The South and interior of Iceland, including a trip to Heimaey (New Itinerary)
Cost £1590 - Sunday September 4th to September 11th 2022
Details and Itinerary
The tour will focus on the natural highlights of this spectacular country, which is often referred to as "the land of water, ice and fire". There will be the chance to see dramatic waterfalls and fast flowing rivers fed by the meltwater from ice-caps. This new itinerary still includes many classic locations in the South, but we have now incorporated a visit to the site of the Fagradalsfjall volcano which has been erupting throughout much of 2021. We also venture into the rugged interior to see the pink & green rhyolite peaks at Landmannalaugar and journey East to take in the Laki lava field, the Skafatfell National Park, and the Jokulsarlon glacial lagoon, alongside the huge Vatnajokull Ice cap. There is also a trip to Heimaey in the Westmann islands to see the volcano and lava flows created by the 1973 eruption.

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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 - Sunday September 4th
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
Pick up charter coach from hotel, we then follow the main road eastwards. Our route will take us past the Eyjafjallajökull ice-cap and volcano. We continue east and then turn inland to visit the Solheimajökull glacier. Following this, we visit Reynisfjara to see columnar jointed basalt, where there are many coastal features. After a lunchtime stop at Vik, 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 the Skaftafell area, dominated by the giant Vatnajökull ice-cap. We check in to the Hotel Skaftafell for an overnight stop.

Day 3
We journey east to Jökulsarlon, a glacial river lagoon, where huge slabs of ice have split from the face of the glacier behind to float around in the glacial pool. It should be possible to take a boat trip around the lagoon to get a closer view (an optional excursion at extra cost). The rest of the morning and early afternoon will be spent walking in the Skaftafell National Park, viewing the Svartifoss waterfall and the Skaftafellsjökull glacier. In late afternoon, we head back westwards and eventually check in to the Hotel Hvollsvöllur in the small town of the same name, our base for the next 4 nights.

Day 4
The day involves a journey into the rugged interior to 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
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 new exhibition about the eruption, including houses buried by it. It also includes a section on the formation of Surtsey, the new island which was created by what started as a submarine eruption in the early 1960s.

Day 6
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 Fagradalsfjall. After spending the morning there, we pass the site of the Helisheiði geothermal power station and head for the geothermal springs in the area of Hvergerði. If time allows, we will take in a visit to the interactive “Iceland Erupts” exhibition at Hvollsvöllur, which gives a good overview of volcanic activity in Iceland.

Day 7
In the morning and early afternoon we take in the classic “Golden Circle”. We first head to Gullfoss, a huge waterfall and gorge below. Following this, we continue on to nearby Geysir where 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. Here, there are a series of deep rifts in the surface, from which basalt lava has poured. 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.

Day 8 - Sunday September 11th
Free time in the morning to explore Reykjavik and its many attractions, or possibly take in an optional excursion to the “Blue Lagoon”. Early afternoon transfer to Keflavik airport for flight back to the UK, arriving at London Heathrow in the evening.

Cost
The cost of the visit, based on half-board will be £1590, 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, one night at Hotel Skaftafell, two nights at Foss Hotel Rauðara ). Accommodation is based on two people sharing twin / double rooms, though alternative arrangements are possible. Five evening meals and all breakfasts are included in the price (no evening meals arranged for the two 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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