domestic Airport (RKV) for a short, 40-minute domestic flight to Isafjordur. You'll be departing on Air Iceland at 18:15, arriving in Isafjordur at 18:55. It's been a long day, and a feast is in order. A driver will fetch you from the airport and take you to Tjöruhúsið for a 17:30 reservation and what many say is Iceland's best seafood restaurant. Eat, drink, and be merry. After dinner, you'll be driven to the tiny town of Flateyri, about 20 minutes up the road, to check in to your private home for the next two nights. private house, unique location, amazing ocean and mountain view. In the heart of friendly Flateyri village The home is spacious and warm and in a superb location — in the heart of friendly Flateyri village and well-situated to visit many of the main attractions in the Westfjords. Newly refurbished with a breathtaking mountain view over the harbor area, you'll have access to a private, lovely outdoor area, big garden with terrace and BBQ, available for guests to use should you desire.read more
Today will be on the epic side of the scale, involving a full-day hike along the green cliffs of the breathtaking and rarely-visited Hornstrandir Nature Reserve. The Horstrandir Reserve is an adventure seekers paradise. Situated on the NW tip of Iceland, the area has been uninhabited for more than 60 years, and with no roads, boats represent the only way to access the area. You will find lush valleys filled with wild flowers, beautiful sandy beaches, deep fjords and towering cliffs. Great hiking and walking routes wind their way between the desolated fjords and bays, with spectacular views from the mountains to the sea. Two of the largest bird-cliffs in Iceland exist here, as well as the world’s largest colonies of Guillemots and major populations of Kittiwake, Razorbill and Fulmars. This is also the kingdom of the Arctic Fox and the only place in Iceland where they are fully protected, so they have a fairly relaxed temperament around humans. Hornstrandir is a magical place and we never get tired of telling people about its charm — a sentiment that is hard to explain. This trip is a great blend of the unspoiled nature and the fascinating history of the Hornstrandir Nature Reserve. You'll discover remains from a British radar station from WWII, see many species of Icelandic birds and walk along the top of some of the most beautiful cliffs in Iceland. The route begins on a beautiful sandy beach and steadily climbs up along the sheer cliffs of Grænahlíð, which for many decades was the best shelter for fishing trawlers when storms reigned in the Atlantic. On a clear day, you'lł be able to see views across the whole of Ísafjarðardjúp bay and into the Jökulfirðir glacial fjords. And remember to keep an eye open for the charming yet elusive Arctic Fox! Hornstrandir Nature Reserve is one of the few places in the world where the fox can raise its young without fear of being prey to hunters. This makes the foxes friendly towards humans, so they are easier to spot and get close to. We've made a reservation for you in one of Isafjordur's cozy seafood restaurants, and you'll overnight again at your Flateyri homebase.read more
Spend the morning at leisure hiking around the fjords nearby, or exploring Flateyri. Flateyri has been a trading post since 1792 and saw its heyday in the 19th century when it was home to a fleet of decked vessels and the base for shark-hunting and whaling operations. For those that wish to do a morning kayak, please let us know as that can be arranged! The old village bookshop has been turned into a museum where visitors can learn about the history of Flateyri while buying second hand books and visiting the old merchant's home. An international doll museum and the popular Nonsense Museum can also be found in Flateyri. Accommodation is available at the hostel or in self catering flats. A small shop, a restaurant/pub and a nice swimming pool with brand new outdoor hot-pots provide visitors with all the basic services. Across the fjord you will find a white, sandy beach. Although the sea might be colder for bathing than most people prefer, the sand is great for building sand castles. This beach is actually the venue for an annual sand castle competition which attracts hundreds of participants every year, children and adults alike. By midday, you'll depart with a driver to cross the finger-like Westfjords en route to Brjánslækur for a ferry to Stykkishólmur across the Breidafjörður Bay. A ferry trip shortens the route between the south of the country and the Westfjords region, while also providing for a scenic voyage. Upon arriving in Stykkisholmur, you'll have a reservation at 20:45 at personality-rich Sjavarpakkhusid, which prides itself on local sourcing of ingredients and sustainability. Following dinner, a driver will sweep you over the Snaeffelsness Peninsula to Hotel Budir — your home for the next two nights. After a long travel day, don't be afraid to get some rest!read more
Iceland’s most iconic country hotel offers romance, history, fairytales and gourmet dining in an impossibly wild setting beside the mystical Snaefellsjokull glacier — scenery which inspired Jules Verne for his well-known masterpiece “Journey to the Center of the Earth”. Admire the beauty of Western Iceland and understand why the famous author chose this particularly mysterious and magnificent place for his science-fiction novel. In the midst of nowhere, atop a peninsula overlooking glistening waters, Hotel Budir is splendid isolation at its very best. Surrounded on all sides by wild nature, stepping into this charming boutique hotel offers a warm embrace. Cosy and elegant, the 28 guestrooms boast spellbinding views over some of Iceland’s most stunning scenery, whilst down in the restaurant, talented chefs serve up some of its best cuisine. Shut the door to the elements and snuggle up by the fire on this picture-perfect getaway.The beauty of basing yourself on the Snaefellsness Peninsula, is you'll feel in complete isolation, but have ready access to some incredible adventures and exploring. Hiking tours, glacier hikes, and mountain biking are among the various activities organized by our partners within the Snæfellsjökull National Park. We can also arrange a visit for all geo-enthusiasts to the Vatnshellir Cave, an 8000 year old lava tube which is easily accessible. For fishing enthusiasts, the Lýsa catchment area is a renowned fishing area that includes the rivers Lýsa, Hóp, and Vatnsholtsá, and the lakes Torfavatn, Reyðarvatn, and Lýsuvatn. There are permits for ten rods at a time in the area, which are valid for the entire area. During the summer, arctic char and brown trout are in season, as well as the occasional salmon, though they've seen declining numbers most recently. If this is something the group would like to do, will need to know ASAP to ensure we can get the proper permits. Make sure to be back in time at Hotel Budir to be able to soak up the lodge's ambiance and not rush their home-cooked meals.read more
You'll have the morning at leisure to explore the coastal grounds around the hotel. A driver will take you in the early afternoon for a stunning drive along the southern coast, en route to Hotel Skalakot — your home base for the next three nights. This tour will take you around the ruggedly beautiful Reykjanes peninsula with its hot springs, tectonic rifts, volcanic craters and other moon-like landscapes. The endless lava fields in the raw and mysterious surroundings will make you feel like you’re at the end of the world! On a peninsula where lighthouses outnumber villages we will also visit the Krýsuvík geothermal area where you’ll get to see mud springs in all different colors, and watch the mud boil in the ground heated by the underground volcanic activity. This breath-taking area with its rugged treeless landscape is located directly on the Mid-Atlantic ridge and we’ll take you across the “bridge between continents”, something you can’t experience anywhere else in the world! Tucked away in the Icelandic heart of adventure, Skálakot sits on the south coast, surrounded by the iconic beauty of the Golden Circle. A two-hour drive from Reykjavik, you’ll be exploring thundering falls, brooding volcanoes, mesmeric glaciers and sweeping black sand beaches in a heartbeat. Taking you back to nature amid the heart-pounding wilderness of the Icelandic countryside, Skálakot is a rustic hideaway with a touch of 1920s art deco glamor. A family horse farm turned luxurious manor hotel, this is somewhere where you can walk in, slip off your shoes and feel at home. Family farm first, luxury hotel second; Skálakot is all about living the local experience as you saddle up and get to know your surroundings on horseback. Famous for their unique five gaits. the Icelandic horse makes for the perfect way to explore and Skálakot has mapped out the perfect routes. Whether you want to spend an hour riding to Irarfoss waterfall or three across Holtsos Lake, expert guides who double as professional horse trainers and nature enthusiasts are on hand.asread more
The South coast of Iceland is a magical area filled with adventure opportunities. Vast black lava beaches as far as they eye can see, massive waterfalls, fascinating rock formations and enchanting glacier tongues, allwithin an arm’s reach. Fenced in between the Atlantic Ocean in the Southand a big ice cap to the North as well as two big glacier rivers to the East and West, the area is quite spectacular with the black sand and hard ocean waves beating the shore of Reynisfjara beach. The rock formations of Reynisdrangar are a signature landmark. During this trip we visit the charming local town Vík í Mýrdal and two of Iceland’s most famous waterfalls; Seljalandsfoss and Skógarfoss both thundering down 60 meters. We’ll also visit Dyrhólaey; a 120 meter high rock inhabited by numerous types of birds, including the puffin, and to top it off we’ll make a short stop at Sólheimajökull glacier tongue where you get a chance to observe the amazing glacier. After exploring, you'll return to overnight again at Hotel Skalakot.read more
This unique volcano tour, takes you literally inside a dormant volcano, through the top crater and to the bottom of its magma chamber, once filled with steaming hot lava. The dormant Thrihnukagigur volcano is the only place on earth where a huge volcanic magma chamber is accessible to humans. Thrihnukagigur volcano last erupted over 4000 years ago. It’s located approximately 30km (20miles) from Reykjavik. After hiking 2,7km through the lava field, participants will descend 120m (400ft) through the top crater and down to the ground floor of the magma chamber, accompanied by experienced and specially trained guides. An open elevator system is used in the operation, transporting participants up and down the chamber in a cable lift. What’s included: all safety gear, helmets, harnesses, etc., small groups, plenty of guides for personal experience, volcano tour of a lifetime, traditional Icelandic meat soup, coffee/tea and perhaps some sweets as well. Vegetarians will have alternatives. Notes: All you need is the willingness to do a moderate 45–50 minute hike (to get to the crater) and the guts to descend 400 feet to the bottom of the crater in an open cable lift. After exploring, you'll return to overnight again at Hotel Skalakot.read more
For those who still have the energy, you'll have an option to explore and photograph Iceland's amazing, mysterious mountains, with an upfront view of a blue-ice-clad ice cave. This adventure is not for those who are claustrophobic, but certainly for those who have an endless curiosity and for whom the urge to explore runs in their veins. After the ice cave journey, we'll find our way to explore one of Iceland’s amazing black sand dune beaches. For those looking to relax, You'll have the morning at leisure. By early afternoon, you'll be driven back to Reykjavik for a chance explore the surprisingly-cosmopolitan city and shop for local wares. Reykjavík is strikingly cosmopolitan for its size. It's merely a town by international standards, compared with London or Paris, yet it's loaded with captivating art, rich culinary choices, and cool cafes and bars. The capital has seen a recent surge in restaurant openings, many of the highest standard, and expressing all manner of culinary creativity. Cafes by day turn into restaurants and bars at night. Tapas-style dining, high-concept Icelandic cuisine and burger joints all rub shoulders. And it's famous for its intimate music joints and late-night party scene, if that's your style. The city's colorful buildings, quirky shops, creative people, and eye-popping design can all be explored on foot, within a day. Unless you'd prefer structured activities, you'll have the afternoon and evening free to walk Laugavegur street and the central core. No visit to the capital would be complete without sampling Iceland's cuisine, and so we'll make a reservation at one of the city's world-class restaurants for you to toast an epic journey. We've made a special reservation at Fiskmarkaðurinn for a celebratory dinner capping a fantastic journey and delighting in a traditional Icelandic feast. You'll overnight at the Canopy Hilton. Set across six town houses in the prime location of central Reykjavik, Canopy is a beacon of vibrancy within a buzzing neighborhood culture. Located a mere stone’s throw from all of the best art galleries, restaurants, bars and cultural delights in town.read more
An airport shuttle will pick the group up from the hotel early in the morning, so as to catch your flight out of Iceland.
2 nights in a private home in Flateyri 2 nights at Hotel Budir 3 nights at Hotel Skalakot 1 night at Hilton Canopy, Reykjavik
All transportation when noted: -Airport transfers -Transport from Flateyri to Hotel Budir -Transport from Hotel Budir to Hotel Skalakot -Transport from Hotel Skalakot to Reykjavik
Scheduled activities on day 1: the Blue Lagoon Scheduled activities on day 2: Horstrandir Nature Reserve Scheduled activities on day 4: Exploring the Westfjords Scheduled activities on day 6: Driving tour of the Southern Coast Scheduled activities on day 7: Inside the Volcano