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Undiscovered Iceland

Tour Code: ISL05

A 9-day tour of lesser known eastern Iceland focusing on the stunning scenery, breeding birds and other wildlife of this geologically active island.

9 days from £2795(inc flights) Land Only Price: £2545 SRS: £295


A land of steaming vents, hot springs, ice-caps and active volcanoes, Iceland is a world away from the Europe that is familiar to us. This tour explores the wildlife and scenic treasures of Iceland’s rugged southern and eastern edges. After a flight to Keflavik, we overnight at the Northern Light Inn before heading east to Vatnajokull National Park, enjoying some of Iceland’s most spectacular scenery en route. We’ll take a cruise into the Jokulsarlon iceberg lagoon, accompanied by noisy mobs of Arctic Terns. On another day we’ll look for Puffin, Great Skua and Brunnich’s Guillemot in Ingolfshofdi nature reserve before driving to Djupivogur, where we’ll look for waterbirds such as Slavonian Grebe and Red-throated Diver. We then continue north-east, through deep valleys inhabited by semi-wild Reindeer, towards our next base, the internationally acclaimed wetland of Lake Myvatn. We have three nights here to enjoy the lake’s superb birdlife, as well as go out on a boat excursion to look for cetaceans, before it is time to fly back to Reykjavik for our journey home.

  • Chance to unwind on first night in the famous Blue Lagoon
  • Two full days to explore Vatnajokull National Park
  • Based for 3 nights at the foot of the mighty Svinafellsjokull glacier
  • Skogafoss waterfall & Jokulsarlon iceberg lagoon among scenic highlights
  • Stay for 3 nights at Iceland’s top birding location, Lake Myvatn
  • Harlequin & Long-tailed Ducks plus Barrow's Goldeneye & Red-necked Phalarope, Myvatn
  • Gyr Falcon & Ptarmigan in birch woods around lake Myvatn
  • Whale-watching excursion from Husavik, north-east Iceland
  • Led by expert naturalist guide

Food

All included in the price except for evening meals. Allow about £30 - £40 per day for these.

Accommodation

Comfortable hotels throughout, all rooms with private facilities.

Great Skua (Malcolm Stott)

Great Skua (Malcolm Stott)

Outline Itinerary Download

Day 1 Fly Keflavik and overnight Northern Light Inn.

Day 2/4 Vatnajökull National Park.

Day 5 Djupivogur.

Day 6/8 Mývatn.

Day 9 Fly London.

Forged by a series of volcanic eruptions along the Mid-Atlantic Ridge around 20 million years ago, Iceland may only be a few hours away from the United Kingdom by air but, with landscapes awash with moss-covered lava, steaming vents, hot springs, ice-caps and active volcanoes, it is a world away from the Europe with which we are familiar. However, although Iceland’s geology bubbles and steams all year round, its wildlife only erupts into life in the spring, as breeding birds arrive from the south and a colourful flora bursts forth with the lengthening days and warming sun. The majority of this life is concentrated around Iceland’s intricate coastline, the centre of the island largely comprised of barren lava-fields, stony deserts and rugged volcanoes. Four ice-caps dot the interior, but the largest by far is Vatnajökull (Europe’s largest glacier), which dominates the south-eastern corner of the island, its glacial fingers stretching southward towards the coast. This will be one of the many highlights of this new tour which explores both the wildlife and scenic treasures of Iceland’s rugged southern and eastern edges.

First, we must take a direct flight to Keflavik, Iceland’s international gateway. There, a night in the Northern Light Inn will provide an opportunity for those that wish to relax and unwind in the famous Blue Lagoon nearby, or to explore the surrounding ‘lava-scapes’. We will then head east, to Vatnajökull National Park, enjoying some of Iceland’s spectacular landmarks en route, amongst them the mighty Skogafoss waterfall and the vast coastal outwash plain of Skeidararsandur, the scene of a violent volcanic eruption in 1996. In the early evening we will arrive at our base for the next three nights, which is located just south of the mighty Vatnajökull ice-cap and conveniently placed for our exploration of this area.

We have two full days to explore this extraordinary national park and to enjoy its stunning landscape of glaciers and snowcovered mountains. On one of these days we will visit the Jokulsarlon iceberg lagoon, in which float the huge icebergs sired by the glacier above. To fully appreciate the beauty and scale of these icebergs, we will take a cruise amongst them, no doubt accompanied by noisy mobs of Arctic Terns! On our second day, we will leave our minibus and cross the marshlands and wet sand by tractor and trailer to reach the small island nature reserve of Ingolfshofdi. A gentle walk here should reward us with a variety of nesting seabirds, including Puffin, Great Skua and, with a bit of luck, Brünnich’s Guillemot. We will also spend more time exploring Vatnajökull National Park, in particular its wooded regions — so rare in Iceland — and the impressive Svartifoss waterfall.

Driving further east, we reach the pretty little fishing community of Djupivogur where we will look for Slavonian Grebe and Red-throated Diver and spend the night. Next, our journey takes us past the many steep-sided fjords which characterise the coastline of eastern Iceland. We will find ourselves driving through long, deep valleys, where we will look for the island’s only semi-wild herd of Reindeer. Then, we will turn westward, crossing desolate deserts of stone and sand, to the internationally acclaimed wetland of Lake Mývatn. Mývatn is Iceland’s top birding location, home to a wealth of breeding waterfowl and waders. Harlequin Duck, Barrow’s Goldeneye, Long-tailed Duck, Common Scoter, Whooper Swan and Red-necked Phalarope are amongst them! We will also look out for the magnificent Gyr Falcon and, in the surrounding birch woods, Ptarmigan. The geothermal activity around the lake first presents itself to us at Namafjall, where we will stop to view the bubbling mudpools and steaming fumeroles. During our 3-night stay at Lake Mývatn we will also visit Husavik, on the north coast, from where we will embark on a morning’s whale-watching cruise in search of Minke Whales and White-beaked Dolphins.

With so much to see and so many places to explore, we will be reluctant to leave, but, after our stay on the shores of Lake Mývatn, we must now drive to the northern town of Akureyri for the short flight to Reykjavik then our homeward flight from Keflavik.

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Jokulsarlon Iceberg Lagoon (Malcolm Stott)Jokulsarlon (Malcolm Stott)SkogafossGreat Skua (Malcolm Stott)Jokulsarlon (Kerrie Porteous)Vatnajokull National ParkRed-necked Phalarope (Malcolm Stott)SvartifossCommon Seal, JokulsarlonBarrow's GoldeneyeMale Ptarmigan (Alan Bevis)Slavonian Grebe (Alan Bevis)Harlequin Duck
N.R.
Suffolk
Many waders in summer plumage were a pleasure to see. We enjoyed the whale watching trip and the scenery was fantastic. A trip we would like to do again.
J.L.
Hertfordshire
The scenery and birdlife were spectacular, as a keen photographer I found it a wonderful place for photography.
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DeparturesAvailableCost

Thu 24th May 2018 - Fri 1st June 2018

YES

£2795

more details

Flights: Flights are included in the tour costMore info

Regional Departures: Regional Departures are available. Call 01962 733051 for detailsMore info

Land only cost: £2545 More info

Room sharing options: More info

Visiting: Iceland

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Tour Reviews

Many waders in summer plumage were a pleasure to see. We enjoyed the whale watching trip and the scenery was fantastic. A trip we would like to do again.
N.R., Suffolk