Experience an enchanting land of geological extremes on a circumnavigation of Iceland. Encounter vast volcanic landscapes and the world’s youngest island, walk on lava fields and ice sheets, and feel the spray of gushing hot springs and cascading waterfalls. Go birding on the Arctic Circle, kayak into fjords and serene bays, and hike along magnificent and remote stretches of the coast. Cap off the adventure with a soak in the famous Blue Lagoon.
Traveling aboard the National Geographic Explorer gives us unparalleled access to Cieland's most remote landscapes, including offshore islands near the Arctic Circle.
Capture images of gushing geysers, cascading waterfalls, and sea birds in flight, shooting alongside a National Geographic photographer.
Actively explore Iceland's geology by Zodiac or kayak and cruise the Jökulsárlón ice lagoon by small boat.
Learn from a team of naturalist while exploring geothermally active Mývatn, and take in the beauty of Goðafoss waterfall.
Itinerary - 11 Days
Days 1 & 2 — U.S./Reykjavík, Iceland
Fly overnight to Reykjavík and take a guided
tour of the old town, including the imposing and
modern Hallgrímskirkja church. Learn about Norse
culture at the National Museum, which features
Viking treasures. Embark National Geographic Explorer. (Day 2: L, D)
Day 3 — Flatey Island/Látrabjarg
Explore Iceland’s wild western frontier, visiting Flatey Island, a trading post for many centuries. Take walks or explore by Zodiac, then sail past the soaring Látrabjarg cliffs, home to a large population of razorbills. (B,L,D)
Day 4 — Exploring Northwestern Iceland
Get immersed in the stunning scenery of the
Westfjords region. Head out on a hike to a remote
waterfall, or cruise a Zodiac beneath cliff s teeming
with seabirds. Enter Ísafjarðardjúp and anchor at
Vigur Island, where we’ll visit an eider farm and
view how the down of these ducks is processed. (B,L,D)
Day 5 — Ísafjördur
Spend the morning in beautiful and remote Ísafjördur, hiking, exploring by Zodiac, and watching for nesting seabirds. (B,L,D)
Day 6 — Siglufjördur and Akureyri
At Siglufjördur, once the center of Iceland’s herring industry, visit the award-winning Herring Museum for a living history reenactment and a tasting. In picturesque Akureyri, explore the old
town, strolling past its beautifully maintained period
houses, or visit the botanical garden. (B,L,D)
Day 7 — Lake Mývatn and Húsavík
Begin the day with an unforgettable sight: Goðafoss, the waterfall of the gods. Next, drive to Mývatn, the most geologically active area in Iceland. See the boiling mud pools at Hverarönd; and at the Krafla geothermal area, visit the explosion crater at Viti. After lunch on shore, meet the ship in Húsavík, and watch for whales as we sail north to the land of the midnight sun. Take Zodiacs ashore to the tiny island of Grímsey on the Arctic Circle, and celebrate our official arrival in the Arctic. (B,L,D)
Day 8 — Exploring Northeast Iceland
Iceland’s rugged east coast is an unspoiled stretch of rocky outcrops, hidden coves, and hills that beckon hikers. Today is left open to explore this beautiful landscape with our naturalists. Depending on the weather and tides, go for a Zodiac cruise to view the sea stacks near Raudanes, hike along a stretch of the Langanes Peninsula, or make our way even further down the coast. (B,L,D)
Day 9 — Djúpivogur
Dock in Djúpivogur to explore the vast
Vatnajökull ice cap. Then take small boats into the ice lagoon of Jökulsárlón, and get up close with icebergs of all shapes and sizes. (B,L,D)
Day 10 — Westman Islands
Cruise by the Westman Islands, which are among
the youngest of the world’s archipelagos. In 1973, Heimaey was threatened by lava flows that nearly closed off its harbor. Visit the island’s crater, where the earth is still hot. (B,L,D)
Day 11 — Reykjavík /U.S.
Disembark in Reykjavík and choose to either soak in the geothermal waters of the Blue Lagoon or visit the hot springs, geothermal power plant and horse farm, before your flight home. (B,L)
A dynamic expedition team—including an expedition leader; a photo instructor; and experts in wildlife biology, geology, culture, and the undersea— accompanies each departure. They will share their knowledge and insights on wildlife, landscapes, and local culture, and help you get your best photos. See one of the members of our extraordinary team below.
Photographer Karen Kasmauski has produced 25 stories for National Geographic magazine on topics ranging from earthquakes in Japan and oil exploration in Alaska to human migration and aging and genetics. A senior fellow with the League of Conservation Photographers, she finds the personal stories behind the headlines, blending a warm human sensitivity with a photographer’s eye for detail to distill global issues into resonant images. Karen's book Impact: From the Front Lines of Global Health, published by National Geographic, was nominated for a Pulitzer Prize. Her book Nurse: A World of Care tells stories of dedicated medical professionals—“frontline soldiers” in the war against suffering and disease—from the frozen rivers of Alaska to the slums of Nairobi. The book earned awards from Communication Arts, Pictures of the Year, and the American Academy of Nursing. Karen's photographic work has appeared in numerous publications including Smithsonian and the New York Times. She also received an inaugural Getty Images Grant for Good to develop compelling new imagery for the non-profits she supports. Karen first traveled to Iceland in the late 1990s while working on a genetic science story for National Geographic. She fell in love with the rugged landscape and always looks forward to circumnavigating the country and sharing the destination with travelers.
Travelers can choose between a light or moderate activity level. For a light level of activity, they should be in good health and comfortable walking or standing for extended periods of time. Daily activities may include city walking tours, visits to sites, game drives on bumpy roads, or easy hikes.
For a moderate level, travelers should be prepared for multiple hours of physical activity (e.g. hiking, kayaking, biking) each day.
Click here for a description of all activity levels.