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Iceland Circumnavigation

from £9495 excluding flights

  • 10 nights
  • May-Jun
Home Destinations Nordic Europe Iceland Iceland Circumnavigation

Highlights

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Visit UNESCO World-heritage-listed Vatnajokull National Park

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Chance to see orcas, seals and other marine life

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Hike in remote Hornstrandir Nature Reserve, accessible only by boat

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Explore the volcanic Westman Islands

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Witness prolific birdlife, including puffins, Arctic terns and guillemots

Why this trip...

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Immersive exploration

Immerse yourself in your surroundings on a true exploration of remote and spectacular areas

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Expertly guided

In-depth knowledge and expertise will enrich your experience on this trip

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Style of vessel

This holiday is based on a ship ideally suited to the areas visited and the conditions

Overview

Explore Iceland from a new perspective on this comprehensive expedition voyage, following the country’s spectacular coastline in search of whales, puffins and other wildlife. Encounter unrivalled natural diversity and geological extremes, from volcanic landscapes to lava fields, vast glaciers, vertiginous fjords and cascading waterfalls.

Here at the edge of the Arctic, Iceland’s wild coast is best explored by small ship. From the colourful capital of Reykjavik you will sail north to the Snaefellsnes Peninsula, with its dramatic coast of basalt rocks dominated by the magnificent Snæfel volcano. Continuing to the West Fjords, you’ll have the opportunity to hike through the heart of the Hornstrandir Nature Reserve. Discover a pristine wilderness of golden beaches, towering cliffs and a wealth of bird life.

A highlight of the expedition will be crossing the Arctic Circle as you make your way around Iceland’s north coast and the offshore island of Grimsey. You may spot orcas, seals and puffins as you cruise eastwards and continue past the jagged cliffs and waterfalls of the East Fjords.

Reaching the south, marvel at the calving glaciers of Vatnajakull National Park. Home to Iceland’s largest ice cap, here you can enjoy the striking contrast of glistening blue icebergs washed up on black volcanic beaches.

Exploring by sea incorporates the best of a touring holiday yet without the need to change hotels – at the end of each day’s adventures ashore you will return to a gourmet meal and your own luxurious cabin. Marine wildlife is in abundance around Iceland’s rugged coastlines so keep your eyes peeled at all times as you sail around this fascinating land of fire and ice.

Itinerary

Arrive in the Icelandic capital and transfer to your overnight hotel. This evening attend a pre-voyage briefing, where you can meet your fellow travellers over a welcome drink.

Transfer to the port for embarkation this morning and set sail. You’ll cruise into Hvalfjördur, a beautiful fjord just north of Reykjavik with wide areas of flat verdant land along majestic mountains, and beaches cut with creeks. The area is rich in bird life and is home to seals, perfect for zodiac cruising, kayaking and hikes.

Travelling north you will reach the volcanic Snaefellsnes Peninsula, where basalt cliffs provide a popular hang-out for Atlantic puffins, thick-billed murres and black-legged kittiwakes. A full day ashore allows plenty of time to explore the lava formations, ravines and grottoes of Arnarstapi, and the shark museum of Bjarnarhofn.

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The dramatic West Fjords boast towering rock walls carved by ancient glaciers. Take in this spectacular coastal scenery from the water, before heading ashore to hike in the pristine Hornstrandir Nature Reserve. Uninhabited and with no road access, here you may encounter the thriving population of Arctic fox, as well as countless bird species. The West Fjords are home to two of the largest bird cliffs in Europe, so keep your binoculars close to hand.

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Picturesque Akureyri is Iceland’s second largest city with a superb snow-capped mountain backdrop. Explore the old town, with its beautifully maintained period houses before heading inland to nearby Mývatn region – an area said to be the most geologically active area in Iceland.

Cross into the Arctic Circle to arrive at Grimsey Island, where abundant birdlife far outnumbers the 100 or so residents that call this northern outpost home. From Grimsey head back towards the mainland to cruise through Skjálfandi Bay near Húsavik – known as Iceland’s ‘whale watching capital’. The bay hosts up to 24 different whale species, as well as dolphins and 30 variety of birds.

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Take in the isolated fishing villages, traditional farmsteads, sparkling lakes and dense forests of the beautiful East Fjords. Hidden between Nordfjördur and Seydisfjördur mountains lies the narrow Mjóifjördur, known for its sheer cliffs and spectacular waterfalls.

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Today visit Europe’s largest national park, the beautiful Vatnajökull. Iceland’s largest ice cap tumbles into around a dozen glaciers, providing a spectacular and diverse natural landscape. At over 300m tall, the Breiðamerkurjökull glacier calves into Jökulsárlón lagoon, where icebergs wash up on the black sand beach creating countless photo opportunities.

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Lying off the southern coast of Iceland, the fascinating Westman Islands are an example of the constant geological battle being waged underground. The 15 islands and 30 islets were formed by a succession of underwater eruptions, and only Heimaey is inhabited today. Dominated by the Eldfjall (‘hill of fire’), Heimaey offers a rugged landscape of vertiginous cliffs and sea caves reefs, as well as an abundance of sea birds.

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Your voyage of discovery concludes today with the return to Iceland’s charming capital city.

All voyage itineraries are intended as a guideline only – embracing the unexpected is part of the legacy of expedition travel. Actual routes and landings will be dependent on wildlife sightings and weather/sea conditions. A degree of flexibility is essential!

Prices and Departures

Price from £9495 excluding flights

Airfares vary widely and are quoted separately to the holiday price, starting from around £250pp return with Icelandair and British Airways, though may be lower with Play or EasyJet. We'll provide the best fare available at the time of enquiry, which tend to be cheaper the earlier you book.

UK Airports with flights direct to Iceland are Heathrow, Gatwick, Stansted, Luton, Bristol, Manchester, Glasgow and Edinburgh. We can also arrange flights from non-UK destinations. Discover more »

What's Included

  • One night’s pre-voyage hotel accommodation with breakfast in Reykjavik
  • Shipboard accommodation
  • All breakfasts, lunches & dinners on board
  • Tea & coffee available around the clock
  • Beer, house wine and soft drinks with dinner
  • All Zodiac transfers, cruising & shore landings
  • Presentations by the Expedition Team and guest speakers
  • Expedition jacket - yours to keep
  • Loan of rubber boots during voyage
  • 24 hour emergency assistance from our team during your holiday
  • No surcharge guarantee
  • Full financial protection

Departures

Prices are per person, based on a twin cabin. Due to fluctuating currencies our advertised voyage prices are indicative, and where applicable will be recalculated based on the exchange rate of the day at the time of enquiry.

Departure Duration Vessel Activities Prices from (pp)
21 May 2024 11 days Sylvia Earle £9,495
01 Jun 2025 12 days Greg Mortimer £10,595

Activity Icon Key

  • Diving
  • Kayaking
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