Between sky-piercing geysers and otherworldly lava fields, Iceland is a country of truly dramatic landscapes. And, travelling with an expert guide – as part of a half-board group tour – takes the strain out of it all, allowing you to enjoy the views as you circumnavigate the entire country. Indeed, you’ll showcase almost all of Iceland’s myriad delights, from the glaciers, icebergs and puffins of the south to buzzy Reykavik, the steaming vents of Lake Myvatn and the dramatic fjords of the east. The geothermal treasures of the Golden Circle are a special highlight.
Day 1: UK/Reykjavik
Arriving into Reykjavik’s airport, an included transfer will see you to your central accommodation with the Icelandic capital’s myriad delights on your doorstep, and a free day to explore them. While its colourful townhouses and church spires mark centuries of rich heritage, much of Reykjavik’s intrigue lies in its innovative creative scene. There’s everything from contemporary art studios and cutting-edge restaurants to a wave of ultra-modern architecture, led by the Hallgrímskirkja – a sky-piercing Lutheran church.
Stay: Hotel Klettur
Day 2: Akureyri
You’ll be met today by your expert guide for the scenic drive north. Crossing fjords and dipping through mountain tunnels, you’ll arrive at Skagafjördur – the valley of horses. Here, you’ll enjoy entrance into Glaumbær, a folk museum housed in turf-roofed farm buildings that date back to the 18th century. It’s a privileged insight into what rural Icelandic life once was. You’ll then continue through the rolling Öxnadalsheidi highlands to Akureyri. As Iceland’s northern capital, trendy cafés and art galleries alike make the most of its fjord setting.
Stay: Hotel KEA or similar
Day 3: Lake Myvatn
After breakfast, you’ll strike out east to Myvatn, a great eutrophic lake set among dramatic volcanic surrounds. Expect pseudocraters, lava pillars and, at Námaskarð, everything from bubbling mud pits to steaming fumarole vents. To help make the most of your stay, we've included a visit to Jardbödin. Known as the ‘Blue Lagoon of the North’, its bright-azure waters are geothermally heated and make for relaxing soaks; it’s an excellent alternative to its busier cousin. Then, returning to Akureyri, you’ll embark on a whale-watching cruise, watching out for humpbacks, pods of dolphins and flocks of migratory birds.
Stay: Hotel KEA or similar
Day 4: The Eastfjords
Today, continuing east, you’ll pause at Dettifoss. As Europe’s most powerful waterfall, 500 cubic metres of water plunge over its edge every single second – a truly awe-inspiring sight. You’ll then enjoy a delightfully scenic drive over the Mödrudalsöræfi highland plateau, sweeping through remote towns and skirting the Eastfjords – giant waterways carved out by glacial movements. Here, towering mountains backdrop such sleepy fishing villages as Breiðdalsvík – your home for the night.
Stay: Hótel Bláfell or similar
Day 5: East Coast to South Coast
Travelling along Iceland’s east coast, mapping its jagged coastline, you’ll sweep through quiet seaside hamlets to arrive at the mighty Vatnajökull Glacier. Then, after taking in its great white expanse, you’ll make a stop at the Jökulsarlón Glacier Lagoon. While you’ll be able enjoy its spectacular ice floes from the shore, we highly recommend an optional cruise to get right among its creaking icebergs. Next up is Skaftafell National Park. Something of a green oasis among the barren glaciers, it excites with trail walks, cascading waterfalls and cragged basalt columns.
Stay: Fosshotel Nupar or similar
Day 6: Southern Iceland
Following this morning’s breakfast, you’ll set off across Eldhraun – the largest mass of lava to have ever graced the surface of the earth. Your first stop is the black beach of Reynisfjara, famous for its puffin colony and wild rock formations. Stops at a pair of picturesque waterfalls – Skógafoss and Seljalandsfoss – will then see you to the superb Lava Center where you’ll learn how Iceland’s spectacular landscapes have been formed over millennia of volcanic activity. Before ending the day in your riverside spa hotel, there’s also the opportunity for an Icelandic horse ride.
Stay: Hotel Selfoss or similar
Day 7: The Golden Circle
Today is given over to exploring the iconic sights of the Golden Circle. First up is Gullfoss – a canyon waterfall often purported to be Iceland’s most beautiful – before a set of geothermal wonders. Highlights include Geysir – by which all others are named after – and Strokkur, whose eruptions are as regular as clockwork. Then, following hot springs and bubbling mud pools, you’ll have some time to explore Thingvellir National Park. Here, the tectonic forces of the Great Atlantic Rift, and their resultant valley sweeps, are the spectacular backdrop to thousand-year-old stone ruins – evidence of the world’s first democratic parliament. You’ll then end the day back in Reykjavik.
Stay: Hotel Klettur
Day 8: Depart for UK
After a final breakfast, make your way to the airport for your flight home.
This trip has no fixed departures but restrictions may apply - check operator website
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