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Trace the historic route of the Vikings from Norway to Iceland on an odyssey into the land of the midnight sun aboard our flagship, the National Geographic Explorer. Set sail from Bergen, the gateway of Norway’s fjordlands, and explore Stone Age sites in Scotland’s Orkney Islands and hidden hamlets in the isolated Faroe Islands. Then voyage nearly all the way around Iceland, discovering its geothermal wonders, fishing villages, and dramatic landscapes.
Step into ancient history on the Orkney Islands at the remarkably preserved Stone Age village of Skara Brae.
See the legendary ponies of the Shetland Islands and encounter the legacy of the Vikings on the dramatic Faroe Islands.
Join Apollo 13 Commander Jim Lovell (May 11 voyage) or renowned broadcaster Dan Rather (May 24 voyage) on a voyage into Viking history.
Explore hot springs, geysers, and boiling mud pots at Lake Myvatn, and view the thundering waterfalls of Godafoss.
Itinerary - 15 Days
Days 1 & 2 — U.S./Bergen, Norway
Depart the U.S. on an overnight flight. Arrive in Bergen and settle into your cabin aboard the National Geographic Explorer. After lunch, explore this former Hanseatic city and the medieval wooden buildings of the historic Bryggen wharf area, a UNESCO World Heritage site. (L,D)
Day 3 — At Sea/Orkney Islands, Scotland
Spend a relaxing morning at sea as we sail toward the Orkney Islands north of the Scottish mainland. Discover the Stone Age sites of these legendary islands, including the standing stones at the Ring of Brodgar and the megalithic tomb of Maeshowe. Step 5,000 years back in history at the stone-slab village of Skara Brae, and visit medieval St. Magnus Cathedral in Kirkwall. Stop for tea at stately Balfour Castle on Shapinsay Island. (B,L,D)
Day 4 — Shetland Islands
This morning, glide past the towering cliffs of Noss to view murres, kittiwakes, and other seabirds. Pause to photograph Shetland ponies on our way to Jarlshof, a site that was continuously inhabited for almost 4,000 years. At nearby Mousa Island, see a fine example of an Iron Age broch (a fortified stone tower). (B,L,D)
Day 5 — Vestmanna, Faroe Islands
Today we arrive in the Faroe Islands, an autonomous archipelago within the Kingdom of Denmark. Our ship navigates between the steep slopes and towering cliffs of Streymoy and Vágar Islands on the way to Vestmanna. Explore northern Streymoy by boat, skirting dramatic cliffs and sea stacks, or set out overland to visit the isle’s historic settlements. (B,L,D)
Day 6 — Tórshavn
The legacy of the Vikings persists in the Faroe Islands, reflected in the ancient language of the Faroese and their love of the sea. Browse Viking artifacts at the historical museum in Tórshavn, the capital of the Faroe Islands; wander through 12th-century St. Olav’s Church; and discover the archaeological site of Kirkjubøur, a medieval farming and religious center. (B,L,D)
Day 7 — Mykines
Zodiacs take us ashore on Mykines Island, known for its breathtaking views and for the many thousands of puffins that make their home here. Stroll through the tiny village along unpaved streets, passing whimsical turf-roofed houses and a turf-roofed church. (B,L,D)
Day 8 — Djúpivogur, Iceland
Dock in Djúpivogur to explore the vast Vatnajökull ice cap, the largest ice cap in the Europe. For a closer look at the ice, take an optional boat ride through Jökulsárlón, a lagoon strewn with spectacular icebergs sculpted into all shapes and sizes by the elements. (B,L,D)
Day 9 — Exploring the Langanes Peninsula
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 by Zodiac and on foot. (B,L,D)
Day 10 — Húsavík and Lake Mývatn
Watch for whales on our approach to Húsavík, famous for its whale museum. Drive to the region around Lake Mývatn, the most geologically active area in Iceland. Examine the bizarre boiling mud pools at Hverarönd, and continue through Krafla Volcano’s geothermal area to the crater at Viti. End the day at Gođafoss, known locally as the “waterfall of the gods.” Meet the ship in Akureyri this evening. (B,L,D)
Day 11 — Exploring Iceland’s Northern Coast
Discover the sights of Akureyri, Iceland’s second largest city—with a population of just over 17,000. Venture into the old town or go riding on an Icelandic horse. This afternoon, we sail north to the land of the midnight sun, taking Zodiacs ashore to the tiny island of Grímsey, which lies exactly on the Arctic Circle. (B,L,D)
Day 12 — Ísafjörđur
Located in the Westfjords region, the town of Ísafjörđur lies on a tiny spit jutting out into the water against a backdrop of steep hills. Meet a farmer for a tour of a working eiderdown farm, and learn how feathers are collected from nesting eider ducks. (B,L,D)
Day 13 — Exploring Iceland’s Western Coast
This morning, sail past the soaring Látrabjarg cliffs, the westernmost point of Iceland and home to a huge population of razorbills. Continue to Flatey Island, a fishing and trading post for many centuries, and take a walk around the charming hamlet that has cropped up here. Explore the coast by Zodiac this afternoon. (B,L,D)
Day 14 — Westman Islands
Spend the day in the Westman Islands, one of the world’s youngest archipelagoes, formed by undersea volcanoes some 10,000 years ago. The only inhabited island, Heimaey, was threatened in 1973 by lava flows that nearly closed off its harbor. In 1963, the world witnessed on film the birth of its newest island, Surtsey, which we’ll see from our deck as we cruise past the coast. (B,L,D)
Day 15 — Reykjavík/U.S.
Disembark in Reykjavík, the world’s northernmost capital, and tour the old town with a guide. Enjoy lunch in town and a visit to the Blue Lagoon before our flight home. (B,L)