Arctic Coast Way – North Coast Highlights

from £2176
excluding flights *
11 nights Jun-Sep

Overview

Featured in Lonely Planet's Best in Europe 2019 Guide, the picturesque Arctic Coast Way is a newly-christened, 900 km touring route in North Iceland; a lesser-visited coastline than its southern counterpart, yet with scenery equally dramatic and inspiring. Whether visiting when the coast is bathed in the golden light of the midnight sun or experiencing early glimpses of the aurora illuminating the way, discover pure nature along a collection of winding roads that hug clifftops, trace peninsulas and skirt deserted beaches. In the tiny villages along the route, 21 in total, encounter people who live on the edge of the Arctic, as they offer a warm welcome to those who venture into this untouched region.

Divided into three sections, our Highlights itinerary covers the entire route. Should you wish to focus in more detail on any section, adapting the itinerary to your personal preference then please call us to discuss.

Highlights

  • See where nature's force has carved a coastline of wild and pure beauty
  • Explore craters, lava flows and hot springs at Lake Myvatn
  • Spot humpback whales on a boat trip from Husavik
  • Walk to the brink of mighty Dettifoss, Europe’s most powerful waterfall

What's Included

  • Accommodation in rooms with private bathroom
  • Daily breakfast
  • Car rental throughout
  • Exclusive use of iDiscover app

Full description

Coast of Sagas and Mythology

The western section of the Arctic Coast Way introduces visitors to Arctic wildlife. Enjoy an atmospheric coastline and the seals and birds that call it home, and a land where wild horses roam. Follow in the footsteps of lore and legend and at Hvitserkur, discover a 15m high basalt stack, believed to be a troll petrified in eternity by the sun.

Coast of Fishing Towns and Heritage

Cultural riches flourish in the heart of the Arctic Coast Way. This section of the route consists of clifftop roads, mountain tunnels, bridges and ferries connecting a string of quaint fishing villages and their inhabitants. Expect some great hospitality and excellent opportunities to taste 'the catch of the day'. Festivals, fisheries and quirky museums are also on the agenda including the fascinating Whale Museum at Husavik. From here, Europe's whale watching capital, head out into Skjalfandi Bay and spot minke and humpback, possibly even a blue whale. Dolphins, porpoises and enchanting puffins also compete for camera space.

Coast of Elemental Nature

On the eastern section of the Arctic Coast Way, be prepared to leave the tourists behind. Serenity rules along with moody landscapes, offshore sea stacks, deserted beaches covered in driftwood, fossils and birds. Lots of them. Take a detour inland to beautiful Lake Myvatn, the mud pools and steaming solfataras at Namaskard and more otherworldly geological wonders. The Nature Baths, mighty Dettifoss, Europe's most powerful waterfall and Asbyrgi Canyon are must-visits before heading back up to the quiet coast and the northernmost point on Iceland's mainland, close to the Arctic Circle. Big skies, wild seas and panoramic views abound.

Read our itinerary for details of further places to visit along the Arctic Coast Way.

 

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Prices & Dates *

Airfares are quoted separately to the holiday price and start from around £120 per person with Icelandair (with higher fares during peak times). When enquiring, our Travel Specialists will provide the best fare possible from your preferred airline / airport.

From prices per person based on 2 sharing a room with private bathroom, including car hire

Departure Duration Car Category Twin Price
Jun - Sept 2019 11 nights B - VW Golf £2,176
Jun - Sept 2019 11 nights D - Skoda Octavia (4WD) £2,353
Jun - Sept 2019 11 nights F - Suzuki Vitara £2,538
Jun - Sept 2019 11 nights H - Kia Sorrento £2,600

 Note Other variations such as single rooms, rooms without facilities, three or four people sharing a vehicle, will be quoted on request.

What's Included

  • Accommodation in rooms with private bathroom
  • Daily breakfast
  • Car rental throughout
  • Unlimited mileage
  • No charge for second driver
  • Exclusive use of iDiscover App
  • 24 hour emergency assistance from our team during your holiday
  • No surcharge guarantee
  • Full financial protection »

Itinerary & Accommodation

Itinerary & Accommodation

The itinerary shown is an example of this self-drive holiday. We have many other hotels and route recommendations which can be tailored to your requirements. Please discuss with our Travel Specialists who can put together a bespoke itinerary for you.

Day 1 - Arrive Keflavik – West Iceland

Fly to Keflavik, collect your rental car and head north to beautiful Hvalfjordur on a 1.5 hour journey that passes Reykjavik and Mt Esja. If time allows take the scenic drive around this stunning fjord, or for more direct journey, drive through the tunnel to reach the north side of the fjord. Overnight at Hvalfjordur.

Day 2 - West Iceland to Laugarbakki

Head north, through fertile farmlands and over the mountain pass to the northern shores of Hunafloi, the start of the Arctic Coast Way. Check in at Hotel Laugarbakki for two nights.

Day 3 - Day at leisure around Laugarbakki

Take an optional seal watching boat trip off the coast Hvammstangi and visit the Icelandic Seal Center, which provides information Vatnsnes area and its marine inhabitants. Visit Kolugljufur waterfall and make a photo stop at Hvitserkur, an impressive basalt rock stack that some say, resembles a dragon stooping to take a drink from the sea - but talk to the locals and you'll discover it is really a petrified troll. There is also an opportunity to visit KIDKA, a knitting and sewing company that produces knitwear out of Icelandic wool for its own clothing line.

Day 4 - Drive to Siglufjordur

Drive along the Arctic Coast Way and through the villages of Blonduos, Saudarkrokur where you can visit the 1238 : The Battle of Iceland museum and Hofsos where you can visit the Icelandic Emigration Museum. Continue along the dramatic North Atlantic coastline to the small town of Siglufjordur, and spend the next two nights at Hotel Siglo.

Day 5 - Day at leisure around Siglufjordur

Take a boat trip on the fjord, visit the Herring Museum and soak up the relaxed atmosphere of this picture-postcard village. Hotel Siglo has an outdoor hot tub and a wonderful restaurant overlooking the marina. Find some excellent cafes dotted amongst Siglufjordur’s historic and colourful harbour side buildings and take time to watch the world go by.

Day 6 - Drive to Husavik

Enjoy a leisurely drive along the shores of Eyjafjordur, perhaps visit the unusual baths at Beer Spa, before spending some time exploring Akureyri. The ‘capital’ of North Iceland, this interesting town has a good range of shops and restaurants, as well as botanical gardens and a busy fishing port. You can also visit the Akureyri Art Museum or Folk and Outside Museum located in the city. Continue on Husavik where you will spend the next three nights at Husavik Cape Hotel.

Day 7 - Day at leisure around Myvatn

Explore the curious volcanic features around Lake Myvatn, pseudocraters at Skutustadir, boiling mud pools at Namaskard, Krafla volcano and the Viti crater. Hike amongst the strange lava formations at Dimmuborgir or hike up Hverfjall and walk around the rim for amazing 360° views of the area. After a long day, relax in the warm, milky waters of the Nature Baths, the north’s answer to the Blue Lagoon (entrance payable locally).

Day 8 - Day at leisure

Venture a little further into the Lake Myvatn area and head to Dettifoss. Park the car and walk right up to Europe’s most powerful waterfall, measuring 100m wide and gaze in awe as its silt-laden meltwater, from the Vatnajokull icecap, thunders down 45m into the basalt canyon below.

Day 9 - Drive to Raufarhofn

Take a whale watching trip this morning (optional) and visit the Húsavík Whale Museum. Voyaging into Skjalfandi Bay aboard one of North Sailing’s beautiful wooden boats, scan the sea for tell-tale signs of minke and humpback whales – a sudden spout perhaps as the whale surfaces to breathe, or a flock of seabirds fussing over fish driven to the surface by feeding whales. With luck you’ll be treated to a close encounter. Humpbacks can be particularly acrobatic, slapping their tails and flukes, spy-hopping or breaching. You may also spot white-sided dolphins and even blue whales. Back on shore visit the excellent Whale Museum in Husavik harbour before driving to Asbyrgi. This horseshoe-shaped canyon, according to Norse legend, was stamped in the ground by Odin’s eight-legged horse Sleipnir; its sheer-sided cliffs shelter a small pond and beautiful birch woodland; a fine spot for a walk and a picnic. Continue along the Arctic Coast Way to Kopasker, visit the Earthquake Centre and then head further north to Melrakkasletta. Here, beaches full of driftwood, lakes, ponds, moors, basaltic black rock stacks and cliffs dominate the landscape, together with a large number of birds. Commons species to spot include Redwing, Great Skua, Red-throated Diver, Ringed Plover, Dunlin, Ruddy Turnstone, Red Knot, Razorbill, Northern Gannet and Great Cormorant, and you might even be lucky enough to catch a glimpse of the elegant Gyrfalcon. Continue to Raufarhofn and overnight at Hotel Nordurljos.

Day 10 - Visit Langanes peninsula

Before leaving Raufarhofn, visit the site of the Arctic Henge project, an impressive monument for Pagan worshippers inspired by our very own Stonehenge. Continue south to Langanes peninsula where majestic sea stacks, the most famous being Storkarl, are full of nesting gannets and guillemots. Further south at Vopnafjordur, make a stop at the beautiful swimming pool by the Sela river, then continue to Egilsstadir. Trace the coastline, climbing high over the Hellisheidi mountain pass, and enjoy the stunning views of the sea and surrounding landscape. Spend the night in Egilsstadir.

Day 11 - Fly to Reykjavik

It is time to say goodbye to the East of Iceland and fly back to Reykjavik where you will spend the night in the capital.

Day 12 - Depart Iceland

Transfer to Keflavik airport for the flight home, perhaps stopping off at the Blue Lagoon en route.

Hotel Siglo, Siglufjordur

Iceland

Grade: Superior

Type: Hotel

Located on a sleepy waterfront in Siglufjordur, this hotel offers a chic and stylish base for exploring Iceland's north.

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Hotel Cape Husavik

Iceland

Grade: Standard

Type: Hotel

This family-run property, with views over the town and Skjalfandi Bay, has 19 bright and…

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Hotel Nordurljos

Iceland

Grade: Simple

Type: Hotel

Overlooking the harbour in Raufarhofn (Iceland’s northernmost village), Hotel Nordurljos makes an ideal base for exploring the wild and forgotten peninsula of Melrakkasletta in the far northeast of the country.

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Lake Hotel, Egilsstadir

Iceland

Grade: Superior

Type: Hotel

Located on the shores of Lake Logurinn, this newly renovated hotel offers 50 unique and beautifully appointed rooms.

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Hotel Reykjavik Centrum

Iceland

Grade: Standard

Type: Hotel

This 89-room hotel is located in the historic centre of the city, on one of its oldest streets.

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Hotel Glymur

Iceland

Grade: Superior

Type: Hotel

In a countryside location overlooking stunning Hvalfjordur, Glymur is a great base for a short break exploring the south west.

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