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An 11-day itinerary to circumnavigate Iceland, in this incredible journey, you will explore jaw-dropping landscapes from thundering waterfalls to majestic fjords and volcanoes. Walk through lava fields and discover geothermal hot springs in the breath-taking scenery. Iceland has many deep fjords, you can go kayak and Zodiac cruising and contemplate huge glaciers like Europe’s largest, Vatnajökull, filled with remarkable birdlife.
Day 1: Reykjavik
Day 2: Embark the Greg Mortimer/Hvalfjördur
Day 3: Stykkishólmur/Látrabjarg cliffs
Days 4 & 5: Westfjords
Day 6: Akureyri and Mývatn
Day 7: Grímsey Island/Húsavik
Day 8: Mjóifjördur
Day 9: Vatnajökull National Park
Day 10: Westman Islands
Day 11: Reykjavik
You will depart from the UK and arrive the same day in Reykjavik and be transferred to the hotel.
You will embark the ship, the Greg Mortimer, after breakfast and sail into Hvalfjördur, a beautiful fjord located just north of Reykjavik. The fjord is approximately 19 miles long and three miles wide. The area is filled with remarkable birdlife and seals, and perfect for Zodiac cruising, kayaking and hikes.
You will continue the adventure to Stykkisholmur located by Breiðafjörður Bay on the north of Snæfellsnes Peninsula. It is surrounded by wonderful views of countless islands. The oldest house in Stykkishólmur is the Norwegian house, which dates back to 1832. The inhabitants take great pride in preserving the old houses. The area is crowned by the magnificent, ice-capped Snæfellsjökull volcano, a 700,000-year-old dormant subglacial volcano, visible from Reykjavik on a clear day and immortalised in Jules Verne’s Journey to the Centre of the Earth. You will disembark the ship around 8.30 am for a full day excursion visiting places like the fishing village of Arnarstapi, Bjarnarhöfn and Mount Kirkjufell, one of the most famous mountains in Iceland.
The ship will continue the journey towards Isafjordur, passing through the impressive Látrabjarg cliffs, Iceland’s westernmost point and home to a huge population of razorbills and puffins.
Over the next few days, you will explore the Westfjords region. The area is characterised by outstanding landscapes with jaw-dropping views of dramatic fjords carved by ancient glaciers. The region also has many interesting places that can be visited such as Isafjordur, the famous Dynjandi waterfall, and spectacular fjords offering kayaking excursions, hiking trails, and bird-watching. The captain and expedition team will organise the landings and excursions based on prevalent weather and sea conditions. You will visit Hornstrandir peninsula, one of the most pristine regions in Iceland. The peninsula offers deep fjords, towering bird cliffs and opportunities for wildlife.
Akureyri is the second-largest city and is surrounded by imposing snow-capped mountains. You can explore the old town filled with well-maintained houses. The journey will continue to Mývatn region where you will be in some of the most geologically active areas in Iceland.
Option 1 - up to 9 hours
In this excursion, you will travel to the Goðafoss waterfall - one of the most jaw-dropping waterfalls in “The Land of Ice & Fire”. The next destination will be Námaskarð where you will appreciate its formidable mud springs called solfataras as well as steam springs called fumaroles. You will be stunned by the colourful minerals and the huge mud craters! Dettifoss is a waterfall located in north-east Iceland and is known for being the most powerful in Europe, the falls are 328 feet wide and drop 144 feet down to the Jökulsárgljúfur canyon.
Option 2 - up to 7-8 hours
You will head to the Botanic Garden. Located within the Public Park, the botanic gardens are home to about 6,600 species of plants, 430 of them being native to Iceland. travel to the Goðafoss waterfall - one of the most jaw-dropping waterfalls in “The Land of Ice & Fire”. the next destination will be Dimmuborgir - an area filled with a tremendous amount of lava rocks and cliffs. The next destination will be Námaskarð where you will appreciate its formidable mud springs called solfataras as well as its steam springs called fumaroles. You will be stunned by the colourful minerals and the huge mud craters!
The adventure will continue to a site filled with centuries of tradition: Mývatn Nature Baths. A complex that offers a natural experience for bathers, you will relax in clouds of steam rising from a fissure deep in the Earth´s surface and enjoy the beautiful nature that surrounds Mývatn Nature Baths.
Grímsey Island is located 25 miles off the mainland and best known for its proximity to the Arctic Circle. Travellers usually go to the island to step across the imaginary line. A fantastic place for Zodiac cruising, kayaking, and for bird lovers as you can spot guillemots, gulls and puffins.
You will return to the mainland, spending time in the waters of Skjálfandi Bay around Húsavik – a town famous for whale watching as it is home to 24 different species as well as dolphins and 30 variety of birds.
Mjóifjördur is a narrow fjord located on Iceland’s east coast. Hidden between Nordfjördur and Seydisfjördur mountains, this little-known gem is an excellent place to appreciate the peaceful surroundings as well as remarkable waterfalls. An exceptional location with imposing cliffs and rich flora dotting the shores. It also has the impressive Prestagil (The Priest’s Ravine) and the Hofsárgljúfur Canyon with delightful rivers and waterfalls.
You will continue the journey to Vatnajökull National Park, one of the most spectacular and special parts of Iceland. The park is home to Europe’s largest glacier, Vatnajökull as well as Jökulsárlón – a glacial lagoon where you can admire floating icebergs that wash up on shore and stand gleaming on the black beach, dubbed Diamond beach. You can also appreciate the scenic views of colourful mountains dotted with rich birdlife, reindeers and seals.
The ship will set sail to the Westman Islands. The islands are the result of volcanic eruptions around 10,000 years ago. You will sail past Surtsey Island, a UNESCO World Heritage site that emerged from the sea in 1963 and is one the youngest landmasses on Earth. Heimaey has a population of around 4,200 and is the mainland of the archipelago. It is also the only inhabited island, you will see half-buried houses that remain from a violent 1973 eruption and visit the impressive Eldheimar Museum to learn about the volcanic eruption.
You will disembark the ship after breakfast and bid farewell to the expedition team and your fellow colleagues. A transfer to downtown Reykjavik or to the airport will be provided where you will fly back to the UK.
The Greg Mortimer is named after the Australian polar explorer, mountaineer and Aurora founder, Greg Mortimer. Its the first ship in a series of landmark, purpose-built Polar Expedition ships for Aurora and features a state-of-the-art 'x-bow design', which has a piercing effect on smaller waves, making for a much smoother voyage.
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