Welcome to Iceland (Reykjavik)
Pick up your rental car at the airport and head to the colourful capital of Reykjavik. A green city with an eclectic soul, Reykjavik offers open spaces, clean air and an edgy cultural scene. Check in at your hotel in the city centre. Later, you can explore the city on foot including highlights such as the Harpa concert hall designed by artist Ólafur Egilsson and Hallgrímskirkja church, Iceland´s highest and most recognised landmark. Climb to the top of the church for panoramic views of the city. Come evening, stop by one of the many neighbourhood joints for a bite to eat. The bars are open till 1:00 am on weekdays and 4:00 am on the weekend.
You can spend the day at your own pace or opt for a thrilling helicopter ride over the black sand beach, volcanos, glaciers and waterfalls of the south coast of Iceland. Touch down for an hour-long hike on a glacier, climbing with our expert guide to the lesser known paths of this natural wonder. On the way back, you will get a bird’s eye view of some of the major landmarks of the area as the ride passes through the geothermal explosions of The Great Geysir, the oldest known geyser in the world. See the foundations of the world’s oldest existing parliament at Þingvellir; the technicolour mountains around Landmannalaugar; cascading glaciers of Þórsmörk; and the magnificent glacier-volcano of Eyjafjallajökull. Sights that we will visit later.
The Golden Circle (Reykjavik – Hvolsvöllur)
Check out of the hotel and drive south to explore one of the most iconic circuits of Iceland, the Golden Circle. We begin at Thingvellir (Þingvellir) National Park, 45 minutes from the capital and a site of great historical and geological importance, where the American and Eurasian tectonic plates meet. A short ride across the fertile farmlands reveals the breath-taking Gullfoss Waterfall, also called the Golden Falls for the colour that the water takes as it crashes. Follow the approved trails for stunning views of the waterfalls below. And finally, visit the Geysir geothermal area where hot springs meet exploding geysers. The geysers erupt every 7-10 minutes and are a fantastic sight to capture on film! As you drive out from here, stop by the Secret Lagoon – a natural hot spring where you can swim for a bit. Overnight at a charming hotel in the countryside.
Coastal Days (Hvolsvöllur)
Start your day exploring the ice caves of the South Coast, where you will see black, white, and blue ice, over 800 years old. Continue your day with a visit to the majestic waterfall Skogafoss before heading onwards to the basalt sea columns of Reynisfjara framed by a black sand beach which has been ranked one of the ten most beautiful non-tropical beaches in the world. Visit the Dyrhólaey peninsula which offers spectacular views of the coastline, a historic lighthouse and a famous rock arch.
A Private Island (Hvolsvöllur)
Drive to a glacier riverbank where your host for the evening will meet you and take you on a motorboat ride to his private island nearby, for an exclusive experience. The island is a place of stunning beauty and sustainable living, where electricity comes from a windmill and food from the gardens. Your host will teach you about the ways of the island, like the traditional way of catching wild salmon in the river, using a net. Listen to stories of the life and history of the island and its surroundings. In the evening, sit around a bonfire for a three-course meal which will include the catch of the day and homegrown herbs and vegetables. Return to the hotel for the night.
Glacial Rides (Hvolsvöllur – Jökulsárlón)
Head further south and stop for snowmobiling on top of Eyjafjallajökull glacier, an extraordinary experience that is ideal for first-time riders. The glacier offers some of the best views of the coastline, including the Westman Islands, and the entire south coast from Ingólfsfjall to the highlands. Check in for a serene stay amidst the Glacier Lagoon.
Fire and Ice (Jökulsárlón)
Drive to the beautiful Skaftafell National Park, a green oasis wedged between sand and glacier. This magical land has been forged with fire and ice over centuries with many volcanic eruptions, glaciers and rivers. Walk up to Svartifoss, a beautiful waterfall surrounded by black basalt columns. And visit the magnificent glacial lagoon of Jökulsárlón, where 1000-year-old icebergs float serenely towards the ocean.
Kayak in Ice (Jökulsárlón)
Spend your day kayaking across the stunning Glacier Lagoon, threading your way through 1000-year-old icebergs. This beautiful location has been immortalised in many movies. If the conditions are right, you might be able to spot seals in the water. You will be provided with all the necessary equipment, including a dry suit and life jacket, with an English-speaking guide who will explain about the geology of the area. The kayaks are suitable for beginners.
Wild Wild East (Jökulsárlón – Egilstaðir)
Leave the Höfn area and head south east to Egilsstaðir. On route, you will find majestic fjords and mountains such as the most photographed Vestrahorn. Stop at Egilsstaðir for lunch, before heading further to Norðurdalur to the beautiful Hengifoss waterfall. By late afternoon, you will arrive and check in at your hotel, an authentic and peaceful hideaway located at the edge of Northern Europe’s biggest wilderness, 50 km inland from Egilsstaðir. Every detail of this place has been created to take one back into the lore of Icelandic history, including the buildings, interiors, food, activities and your hosts. The stay and museum are integrated for an immersive experience inside the “Wilderness World.”
After a hearty farm breakfast, step out to explore the area on an Icelandic horse, the Vikings’ most trusted mode of transport. Your ride will take you through the wilderness, along a glacier river and across the river via an elevated ropeway to an abandoned farm. Hear the stories of the inhabitants of this area, over a delightful lunch made with locally sourced ingredients. Next, board a jeep to the deserted highlands near Snæfell mountain, crossing canyons and maybe spotting a deer or two. Soak in a natural hot spring before returning to your accommodation for a delicious home-cooked dinner and overnight stay.
Hot Springs (Lake Myvatn)
After a hearty breakfast, leave the Wilderness Centre and head towards the north-east of Iceland, the lesser visited but equally remarkable region of the country. The landscape remarkably changes colours here as geothermal landscapes come into sight. Spend some hours on the road, experiencing the different shades of the land. Check in at your hotel in the Lake Myvatn area. Come evening, enjoy a relaxing swim in the Myvatn geothermal baths. Drawing on a centuries-old tradition, the tastefully designed complex offers bathers a completely natural experience that begins with a relaxing dip amidst clouds of steam rising up from a fissure deep in the Earth´s surface and ends with a luxurious swim in a pool of geothermal water drawn from depths of up to 2,500 metres.
A Culinary Escapade (Lake Mývatn)
Explore Lake Mývatn on foot, with a guide who will take you inside local homes and share stories of the people of the region. Visit the natural highlights of the area as you taste local delicacies, including bread that has been baked with geothermal heat from geysers, smoked arctic char and lamb, right out of the hands of a farmer. Step off the beaten track to visit a local farm smokehouse to learn about the art of cold smoked food. Visit the steaming grounds in Bjarnarflag where the famous Geysir bread is baked and explore the boiling mud pits of Hverir. Head to the old bathing cave of Grjótagjá located on the continental rift. And enjoy a farm to table lunch, followed by a visit to the Dimmuborgir Lava fields. Our last stop will be Höfði, where famous scenes “North of the Wall” were shot for popular TV show Game of Thrones.
Water Water Everywhere (Lake Mývatn)
Start your day at Ásbyrgi and the mighty Dettifoss waterfall, about 100 meters wide with a drop of 45 meters and an average water flow of 193 m3/s, which makes it the most powerful waterfall in Europe. Dettifoss and Ásbyrgi are located in the Vatnajökull National Park, formerly known as the Jökulsárgljúfur Park. Next, visit the charming fishing village of Húsavík, where you will join a scheduled whale watching tour. RIB boats are used so you can travel faster to cover a larger area and reach areas further out for a chance to spot bigger whales.
A Spa Retreat (Lake Mývatn – Reykjavik – Blue Lagoon)
Check out of the hotel and drive to Akureyri, stopping on route at Godafoss (waterfall of the gods), with a fascinating history of how Iceland converted from the Old Norse Gods to Christianity. Drive to Akureyri domestic airport, where you will return your rental car and board a short domestic flight to Reykjavik. Our representative will meet you at the airport and escort you to your private car for a transfer to a relaxing retreat at the Blue Lagoon, about 30 minutes away. After check-in, enjoy a relaxing soak in the milky blue waters of the Blue Lagoon, located in the middle of the wilderness and known for its healing properties, especially for the skin. The spa here offers a luxurious ritual where you cover your body with the three treasures of geothermal seawater: silica for radiance, algae for anti-aging, and minerals for revitalization. Later, we have a festive gourmet dinner planned for you.
Into the Volcano (Blue Lagoon)
Your driver will pick you up for a visit to the Blue Mountains. Hike for about 45 minutes to reach the opening of the volcano, from where we will enter this amazing natural phenomenon. Explore the area with expert mountain guides and cave explorers, who will also provide all safety precautions for the journey. Today, you will have the remarkable opportunity to descend 120 meters or 400 feet to the bottom of the crater in an open cable lift. On returning to your hotel, you have the rest of the day to relax and enjoy some signature treatments at the spa.
Farewell Iceland (Reykjavik)
Your driver will pick you up for a private transfer to the Reykjavik airport, where you board your flight back home.
The Signature Experience: Visit a private island to observe sustainable living in the region, learning about local life and history, and enjoying a scrumptious meal made with homegrown ingredients.