Into the Blue – Whale Watching in Iceland

from £2931
excluding flights *
8 nights Jun

Overview

The ultimate Iceland holiday for marine-wildlife enthusiasts, this 9-day small-group holiday led by award-winning guide, Cathy Harlow, combines spectacular landscapes with three whale watching hot spots as you travel around the country under the midnight sun. This itinerary is exclusive to Discover the World.

Highlights

  • Whale watch in three locations around Iceland
  • Iceland expert Cathy Harlow to guide and accompany you
  • Bathe in a geothermal spas
  • Experience the midnight sun

What's Included

  • Accommodation in rooms with private bathroom
  • Daily breakfast and 2 dinners
  • Excursions as per itinerary
  • 5 whale-watching excursions in three locations
  • 24 hour emergency assistance from our team during your holiday
  • No surcharge guarantee
  • Full financial protection

Full description

Discover the land of fire and ice; where fjords and other-worldly volcanic landscapes have been carved out over centuries by glaciers and rolling magma. Iceland is Europe's most sparsely populated country where you can be sure of a warm welcome.

This 9-day tour combines the stunning scenery of this Nordic island with the awe-inspiring experience of witnessing marine giants. Off the tip of the west coast's Snaefellsnes peninsula, where the Gulf Stream and the East Greenland current meet, sperm whales and orcas arrive in June to feast in the rich seas. This spot is where you'll have your first chance to see these watery wonders - cruising at a safe distance.

Husavik, Iceland's whale watching capital

Then in the north of Iceland, from a former herring station, you will set sail into the stunning Eyjafjordur. Humpbacks have taken a liking to this sheltered fjord in recent years, so there's a good chance you'll catch a glimpse of these magnificent creatures. Further along the north coast lies Husavik, the first place in Iceland to be settled by a Norse man, Viking Gardarr Svavarsson and a top whale watching location due to the frequency of white-beaked dolphins and minke, humpback and blue whales entering the bay. It's here on the summer solstice that you will board a boat to keep one eye on the sun skimming the horizon and the other looking for tell-tale blowholes breaking the surface.

Throughout this trip, there are many other moments that will also live long in the memory. Take a tour between Dimmuborgir's monumental lava pillars and walk among steam vents. Admire Europe's most powerful waterfall in Dettifoss. And keep your eyes to the sky to catch a glimpse of a white-tailed eagle or another of the many bird species that visit this incredible island.

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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.

Prices from per person

Departure Duration Twin Price Single price Status of Tour
13 June 2020 8 nights £2,931 £3,788 Available

What's Included

  • Accommodation in rooms with private bathroom
  • Daily breakfast & 2 dinners
  • Coach and guide (except in Reykjavik)
  • 5 whale-watching excursions in three locations
  • Transfer from Reykjavik to the airport
  • Sightseeing in two national parks and Lake Myvatn
  • Entry to Geo Sea spa and towel
  • 24 hour emergency assistance from our team during your holiday
  • No surcharge guarantee
  • Full financial protection »

Group Size

This escorted group requires a minimum of 15 participants in order to operate, and will have a maximum of 25.

Note: on occasion tours may operate with less than the minimum number of participants specified above (or exceed the maximum number indicated) – please refer to our booking conditions for more details

Itinerary & Accommodation

Itinerary & Accommodation

Day 1: Arrive Iceland

On arrival at Keflavik Airport meet your driver and guide and transfer to Stykkishólmur in the Snaefellsnes Peninsula. A drive of around 3 hours. Check into your accommodation where you will spend the next 3 nights. This evening you will be able to get acquainted with the group over a dinner (optional).

Day 2: Whale Watching from Olafsvík and Snaefellsnes Peninsula

You will drive to Olafsvík and board the stable and roomy boat, heading out to sea on your first whale watch. June is prime time to see orcas and sperm whales gathering to feed in rich seas off the tip of the peninsula, where upwelling from the meeting of the Gulf Stream and cold East Greenland current produces a banquet across the food chain. Acrobatic white-beaked dolphins, humpback and minke whales can also turn up, adding to the spectacle in this most exciting whale watching destination.

In the afternoon you will visit Kirkjufellsfoss, a much-admired waterfall framed by one of Iceland’s most photographed mountains, pyramid-shaped Kirkjufell. You will walk to a crater and explore bizarre lava formations in Snaefellsjokull National Park, perhaps spotting a shy arctic fox if you are lucky. On the way back, you will look for white-tailed eagles along the north shore of the peninsula. Your guide will again make suggestions for dinner (not included). After dinner you will walk to a viewpoint and if the sky is clear watch the late evening sun skim the horizon to the north.

Day 3: Snaefellsnes Peninsula and Whale Watching from Olafsvik

In the morning you will continue exploring the other-worldly landscapes at the foot of Snaefellsjokull, the mystical ice-topped volcano made famous by Jules Verne in his ‘Journey to the Centre of the Earth’. Where the lava meets the ocean, you will stroll among blow holes and rock arches along the cliffs of Arnarstapi and þufubjarg and see thousands of nesting kittiwakes, guillemots and fulmars. At Budir we explore a landscape of sand dunes bordering a lava flow, whose crevices and hollows shelter many plant species. This afternoon you set sail from Olafsvik for another whale watching experience.

Day 4: Drive to Akureyri

After breakfast you will set off to drive to the north of Iceland. Winding among scenic mountains, valleys and fjords, the drive is long but you will make stops for photographs and a leg stretch from time to time. Overnight in the town of Akureyri, whose many cafés and restaurants offer a choice of dining options.

Day 5: Whale Watching from Hjalteyri and Myvatn sightseeing

After a short drive you will arrive at Hjalteyri, a former herring station where you will board a traditional oak fishing boat for a whale watching tour in beautiful Eyjafjorður. In recent years this sheltered fjord has become a Humpback hotspot but as this is nature, there is no telling what will show up. Back in Akureyri, you will visit the town and its much-admired botanical garden. In the afternoon, you will drive east to Godafoss, a stunning waterfall with remarkable symmetry. Arriving in the Myvatn area there'll be time to take a walk along the banks of the beautiful Laxa River. Lake Myvatn is a renowned Ramsar wetland site of global importance for wildfowl, where rarities including great northern diver, Slavonian grebe, barrow’s goldeneye and harlequin ducks breed. You will end the day at the stylish Hotel Laxa, by Lake Myvatn where you will spend the next two nights.

Day 6: Whale watching from Husavik

This morning you will have a whale watching trip from Húsavík, just north of Myvatn. The scenic Skjalfandi Bay, has been a prime whale watching location since 1995, offering encounters with minke and humpback whales as well as white-beaked dolphins. From time to time they are joined by majestic blue whales and other species, who turn up to feed in the bay, along with many seabirds, among them puffins, guillemots, kittiwakes and eider ducks. With the snow-capped Viknafjoll range as a backdrop, you couldn’t invent a more photogenic location.

In the afternoon, you will explore the surreal surrounds of Lake Myvatn. At Skutustadir you will walk among moon-like pseudocraters and look for waterfowl around the lake. You will stroll through Dimmuborgir’s monumental lava pillars and wander over a colourful geothermal landscape, pitted with steam vents and mud pools. We'll stand by a gaping fissure, formed by rifting as the European and North American tectonic plates divide and visit the explosion crater Viti and its stunning cobalt-blue lake.

Day 7: Evening whale watching

You will set off by coach to spend the day exploring the Jokulsa Canyon, a spectacular gorge with many interesting features, formed by flash flooding from eruptions under Iceland's largest icecap, Vatnajokull. The first stop is at Dettifoss, Iceland’s (and Europe’s) most powerful waterfall, which thunders over a 45m drop. Following the tumultuous glacier-fed river northwards you will come to Hljodaklettar, where you will wander among a row extraordinary columnar basalt volcanic plugs.

At Asbyrgi, whose horseshoe-shaped gorge shelters an idyllic woodland, you will take a walk to a small lake at the foot of 100 metre high cliffs. ptarmigan, whimbrel, golden plover and redwing can be spotted in the area and sightings of gyrfalcon are a possibility. You will stop to look for Puffins on the Tjornes Peninsula en route to Husavik, where we check into Fosshotel Husavik. A visit to the town's Whale Museum is recommended. Among the options for dining are a harbourside café and restaurant. Just before 8pm you will make your way to the port to board the boat for an evening whale watch.

Day 8: Geo Sea Spa and departure to Reykjavik

This morning you will head for Husavik’s Geo Sea Spa. Bathing in this state-of-the-art infinity geothermal pool overlooking the bay is a really enjoyable and relaxing end to the holiday. You will drive back to Akureyri for an afternoon flight to Reykjavik and transfer to the hotel in Reykjavik.

Day 9: Depart Iceland

It's time to stay goodbye to the land of ice and fire and make your way home.

Hotel Klettur, Reykjavik

Iceland

Grade: Standard

Type: Hotel

Hotel Klettur is situated a short walk from the heart of Reykjavik.

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Hotel Kjarnalundur

Iceland

Grade: Standard

Type: Hotel

Hotel Kjarnalundur is perfectly located on the outskirts of Akureyri, just 3.5 km away.

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Hotel Arnarstapi, Snaefellsnes

Iceland

Grade: Standard

Type: Hotel

A modern hotel set in the picturesque village of Arnarstapi on the Snaefellsnes peninsula offering great mountain and ocean views.

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Hotel Laxa, Myvatn

Iceland

Grade: Standard

Type: Hotel

Hotel Laxa is a 3-star property located in a prime location south west of Lake Myvatn

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Your Guide

Cathy Harlow

A true Iceland expert, Cathy has worked as a guide in Iceland for 25 years, and will be leading this special small-group holiday.

"Having worked as a whale-watching guide for over eight years with Discover the World, this will be a truly unique celebration of Iceland's whales for first timers and seasoned cetacean spotters alike"

Cathy is author of the Horizon Visitors' Guide to Iceland and contributor to several other publications on travel on the island. From 2006 to 2008 she worked during three winter seasons as a whale watch guide in Tysfjord and Lofoten in northern Norway, where hundreds of orcas gathered to feed on overwintering herring in the fjords. Sometimes working alongside orca research teams, she gathered a wealth of knowledge on killer whales, one of the most enigmatic of cetaceans. Cathy has also worked as a natural history guide and tour leader in Madagascar, Sri Lanka, Azores, Dominica and Bahamas. Read Cathy's profile

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