Waves crash against icebergs at Jokulsarlon glacial lagoon near Vatnajokull National Park

Discover Iceland Trip Notes

Ways to Travel:
Guided Group, Tailormade Adventures
Destinations:
Iceland
Programmes:
Culture
Trip Code:
AVP
Activity Level: Leisurely
Leisurely

You are healthy, enjoy the outdoors and want a relaxing trip. No experience is required.

8 Days Flight Inclusive
8 Days Land only
16 Min age

Trip Overview

Iceland is a vast, evocative country, constantly evolving and changing through the sheer power of the geological forces that created it. This week provides the perfect introduction to the southern half of the country, as we journey from the mountainous Snaefellsnes Peninsula in the west across the dramatic lunar-like landscape of the Fjallabak Nature Reserve to the eastern tip of the massive Vatnajokull National Park. Craters, hot springs, lava flows and thundering waterfalls dot our route, before we travel back along the south coast to Reykjavik.

At a Glance

  • 7 nights in hotels and guesthouses 
  • Travel by specialist vehicle
  • Group normally 5 to 16, plus leader. Min age 16 yrs

Trip Highlights

  • Many of Iceland's best known sites: Thingvellir World Heritage Area, geysers and roaring waterfalls
  • Volcanic scenery: lava flows, fissures, craters, columnar basat pillars and geothermal pools 
  • 24 hour daylight for departures in June

Is This Trip for You?

This trip is graded level 1, leisurely.
Much of this trip is touring by small bus, with plenty of stops to visit the highlights detailed in the itinerary, and optional walks and activities.
We use a comfortable bus, ruggedly built to Icelandic standards and able to cope with most types of terrain, including fording glacial rivers. Most roads we travel on this trip are tarmac allowing for a reasonably smooth ride.
Accommodation in Iceland is expensive and often very basic. Those well-travelled clients will find the comparison with similarly priced accommodations in mainland Europe to be disappointing. However, we source good quality, competitively-priced guesthouses and hotels on the itinerary.

Adult min age:
16
Min group size:
5
Max group size:
16

Itinerary

Land Only

Start City:
Reykjavik
End City:
Reykjavik

Flight Inclusive

Start City:
London
End City:
London

Land Only Itinerary

  • Day 1

    Start Reykjavik.

    We start in Reykjavik with a briefing at hour hotel at 1830. The evening is free to explore.

  • Day 2

    Drive north to mountainous Snaefellsnes Peninsula, explore the Snaefellsjokull Ice Cap; fishing villages, lava flows and birdlife.

    We drive north to the mountainous Snaefellsnes Peninsula, an enchanting landscape of fishing villages, old lava flows, and abundant birdlife. Snaefellsnes is perhaps best known for the glacier-capped strato-volcano 'Snaefellsjokull' and its literary and mystical associations. Jules Verne in his classic 'Journey to the Centre of the Earth' describes this as the start point for the protagonists' journey. New-age followers consider this area as one of the earth's seven major energy centres. With the volcano as a backdrop we visit the cliffs of nesting seabirds at Arnastapi, before a coastal walk to enjoy the birdlife and dramatic blow holes; we then discover the old cod-fishing community at Dritvik. Time allowing there is the option to enjoy a soak in the warm swimming pool of mineral waters at Lysuholl geothermal area. The waters are said to have healing properties.

    Meals included:
    Breakfast,
    Lunch,
    Dinner
  • Day 3

    Walk to extinct crater of Eldborg, continue to Hvalfjordur fjord and on to visit Thingvellir N.P.; transfer to Laugarvatn

    Today we walk to the extinct volcanic crater of Eldborg that sits 60 metres above the lava field it created. The walk takes approximately 2 hrs, covering 6km and the terrain is not taxing. At 200 metres wide and 50 metres deep it is well worth the effort. We then continue to the Hvalfjord, or 'Whale' fjord, which was an important harbour for US convoys heading to Britain during the Second World War. From here our next stop is the Thingvellir National Park and world heritage site. It was here that the Icelandic Parliament was first established around 930 AD. The rift valley is a striking reminder of the constant movement of the earth's crust as it is on the Mid Atlantic Ridge. The lake here is also the largest natural lake in Iceland, surrounded by cracks and faults that attest to its volcanic birth.

    Our day ends with a transfer to the small settlement of Laugarvatn where we may have time for an optional dip in the naturally heated hot pools and steam baths at Fontana.

    Meals included:
    Breakfast,
    Lunch,
    Dinner
  • Day 4

    Visit waterspouts at Geysir, on to Gullfoss Waterfall; continue to Thorsardalur Valley and on to Gjain canyon; finally see Haifoss Waterfall.

    Geysir provides an explosive start to the day and needs little explanation, having given the word geyser to the world. Waterfalls in Iceland come in many shapes and sizes, and our first is one of the biggest - Gullfoss. These spectacular falls span the width of the Hvita river, falling a total of 32 metres into the crevice below. The Thjorsardalur Valley then welcomes us with its many treasures. The first is a reconstruction of a Viking farmhouse, that was buried by an eruption in 1104. After its excavation in 1939 the reconstruction was built, some 10km from its original location.

    A real gem of the area is the Gjain Canyon, which seems like a small oasis in a black volcanic desert, with lush vegetation, small rivers and waterfalls. As if by contrast we then visit Haifoss Waterfall, the second highest in Iceland at a dizzying 122 metres.
    Standard Hotel

    Meals included:
    Breakfast,
    Lunch,
    Dinner
  • Day 5

    Drive across lunar-like landscape of Fjallabak nature reserve; optional swim in hot pools and walk to hot springs; walk to Ofaerufoss Waterfall; on Mt Oraefajokull.

    Since J R R Tolkein's trilogy famously hit the big screen, visitors to Iceland have often compared the dark forboding scenery of Iceland's interior to Mordor and it's easy to see why. Continuing east we drive across the Fjallabak Nature Reserve for a day of lunar-like landscape and volcanic deserts, stopping at explosive craters and enjoying this unmissable experience. Emerging from the shadows we encounter the surprisingly colourful mountain scenery in Landmannalaugar where the differing colours of rock striations provide a vivie landscape. We take a walk to see the hot springs and can take a dip in a natural hot pool.

    Our day continues with a visit to the Eldja Fissure where we walk to the Ofaerufoss Waterfall. We make a short stop at the Holaskjol hut and continue on foot to a particularly beautiful lava flow and waterfall above the hut. We end the day with a long transfer to our accommodation in the foothills of Mt.Oraefajokull, the highest mountain in Iceland.

    Meals included:
    Breakfast,
    Lunch,
    Dinner
  • Day 6

    To Vatnajokull NP. visit Skaftafell and walk to Svartifoss waterfall; to the Glacial lagoon, optional boat ride on the lagoon.

    Vatnajokull National Park is simply immense, covering over 13 and a half thousand square kilometres. We however limit our exploration to the Skaftafell area, known for its more gentle climate and almost alpine contours. We visit Svartifoss Waterfall, an unusual waterfall even by Icelandic standards as it is produced by water cascading over huge basalt columns. Our focus then switches to the glacial lagoon, where giant chunks of ice float silently in the water. The lagoon is on the edge of the Vatnajokull National Park and situated at the head of the massive Breidamerkurjokull Glacier, one of the largest outlets from the Vatnajokull Ice Cap. Jokulsarlon evolved into a lagoon around 1950 as the glacier retreated from the coast. The banks of the lagoon today show where the glacier’s edge used to be, just 1.5km from the ocean. The river running out of the lagoon is the shortest glacial river in Iceland and the lagoon itself is almost 300m deep, covering an area of 20 square kilometres. Optional boat rides are available here, prices available locally.
    Basic Hotel

    Meals included:
    Breakfast,
    Lunch,
    Dinner
  • Day 7

    Visit Vik; on to basalt columns of Reynisfjara and visit a nesting area for thousands of puffins, plus the rock arch at the southernmost tip of Iceland. Transfer to Reykjavik.

    The town of Vik is the southernmost town in Iceland. After a short visit we continue our journey to Reynisfjara, a dramatic black sand beach surrounded by imposing black basalt columns. Our southerly tack takes us to Dyrholaey, a nesting area for puffins, and home to the iconic 120 metre rock arch that defiantly marks the southernmost tip of the country. Turning west we head for Reykjavik, visiting the mighty waterfalls at Skogafoss and Seljalandsfoss en route.

    Meals included:
    Breakfast,
    Lunch
  • Day 8

    End Reykjavik.

    Should you wish to extend your stay in Reykjavik please ask our sales team. Reykjavik is well worth exploring with a number of monuments of interest including the Hallgrímskirkja Church and the Harpa Concert and Conference Centre. The Old Harbour is a great place to start your exploration, housing some of the oldest buildings in Reykjavik.

    Meals included:
    Breakfast

Accommodation

Guesthouses

This tour is based on a mixture of hotels and simple guesthouses. As with everything in Iceland accommodation is very expensive, so we have tried to choose places with prices that allow us to keep the holiday affordable. Accommodation is in twin rooms, with singles available. Most are en suite however you will be required to share bathrooms on days 3, 5 and 6. While we pre-book all accommodation according to the itinerary, as space is limited we may move to alternative accommodation according to availability.

A limited number of single rooms are available, at a supplement, first come first served basis. These must be booked and paid for in advance, please contact our sales team for details.

Single supplement from 825,50 €

Food & Transport

Eating & Drinking

All breakfasts, 6 lunches and 5 dinners are included. Dinners are not included when in Reykjavik, and lunch is included only on the sightseeing/ travelling days.
Typical Meals
Breakfasts are mainly continental style, lunches are generally picnics and the main meal of the day is usually local fish or lamb specialities, plus European standards such as pasta, chicken etc. Vegetarians and those with special dietary requirements can be catered for, but may get a little less variety in the meals provided. Please advise us of any special requirements at the time of booking.

Transportation

We use a comfortable bus designed to cope with the rigours of the terrain we encounter.Airport transfers are on the Flybus Service.

Weather & Seasonality

When to go

Iceland is on the northern edge of the temperate zone, meaning it has cool summers. Daytime temperatures in the summer months can be anything from 10 to 20degC, though in 2008 they reached 25 and could equally drop close to 0. As we are in a mountain area you must be prepared for some days of poor weather with strong winds and rain, but usually the weather is quite pleasant, though cool. There is constant daylight, but not midnight sun, in May, June and July.

Weather Information

Iceland is on the northern edge of the temperate zone, meaning it has cool summers. Daytime temperatures in the summer months can be anything from 10º to 20ºC, though in 2008 they reached 25ºC and could equally drop close to zero. As we are in a mountaineous area you must be prepared for some days of poor weather with strong winds and rain, but usually the weather is quite pleasant, though cool. There is constant daylight, but not midnight sun, in May, June and July.

Weather Charts

Joining Instructions

Travelling flight inclusive from London: 8 Days

The group flight from London is a daytime flight departing on Day 1 of the itinerary.

Flights from London

We normally use the scheduled services of Icelandair (depending on availability). As flight timings and schedules change regularly we recommend you call one of our specialist sales staff or your agent to confirm up‐to‐date timings. Please note timings may change at a later date and cannot be confirmed untilapproximately two weeks before departure.


Travelling land only: 8 days starting and ending in Reykjavik

Your trip normally starts at our accommodation in Reykjavik in the afternoon of Day 1 of the itinerary. Details of how to reach the start point are provided in the Final Joining Instructions ‐ sent approximately two weeks before departure.

Regional Flights

The Flight Inclusive price is based on a London departure, but we are happy to tailor this to your local or regional airport. Please ask about flights from local or regional airports.

If booking regional flights other than with Exodus, you must allow a minimum connecting time (in addition to the international check-in time) of 1 hour at Gatwick, and 1.5 hours at Heathrow; this is longer than the official minimum, but baggage handling is known to be subject to delays.

Free Transfers

Exodus offers FREE airport arrival and departure transfers on any flight for this trip, for both Land Only and Flight Inclusive clients, so no matter which flight you choose to arrive on you will be met and transferred to your hotel. All those taking advantage of the free airport transfers must provide full flight details for both arrival and departure in advance; unless specified otherwise, the transfer will be to the Exodus start (or pre-tour) hotel; transfers to other hotels in the same city may attract an extra charge; transfers may be shared with other Exodus customers on the same flight, or on a flight with similar arrival times.

Full joining instructions including local emergency numbers will be sent to you as part of our Final Joining Instructions. If you do not receive these at least a week before departure, or require them earlier please contact our office or your travel agent.

Transfers Details

We offer a transfer to meet any international flight arriving into Keflavik Airport. All clients will receive a voucher for a Flybus transfer to the start hotel. Flybus offer coach transfers to meet every flight arriving into Keflavik International airport and make stops at various city hotels including our start hotel. You will receive further details in your Final Joining Instructions.

Location start:
Reykjavik
Location end:
Reykjavik

What to Take

Essential Equipment

Warm jacket; waterproof jacket; warm hat and gloves as well as sun hat
Walking boots
Day sack
Swim wear
Towel
Water bottle

Eye mask (24hr daylight)

If you want to enjoy evening drinks, you are advised to buy it in the duty free shop, on arrival in Iceland.

Internal flights in the destination country are subject to a weight limit of 20kg.

Water Included

Plastic bottles are a big issue in many countries where recycling isn’t yet widely available; they often end up in landfill sites or get burnt, both processes are harmful to the environment and we would like to reduce our impact here. For your trip we have decided to include drinking water in order to reduce the amount of plastic used. This means that safe filtered drinking water will be available throughout which means all you need to do is bring a bottle to re-fill along the way. Please add this to your packing list!

Reading List

Iceland: Rother Walking Guide - Handle/Schiesl ISBN 3763348026.

Maps

The Rough Guide Map Iceland - Rough Guides Ltd, ISBN 1843533103.

Practical Information

Passport

Iceland

All nationalities require a full passport that must be valid beyond the intended length of stay. It is your responsibility to have the correct personal documents and to obtain your own visa, if one is necessary, in accordance with the regulations of the country you are to visit. The information below is primarily for UK passport holders, and other nationalities should check with their travel agent or the relevant embassies. We are not responsible for the actions of local immigration and customs officials, whether at points of entry or otherwise, and any subsequent effects.

Visa

Iceland

No visa required for British passport holders.

Visa regulations can change without notice: please check the current regulations in good time to obtain a visa if one is required.

There are no specific health risks on this trip.

Vaccination

Iceland

There are no specific health risks.

Travel health can often be something people forget about before going away, but a little preparation and knowledge can go a long way to help you stay fit and healthy while abroad.

The above information can change at short notice; as we are not qualified to answer all your questions about travel health we strongly recommend you contact your Medical Professional or a Travel Health Clinic at least 8 weeks prior to departure for up-to-date information.

For additional information please visit: https://travelhealthpro.org.uk/countries

Insurance - are you adequately covered?

It is a condition of joining any of our holidays that you must be fully insured against medical and personal accident risks (to include repatriation costs and air ambulance or helicopter rescue services where appropriate). On arrival in destination for your trip, you will be asked to present details to your leader or local representative of your policy.

If you are resident in the UK we strongly recommend the Exodus travel insurance policy, this is specifically designed to cover all activities on your trip. If arranging your own policy please ensure that you are covered for all activities that are part of the trip, optional activities that you intend to take part in and/or on high altitude itineraries, that you are covered up to the maximum altitude of the trip.

Local Time

Iceland's Timezone:
Atlantic/Reykjavik GMT (GMT +00:00)

Electricity

Iceland's Electricity:

230 Volts. Plug types C & F; establishments often take two round pin plugs.

Money

Iceland's Currency

The national currency of Iceland is the Iceland Krona (ISK), with an exchange rate at the time of publication (June 2017) of approximately 131 to the GBP,  102 to the USD, 78 to the CAD, 115 to the EUR, 78 to the AUD and 74 to the NZD.

ATM Availability

There are ATM's in Reykjavik and in the small settlements such as Vik. Visa and mastercards are widely accepted.

Extra Expenses & Spending Money

We suggest you allow from £30-45 for main meals with a drink, less for lunches and snacks. For small snacks and drink stops en-route allow about £60 in total.

Optional Excursions

Optional trip on the Glacial Lagoon: approx £25

The usual price for swimming pools and thermal baths is about £3 Allow about £15-20 for this and any other optional visits to museums etc that the leader may suggest, or add to the itinerary.

Tipping

Our staff are paid fairly for their work, however should you feel you wish to tip the leader and/or driver this is of course entirely at your discretion. Icelanders do not expect a tip, and as such advice on an amount is not always forthcoming, so as a guide you could consider £2 per day.

Responsible Tourism

At Exodus we believe in the power of Responsible Travel.

Every time we travel, we are part of a global movement that creates jobs, builds more sustainable societies, encourages cultural understanding and safeguards common natural and cultural heritage. To learn more about what Responsible Travel means to Exodus click here… 

Exodus Community

Join the Exodus online community

Don't forget to visit the Community area on our website. You can view the range of Exodus videos and podcasts, read trip write-ups which have featured in the national media and take advantage of some special deals on travel gear and equipment.

In the Community Travel Forum you'll find the Departure Lounge where you can discuss your trip with fellow travellers before you depart. When you get back from your holiday remember to upload your images to the relevant trip page on our website. This helps other people see what our holidays are really like and you'll be entered automatically into our monthly photo competition.

To make full use of the Community you'll need to join My Exodus. It's free, registration is simple and easy, so what are you waiting for?

 

Important Information

On all guided trips

Although our leaders are well trained to deal with different capabilities, if they have any concerns about someone’s ability to safely partake in an activity, or their impact on other people’s enjoyment, we authorise them to take necessary action which, in some circumstances, may involve asking someone to miss that activity.

Although rarely enforced, by booking this trip you agree to section 16 of our Booking Conditions which clearly states that our leaders have the authority to do this. In these circumstances we will ensure anyone sitting out is safely provided for and offered alternative options where possible. Refunds will not be provided for activities missed and customers may be liable for additional costs incurred.

On all trips

In booking this trip you should be confident in your ability to participate in all activities described in these Trip Notes. If you have any doubt about your suitability you should call the Exodus office and ask to speak to one of the experts on this itinerary.

In an emergency, please contact our 24 hour out of hours service on +44 (0) 844 326 7041.

Every time that you travel abroad you should take the time to read the warnings in the essential information in the brochure.

Full joining instructions including local emergency numbers, and details of how to reach the start point, will be sent to you approximately 2 to 3 weeks prior to departure. If you do not receive these at least a week before departure, or require them earlier please contact our office or your travel agent.

The information in these Trip Notes is given in good faith. Where differences exist between the Trip Notes and our current brochure or website, the Trip Notes supersede the brochure and website. All holidays can be subject to unexpected changes; in order to enjoy them you should be prepared to be flexible where necessary. Occasionally, as stated in our brochure, it may not be possible to follow the itinerary as planned. This may be for a variety of reasons - climatic, political, physical or other. In these circumstances we will make the best possible alternative arrangements that maintain the integrity of the original itinerary.

As fuel prices, airport taxes and exchange rates fluctuate, and airlines manage their rates to match demand, it is proving harder than ever to guarantee our Flight Inclusive prices. Although we endeavour to keep our website as accurate as possible, daily fluctuations mean that our Flight Inclusive price may be out of date. For accurate prices we recommend that you contact one of our Travel Experts, or your Travel Agent.

TRAVEL AWARE –STAY SAFE & HEALTHY ABROAD

 

The Foreign & Commonwealth Office and the NHS have up-to-date advice on staying safe and healthy abroad. For more on security, local laws, plus passport and visa information, see https://travelaware.campaign.gov.uk/

Keep informed of current travel health news by visiting https://travelhealthpro.org.uk/

Advice can change so check regularly for updates.

For all latest travel information about your holiday, please visit our Travel Safety Advice page.

How to Book

1. Check availability

Go online to check availability, or contact us by phone or email.

2. Secure your place

You can provisionally hold a place on this trip, usually for between three and seven days.

3. Complete your booking and payment

When you're ready to book, go to www.exodus.co.uk for online booking, book over the phone or you can complete a booking form (available online or on request by calling us). We accept all major credit and debit cards, or you can pay be cheque. Book with confidence: Exodus is fully licensed and bonded as a tour operator. We hold Air Traffic Organisers Licence (ATOL) number 2582 issued and bonded with the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA). We are also bonded to the International Air Transport Association (IATA) and we are members of the Federation of Tour Operators (FTO) and ABTA ‐ The Travel Association. This means you can book your Exodus holiday with confidence, as all monies paid to us for your trip are fully protected.