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Scotland, the Faroe Islands, and Iceland: North Atlantic Saga

Aboard the Ocean Endeavour

Overview

Join this exciting voyage—a veritable cultural and natural history journey across the North Atlantic seas from Scotland to Iceland, including fascinating stops at the Faroe Islands, arguably one of Europe’s best kept secrets. Departing from Aberdeen, you’ll visit archaeological sites such as the Heart of Neolithic Orkney, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, and birdwatch at Fair Isle, a former center for the Vikings. In the Faroe Islands, soak up the panoramic scenery of towering cliffs and waterfalls, explore tidy little villages that retain a strong sense of local culture, and experience additional excellent birdwatching. Your journey concludes in Iceland, where you’ll experience geology in action at volcanically active Vestmannaeyjar, an archipelago of some 14 islands, and visit Reykjavik, Iceland’s lively capital.

Note: This cruise is not exclusive to, nor operated by, Wilderness Travel, who acts solely as agent in booking your reservation with the ship operator. The itinerary, lecturers, and all other arrangements are subject to change at the discretion of the cruise line.

Itinerary

Day 1, Jun 24, 2023
Aberdeen, Scotland

Board the Ocean Endeavour for an evening departure after enjoying some self-guided exploration in Aberdeen. Many of the city's historic stone buildings are made of locally quarried granite; high in mica, they can sparkle like silver. The city is also famed for its forty-five parks, gardens, and floral displays. Though now a modern city, Aberdeen retains its old-world charm.

Day 2, Jun 25, 2023
Kirkwall, Orkney / Visit the Heart of Neolithic Orkney UNESCO World Heritage Site

Wander through the stone walls of the Heart of Neolithic Orkney, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, where you’ll find the 4,000-year-old Ring of Brodgar. Tour the Hall of Clestrain, childhood home of Arctic explorer John Rae, and take in the sights of the city of Kirkwall, dominated by the massive St. Magnus Cathedral, dating from 1137.

Day 3, Jun 26, 2023
Fair Isle / Birdwatching at a Quaint Island Community

Journey to charming Fair Isle, once a Viking hub and now an idyllic island colony of artists and shepherds. Keep your binoculars handy to spot some of the 350 bird species the island boasts, including puffins and great skuas in substantial numbers. Take a tour of the local museum, dedicated to preserving island heritage.

Day 4, Jun 27, 2023
Sumba, Suðuroy Island, Faroe Islands / Immerse Yourself in Faroese Culture and Spectacular Hiking

Visit the village of Sumba on Suðuroy Island, population 239 and occupied since the seventh century—it is also a stronghold of Faroese chain dancing. Hike the foothills of nearby Beinisvørð Mountain, affording spectacular, panoramic views of the region. See for yourself why the island is famed for its dramatic cliffs towering over the North Atlantic and enjoy this paradise for birds, including European storm petrels and Atlantic puffins.

Day 5, Jun 28, 2023
Tórshavn / Visit Galleries, Shops, and Restaurants

Explore the splendid little city of Tórshavn (“Thor’s harbor”), the Faroe Islands’ capital and a former Viking trading center. Be sure to stop in at the treasured national art gallery at Nordic House, surrounded by gorgeous grounds with walking trails. You can also experience excellent shopping, restaurants, and pubs.

Days 6-7, Jun 29-30, 2023
Western Faroe Islands / Dramatic Mountains and Waterfalls

Travel to the northwestern shores of Eysturoy and Streymoy islands, perfect for hiking, birding, and photography. You’ll love these charming villages connected by high-tech tunnels through mountains and beneath the ocean floor, a unique and startling infrastructure feature of the Faroes. Take the perfect photo at the Múlafossur waterfall in Gásadalur, a small village home to about twenty people reached via one such tunnel—but look for the old switchback trail over the mountain, once used by the local postman when this village was only accessible by foot!

Day 8, Jul 1, 2023
Mykines Island / Delight in Excellent Birdwatching

Make a stop at Mykines, the westernmost of the Faroe Islands and a geological marvel, where great columns of basalt tower thirty meters above the ocean. Enjoy excellent birdwatching on the islet of Mykineshólmur, connected by a forty-meter footbridge to the western end of Mykines, famed for its sea stacks and a lighthouse dating to 1909. The island has been identified as an Important Bird Area by BirdLife International.

Day 9, Jul 2, 2023
At Sea / Learn Onboard

Deepen your understanding of the environment, cultures, and history of the region as you steam across the North Atlantic toward Iceland. Enjoy workshops and presentations, watch a documentary, and get out on deck!

Day 10, Jul 3, 2023
Heimaey, Vestmannaeyjar (Westman Islands), Iceland / Marvel at Volcanic Landscapes

Witness geology in action at Vestmannaeyjar, lying off the south coast of Iceland and comprised of fourteen islands, numerous rocks, and skerries. Learn about the compelling history of this volcanically active area that has experienced two major eruptions in recent times. In 1963, the island of Surtsey was formed, and the Eldfell eruption ten years later destroyed much of Heimaey, the largest of the Vestmannaeyjars. Enjoy a beautiful Zodiac cruise searching for the numerous species of seabirds that nest in the steep rock faces along the ocean cliffs here.

Day 11, Jul 4, 2023
Reykjavík, Iceland / DIsembark

Complete your journey in Reykjavík, Iceland’s cosmopolitan capital that was established in the year 874 CE. Food, culture, and nightlife abound, while the National Culture House preserves treasures like the Poetic Edda and the Norse Sagas in their original manuscripts. Disembark the Ocean Endeavour in the morning and say your farewells in what is widely considered one of the cleanest, greenest cities in the world.

Highlights

Highlights

Explore the Heart of Neolithic Orkney, featuring the magical Ring of Brodgar
Enjoy birdwatching at Fair Isle, Scotland, and in the Faroe Islands
Visit traditional villages of the Faroe Islands, take in panoramic views of steep cliffs and waterfalls
See Iceland's volcanically active Vestmannaeyjar archipelago

Details

Length: 11 days
Cost From: $4395  
Arrive: Aberdeen, Scotland
Depart: Reykjavik, Iceland
Lodging: 10 nights aboard a 198-passenger vessel
Meals: All meals included aboard ship
Activity: Walking, Wildlife and Natural History, Birding, Cultural Adventures
Trip Level:

11-day cruise, cultural explorations and walking tours