The South and interior of Iceland, including a trip to Heimaey (New Itinerary)
Cost £1945 - August 27th to September 3rd 2024
Details and Itinerary
This new itinerary still incorporates many classic locations in the South, but we have now included a whole day on the Reyjanes peninsular, with a visit to the site of the Fagradalsfjall volcano which has erupted in each of the past three years, and a chance to spend time at the Blue Lagoon, Iceland most famous visitor attraction. We also venture into the rugged interior to see the pink & green rhyolite peaks at Landmannalaugar and journey east to take in the Solheimajökull glacier, the huge Laki lava field and the dramatic Skogarfoss waterfall. There are also trips to Heimaey in the Westmann islands to see the volcano and lava flows created by the 1973 eruption and a circuit of the classic “Golden Circle” sites.

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Iceland The South Volcanic Tours
The Icelandic geyser Strokkur
“Blue lagoon” open air bathing spa
Columnar jointing in basalt lava on the south coast at Reynisfjara, near Vik
A dyke of basalt exposed in the clifftop at Dyrholaey
The spectacular arch of basalt rock at Dyrholaey, near Vik
One of the many seals at Jokulsarlon
View from inside a lava tube on Heimaey island, part of the 1973 flow.
The Jokulsarlon glacier lagoon with the huge Vatnajokull ice cap behind
The Skogarfoss waterfall bathed in sunlight
The Eyjafjallajökull volcano in eruption in 2010

Planned itinerary

Day 1 - Tuesday August 27th
Leave London Heathrow airport on early afternoon flight to Keflavik. Transfer to Fosshotel Rauðara, in the capital, for an overnight stay. Free time in the evening to explore Reyjavik. (For those who would prefer it, an alternative flight from Glasgow or Manchester could possibly be arranged).

Day 2
Most of the day will be spent in the þjorsardalur valley, passing close to Hekla ~ one of Iceland’s most active volcanoes. We should see the waterfall at Hjalparfoss, the remains of an old Viking settlement at Stong, buried by an eruption from Hekla in the 12th Century and only rediscovered in the 20th Century, and a variety of unusual features in the basalt flow further up the valley at Gjain. After this, we reach Haifoss, the waterfall with the highest vertical fall in Iceland. There may be time to call in at the “Secret Lagoon”, near Fluðir in an open-air pool to take a relaxing soak in a pool filled with natural hot water coming from the surrounding hot springs (at extra cost). Following this, we head to the Hotel Hvollsvöllur, our base for the following four nights.

Day 3
Short ferry-crossing to the island of Heimaey, the largest of the Westmann islands. The day will be spent there climbing Eldfell and viewing sites associated with the eruption of 1973, including a lava tube. The eruption caused the evacuation of the island and threatened to overwhelm Heimaey’s town and harbour. There will be time to visit the museum / exhibition about the eruption, including houses buried by it.

Day 4
The day involves a journey into the wild rugged interior, on highland roads only open for a few months in summer. Our destination is Landmannalagaur to view the famous red and green rhyolite peaks there, recent lava flows, steam-vents and hot springs. There should be the opportunity to bathe in the natural hot springs if desired. On the way, we stop to examine lava flows and ash deposits on the lower slopes of Hekla and a crater lake at Ljötipollur.

Day 5 - Saturday
We follow the main road eastwards, passing the Eyjafjallajökull ice-cap and volcano. We continue east before turning inland to visit the Solheimajökull glacier, which feeds from the Myrdalsjökull ice-cap. Following this, we visit Reynisfjara to see columnar jointed basalt, where there are many coastal features. After a lunchtime stop there, we pass over the huge Laki lava field, whose eruption in 1783 caused air pollution across the whole of northern Europe and wiped out a quarter of Iceland’s population. Eventually, we reach Kirkjubaejarklaustur, offering distant views of the huge Vatnajökull ice-cap. Our return journey includes a stop at the spectacular Skogarfoss waterfall.

Day 6 - Sunday
Our first stop will be at the interactive “Iceland Erupts” exhibition at Hvollsvöllur, which gives a good overview of volcanic activity in Iceland. We then head off to take in the classic “Golden Circle”. We first visit Gullfoss, a huge waterfall and gorge below. Following this, we continue on to nearby Geysir. There are many hot springs here, but the main attraction is the geyser called Strokkur, which produces a spout of boiling water up to 30m. high every few minutes. We then head for the Þingvellir National Park. This area lies on the Mid-Atlantic ridge and forms the boundary between the Eurasian and North American Plate. The spot also marks the site of the “Althing”, the original parliament of Iceland and the world’s oldest. After this, we proceed to Reykjavik, arriving late-afternoon, returning to the Fosshotel Rauðara, for two more nights based in the capital.

Day 7 - Monday
We start with a trip westwards to the Reykjanes peninsula, taking the south coastal route to the site of the eruption which has been taking place since early 2021 at Fagradalsfjall. After spending the morning there, we visit other sites on the Reykjanes peninsular, including a call at the famous “Blue Lagoon”, possibly Iceland’s most famous visitor attraction, where there should be the opportunity to bathe for those who wish to (at extra cost).

Day 8 - Tuesday September 3rd
Free time in the morning to explore Reykjavik and its many attractions. Early afternoon transfer to Keflavik airport for flight back to the UK, arriving at London Heathrow in the evening.

The cost of the visit, based on half-board will be £1945, assuming all places on the trip are filled. This includes flights by Icelandair from the UK to Keflavik and return (and airport taxes), local transfers to and from Heimaey, bus transfers and coach-charter on the advertised itinerary. Included in the cost is accommodation at the locations listed (four nights at Hotel Hvollsvöllur and three nights at Foss Hotel Rauðara ). Accommodation is based on two people sharing twin / double rooms, though alternative arrangements are possible. Four evening meals and all breakfasts are included in the price (no evening meals arranged for the three nights in Reykjavik). We will aim to stop at localities where lunch can be purchased. NB. All those taking part in the tour are expected to arrange their own holiday insurance, which can be obtained from any travel agent or insurance broker.

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