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Northern Highlights

from £1358 excluding flights

  • 7 nights
  • May-Sep
Home Destinations Nordic Europe Iceland Northern Highlights

Highlights

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Spot humpback whales on a boat trip from Husavik

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Drive the spectacular coast road in the East Fjords

Aerial view over Lake Myvatn

Discover pseudo-craters and mud pools at Lake Myvatn

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Admire picture-perfect Seydisfjordur

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Walk to the brink of mighty Dettifoss, Europe’s most powerful waterfall

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Bathe in Husavik's Geo Sea Spa overlooking the bay

Why this trip...

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Nordic Heritage

With 40 years of experience in creating trips to Nordics we know this region inside out

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Explore at leisure

With the route, transport and accommodation sorted, each day offers the freedom to explore

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Tailor made

This itinerary can be tailor made to suit you and is intended to give you a guideline of what is possible in a given timeframe

Overview

This exciting combination of the East Fjords and Iceland’s north east is perfect for a well-paced, seven-night self-drive. Start by exploring the stunning coast and fascinating villages of the East Fjords, then head to Lake Myvatn and Husavik for an equally heady mixture of volcanic natural wonders and world-class whale watching and a collection of sights dubbed the Diamond Circle.

Forests, fjords and feathered friends

The birch forest of Hallormsstadur near Egilsstadir is a wonderful spot for hiking, cycling, horse riding or taking to the trails on all-terrain vehicles. Alternatively, drive north to the remote village of Bakkagerdi for a hike in the Dyrfjoll Mountains or a rendezvous with the puffins that nest near the harbour. A spectacular mountain drive leads to Seydisfjordur, a colourful village with a cultural spring in its step. At the mouth of the fjord, Skalanes nature reserve is a perfect montage of the East Fjord’s breathtaking scenery, and a great place for spotting birds, seals and wild reindeer.

Whales, waterfalls and volcanic wonders

Leaving the East Fjords, it’s a fantastic drive to Lake Myvatn, perhaps taking a detour to little-visited Vopnafordur with its turf farm museum. You have three nights to explore Myvatn – touring the lake road to marvel at pseudocraters, lava caves and bubbling mud pits. Drive to Husavik for a boat trip in search of humpback whales and visit Dettifoss where some 200 cubic metres of water thunder over the edge of the falls every second. If you prefer less violent water, take a soothing dip in the Nature Baths – an outdoor pool naturally heated by geothermal springs.

Itinerary

Fly to Keflavik, transfer to Reykjavik and fly onwards to Egilsstadir in the East Fjords. Collect your rental vehicle and drive the short distance to your hotel your base for the next two nights.

Lake Hotel, Egilsstadir

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lake hotel exterior egilsstadir

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

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Head out on a day exploring. Lagarfljot – the glacial lake that stretches south from Egilsstadir – is always worth a second glance. Legend has it that its murky depths (over 100m in places) are the lair of the Lagarfljotsormur – a dragonlike ‘wyrm’ that would give even the Loch Ness monster the jitters. By comparison, Hallormsstadur (Iceland’s largest forest) is a tranquil spot for a walk in the woods. You can also hike to Hengifoss, a graceful cascade swishing a 128m-long plume of water across cliffs striped red from ancient volcanic eruptions.

If you fancy exploring further afield today, we recommend the hour’s drive to Bakkagerdi – a remote, peaceful village overlooking a bay framed by mountains that gives you access to invigorating hikes in Borgafjordur Eystri, as well as superb puffin watching (early May to mid-August) and even a chance to spot wild reindeer.

Start the day by visiting Seydisfjordur. It only takes 30 minutes to nip over the mountains to reach this fjord-nuzzled village – but what a drive! The views from the pass are breathtaking – the narrow waters of the fjord drizzled like quicksilver through brooding mountains. You will want to linger in Seydisfjordur, photographing the pastel-coloured houses at the water’s edge, enjoying coffee and cake (and a chat with the friendly locals) at Bistro Skaftafell and seeking out the arts and crafts that the village is famous for. Leave enough time, though, for driving along the fjord to Skalanes – a beautiful nature reserve where you can roam trails spotting birds, seals and reindeer.

Later, head towards the small town of Breiddalsvik, stopping on the way to visit the atmospheric old fishermen’s shack in Eskifjordur known as Randulff’s Seahouse. Stay in Breiddalsvik for two nights.

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Choose to explore the area near Breiddalsvik or take drive to the town of Neskaupstadur, with a wide range of activities, from horse riding and hiking to boat trips in search of whales and puffins. The town also hosts one of the East Fjords’ popular village walks, offering visitors a chance to learn about culture and history with a local guide. You can also explore Paskahellir – a coastal cave adorned with pillow lava formations and curious holes left by trees consumed by lava 12 million years ago.

Leaving the East Fjords, drive west towards Lake Myvatn. If you have time, make an optional detour to the bay of Vopnafjordur with its sea cliffs and black-sand beaches. Back on route 1, stop at Modrudalur, Iceland’s highest farm, for a hot chocolate and far reaching views of Herdubreid – the Queen of the Mountains deep in the interior. Spend three nights in the Myvatn area.

The first of two full days exploring the area around Myvatn, start by driving the lake road which links several must-see sights: the perfect cone-shaped pseudocraters at Skutustadir, the bizarre basalt formations of Dimmuborgir and the kilometre-wide tephra cone volcano of Hverfjall. Slightly further afield, you can explore Namaskard – pockmarked with bubbling mud pits and hissing fumaroles – and walk across the steaming lava fields at Krafla. There’s also a fascinating lava cave at Lofthellir. Ask us about arranging a tour to explore this eerie ice-encrusted subterranean chamber.

At the end of the day relax in the geothermal waters of the Nature Baths, enjoying a drink and spectacular views across the raw, volcanic landscape.

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On your second full day in the Myvatn area, drive north to Husavik for a whale watching trip (optional). Voyaging into Skjalfandi Bay aboard one of North Sailing’s beautiful wooden boats, you’ll scan the sea for tell-tale signs of minke and humpback whales – a sudden spout perhaps as a leviathan 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, a horseshoe-shaped canyon which, according to Norse legend, was stamped in the ground by Odin’s eight-legged horse Sleipnir. Sheltering abeautiful birch woodland, it’s a fine spot for a walk and a picnic.

From Asbyrgi, continue south to Dettifoss where you can walk right up to the enormous cappuccino-coloured cataract. Measuring 100m wide and 45m high, Europe’s most powerful waterfall is bloated with silt-laden meltwater from the Vatnajokull icecap. Return to Myvatn for your final night.

Head to Akureyri for your flight home via Keflavik. Alternatively extend your holiday in fabulous Hotel Siglo for two extra nights.

Accommodation Options

We have selected properties for this holiday referenced in the itinerary. However, with a wide choice of accommodation in Iceland, we can mix and match different grades and styles to suit your personal preference – from hotels, farmstays and self-catering apartments to private villas and countryside properties.

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Prices and Departures

Price from £1358 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 »

Iceland Volcano Disruption Protection
We are proud of our excellent reputation for looking after our clients, without question. Should the unexpected occur our team of dedicated Travel Specialists are on call 24/7 to make any necessary alternative plans at no cost to you.

What's Included

  • Accommodation in rooms with private bathroom
  • Daily breakfast
  • Car rental throughout with unlimited mileage
  • No charge for additional driver
  • 24 hour emergency assistance from our team during your holiday
  • No surcharge guarantee
  • Full financial protection

New lower prices for 2024! This itinerary now starts from around £1,358 per person, was from £1,652.

Price is based on 2 sharing a room with private bathroom in standard hotels, and rental of an intermediate vehicle.

Prices may vary depending on departure date and booking date, as well as any changes to the included components. The final cost of a tailored holiday will be based on the level of accommodation, size of vehicle, included activities, travel season, and how far in advance it is booked. We will confirm the exact price for your holiday in your individual quotation, based on your chosen travel dates and inclusions.

* Choice of Vehicles

We can offer a wide range of rental vehicles for this holiday – our team will be happy to talk you through the options and provide a quote for the most suitable category based on your individual requirements.

  • 4WD

    We would always recommend a 4WD for winter travel, but many clients also prefer the greater security and comfort that a larger vehicle provides year round – upgrade your vehicle from as little as £10 per person, per day.

  • Go electric

    With a selection of electric cars now available including the Kia Niro and Volkswagen ID.3, you can choose to upgrade from as little as £12 per person, per day. We recommend this option for summer only, due to the colder temperatures in winter affecting battery range.

As Standard, Complete Piece of Mind

We’re listening. We always care what our fellow travellers think and love building strong customer relationships so we continuously focus on improving future experiences based on feedback. How incredible for the last three years we have received the Feefo Platinum Award.

The World's Great. Pass it On

To mark our 40th anniversary, we've launched our Education Bursary Fund to help disadvantaged school children experience the wonders of travel. A percentage of revenue from every holiday booked will go into the bursary fund to pay for at least 40 students to join one of our school trips abroad.