CIRCUMNAVIGATING ICELAND – THE LAND OF ELVES , SAGAS AND VOLCANOES
Iceland is the perfect destination for explorers searching for the unexpected. The nation’s heritage dates back to the ancient sagas, and Icelandic folk tales are rife with mysticism, elves and trolls. Enjoy hikes through lava fields, see natural hot springs, explore raw wilderness, encounter rare wildlife, and visit fascinating historic settlements.
Swim in natural hot springs and hike through lava fields on the exploration voyage of a lifetime.
Mythical Iceland is the land of ice and fire, of classic sagas with long arctic winters and summers lit by the midnight sun. This is a haunting landscape of vast expanses of unspoilt nature surrounding small, modern communities.
Unspoiled and Geologically Active
Icelandic nature offers stunning landscapes with waterfalls amongst Europe’s most powerful and awe-inspiring. Iceland is located at the Mid-Atlantic Ridge, a position that means that the landscape is highly active geologically, with many erupting volcanoes and geysers. Experience a variety of islands, towns and settlements, spectacular views and interesting sites, accompanied by our knowledgeable Expedition Team.
Discovering the Wilderness, Wildlife, History and Settlements
During this 12-day expedition cruise around Iceland, you will enjoy hikes through lava fields, breathe the pure Icelandic air, swim in natural hot springs, visit one of the many museums or simply explore on your own and chat with friendly locals. Immerse yourself in the Icelandic experience with one of our many fantastic excursions.
The Land of the Saga
Iceland’s heritage dates back to the ancient sagas, and its folk tales are rife with mysticism, elves and trolls, inspired by the island’s diverse nature. In the midst of this vast and inspiring wilderness, you will find colorful fishing villages, seaside towns and vibrant urban spaces. Icelanders keep their heritage alive – even today. If locals want to build a new road, a house or a dam, there’s one influential group that must be consulted: the elves.
May and June 2019
Arriving in Iceland
Many visitors find landing at Keflavik airport enchanting. The hub seems carved out of an arctic desert, with lava stones covered in moss, and haunting mountains nearby. But just 45 minutes away, Reykjavik is a charming and vibrant modern city, offering top restaurants, interesting museums and quaint narrow streets.
Welcome to the “Sagaland”
Location: Stykkishólmur and Flatey
West Iceland is often referred to as “The Sagaland”. Experience Stykkishólmur’s diversity of lava and rock formations, glaciers, volcanic activity and hot and cold springs.
Explore the town of Stykkishólmur on your own or join an optional excursions to explore more of the Snæfellsnes peninsula which is said to be a miniature version of Iceland. In addition to its characteristic Snæfellsjökull glacier, there are black sandy beaches, bird cliffs, spectacular mountains and volcanic craters.
On the charming island of Flatey, time appears to stand still. Take a stroll around the village and travel back in time along the scenic lanes.
Europe’s Westernmost Point
One of Iceland’s best-kept secrets is Westfjords. As we sail around the tip of the Látrabjarg peninsula, you can see the Bjargtangar lighthouse, Europe’s westernmost point, from the deck. Come ashore and walk up the slope to the renowned Látrabjarg cliffs, home to millions of birds, including puffins, northern gannets, guillemots and razorbills.
Flanked by towering mountains on all sides, Ísafjörður is a nearly perfect natural harbor. Stroll around to see the architecture, the variety of local handicrafts and the oldest houses in Iceland, including the structure that houses the Maritime Museum. With our wide range of optional excursions, you can choose to follow in the footsteps of trolls or enjoy the beautiful scenery from horseback.
Bird Watchers’ Paradise
Location: Hornbjerg cliff and Reykjafjörður
The Hornbjarg cliff is one of the greatest sea bird habitats in Iceland. From deck, you will be able to enjoy the spectacular views of the wildlife. Reykjafjörður can only be reached on foot or by boat, and we plan to take a closer look at this stunning area as well.
Please note: In an earlier version, the text in this online version of the itinerary could wrongfully be interpreted as we would do landings on Hornbjarg Cliff. As Hurtigruten operates on strict environmental and operational guidelines, taking guests on shore in areas where access has been restricted due to vulnerability of nature and wildlife is of course not part of our program.
Fjords, Birds and City Life
Location: Hrísey and Akureyri
Hrísey is a peaceful island in the middle of Eyjafjörður, a well-known paradise for birdwatchers. The most abundant species at this spot is the ptarmigan, but in all about 40 species of bird nest here. The 200 Islanders live in a trim fishing village with paved streets, tidy gardens and everyone has a view of the spectacular surrounding mountains.
Next stop is Akureyri, a lively and energetic town. In fact, it is the most populous community outside Reykjavík, and serves as the centre of trade, culture and services for the north of Iceland. Akureyri is close to many of Iceland’s most renowned natural treasures, although the town itself is a popular destination. Enjoy an optional hike or join an excursion to the impressive Goðafoss waterfall.
Step Across The Arctic Circle
At Grímsey we will use our small boats to reach this green and grassy island. It is probably best known for its proximity to the Arctic Circle, which cuts across the island. You can have the chance to step across that line, North to South.
The Whale Capital of Iceland
Húsavík is recognized as one of the best whale watching locations in the world, due to the island’s thriving bay ecosystem. Melting snow and rivers bring nutrients from mineral-rich mountainsides which, when combined with the boundless summer sun, leads to teeming masses of plankton, the main source of food for baleen whales. Húsavík is also the oldest settlement in Iceland. The town’s most famous landmark is Húsavíkurkirkja, a wooden church built in 1907. Over the years, Húsavík has become an increasingly popular tourist centre and is home to the Húsavík Whale Museum. After leaving the town, we sail past the Langanes peninsula.
The Land of the Elves
Location: Bakkargerdi and Seyðisfjörður
Bakkagerdi is the main settlement in Borgarfjörður. This area is known for its natural beauty and as “the land of the elves”. There are many puffin colonies in the fjord, so it is a popular place for bird watching. Bakkagerdi is off the typical tourist track, and offers peace, quiet and impressive views. If you prefer to be more active, you can join us for an optional tour to the natural forest of Hallormstadur. Seyðisfjörður is distinguished by its Norwegian heritage. The colourful Norwegian-style wooden houses date from the early 20th century and make this village unique. Explore the town, join a hike or take an optional excursion out to Skálanes.
Glaciers and Art
The natural world around Djupivogur is highly varied. The Búlandsnes bird sanctuary is renowned among bird lovers throughout the world, because this is a place where you can observe most Icelandic birds nesting in their natural habitat close by. The Vatnajökull glacier is the largest in Europe, and a spectacular sight. Join our optional excursion to Vatnajökull lagoon, or stay and hike in the beautiful surroundings of the town. Langabúð is the oldest house in Djúpivogur, originally built in 1790, and has now been renovated to serve as a cultural center. It houses some of the works of sculptor Ríkarður Jónsson, a heritage museum and a coffee shop with delicious homemade cakes and a display of local handicrafts. Don’t miss the outdoor sculpture, Eggin í Gleðivík, by the world famous Icelandic artist Sigurður Guðmundsson, consisting of 34 eggs.
Heimaey is the largest of the Westman Islands, which are located off Iceland’s south coast, and is dominated by magnificent cliffs. These form natural habitats for many different seabirds, including puffins and kittiwakes. The islands are also a great place for spotting whales. In 1973, a huge volcanic eruption surprised their residents of Heimaey. It forced the entire population to evacuate and set sail to mainland Iceland. A large number of buildings were buried under lava and ash. Many were completely destroyed, but others were later unearthed and restored. An entire museum, Eldheimar, has been built around the remains of one of the homes.
The end of the adventure
Our voyage of discovery and adventure ends in Reykjavik. If you have the time, join our exciting post-programme Golden Circle and Blue Lagoon excursions.
- Cabin grade of your choice on a full board basis
- Wind and water resistant jacket
- Landings with Polarcirkel boats and activities onboard and ashore
- Professional English speaking Expedition team that gives lectures as well as accompanying landings and activities
- Free tea and coffee
Price does not include
- International flights
- Travel insurance
- Luggage Handling
- Optional excursions and gratueties
- Prices are in EUR (€) per person
- All planned landings are subject to weather and ice conditions
- All itineraries are subject to change
- Medical questionnaire mandatory
- Rubber boots rental service on board
Hurtigruten has a flexible pricing system and all prices are capacity controlled and subject to availability. Prices may change at any time before departure date. The applicable price will be quoted at the time of booking. Prices are in Euro per person.