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.
Reach Iceland’s most remote landscapes and venture to the Arctic Circle aboard the National Geographic Explorer.
Capture images of gushing geysers, cascading waterfalls, and sea birds in flight with hands-on instruction from a National Geographic photographer.
Glide into the spectacular fjords of the Snæfellsnes Peninsula and the hidden coves of the rugged eastern coast, exploring by Zodiac or kayak.
Explore geothermally active Mývatn, the Jökulsárlón glacial lagoon, and coastal waters populated by whales with our team of naturalists.
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 — Latrabjarg/Flatey Island
Navigate Iceland’s wild western frontier, sailing
past the soaring Látrabjarg cliffs, home to a huge
population of razorbills. Continue to Flatey Island,
a trading post for many centuries, and take walks
or explore by Zodiac. (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
The town Ísafjördur is set on a narrow spit,
surrounded by water and dramatic slopes. Soak
up the tranquil beauty of Hornstrandir, Iceland's
northernmost peninsula, exploring by Zodiac.
Watch for seabirds such as puffins, guillemots,
razorbills, and kittiwakes, and bask in nearly 24
hours of daylight. (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 re-enactment 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
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. Continue to an
unforgettable sight: Goðafoss, the waterfall of
the gods. 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 being officially 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 by
Zodiac and on foot. (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 National Geographic staff photographer since 1990, Mark Thiessen has published numerous feature stories and covers for National Geographic magazine and other Society publications on subjects ranging from Peruvian mummies to Egyptian archaeologists to Russian smokejumpers. He recently documented film director and National Geographic Explorer-in-Residence James Cameron's dive to the ocean's deepest location at the bottom of the Mariana Trench. Mark's photographs for the July 2008 National Geographic cover story “Under Fire: Why the West Is Burning” earned first-place recognition by Pictures of the Year International. Mark also directs the National Geographic photo studio, and was featured in Out There, a series aired on the National Geographic Channel.
Travelers 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, or easy hikes, with options for more physical activities such as hiking, kayaking, snorkeling and biking.
Click here for a description of all activity levels.