Iceland

Ice Ice Baby!

Iceland’s 30+ active volcanoes and gorgeous glaciers lend it the nickname “The Land of Fire and Ice”. On top of that, the magical glimmering of the Aurora Borealis, majestic waterfalls that will leave you speechless, steam and water exploding from ancient geysers, and toasty warm hot springs for you to take a dip in, all make Iceland a true winter wonderland whose beauty will leave you in awe!

We have carefully selected the dates for this trip because they are within the optimal time to view the Northern Lights. Although it is a good time of year to see them, there are many factors that can affect being able to see the Northern Lights and it is not guaranteed. However, the hotels we stay at have an Aurora Borealis wake up call, so if you want to see them, you can get a call to your room!

Day 1 : Reykjavik Arrival

Welcome to Iceland! Today you arrive in Reykjavik and settle into your hotel in the heart of the Old Town. Depending on your arrival, you will have time to explore the capital city of Iceland. There are many sites, shops, cafes, pubs and restaurants within walking distance of the hotel. Some of the more iconic sites not to miss are : Hallgrímskirkja Church, the Harpa Concert Hall, the main shopping street of Laugavegur, the sculpture The Sun Voyager, the pond Tjörnin, and much more!

Included :

  • Activities : Arrival & Airport pick-up; Free time
  • Accommodation : Boutique hotel

Day 2 : Golden Circle (Travel time approximately 4 hours)

This morning we will hit the road and start our journey along the Golden Circle : Iceland’s famous loop which includes some of its most famous must-see sites. We’ll stop by the National Park of Thingvellir where you can walk between continents. This is also the location of the Silfra fissure where you’ll have the option of snorkeling in between the North American Eurasian continents in some of the most amazing waters you’ve ever seen. There will also be a stop at Gullfoss, an impressive series of waterfalls plummeting 32 meters. If we’re lucky, the sun will be shining and we’ll be able to see a rainbow over the falls! Also along the Golden Circle, we will stop to see the extraordinary eruptions of the geysers. The day will end in Hella where we will spend the night.

Included :

  • Activities : Golden Circle loop; Thingvellir National Park; Snorkeling at Silfra (Optional & at your own expense); Gullfoss waterfall; Geysers; Hella transfer; Free time
  • Meals : Breakfast
  • Accommodation : Boutique hotel

Day 3 : Grand South Coast & Thorsmork (Travel time approximately 3 hours)

This morning we’ll be on our way to see two waterfalls : Seljalandsfoss, which cascades over steep cliffs and where it is possible to walk behind; and Skógafoss, which according to legend, a Viking named Thrasi hid his gold under. You’ll also have the opportunity to get up close and personal with the glacier and volcano Eyjafjallajökull, infamous for its eruption in 2010, which disrupted air traffic all over Europe. Today we will also visit the black-sand beach of Reynisfjara, the promontory Dyrhólaey and a vast expanse of volcanic fields. At Reynisfjara, you will have the option of horseback riding on the charcoal black-colored beach that is lined by the foamy white waters of the North Atlantic. In the evening, check out our hotel rooftop to try to get a glimpse of the Northern Lights!

Included :

  • Activities : Seljalandsfoss & Skógafoss waterfalls; Eyjafjallajökull volcano; Dyrhólaey promontory ; Reynisfjara black-sand beach; Horseback riding at Reynisfjara (Optional & at your own expense); Free time
  • Meals : Breakfast
  • Accommodation : Boutique hotel

Day 4 : Vatnajökull National Park & Jökulsárlón Iceberg Lagoon (Travel time approximately 4 hours)

Today we will make our way to the National Park of Vatnajökull. Skaftafell is the main area of the National Park and here you will have lots of great trails and glaciers for hiking as well as the majestic waterfall, Svartifoss. This waterfall is very unique because of its powerful stream of water which pours over black basalt columns. You’ll have the option of hiking on a glacier in Skaftafell if you would like. Next up is the Jökulsárlón Iceberg Lagoon we’ll explore the magical ice caves by boat. Then, onward to Diamond Beach. You’ll quickly see why this beach got its name as you feast your eyes on the stranded blocks of ice that look like gigantic diamonds on black velvet. After today’s activities, we’ll head to our hotel from which you can have spellbinding views of the magnificent glacier Vatnajökull!

Included :

  • Activities : Vatnajökull & Skaftafell national parks; Glacier hiking in Skaftafell (Optional & at your own expense); Jökulsárlón Iceberg Lagoon; Diamond Beach; Free time
  • Meals : Breakfast
  • Accommodation : Hotel

Day 5 : East Fjords (Travel time approximately 6.5 hours)

We will continue our journey across Iceland today with a drive where you will enjoy the beautiful scenery of fjords in the background. There will be the fjords : Berufjörður, Stöðvafjörður, Fáskrúðfjörður and Reyðarfjörður; all of which offer breathtaking photo ops. If they’re not feeling to shy, we may see some reindeer grazing! Tonight will be another great night to hopefully see some of the sublime hues of the Northern Lights after we arrive at our hotel nestled just beyond the fjords. Most of the hotels that we stay at even have a Northern Lights wake up call. You can let the front desk know that if the lights come out to ring the room!

Included :

  • Activities : East fjords; Hotel transfer; Free time
  • Meals : Breakfast
  • Accommodation : Hotel

Day 6 : Highland Plains & Lake Mývatn (Travel time approximately 5 hours)

As we say goodbye to the fjords, our journey will take us to a very different landscape toward the north. Today, our travels will lead us to Dettifoss, said to be the most powerful waterfall in Europe, some aptly call it “The Beast”! You may also recognize this waterfall from the opening scene in the 2012 “Alien” re-make. Krafla Volcano is also worth the stop as it has given life to many of the sites to be seen in the area, including the Námafjall hot springs and Lake Mývatn. You will have the option of relaxing in the Mývatn natural pools as well.

Included :

  • Activities : Dettifoss waterfall; Krafla volcano; Námafjall hot springs; Lake Mývatn; Mývatn natural pools visit (Optional & at your own expense); Free time
  • Meals : Breakfast
  • Accommodation : Hotel

Day 7 : Northern Iceland & Arctic Ocean (Travel time approximately 5.5 hours)

We’ll continue to explore Lake Mývatn and its many attractions today. One is the water cave Grjótagjá and for all of you Game of Thrones fans, this was a filming location for one of the episodes in season three! We’ll also visit another regal waterfall by the name of Goðafoss, or “waterfall of the gods” with a fascinating history. Today you’ll have the option of exploring the Lofthellir Cave and whale watching. As we continue onward north, we’ll end the day in Akureyri, the capital of the north and on the edge of the Arctic Ocean!

Included :

  • Activities : Grjótagjá cave; Goðafoss waterfall; Lofthellir cave (Optional & at your own expense); Whale watching (Optional & at your own expense); Akureyri transfer; Free time
  • Meals : Breakfast
  • Accommodation : Hotel

Day 8 : Siglufjörður Fjord & Coast and Highland Passes (Travel time approximately 4 hours)

On our last day of traveling, we will begin by exploring one of Iceland’s most beautiful villages, Siglufjörður. You’ll love this charming fishing village that is snugly situated among the cliff walls of the fjord. As we head south, we’ll take three mountain passes with some super secret, surprise stops along the way! You’ll also be able to see lots of farms and horses grazing as we drive. If you’re feeling up for it, we can briefly stop for a quick hike on a volcanic crater called Grábrók.  Let’s cross our fingers that the Northern Lights will grace us with their presence tonight!

Included :

  • Activities : Siglufjörður village; Grábrók crater hike (Optional); Free time
  • Meals : Breakfast
  • Accommodation : Hotel

Day 9 : Reykjavik (Travel time approximately 2 hours)

Today we will explore the historic area of Reykholt which holds quite a few gems : the cascades of Hraunfossar and Barnafossar that come out from the porous lava rock as well as some remarkable lava fields. You have the choice of exploring the Víðgelmir lava tubes or traversing another glacier. We will then be on our way back to Reykjavik, but will make a stop at the Blue Lagoon where you can take a dip at Iceland’s most iconic geothermal spa. A luxurious bath in the steamy, sulfuric pools will put your relax and soothe after our journey across the island. Upon return to Reykjavik, you will have the rest of the afternoon at your leisure to check out more of the city or relax at the hotel.

Included :

  • Activities : Hraunfossar and Barnafossar cascades; Víðgelmir lava tubes or glacier hike (Optional & at your own expense); Reykjavik transfer; Blue Lagoon; Free time
  • Meals : Breakfast
  • Accommodation : Boutique hotel

Day 10 : Reykjavik Departure

Depending on your flight time, you will have free time on your own in Reykjavik before catching your flight back home.

Included :

  • Activities : Free time; Departure (At your own expense)
  • Meals : Breakfast

 

*Itinerary is subject to change.

Regular Season 10-Day Tours

$4,500 – Trip cost (See below for inclusions and exclusions.)

I’m a single traveler. Will I be charged a single supplement?

Accommodation is on a double occupancy basis and if you are traveling on your own, you will be sharing a room with another traveler of the same gender. If there is no one of the same gender with whom to pair you, you WILL be required to pay the single supplement.  The room size in Iceland does vary and some the rooms can be a bit small so keep this in mind when deciding if you are willing to share.  We have tried to keep the single supplement cost as low as possible.

If you decide at the booking stage that you want a single room throughout the tour, you can purchase the “single supplement”The single supplement cost for this trip is $800. If you would like your own room, you can buy the additional supplement at check-out. 

What is included :

  • 9 nights accommodation (Double occupancy, breakfast included)
  • Local guide throughout
  • Airport pick-up
  • Private ground transportation in private 4×4 mini-bus
  • Most activities (As noted in itinerary)
  • Blue Lagoon visit
  • All breakfasts

What is not included :

  • Most dinners & lunches
  • Optional activities
  • Gratuities
  • Alcoholic beverages
  • Souvenirs
  • Airport drop-off
  • International flight
  • Supplementary insurance
Tour Duration

This tour will cover nearly the entire island of Iceland and will last for 10 days. Many other tours cover the same amount of distance in only 6 days, which we feel is too short to enjoy everything Iceland has to offer. During our 10 day tour, you will have ample time to explore each place we visit and you won’t be rushed at all like you would be on a shorter tour. A longer trip also means that you’ll have more opportunities to see the Northern Lights!

Group Size

Each of our groups have a maximum of 12 travelers plus a local guide. We try to price our trips very reasonably while taking into consideration the small group sizes as well as the generally elevated costs of accommodation and transportation in Iceland.

When tour group sizes increase to 15-30 travelers, the general ambiance of the trip is less authentic and travelers tend to be less able to integrate into a society. Large tour groups also generally have less authentic contact with the locals. The more people in a tour group, the more the group experiences their own culture rather than the one of the country they are visiting.

Small group sizes are beneficial because they tend to allow for easier transport and communication. They are more mobile and can be more easily integrated into a social scene in Iceland. A small group traveler is also less likely to be treated as a tourist ready to be exploited for his/her money. Additionally, small groups are more flexible as travel plans can be more easily changed or altered en route. If the group discovers a special event or festival in Iceland that they would like to attend, and this is not covered by the original tour itinerary, it is possible to change the itinerary. A small group size also means that travelers will receive more individual attention from their tour guide. As a small group, it is easier to come to an agreement and for the tour guide to alter reservations.

Small groups are low impact in Iceland because they don’t introduce a large number of foreigners to a local scene where they can have an adverse impact on the local society and other travelers. For example, a large tour group can take up all the seats on a local bus or book out an entire restaurant forcing locals and other travelers away from their preferences.

Optional Activities

While in Iceland, some activities are included in the trip cost while others are optional and will be at your own expense. These optional activities and excursions are not included in the trip cost. Please see the itinerary tab for the possible optional activities and excursions. Most of them can be arranged with short to little notice and the local guide will be able to help you make necessary arrangements. Optional activities include, but are not limited to : glacier hiking, thermal pool visits, horseback riding, whale watching and more!

Currency

Iceland uses the Icelandic Króna (ISK) and other currencies will not be accepted for legal tender. The most convenient way to handle money is to use a debit card for withdrawals from an ATM and/or to bring US dollars to exchange.

If you need to buy ISK on arrival, you can exchange a small amount at the Reykjavik airport. If exchanging at the airport, it’s usually best to exchange only a small amount and then seek a better deal elsewhere. It’s also worth mentioning that unless you’re really stuck, exchanging your cash at the hotel is probably a poor idea. Despite the convenience, rates are often unfavorable. *Please note that traveler’s checks are not advised and are no longer widely accepted.

Finding places to exchange currency in large cities in Iceland will be easy enough. However, if you’re heading off to rural areas or small villages, don’t assume that exchanging cash will be a simple affair. It’s best to have some ISK on you.

If you’re traveling with foreign currency to exchange when you arrive in Iceland, it is a good idea to make sure your banknotes are in relatively good condition with limited tears and creases.

Major credit cards are widely accepted all over Iceland. If you’re in more remote areas or shopping at smaller, local boutiques, you might find that credit cards are not as readily accepted, but generally, your credit cards will be accepted nearly everywhere. However, we recommend always carrying some cash just in case!

ATMs are common in towns and cities. As a general rule, using ATMs for cash withdrawal is one of the smartest ways to get cash. The exchange rates applied are usually fair and they’re convenient to use. However, do make sure you know what fees your home bank charges and watch the machine for the fees added by the ATM operator. If your bank adds a per transaction fee, for example, then taking out larger sums less frequently would be a more sensible way to reduce overall costs.

We suggest bringing or having access to anywhere from $1,800 – $2,500 while on the trip, either in cash and/or on your debit card. WE HIGHLY ADVISE BUDGETING MORE MONEY THAN YOU EXPECT TO SPEND IN CASE OF AN EMERGENCY.

Souvenirs

There are plenty of souvenirs to be found in Iceland. There are countless souvenir shops in many of the places we’ll be visiting, especially in Reykjavik. You can spend hours browsing for that perfect souvenir. Local craft markets can be found as well. These creations will make a special gift for your loved ones – or yourself!

A good rule of thumb in responsible traveling is to buy locally. Keep in mind the source of the souvenirs. It is obvious that some are not from Iceland at all, but clearly marked China or some other foreign country.

Communication

If you have a smart phone, it will likely work in Iceland, but coverage may be spotty in the more remote areas. Be sure to check with your provider to get informed about data and call roaming while abroad. You also may consider contacting your service provider to learn about what kind of international plans they offer for calls, texts, and data.

Wifi 

In general, hotels, restaurants and other public places in just about any tourist area in Iceland offer wifi. Internet cafes can be found in cities and towns, but are not very common and tend to be quite expensive. Internet speeds in Iceland are relatively fast, but please keep in mind that although it’s available, it may not always be as fast as you are used to, especially in rural areas.

What to Bring 

Temperatures in Iceland in the month of October are generally quite cold and are in the 30s ~ 60s°F with very little rainfall. The days are still somewhat long, but are shortening with daylight lasting approximately 11 hours. 

Below are a few things that we suggest bringing to make your trip more comfortable :

  • Comfortable walking shoes with good traction
  • Hiking shoes/boots (preferably water resistant)
  • Warm winter coat
  • Bathing suit (The water will be warm, but outside temperatures cold, so a warm cover-up for after swimming is recommended.)
  • Diarrhea/constipation medicine
  • Sunscreen (Biodegradable, if possible)
  • Sunglasses
  • Hat/Stocking cap
  • Warm gloves
  • Camera
  • First aid kit
  • Motion sickness medication (If needed)
  • Umbrella
  • Thermal underwear
  • Flip flops ( this will be useful after exiting hot springs)
  • Fleece lined clothing
  • Snacks (food is expensive in Iceland and we have some long drives)
Laundry

A few of the hotels on this trip offer laundry services, if needed. Please plan and pack accordingly. 

Safety

Iceland is a safe country with very low crime rates, violent and non-violent. Petty theft is also rare, but those who do get their belongings stolen or have had something bad happen to them usually have acted irresponsibly. In most cases of theft, drugs and alcohol are usually involved. If you steer clear of illegal and irresponsible behavior.

Gun violence and armed robberies are not common in Iceland.

U.S. State Department Travel to Iceland 

Water

The public drinking water in Iceland is generally safe to drink. Most travelers agree that it is very clean and have not had any issues. Some prefer the bottled water which is readily available for a fee at restaurants, hotels, cafes, food stores, and kiosks.

As in most countries we travel to, we encourage our travelers to be conscious of the world’s growing plastic waste problem. We suggest pooling money together with other travelers in the group to purchase larger bottles or jugs of water and refilling your own personal water bottles from there or drinking the tap water.

Another thing you can do to help the environment is to put purchased items in your day pack/backpack rather than using the plastic bag that the store provides you. Small things can add up to make a big difference!

Medical Facilities

The doctors in Iceland are well-trained and can offer quality care, so you will not have any problems getting proper medical treatment if needed.

Tipping

Tipping is not common or compulsory at most establishments in Iceland, but many dining and drinking establishments will add a service fee to the bill. If you received exemplary service and would like to leave a tip, you can round up the bill. (i.e. If the bill is 3,750 ISK, you can leave 4,000 ISK.) This is more common in higher end restaurants. If you do not receive good service, do not feel obligated to tip. It is not compulsory.

It is also not compulsory to tip your guide and drivers in Iceland, but again, if you feel like you received good service from your guide and driver, and they enhanced your trip, then you are welcome to tip what you feel appropriate!

Arrival

In your pre-departure notes, you will receive the name of the hotel in both the local language and English as well as pertinent phone numbers.

Visa

Visitors from Australia, United Kingdom, Canada and the United States who are traveling to Iceland for less than 90 days in each country DO NOT need a visa. Your passport must be valid for at least 3 months beyond your travel dates.

If you are not a citizen of one of the above-mentioned countries, please check with your nearest Icelandic embassy or consulate for information on visas and travel to Iceland.

Flights

Once you have booked your flights, please forward your flight information to us. You will be given the hotel name and address in both English and the local language prior to arrival to show the taxi driver. Your arrival and departure city is Reykjavik.

*Please do not book any flights until you receive a confirmation from us which will be sent to you 24 ~ 48 hours after paying your deposit. 

PEAK Season : June to August – This is the most popular time for people to visit Iceland. The midnight sun occurs during the Icelandic summer, meaning that the days are incredibly long and people gain extra energy. With the elevated number of tourists also comes elevated prices for accommodation and transportation.

SHOULDER Season : September to October and April to May – October is one of the least busy months in Iceland. The rush of the summer is over, the festivities of early winter are yet to set in, and the country is in somewhat of a limbo between the two. You can enjoy the best of both seasons without having to worry about there being too many crowds. The days are long enough for you to fill them with activities and while the nights are dark enough for you to enjoy the Northern Lights; the majority of roads to incredible locations are still accessible.

LOW Season : November to March – Frequent rain and snow showers, long nights and temperatures in the 20s and 30s characterize Iceland’s winter. There is a dark atmosphere and cold, wet climate at this time. Tours for other activities and attractions may not be available due to poor road conditions. Also, rain gear and winter essentials like gloves, hats, insulated coats and boots are a must.

 Reykjavik – Old Town

 


Hella (Day 2)

 


Meðallandsvegur (Day 3)

 


Höfn (Day 4)

 


Fáskrúðsfjörður (Day 5)

 


Skútustaðahreppur (Day 6)

 


Akureyri (Day 7)

 


Reykholt (Day 8)

 

*Hotels subject to change.

Insurance

We strongly recommend that you purchase trip/travel insurance for your trip. We work with Travelex, which offers travel protection plans to help protect you and your travel investment against the unexpected. Travel protection plans include coverage for Trip Cancellation, Trip Interruption, Emergency Medical and Emergency Evacuation/Repatriation, Trip Delay, Baggage Delay and more. Otherwise, you are welcome to shop around online for a provider and policy that best suits your needs.

For more information on the recommended plans or to enroll, click on the image below or contact Travelex Insurance Services at 800-228-9792. Globe Drifters’ reference location number is 09-0984.

Vaccinations

Below is information from the CDC and its recommendations regarding vaccinations for travel to Greece.

CDC Iceland

Trip Date

SEPTEMBER 29
OCTOBER 8, 2018
RESERVE YOUR SPOT
USD $4500

Price based on double occupancy. The single supplement can be purchased for an additional $800.


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