Iceland: The Snaefellsnes Peninsula South Coast Adventure

 

Iceland

9 Days

07/17/2017

07/25/2017

Moderate Physical Activity

$3300.00
 

Description

Small on the map, but big in person, Iceland offers a massive in-your-face raw landscape to experience nature’s elements of earth, wind, fire & ice and to interact with a culture over 1,000 years old!

Iceland is a country of sharp contrasts. A place where fire and ice co-exist. Where dark winters are offset by the summer’s midnight sun. A country where insular existence has spurred a rich and vibrant culture. It is far from the ice-covered land of darkness many people envision when they think of the country. On the contrary, it is an amazing place of every conceivable shape and color!

Unlike the Vikings pioneers, we come to Iceland, not for religious freedom, but to enhance our own personal stories of adventure. With very little effort, many of Iceland’s treasures are accessible by nearly any type of traveler. Short hikes unveil cascading waterfalls. Easy paddles get you up-close to wildlife. A little effort gets you on top of an ancient glacier!

Trip Highlights:

  • See the lesser traveled parts of Iceland including the Snaefellsnes Peninsula, a variety of scenic & off the beaten path hikes throughout the trip, and spend time in small towns and hamlets.
  • Get up-close to puffins and shore birds on a North Atlantic Boat Tour.
  • Experience Iceland’s treasures: The Golden Circle: Stukkur Geyser, Gollfoss Waterfall, & Þingvellir National Park.
  • Don your crampons and get on Svínafellsjökull glacier to see first-hand, the work of fire & ice.
  • Feel blue! Take a thrilling zodiac trip into Fjallsárlón and Jökulsárlón Glacier Lagoons to photograph towering icebergs.
  • Explore the black sands and epic basalt columns of Vik, Rynisfjara, and Dyrholaey Nature Reserve.
  • Paddle paradise via a 2- hour adventure kayaking trip through marshes into to the Atlantic Ocean.
  • See geothermal energy in action, powering the country, and growing food in green houses.
  • Travel like a Viking on a horse-back riding adventure through lava fields.
  • Travel to the center of the Earth (not really) to explore 2000-year-old lava tubes.
  • Relax in the Blue Lagoon, and soak in the geo-thermally heated sea water.

Tour Map

Meet Your Guides

Tara Short

Tara Short

President / Trip Facilitator - Green Edventures

Tara Short is the President of Green Edventures as well as the Trip Facilitator on this tour. Tara has 17 years of experience in eco-tourism, guiding and educating students of all ages in the Americas, the Caribbean, and Iceland. She holds a Bachelor’s Degree from the University of Wisconsin-Stevens Point in Natural Resource Management with an emphasis in Environmental Education/Interpretation. Tara has been a naturalist for the John G. Shedd Aquarium, a Ranger for the National Forest Service in Alaska, and a marine science educator for Wild Studies in the Bahamas. Tara is a snorkeling instructor, PADI Open Water Diver, Advanced Diver, Rescue Diver and has specialty certifications as Underwater Naturalist, Deep Diver, Multi-Level diver and Night Diver.

Tour Itinerary

►Where Do We Stay?

  • Night 1: Reykjavik
  • Night 2:
  • Night 3:
  • Night 4:
  • Night 5:
  • Night 6:
  • Night 7:

►Day 1: Arrival – Reykjavik

Arrival at Keflavik airport. Transfer to Reykjavik. Dinner in town (not included) and overnight in guesthouse. You may want to consider coming a day early to adjust to the time zone change, which is pretty significant for North Americans. Reykjavik is 6 hours ahead of Central Time.

►Day 2: Reykjavík – Snaefellsnes Peninsula

After breakfast we set course to west Iceland and Snaefellsnes, a volcanic peninsula that stretches out from the Icelandic west coast and is divided by a chain of mountains that lies from east to west. The peninsula is dominated by the majestic Volcano Snæfellsjökull. We will stop at Búðir to visit the beautiful little black church, the yellow sand beach and the rock lava formations.Then we have a short hike into the gorge Rauðfeldargjá and we stop at the hamlet of Arnarstapi for a short walk among the basaltic rock formations. Lunch at the tiny beach café at Hellnar.

After lunch we enter the National Park and stop at the visitor center at Rif and Djúpalónssandur beach. We continue to the north coast with tiny fishing villages and arrive to the beautiful Stykkishólmur. At 3:30 pm we take the Viking Sushi Boat Trip on the Breidafjörður Bay. Overnight in the area.

►Day 3: Snaefellsnes-BorgarfjörðurÞingvellir

Turning back east we head to the beautiful Borgarfjörður region. This is the home of Deildartunguhver, the most powerful hot spring in Iceland (and even in Europe) and the lush waterfalls of Hraunfossar a row of waterfalls that emerge from underneath the lava field,and Barnafoss.

In the late afternoon, a naturalist-led hike through Þingvellir (Thingvellir) National Park, a UNESCO world heritage site, will feel like a walk through time. Iceland’s parliament was established here by the Vikings in 930. The park was created to protect the remains of the open-air assembly grounds. The history of this place runs deep. Your guide will show you where Vikings gathered annually to discuss laws, the history of the Drowning Pool, and other historically significant features. You will swear you can hear the voices of the crowds that gathered here. Geologically speaking, you will walk between the North American and Eurasian Plates. The Oxara river  cuts through the largest rift in the valley, Almannagja, and leads to the Oxarafoss waterfall. Night in a guesthouse in Selfoss.

►Day 4: Geysir – Stokkseyri – Selfoss

After breakfast we head to Stokkseyri which is a village of about 445 people in South Iceland, founded on the great Thjorsarhraun lava. In former times Stokkseyri was an important fishing center and trading village. The real adventure begins with this 2-3 hour guided sea tour amid the skerries (reefs or rocky islands) and beautiful lagoons along the coast. Home to seals and an array of sea birds in an incredibly diverse biota. The paddle starts in a calm marsh then meanders through a mosaic of channels which lead to shallow river that flows into the ocean. It is an easy paddle with wonderful scenery and opportunities to photograph and learn about wetland ecology. If time permits, participants can visit the folklore museum to learn about Iceland’s fairies and trolls.

Lunch at the greenhouse/restaurant, Friðheimar. Your taste buds will dance while sipping delicious tomato soup that is made from the tomatoes that are grown in the greenhouse year around. A short tour of the operations shows us how greenhouses produce a huge portion of vegetables for Iceland using renewable energy. In the afternoon we visit two of Iceland’s most famous natural treasures: the waterfall Gullfoss and the Geysir hot spring area. See a variety of geothermal pools and the erupting hot spring Strokkur. Geysir is one of the oldest geysers recorded in the world, but is most often dormant. Strokkur erupts a spray of boiling hot water straight into the air about every ten minutes.

Finally, we will have dinner at Efstidalur, a farm-to-table restaurant (not included) before returning to our guesthouse in Selfoss for the second night.

►Day 5: Seljalandsfoss – Vík – Fjaðrárgljúfur – Kirkjubæjarklaustur

Today we head east and our first stop is at the waterfalls Seljalandsfoss. After we head on to the beautiful village of Vík where we take a short walk on the black beaches, admiring the power and beauty of the Atlantic Ocean. The high cliffs dominate the black beach below, and just off the coast pillars of rock rise up from the ocean’s surface. Legend says that these are trolls that turned into stone after staying up past sunrise… After a drive over the vast sand desert of the south and the lava field of Eldhraun, one of the biggest  lave flow coming from one single eruption, we take a short walk at the gorgeous Fjaðrárgljúfur Canyon. This canyon is a kaleidoscope of colors and shapes with each turn. It has been referred to as one of the most beautiful canyons in the world. It is just short drive off of the ring road, and it is one of the lesser known gems on the South Coast. After the hike we will continue east. Night in a farm guest house.

►Day 6: Skaftafell NP – Jökulsárlón Glacier Lake

Today is a day of blue ice! A short drive takes us to the Jökulsárlón Glacier Lake, one of the marvelous features of this region, a lake scattered with Icebergs that break off from the great Breiðamerkurjökull glacier. We will stop at Fjallsárlón another lagoon filled with icebergs where we will have an exciting zodiac boat tour and sail around the icebergs. After lunch, we will don crampons and ice picks  for a glacier walk on Svínafellsjökull. At the end of the afternoon we will return to our guesthouse for a second night.

►Day 7: Skaftafell – Hot Spring Hike – Reykjavík

Continuing on we pass through the villages of the south coast and just of the geothermal village of Hveragerði we go for a short hike  among the numerous hot springs and boiling mud pools of Grændalur. A magical place. Arrival in Reykjavik in the late afternoon.

►Day 8: Reykjavik – Lava Tubes – Icelandic Horses – Reykjavik

In the morning we will be exploring a magnificent lava cave and discovering the marvels that the volcano created more than 2000  years ago. Leiðarendi cave is a perfect example of an Icelandic lava tube and it is situated in one of the most active volcanic areas in the world. We will climb, crawl and walk on our travel beneath the Earth.

You can’t come to Iceland and not ride an Icelandic Horse. The Vikings never walked anywhere, they rode their horses. Your grand  finale is a visit to Íshestar Stables, where we will have lunch (not included) before gearing up for a horse trail ride. There are two main things to know about Icelandic Horses:1) don’t call them ponies (they don’t like that) and 2) they have 5 natural gaits. One in particular is called the Tölt. It a running version similar to the Tennessee Walker and is thought to help the animal cross over rocky terrain. We will explore the lava surrounding Mt. Helgafell volcano and ride through lava fields and across beautiful hillsides to the old Kaldársel sheep corral or to Lake Hvaleyrarvatn. After the horse riding tour transfer to our guesthouse in downtown Reykjavík.

Optional show: “How to Become Icelandic in 60 Minutes” a comedy at the Harpa building. More info to come. (Approximately $40 US  dollars per person).
Group goodbye dinner in Reykjavik (included).

►Day 9: Reykjavik – Blue Lagoon – Airport

Transfer to Keflavik airport for a return flight. On the way we will stop at the Blue Lagoon to have a relaxing 2-hour bath its spa-like milky hot water. Considered one of the 25 wonders of the world, the geothermal water originates 6,000 feet below the surface, where freshwater and seawater combine at extreme temperatures. It is then harnessed via drilling holes at a nearby geothermal power plant, Svartsengi, to create electricity and hot water for nearby communities. On its way to the surface, the water picks up silica and minerals, before emerging at a soothing 38°C (100°F). Perfect for a relaxing and re-energizing bathe.

Why is it blue? The geothermal water has a unique composition, featuring three active ingredients – Silica, Algae & Minerals. The blue color comes from the silica and the way it reflects sunlight. During summer there can also be a hint of green in the water. This is the result of the algae, which  multiplies quickly when exposed to direct sunlight. However, and this might come as a surprise to you, the water is actually white! If you pour it into a transparent cup, it will always have a milky white color. The sun simply makes it look blue! The Blue Lagoon is commercialized hot spot, but it is a fabulous way to end your trip before heading on to the airport for flights back home. The facility is equipped with showers, and blow dryers so that you can get nice and clean before your journey home!

Please note: The activities and schedule may change without notice as practical considerations arise during program development, or onsite for the safety of participants.

Group size is limited to 12 participants plus two guides. Minimum group size is 9 participants.

Inclusions & Exclusions

Included:

  • All scheduled activities listed on this page.
  • Group transfer from Keflavik international airport to Reykjavik.
  • Group transfer from Reykjavik to Keflavik int. Airport with a 2 hour stop at the Blue Lagoon.
  • 8 nights in a guesthouse in Dbl/Twin rooms with shared toilet and shower facilities.
  • Green Edventures naturalist & guide (Tara) for 9 days.
  • English speaking Icelandic Driver/Guide for 6 days from day 2 to day 7.
  • Transport in a 14 passenger minibus for 6 days.
  • All breakfasts, 2 lunches, 1 dinner.

Excluded:

  • Airfare to Reykjavik.
  • Most meals, except those specified above. Budget $300 USD (15-25 US Dollars per person x 7 lunches, and 35-50 US Dollars per person x 7 dinners).
  • Optional excursions, visits to museums, shows, etc.
  • Optional gratuities.
  • Personal spending money.

Payments

A non-refundable $600 deposit per person paid via PayPal is required to join this trip.

All payments are non-refundable if cancelled by the participant. Participants are highly encouraged to purchase travel insurance to cover unforeseen circumstances that may interrupt or cancel the trip.

THIS TOUR IS CURRENTLY SOLD OUT

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