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Icelandic Odyssey

Iceland Circumnavigation aboard the Ocean Endeavour

Overview

Viking stronghold...land of fire and ice…culture, wildlife, and wonders…a modern nation on an ancient island—this is Iceland! Aboard the 198-passenger Ocean Endeavour, make a complete circumnavigation of Iceland as you witness Earth in action—active volcanoes, emerging islands, lava fields, geysers, and glaciers all await your discovery. The landscape is otherworldly, and superb photography, birding, and hiking are a quick Zodiac ride away. And whales ply the North Atlantic waters! Your voyage begins in the cosmopolitan capital of Reykjavik, takes in the little-visited Westfjords, with their rugged bird cliffs and traditional cultural lifestyles, then circles north to Grimsey Island, lying right on the Arctic Circle. In Húsavík, the “whale capital” of the world, you’ll have the chance to see whales and dolphins—some 30 species of birds reside here, too. Circling southeast, visit the volcanically active Westman Islands, an area that saw two major eruptions in the ‘60s and ‘70s. Your voyage comes full circle in Reykjavik.

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, Jul 4, 2021
Reykjavík

Reykjavík, Iceland’s cosmopolitan capital, was established in 874 AD. Powered by geothermal energy, Reykjavík is widely considered one of the cleanest, greenest cities on Earth. Despite centuries of relative isolation, Reykjavík today is a contemporary city with plenty to see and do. The National Culture House preserves treasures like the Poetic Edda, and the Norse Sagas in their original manuscripts. Depart Reykjavík in the evening aboard the Ocean Endeavour.

Day 2, Jul 5, 2021
Rif, Snæfellsnes Peninsula

Begin your day at anchor at the former trading port of Rif, on the doorstep of Snæfellsjökull National Park. You’ll have an introduction to Icelandic culture with local guides. For the more adventurous, the region offers outstanding hiking, including opportunities to visit spectacular waterfalls.

Day 3, Jul 6, 2021
The Westfjords

Only about ten percent of Iceland’s visitors ever see this region, known for its jagged bird cliffs and multihued beaches. Coastal fjords, immense mountains, and tiny villages can be found here, and a traditional lifestyle is embraced by the region’s inhabitants.

Day 4, Jul 7, 2021
Northern Iceland and Grímsey

Iceland’s north is a geologist’s dream. Lava fields—almost lunar in their composition—epic waterfalls, snowcapped peaks, and bays teeming with marine wildlife are characteristic of the region. Grímsey Island lies on the Arctic Circle. Its human population of about a hundred shares the island with nearly a million seabirds! These include puffins, guillemots, and gulls.

Day 5, Jul 8, 2021
Akureyri

Iceland’s second-largest urban area, Akureyri enjoys a relatively mild climate and ice-free harbor. In addition, Akureyri is surrounded by mountains, which shield it from strong winds. First settled in the ninth century, Akureyri provided a base for Allied units during the Second World War. Nearby Lake Myvatn offers stunning contrasts: one side of the lake features rugged volcanic remnants, while the other side is blessed with lush vegetation and varied bird life.

Day 6, Jul 9, 2021
Húsavík

Húsavík, on Skjalfandi Bay, is known as the "Whale Capital" of Iceland. Fifteen different whale species frequent the area; you may also see dolphins and thirty varieties of birds. The Húsavík Museum is located by the harbor. There are also numerous other museums including the Exploration Museum, which houses artifacts from Apollo astronaut training in the area, a whale museum, and a turf house museum.

Day 7, Jul 10, 2021
Seyðisfjörður

Seyðisfjörður is nestled at the tip of its namesake fjord. The town of 700 is known for its flourishing art scene, colorful roads, and shopping. You will also have the opportunity to visit the Skálanes Nature Reserve. Family-owned and -operated, this is a center for research and interpretation of Iceland’s environment and cultural history, and a model for sustainable tourism. The 3,000-acre area is a habitat for approximately 50 different bird species during the summertime, and, in particular, the eider duck.

Day 8, Jul 11, 2021
Southeast Iceland

The south of Iceland is home to some of the country’s most beautiful natural attractions. It boasts a unique mix of volcanoes, lagoons, glaciers—as well as hot springs, geysers, and spectacular waterfalls.

Day 9, Jul 12, 2021
Vestmannaeyjar (Westman Islands)

Vestmannaeyjar lies off the south coast of Iceland and comprises 14 islands, numerous rocks, and skerries. Only the largest island, Heimaey, is inhabited. Many species of seabirds nest in the steep rock faces along the ocean cliffs. The volcanically active area has seen two major eruptions in recent times: the formation of the island of Surtsey in 1963, and the Eldfell eruption 10 years later that destroyed much of Heimaey and nearly blocked its harbor.

Day 10, Jul 13, 2021
Reykjavík

Reykjavík, or “steamy bay,” is a cosmopolitan capital city and as much a part of the Icelandic experience as the midnight sun or the fire and ice that creates the island’s landscape. Today, disembark the Ocean Endeavour and transfer to the airport for homeward-bound flights.

Highlights

Highlights

Browse the cultural attractions of Reykjavík, a global hotspot for culture
Visit Grimsey Island, lying right on the Arctic Circle
Sail by Surtsey, one of the world's newest islands
Hike to dramatic cliffs to photograph seabirds, visit remarkable geological formations by Zodiac, learn about Iceland’s incredible volcanic history

Details

Length: 10 days
Cost From: $4495  
Arrive: Reykjavík, Iceland
Depart: Reykjavík, Iceland
Lodging: 9 nights aboard a 198-passenger expedition vessel
Meals: All meals included aboard ship
Activity: Sea Kayaking, Walking, Wildlife & Natural History, Photography, Small Ship Cruising
Trip Level:

10-day cruise, cultural explorations and walking tours