Iceland

 

    Iceland is a country like no other. It’s amazing that this little-visited, small island (about the size of Virginia) is such an unbelievable, incredible natural wonderland packed with awe-inspiring landscapes. Everywhere you look, a smorgasbord of expansive and odd lava fields, ice formations, volcanoes, mountain ranges, ancient glaciers, thundering waterfalls, unusual geothermal areas, boiling mud, ice and lava caves, enormous craters, fumaroles, ash deserts, hot springs, glacial rivers and lagoons, and all sorts of fjords, cliffs and peaks. Your senses will be on overload!

    Just about all the pictures in the photo slider above were taken by people who went on our Iceland adventure last year – personal, direct evidence of some of the amazing natural attractions of Iceland!

    And while nature reigns supreme in Iceland, the English-speaking cities and towns of the country are fascinating sights in their own right. From the modern and cosmopolitan capital of Reykjavík to the small, sparsely populated remote towns, fishing villages, farms and islands full of history and character that dot the countryside and coasts.

    You can experience and witness this all for yourself by joining us when we visit the intensely beautiful, Nordic island nation of Iceland! Take a walk on the wild side on this one-week (10 day/9 night) custom Iceland trip designed just for us!

    Our visit will be full of fairly easy outdoor adventures – only extreme in the uniqueness of the experiences. Not many people can say that they have walked with glaciers beneath their feet, trekked across jet-black lava fields, watched active volcanoes at work, stood behind thundering waterfalls, boated on a stunning, a bright blue glacier lagoon journeying past huge icebergs, hiked atop cliffs to go Puffin watching, relaxed in the milky-blue, mysterious waters of The Blue Lagoon.

    But if you seize the opportunity to visit this extraordinary little country, you will have the very good fortune of having these experiences! Neither you nor your friends will believe the awesome photos from this vacation! (By the way, bring a good camera. And this does not include your cell phone!) This will be a memorable, not to be forgotten trip!

    Since words really just cannot do justice in describing this staggeringly beautiful part of the world where Mother Nature’s stunning power is on full, magical display… the only thing to do is to mark your calendar and smile, knowing you’ll be joining other cool kids on this truly, never to be forgotten adventure!

    Even though this exotic, seemingly far-flung destination seems much too far away, it is much closer than you think! You’ll find yourself there quickly and conveniently with a speedy 6-hour nonstop flight from Dulles/BWI airport.

    Remember, Iceland is not a destination. It is an adventure. So join us in August for an adventure of a lifetime!

    See the complete, day-to-day itinerary on this trip page (right-side) for full trip details. But here are some of the highlights:

    10 day itinerary summary:

    Day 1 – Southwest Iceland/Flúðir
    Day 2 – South Iceland/Vik
    Day 3 – Southeast Coast/Jokulsarlon
    Day 4-5 – EastI Iceland/Egilsstaðir
    Day 6-7 – Northeast Ireland/Mývatn
    Day 8-9 – Reykjavík
    Day 10 – Departure

    This trip (like all of our trips) is custom-made just for us, which means a cool, high-quality trip with these features:

    • Non-touristy, thoughtful itinerary reflecting important, beautiful areas to visit.
      Beginning most days at reasonable hours & arriving at hotels with some time to relax before dinner.
    • Brief, but yummy lunch stops so we spend more time on our adventure & less time sitting in restaurants.
    • Flexible days with leeway to play it by ear to enjoy other fun, cool stuff we find along the way.
    • Only independent, locally-owned accommodations that are unique and full of character with great reviews; no big chain hotels.
    • Instead of racing around Iceland with one-night hotel stays, we’ll do even of 2-day stays for more relaxing travel.

    Some highlights:

    -The rugged, treeless, moon-like landscape of the Reykjanes Peninsula with its volcanic and geothermal activity, vast lava fields and black sand beaches that will make you feel like you’ve landed on another planet.

    -The incredible natural attractions of the South Coast which boats the vast black lava beaches of Reynisfjara and the famous, thundering Seljalandsfoss and Skogarfoss waterfalls, and astounding Solheimajokull glacier… as well as hidden gems like the Seljavallalaug hot pools.

    -Two-hour glacier hike using crampons to walk among the crevasses and glacier sculptures of Svínafellsjökull glacial tongue.

    -The dramatic east coast and fjords with its long, narrow, steep sides and jagged peaks is home to the country’s largest forest, lush farmlands and a range of small islands and natural harbors, and a variety of fishing villages and small seaside communities bordering the coast.

    -Vatnajökull National Park covering about 12 percent of the surface of Iceland and home to Iceland’s: highest mountain, Hvannadalshnúkur; largest glacier, Vatnajökull; Europe’s largest waterfall in terms of volume discharge, Dettifoss; and Jökulsárlón, the magnificent glacial lagoon where four Hollywood movies were filmed (A View to a Kill, Die Another Day, Tomb Raider and Batman Begin, and the reality-TV series Amazing Race) and where we’ll go on a zodiac boat ride.

    -The North which is home to Iceland’s second largest urban area, Akureyri, located in Iceland’s longest fjord, Eyjafjörður. It also offers the impressive Ásbyrgi Canyon, Dettifoss Waterfall—the most powerful in Europe, and Lake Mývatn one of the highlights of the area.

    -Optional visit to the Blue Lagoon, the internationally famous unique and surreal geothermal spa with milky, powder-blue water located in the middle of a black lava field.

    All the hotels we are staying at are high-quality 3-star accommodations with onsite restaurants serving locally sourced food. All breakfasts are included in your stay. All rooms have private bathrooms (many Icelandic accommodations do not).

    Internet access is available at all the hotels to send those all-important trip pictures to your friends and post your Facebook status as you travel throughout Iceland.

    In addition, the hotels we are patronizing are locally owned (so that the money we spend stays in the local communities), highly rated from previous travelers, and most are certified eco-friendly (to minimize our impact on the environment & support sustainability efforts).

    On many trips to Iceland, you’ll get driven all around the country staying in a different hotel every night to maximize time and see as much as humanly possible. Racing around like this is a very tiring way to travel – checking in and out of places every day. For our trip, we are focused on a high-quality, well-paced, enjoyable vacation.

    We have carefully and thoughtfully chosen an itinerary and plan that allows us to travel at a more relaxed pace and stay at least two nights at each accommodation (except for the final night in Reykjavik) and still see a significant sampling of the different regions of Iceland.

    We are staying at six different hotels during our trip to Iceland:

    Lambastaðir Guesthouse – night 1

    Sólheimahjáleiga Guesthouse – night 2

    Hali Country Hotel – night 3

    Hótel Eyvindará – night 4 & 5

    Sel – Hótel Mývatn – night 6 & 7

    Hótel Óðinsvé – night 8 & 9

    Please click on “Accommodations” under “Details” on the right sidebar of the trip page for more information on each hotel including photos.


    The price for the Iceland trip is $2,833 per person based on double occupancy.

    The single supplement price to have your own room throughout the entire trip is $720.

    Deposit of 30% ($850) required when booking to confirm your spot. Balance is due 75 days before departure.

    INCLUDED:

    • 8 days guided tour with professional, Icelandic guide
    • 10 days transportation services with driver from airport pick-up Day 1 to airport drop-off on Day 10
    • Accommodation for 9 nights at 3-star hotels
    • All breakfasts except Day 1
    • 7 dinners (all dinners except while in Reykjavik) – 2 course meal with appetizer & entree
    • Local flight Akureyri-Reykjavík
    • Visit to Secret Lagoon
    • 1 hour Zodiac boat tour on Jökulsárlón glacial lagoon
    • Private 2-hour glacier hike
    • Myvatn Nature Baths

    NOT INCLUDED:

    • International airfare
    • Travel insurance (highly recommended)
    • Airport transfers if not arriving or departing with the group
    • Lunches and dinner last day in Reykjavik
    • Optional excursions in Reykjavik: off-road Super Jeep, Blue lagoon, Reykjadalur hike
    • Personal expenses and anything not listed in the Included list



    We highly recommend TravelSafe® optional insurance.

    Here are a few reasons to get trip insurance:

    • Reimbursement for cancellation penalties (which can be 100% of your investment) in the event of an unforeseeable illness, injury or death of you, your travel companion or a family member.
    • Reimbursement for cancellation penalties if you are called for jury duty, your home is damaged due to fire, windstorm, flood or vandalism or military leave cancelled.
    • Health insurance coverage while traveling outside of the U.S. as many health insurance companies limit or do not provide coverage outside of the U.S.
    • Reimbursement for unused portion of your trip if it is interrupted.
    • Medical evacuation/repatriation expenses to an appropriate medical facility or back home in the event of a serious illness or injury while traveling.
    • 24-hour help line for any travel emergency, such as medical, lost tickets, lost passports, and other travel documents.

    Even Iceland itself has demonstrated the importance of trip insurance! Immense volcanic ash from the eruption of Iceland’s Eyjafjallajökull volcano in 2010 halted air travel throughout Europe, resulting in the largest air-traffic shutdown since World War II. The closures caused millions of passengers to be stranded not only in Europe, but also across the world.

    In 2014, ongoing magma movement, intense seismic activity and a multitude of small earthquakes beneath the Dyngjujökull glacier near the Bárđarbunga volcano, the country’s second highest mountain at 6,560 feet, resulted in an air travel warning that peaked as an “orange” alert – the second highest on the color code meaning “escalating unrest with increased potential of eruption.”

    Buy TravelSafe

    The Icelandic monetary unit is the Króna (ISK). The exchange rate is about 1 U.S. dollar to 131 ISK. Note that in Iceland, periods are used as thousands separators and commas are used as decimal marks. (e.g., 5.000 ISK, 25,5% VAT, etc.)

    Credit and debit cards are very common forms of payment in Iceland with VISA and MasterCard being the major credit cards .In fact, cash use among the locals is rare since most merchants accept credit and debit cards even for small purchases. ATMs are widely available in Iceland.

    Cell phones work in all towns and virtually all main travel routes using GMS networks. Please note that your phone must be GSM compatible to work in Iceland.

    The cost of service and VAT is included in all prices at restaurants, hotels, taxis, etc. Tipping is therefore not customary, but is nonetheless appreciated when offered.

    Iceland uses 220 volts, the Northern European electrical standard so adapters for plugs or converters for electrical devices are required. If your computer or appliance is not dual voltage or designed for 220 volts, you will need a converter or transformer.

    Iceland is on Greenwich Mean Time (GMT) throughout the year, and does not go on daylight saving time. There is a 5-hour time difference – it is 5 hours later in Iceland than the U.S.

    The temperature in early September is the mid 50s Fahrenheit.

    Icelandic, the official language is a North Germanic language similar to Old Norse that has changed little since Iceland’s settlement period. Words and pronunciation can seem quite challenging for visitors. However, most Icelanders know English.

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    Phone: 202.507.9656

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