Iceland Voyage: Land of Fire and Ice

Discover the most beautiful landscapes on the Icelandic west coast with Smithsonian Journeys


Iceland
PON @ Shutterstock

Duration: 8 days
Starts: Reykjavik, Iceland
Ends: Reykjavik, Iceland
Language: English Speaking Voyage

Shore excursion or activity in each port of call + transfers included


Included


On the edge of the Arctic, between vast glaciers, vertiginous fjords, volcanoes and boiling geysers, Iceland offers a kaleidoscope of wild and romantic landscapes.

You will board the ship in Reykjavik, the world’s northernmost capital city. With its houses with colourful roofs and its lake that is home to countless ducks, the city offers a picture-postcard setting.

The first port of call on your cruise: the bay of Grundarfjordur, right near Kirkjufell. This stunning cone-shaped mountain possesses a unique charm and this will be an opportunity to take some beautiful photos.

Your ship will then reach Grímsey, a small, hard-to-reach island where, in certain places, the volcanic rock forms magnificent basalt columns. Sea birds reign here.

Finally, you will discover Heimaey. This is the only inhabited island in the Westman archipelago. It is an exceptional place composed of volcanoes and almost-desert landscapes, where fishing is the main food source.

This cruise is part of a collection of voyages that are specially-tailored for English-speaking travellers who want to engage with the world. In addition to the usual elements of the experience, the listed price for these voyages includes transfers to and from the ship, talks and discussions aboard ship by world class experts, and a shore excursion or activity in each port of call that encourages guests to embrace the sights, sounds, tastes, and smells of the local environment and culture.

Highlights
• A voyage specially-tailored for English-speaking travellers including discussions with experts, transfers before and after your cruise, and an included excursion or activity in each port of call.
• Engaging discussions onboard with Smithsonian Journeys Experts including geologist Scott Burns and Scandinavian languages and literature expert Elisabeth Ward.
• Golden Circle excursion: the 3 most emblematic sites in Iceland.
• Landscapes: vast glaciers, breathtaking fjords, volcanic rock, basalt pillars, jagged cliffs and geysers.
• Wildlife: seabirds, Arctic terns, Minke whales, humpback whales, Icelandic horses.
• Opportunity to visit the Beluga Whale Sanctuary on Heimaey.

SMITHSONIAN JOURNEYS
Smithsonian Journeys is the travel programme of the Smithsonian Institution, the world’s largest museum, education and research complex, consisting of 21 museums, the National Zoological Park, education centers, research facilities, cultural centers, and libraries. Drawing on Smithsonian's resources dating back 175 years, these sailings will feature notable experts and experiences that embrace local cultures and dive deeper into a destination’s history, cuisine, language, environment, and wildlife. For more than 50 years, Smithsonian Journeys has been rooted in and focused on cultural immersion and discovery – with a goal of inspiring guests to become global citizens through travel.

Important trip details.
Warning about the use of drones: the use of drones aboard the ship, whether they are sailing at sea, at a port of call or anchored, is strictly forbidden. The use of drones on land in the Arctic and Antarctic regions is also strictly forbidden by international polar regulations. In other regions, it may be possible to use drones on land if permission has been obtained from the relevant authorities of each country and each region travelled through, as well as a pilot’s licence that should be obtained from your home country. Passengers are responsible for obtaining these permits; they should be able to present them at all times. Passengers who do not obtain these authorisations expose themselves to the risk of legal proceedings.

Itinerary

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@ Shutterstock

DAY 1 | REYKJAVÍK
Iceland’s capital stretches along the edge of a vast bay in the west of the country. Perlan, the “Pearl of Reykjavík”, a museum located on ’Oskjuhliđ hill, offers a panoramic view of the lush, green landscapes. A little further, one can easily spot the signpost showing the way to the evangelical Hallgrímskirkja church, and to the historical centre where one can stroll along the Skólavörđustígur and the Laugavegur, two lively streets with charming small shops. For some relaxation just outside of the city, visitors have the opportunity to visit the Reykjanes peninsula and its famous thermal lagoons of the Blue Lagoon.

DAY 2 | GRUNDARFJÖRDUR
This secret boreal hideaway is located at the foot of the Kirkjufell, on Snaefellsnes peninsula. Arriving by boat means you will get a closer view of the lava-stone rock standing like a sentinel at the entrance to the bay; Grundarfjörđur lies sheltered behind this cone-shaped rock. A stone’s throw from the jetty, crystal clear waters, tundra and beaches give into the cerulean waters of Breiđafjörđur. Scattered with its emerald-coloured lawns, this town, with its buildings that merge into the surrounding countryside, will most certainly win your favour.

DAY 3 | GRÍMSEY
Grímsey is the northernmost island of Iceland surging from the Arctic ocean, with the Arctic circle running through the island. Its contrasted contours are surprising. From Grímseyjarhreppur, the island’s only town located on the west coast, then heading due south, you can take in the beauty of the hillsides, lushly carpeted with moss and grass. On the rest of the coastline, imposing basalt cliffs inhabited by sea birds stand proud.

DAY 4 | AKUREYRI
The elegant city of Akureyri is located very close to the Arctic circle, tucked away in the Eyjafjörđur fjord. It displays a stunning palette of colours: blue waters in the harbour, bronze mountain ash on the squares and brightly-coloured houses in the historical centre. As you walk along the cobbled streets, you will come across rows of terraces with wooden furniture. A vast stairway cut into the hillside leads up to the emblematic feature of the town, namely the Akureyrarkirkja church. The very beautiful botanical garden made possible by a microclimate offers the opportunity to discover the Icelandic flora as well as plants from all over the world.

DAY 5 | ISAFJÖRDUR
Your ship will take you to the heart of the fjords of North-West Iceland, a wild land of lost valleys and steep cliffs, where man struggles to survive. In this very isolated region we find the Isafjörđur fjord, undoubtedly one of the most beautiful in the country, mainly for its relief, forged by many very ancient basaltic flows. The town of Isafjörđur, which nestles at the back of its fjord, between imposing mountains, is a delightful little town that lives exclusively from fishing. The capital of the Western fjords, its old wooden houses bear witness to its past as a major fishing port.

DAY 6 | HEIMAEY, VESTMANNAEYJAR
This land seated off the southern coast of Iceland is the largest of the Vestmann islands, and is the only inhabited island in the archipelago. The steep Edfell volcanoes and the green prairies of Herjólfsdalur offer rich contrast of nature. On the Stórhöfđi road, look out over grey sand beaches and cliffs carved out by the Arctic ocean. From here, you can also see the bronze landscapes of the mountaintops. You could visit Eldheimar, an ultra-modern and interactive museum which traces the volcanic eruption has experienced Heimaey in 1973.

DAYS 7 & 8 | REYKJAVÍK
Iceland’s capital stretches along the edge of a vast bay in the west of the country. Perlan, the “Pearl of Reykjavík”, a museum located on ’Oskjuhliđ hill, offers a panoramic view of the lush, green landscapes. A little further, one can easily spot the signpost showing the way to the evangelical Hallgrímskirkja church, and to the historical centre where one can stroll along the Skólavörđustígur and the Laugavegur, two lively streets with charming small shops. For some relaxation just outside of the city, visitors have the opportunity to visit the Reykjanes peninsula and its famous thermal lagoons of the Blue Lagoon.

Itinerary

DAY 1 | REYKJAVÍK
Iceland’s capital stretches along the edge of a vast bay in the west of the country. Perlan, the “Pearl of Reykjavík”, a museum located on ’Oskjuhliđ hill, offers a panoramic view of the lush, green landscapes. A little further, one can easily spot the signpost showing the way to the evangelical Hallgrímskirkja church, and to the historical centre where one can stroll along the Skólavörđustígur and the Laugavegur, two lively streets with charming small shops. For some relaxation just outside of the city, visitors have the opportunity to visit the Reykjanes peninsula and its famous thermal lagoons of the Blue Lagoon.

DAY 2 | GRUNDARFJÖRDUR
This secret boreal hideaway is located at the foot of the Kirkjufell, on Snaefellsnes peninsula. Arriving by boat means you will get a closer view of the lava-stone rock standing like a sentinel at the entrance to the bay; Grundarfjörđur lies sheltered behind this cone-shaped rock. A stone’s throw from the jetty, crystal clear waters, tundra and beaches give into the cerulean waters of Breiđafjörđur. Scattered with its emerald-coloured lawns, this town, with its buildings that merge into the surrounding countryside, will most certainly win your favour.

DAY 3 | GRÍMSEY
Grímsey is the northernmost island of Iceland surging from the Arctic ocean, with the Arctic circle running through the island. Its contrasted contours are surprising. From Grímseyjarhreppur, the island’s only town located on the west coast, then heading due south, you can take in the beauty of the hillsides, lushly carpeted with moss and grass. On the rest of the coastline, imposing basalt cliffs inhabited by sea birds stand proud.

DAY 4 | AKUREYRI
The elegant city of Akureyri is located very close to the Arctic circle, tucked away in the Eyjafjörđur fjord. It displays a stunning palette of colours: blue waters in the harbour, bronze mountain ash on the squares and brightly-coloured houses in the historical centre. As you walk along the cobbled streets, you will come across rows of terraces with wooden furniture. A vast stairway cut into the hillside leads up to the emblematic feature of the town, namely the Akureyrarkirkja church. The very beautiful botanical garden made possible by a microclimate offers the opportunity to discover the Icelandic flora as well as plants from all over the world.

DAY 5 | ISAFJÖRDUR
Your ship will take you to the heart of the fjords of North-West Iceland, a wild land of lost valleys and steep cliffs, where man struggles to survive. In this very isolated region we find the Isafjörđur fjord, undoubtedly one of the most beautiful in the country, mainly for its relief, forged by many very ancient basaltic flows. The town of Isafjörđur, which nestles at the back of its fjord, between imposing mountains, is a delightful little town that lives exclusively from fishing. The capital of the Western fjords, its old wooden houses bear witness to its past as a major fishing port.

DAY 6 | HEIMAEY, VESTMANNAEYJAR
This land seated off the southern coast of Iceland is the largest of the Vestmann islands, and is the only inhabited island in the archipelago. The steep Edfell volcanoes and the green prairies of Herjólfsdalur offer rich contrast of nature. On the Stórhöfđi road, look out over grey sand beaches and cliffs carved out by the Arctic ocean. From here, you can also see the bronze landscapes of the mountaintops. You could visit Eldheimar, an ultra-modern and interactive museum which traces the volcanic eruption has experienced Heimaey in 1973.

DAYS 7 & 8 | REYKJAVÍK
Iceland’s capital stretches along the edge of a vast bay in the west of the country. Perlan, the “Pearl of Reykjavík”, a museum located on ’Oskjuhliđ hill, offers a panoramic view of the lush, green landscapes. A little further, one can easily spot the signpost showing the way to the evangelical Hallgrímskirkja church, and to the historical centre where one can stroll along the Skólavörđustígur and the Laugavegur, two lively streets with charming small shops. For some relaxation just outside of the city, visitors have the opportunity to visit the Reykjanes peninsula and its famous thermal lagoons of the Blue Lagoon.


@ Shutterstock
@ Shutterstock
@ Shutterstock


INCLUSIONS

• A program of onboard enrichment provided by Smithsonian Journeys Experts including geologist Scott Burns and Scandinavian languages and literature expert Elisabeth Ward.
• Transfers and luggage handling from the airport in Reykjavík to the ship on the day of embarkation
• Comprehensive 7-night cruise aboard the deluxe Le Bellot
• One included shore excursion or activity in each port of call (see “Itinerary” for more information and choice of excursions, if applicable)
• Transfer from the ship to the airport in Reykjavík at the end of the cruise on the morning of disembarkation

EXCLUSIONS

• Independent meals and beverages ashore
• Personal expenses (such as laundry, telephone, etc.)


* The prices are per person in US Dollars, unless expressly specified in a different currency. In that case, payment will be in US dollars at the exchange rate of the day.
** All prices will be re-confirmed by email at the time of booking.
NOTE: Embracing the unexpected is part of the legacy—and excitement—of expedition travel. When traveling in extremely remote regions, your expedition staff must allow the sea, the ice and the weather to guide route and itinerary details. This itinerary is a tentative outline of what you’ll experience on this voyage; please be aware that no specific itinerary can be guaranteed.

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