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adventure travel trip to Iceland
See volcanoes and glaciers in these amazing lands of fire and ice
Dates Please call for current departure information.
Duration 13 days
Group Size 4-12
Land Cost $6,795 Details
Single Supplement $825
Lodging 2 stars-3 stars
Grade I-II
Best Time

Fire and Ice

Exploration of the glaciers, fjords, and volcanoes of Greenland and Iceland

Day 1      Reykjavik

Fly from USA to Reykjavik, where you will be met and transferred to your hotel to relax and get settled.  In the afternoon following lunch at the hotel, set off on a three-hour boat ride in search of whales and puffins.  Return to the harbor in the late afternoon, after which you can explore the city on your own before returning to your hotel for the night (taxi, additional cost).

Meals: Lunch
Lodging: Hotel Reykjavik Marina (or similar)

Explore colorful Reykjavik (photo by Bjorn Giesenbauer)
Day 2      Reykjavik / Narsarsuaq / Glacier Views

In the morning after breakfast, attend a talk and photo show about Greenland, then enjoy some free time to explore the barbor area close to the hotel.  Afterward, have a light lunch, transfer to the airport, and fly to Narsarsuaq, Greenland, where you will be met and transferred to Hotel Narsarsuaq.  There will be time today to visit and walk around the area, or to take an optional trek to a fantastic glacier viewpoint, around an hour's hike from town. Overnight in Narsarsuaq.

Meals: Breakfast, Lunch
Lodging: Hotel Narsarsuaq (or similar)

Seek out Inuit monuments and Viking ruins
Day 3      Qassiarsuk / Tasiusaq / Iceberg Bay

After breakfast, drive to the coast for a boat trip through Tunulliarfik Fjord, usually covered by icebergs, to Qassiarsuk. Led by your guide, visit the church ruins and the settlement of old Brattahlid, the capital of Viking Greenland, where Eric the Red settled in 985 at the start of the colonization of the island. Walk through the town of about 100 inhabitants, mostly farmers, and reflect on the history and challenges of its inhabitants. Stop for lunch at the Leif Eriksson Hostel, named after the great mariner and Eric's son, who made the first colonization trip from here to North America in the year 1000. In the afternoon, travel by 4x4 vehicle to Tasiusaq, where just a handful of people live in notable isolation next to Sermilik Fjord, which is almost always blocked by ice from the Eqaloruutsit glacier. Afterward, consider an optional kayak excursion in scenic "Iceberg Bay." Return to your hotel in nearby Narsarsuaq for the evening.

Meals: Breakfast, Lunch
Lodging: Hotel Narsarsuaq (or similar)

Kayak on spectacular Iceberg Bay near Qassiarsuk
Day 4      Hiking / Greenland Farm Stay

Following a hearty breakfast, transfer to Innerulalik, a fantastic Greenland farm on an idyllic spot, surrounded by lakes and green hills, with impressive views of icebergs floating on the fjord. After settling in, consider an optional trek through the idyllic mountains and lakes around the farm. On the hike, enjoy the spectacular views of Ilissumatarfik, the highest mountain in the area at more than 5,600'. Loaded with huge bundles of firewood, Vikings used to climb to the summit of this mountain to light great fires that served as a beacon for ships sailing from Europe to Brattahlid, the capital of Greenland Viking world. Return to the farm for some warm relaxation in a quiet, but interesting and welcoming environment. Your welcoming host family will prepare a delicious Greenlandic-style dinner and share their stories and knowledge of the day-to-day lives of the people who live here year-round. Retire to your private room for a comfortable overnight stay.

Meals: Breakfast, Lunch (picnic), Dinner
Lodging: Farmhouse stay (shared facilities)

Trek to spectacular viewpoints near your farm homestay
Day 5      Qoorooq Ice Fjord / Igaliko

In the morning following another filling and warming breakfast, embark on a sea excursion to Qoorooq Fjord to see what probably is the most spectacular glacier in southern Greenland. Enjoy the wonderful sight of ice floating all around as the captain skillfully navigates through the ice. Next, the captain heads to Itilleq, where you will set off on an easy hike across the "Kongevejen," or Path of the Kings, to the idyllic little settlement of Igaliko, a small Inuit settlement of about 60 people, famous for being the most beautiful settlement in Greenland. While here, explore the ruins of Gardar, the archdiocese and religious capital of Viking Greenland. Retire to your hotel in Igaliko for a well-deserved night's rest.

Meals: Breakfast, Lunch (picnic), Dinner
Lodging: Igaliko Country Hotel (private room, shared facilities)

Espy Illerfissalik mountain from the tiny settlement of Igaliku (copyright, Serge Krautle)
Day 6      Igaliko / Narsaq

After breakfast, hike back to Itilleq and take a boat trip to Narsaq, the third most populated town in southern Greenland, with about 1,700 inhabitants. You will have free time to visit the local market, fur shops, hunters' harbor, the Greenland museum, walk around the area, or do some shopping. While here today (also your base for the next two nights), you have the option of a kayak excursion, a hiking trip to Kvanefjeld, or an escorted Viking Tour.

Meals: Breakfast
Lodging: Hotel Narsaq (or similar)

Meet and get to know Inuit people while here
Day 7      Qaleraliq Camp / Zodiac / Ice Excursion

Following breakfast at the hotel, set off for Qaleraliq Camp, towards the Inland Ice, arriving at a cozy, enchanting day camp set on a sandy beach with spectacular views of two fronts of Qaleraliq's glacier. Today, experience the glacier from the water and on an ice hike, two ways to grasp its mass and beauty. First, from the camp, board a Zodiac boat for water views of the glacier's fronts, admiring the beauty of their vertical ice walls and numerous icebergs as we approach them along their descent of more than six miles to the sea. Next, set off on an impressive ice excursion using crampons (organized to be suitable for all travelers and skill levels) on one of the oldest masses of ice on the planet. Explore crevasses, drains, caves, seracs, and other ice formations that give an incredible, labyrinthine quality to this glacier. An expert mountain guide, a specialist in glacier science, will organize, escort, and lead our group to ensure we are provided with and know how to use appropriate equipment, to ensure everyone's safety, and to share his knowledge about the special characteristics of the glaciers in southern Greenland. This is a unique and special experience, exciting and original, and sure to surprise and delight both first-time travelers and those used to the peculiarities of the glacier world. This is one of the most impressive sights and one of the best excursions in all of Greenland, as well as one of the highlights of your trip.

Meals: Breakfast
Lodging: Hotel Narsaq (or similar)

Led by an expert, hike on a glacier and marvel at its unusual beauty
Day 8      Qaqortoq, Capital of South Greenland

Eat breakfast, check out, and transfer by boat to Qaqortoq, southern Greenland's capital, looking for whales while en route in the boat. Qaqortoq was founded in 1775 and now has more than 3,300 inhabitants who describe it as the most charming and attractive town in the country. Take a small excursion around town, where you'll discover the beauty of its colorful buildings, the awe-inspiring landscapes, and some of the 30 different rock sculptures spread around town. After our look around town, choose among optional excursions to Hvalsoy Church and Upernaviarsuk Agricultural Center, or Uunartoq Thermal Springs, or perhaps a fishing trip. The evening is yours free to explore the museum, fur shops, traditional kayak club, church, the only fountain in the country, and to have dinner in one of Qaqortoq's restaurants or enjoy a drink with the local people. Retire to your hotel in town for your last night in this marvelous land.

Meals: Breakfast
Lodging: Hotel Qaqortoq (or similar)

Marvel at the activity in this remote, yet charming capital
Day 9      Helicopter Tour / Narsarsuaq / Rekyjavik

After breakfast and checkout, experience another of your trip's highlights, an impressive and unforgettable helicopter trip over the fjord system of southern Greenland. On the flight, you'll see everywhere you've traveled over the last week while taking in the fascinating composition of the fjords and fantastic views of the Inland Ice. After your helicopter trip, fly from Narsarsuaq to Reykjavik for a few days in Iceland to explore its frozen and fiery wonders. Your three-hour flight from Greenland arrives at Reykjavik's airport, where you will be met and transferred to the city to check in and get settled at your hotel.

Meals: Breakfast
Lodging: Hotel Reykjavik Marina (or similar)

Leave Greenland with many vivid memories
Day 10      Eyjafjallajokull Volcano / Thorsmork

In the morning we leave for the area around Eyjafjallajokull, the volcano that erupted in the spring of 2010. We will first head to the north side of the volcano into an area called Thorsmork, a visually stunning valley full of weird rock formations, serpentine gorges, mountains, and streams -- and where the effects of the eruption are clearly visible. Here we will take an easy hike to the large "run-off" Gigjokull glacier, where torrents of glacial melt water transformed the landscape during the most recent eruption. We'll then proceed to the southern slopes of the volcano, where you'll take in some of Iceland's most dramatic scenery -- on one side, tall mountains with a succession of waterfalls cascading from the glaciers above, while on the other side, views of the North Atlantic coastline with its black sand beaches and dramatic headlands teeming with birdlife.

Meals: Breakfast
Lodging: Hotel Hvolsvollur (or similar)

Explore volcanic slopes
Day 11      Hekla Volcano and Landmannalaugar

Today, we start by exploring the lava fields around Iceland's most famous and active volcano, Hekla, known throughout Europe in the Middle Ages as the "Mouth of Hell." Hekla has erupted 20 times since the country was settled and most recently in the year 2000. From here, we head into the highland area of Landmannalaugar, which features the largest geothermal field in Iceland. Its sculptural peaks are made of rhyolite, creating amazing colors in the surrounding mountains. Take an easy two-hour hike across a lava field to the rainbow-streaked Brennisteinsalda (Sulphur Wave) mountain, considered Iceland's most colorful peak. Afterwards, you may choose to take a dip in the natural hot pools nearby.

Meals: Breakfast
Lodging: Hotel Fludir (or similar)

Search for Icelandic horses while trekking lava fields
Day 12      Golden Circle

Today we visit the highlights of the popular Golden Circle route, known for its geysers, waterfalls, black sand beaches, brooding volcanoes, and distant ice caps. Start with a short drive to Gullfoss, or Gold Falls, Iceland's most famous waterfall, often topped with rainbows if the sun is out. Our next stop is at Geysir with its bubbling springs and shooting geysers (and origin of the term "geyser"). After lunch, drive to Thingvellir National Park, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, where we'll go for a short hike. Surrounded by numerous volcanoes, Thingvellir is situated in the dramatic rift valley where the North American and Eurasian tectonic plates are slowing pulling away from each other. Return to Reykjavik in the late afternoon.

Meals: Breakfast
Lodging: Hotel Reykjavik Marina (or similar)

Explore while keeping an eye out for geyser eruptions
Day 13      Blue Lagoon and Departure

After breakfast, in the late morning, you will be met and transferred to the famous Blue Lagoon Spa. Enjoy a relaxing swim in the warm aqua-blue water, renowned for its healing powers. Afterward, you will be driven to nearby Keflavik International Airport for your afternoon flight back to the USA.

Meals: Breakfast

Leave these amazing lands with vivid memories

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