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Our trip begins at our Reykjavik hotel in the early evening. For those not arriving with the group reception will have details of time of the welcome briefing.
Our tour begins at our hotel in Reykjavik in the early evening. Iceland’s compact capital city is well worth exploring, and we strongly recommend a couple of extra days before or after your tour. Two of the most striking attractions are the Hallgrímskirkja Church; a fine example of expansionist architecture and the beautiful Harpa Concert Hall. The nearby old harbour is a great starting point to explore the narrow streets of the old town.
Drive along the south coast stopping at Seljalandsfoss and Skogafoss waterfalls and Reynisfjara volcanic beach; evening Northern Lights excursion (available on two nights).
Today we leave Reykjavik driving east along the beautiful southern highway. Our first stop is Seljalandsfoss, a 60m high waterfall, offering visitors the unique experience of being able walk behind the cascade. We continue on though barren yet beautiful countryside to an area badly affected by the 2010 eruption of the Eyjafjallajökull volcano. We have short stop here to see the visitor centre and watch a film featuring fantastic footage of the eruption and its aftermath and how local farmers and their families coped. We continue on along the coast visiting the 60m high Skógafoss waterfall, the nearby Skóga Museum, here we’ll learn how Icelanders of centuries past survived in this harsh environment. After lunch our next stop is the black volcanic beach at Reynisfjara, with its salt caves and towering columnar basalts. The final part of our journey takes us across the black expanse of the Myrdalssandur floodplains, created by river which formed after the eruption of a volcano under the Mýrdalsjökull Glacier. Our hotel for the night is the Laki, located just outside the small village of Kirkjubaejarklaustur.
Drive across Skeidararsandur floodplains to Skaftafell for stop and visit; on to Svinafellsjokull outlet glacier for easy glacier walk. Drive to Jokulsarlon Glacial Lagoon.
We set out today across the massive Skeidararsandur floodplains, created in a similar fashion to those at Mydalssandur. These floods however only occurred in 1996, and there is still little vegetation. Our first stop is the visitor centre at Skaftafell, part of the Vatnajkull NP, which covers about 10% of Iceland. From here we head to Svinafellsjokull, an outlet of the glacier where we go for a short walk. We will be using crampons and ice axes however the terrain is not challenging and even those with no similar experience should pick it up quickly. The glacier offers some fantastic photo opportunities, with its walls of brilliant blue ice, thousands of years in the making. We travel onwards to the beautiful Jokulsarlon Glacier Lagoon, here you really will feel like you’re in another world. This unique lagoon was created in the 1950’s as the glacier retreated from the coastline, leave a 300m deep, 20sq km lake littered with icebergs. On the beach you will find large chunks of ice washed up on the black volcanic sound. It really is quite hard to explain just how ‘other worldly’ this small corner of Iceland is. The drive back to the hotel is approximately 90 minutes (125km), plenty of time to reflect on the days adventures.
Drive along the south coast passing Eyjafjallajokull Volcano; visit Gullfoss Waterfall, spouts at Geysir and World Heritage Site of Thingvellir N.P.; on to Reykjavik.
We make our back along the south coast, travelling inland from Selfoss. Our first stop is the mighty Gulfoss Waterfall; one of Europe’s most powerful. Hundreds of cubic tonnes of water a second pass over the edge of the falls into the canyon below. We also visit Geysir, home to the inimitable hot spouts. The most reliable eruption comes from Strokkur and occurs every 5-10 minutes, firing jets of hot water and steam 30 metres into the air, a spectacle not to be missed. Our final stop before returning to Reykjavik is Thingvellir National Park, where the world’s first democratic parliament sat in 930AD; It was not until 1798 that it moved to the capital. Thingvellir is also the site of the rift valley marking the Mid Atlantic Ridge, where the North American and Eurasian tectonic plates are pulling part, causing an area of around 7km to literally sink into the earth.
Morning visit to Leidarendi lava tube cave and the Blue Lagoon; end Reykjavik.
We visit the Leidarendi lava tube cave. The cave is a great example of lava tubes with many fascinating lava formations. The flow of the lava can be easily seen in many places inside the cave and lava formations such as small stalagmites and stalactites are around. The cave is easily navigated and in winter the cave is often filled with glistening icicles of all shapes and sizes, creating an amazing world of ice. After caving we head for the Blue Lagoon and soak in the thermal baths before our flight back.