Iceland

9 Day Arctic Cruise

Venture further than most Iceland visitors on this epic voyage to the Land of Fire and Ice.


Iceland
SWA © Agustin Ullmann

Dramatic cliffs, deep silent fjords and volcanic peaks fill this slice of land known as ‘Little Iceland’.

Duration: 9 days
Starts: Reykjavik, Iceland
Ends: Reykjavik, Iceland
Language: English speaking voyage


Included


Aboard this boutique, ice-class ship we’ll explore Iceland’s furthest corners in style and comfort.
The Snæfellsnes Peninsula National Park is every Icelandic geological feature you’ve ever thought of in one place.
In the north, we’ll cross the Arctic Circle via Grímsey Island, home to Iceland’s largest puffin colony. From Höfn we’ll explore Vatnajökull National Park’s thundering waterfalls and floating icebergs. On a visit to Heimay we’ll learn about its dark past and recent volcanic eruption. We’ll conclude our cruise in cosmopolitan Reykjavik with a real feel for what’s under the skin of this remarkable place.

Trip Highlights
Marvel at the incredible geology in Snæfellsnes Peninsula National Park
Visit Látrabjard Cliff, Europe’s largest bird cliff
Explore Iceland’s most geologically active region at Lake Mývatn
Cross the Arctic Circle on Grímseu Island
Learn about Heimaey’s dark history and its recent volcanic past

Itinerary

© Agustin Ullmann
© Agustin Ullmann
© Agustin Ullmann

DAY 1 REYKJAVIK
In the centre of Iceland’s sprawling capital city, the modern organ-pipe-shaped Hallgrimskirkja church dominates the top of town. Cosy bars, cafes and shops line the surrounding streets heated by geothermal waters. The regenerated harbour is home to a striking modern concert hall. Popular trips include to the Blue Lagoon, a geothermal spa near the village of Grindavik, and the Golden Circle tour taking in Gullfoss Waterfall and the mighty Strokkur geyser in Thingvellir National Park.

DAY 2 FLATEY ISLAND & STYKKISHÓLMUR
One of over 3,000 small islets in the dramatic Breidafjordur Bay, Flatey is the only one with a permanent settlement. The island’s unique volcanic scenery provides favourable nesting sites for large numbers of bird species. The area supports over 230 recorded species of vascular plants and around 50 breeding bird species including the arctic tern and eider duck. The largest town on the Snaefellsnes Peninsula, Stykkishólmur is probably best known for its historic and well-preserved colourful buildings. Located in the old town centre, these bright 19th-century structures give a traditional backdrop to its futuristic church. Further afield is the Snæfellsjökull volcano and its ice cap, made famous by the classic sci-fi novel Journey to the Centre of the Earth, by Jules Verne.

DAY 3 PATREKSFJÖRÐUR
The largest town in the southern part of Iceland’s striking Westfjords region, Patreksfjörður was a pioneering force in Iceland’s fishing industry. Today commercial fishing remains the town’s primary industry. One of Patreksfjörður’s main draws is the nearby Látrabjarg Cliff. This stunning slice of coastline is Europe’s largest bird cliff, as well as being the continent’s most western point. One of the world’s best seabird watching spots, this place is a must-see for keen ornithologists. Látrabjarg Cliff is also the perfect place to capture that iconic puffin photo. The puffins here are protected and have little reason to fear humans, allowing for some excellent photo opportunities.

DAY 4 AKUREYRI
In northern Iceland on Eyjafjördur, Akureyri is known for its colourful old town, heart-shaped traffic lights and woodlands. Nearby tours of Lake Mývatn, the most geologically active area in Iceland, include lava formations, hot springs, caves and rifts, boiling mud pools, volcanic craters, the roaring Godafoss waterfall and Game of Thrones locations. Puffins nest on the inhabited island of Grimsey that crosses the Arctic Circle, while Hrísey island is said to have powerful healing energies.

DAY 5 GRIMSEY ISLAND
Grímsey is a remote island located 40km off Iceland’s north coast. Many people travel here for the purpose of setting foot in the Arctic Circle, the only place in Iceland where you can do so. The island is also home to fewer than 100 people, but over one million seabirds. Birdlife thrives here thanks to the lack of egg predation (there are no rats or mice on the island) and the rich, well-stocked surrounding seas. Grímsey has one of Iceland’s largest tern nesting sites and largest puffin colonies.

DAY 6 SEYDISFJORDUR
Regarded as east Island’s cultural hub, brightly painted wooden houses line Seyðisfjörður’s port. With a lively arts scene disproportionate to its small size, Seyðisfjörður has attracted many writers and artists over the years and also hosts an annual summer arts festival. Surrounded by incredible nature, the Skálanes nature reserve is a short distance from the town. The area covered by the reserve is known for its diverse wildlife with over 47 species of bird and over 150 plant species. Reindeer are also seen here, with seals and porpoises frequently spotted along the shores.

DAY 7 HOFN
Southeast Iceland’s staging post, Höfn is a small town perched on a narrow neck of land, and an ideal base for exploring Vatnajökull National Park. The town itself is well known for its lobster catch, particularly high-value species like the Norway lobster. The town hosts an annual Lobster Festival in celebration of its reputation as Iceland’s lobster capital. Vatnajökull National Park is Europe’s largest and covers 14% of Iceland. This vast area encompasses massive ice caps, thundering waterfalls, glaciers, canyons, craters and volcanoes. The park’s Jökulsárlón Lagoon is within easy reach of Höfn and is Iceland’s deepest lake. Icebergs float on the surface of the water all year long, offering resting spots for passing seals.

DAY 8 HEIMAEY
A small 13-kilometre square island off the south coast of Iceland, Heimaey’s history has been surprisingly eventful. From the escapee 16th century Irish slaves to the reaches of the Ottoman Empire and subsequent pirate invasion, the island was a place of danger and terror until the mid 18th century. Once these events subsided, for 300 years the people of Heimaey assumed that their days of action were a thing of the past. That was until 1973 when residents awoke to a devastating volcanic eruption. Fissures over a kilometre wide snaked through the town, the lava engulfing over 400 homes. Remarkably, only one person is thought to have died as a result of the eruption, with a quick rescue response ensuring that the 5,300 residents were swiftly evacuated to the safety of the mainland. Evidence of this recent geological activity can be seen just about everywhere on Heimaey and is the focus of the fascinating Eldheimar museum.

DAY 9 REYKJAVIK
In the centre of Iceland’s sprawling capital city, the modern organ-pipe-shaped Hallgrimskirkja church dominates the top of town. Cosy bars, cafes and shops line the surrounding streets heated by geothermal waters. The regenerated harbour is home to a striking modern concert hall. Popular trips include to the Blue Lagoon, a geothermal spa near the village of Grindavik, and the Golden Circle tour taking in Gullfoss Waterfall and the mighty Strokkur geyser in Thingvellir National Park.

Itinerary

DAY 1 REYKJAVIK
In the centre of Iceland’s sprawling capital city, the modern organ-pipe-shaped Hallgrimskirkja church dominates the top of town. Cosy bars, cafes and shops line the surrounding streets heated by geothermal waters. The regenerated harbour is home to a striking modern concert hall. Popular trips include to the Blue Lagoon, a geothermal spa near the village of Grindavik, and the Golden Circle tour taking in Gullfoss Waterfall and the mighty Strokkur geyser in Thingvellir National Park.

DAY 2 FLATEY ISLAND & STYKKISHÓLMUR
One of over 3,000 small islets in the dramatic Breidafjordur Bay, Flatey is the only one with a permanent settlement. The island’s unique volcanic scenery provides favourable nesting sites for large numbers of bird species. The area supports over 230 recorded species of vascular plants and around 50 breeding bird species including the arctic tern and eider duck. The largest town on the Snaefellsnes Peninsula, Stykkishólmur is probably best known for its historic and well-preserved colourful buildings. Located in the old town centre, these bright 19th-century structures give a traditional backdrop to its futuristic church. Further afield is the Snæfellsjökull volcano and its ice cap, made famous by the classic sci-fi novel Journey to the Centre of the Earth, by Jules Verne.

DAY 3 PATREKSFJÖRÐUR
The largest town in the southern part of Iceland’s striking Westfjords region, Patreksfjörður was a pioneering force in Iceland’s fishing industry. Today commercial fishing remains the town’s primary industry. One of Patreksfjörður’s main draws is the nearby Látrabjarg Cliff. This stunning slice of coastline is Europe’s largest bird cliff, as well as being the continent’s most western point. One of the world’s best seabird watching spots, this place is a must-see for keen ornithologists. Látrabjarg Cliff is also the perfect place to capture that iconic puffin photo. The puffins here are protected and have little reason to fear humans, allowing for some excellent photo opportunities.

DAY 4 AKUREYRI
In northern Iceland on Eyjafjördur, Akureyri is known for its colourful old town, heart-shaped traffic lights and woodlands. Nearby tours of Lake Mývatn, the most geologically active area in Iceland, include lava formations, hot springs, caves and rifts, boiling mud pools, volcanic craters, the roaring Godafoss waterfall and Game of Thrones locations. Puffins nest on the inhabited island of Grimsey that crosses the Arctic Circle, while Hrísey island is said to have powerful healing energies.

DAY 5 GRIMSEY ISLAND
Grímsey is a remote island located 40km off Iceland’s north coast. Many people travel here for the purpose of setting foot in the Arctic Circle, the only place in Iceland where you can do so. The island is also home to fewer than 100 people, but over one million seabirds. Birdlife thrives here thanks to the lack of egg predation (there are no rats or mice on the island) and the rich, well-stocked surrounding seas. Grímsey has one of Iceland’s largest tern nesting sites and largest puffin colonies.

DAY 6 SEYDISFJORDUR
Regarded as east Island’s cultural hub, brightly painted wooden houses line Seyðisfjörður’s port. With a lively arts scene disproportionate to its small size, Seyðisfjörður has attracted many writers and artists over the years and also hosts an annual summer arts festival. Surrounded by incredible nature, the Skálanes nature reserve is a short distance from the town. The area covered by the reserve is known for its diverse wildlife with over 47 species of bird and over 150 plant species. Reindeer are also seen here, with seals and porpoises frequently spotted along the shores.

DAY 7 HOFN
Southeast Iceland’s staging post, Höfn is a small town perched on a narrow neck of land, and an ideal base for exploring Vatnajökull National Park. The town itself is well known for its lobster catch, particularly high-value species like the Norway lobster. The town hosts an annual Lobster Festival in celebration of its reputation as Iceland’s lobster capital. Vatnajökull National Park is Europe’s largest and covers 14% of Iceland. This vast area encompasses massive ice caps, thundering waterfalls, glaciers, canyons, craters and volcanoes. The park’s Jökulsárlón Lagoon is within easy reach of Höfn and is Iceland’s deepest lake. Icebergs float on the surface of the water all year long, offering resting spots for passing seals.

DAY 8 HEIMAEY
A small 13-kilometre square island off the south coast of Iceland, Heimaey’s history has been surprisingly eventful. From the escapee 16th century Irish slaves to the reaches of the Ottoman Empire and subsequent pirate invasion, the island was a place of danger and terror until the mid 18th century. Once these events subsided, for 300 years the people of Heimaey assumed that their days of action were a thing of the past. That was until 1973 when residents awoke to a devastating volcanic eruption. Fissures over a kilometre wide snaked through the town, the lava engulfing over 400 homes. Remarkably, only one person is thought to have died as a result of the eruption, with a quick rescue response ensuring that the 5,300 residents were swiftly evacuated to the safety of the mainland. Evidence of this recent geological activity can be seen just about everywhere on Heimaey and is the focus of the fascinating Eldheimar museum.

DAY 9 REYKJAVIK
In the centre of Iceland’s sprawling capital city, the modern organ-pipe-shaped Hallgrimskirkja church dominates the top of town. Cosy bars, cafes and shops line the surrounding streets heated by geothermal waters. The regenerated harbour is home to a striking modern concert hall. Popular trips include to the Blue Lagoon, a geothermal spa near the village of Grindavik, and the Golden Circle tour taking in Gullfoss Waterfall and the mighty Strokkur geyser in Thingvellir National Park.


© Agustin Ullmann
© Agustin Ullmann
© Agustin Ullmann


INCLUSIONS

• Return regional flights to the port of embarkation and/or disembarkation (where specified)
• Group return transfers from the airport to the cruise port (via our included accommodation where applicable)
• One night pre-cruise accommodation with breakfast in a 4/5-star hotel or onboard
• All meals onboard
• 24-hour room service
• Coffee, tea, soft drinks and selected alcoholic beverages available 24-hours per day
• Lecture programmes by our experienced expedition team and guest speakers
• Standard WiFi
• Onboard gratuities and port taxes
• One selected shore excursion/expedition activity per port of call
• Branded expedition parka and use of rubber boots in Polar Regions
• Itineraries are correct at time of publishing and may be subject to change

EXCLUSIONS

• International Air fares
• All other expenses specifically not mentioned under Inclusions


* The prices are per person expressed in US Dollars.
** 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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