Day 1: Reykjavik/Iceland, departure 19.00 hrs
Day 2: Heimaey/Westman Islands
At the northern edge of Europe, nature makes its mark with contrasts of heat and ice and geological extremes. Very few places give such a direct glimpse into primeval forces. Be enchanted by beautiful, mystical landscapes, deep fjords and fascinating wildlife. In the Nordic summer, you have a good chance of seeing humpback and fin whales that have returned after the winter. Your exciting circumnavigation begins with the Westman Islands. In 1973, the Eldfell volcano erupted on Heimaey, the largest island, covering it in lava streams. Take a scenic flight above volcanoes and waterfalls* and see the black fields stretch out below you, combining with the icy blue and the white of the glaciers to form a sea of colour. The contrasts of the main island will never cease to amaze as you start to explore.
Day 3: Relaxation at sea
Day 4-5: Iceland’s east coast (Seydisfjordur, Bakkagerdi )
Marvel at the fishing town of Seydisfjordur, located at the end of a fjord surrounded by snow-capped peaks. The historic wooden buildings will provide great photo opportunities as you take a walk. The flourishing plant variety in the Vestdalur Valley* is an enchanting sight. Iceland’s magical side as the “island of mythical creatures and trolls” is revealed in Bakkagerdi. Legend has it that the queen of the elves reigns over Borgarfjordhur and the bird-inhabited cliffs where countless puffins learn to fly.
Day 6-8: Iceland’s north coast (Husavik , Grimsey , Akureyri, Hrisey , Siglufjordur )
The feeling of a true expedition will develop on Iceland’s north coast. Together, the fjords and the sea create a natural canvas that is at once remote and soul-stirring. Husavik is the European capital of whale watching*. Which gentle giants of the seas will you spot in the ice-blue bay? Heading ashore, the waterfalls of the north* are a wonder to behold – for example Dettifoss, Europe’s most powerful waterfall cascading around 45 m (148 ft). A hike in Asbyrgi Canyon* will take you down into a plunge pool. While the myth says that an enormous horse made this impression in the earth, the canyon was probably hollowed out by icefall. The expedition route takes you on to a magical destination: the northern Arctic Circle on Grimsey. Discover the striking basalt columns as our experts provide insights into the geology and wildlife on this volcanic island. A true pearl of the north, Akureyri sits on a long fjord. You will have plenty of time to explore the old town, the lively cultural scene and the famous botanical gardens at your own pace. The rugged north of Iceland* provides a fascinating contrast, with volcanic forces bubbling on the earth’s surface. Visit Godafoss, the “waterfall of the gods”. Following their Christianisation, the Icelanders are said to have consigned their pagan idols to the thundering waters. The heavenly landscape will continue to astound you. Alternatively, explore the remote, inhospitable and lunar-like settings of the Askja volcano, Viti crater lake and Iceland’s highlands in a jeep*, or you can experience nature up-close with a ride on Icelandic horses*, known for their gentle demeanour and their special tolt gait. Conclude your adventures by seeing out the day in one of Akureyri’s restaurants or cafes and enjoy the ambience of an evening by the fjord. Will the next day’s weather allow you to land on the small island of Hrisey? Once ashore, this dreamy piece of earth tells of life in the home of the rock ptarmigan. Set off on a trip back through time in Siglufjordur, the world’s former capital of herring fishing. Until the 1960s, huge shoals brought the region an unprecedented economic upturn.
Day 9-10: Iceland’s west coast (cruising in the western fjords and off Latrabjarg, Grundarfjordhur)
Iceland’s astounding biodiversity continues on a flexible cruise in the western fjords – fjords which stretch out into the Atlantic like fingers on a hand and create an extraordinary landscape. The sheer cliffs of Latrabjarg, Europe’s most westerly point, are a nesting ground for millions of puffins, guillemots and auks. The explorer in you will take flight in Grundarfjordhur. The western peninsula of Snaefellsnes* brings together all of Iceland’s characteristic natural elements: cooled lava flows, steep fjords and snow-covered volcanoes serve as reminders of the elemental power of creation. Your adventurer’s heart will beat faster as you board a snowcat ready for your glacier experience on Snaefellsjokull*. Travel through fields of snow until you reach 1,400 m (4,593 ft). At the top, you will see the crater of the cone-shaped stratovolcano that Jules Verne described as the starting point of Journey to the Center of the Earth. The final magnificent entry in the logbook of your unforgettable expedition.
Day 11: Reykjavik/Iceland, arrival 7.00 hrs