Iceland | Geology, Mythology and the Northern Lights
TBD November 2019
$2,950 (double occupancy)
Single supplement: $450
Iceland is a country of stark yet beautiful contrasts. In the dead of winter, there are 17 hours of dark night, yet it boasts one the planet’s best natural fireworks, the Aurora Borealis, lighting up the sky in otherworldly colorful magnificence. Formed by volcanos and tectonic plates, the land can be harsh, yet it is home to towering fjords, spectacular waterfalls and steaming-hot clear spring lagoons. Currently known as a place that celebrates environmental protection and women’s rights, it also has a strong religious history that stretches back to the first century AD. Scientifically minded, the Icelandic people retain a strong connection to the folklore and mythology that resonates in their landscapes and the culture. In every fjord and rock formation lurks a story and every legend still holds sway even in this modern world. Iceland manages to marry the ancient with the new, the myths with the contemporary, creating a cultural rich and geographically astounding experience.
Day 1 | Reykjavik Evening departure from the US hub, where you board your direct Air service to Reykjavik.
Day 2 | Reykjavik Very early morning arrival in Iceland. You will be met at the airport and escorted to your hotel in Reykjavik, where a delicious breakfast buffet awaits you. The hotel knows that flights from North America arrive early and will do everything possible to provide an early check-in. However, this may not always be possible and if the rooms are not ready, your luggage will be stored while you go on the city tour. We will tour the city of Reykjavik including Old town, the shopping districts and the Parliament. We will stop by Hofdi House, built in 1909, the site of the Reykjavík Summit where Ronald Reagan and Mikhail Gorbachev began discussions to end the Cold War. Next we will head to Hallgrim’s church, whose unusual towers make it one of the most well-known landmarks in Reykjavik. Lunch will be on your own in one of the many locally run restaurants around town. The rest of your afternoon will be free, before we meet for a welcome dinner at our hotel. In the evening, we will drive out on our first attempt to see the Northern Lights. Radisson Blu Saga (B/D)
Day 3 | Reykjavik We begin the day with a tour of the Hvalfjörður (the Whale Fjord) a deep fjord nearly 19 miles long and 3 miles wide to learn the myth behind its creation. Turning inland, we follow the course of the Laxa i Kjos, known colloquially as Iceland’s “Salmon University” for the rich fish life, down to the spectacular waterfall, the Fiórufoss, located in the Fingvellir National Park. The park sits in a rift valley connecting the North American tectonic plate and the Eurasian, allowing you to walk from the Americas to Europe! Fingvellir is also the original location of the Althing, the national parliament of Iceland, started in 930 AD. Sessions were held at this location until 1798, when they moved to the city. We will have a quick stop for lunch on your own, then spend the afternoon relaxing in the waters of the Fontana Spa, a naturally occurring geothermal hot springs. On our way back to the hotel we will pass the church at Skálholt, where a seminary school was founded in 1056, and stop to peer into the icy depths of the Keri volcanic crater. Dinner will be on your own. If previous night was not successful, we will drive out again to attempt to see the Northern Lights. Radisson Blu Saga (B/L)
Day 4 | Reykjavik After breakfast at hotel, we head out on an excursion that takes you along the south coast of the island. Our first stop is Vík, the southernmost town in Iceland where the black volcanic beaches meet the rolling Altantic waves. From here you can view the rock formations of Dyrhólaey and Reynisdrangar, basalt sea stacks that jut out into the waves and are home to nesting puffin colonies. Next we visit the fairytale-like Seljalandsfoss waterfall, where you can walk right behind the misty cascade, and the gorgeous 200 feet high Skógafoss waterfall. Lunch will be on our own before we continue to a view point at the top at the stunning Fjaðrárgljúfur canyon. To end the tour we will enjoy a traditional Icelandic lobster feast at a local restaurant in Stokkseyri before returning to your hotel. If previous night was not successful, we will drive out again to attempt to see the Northern Lights. Radisson Blu Saga (B/D)
Day 5 | Reykjavik Today is a free day to explore the galleries and museums of the city, enjoy the tax-free shopping or pamper yourself in one of the many local spas, including the famous Blue Lagoon (advance booking required). There will also be a variety of optional activities available; from taking a snowmobile safari to the top of a glacier, to riding an Icelandic horse or going in search of puffins and whales. Also possible is a Hidden Worlds Tour, that explores the modern day locations and influences of elves, dwarves and other mystical beings. Lunch and dinner are on your own. Radisson Blu Saga (B)
Day 6 | Reykjavik/Home After our final breakfast at the hotel we will venture to the exotic, moonlike Reykjanes peninsula. This is one of the newest parts of the country and is still growing! Here we will see pools of boiling lava mud, the air heavy with the smell of sulfur, and walk on top of the North Atlantic Ridge - the only place in the world where this is possible. At the very tip of the peninsula, you’ll take a short tour of the new geothermal power plant, before stopping in the thriving fishing port of Grindavik. For our last meal in Iceland we will enjoy a hearty traditional fisherman’s lunch. In the afternoon we transfer to the airport for our flights home. (B/L)
NOTE: This itinerary is subject to change to take advantage of the serendipity of the moment when we are in Iceland... to meet someone special, to engage in an activity that might occur unexpectedly, or to accommodate circumstances beyond our control. Restaurants or hotels may change in similar category.
INCLUDED: In-country transportation per itinerary; hotel; full breakfast buffet daily at the hotel plus 2 lunches and 2 dinners (B/L/D per itinerary); in-country airport transfers; all entrance fees as listed per itinerary; local English-speaking guide; CCJ trip manager, preparation materials; personalized luggage tags.
NOT INCLUDED: International airfare, Meals not on itinerary, (B/L/D per itinerary); alcoholic drinks; excursions not on the itinerary; tips for local guide and driver (optional, yet customary); travel cancellation and evacuation insurance (strongly recommended, info will be sent upon registration).
TRAVEL PROTECTION: For more information on the available plans or to enroll, click here or contact Travelex Insurance Services at 800-228-9792 and reference location number 47-0272. Please advise Travelex that Cross Cultural Journeys is the travel company for this trip.
TBD November 2019
$2,950 (double occupancy)
Single supplement: $450