ICELAND, THE FIRE AND ICE TOUR

Iceland: The Fire and Ice Tour!

WITH LESLIE TUCHEK  JULY 8 – 19, 2017

Two highly overused words in the English language are ‘extreme’ and ‘awesome’; but what if there is a place where these words actually fit. Get out your Viking helmet, because that place is Iceland. Iceland is nature in its most dramatic form. Known for its volcanoes, glaciers, waterfalls, geysers, and (slowly!) shifting tectonic plates, Iceland is indeed the land of extremes and you can see for yourself on the Fire & Ice tour. Your tour will take you to all of these places as well as lava fields, basalt columns and black sand beaches. Iceland is also the home to many sea birds like puffins, gannets and terns, along with several species of whales, reindeer, and the Arctic fox. It traces its history from the early 9th century Vikings. You will visit museums devoted to its Sagas and early settlement, attend an Icelandic horse show, and enjoy guided walks in National Parks. There will be opportunities to soak in natural hot springs, walk behind a waterfall, and observe comical puffins. This is a customized small group tour accompanied by Leslie Tuchek.   

Itinerary

SAT, JULY 08 ARRIVE REYKJAVIK
Early morning arrival into Reykjavik. We are met and transferred into the city to enjoy a welcome city tour. You are free to explore Reykjavik on your own, or book an optional whale watching tour (additional cost) as the wildlife in the bay is at its highest peak! Celebrate our arrival with a welcome dinner. (D)
Iceland
SUN, JULY 09 BORGARFJÖRÐUR 
Today we drive to the Hvalfjörður fjord, stopping on the way at Bjarteyjarsandur sheep farm. Then continue to the village of Borgarnes where we visit the Settlement Center, which tells the Saga of The Settlement of Iceland made famous by Iceland’s favorite Viking, the ugly, cruel murderer, poet, Egill Skallagrimsson (your basic Viking). Then we travel to the Deildartunguhver, the extreme hot springs, which flows fast and hot (180 liters/second at of 97 °C.) Finally, we conclude the day with the Hraunfossar and Barnafoss waterfalls, which originate in a lava field and pour over ledges of lava rock into the Hvítá River. (BD)
Iceland
MON, JULY 10 SNÆFELLSNES – SKAGAFJÖRÐUR
Today you journey to the center of the earth, the Snæfellsjökull glacier, which was the place made famous by Jules Verne sci-fi novel. First stop is the historic village of Arnarstapi, which was an important trading post. Then follow the ancient coastline path to the seaside and the cliffs between Arnastapi and Hellnar to a Natural Reserve. This is a perfect opportunity to see many coastal birds, including the kittiwake, the Arctic tern and the fulmar. This is the area where the ogre, Bárðu from the Icelandic sagas went about his grizzly business. Continue north to Skagafjörður with one final stop at Eiriksstaðir. Step back in history to the Viking Era at Erik the Red’s farm, and the birthplace of Leif the Lucky, who is said to have first discovered America. Modern day Vikings will demonstrate the lifestyle of 1000 years ago, sharing their crafts and knowledge. Watch your head. (BD)
Iceland
TUE, JULY 11 SKAGAFJÖRÐUR – AKUREYRI
Begin the morning in historic Skagafjörður, the largest village on the North Iceland fjord. Five of Iceland’s largest battles were fought in Skagafjordur during their 13th century civil war. This is horse country and you will see an Icelandic horse show known for its fifth gait. Next, en-route to Eyjafjörður, visit Glaumbaer Farm, a well- maintained turf farmhouse museum that depicts this region’s rustic past. Continue your journey over the steep slopes of Öxnadalsheiði and across the Eyjafjörður fjord before arriving into the charming town of Akureyri. Explore on your own Lystigardurinn Botanical Garden, the Coventry Window in Akureyri church, Akureyri Museum & Garden or the Nonnahus Museum. (BD)
Iceland
WED, JULY 12 GOÐAFOSS – JÖKULSÁRGLJÚFUR 
Today is especially made for nature lovers. Our first stop is one of the Iceland’s most spectacular waterfalls, Godafoss or Waterfall of the Gods. We continue to Jökulársgljúfur National Park, a spectacular area for bird watching. As we pass through the village of Húsavík, you may explore the Whale Museum. Next we take a hike in Ásbyrgi, a gigantic, horseshoe canyon and one of the most popular walking areas in the country. At Botnstjorn, the volcanic canyon walls provide a microclimate for a wide variety of plants and birds including ptarmigan and gyrfalcon and rarities as the Arctic fox. We end the day with a visit to the powerful Dettifoss Waterfall, which is Europe’s largest waterfall. (BD)
Iceland
THU, JULY 13 MÝVATN – EGILSSTAÐIR I
Another day of natural wonders. We spend the day exploring Lake Mývatn, one of the jewels of Icelandic nature with outstanding bird-watching possibilities. Take a hike in Dimmuborgir lava formations with marked trails. Beware of the trolls and elves. Explore the Martian landscape of Námaskarð, with its hot springs, steaming fumaroles and bubbling mud pools. At Skútustaðir see the pseudo craters formed when molten lava flowed over wetland. Visit Sigurgeir’s Bird Museum. It is considered the largest private bird collection in Iceland. Much of Lake Mývatn’s bird life can be viewed from the museum with comfortable facilities for photography and bird watching. Continue eastward to Egilsstadir area where we overnight. (BD)
Iceland
FRI, JULY 14 EASTFJORDS 
Today we travel through the remote Eastfjords, an area known for its winding fjords, small fishing villages and wide variety of stones and minerals, with stops en-route to enjoy the area. On the way to Höfn we will have a magnificent view of Vatnajökull, the largest glacier in Iceland. There are optional visits at Petra’s Stone Collection Museum of rare minerals and stones and at Fáskrúðsfjörður with the French Fishermen’s Museum (additional costs). (BD)
Iceland
SAT, JULY 15 JÖKULSÁRLÓN – SKAFTAFELL  
Our first stop is Jökulsárlón glacial lagoon for a boat trip between drift ice (icebergs). We then continue to Skaftafell National Park, for an easy trail walk to the edge of a glacier. Then we drive over the sands to Kirkjubæjarklaustur, one of the most difficult words to pronounce in Iceland. Close to the village is Kirkjugólf (Church Floor), a natural pavement of basalt. These are basalt columns into the earth that have eroded into the appearance of a church floor. It is a protected natural monument. This lava formation has similar origins to the Giant's Causeway in Ireland. Overnight in the village of Vik. (BD)
Iceland
SUN, JULY 16 DYRHÓLAEY – SOUTH SHORE  
Today first we stop at Dyrhólaey cliff, a birdwatcher’s paradise. Then we are off to Skógafoss, one of the largest waterfalls in the country, so bring your raincoat. According to an Icelandic legend there is buried treasure in a cave behind the waterfall. Next we go to one of the most beautiful waterfalls that you can imagine at Seljalandsfoss. You can walk behind the waterfall for a spectacular view. We end our day at the Njala Saga Center for a guided tour. The center offers you an opportunity to explore the age of the Icelandic sagas. Enter the world of mythology and meet the characters of the famous the Story of Burned Njal. (BD) 
Iceland
MON, JULY 17 LANDMANNALAUGAR 
Today we visit the interior of Iceland. The Landmannalaugar, in the South Highlands is known for its geothermal nature baths, its vegetation and spectacular rock formations. Raincoats recommended. The drive then takes you through beautiful countryside and farms before proceeding into the Þjórsárdalur Valley, which has been devastated by eruptions from the Hekla volcano. In the Middle Ages, Hekla was believed to be the gateway to hell. We also stop at Hjalparfoss, a small beautiful waterfall. Small is beautiful. (BD)
Iceland
TUE, JULY 18 GULLFOSS –ÞINGVELLIR 
Start the day at one of the most popular tourist sites in Iceland, Gullfoss, a huge staircase waterfall (raincoat recommended) and the famous Geysir, which has been active for about 10,000 years. The nearby geyser, Stokkur, “the chum” erupts every 5 to 10 minutes and reaches heights of up to 30 metres into the air. There are many other smaller geysers and hot pools also active in the area. We then head to Þingvellir National Park, the site of the ancient parliament and Iceland’s most renowned beauty spot. Founded in 1930, it became a World Heritage Site in 2004. We will spend time walking around the superb park. Þingvellir is the largest natural lake in Iceland. The Great Northern Diver or Common Loon breed here. We may also see Barrow’s goldeneye and Harlequin Duck. End your day back in Reykjavik. Enjoy a farewell dinner. (BD)
Iceland
WED, JULY 19 BLUE LAGOON - DEPARTURE
Today is a free day in Reykjavik until you transfer to the airport for your flight home. En-route there is time to immerse yourself in the world famous Blue Lagoon…a final memory of Iceland. (B)
Iceland

Our Host

Leslie Tuchek is a graduate of the University of Saskatchewan Certificate in Ecological Education (CERTEE) 2003. She developed and guided tours for the University of Saskatchewan Centre for Continuing and Distance Education for eight years. She is an avid birder and wildlife photographer and her interests are small group tours with a focus on nature, local culture and history.

Tour Information

Tour Length: 12 days / 11 nights
Date: July 8 – 19, 2017
Land Price: $6795CAD per person
Single Supplement: $1755CAD per person

These rates are based on a minimum of 20 passengers. Prices quoted are effective as of January 2017. The final price although not expected to change, may be modified if the minimum number of people (20 people) is not met.
Iceland: The Fire and Ice Tour Includes:
  • All transfers and transportation per itinerary 
  • 11 nights accommodation with shared and private facilities 
  • Meals: Breakfast daily and 12 dinners
  • Visit Bjarteyjarsandur farm 
  • Visit Settlement Museum
  • Visit Eiríksstaðir Museum
  • Horse show in Skagafjörður area
  • Visit to Glaumbær turf farm museum 
  • Visit to Sigurgeir´s bird museum
  • A 30 minute amphibian boat tour on Jökulsárlón Glacier Lagoon
  • Visit to Njála Saga Center
  • Bath entrance and towel rental at the Blue lagoon
  • English speaking guide according to itinerary
Iceland: The Fire and Ice Tour Doesn’t Include:
  • Airfare to Iceland
  • Travel Insurance 
  • Pre- or post-tour accommodation
  • Meals not included in the itinerary
  • Alcoholic and non-alcoholic drinks
  • Excursions, activities, and entrance fees not included in the itinerary
  • Gratuities to guides and driver
  • Personal Items
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