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Iceland: Volcanoes, Glaciers, and Whales
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10 days

from $14,649 AUD trip_detail hint icon

($9,995 USD)

Prices are per person, based on twin share occupancy. The AUD prices are based on USD and calculated at today’s rate of exchange. The expedition price will be finalised at time of booking.

trip_detail module icon Signature Land

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Travelers should be in good health and comfortable walking or standing for extended periods of time. Daily activities may include walking tours, visits to sites, safari drives, and easy hikes; and some days will have more physical activities such as longer hikes, kayaking, snorkeling, or biking.

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Premium expeditions are led by a National Geographic expert, an expedition team, or top guides, and tap into National Geographic's worldwide resources to allow for in-depth exploration and special access to sites and experts in the field. Itineraries are fully planned, with some free time. Accommodations are high-end or best available. Ground transportation and most meals and activities are included in the trip price.

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Expedition Overview

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EXPEDITION OVERVIEW
  • Encounter stunning waterfalls, intriguing volcanic landscapes, from gurgling mud pots to curious lava towers.
  • Meet with a marine biologist at a research center in Húsavík before a whale-watching excursion.
  • Experience the majesty and mythology of Snæfellsnes, home to black-pebble beaches; lava caves; and sweeping, verdant slopes featured in Game of Thrones.
  • Stay at Hotel Húsafell, a National Geographic Unique Lodge where local art, cuisine, and Nordic design converge.
EXPERTS ON THIS TRIP

A National Geographic expert will accompany each departure to share insights and a rare behind-the-scenes perspective. Listed here are some of the experts that will be joining departures on this trip.

Itinerary

Blanketed with lava fields and glaciers and simmering with volcanic activity, Iceland is full of geological surprises. Set out into the country’s less traveled corners to experience its raw beauty and the hardy and inventive culture that has developed on this far-flung island. See stunning waterfalls, and descend into a massive lava tube. Visit traditional turf farmhouses, and spend time in small fishing villages from Húsavík to the Snæfellsnes peninsula.

Day 1: Reykjavík, Iceland

Arrive at Keflavik International Airport, and transfer to our hotel in the heart of Reykjavík. Set out on an afternoon walking tour of downtown Reykjavík, then gather for a lively welcome dinner tonight.

Day 2: Golden Circle

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Spend today discovering the sites of the legendary Golden Circle. Hear about the oldest democratic parliament in the world at Thingvellir National Park, set along the shores of Iceland’s largest lake. Since the parliament first convened in 903 A.D., the walls of the surrounding canyon have drifted further apart, pulled by the tectonic plates that converge here. Continue to Geysir, a hotbed of geothermal activity where fumaroles steam and geysers burst high into the air. Linger at Strokkur geyser to catch its dramatic eruptions every few minutes. After a lunch of regional specialties, visit the magnificent falls of Gullfoss, where a wide, two-tiered wall of water tumbles into a narrow gorge. Return to Reykjavík and check out the city’s burgeoning restaurant scene on your own tonight.

Day 3: Húsafell

Drive inland to Hotel Húsafell, a National Geographic Unique Lodge of the World situated amid rolling hills at the edge of the wild highlands. Along the way, stop at Deildartunguhver thermal springs, whose abundant waters provide central heating for nearby towns. Then visit two gorgeous waterfalls: Hraunfossar and Barnafoss. Tonight, enjoy a delightful dinner with a view at the hotel.

Day 4: Snæfellsnes Peninsula/Húsafell

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Spend a full day exploring the Snæfellsnes Peninsula, where sweeping mountains harbor all manner of geological and mythological curiosities. See spectacular Kirkjufell, a lone peak that has been featured in Game of Thrones; then follow the coast to the black-pebble beach at Djúpalónssandur.

Day 5: Húsafell/Siglufjörður

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This morning, descend into Vidgelmir, a vast lava cave that has yielded traces of Viking habitation. Then journey to Iceland’s northern reaches, stopping along the way to visit a waterfall and to learn about traditional life in Iceland at the Skagafjörður Heritage Museum, housed within authentic turf farmhouses. Settle in for the night in the seaside town of Siglufjörður.

Day 6: Hrísey/Mývatn

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Take a morning ferry to Hrísey, a tiny island in Eyjafjörður fjord, known for its abundant birdlife. Hop in a farm wagon for an island tour, and keep your eye out for ptarmigans walking nonchalantly down the street. Continue to majestic Goðafoss, named “the waterfall of the gods” after a pagan leader threw idols of Norse gods over the falls when Iceland embraced Christianity a thousand years ago. Spend tonight in Mývatn, one of Iceland’s most geothermally active areas.

Day 7: Mývatn

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Pay a visit to the Krafla Power Station to see how geothermal energy is harnessed to generate 500 GWh of clean energy annually. Trace the edge of Viti Crater, created by an eruption in 1724, and take in the otherworldly beauty of its steaming turquoise lake. Walk among the unique rock formations of the horseshoe-shaped Ásbyrgi, a canyon created—according to legend—by a hoof print of a Norse god’s eight-legged horse. Encounter the sheer might of Dettifoss, the most powerful waterfall in Europe before returning to Mývatn.

Day 8: Mývatn/Akureyri

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Begin the day with a revitalizing soak at the Mývatn Nature Baths, mineral hot springs set within a dramatic lava landscape. Then venture into Grjótagjá Cave to see a stunning underground spring heated by volcanic activity. Wander through a stark terrain of bubbling mud pools, hissing fumaroles, and steaming springs at Námaskarð, and later encounter a different kind of volcanic landscape amid the lava towers of Dimmuborgir, a whimsical landscape thought to connect Earth with the underworld. Continue to the waterfront town of Akureyri for the night.

Day 9: Húsavik/Akureyri

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Journey north to Húsavik, the island’s “whale capital,” for a visit to a University of Iceland research center. Here, meet witha marine biologist and learn about research supported by National Geographic to monitor cetacean populations and bycatch, unwanted fish that are captured during large-scale fishing operations, leading to decimated fish populations. Then head out on a thrilling whale-watching excursion, searching for humpback, minke, and blue whales. Take advantage of a free afternoon to explore Akureyri before gathering to toast our journey.

Day 10: Akureyri/Reykjavík

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Take a morning flight from Akureyri to Reykjavík’s domestic airport and drive to the Blue Lagoon for a final soak in Iceland’s mineral-rich volcanic waters. Continue to the airport in Keflavik for your flight home.

What to Expect

This trip has an activity rating of light\/moderate; travelers should be in good health, comfortable walking or standing for extended periods, and prepared for multiple hours of activity on some days. Excursions may include navigating uneven terrain, climbing stairs without handrails, and hiking on paths with steep ascents\/descents. There will be several long travel days with multiple stops.

Accommodations
Throughout the trip, we stay in ideally located hotels, including Hotel Húsafell, a National Geographic Unique Lodge of the World. In remote areas, accommodations are basic, but comfortable.

Expedition Team
A National Geographic expert and an expedition leader will accompany this trip, and local guides join us along the way.

ACCOMMODATIONS

Our accommodations are selected for their exceptional quality, location, and character. Below are several of the accommodations featured on this expedition.

1 /5

Hotel Húsafell - Húsafell, Iceland

Amid the gentle hills of west Iceland's highlands, Hotel Húsafell is a welcoming hub of Nordic design within easy reach of the island's geological drama: volcanoes, enormous glaciers, lava caves, and the gorgeous Snæfellsnes peninsula.

2 /5

Hotel Húsafell - Húsafell, Iceland

Amid the gentle hills of west Iceland's highlands, Hotel Húsafell is a welcoming hub of Nordic design within easy reach of the island's geological drama: volcanoes, enormous glaciers, lava caves, and the gorgeous Snæfellsnes peninsula.

3 /5

Hotel Húsafell - Húsafell, Iceland

Amid the gentle hills of west Iceland's highlands, Hotel Húsafell is a welcoming hub of Nordic design within easy reach of the island's geological drama: volcanoes, enormous glaciers, lava caves, and the gorgeous Snæfellsnes peninsula.

4 /5

Hotel Húsafell - Húsafell, Iceland

Amid the gentle hills of west Iceland's highlands, Hotel Húsafell is a welcoming hub of Nordic design within easy reach of the island's geological drama: volcanoes, enormous glaciers, lava caves, and the gorgeous Snæfellsnes peninsula.

5 /5

Hotel Húsafell - Húsafell, Iceland

Amid the gentle hills of west Iceland's highlands, Hotel Húsafell is a welcoming hub of Nordic design within easy reach of the island's geological drama: volcanoes, enormous glaciers, lava caves, and the gorgeous Snæfellsnes peninsula.

PRICES & DATES

  • date Jun 13-22, 2020
  • double occupancy
    (from)
    $15,382 AUD Per Person
  • single occupancy
    (from)
    $19,779 AUD Per Person
  • extensions yes

  • date Jul 4-13, 2020
  • double occupancy
    (from)
    $16,115 AUD Per Person
  • single occupancy
    (from)
    $20,512 AUD Per Person
  • extensions yes

  • date Jul 25-Aug 3, 2020
  • double occupancy
    (from)
    $16,115 AUD Per Person
  • single occupancy
    (from)
    $20,512 AUD Per Person
  • extensions yes

  • date Aug 22-31, 2020
  • double occupancy
    (from)
    $16,115 AUD Per Person
  • single occupancy
    (from)
    $20,512 AUD Per Person
  • extensions yes

  • date Sep 5-14, 2020
  • double occupancy
    (from)
    $14,649 AUD Per Person
  • single occupancy
    (from)
    $19,046 AUD Per Person
  • extensions yes

Prices are per person based on double or single occupancy (unless otherwise noted) and do not include international airfare to/from your destination. Internal flights are $260 per person in 2019. The AUD prices are based on USD and calculated at today’s rate of exchange and subject to change. See the terms and conditions for this trip for more information.

  • Transfers upon arrival and departure
  • Accommodation as indicated in the itinerary
  • Meals as indicated in the itinerary
  • Daily activities and excursions as indicated in the itinerary
  • All gratuities

What's Not Included

  • Airfare to and from destination, as well as internal airfare where applicable
  • Trip cancellation insurance or any other travel insurance
  • Visas
  • Alcoholic beverages
Kitty Coley
Birder Geologist Naturalist
"

Kitty Coley is a geologist, naturalist, and avid birder who serves as a consultant to National Geographic magazine. As a professional geologist, she has worked in remote rain forests and rugged landscapes around the world. Her love of nature has inspired her to explore through scuba diving, backpacking, white-water and sea kayaking, and biking. A gifted and enthusiastic teacher and a popular National Geographic Expert, Kitty generously shares her knowledge of geology, flora, and fauna on every expedition.

"
  • Sep 5-14, 2020
Kirt Kempter
Naturalist Geologist
"

Kirt Kempter is a field geologist and teacher based in Santa Fe, New Mexico. A Fulbright Fellow, Kirt has led many geologic expeditions to Bryce, Zion, and Grand Canyon National Parks, and has published numerous maps and articles on the geology of the American Southwest. He frequently travels to and lectures on other national parks, including Yellowstone, Grand Teton, and Glacier National Parks, as well as the national parks of the Canadian Rockies. He has conducted fieldwork on a National Geographic-funded project, as well as studies of plate tectonics and volcanism around the world, including Iceland, Costa Rica, and Mexico. He received his Ph.D. in geology from the University of Texas.

"
  • Jul 25-Aug 3, 2020