Hike to thundering waterfalls, hike in colorful geothermal areas to see volcanoes & geysers; hike to & walk on awesome glaciers; enjoy soaking in remote outdoor hot springs; boat on a lagoon filled with icebergs; relax in Icelandic spas, attend the IGLA swim competition & social events, & visit with gay Icelanders & athletes from around the world.
Iceland, a small Nordic country located on the edge of the Arctic Circle, has a wild, primitive and extreme landscape dominated by fiery volcanoes and massive glaciers amid lush green mountains and valleys during the summer. Our tour begins in Reykjavik, the picturesque capitol located on the southwest coast of the island. For the first four days our Icelandic guides escort us along the south coast to visit the scenic natural wonders. We hike to majestic waterfalls, geysers and active volcanoes; walk on a glacier; boat on lagoons filled with icebergs; visit geothermal spas and swimming pools in remote mountain valleys, and see wildlife and historical sites. We then return to Reykjavik and do day hikes to a nearby mountain for a panoramic view of the region, spend an afternoon in a geothermal hot spring area to soak and swim in warm streams, attend athletic and social events of the International Gay & Lesbian Association (IGLA) swim completion, have the opportunity to meet local Icelandic and gay athletes from around world, and enjoy the “White Nights” as the sun does not set until after 11:30 PM and is back in the sky before 3:30 AM.
Day 1. Saturday May 26. Arrive Reykjavik, Iceland
Arrive in Reykjavik, clear customs and meet the transfer agent who will escort us to the Arctic Comfort Hotel, a cozy and comfortable three star lodging located near the city’s sport complex, zoo and botanical center. Shops and restaurants are nearby and the city center is five minutes by bus. Hotel room amenities include refrigerator, telephone, color TV, and wireless internet connection, and there is a lounge with two computers for guest use and a bar. Get acquainted dinner in the evening. (D)
Days 2-5. Sunday Wednesday. May 27-30. National Park Hikes in Southeast Iceland
Day 2. Sunday May 27. Thingvellir National Park
Next we drive east to the nearby Village of Laugarvatn, located on the shore of Lake Laugarvatn in a geothermal hot zone. The Village as well as the lake and the shore of the lake have hot springs with boiling water. Hot water from the hot springs has historically been used for cooking, bathing, heating homes, and for healing steam bathing. In fact, the hot springs are the reason for the settlement of Laugarvatn, which dates back to 1,000 AD. There are three hot springs on the shore of Lake Laugarvatn that are within walking distance of the village. We visit the Laugarvatn Fontana Spa, the premier spa in Iceland, to enjoy the various hot baths, steam rooms, and a dry sauna. After the spa visit, we have lunch in the cafe and have time to explore the town with its interesting sculptures and walk along the lake to visit the hot springs.
We now drive 18 miles to the Geyser geothermal field, an area characterized by volcanic features including geysers, steaming vents, and glistening multi-colored mud formations. The star attraction is the Great Geyser which started erupting in 1,294 AD, but has not performed well for decades. The smaller, but more reliable Strokkur Geyser spits a column of water up every 5 minutes to a height of 66 feet.
Next we visit the nearby Gullfoss Waterfall, Iceland’s grandest waterfall, the most powerful waterfall in Europe, and one of Iceland’s most popular tourist attractions. The 105 foot double cascade waterfall creates a thundering sound and a mist with dozens of rainbows on a sunny day.
We then drive south to the Ring Road and through the picturesque villages of Hella and Hvolsvollur, located east of the awesome Eyjafjallajokull Glacier, to see the Seljalandsfoss Waterfall. We can walk behind this picturesque waterfall which plunges over a 200 foot cliff.
We lodge at the nearby Hotel Anna and enjoy the privacy, comfort and peacefulness of the Icelandic country. Our rooms have a private bath with shower, TV, satellite and telephone.
Day 3. Monday May 28. Waterfalls & Glacier Hike
We continue east on the Ring Road to the Myrdalsjokull Glacier, located in a spectacular area with rugged and majestic rock formations shaped by the glacier, and meet our guides and prepare for a glacier walk. This is an easy and exciting walk with crampons up onto the ice field where a wonderland of ice sculptures, ridges and deep crevasses await our discovery. An experienced glacier guide will teach us how to use basic ice equipment, crampons and ice axe, required for our trip into this magical frozen world.
After the glacier walk, we continue east on the Ring Road, note the interesting black volcanic sand beaches along the Atlantic Ocean, and proceed to the small village of Vik. We have fantastic views of the 4,920 foot high Katla Volcano protruding from the Mydalsjokull Glacier ice cap, cross glacial rivers, and traverse some of the largest lava fields in the world. Near the Village of Kirkjubaejarklaustur the landscape has interesting basalt formations and amongst the lava flows there is an area of honeycombed basalt columns which have been smoothed and stuck together naturally. We proceed to the nearby Horgsland Farm Guesthouses. Each of the 13 guesthouses has a kitchen, living room, dining room, two bedrooms and a bath, and the site has a restaurant and hotubs.
Day 4. Tuesday May 30. Skaftafell National Park Hikes
First, we hike to Svartifoss (Black) Waterfall, one of the most popular destinations in the Park. It is surrounded by dark lava columns, which give rise to its name. The hexagonal columns were formed inside a lava flow which cooled extremely slowly, giving rise to crystallization. Next we hike to the Skaftafellsjokull Glacier for a close view and we may hear the creaks and scraping as it moves ever so slowly. We will also hike to the Svinafellsjokull Glacier, one of the many outlet glaciers of the massive Vatnajokull Glacier, the earth’s third-largest..
After our hikes we drive to the Jokulsarlon Glacier Lagoon where we take a 50 minute boat tour amid the huge icebergs floating in the lagoon. Next, we drive to the Fjallsion Glacier Lagoon for a view of the 6,920 foot tall Oraefajokull Volcano and glacier, the highest peak in Iceland. After a short hike to visit the Kviarjokull Glacier we head back to the Horgsland Farm for a quiet evening in the country.
Day 5. Wednesday May 30. Thor’s Valley Hikes – Blue Lagoon Party
After our hike, we head back to Reykjavik and take several short stops along the way to see interesting features including the Hjalp Waterfall, a popular place for weddings. We check into the Arctic Comfort Hotel, have dinner and then at 8 PM attend an opening games swim party at the Blue Lagoon Spa which will be attended by hundreds of gay swimmers from countries throughout the world. The Blue Lagoon, located in a lava field 24 miles from Reykjavik, is one of the most visited attractions in Iceland. The facility includes a huge outdoor pool, an indoor swimming area, conference rooms, a restaurant with a great view, and changing rooms. The geothermal seawater of the florescent blue outdoor pool is close to 104°F warm all year and this mineral rich water has curative powers. In addition to bathing in the lagoon, visitors can visit the lava cave or take a steam bath powered by nature, or simply meet athletes from around the world. We lodge at the Arctic Comfort Hotel.
Day 6. Thursday May 31. Hike to Mount Esjas
Day 7. Friday June 1. Hot Spring Hikes
Day 8. Saturday June 2. Swim Events & Free Day
Day 9. Sunday June 3
(B) – Breakfast; (L) – Lunch; (D) – Dinner
LAND COST: Due to the fluctuation in international currencies, the cost of this trip is priced in Icelandic Krona and converted to US dollars based upon the current exchange rate. Therefore, the actual trip cost is based on the exchange rate when purchased and the number of participants. Costs below are based on double room occupancy.
• 4 Participants – 335,900 Krona per person = US $2,688*
*Based on the February 22, 2012 exchange rate
COST INCLUDES: All lodging, land transportation, airport transfers, meals where noted, park entrance fees, American tour director, Icelandic tour director and guides, entrance to IGLA swim events, Blue Lagoon Party, IGLA Dance/Party.
COST DOES NOT INCLUDE: Personal expenses, drinks and alcoholic beverages, travel insurance, international air fares to Iceland, tips for guides, lunches on Days 1, 7, 8, & 9, and dinners on Days 6 & 7.
This trip is rated as moderate in terms of difficulty as we hike on well-maintained trails for relatively short distances with elevational gains and descents of less than 3,000 feet and at elevations below 3,000 feet. We have one guided glacier hike with professional Icelandic guides.
REGISTRATION AND INFORMATION
If you would like additional information, e-mail us at email@example.com, or call us locally at 303-449-0990 or toll free at 1-877-440-0990. Our office hours are 8:00 a.m. to 12:00 p.m. and 1:00 p.m. to 5:00 p.m. (Mountain Time) Monday through Friday.
You may also download our trip registration form, and mail it in to us.
Thingvellir National Park
Geyser Geothermal Field
Village of Vik
Jokulsarlon Glacier Lagoon
Hikes in Iceland – Land of Fire & Ice
May 26 – June 3, 2012