Highlights of Iceland
2 weeks incl. the West Fjords
This is a trip all around Iceland, including the West Fjords. The program is comprehensive and includes the main attractions of Iceland: Skaftafell, Geysir, Gullfoss and Þingvellir, Snæfellsnes peninsula, Akureyri, Mývatn, Dettifoss, as well as some less well known spots like the West Fjords and the Þjórsárdalur valley.
- Duration days13, 14, 15 or 16
- Accommodation typeHotels and guesthouses
- Available Spring to Autumn 30.03.19 - 19.10.19
- Day 1
After disembarking from Norröna, you drive from Seyðisfjörður to Egilsstaðir, making short stops at the waterfalls along the way. After a look around in Egilsstaðir, you continue south over Breiðdalsheidi pass to the East Fjord area. In Breiðdalur you can encounter young children who are selling semi-precious stones such as quarz, obsidian and jasper, which they have found in the mountains. Alternatively, you can drive along the east fjords, and make a stop on the way at the famous Petra Stone Museum. Drive along the long fjord of Berufjörður (where you’ll find a lovely waterfall) to Djúpivogur village for overnight. (370 km)
- Day 2
First you drive past Hamarsfjörður and Álftafjörður fjords to Hvalnes, a place where the road winds along the steep mountains. Then you continue to the village of Höfn and after a stop there you drive along the south rim of Vatnajökull, Europe's largest glacier. There, one often gets views of glacier tongues descending from the main icecap. In the afternoon you pass one of the highlights of this tour: Jökulsárlón glacier lagoon, where large icebergs float around. It's possible to make an optional boat-trip on the lagoon, which takes 45 minutes and brings you a lot closer to the glacier itself, as well as providing you with great opportunities to take spectacular pictures of the icebergs. Then you should take some time to visit Skaftafell national park and walk to Svartifoss waterfall which is surrounded by beautifully regular basalt columns, before continuing to your hotel in the Skaftafell area. (230-250 km)
- Day 3
In the morning you drive over Skeiðarársandur outwash plain to the tiny chapel at Núpsstaður which was built in the 17th century. Next you can make a stop at Dverghamrar, a place with interesting basalt columns where you can take a short walk. Then you continue via Kirkjubæjarklaustur village and over Mýrdalssandur to the village of Vík. There is a factory outlet shop there, where you can purchase woollens, socks and souvenirs for good prices. A short visit to the beach in the village is recommended: it’s black! Close by it's possible (after 25 June, before that it’s closed for reasons of nature preservation) to drive up to Dyrhólaey cliff to see the puffins (until mid-August, after that the puffins have gone!). It’s rather a winding and steep road, but the view is worth while. There are puffins all over the place, and if the weather is nice you can also have a lovely view of Mýrdalsjökull glacier. Next you should visit Skógar folk museum, where lots of old utensils and handicraft are exhibited. There’s also an original old turf farm, where you can see how people lived by the end of the 19th and the beginning of the 20th century. In the same tiny village, you can visit Skógafoss waterfall (60 m high) before continuing to Seljalandsfoss waterfall. This is a very special waterfall, because you can walk behind it (if you don’t mind getting wet!). Finally, you check in your hotel in the south for 2 nights (230-250 km)
- Day 4
Today you explore the lovely valley of Þjórsardalur. This valley was once a lovely farming area, but in 1104 it was destroyed by an eruption of Mt. Hekla. If the weather is favourable you might get some good views of this notorious volcano. You can visit the excavated ruins of the farm Stöng, as well as it’s reconstruction (entrance fee!) close by. There are the waterfalls Hjálp (twin falls) and Iceland’s 3rd highest: Háifoss and you mustn’t miss the charming little valley Gjáin. You can drive past Búrfell Power plant before returning to your hotel. (200-220 km)
- Day 5
Today you visit Iceland's highlights. First, you drive to Gullfoss waterfall, which many people think is Iceland’s most beautiful. It falls into a deep canyon in two parts, the first one 20 m high, the second one 11 m. From there you drive to the Geysir hot spring area, where many hot springs are bubbling and boiling. The most famous is the spouting spring Strokkur, which ejects a high column of boiling water every 5 minutes or so. After this you continue to Laugarvatn village and over a mountain road to Þingvellir national park. This is where the ancient parliament was founded in the year 930. Also, this area is of great geological interest, since it’s situated directly on the mid-Atlantic ridge, which divided Europe and America. Therefore, there are many large fissures in this area, which can easily be seen. After a walk in this beautiful area, you drive to Reykjavik for the next overnight.
- Day 6
You spend most of this day exploring the city of Reykjavík, and you might like to drive to the Blue Lagoon, but in the afternoon you drive from Reykjavík around the scenic fjord Hvalfjörður. There are some lovely sights over the fjord and it’s possible to stop to view a small waterfall, as well as a small church. Then you continue to the north where you explore the lovely county of Borgarfjörður, You start with a visit to Iceland’s largest hot spring, Deildartunguhver, which provide people with hot water for house heating as far as 60 km away from the spring. Then you drive to Reykholt village, where the 13th century historian Snorri Sturluson lived. It’s still possible to see his miniature private swimming pool in this small village and if you’re interested in history a visit to the Snorri Museum is indicated. Your next goal is Hraunfossar waterfalls, a series of small waterfalls that tumble straight out of the lava, a strange and magnificent sight. Close by is the summer resort of Húsafell, where you can visit a lovely swimming pool, and if you fancy there is a farm in this area which offers riding tours. Overnight in Borgarfjörður. (250-300 km)
- Day 7
A long drive awaits you today, all around Snæfellsnes peninsula. Drive via Borgarnes west along the south shore of the peninsula until you arrive at Arnarstapi birdcliffs. A walk here is recommended strongly, because there are many lovely basalt formations, as well as lots of nesting birds, such as kittiwakes and arctic terns. At the tip of the peninsula there are many lovely places to stop such as Þúfubjarg bird cliff (this involves a short walk away from the main road) and Djúpalónssandur beach – where a rocky path brings you down to an impressive black beach. Also, you might get good views of Snæfellsjokull glacier, which is also an old volcano – as can be seen from the many lavafields that surround the mountain. Then you drive along the north side of the peninsula, through various fishing villages, such as Ólafsvík and Grundarfjörður, and possibly Stykkishólmur (10 km detour). Finally, you can choose from 2 different routes to return to your hotel. (400 km)
- Day 8
A long day, driving into the north west. You drive north over the beautiful pass Brattabrekka to Búðardalur village, and from there on along the southern coast of the West Fjord area. It’s a remote area, but there are lovely views of Breiðafjörður bay and the impressive mountains at the other side. Sometimes, you can see seals along the coast. It’s nice to make a stop in Vatnsfjörður, close by Flókalundur, and take a short walk into this nature reserve. Just past Flókalundur you turn north and drive over high mountain passes north, to arrive at the highlight of today: the waterfall Dynjandi. This is actually a collection of 5 waterfalls, so you should take some time to explore! It’s possible to climb all the way up, along a small track, to get close to all 5 falls. Finally you drive via Þingeyri village to Ísafjörður, your base for the next 2 nights. (420 km)
- Day 9
Today is a day of leisure, to view the charming fishing town of Ísafjörður. There are some lovely old houses and interesting museums. We also recommend a drive to the nearby village of Bólungarvík, where an old fishermen’s hut was turned into a small museum, which is quite an experience. It might also be possible to make a boattrip on Ísafjarðardjúp fjord. (50 km)
- Day 10
Today you move headquarters again, driving along Ísafjarðardjúp, one of the least inhabited areas of Iceland apart from the highlands. The landscape is impressive, with its winding roads along the various fjords. In earlier times, there were quite some farms in this area, but the distances in this area are rather large and there is not much flat land, which makes farming rather difficult. So nowadays there are no farms anymore in this area, it is mostly uninhabited. After driving around quite a few of these fjords, you drive over Steingrimsfjarðarheiði high plateau, to Hólmavík village. This is a small and friendly fishing village, where you can also shop and tank! After this you drive south along the Strandir coast, an area with some agriculture. This area is also famous for the quantities of driftwood that are found along the coast. Finally, you drive into the Hrútafjörður area and you stay overnight here, or close by Blönduós. (350-370 km)
- Day 11
First you continue to Skagafjörður county, famous for horse breeding. It’s possible to visit the Glaumbær torf farm museum. This house was lived in until 1939, and it gives you a very good idea about how people lived in Iceland from late 19th century until the beginning of the 20th century. Then you drive over Öxnadalsheiði to Eyjafjörður fjord. Then you drive to Akureyri, the most important town of the north, where you can enjoy some shopping and sightseeing. There’s a very lovely botanic garden in the town and we recommend a visit. Finally, you drive via Goðafoss waterfall, one of Iceland’s most charming falls, to Lake Mývatn, your next base. (330-350 km)
- Day 12
A whole day for sightseeing at lake Mývatn. We recommend visits to the pseudo-craters of Skútustaðir, Dimmuborgir lava labyrinth (where the strange lave formations provide shelter for quite a lot of vegetation), the tephra volcano Hverfjall (which you can climb if you fancy), the impressive solfataras at Námaskarð and Leirhnjúkur (where boiling mud pools and colourful sulphur precipitations provide a very picturesque view), and caves filled with natural hot water. Overnight again in the Mývatn area. (50-100 km)
- Day 13
Today you drive north along Tjörnes peninsula. First you make a stop at Húsavík fishing village where it’s possible to make a whale watching boattour and where you can visit the charming church. Then you continue north along the peninsula and drive to Ásbyrgi, a horse-shoe shaped gorge, where a small forest shelters along the 100 m high rock walls. A short walk is indicated. Another highlight of this day is Dettifoss waterfall, which is Europe’s mightiest - no other waterfall has such a lot of water! It’s 44 m high. You can walk down along a rocky path until you get very close by the waterfall, so you can thoroughly enjoy it. Then you return to Mývatn, for one more night in that area. (280-300 km)
- Day 14
In the morning, you drive east, past Grímsstadir and over Möðrudalsheiði highland plateau east. On the way, you might enjoy some lovely mountain views (in good weather!). After that you continue through Jökuldalur valley to Egilsstaðir village, the most important town of the east. In the afternoon, we suggest either a visit to Borgarfjörður Eystri, a charming fishing village, or a drive around lake Lögurinn, with a visit to the waterfall Hengifoss.
- Day 15
In the morning you drive the 30 km back to Seyðisfjörður, to catch the ferry.
Note: we reserve the right to reverse the itinerary.