Iceland Circumnavigation

From Reykjavik to Reykjavik
  • All Arctic Cruises
  • Iceland and Greenland
  • Wildlife and Nature
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Tour Description

Iceland - Circumnavigating the Land of Fire & Ice, on an 11 day expedition cruise. 

Travel to the "Land of Ice and Fire," where glaciers and active volcanoes can be found among snow-capped mountains.

 Explore Westfjords, one of the remotest and most pristine regions in Iceland—ideal for nature hikes and sea kayaking. Across the Arctic Circle at Grimsey Island, stretch your legs on hikes across the island and discover cliffs teeming with seabirds. Our team of experts will interpret this fascinating country— one of the world’s youngest. It’s a land of spectacular geology that is rich in wildlife, culture and human history.

Our specialist naturalists and historians will reveal the Iceland below the surface – a land rich in wildlife, culture and fascinating human history. Cruise, take zodiac cruises, walk and explore ashore, and perhaps even take a polar plunge!

With a maximum of 132 expeditioners, our aim is to get you off ship experiencing the natural environment as much as possible and our smaller groups also mean we can tread lightly, making a positive impact to the environment.

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Explore the highland area between the fjords of Dyrafjordur and Arnarfjordur, often referred to as the Alps of the Westfjords

Visit Grimsey Island, located above the Arctic Circle, and features impressive cliffs teeming with nesting seabirds including charismatic puffin.

Witness the incredible diversity of Iceland’s landscapes forged by the powerful seismic activity that has shaped the island’s appearance and way of life of the people.

Tour Itinerary

Day 1
Arrive Reykjavik

Having made your way to Reykjavik, you will be met by a representative and transferred to our group hotel. Upon arrival at your included hotel, please visit the hospitality desk to collect your luggage cabin tags and to speak with our ground operations team, who may have information to share with you about pre-embarkation or to provide you with information about where to dine, withdraw cash or purchase last minute items from a local pharmacy or supermarket.

The remainder of your time is at leisure. All meals today are at your own expense.

Accommodation: Fosshotel Reykjavik Hote

Day 2
Embarkation day: Reyjkavik

This morning, please ensure your cabin luggage is fitted with cabin tags clearly labelled with your name and cabin number. Your luggage will be collected from your hotel and transferred directly to the port for clearance and delivered to your cabin ahead of your arrival on board. Please keep any valuables or personal items with you throughout the day.

Breakfast and check-out. Join our guided Golden Circle and Geothermal Energy tour. With 85% of its electricity sourced from renewable sources, Iceland sets an outstanding example when it comes to sustainable energy. Our journey takes us to the famous seismic sights of the Golden Circle route - Gullfoss waterfall, Geysir and history-rich Thingvellir National Park, before we experience first-hand how green, sustainable energy is produced at one of the largest single-site geothermal power plants on the planet at the Geothermal Energy Exhibition and Ljósafossvirkjun Power Station. This evening, get to know your fellow expeditioners, expedition team and crew at the Welcome Dinner to celebrate the start of a thrilling adventure.

Day 3
Snaefellsnes Peninsula

Arnastapi is the starting point of our adventures on the Snaefellsnes Peninsula, gateway to Snæfellsjökull National Park. Snaefellsnes Peninsula is an area of diverse landscapes that is characterised by lava fields and glistening fjords and home to a vast array of birdlife. The area is crowned by the magnificent, ice-capped Snæfellsjökull volcano, a 700,000-year-old dormant subglacial volcano, visible from Reykjavik on a clear day and immortalised in Jules Verne’s Journey to the Centre of the Earth.

You can choose from three shore excursion options that best suits your interests and level of fitness:

Explore Djúpalónssandur black sand beach, past Snaefellsjokull National Park and enjoy a scenic drive through moss covered lava fields to Búðakirkja Church and Mount Kirkjufell. Or discover the natural wonders of the Snaefelsness Peninsula on a coastal hike before exploring the underground Vatnshellir Caves and Kirkjufell Mountain. Alternatively, embark on dramatic cliff hike, climb the dormant Eldborg Crater and marvel at the Gerduberg basalt columns, ending at Mount Kirkjufe

Day 4
Patreksfjordur, Westfjords

Over the next three days, we explore the Westfjords region featuring outstanding landscapes with jaw-dropping views of dramatic fjords carved by ancient glaciers, sheer table mountains that plunge into the sea and pristine North Atlantic vegetation.

At Patreksfjordur, a shore excursion by coach takes us to Latrabjarg cliffs. As Europe’s largest bird cliff, Latrabjarg is home to millions of seabirds, such as puffin, razorbill, fulmar and guillemot. Enjoy the impressive variety of natural wonders and unspoiled nature. Latrabjarg also happens to be the westernmost point in Europe, east coast of the North American continent on the other side of the Atlantic.

In the afternoon, enjoy the bountiful silence and magnificent landscapes as we make our way north, spotting whales and other wildlife along the way.

Day 5
Thingeyri, Westfjords

Thingeyri, a quaint village nestled on a slender strip of land, graces the shores of one of Iceland's most picturesque fjords, Dýrafjörður. Much like many other coastal settlements in Iceland, the village's culture and industry have been intricately woven with the influence of the sea over centuries. The surrounding landscape is adorned with towering mountains, lending a distinctive charm to the scenic expanse that envelops Thingeyri. This idyllic region is often hailed as the "Alps of the Westfjords," especially the highland area nestled between the majestic fjords of Dyrafjordur and Arnarfjordur. The beauty of Thingeyri lies not only in its coastal simplicity but also in the dramatic backdrop of high mountains that paints a captivating portrait of this Icelandic village.

Today we take a short drive to Dynjandi waterfall, one of the most famous in Iceland. Following lunch on the ship, step back in time and learn about the Viking ways and how the hardy Norse people lived off the land at an interactive Viking Museum. Alternatively, hike Sandafell mountain.

Day 6
Holmavik & Djupavik, Westfjords

We visit the small towns of Holmavik and Djupavik, where kayakers can paddle in the peaceful waters surrounded by towering mountains while others can enjoy walks and hikes of varying levels of difficulty, soaking in the stunning surrounds including impressive waterfalls and deep fjords. Discover Icelandic folklore at the Witch and Sorcery Museum and visit an abandoned herring museum converted into an exhibition and gallery space.

Day 7
Grimsey Island

Located approximately 40 km (25 miles) off the mainland, Grímsey is a verdant grassy island, probably best known for its proximity to the Arctic Circle, which cuts across the island. Many people travel to Grímsey just to say they have stepped across the imaginary line. With a tiny population of approximately 100 inhabitants, it’s a fantastic place for Zodiac cruising, kayaking, and photographing seabirds such as guillemots, gulls and puffins.

Leaving Grímsey to return closer to the mainland, we spend time scanning the waters of Skjálfandi Bay around Húsavik, a town known as the Iceland’s ‘whale watching capital’, home to up to 24 different whale species, as well as dolphins and 30 variety of birds. The largest animal on earth, the blue whale, has also been spotted in Skjálfandi Bay, and if you are lucky, you might catch a glimpse of this magnificent creature as well as others, such as orcas, fin whales and pilot whales.

Day 8

Picturesque Akureyri is Iceland’s second largest city outside the capital area and is blessed with a superb snow-capped mountain backdrop.

Choose from three shore excursions in Akureyri to best suit your interests and level of fitness:

Choose to visit Godafoss Falls, Lake Myvatn and soak at Myvatn Nature baths, an outdoor hot spring bathing complex surrounded by mountain views. Or marvel at Godafoss Falls and hike otherworldly pseudo craters, lava labyrinths and the Hverir Geothermal Area. Alternatively, hike Hverfjall volcanic crater and the dramatic Dettifoss Falls enroute to Husavik where we visit the Husavik Research Centre, a leading specialist in marine mammal research.

In the late afternoon, we reboard our vessel in Husavik, the whale watching capital of Iceland.

Day 9

Located in the east coast of Iceland, we enjoy a sail along a long, scenic, calm and deep fjord that snakes for 17 kilometres (10.5 miles) from its mouth to the head of the fjord to the town of Seydisfjordur, nestled beneath Mounts Strandartindur and Bjolfur.

We spend some time exploring Seydisfjordur, a picturesque fishing village that is renowned for its charming collection of colourful wooden buildings located around the lagoon. Take a stroll around town and discover the timber houses that are remnants from when the Norwegians settled here and established the herring fishing facilities from 1870-1900. From the valley above the town, the river Fjardara tumbles down in beautiful cascades to the lagoon. There are a number of delightful hiking trails to explore, or alternatively, you can discover a flourishing cultural scene with an arts centre, the famous blue church that stages music concerts and the only two cinemas in the east of Iceland. Back in town, browse the stores where you will discover handicrafts by local artists and artisans – perfect as a souvenir or gift.

Day 10
Westman Islands

Located off Iceland’s south coast, the Westman Islands were formed by volcanic eruptions around 10,000 years ago. Westman Islands are surrounded by 15 other uninhabited islands and around 30 rocks and skerries offering refuge for rich array of seabirds. Westman Islands are considered to have the largest Atlantic puffin colony in the world, and when sailing around the islands it is not uncommon to see puffins but also whales and seals.

Heimaey is the main island in the archipelago, and it has the population of around 4,200. Ashore on Heimaey, the only inhabited island in the archipelago, we see half-buried houses that remain from a violent 1973 eruption of Eldfell volcano, which you can hike up if you wish.

Eruptions are a big part of the history of the Westman Island, where there are two volcanoes – one that erupted some 6,000 years ago, and Mount Eldfell that erupted in 1973, forcing all of the island’s inhabitants to evacuate for the mainland. Serendipitously, due to bad weather the day prior to the eruption, all the fishing boats remained in the harbour and were able to help transport the inhabitants of Heimaey to the mainland. You can learn more about the story of the eruption and the aftermath at the fascinating Eldheimar museum, which includes a display of a house that was buried in ash during the eruption.

Sail past Surtsey Island, a UNESCO World Heritage site that emerged from the sea in 1963 and is one the youngest land masses on earth.

Day 11

During the early morning, we cruise into Reykjavik and disembark at approximately 8.00 am. Farewell your expedition team and fellow passengers as you continue your onward journey. Transfer to Keflavik airport or to your centrally located hotel.

Note: We do not recommend booking flights departing prior to 12.00 pm on the day of disembarkation, as we may experience delays at the conclusion of the voyage.

Note: In order to experience some of the incredible scenery of Iceland, a number of the shore excursions on this itinerary require coach travel away from the coast.

What’s Included

  • Included Copy 20 One night’s hotel accommodation including breakfast, in Reykjavik on Day 1
  • Included Copy 20 Onboard accommodation during voyage, including daily cabin service.
  • Included Copy 20 All meals, snacks, tea and coffee during voyage.
  • Included Copy 20 Beer, house wine and soft drinks with dinner.
  • Included Copy 20 Captain’s Welcome and Farewell receptions including four-course dinner, house cocktails, house beer
Fees & Services
  • Included Copy 20 All airport transfers mentioned in the itinerary.
  • Included Copy 20 Half-day tour of Reykjavik on Day 2, prior to embarkation.
  • Included Copy 20 All shore excursions and Zodiac cruises.
  • Included Copy 20 Educational lectures and guiding services provided by Expedition Team.
  • Included Copy 20 Complimentary access to onboard expedition doctor and medical clinic (initial consultation).
  • Included Copy 20 One 3-in-1 waterproof, polar expedition jacket.
  • Included Copy 20 Complimentary use of Muck Boots during the voyage.
  • Included Copy 20 Comprehensive pre-departure information.
  • Included Copy 20 Port surcharges, permits and landing fees.
  • Included Copy 7 International flights, visas, Gratuities, Laundry, bar, beverages and insurance
  • Included Copy 31 Add on kayaking

Sylvia Earle

132 Passengers


  • Included Discover Seydisfjordur, a hidden gem on Iceland’s east coast.
  • Included Trip ashore and exploration by zodiac cruise, photography, walking.
  • Included Lectures on wildlife, our environment, history and destinations
  • Included Opportunity to take a polar plunge
  • Included Whale and mammal spotting and bird watching
  • Included Explore Westfjords, one of the remotest and most pristine regions in Iceland, a great place to kayak
  • Included Stretch your legs on hikes across the island and discover cliffs teeming with seabirds.
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11 days

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$12,282 USD

Per person, sharing

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