We were delighted, excited and have promoted captain's choice to our family and friends since returning home.
P & L Fuller, South America by Privately Chartered Qantas 747
We are leaving an Australian winter for an Icelandic summer, where the temperature is nearly identical to home due to its northerly latitude. The sun sets for just three hours at night, and even then, it is merely twilight. We will not see a fully dark night sky throughout our journey.
This morning, explore Reykjavík accompanied by local experts. Take in the sights and steel your tastebuds for some traditional Icelandic food. We will probably not choose to eat dried fish and fermented shark on a daily basis, but nevertheless, this is an unusual experience we will surely tell stories about. Our tour takes in the new Harpa Concert house and the Hallgrímskirkja.
This afternoon, we explore a rarely seen side of Reyjkavík. We travel to a stunningly rural private island and meet the owner, who lives a sustainable lifestyle to envy. All electricity is generated by a windmill. He grows his own herbs and vegetables, and eats mainly what he can catch, in this case, wild salmon. We check the nets and help him pull in the catch, some of which he immediately turns into sashimi, possibly the freshest we will ever taste. In the evening, a bonfire is lit and the grill prepared for a delectable three-course meal made from the fish we caught earlier and his island-grown produce. We sit companionably around the fire, sharing stories till late.
Today, explore Iceland on one of these Your World experiences.
Dinner is held at Gallery Restaurant in Hotel Holt, one of Iceland’s top restaurants, which also houses the country’s largest private collection of art.
There are two further Your World experiences to choose from today. Both have been specially created to further enhance your appreciation of Iceland’s unique environment.
We depart Reykjavík for Hella, our home for the next two nights. Situated on the shores of the river Ytri-Rangá, Hella is close to the volcano Hekla. We visit Thingvellir National Park, where faults and fissures in the area highlight the movement of the tectonic plates that lie underneath. A short distance away is the Gulfoss waterfall, where water from the Hvitá River plunges in a two-tiered cascade. Inch your way across a narrow path for a surreal view of the river seemingly vanishing into the earth. The Geysir geothermal spring is also close by, with pools of boiling mud and exploding geysers. Every stop today is guaranteed to raise your heartbeat.
Our accommodation for two nights is the Hotel Rangá. We dine at the hotel’s restaurant which offers traditional Icelandic fare such as reindeer and smoked puffin.
While Iceland is exposed to severe weather, today’s destination escapes it. The Thórsmörk valley is surrounded by a ring of glaciers and mountains, shielding it from harsh weather conditions. Melting water from the glaciers creates constant rushing torrents on the valley floor. We have the opportunity to drive a modified 4WD Super Jeep through the stark landscape, escorted by a guide. The location is a favourite of Icelandic hikers and, if you would rather travel on two feet than four wheels, enjoy a hike into the rugged surrounds.
Today, at Vik, we experience a unique perspective of an awe-inspiring waterfall by hiking behind the curtain of water. Besides astounding waterfalls, the beautiful south shore of Iceland is home to glaciers and the infamous Eyjafallajokull volcano, whose eruption in 2010 led to flight cancellations all over Europe. We visit the Seljalandsfoss waterfall, where we are able to peer out from behind the curtain, then move on to the thundering Skogafoss waterfall, where water plummets 100 feet into the valley below. From thundering bodies of water, we head to a frozen one. At the Solheimajokull glacier, we go on a moderate hike across the ice, marvelling at its ridges, crevasses and water cauldrons.
Tonight we stay and dine at Icelandair Hotel Vik.
Surrounded by sand and glaciers, the Skaftafell National Park is a surprising oasis of greenery. The landscape has been shaped by its glaciers and the volcanic eruptions of the nearby Oraefajokull. This meeting between fire and ice has resulted in a unique natural beauty. We also visit Jokulsarlon, a magnificent glacial lagoon. A private boat ride sees us passing 1,000-year-old icebergs. While it is a serene sight, the icebergs have been known to crack on occasion and the sound that results has been described as the striking of Thor’s hammer. The Hotel Höfn welcomes us for one night.
This morning, we take a scenic drive to M´yvatn, stopping halfway at the rustic Vallanes Farm, where we are served brunch made wholly from organic ingredients grown on the property. On arrival, we are struck by the tranquil scenery, so at odds with the violent geothermal forces that collided to create the place. We visit the underground river at the Grjótagjá rift, Mt Námafjall, the Krafla volcano and the crater lake created in 1724 during the eruption of Myvatnseldar.
The geological discovery continues at Dimmuborgir, where craggy lava pillars and formations dominate the eerie landscape. The Icelandic people once called it the catacombs of hell, a supernatural place where the line between this world and other supernatural ones blurred. This evening, the Hotel Laxá welcomes us for one night.
Arriving in Deplar we first visit Hjalteyri, a tiny fishing village with just 43 inhabitants. A traditional Icelandic oak boat then takes us offshore to see the largest animals in the ocean. Iceland is home to over 20 different species of whale, ranging from the giant blue whale to the smaller minke whale. Tonight, the Sigló Hotel welcomes us. The hotel is directly on the water at the fisherman’s marina, with wonderful views of the fjord and nearby mountains.
We leave Siglufjordur and arrive at Husafell where we check into the Hotel Húsafell, a low-slung collection of lodges that blends into and showcases the striking landscape outside. Spend the morning at your lesiure before lunch at Brimslod Atelier Guesthouse. An Icelandic culinary adventure workshop in the afternoon shows us how to source and prepare wild food.
We continue our experience of living off the land by going trout fishing in a nearby lake. The day culminates with a three-course feast made using the ingredients we have foraged and caught earlier. Nothing can be more rewarding.
Today we visit Iceland’s second largest glacier, Langjokull. Known as ‘the long glacier’, it is so big that inside is an equally spectacular manmade cave, containing an ice chapel and a bar. The afternoon sees us continue our subterranean adventures. Víðgelmir Cave is the largest in Iceland, and also one of the biggest lava caves in the world. It has been closed to the public since 1993 when priceless relics from Viking-era Iceland were found inside. However, we have the exclusive advantage of a private guided tour to explore it.
We stay and dine in the Hotel Borg. Built in 1930 and restored to its original art deco style in 2008, this four-star hotel is one of the region’s finest.
There are two Your World experiences on offer today.
We drive to Landeyjahofn and take a ferry to the island of Heimaey. In 1973 a large volcanic eruption saw almost a third of the town buried under lava while the rest was covered in ash and pumice. It has since recovered and is now one of Iceland’s most successful fishing ports. From here, we embark on an expedition to explore its surrounding islands by RIB boat. See new land formed during the eruption, spy on thousands of puffins at Stakkabót, sail into soaring sea caves and examine the treasures left behind by audacious Turkish pirates who once captured Icelanders and sold them to slavery in North Africa.
Today is our last day in this wonderland and our tour ends in a most befitting fashion. We are taken to a secret cave for a three-course farewell dinner.
Our Iceland adventure draws to a close. A private car takes us from our hotel in Reykjavík to Keflavik International Airport. The plane is the perfect place to reminisce on the adventures of the past 17 days. Sort through your photos of glaciers, volcanoes, caves, whales and breathtaking scenery. Thanks for joining us, we hope to see you again soon.
Sometimes travelling can be a chore, distracting you from the fascinating places you are in. That’s why everything mundane has been moved behind the scenes. You will never have to carry a map, luggage, small change for tips or bargain for a taxi fare.
There are no hidden costs. Everything is included – flights and other travel arrangements, luxurious accommodation, travel insurance, all dining and drinks, and even sightseeing trips. Even the Your World experiences within your itinerary and internet access when available.
Welcome to your homes away from home. Each one has a certain something that sets it apart from every other residence at its location. Whether for its history, cultural significance or natural setting, we’ve selected only the very best.
Scheduled to open in mid-2017, this hotel will be the newest, most luxurious addition to the Blue Lagoon region. In a unique feat of architecture and a glorious celebration of the landscape, the structure will be built directly into a moss-covered lava flow dating to 1226. We occupy the exclusive Superior Twin Moss Rooms.
Light-filled and high-ceilinged, the Hotel Vik is a triumph of modern design, outside and in. Earth tones and light colours create a coolly elegant air. The best views are from its Restaurant Berg, which features panoramic views of Reynisdrangar Pillars and the village.
Hotel Borg’s founder was an Olympian in the 1908 games. After travelling the world, he returned to Reykjavik and opened the Art Deco hotel in 1930. It immediately became a Reykjavík sensation and continues to maintain its place in the city’s consciousness today.
Fares include Emirates flights from Sydney, Melbourne or Brisbane.. Per Person, Twin Share. Prices from other cities available on request.
Solo availability at the above price is limited.
Land Only Guests join in Reykjavík for dinner on Day 2 and conclude in Reykjavík after breakfast on Day 16.
Private journeys can be arranged and customised for a travelling party of 8 guests or more. Please contact us for details. This bespoke service is limited to select itineraries.