Introduction to Iceland Welcome to Iceland, a country unique in many ways. It may be the ultimate nature trip. It has virtually no pollution from industry, and all energy is either geothermal or hydro-electric. The majority of Icelanders live in and around Reyjavik, the capital city, leaving huge areas of the volcanically active island, […]
Introduction to Iceland
Welcome to Iceland, a country unique in many ways. It may be the ultimate nature trip. It has virtually no pollution from industry, and all energy is either geothermal or hydro-electric. The majority of Icelanders live in and around Reyjavik, the capital city, leaving huge areas of the volcanically active island, one of the most recently formed on earth,quite deserted. It has a landscape dominated by steaming lava fields,icecaps, glaciers, hot pools, geysers, waterfalls, birds, and boiling mudpots. It has an elemental rawness that nobody who sees it can easily forget. The abundance of bird life is unexcelled in the northern part of our world, from the ever-present puffins and eider ducks to guillemots and other sea birds.
Two-thirds of the 300,000 inhabitants live in and around Reyjavik. Akureyi, the second largest city, has only 15,000 inhabitants. The landscape is dominated by volcanic rock, moss, and waterfalls. Roads are narrow, with one-lane roads and few guard rails. This island was discovered by the Erik the Red who misnamed it “ICE”land. He went on to discover another island, which he almost apologetically named “GREEN”land. Although it has the largest glaciers in Europe, the climate is somewhat mild with winter temperatures seldom dipping below 10 degrees F. In spite of its location near the Arctic Circle, it is warmed by the Gulf Stream.
Take note of the agriculture you see along the way. There are dairy and cattle industries and you’ll see sheep everywhere, including miles from any farm. Icelandic horses are unique in that they have 5 distinct gaits compared to 3 for other horses.
Most Icelanders speak English well. Their language is Danish of a thousand years ago. Therefore, the only way for foreigners to communicate is in English.
Day 1– We will depart this evening from Minneapolis St Paul airport for our overnight flight to this wonderful land we are about to explore.
Day 2– As we approach Keflavik Airport, we can see the lava fields all around us. Until 1987, this country’s only international airport was actually an American military base. We meet our rental vehicle and begin our drive around the Reykjanes Peninsula.
We will have lunch at Grindavik. We then will continue on around the peninsula to Hveragerdi. This is a town of 1500 people that has made a living from harnessing geothermal activity. Greenhouses provide the bulk of Iceland’s home grown produce, including bananas and tropical fruit. We now will drive up the west coast of Iceland. Our first stop will be at Thingvellir National Park. Besides Iceland’s largest lake we will see the area where a vote was taken around the year 1,000 for Iceland to become Christian. Courts also met here to decide cases important to Iceland. We will overnight in the countryside near Borgarnes and get our first exposure to Icelandic food and its cost. If time permits, we will continue on to the Snaefellsnes Peninsla, where we observe fishing villages and strange rock formations. We also see here a small glacier which was supposedly the beginning place for the book and movie “Journey to the Center of the Earth”. If time permits, we will climb Helgafel l (Holy Mountain). According to the local forklore, those who climb the 240 ft. hill for the first time have 3 wishes come true, provided a few conditions are met. 1.You must not look back or speak on the way down. 2. You must make your wishes facing east. 3. You must not tell anyone what they are. Only benevolent wishes are allowed.
Day 3-We make our way toward the north and east on the ring road to Akureyi, Iceland’s second largest city. Along the way we see the brightly-colored houses of Blonduous. We will have lunch at Varmalid. Located at the base of a fjord, Akureyri is compact enough to explore on foot. Some of the highlights we will see are the shopping mall and Bautinn Restaurant. The church, made of basalt, was constructed in 1940. Although unattractive to some, it is the city’s pride and joy. The stained-glass windows show scenes from Icelandic history and the life of Christ in a style that can only be described as cartoon book. The organ has 3200 pipes. Another highlight is the Botanical Garden, famed for its 2,000 species of local and foreign flowers blooming in Akureyri’s warm microclimate. We will move on and around the fjord to our lodging for the night.
Day 4-We journey east from the fjord toward a number of exciting land formations. We begin with a stop at Godafoss (falls of the gods), one of the most accessible and beautiful of Iceland’s major falls to visit. Legend has it that one of the Low Speakers was forced to decide if Iceland should be pagan or Christian. He spent 24 hours under his cloak before deciding for the Christians. Riding back to his home, he passed a giant waterfall and decided to toss all his carved images into its water. We make another stop today in the city of Husavik with its 2500 inhabitants. We will visit a grocery store, a museum containing a stuffed polar bear that drifted over from Greenland in 1973 and was promptly shot and put in the museum. We also visit the local cross-shaped church that was built to seat 450 people when the population of the town was only 500. We will take a break from driving to go on a whale watch while in this area. We then move on to Lake Myvatn. Its natural beauty and role as a wildlife breeding ground led to its being set aside as a conservation park in 1974. It supports the world’s largest population of breeding ducks. Outside of the Golden Circle, it is Iceland’s number one tourist attraction. As a part of circling the lake we will stop at Dimmuborger (black castle), a vast 2,000-year old field of contorted volcanic pillars. We can view this from a platform and wander about among the haunting arches, caves, and natural tunnels. The area at the end of Lake Myvatn is where the Apollo 11 astronauts trained because the landscape here is more like that of the moon than any other on earth. We continue on to our overnight stay. Our overnight is usual in Iceland with the bathroom “down the hall” and shared with 2 or 3 other rooms. Each room may have a wash basin. Always remember which room you are in if you need to use the restroom overnight!!!
Day 5-Today we have a long drive as we make our way to the east coast. We will visit a few more of the outstanding physical features of Iceland on the way. We stop first at Hverarond and its boiling mud pots, one of the country’s most fascinating and infernal sights. Keep within the marked paths to avoid being boiled alive in one of the dozens of mud pots. A short drive to the north takes us to Dettifoss, Europe’s largest waterfall. The effort needed to reach it only increases the excitement. There is nothing artificial about the area with no viewing balconies or wooden boardwalks. Five hundred square meters of water cascades over its ledges every second. Our direction of choice now is south. We go to the city of Egilsstadir. The first houses in this town of 1500 were built less than 50 years ago and it has a prefabricated feel. A sister settlement lies across the long bridge. At 990 feet this was the longest bridge in Iceland for many years.
Day 6-A side trip takes us to Seydisfjordur where the ferry from mainland Europe docks. In contrast to Egilsstadir it is full of Scandinavian character. It is a stereotyped picture of an Icelandic fishing village. Most of its inhabitants are involved in fishing. We move along the south coast between the sea and Vatnajokull Glacier, the largest glacier in Europe.
Day 7-Our first stop is at Jokulsarlon, a fresh water area connected to the sea. The Arlon is located at the base of the glacier. We get to take a boat among the icebergs that have calved off from the glacier, some of them large enough to take 7 years to melt. Look for a seal or two to pop up. This is location for the scenes from James Bond’s “Die Another Day”.
We will continue on to Vik, a town of 400 people set along a dramatic stretch of coastline. The waves of the Atlantic crash dramatically on a long beach of black sand. The rock formations and waves give this beach a Gothic Appearance. Our look at the variety of the Icelandic landscape continues with a stop at Skogafoss Waterfall, whose sheer fall offers one of Iceland’s best photo opportunities. The next stop is Porsmork where you will be able to do something that you probably have never done before.
Day 8-This morning we will pass by Fludir and continue on to Gullfoss(golden falls). A path takes you along a double waterfall that often displays a rainbow above it from the spray that it creates. We then will see Geysir, which has given its name to all such water spouts around the world. Unfortunately Geysir no longer performs, but Strokkur, a smaller, but more reliable geyser still does perform. We will overnight in Selfoss, the center of Iceland’s dairy industry.
Day 9-As our time winds down, we make our way toward Reykjavik. We will visit the Hallgrimskirkja, the church that dominates the skyline of the city. In the church notice in particular the baptismal font, the organ, and the pews. Outside of the church stands a statue of Leifur Erickson. In the afternoon we will visit a famous flea market selling clothes, books, dried fish, and other odds and ends. Near the flea market is the Hofdi House where Ronald Reagan and Mikhail Gorbachov met in 1986 to discuss global disarmament. We sadly come to our last night in Iceland. Take time to walk downtown, especially to Lake Tjorn with its abundance and variety of waterfowl and perhaps walk the harbor area. Notice also the Icelandic architecture. We will eat our last meal together at one of our favorite restaurants in Iceland. We will be staying in the downtown area making it easy to stroll around the city this evening and in the morning.
Day 10– This morning we will take a late check- out to allow us to check out a few more corners of the city, make that last purchase, or to revisit your favorite sight. The breakfast this morning will be one to remember in the restaurant on the top of the hotel overlooking the harbor. Our last stop will be the Blue Lagoon. It is not a natural phenomenon, but a product of geothermal energy usage. The salt in the water is supposedly good for skin. And then home we go!!
More for Le$$ Tours Value
with everything included below. Make WISE comparisons with similar tour offers. We have included more than other companies at a lower cost.
Included: Roundtrip airfare to Reykjavik, Iceland
9 nights at personally selected guesthouses
Transportation for entire tour
All admissions and tour fees
Personal tour guide to accompany you from start to finish
More for Le$$ Tours Sights and Activities
We offer more activities and sights on our trips than any other company at no additional cost (no optional side trips).
Thingvellir National Park
Snaefellsnes Peninsula and glacier
Akureyri Botanical Garden
Dimmuborger National Park
Apollo 11 Training Site
Whale watching trip
Hverarond National Park
Seydisfjordur ferry stop
Jokulsarlon Glacier Cruise
Black sand beach
Skogafoss Reykjanes Peninsula
Reykjavik Flea Market
The cost of the tour is $3650 based on current estimates (depending on airfare increases and fuel surcharges instituted by airlines and created by currency exchange rates). This cost will only be increased if these two costs increase significantly in the interim since printing.
More for Le$$ Tours Terms and Conditions
To maintain our lower level of overhead, please read and agree
to the following conditions for our tours. Our goal is to provide
you with more sights, better accommodations, and the best tour
available at less cost to you.
Prices shown are per person, double occupancy, stated in
US Dollars. Single supplements are specified.
Deposits of $1000 per person are due upon reservation.
Please send check to address on payment page or pay by credit
card. Payments made by credit card will be charged 2%
convenience fee to cover our cost for that.
Additional payment of $1000 per person will be due
February 1, 2023 and Final payment will be due on
May 1, 2023.
Deposit and payments indicate that you have read and
consent to the provisions contained within this terms and
Cancellation in writing prior to May 1, 20123, will
receive payment refund less non-refundable portion of
deposit of $500. From May 1 to June 1, 2023, initial deposit
will be withheld unless replacement is found. After June 1,
entire cost will be non-refundable.
Air fares will become an additional portion of non-refundable
funds once they have been purchased.
If the minimum required number of participants is not met for
any given tour, all money will be refunded to all registered participants.
We strongly recommend that you purchase travel insurance with
cancellation coverage to protect yourself in case you need to cancel. We recommend Travel Guard Insurance, as they have competitive rates. Since I am a registered insurance agent, I would be able to assist you with that purchase if desired.
The tour does not include:
* Luggage fees on flights
*Personal expenditures, such as room service, tour manager, or
Additional days may be added at registration time. If there are
special medical or dietary requests, please inform us of the specifics at the time of registration to allow us time to try to accommodate for these requests.
We operate with a no smoking policy on the tour bus and
at the sites for the comfort of everyone on the tour.
Neither we nor any other vendor or person connected with
this tour shall be liable to the participant directly or indirectly
for any accident, damage, delay, or injury caused to the
participant, including, but not limited to, acts of war,
malfunctions of equipment, strikes, theft, weather,
quarantines, or change of itinerary. If additional costs are
incurred due to any unforeseen reason, such as hotels, meals,
and transportation, these costs will be the participant’s responsibility.
Send payment to: More for Le$$ Tours
44147 460th Ave
Perham, MN 56573
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