Huge waterfall sends rushing water down past lush green hillsides, with spray from the water creating a rainbow on the Iceland Adventure.
Aerial view of large tan volcanic crater with milky turquoise water in the center, seen on the Iceland Adventure: Land of Fire & Ice tour.
Group of Iceland Adventure travelers in dayglo green jackets Zodiac cruise among icebergs in calm water during a partly cloudy day.
Travelers trek atop a dirty white & blue glacier on a sunny day during the Iceland Adventure: Land of Fire & Ice tour.
Aerial view of glacier-carved canyon at sunset, with green hillsides, purple mesas and large blue river, seen on the Iceland Adventure tour.
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Polar Regions Arctic Land Tour

Iceland Adventure: Circling the Land of Fire & Ice

Iceland is a small island nation on the edge of the Arctic Circle, but few countries are bigger on natural wonders. Glaciers and geysers, hot springs and waterfalls, basalt pillars and black sand beaches, frigid fjords and fields of lava…Iceland has all these and more, and this 11-day land tour showcases the full array of its arresting contrasts.

Uninhabited until the island was settled by Norse Vikings in the 9th century, Iceland today is one of the most sparsely populated countries in Europe. Its shores are teeming with whales, seals and puffins—scout them out on private boat excursions during this Iceland land tour. Inland, walk atop raw terrain born of fiery volcanoes and sculpted by glaciers. Here, where the North American and Eurasian plates collide, geothermal forces create a dynamic and dramatic landscape—an experience of pure nature at its most powerful.

A main highlight of this Iceland land tour is the medley of transportation along the way: circle Iceland by private mini bus, plane, boat and 4×4 Super Jeep. Another feature is exploring less-visited areas including the far-flung Westfjords (with a private boat cruise in search of whales) and a puffin colony on Vigur Island. Finally, explore Iceland’s volcanic features, including Lake Myvatn and its intriguing lava formations, plus a Super Jeep tour into a volcano to experience the Askja caldera and Viti crater. From fishing villages to glaciers and geothermal features, this rare Iceland land tour truly has it all, in a small group setting of up to 11 travelers!

Read on for details about this trip, or learn more about AdventureSmith’s Arctic tours, or compare this unique Iceland land tour to our Iceland cruises.



Itinerary

Iceland: Circling the Land of Fire & Ice

This rare Iceland land tour operates round-trip from Reykjavik, avoiding the tourist crowds in lieu of sites like the Westfjords and the east coast’s tranquil region of mountains, forests, fjords and fishing villages.

Route map of Iceland Adventure: Circling the Land of Fire & Ice trip, operating round-trip from Reykjavik, with visits to Isafjordur, Akureyri, Myvatn, Modrudalur, Djupivogur, Fjallsarlon, Skaftafell & Vik.
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Day 1
Arrive Reykjavik, Iceland

Arrive at Keflavik International Airport and be met on arrival and transferred to the group hotel in Reykjavik, about a 45-minute drive. This evening, join the expedition leader for a welcome dinner at a local restaurant, with an orientation to all the adventures that lie ahead in this geological wonderland.

Accommodations

Exeter Hotel

Meals

dinner

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Day 2
South Shore: Waterfalls & Vik

Explore Iceland’s south coast en route to Vik, an area known for its volcanic black sand beaches and countless waterfalls. Stop at several waterfalls, including powerful Skogafoss and Seljalandsfoss which both offer the opportunity to walk behind the gushing water. Learn about Iceland’s dynamic geology at the Lava Center, which offers an interactive exhibition about the natural forces that have shaped this dramatic landscape.

Continue to Reynisdrangar Rocks, a trio of columnar basalt sea stacks. Legend holds that they were formed after two trolls were out fishing in a three-masted ship. When the trolls did not return to their cave before sunrise, they and their vessel turned into needles of stone, since trolls cannot tolerate daylight. This is the region affected by the 2010 eruption of the Eyjafjallajokull volcano, and the Lava Show in Vik brings that cataclysm to life with a realistic recreation of a volcanic eruption complete with molten lava.

Accommodations

Hotel Vik i Myrdal

Meals

breakfast, lunch, dinner

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Day 3
Skaftafell: Fjallsarlon Glacier Lagoon & Glacier Walk or Park Hike

The focus today is Skaftafell, a national park now absorbed inside the larger Vatnajokull National Park established in 2008. Known for its rugged landscapes, mountains and glaciers, Skaftafell contains about half of the Vatnajokull Glacier, Europe’s largest ice cap. No roads penetrate the park’s wild recesses, but two options offer a chance to explore a slice of it: Choose between a walk atop a glacier or an easy hike.

Then board a private Zodiac to explore Fjallsarlon Glacier Lagoon, a less-touristed opportunity to get close to giant floating icebergs. The lake is the meltwater from Fjallsarlon Glacier, a tongue of the massive Vatnajokull Glacier, which has calved the huge chunks of blue ice that drift on the surface.

Accommodations

Hotel Smyrlabjorg

Meals

breakfast, lunch, dinner

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Day 4
East Fjords: Modrudalur & Fjalladyrd Farm

Enjoy a day of cultural connections by entering the East Fjords, a little-visited region of forests, farms and picturesque fishing villages. In the town of Djupivogur, admire the Eggs of Merry Bay, one of Iceland’s most unusual sculptures. Created in 2009 by Icelandic artist Sigurdur Gudmundsson, the 34 large-scale egg replicas represent 34 bird species found in the area, each one mounted on a platform along the harbor. Take a scenic walk along the coast near Alftafjordur, then join a local resident for a stroll around a historic fishing town, learning about daily life where traditions and livelihoods center on the sea.

Continue on a remote road over Oxi Pass and through a rare tract of Icelandic forest, then stop for hot drinks and homemade snacks at an organic farm and cafe crafted of sustainably harvested local wood. End up at Fjalladyrd, a hospitable family-run farm, for dinner and a two-night stay. This unique guesthouse enables easy access to Askja volcano for tomorrow’s 4×4 adventure.

Accommodations

Fjalladyrd Guesthouse

Meals

breakfast, lunch, dinner

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Day 5
Modrudalur: Askja Caldera Super Jeep Tour

Set out in Super Jeeps this morning for a thrilling tour towards Askja caldera. These large SUVs have been modified with big tires and extra shock absorption to provide a more comfortable ride over off-road terrain, allowing deeper access into Iceland’s central highlands. Ascend on foot to explore the massive Askja caldera, formed when the volcano erupted in 1875. Lake Askja, which fills part of the depression, is one of the deepest lakes in Iceland at nearly 700 feet.

The caldera contains several overlapping craters with active volcanoes beneath, including Viti, which warms a sulphuric blue-green crater lake. Following a picnic lunch, explore more sights of Iceland’s less-visited Central Highlands, including a look into the foreboding Drekagil (Dragon) Canyon, defined by dark, twisted lava formations. Return to Modrudalur for a second night at Fjalladyrd.

Accommodations

Fjalladyrd Guesthouse

Meals

breakfast, lunch, dinner

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Day 6
Dettifoss, Hverarond & Lake Myvatn

Witness the power of Dettifoss, Europe’s largest waterfall by volume and the most powerful cataract in Iceland. This thundering curtain of water, 330 feet wide and 150 high, is fed by the giant Vatnajokull Glacier. It is common to see rainbows, which make for dramatic photos. Next, explore the Hverarond geothermal area, an otherworldly setting of hissing steam vents, bubbling mud pots, cracked earth and pungent sulphur, then continue to Lake Myvatn.

Formed during a massive eruption 2,300 years ago, the Myvatn region is still a site of geothermal activity, with lava flows coming most recently from the 1984 eruption of Krafla volcano. Numerous lava formations are found in and around the shallow lake, and it’s worth exploring the pseudocraters of Skutustadir on a short hike. These phenomena are formed when lava flows over wet ground, pushing it down and trapping steam. As pressure mounts, steam explosions create these fascinating “false craters.”

One of the premier birdwatching areas in the world, Lake Myvatn’s marshes provide habitat for huge numbers of migratory birds in summer. More than 115 species have been seen at the lake, including 13 species of nesting ducks, and it’s advised to take a walk and see some of them. Also visit Sigurgeirs Bird Museum, displaying specimens of all breeding birds in Iceland. Later today, consider the option to soak in a nearby hot spring.

Accommodations

Fosshotel Myvatn

Meals

breakfast, lunch, dinner

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Day 7
Myvatn, Godafoss & Fly to Isafjordur

This morning, wander among the Dimmuborgir (“dark fortress”) rock formations, an evocative site of volcanic caves and black lava pillars reminiscent of a ruined castle. Driving westward, stop at Godafoss, one of Iceland’s most beautiful waterfalls originating deep in the highlands. Shaped like a crescent, it drops 40 feet over a sheer volcanic cliff. Reaching Akureyri, connect with a late-afternoon flight to Isafjordur via Reykjavik, with scenic views of Iceland’s indented coastline and glacier-carved interior en route. Originally settled in the 9th century, Isafjordur became a trading post for foreign merchants in the 16th century and today is the main town in the remote Westfjords in far-northwest Iceland.

Please note: Depending on flight schedules, some departures will have dinner and overnight in Reykjavik on Day 7, then fly to Isafjordur first thing in the morning on Day 8.

Accommodations

Hotel Isafjordur

Meals

breakfast, lunch, dinner

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Day 8
The Westfjords

The sheer isolation of the Westfjords region has kept it off the traditional tourist circuit. Plan to traverse it in depth over the next 3 days, adjusting our exact itinerary for weather and local conditions. Explore the wild hinterlands on an all-day 4×4 tour, stopping for walks, photos and a picnic lunch. At Onundarfjordur, observe rich birdlife in the marshlands and shallow estuary at the head of the fjord. Continue to the village of Thingeyri and beyond, transitioning to dirt track around the Fjallaskagi Peninsula.

High-clearance vehicles are essential for negotiating this rugged terrain while circumnavigating the highest mountains in the area. Keep an eye out for arctic fox, and look for pieces of petrified trees sticking out of the rocks alongside the narrow road—remnants of a forest that flourished in a much warmer climate thousands of years ago. Stop along the way for a scenic picnic lunch and return to Isafjordur for the evening.

Accommodations

Hotel Isafjordur

Meals

breakfast, lunch, dinner

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Day 9
Vigur Island: Private Whale Watching Excursion

From Isafjordur, reach Vigur Island via a private Zodiac ride, looking out for whales and birdlife along the way. This small outpost is home to thousands of seabirds including puffins, arctic terns, black guillemot and especially eider ducks, the source of precious down from which the island’s sole resident family makes its living, collecting feathers in the spring and summer and cleaning and drying them during the winter. Just a handful of people inhabit the tiny island; join them for lunch in their home. Also consider sending a postcard here from Europe’s smallest post office.

The maritime adventure continues while plying the intricate fjord system, searching for humpback and minke whales. Returning to Isafjordur, enjoy dinner at the Tar House restaurant, renowned for its fish stew and fresh Icelandic seafood. From the hotel, it’s an easy walk back into town later this evening in the lingering light of Iceland’s long summer days.

Accommodations

Hotel Isafjordur

Meals

breakfast, lunch, dinner

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Day 10
Lonafjordur Fjord, Hesteyri, Isafjordur & Fly to Reykjavik

On a morning boat cruise, view the harbor seal colony in Lonafjordur Fjord, then visit the abandoned village of Hesteyri. Nearly a hundred people once lived in this small settlement established in the early 1900s, but the last inhabitants made a collective decision to move away in the 1950s, finding life without roads or electricity ultimately too austere.

Today, their descendants maintain many of the old houses as summer homes, and the group will stop for coffee and pancakes in the Doctor’s house. Also walk to the nearby ruins of a Norwegian whaling station that was abandoned in the early 20th century. Return to Isafjordur to depart on an evening flight to Reykjavik for a final night. A farewell dinner will happen either in Isafjordur or Reykjavik, depending on the timing of the group flight departure.

Accommodations

Exeter Hotel

Meals

breakfast, lunch, dinner

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Day 11
Depart Reykjavik, Iceland

After breakfast, a transfer to Keflavik International Airport is included to meet departing flights.

Accommodations

n/a

Meals

breakfast

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Details
Inclusions, Terms & Notes

Included

Accommodations; services of professional expedition leaders and local guides; all meals from dinner on day 1 through breakfast on the final day; most gratuities; airport transfers for those arriving by air on Day 1 and departing by air on the final day; all activities and entrance fees; all taxes, permits and service fees.

Exclusions

Travel to and from the start and end point of the trip; alcoholic beverages; some gratuities; passport and visa fees (if any); optional activities; items of a personal nature (phone calls, laundry and internet, etc.); airline baggage fees; required medical evacuation insurance; optional travel protection insurance (strongly recommended); insurance of any kind; cost of internal air ($795 in 2021 & 2022), which includes round-trip flights between Reykjavik (Akureyri), Iceland, and Isafjordur, Iceland (to be added to your invoice).

Payment & Cancellation

In order to confirm this trip, a nonrefundable deposit of $500 is required per person at time of booking. The balance of the trip price is due 120 days before the departure date. Special holiday payment and cancellation terms apply. Guests who must cancel their trip for any reason must do so in writing. Standard cancellations are subject to the following per-person penalties, based on number of days prior to departure:
Up to 121 days – 100% of deposit
120 to 61 days – 50% of total trip cost
60 to 0 days – 100% of total trip cost

Terms & Conditions

This trip is subject to AdventureSmith Explorations Terms and Conditions. Please read this information carefully and call us if you have any questions. A Traveler Information Form, which includes a release of liability, must be completed and signed by all travelers. Your Adventure Specialist will send you a unique link to complete this form along with a packing list and extensive pre-departure and travel insurance information upon booking confirmation.

Arrival & Departure

The Iceland Adventure: Circling the Land of Fire & Ice tour begins and ends at the Keflavik International Airport (KEF) in Rekjavik, Iceland. We highly recommend arriving one day prior to your trip start date in case of any flight delay, cancellation or lost luggage issues. Plan flights to arrive to Keflavik no later than 3:30pm on day 1 of the itinerary in order to participate in a mandatory group welcome briefing and dinner beginning at 5:30pm. The transfer from the airport to your hotel near the Reykjavik harbor takes approximately 1 hour. Plan flights to depart Keflavik anytime on the final day.

Internal Flights

Required internal group flights on Day 7 and Day 10 between Reykjavik and Kulusuk are not included in the fare of this trip; estimated group flight rates for 2021 & 2022 are $795 per person, to be confirmed upon booking.

Activities

In order to participate in this trip, you must be able to walk unassisted at a steady pace for a minimum of 2 miles at a time over uneven terrain. The itinerary involves daily walks or hikes of varied lengths over pavement, boardwalks, rough lava, glacial ice and earthen trails that can be muddy, slippery and uneven with roots and rocks (please note that all walks can be more difficult to navigate during inclement weather). Some hikes involve walking up and down hills. The group may also do multiple hikes a day, with total distances exceeding 3 miles. Those who would like to see the Askja Caldera will be required to walk approximately 4 miles round-trip, traversing up and down an incline. The highest elevation reached during the trip will be at the Askja Caldera, situated nearly 5,000 feet above sea level. Several boat trips are also included, and while time is generally spent in more sheltered waters, there can be short periods of rougher water during the excursions. Travelers prone to seasickness should take this into consideration and may wish to take precautions. All travelers must also be able to get into and out of RIB boats, Zodiacs (rigid rubber boats) and other types of boats with minimal assistance. Optional activities include a moderate glacier hike that requires the use of crampons (all specialized equipment is provided for both excursions). The trip involves many very early morning starts and long, full days of activities with little down time. Some drives between locations are long (4-5 hours or longer, depending on local conditions). Please be prepared to spend time outdoors in unpredictable weather, which may include heavy rain and wind—or perfect sunshine.

Room Configuration

Single travelers wishing to book a double-occupancy room may do so at a $1995 supplement (2021 & 2022) in addition to the per-person listed rate in select cabins upon availability. Solo travelers willing to share, please ask your Adventure Specialist about the possibility of matching with a roommate, upon availability; note that 50% of the single supplement may be charged if a roommate cannot be secured.

Families & Children

Due the expedition nature and isolated location of this program, children must be 15 years old at time of departure.

Travel Insurance

Emergency medical evacuation insurance is mandatory for this trip, with a minimum recommended coverage of $250,000 per person. If you decline the operator’s insurance, then you must provide proof of third party insurance. Trip cancellation insurance is optional but highly recommended. Protect your travel investment with insurance. Our partners at Travelex Insurance offer a variety of plans and policies to fit every trip and budget. Coverage for a pre-existing medical condition is also available if you purchase the Travel Select plan within 15 days of the initial trip payment; refer to plan details. Learn more about travel insurance or get a free quote.

Itinerary Notes

Use the itinerary as a guide only. Itineraries may be altered due to weather, wildlife, national park regulation or at the guides’ discretion. The ability to be flexible makes this type of adventure travel unique. 

Reykjavik, Iceland Accommodations

If you plan to make your own hotel reservations in Reykjavik, we strongly recommend that you book any necessary extra hotel nights as soon as possible. Due to Iceland’s rising popularity as a travel destination, hotels are likely to sell out early. The costs of services in Iceland have increased substantially due to extremely high demand and very limited availability.

Tour Accommodations

This Iceland adventure is different from those typically offered by most tour companies. Though there are some major highlights, the itinerary deliberately takes you away from more highly popular tourist spots and into traditional, more remote locales that unveil Iceland’s rich natural history in further detail. Accordingly, accommodations are more authentic in certain less-traveled locations. While comfortable, rooms and beds can often be a bit less spacious than those typically found in North America. However, the slight inconveniences are well worth it, as whatever is forsaken in space and luxury, is more than made up for in setting, surrounded by nature amid Iceland’s most awe-inspiring sights.

Variable Departure Details

(Forthcoming) 2023 rates and dates are tentative and will be allocated to guests on a first-come, first-serve basis. Your Adventure Specialist will confirm details at time of booking.

Rates & Dates

Trip Rates & Dates

Jul 01 - Jul 11, 2022
11 days
From $13995USD
Per Person
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Jul 05 - Jul 15, 2022
11 days
From $13995USD
Per Person
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Jul 09 - Jul 19, 2022
11 days
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From $13995USD
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Jul 14 - Jul 24, 2022
11 days
From $13995USD
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Jul 18 - Jul 28, 2022
11 days
From $13995USD
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Jul 22 - Aug 01, 2022
11 days
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Jul 27 - Aug 06, 2022
11 days
From $13995USD
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Aug 01 - Aug 11, 2022
11 days
From $13995USD
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Aug 05 - Aug 15, 2022
11 days
From $13995USD
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Accommodations

Learn About the Lodges & Hotels on Your Itinerary

Hotel
Exeter Hotel

Standing proudly in Reykjavik's old harbor, the 4-star Exeter Hotel is a restored 1904 building with a contemporary atmosphere and sustainability-minded features.

Hotel
Hotel Vik i Myrdal

Featuring sweeping views of the Mydalur Valley on Iceland's southern coast, the Hotel Vik i Myrdal is a modern and remote property ready to welcome guests for a quiet stay. A mix of concrete, basalt, wood and glass creates a contemporary feel that reflects the natural environment in which this hotel sits.

Hotel
Hotel Smyrlabjorg

Set in the remote countryside of Iceland's southeastern coast, Hotel Smyrlabjorg features vistas of foothills, a glacier, rolling pastureland and the ocean. This family-run country hotel on a working farm in Skalafell offers charm, warm hospitality and an authentic experience.

Lodge
Fjalladyrd Guesthouse

Enjoy "Fjalladyrd," or "mountain beauty," at Fjalladyrd Guesthouse—a working farm at the highest inhabited point in Iceland. Set on the edge of highlands in Iceland's eastern interior, this property celebrates traditional country ways of life.

Hotel
Fosshotel Myvatn

Relax at the modern Fosshotel Myvatn overlooking Iceland's famous Lake Myvatn. Designed by award-winning architects and built in 2017, this hilltop hotel in northeastern Iceland offers incredible views and excellent access to the surrounding volcanic area.

Hotel
Hotel Isafjordur

Centrally located in the main Westfjords town of Isafjordur, this 3-star minimalist hotel is backed by rugged mountains and fronted by views of the bay of Isafjardardjup. Explore northwestern Iceland by day and relax in this simple but peaceful hotel by night.

Deal

Current Deals on This Trip

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Offer expires December 31st, 2021
No Fee If No Roommate Match On 2021 Iceland Adventures

In 2021, solo travelers may request a roommate match and pay no portion of the single supplement fee if a suitable roommate cannot be found, using this deal.

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Extend Your Trip

Additional Travel Options Before or After Your Iceland Trip

In conjunction with this land tour, the East Greenland: Arctic Safari land tour is combinable with most departures (post-tour) for a seamless and comprehensive group travel experience with fellow passengers. Click the trip below for further details and pricing.

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East Greenland: Arctic Safari

Discover Greenland like never before! The luxury safari-style Base Camp Greenland offers an eye-level vantage point of Arctic icebergs, whales and seals in frigid waters. Kayak, hike and meet local Inuits who live in harmony with nature.

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From $12995USD
Jul Aug Sep
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9 Day Cruise
Greenland Adventure Cruise

Immerse in "Arctic Patagonia" on a compact, 9-day exploration of the world’s second-largest ice mass on this Arctic expedition by land, air and sea. The 200-guest Ultramarine provides ultimate comfort and helicopter-assisted adventures along the way.

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15 Day Cruise
Three Arctic Islands: Iceland, Greenland, Spitsbergen

On this award-winning 15-day expedition cruise aboard 128-guest Ocean Adventurer see the coast of Greenland, sail along Iceland and go above the Arctic Circle in Spitsbergen.

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Iceland Adventure: Circling the Land of Fire & Ice

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