8 Days Reykjavík to Reykjavík.
Highlights Include: Reykjavík, Thingvellir National Park, Borgarfjörður, Eiríksstaðir, Siglufjörður, Geysir, Gullfoss, and Vík
Viking heritage is intrinsically woven into the fabric of Icelandic culture and the Sagas which recount early Viking voyages form the foundation of the Icelandic literary tradition. Take a walk through history experiencing the epic tales of heroic deeds in the actual the settings where the stories take place with Iceland’s breathtaking nature providing the backdrop for our cultural journey. Learn Icelandic folklore and our fascination with elves and the mystical “hidden people.”
Vikings, Sagas & Folklore
DAY 1 ARRIVE REYKJAVÍK, ICELAND: Welcome greet at Keflavík airport. Drive to Reykjavík for check-in at the accommodation. Overnight stay in Reykjavík for the next two nights.
Hotel Name: Icelandair Hotel Natura. Optional: Dinner at the historic site of Viðeyjarstofa.
DAY 2 REYKJAVÍK: We begin with a short drive to Bessastaðir, the official residence of Iceland’s President. We stop at Perlan, which is situated on top of hot water storage tanks from where we enjoy fantastic panoramic views of the city. Then onto the old part of town where we visit Hallgrímskirkja church whose high steeple is a landmark visible from all over the city and beyond. In the city center we see the Icelandic Parliament which houses the world’s oldest legislative assembly. We also see City Hall the Lutheran and Catholic cathedrals as well as the bustling harbor area. We visit The Settlement Exhibition. In 2001 archaeological remains were excavated in Aðalstræti, which turned out to be the oldest relics of human habitation in Reykjavík. A wall fragment was found dating before 871 AD. During the excavation a hall or a longhouse was found as well, from the tenth century. The hall and the wall fragment are now preserved at their original location as the focal point of an exhibition about life in Viking Age Reykjavík. The exhibition aims to provide insights into the environment of the Reykjavík farm at the time of the first settlers.Our last stop will be at the Culture House to see many of the landmark books of Icelandic cultural history, dating from the introduction of printing in the sixteenth century to the present day.
Hotel Name: Icelandair Hotel Natura.(B)
Your Adventure: Kayaking in Stokkseyri. Kayaking in serene waters with breathtaking views is a peaceful way to spend the day. Our expert guide begins by teaching kayaking techniques and how the kayaks are stable and easy to use. Paddle along the coast and enjoy the magnificent views, before landing ashore and relaxing in the quiet Icelandic countryside.
*Please note that Dyrholaey is closed during nesting season in the spring from early May until late June.
DAY 3 ÞINGVELLIR / KALDIDALUR / BORGARFJÖRÕUR: We leave the city and our first stop will be at Gljúfrasteinn, the home and workplace of Halldór Laxness (winner of the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1955) for more than half a century. It has been opened to the public as a museum, unchanged from when Laxness lived there. Onwards to Thingvellir, a National Park and former site of the world’s oldest parliament. We walk through the stunning natural beauty of this ancient historic site that is also full of geological wonders. We cross the mountain pass Kaldidalur and witness the rugged beauty of the Icelandic highlands before arriving in the fertile valley of Borgarfjörður. We stop at the picturesque Hraunfossar and Barnafoss waterfalls before heading to Reykholt, home of Snorri Sturluson, the eminent 13th century scholar, politician and Saga author. We drive to Borg Farm, the birthplace of Egill Skallagrímsson, Iceland’s most famous Viking poet from the Saga of Egill. Our last stop of the day is at the Icelandic Settlement center in Borgarnes for the exhibition of Egill Skallagrímsson. Dinner and overnight stay in the Borgarnes area.
Hotel Name: Icelandair Hotel Hamar. (B/D)
DAY 4 LAUGAR / EIRÍKSSTAðIR / ÞINGEYRI / HVAMMSTANGI / VARMAHLÍð: From Borgarnes we drive northwards to the fertile farmlands of Búðardalur. We visit Eiríksstaðir, the original home of Erik the Red and birthplace of his son Leif Eiriksson, two of the most celebrated Vikings in the world. At this living history museum replica and archeological site you experience the places, artifacts, and activities that authentically represent the Sagas and Vikings of the past. A short drive down the road to brings us to Leifsbúð Museum and the Vineland Exhibit of Leif Eiriksson with scientifically verified tools and artifacts from the Viking Age. The Dalabyggð region is enchanting and magical, with its countless stories of elves, ghosts and sorcerers. The “Elf Colony” in the rock at Tungustapi is the setting for one of Iceland’s most-loved folktales but it is also the heart of the Laxdælasaga, one of Iceland’s historic Sagas. We drive via Laxárdalsheiði heath, along Vatnsnes peninsula to enjoy the extraordinary rock formation of Hvítserkur and hopefully spot some seals enjoying the scenery. We stop at the small church of Þingeyri, the former site of the first monastery established in Iceland in the early 12th century. Dinner and overnight stay in the Varmahlíð area.
Hotel Name: Hotel Varmahlið. (B/D)
DAY 5 VARMAHLÍð / GLAUMBÆR FOLK MUSEUM / SAUðÁRKRÓKUR / HÓLAR / SIGLUFJÖRðUR: We begin with a morning visit to the Glaumbær Regional History Museum and the old church at Víðimýri, considered to be an outstanding example and keepsake of Icelandic architecture. Onwards to Hólar, an important historical site in Iceland as a bishopric and is still today a respected learning center . Hólar played an important role in the medieval politics of Iceland. We visit the beautiful 18th century church and the archaeological site. We drive along the coast to Hofsós and enjoy an excellent view of majestic Drangey Island, soaring 150 meters (500 feet) out of the ocean, with steep cliffs surrounding. This is where the great Icelandic outlaw, Grettir the Strong met his destiny in the 10th century. We stop at Hofsós for a glimpse into the difficult past conditions of ancient Icelandic fishermen. We visit the Icelandic Emigration Center dedicated to commemorate Icelandic emigrants to North America. We head on to Siglufjörður, an isolated fishing village nestled in steep mountains and an open fjord. Siglufjörður was the capital of the herring industry in its heyday during the bountiful herring years of 1905 – 1965 also known as the “Icelandic gold rush”. We visit the Herring Industry Museum where instruments of days gone by are kept in perfect working order. Dinner and overnight stay in the Varmahlíð area.
Hotel Name: Hotel Varmahlið. (B/D)
DAY 6 KJÖLUR / GEYSIR / GULLFOSS / SKÁLHOLT: Today we travel the highland track Kjölur, a legendary route mentioned in the Sagas. We stop at the geothermal site of Hveravellir and take a short walk to the natural warm pool and hot springs with colorful silica deposits. This area is a famous former outlaw refuge in ancient times, where their ghosts can still be seen as shadows moving across the desert. We drive onwards to the great Geysir area with boiling mud craters and erupting hot springs including Strokkur, which spouts every few minutes. Close by is Gullfoss, considered by many to be Iceland’s finest waterfall. We travel onward to Skálholt bishopric, an important historic, cultural and political center until the year 1785. In addition to the bishop’s office, there is also a cathedral, school, smithy and a monastery. Dinner and overnight stay in the Flúðir area.
Hotel Name: Icelandair hotel Flúðir. (B/D)
DAY 7 HVOLSVÖLLUR / VÍK / REYKJAVÍK: We drive through an area of rich farmlands and majestic mountains, to the scene of the Saga of Njál, one of Iceland’s most famous works of medieval literature. On a clear day we may see the famous, still active Hekla volcano. We visit the Saga Center in Hvolsvöllur, and learn first-hand about the world of mythology, ocean voyages, and the discovery of new lands.The road leads us to the thundering waterfalls of Seljalandsfoss and Skógafoss, displaying seductive scenery and giving us the chance of getting close to the forces of nature. In the cliffs above the waterfalls we may see Fulmars nesting in the summer season. We continue to the Reynisdrangar rock formations and the village of Vík, surrounded by beautiful and impressive high bird cliffs and unique black sand beaches. We drive back to Reykjavík in the afternoon. Overnight stay in Reykjavík.
Hotel Name: Icelandair Hotel Natura.(B)
DAY 8 DEPARTURE: Transfer to Keflavík Airport for the return flight. (B)
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