DAY 1: ARRIVE IN REYKJAVÍK, ICELAND.
Welcome to Iceland! If you arrive early, leave your luggage at the hotel and go out exploring Reykjavik, as check in may not be possible until the afternoon. Use your CosmosGo app for inspiration on what to see and to find your bearings. You will meet your Tour Director in the evening.
DAY 2: REYKJAVÍK–SNÆFELLSNES–ARNARSTAPI–SNÆFELLSNES PENINSULA.
Rich fertile farmland and rugged cliffs greet you on your morning drive along the beautiful coastal road to the Snæfellsnes Peninsula. See the SNÆFELLSJÖKULL VOLCANO, which can be spotted from Reykjavík on clear days, as well as the glacier that covers its summit. More than 4,700 feet (1446 meters) in elevation, the mountain gained notoriety as setting for Jules Verne’s Journey to the Center of the Earth. Arrive in the small fishing village of Arnarstapi and walk around the harbor area to enjoy the fresh sea air and watch the antics of circling birds. Later, arrive at the dramatic black-pebble Djúpalónssandur beach, where four lifting stones ranging from 50 to 340 pounds were once used to qualify men for work on fishing boats. Spend the night in the quaint Snaefellsnes area.
Today’s Distance: 96 mi/ 155 km
DAY 3: SNÆFELLSNES PENINSULA–EIRÍKSSTAÐIR–AKUREYRI.
Iceland’s natural beauty unfolds as you drive through green pastures and meandering lava flows that have formed over the centuries. Via the colorful harbor town of Stykkishólmur, U.S. Marine landing site in the novel Red Storm Rising, reach the Haukadalur valley, home to some of the country’s most famous geothermal features. At Eiríksstaðir, immerse yourself in the sights, sounds, and scents of ERIK THE RED’S FARM which is also the birthplace of Leif the Lucky, said to have discovered America. This afternoon, head into Skagafjörður, the renowned “Valley of Horses” and one of Iceland’s most prosperous agricultural regions. Overnight in Akureyri, the “Capital of North Iceland".
Today’s Distance: 241 mi/ 388 km
DAY 4: AKUREYRI. EXCURSION TO GOÐAFOSS & MÝVATN.
First stop this morning is at GOÐAFOSS, the “Waterfall of the Gods.” Then, follow the shores of Mývatn Lake for vistas of the splendid volcano, peaceful wetlands, and abundant wildlife. Later, stop at Skútustaðir to see the intriguing volcanic pseudo-craters; DIMMUBORGIR, the “Catacombs of Hell,” with its bubbling mud pools, volcanic caves lava tubes and unusual rock formations; and the Krafla caldera with its ochre-colored glow of subterranean lava. Relax in the mineral-rich waters at the MÝVATN NATURE BATHS before returning to Akureyri for another overnight.
Today’s Distance: 130 mi/ 210 km
DAY 5: AKUREYRI–REYKHOLT.
Today features an introduction to the spectacular geothermal hot springs at DEILDARTUNGUHVER. Here, you’ll find clusters of emerald-green deer ferns growing, a plant that grows nowhere else in the country. Next up is the tiny hamlet of Reykholt, former home of medieval Icelandic poet, historian, and politician Snorri Sturluson. Then, see the fascinating series of waterfalls at Hraunfossar before enjoying a stroll along the riverbanks to the BARNAFOSS waterfall, where the glacial cascade has carved out rock formations.
Today’s Distance: 238 mi/ 383 km
DAY 6: REYKHOLT–ÞINGVELLIR–GEYSIR–GULLFOSS–REYKJAVÍK.
Some of Iceland’s most spectacular sights are on the agenda today as you visit ÞINGVELLIR NATIONAL PARK, a rift valley and boundary between the North American and Eurasian continental plates. See geysers as they erupt from the earth’s geothermal vents, and, later, see the famed GULLFOSS waterfall before heading back to Reykjavík.
Today’s Distance: 163 mi/ 263 km
DAY 7: REYKJAVÍK. EXCURSION TO THE SOUTH SHORE.
Explore the South Shore today, and have your cameras ready for the awe-inspiring SELJALANDSFOSS and SKÓGAFOSS waterfalls. Then, visit the tiny settlement of Skógar to admire turf farmhouses, a pioneer-era hydroelectric plant, and examples of many periods of Icelandic architectural history at the SKÓGAR FOLK MUSEUM. On to Vik, the southernmost village in Iceland, to see its black-basalt beach, counted as one of the 10 most beautiful beaches on Earth in Islands Magazine. The cliffs here are home to a large seabird population, including puffins. Finally, marvel at the Sólheimajökull glacier before enjoying a stop in the village of EYRARBAKKI.
Today’s Distance: 71 mi/ 114 km
DAY 8: REYKJAVÍK.
Your vacation ends with breakfast this morning.