Only a fraction of visitors to Iceland make it across to the far-flung west, and the lack of tourists make its landscapes and villages a dream to explore. Learn about the devastating effects of a volcano eruption which rocked the Westman Islands in 1973, leaving large swaths of town buried beneath ash and lava and earning the moniker “Pompeii of the North”. Visit the home of influential Icelandic scholar Snorri Sturluson and see the landscapes that inspired his epic poetry. Witness the breadth of Iceland’s incredible natural phenomena – bubbling volcanic solfataras, rootless craters, glacial lakes and geothermal lagoons
Iceland is a land of physical extremes, from towering rocky cliffs and glacier-tipped volcanoes to sweeping tundras and Viking haunts. On this cruise you will see it all, from the popular Westman Islands to the remote and relatively untouched Westfjords. Wonder at thundering waterfalls of Reykholt, climb the dizzyingly steep Latrabjarg cliffs and encounter history both ancient and contemporary. Afterwards, explore the beautifully rugged landscapes of Iceland’s western peninsulas. Enjoy a boat cruise between icebergs at Glacier Lagoon and trek around vast waterside craters. Visit charming fishing villages and walk the colourful streets of Reykjavik.
Breakfast Included: 14 Lunches Included: Dinner Included: 13
Why not spend the morning getting acquainted with Iceland’s capital before boarding the Panorama in the late afternoon. Savour the view of modern skyscrapers against immense mountains as you set sail before enjoying a welcome dinner. Perhaps enjoy a post meal Brennivin (a local savoury schnapps) before bed, and get some rest during the overnight trip to your first destination.
Say good-morning to rocky cliffs and alight for a bus tour of these rugged islands. Visit the Eldheimar Museum, which offers insight into the devastating volcano eruption of 1973, which left huge swaths of town buried beneath layers of lava and ash. Later, watch the locals scale treacherous cliff faces while rope swinging, a traditional method of gathering bird eggs reinvented as an exhilarating sport. If you'd like, grab a “pylsa” (Icelandic hot dog) and eat while you explore before heading back to the ship for an overnight journey.
From port it’s a short journey to Reykholt, a town alive with geothermal activity and once home to eminent medieval scholar and politician Snorri Sturluson. Learn about this towering Icelandic figure and more at the Reykholt Museum. Then, visit the thundering waterfalls Hraunfossar and Barnafoss, and see why Sturluson imagined Iceland’s cascades to be the watering holes of the gods “where joyful Odin drinketh every day.” Make sure to pack a towel and bathers so you can take a dip in the Krauma thermal pools. Return to Akranes and spend the evening at sea.
Travel from the small fishing town to Raudasandur Beach, where the lurid sand stretches are far as the eye can see. Explore the Latrabjarg cliffs, and perhaps spot the bold and wonderfully tame puffins that live there. Return to port and feel free to grab a kayak from the ship and explore the bay. Perhaps grab a dinner of fresh fish in Patreksfjordur with the locals, or enjoy a late night drink on deck, as the ship will be docked here overnight.
Take a trip to nearby Pingeyri, a small town rich in Viking history that lays nestled beneath the tallest of the Westfjord Alps. Here you will find a festival site constructed in the Old Icelandic style, a traditional hearth surrounded by seating made from stones and grass, where you can imagine yourself as a celebratory Viking, before returning to the ship for an overnight journey.
Arrive early in Grundafjordur and spend the day wandering glacier topped volcanoes in the awe-inspiring Snaefellsnes Peninsula, where you will surely work up your appetite for an afternoon cooking demonstration aboard the Panorama. Learn how to make staple dishes that have remained relatively unchanged for centuries. Maybe spend the evening reading one of the Icelandic sagas while the ship returns to the capital.
Revisit Reykjavik during a tour from your now-familiar on-board leaders. The city is full of architecture that is almost as striking as the nearby mountains, and you may wish to explore buildings like the towering Hallgrimskirkja, a stark modern cathedral. Enjoy a farewell dinner on deck for your Adventure Cruise part of the tour, and toast your new friends before spending your final evening on board.
Disembark your voyage this morning and transfer to your hotel in Reykjavik, Iceland's quirky capital. There are no activities planned until tonight's group meeting, but if you arrive early, take a stroll and acquaint yourself with the world's northernmost capital. Perhaps take a trip to the National Museum to see the permanent exhibition on the history of Iceland from the 9th century to the present. As there is not much time spent in Reykjavik on this trip you may want to consider booking some additional days in the capital before or after your trip.
Thingvellir National Park / Borgarfjordur / Snaefellsnes Peninsula
Today you’ll board your private vehicle and drive to Þingvellir National Park (Parliament Plains), the original location of Iceland’s first parliament from 930 AD and a geological phenomenon. From here enter the Borgarfjordur area and visit the stunning waterfalls of Hraunfossar (Lava waterfalls) and Barnafossar (Children’s waterfalls). Continue to Deildartunguhver, Europe’s hottest water spring. In the afternoon head to your overnight stay in the southern part of the Snaefellsnes Peninsula. Later meet up with the group for dinner.
Snaefellsnes Peninsula / Skagafjordur
Today you will continue around the Snaefellsnes Peninsula and its magnificent glacier Snaefellsjokull, an icecap covering a dormant volcano underneath. Places you’ll visit today include basaltic pebble beaches framed by strange lava formations, and Arnarstapi, where a short stroll along the coastal cliffs gives you access to the rich birdlife and other wonders of nature. Continue to the pretty town of Stykkisholmur with its famous modern church overlooking town, before driving to our overnight stay in Saudarkrokur in Iceland's north.
Trollaskagi Peninsula / Akureyri
Drive around the impossibly picturesque Trollaskagi Peninsula and visit the small fishing town of Siglufjordur. Explore the compact town centre, dwarfed by towering mountains on three sides, and opening up to the fjord on its northern side. Continue to the town of Akureyri, Iceland's second town, where you will have the afternoon to enjoy at leisure. Perhaps visit the church or join a whale watching adventure from the town’s port.
Lake Myvatn / Modrudalur Valley
Start the day by driving to the waterfall Godafoss, also known as The Waterfall of the Gods. Continue to Lake Myvatn, one of the most interesting geological and geographical areas of the northern hemisphere and in Iceland. Visit a number of geological anomalies lining the lake’s shorline, including the lava labyrinth of Dimmuborgir and the pseudo-crater group at Skutustadir, and the boiling mud pots and sulphuric vents of Namaskard. From Lake Myvatn drive to the magnificent waterfall Dettifoss, Europe's mightiest waterfall. In the Modrudalur Valley, a settlement in Iceland's highlands, a local baker will ‘treat’ you to a pastry making demonstration. Astarpungur – translated into English this means “love-ball” – is a round donut-like pastry typical to the region. You will spend the night in Modrudalur.