Natural wonders, superb wildlife, unique culture & fascinating history.
Follow in the footsteps of Vikings and Gaels and discover the stunning islands of the North Atlantic.
Our voyage begins in Scotland, known for its rich tapestry of history, culture and rugged, natural beauty. Harsh lands are fringed by a dramatic coastline, broken up by the occasional fishing village and quaint seaside town. Passing through the Outer Hebrides, the UK’s most remote islands, our voyage continues to the unique landscape of the Faroe Islands.
Our last stop on our North Atlantic adventure takes us to Iceland, home to ice covered volcanoes, immense glaciers and geothermal lagoons.
*Explore the stunning coast lines of some of the most remote islands in Europe
*Visit some of the world’s rarest bird colonies alongside expert ornithologists
*Immerse yourself in the ancient Nordic culture and Gaelic history
*Enjoy long hours of daylight, perfect for wildlife and landscape photography
Duration: 12 days
Embarks: Edinburgh, Scotland
Disembarks: Reykjavik, Iceland
DAY 1 / LEITH - SCOTLAND
Your voyage begins in Edinburgh, Scotland’s picturesque capital city. We recommend spending a few days prior to your voyage departure exploring this historic city, enjoying a stroll along the ‘royal mile’, visiting Edinburgh’s famous castle or taking in views of the city with a hike up to ‘Arthur’s Seat’. This afternoon, we transfer to nearby Leith to board our home for the next 11 nights – RCGS Resolute. Once onboard you will meet the expedition team and set sail. Following welcome drinks and dinner, we depart north, skirting the Scottish coastline.
DAY 2 / ABERDEEN, SCOTLAND
We wake up cruising the stunning east coast of Scotland ready for our first historical destination, Aberdeen, also known as ‘The Granite City’ due to the locally quarried stone that built it. Old Aberdeen, just north of the city centre, has been an important political, ecclesiastical and cultural centre since the end of the Middle Ages. For many, a visit to Dunnottar Castle is a must. The medieval fortress located upon a rocky headland is steeped in history - once besieged by Vikings and captured by William Wallace. For those wanting to stretch their legs, a stunning and undulating coastal path will take you 3km north to the town of Stonehaven. Here you will see a working harbour, busy with sailing yachts, home to the Stonehaven Tolbooth museum, a notable building on the quayside with a fascinating history.
DAY 3 / ORKNEY ISLANDS, SCOTLAND
Today we reach the Orkney Islands. Many are uninhabited, allowing us to truly enjoy the local wildlife, including seals, and prolific birdlife. Orkney is considered to be the best place in the UK for viewing seabirds. It is a land of breathtaking beauty and famous for its unique archaeological sites, such as the well-preserved Neolithic settlement of Skara Brae, a Neolithic tomb with Viking graffiti. Stromness lies in the West of the Orkney Islands and has a strong maritime influence. Spend the day experiencing the unique culture, heritage and traditions by visiting one of its many museums, galleries, craft workshops, and independent retailers.
DAYS 4 / STORNOWAY, HEBRIDES, SCOTLAND
The Scottish Western Isles of the Outer Hebrides are a diverse chain of inter-connected islands with their own unique way of life. The dramatic cliffs and large windy beaches are ideal to stroll along, breathing in the fresh Atlantic air. A highlight of our visit will be a trip to the 5000-year old Standing Stones
at Callanish. History buffs will also enjoy the Gearrannan Blackhouse Village. Others may choose to spend the day strolling along the quay at Stornoway Harbour and listen to the shouts of the fishermen, as the traditional fleet land the catch of the day.
DAY 5 / UNST, SHETLAND ISLANDS
A unique place of peace, pure air and wide-open spaces, visitors to Unst in the Shetlands savour the wildlife, the birdlife and the warm community spirit. Known as ‘the ultimate destination for those with adventure in their soul’, Unst is the northernmost of the inhabited British Isles and boasts scenic beauty, rich history, heritage and traditions. Rugged coast line and golden, empty beaches will give us the perfect playground to explore by Zodiac, kayak or on foot. Keen birders will rejoice with close-up views of tens of thousands of breeding gannets, guillemots, puffins, razorbills, kittiwakes and fulmars. Hikers of all levels will have plenty of routes to choose from, with the combination of spectacular coastal scenery, quiet inland lochs and gentle heather hills.
DAY 6 / TORSHAVN, FAROE ISLANDS
By morning we have arrived in the Faroe Islands - a group of eighteen rocky, volcanic islands situated between Iceland and Norway. Visitors are drawn to the islands’ mountains, valleys, grassy heathland and steep coastal cliffs. We begin our time exploring in Tórshavn, on Streymoy Island, the tiny capital of the Faroe Islands. Nearby Tinganes, home of the famous wooden turf-roofed houses is a bustling harbour and plenty of local boutiques. It will be a joy to take in the narrow sounds and deep grottoes in the shadow of the 1500 feet high cliffs where thousands of seabirds nest.
DAY 7 / MIOVAGUR / MYKINES, FAROE ISLANDS
Our second day of exploration in the Faroe Islands will take us to two of the Islands’ most stunning waterfalls. First stop - Sørvágsvatn, the largest lake on the islands. Dubbed “the lake over the ocean” due to an optical illusion, the lake appears to hover in mid-air. At the end of the lake is the impressive Bøsdalafossur waterfall – which provides a great hiking excursion. Next we cruise towards the tiny village of Gasadular. Surrounded by high mountains, this photogenic village is home to the second waterfall of the day; Mulafossur Waterfall. This stunning natural wonder is best viewed by sea. We visit Mykines island which provides some of the best bird watching in the Faroe Islands. Here we find colonies of cormorants, while the cliffs make perfect nesting ledges for guillemots and razorbills. On the grassy slopes above the bird cliffs, thousands of colourful puffins can be observed at close proximity.
DAY 8 / SEYDISFJORDUR, ICELAND
Defined by its dramatic landscape of glaciers, waterfalls, volcanoes, geysers, hot springs and lava fields, Iceland will give us plenty to explore over the next 5 days! We start our Icelandic saga in Seydisfjordur. A place of singing waterfalls and interesting characters, Seydisfjordur is a welcoming town with a rich history. Experience the flourishing art scene, enjoy local cuisine or experience the delightful hiking trails. One of the highlights will surely be a pleasant hike down ‘Waterfall lane’, winding though forests to many waterfalls rich in Icelandic vegetation. A slightly longer hike brings us to a lookout with glorious views. The Skaftfell Centre for Visual Arts provides us with a great alternative to the outdoors, allowing visitors to immerse themselves in Icelandic culture.
DAY 9 / DJUPIVOGUR, ICELAND
Our next stop will take us to the small fishing village of Djupivogur located on the Bulandsnes Peninsula. The scenic landscape immediately draws your eye up to Búlandstindur, a pyramid-shaped mountain towering over the town. Thought to be one of the most beautiful mountains in Iceland, it also has
a tie to local folklore and the belief it can grant wishes during the summer solstice. In the village, you will find remnants of an origin in trading dating back to the 16th century. The oldest storehouse, Langabúð, built in 1790 stands strong after a full restoration that has turned it into an outstanding cultural centre. A unique attraction to take in while visiting is a display of outdoor sculptures named Eggin in Gleðivík, by famous artist Sigurður Guðmundsson.
The collection of 34 large granite eggs reflect the bird species that nest in the local area and offer a lovely walk along the coast to view them.
DAY 10 / REYNISDRANGAR, ICELAND
We continue our journey around Iceland’s stunning south coast heading towards Vik. Just east of the outskirts of the village lies one of Europe's biggest Arctic tern breeding grounds.
A short hike within the close vicinity of Vik is sure to satisfy
all serious nature lovers and bird watchers. To the south of Reynisfjall mountain a spectacular set of rock columns, called Reynisdrangar, rise majestically out of the Atlantic Ocean. These towering, spiky rock formations jut out from the ocean 66 metres (217 ft) into the air. Teeming with nesting Arctic terns, fulmars and puffins. A folk legend says there were two trolls pulling a three-mast ship to the shore, but were caught by the sunlight at dawn and turned into stone (as happens
to trolls when they stay out until dawn). Our approach by sea will give a unique perspective and the chance to view this spectacular landmark in small groups, perfect for bird viewing and exploring through your lens. With close to 20 hours of daylight, opportunities are endless to learn hints and tips from our photographer-in-residence.
DAY 11 / HEIMAEY, WESTMAN ISLANDS
Leaving the shores of the mainland, we journey into the North Atlantic to the tiny, but beautiful, Westman Islands. Rich in volcanic history and known as a ‘modern Nordic Pompeii’, Heimaey’s once-solitary volcano, Helgafell (or “Holy Mountain”) created the island in an eruption 7,000 years ago. In 1973 it erupted again and fortunately, Heimaey’s entire fishing fleet was moored in the harbour for the night and carried everyone to safety. The force of Helgafell’s eruption added a new volcano
to Heimaey’s skyline - Eldfell, (or the “mountain of fire”.) Learn more about this unique destination with a visit to one of the town’s fascinating museums. The seabird life in the Westman Islands is abundant and we are on the lookout for whales and seals. This evening we celebrate this exceptional journey at a special dinner attended by the Captain of the ship.
DAY 12 / REYKJAVIK, ICELAND
Our expedition concludes in the world’s most northerly capital - the colourful and quirky city of Reykjavik. Why not stay a few days to explore the city and surroundings? A transfer is provided to a downtown location or to the airport for your onward journey.
About our itinerary:
Small ship expedition cruising can sometimes be unpredictable. Specific sites visited will depend on prevailing weather and sea conditions at the time of sailing. The above itinerary should be read as a 'guide only' and may change. The ship's Captain in conjunction with the Expedition Leader continually review the sailing plan throughout the voyage, making adjustments to the itinerary along the way to take advantage of optimal weather and sea conditions or to maximize our encounters with wildlife. Years of experience spent exploring these waterways mean we have plenty of outstanding landing sites and Zodiac cruising locations to consider, even when the weather conditions may not be ideal. A flexible approach is something we encourage you to bring to the ship.
YOUR EXPEDITION INCLUDES:
• The prices are per person expressed in US Dollars.
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