Iceland - "Land of Fire and Ice"
No tour in 2017.
Our Grand Tour of Iceland encompasses much of the island, including the far North and the Eastern Fjords.
Travelling in a comfortable 15 seat 'Super Big Foot' with a trailer for our luggage and a fully equipped kitchen on board for our lunch stops!
Our experienced local driver/guide has all the skills required to safely transport us on this wonderful expedition around the island.
Joining us again will be our famous Italian guide Luca Panaro, who many of you will know from our walking tours in Italy. Luca has conducted several circumnavigations of Iceland over the last couple of years and, together with our local driver/guide, he will facilitate your explorations. Like Martin, he is also a geologist - which in this particular part of the earth is an added bonus!
Everything about this trip is an amazing adventure; we will visit the most magnificent wonders that this incredibly beautiful and extreme island has to offer.
A full itinerary is available, so please contact us for your copy of our pdf brochure. In the meantime here is a quick summary of the tour:
The Snofellsnes Peninsular and a walk on the top of Snofellsjökull Glacier: This dramatic glacier lies atop of one of Iceland's most famous extinct volcano's, as described by Jules Verne in his epic 1864 science fiction novel 'Journey to the Centre of the Earth'
We then head inland to the volcanic plains and Hraunfossar, a lava field that flowed from an eruption of one of the volcanoes lying under the Langjökull glacier. Huge waterfalls pouring into the Hvítá River and the lava-tube cave of Víðgelmir.
We journey onwards to Thingvellir National Park to get a good look at the magnificent rift valley. The continental drift between the North American and Eurasian Plates can be clearly seen in the faults that traverse the region - the largest one, Almannagjá, being a veritable canyon.
On to Haukadalur to see the geyser 'Geysir' and other little hot springs, mud pots and fumaroles nearby. We will conclude this day with a visit to the Gullfoss Waterfall - considered the most spectacular in the whole of Iceland.
Across the central lands and on to the largest cold desert in Europe; a beautiful wilderness on a high plateau.
To Hveravellir and a fantastic hike through a bubbling and churning geothermal area and a very special refreshing dip in the hot spring.
On to the outstandingly awesome Goðafoss Falls, one of the most spectacular waterfalls in Iceland. The water of the river Skjálfandafljót falls from a height of 12 meters over a width of 30 meters. Stunning!
We go on to Dimmuborgir, a large area of unusually shaped lava fields composed of various volcanic caves and rock formations, reminiscent of an ancient collapsed citadel (hence the name). These dramatic structures are one of Iceland's most amazing natural phenomenon's.
On to the panoramic ridge of Hverfjall crater - a tephra cone or tuff ring volcano - looking over the volcanic landscape of Vikurnes, with pools of boiling water which testify to very recent volcanic activity.
Bjarnarflagsstod Thermal Springs - a geothermal area with boiling mud pools and steaming fumaroles. Onto the nearby Krafla volcanic area with incredibly active lava fields - this site hosts the most recent eruptions in Iceland.
Our next stop is Dettifoss, Europe's most powerful waterfall, 44m high and 100m wide. With torrents of booming water, mud and sand pouring into Iceland's most impressive canyon.
On to view Ásbyrgi canyon, a horseshoe-shaped depression which is part of the Vatnajökull National Park.
The stunning lunar landscape of the Highlands and the Ódáðahraun Desert. The desert is a large lava field originating from eruptions of Trölladyngja. Past the dramatic Herðubreið Volcano which was formed beneath the ice sheet during the last glacial period. Here we will see sand dunes and basalt canyons; we will cross great River Jokulsa to the base of the Askja caldera.
Our super Jeep crosses the Jokulsa for the second time and we leave the centre of Iceland for the coast and the great fjords of the east. Past rivers, lakes, walls of basalt, dark sand dunes and deposits of pumice. Pioneer plants surround us as we travel in comfort and warmth, stopping several times to take in the beauty of our surroundings, and to walk in solitude.
Travelling along the beautiful coastline to the unique Vatnajökull National Park. Here we will see the tongue of the Breiðamerkurjökull glacier dip into the Jökulsárlón glacial lake. We will gaze at the beautiful icebergs floating gracefully, reflecting the serene colours of their surroundings. The bird life is particularly active here and there will be plenty of opportunities to watch seals play and swim together.
Svartifoss (Black Fall), dark lava columns and a remarkable waterfall - the basalt columns have provided inspiration for Icelandic architects, most visibly in the Hallgrímskirkja church in Reykjavík.
We move on to the green and beautiful Fjaðrárgljúfur canyon, created by progressive erosion from glaciers and the Fjaðrá River flowing through it over many millennia.
Torfajökul, an active volcanic system, is in a declining fumarolic stage. The hot pools at Landmannalaugar are one of many manifestations of geothermal activity in the area, which have altered the minerals in the rocks, causing beautiful colour variations, from red and yellow - to blue and green.
The Laugavegur Hiking Trail is Iceland's most famous trail and truly one of the world's most beautiful treks. We will hike part of it and we will see a variety of different landscapes with beautiful scenery of pristine nature; volcanic mountains, lava fields, glaciers, natural hot springs, black arctic deserts and lush forested valleys, ice caves, flat lava, streams, hills of colourful rhyolite and obsidian deserts together with stunning borders of fluorescent moss - a unique day trek!
Hekla – one of Iceland's most active volcanoes. With over 20 eruptions since 874 AD. Any of you who have walked with Martin in Cornwall will know about what Hekla once did (3,100 years ago) to our climate in the northern hemisphere!
The landscape around us is once again fire and ice, sweet and violent, strong and delicate, it is a territory full to the brim with the natural world, as it exists without human beings or civilization - a paradox!
On to the amazing black beach of Reynishverfi with the famous 68m high basalt columns, this natural arch rises out of the icy steel coloured Atlantic Ocean. The cliffs are a favourite nesting place for Puffins and we are guaranteed to see them nesting and fishing.
The finale for this day is the jaw dropping beauty of the Seljalandsfoss waterfall - with an outstanding path at the foot of the 60m high cliffs that takes you behind the falls.
We have saved the best until last! The Westman Islands are one of the best-kept secrets in Iceland. Surrounded by mountains, islands and volcanoes, they are brimming with charm and natural beauty.
A 50 minute ferry ride takes us to Heimay, the largest of the islands, where we will encounter numerous colonies of birds; Puffins, Guillemots, Gulls and Sterne, to name a few. We will walk to the summit of its major volcano for a view that is breath taking. This is a young geological paradise!
Breakfast, lunch and evening meals are provided on the tour.
On full hiking days, we will walk between 3-4 hours per day. There will be some days spent mostly driving, but always through amazing landscapes, stopping for shorter walks to waterfalls, volcanoes and geysers, etc. With so much to look at, this pace suits most people, giving you a chance to be alone with nature from time to time.
Together with Luca, we will reveal the hidden wildlife and explain the basics of many concepts for you (often geological of course) in an interesting and light-hearted way, so that Iceland's history, coasts, landforms, and wildlife really come alive.
The overnight accommodations are relatively basic. However; all are of good quality and hygienic, typical of the Nordic countries. It is only possible to make such a journey in this way...
The types of accommodation are: Cottage, Private Hostel, Hotel and Shelters/refuges. The rooms are usually at the sole disposal of our group and host a minimum of 2 and maximum of 4 beds per room except for shelters, which have 6+ beds per room. The rooms all have beds, mattresses, pillows and occasionally blankets. You will need to bring your own light weight sleeping bag, which you will use in all of the accommodations. This is common practice on such a tour in remote areas.
Our meals are a fabulous social highlight of the trip and we bring you local gastronomy prepared by an Italian - what could be better? We have an equipped kitchen in tow behind the Jeep, allowing us the freedom to stop for lunch anywhere.
Breakfast and evening meals are always served hot. The portions are plentiful and the produce is varied, with a menu that includes a first course - risottos, soups, pasta, cream; a second course - lamb, pork, beef or fish such as salmon, cod, trout, or assorted cheeses, hot and cold vegetables; various fruits and sweets with tea to finish.
Please feel free to contact us for further information on this or any of our other holidays around the world.
2018 is most likely the next tour.
Please contact us for a fully illustrated pdf brochure.
All participants of our International holidays will be requested to sign a Liability Release Form upon arrival at the destination.