Special ValueThis tour is specially designed for a small group of 16 to 24 Smithsonian travelers and offers outstanding travel value. Prices include airfare, airline taxes, fuel surcharges, and departure fees.Overview
Iceland is a land of massive glaciers, rumbling volcanoes, spouting hot springs, lava fields, and powerful waterfalls. Join us for an 11-day journey to enjoy its geological wonders, gracious hospitality, and relaxed pace. Begin in Borgarnes, where you learn about the renowned Icelandic saga writers, then tour the Snaefellsnes Peninsula, stroll through small fishing villages, gaze upon bizarre rock formations, and marvel at thousands of nesting cliff birds. In northern Iceland, spend three nights in the region’s vibrant capital of Akureyri, situated at the base of a fjord and ringed by snowcapped mountains.
Take excursions to lovely Lake Myvatn and the phenomenal national park that boasts Europe’s most powerful waterfall, Godafoss. In southern Iceland explore the hot springs of Geysir, the popular Gullfoss waterfall, and ocean cliffs teaming with various bird species. Visit Thingvellir National Park, where the world’s oldest parliament was established in A.D. 930, and the village of Skogar, home to one of Iceland’s best museums. Conclude in the capital of Reykjavik to enjoy this sophisticated urban center and its soothing geothermal baths.Don't forget to check out our photo slide show to glimpse the excitement of this special program!
View photos by clicking "Next Photo" at top of page!Itinerary
Day 1 - Depart U.S. for Reykjavik, IcelandDay 2 - Reykjavik and Borgarnes
Arriving early morning in Iceland’s capital, meet your Tour Director and enjoy a scenic drive to the hotel in Borgarnes, stopping for breakfast along the way. After some free time to rest, take an afternoon excursion to the thermal areas of Deildartunguhver and also to Hraunfossar Falls. Visit the Reyholt Cultural Centre, a historic site based on the life and residence of saga writer Snorri Sturluson who lived here between 1206 and 1241. Tonight gather at the hotel for a briefing on the journey ahead followed by a welcome dinner. (B,D)Day 3 - Borgarnes and Snaefellsnes Peninsula
Encounter the stupendous scenery of the Snaefellsnes Peninsula. Begin with a walk along the sand beach at the abandoned fishing village of Budir, surrounded by a vast lava field. Explore the caves and bizarre rock formations along the rugged shore at Arnarstapi, site of thousands of nesting cliff birds. After stopping for lunch at a rustic oceanfront restaurant, a renowned volcanologist will provide a guided tour at a volcano museum in Stykkishólmur. Learn about past and recent eruptions and their effects on the environment and Icelandic culture. (B,L,D)Day 4 - Akureyri
Travel towards the northeast corner of Iceland today, and to the fjords of Akureyri, Iceland’s northern capital. Along the way visit Grasbrok Crater for scenic views. Call on a Gauksmyri farm featuring famed Icelandic horses followed by a stop at Glaumbaer Farm and folk museum. In Akureyri, enjoy free time for lunch on your own then take a guided coach and walking tour of this urban gem before checking in at the hotel. Dinner tonight is on your own. (B)Day 5 - Akureyri and Lake Myvatn
Travel to beautiful Lake Myvatn. One of the world’s natural wonders, Lake Myvatn and its environs of bubbling mud flats, lava fields, and lunar-like volcanic craters comprise a stunningly beautiful national park. The explorations begin with a stop at Godafoss, the “waterfall of the gods” named for the carvings of Norse gods discarded here when the country was declared Christian a thousand years ago. Walk up to the fascinating Hverfjall crater, a local landmark. Later see the region’s unique “pseudo craters,” the boiling mud pots at Namaskard, the bizarre lava formations at Dimmuborgir, the explosive crater at Viti, and the flat volcano system at Krafla. Return to the hotel in time for dinner on your own tonight. (B,L)Day 6 - Akureyri and Jökulsárgljúfur National Park
Today visit the incredible “Glacial River Canyon” National Park, yet another of Iceland’s natural wonders, and walk to jaw-dropping Dettifoss, Europe’s most powerful waterfall and Iceland’s “Niagara.” Traverse Hljodaklettar, the labyrinth of “echoing rocks” created by the spiral basalt formations of arches and canyons here. Continue on to Asbyrgi, a huge canyon enveloped by towering walls; in the middle of the partially wooded canyon sits a huge hoof-shaped rock called “The Island.” Returning to Akureyri after this scenic overload, visit the picturesque fishing village of Husavik. (B)Day 7 - Reykjavik, Thingvellir National Park, Hella
This morning transfer to the airport for the flight to Reykjavik. Upon arrival drive to Thingvellir National Park, known both for its historic import and as the place where the fissure between the geological plates of North America and Europe is most evident. Learn about the historic parliament founded here in A.D. 930, and walk along a gorge into the rift valley itself. After a lunch of wild freshwater trout at a lakeside hotel, depart for Great Geysir, the most famous of the geysers here; and Gullfoss, Iceland’s immensely popular “golden” waterfall. Drive down to the country’s southern coast to the beautiful agricultural area of Hella, one of three main regional centers in South Iceland. (B,L,D)Day 8 - Hella and Vik
From the black-sand beach at Reynifsfjara, take a boat ride for a better view of the rich bird life on the striking ocean cliffs. Also a thriving bird refuge, the summer residents of the headland include puffins, guillemots, and fulmars. Continue to the lovely town of Vik, Iceland’s southernmost village. There’s time here for lunch on your own and to shop for items of locally produced wool. Return to Skogar for a visit to the country museum, followed by a brief walk to the nearby Skogafoss waterfall. Dine tonight at the hotel. (B,D)Day 9 - Reykjavik
Traveling back to Reykjavik today stop at Seljalandsfoss, Iceland’s most photographed waterfall, and continue through “saga” country, the setting of one of the country’s famous medieval stories. Upon arrival in Reykjavik, enjoy lunch at a local restaurant then embark on a city tour of the Icelandic capital, home to more than two-thirds of Iceland’s population. Meet with a local journalist to learn about the recent bank crisis and its effects throughout Iceland. Dinner tonight is on your own. (B,L)Day 10 - Reykjavik
Today is at leisure to explore and enjoy Reykjavik as you please; those who wish can join in an optional tour to the Blue Lagoon for a soothing bath in geothermal waters rich with silica, sulfur, and other minerals. Tonight celebrate over a farewell dinner. (B,D)Day 11 - Depart for U.S.
This morning is at leisure, perhaps for some last-minute shopping for such local specialties as handicrafts, woolens, and gourmet foods. Early this afternoon depart for the airport and your return flights to the U.S. (B)