Trip Type : Group Tour
The Best of Iceland: A Country of Beautiful Contrasts tour

The Best of Iceland: A Country of Beautiful Contrasts

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Has very high quality customer experiences and demonstrated commitment to responsible travel practices. read more
4.6 . Excellent
89%
Travel Style: You will have solid amounts of both free time and structured time with some activities and meals included. Mixed
Physical Level: Regular walking or cycling over moderately long, hilly, or bumpy distances. Some public transport or utility vehicles such as safari jeeps. Moderate
Lodging Level: Mid-range budget with accommodations ranging from comfortable lodges, guesthouses, and homestays to three star hotels. Value - 3 star
12 days
From: $ 4,599 $ 383 / day
Checking price

Overview

Highlights

  • Witness geology in action in the “Land of Fire and Ice” and visit a geothermal power plant.
  • Go on a scallop fishing excursion in the Breidafjordur and take a bite out of another Icelandic delicacy: shark.
  • At the Agricultural Science Center learn how Icelandic agriculture is powered by geothermal greenhouses.

Short Description

Named by a Scandinavian explorer inspired by the beauty of icebergs bobbing through a fjord, Iceland is in fact not very icy at all, boasting abundant vegetation, a veritable menagerie of wildlife and stunning geological features. Journey through Iceland’s north, south and west with native experts who introduce you to their country’s history, music, food and traditions. Learn about the Sagas of Icelanders and explore a dramatic landscape, from the coast to the Blue Lagoon.

Groups are between 25-60 people, typically ~30-40. Usually there will be many opportunities to split off and enjoy meals and excursions in smaller groups. This is the most economical way to travel, saving up to 40% versus booking the same itinerary yourself.
Trip Type Group Tour
See all the highlights and popular spots on a classic tour.
Itinerary Focus Classic Highlights
Mid-range budget with accommodations ranging from comfortable lodges, guesthouses, and homestays to three star hotels.
Lodging Level Value - 3 star
Flights & Transport Internal airfare and ground transport
Start City Grindavík
End City Reykjavik

Trip Includes

  • 10 nights of accommodations
  • 6 expert-led lectures
  • 17 expert-led field trips
  • 1 flight during the program
  • 2 performances
  • An experienced Group Leader
  • Customary gratuities throughout the program
  • The Road Scholar Travel Protection Plan, 24-hour-a-day emergency assistance coverage
  • Taxes

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Itinerary

Day 1: In Transit to Program

In Flight

Day 2: Reykjanes Peninsula, Blue Lagoon, Grindavik

Meals: Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner

Accommodation: Northern Light Inn

Activity note: Check-in available from 2:00 PM.

Breakfast: Hotel dining room. On this program, breakfasts will offer a typical European style breakfast buffet with breads, cheeses, cold-cuts, yogurt, fruit, cereals, juice, milk, coffee, tea and water. Please note that water is included in the program cost at all meals.

Morning: After breakfast we take a drive along the coastline of the Reykjanes Peninsula, driving past the old Reykjanes lighthouse. Afterward we will check-in at the hotel.

Lunch: Hotel dining room. Lunches on this program are typically a two course set menu.

Afternoon: Welcome introduction. Your Group Leader will greet everyone and lead introductions. We will review the program theme, the up-to-date Daily Schedule and any changes, discuss safety guidelines, emergency procedures, roles and responsibilities, and answer any questions you may have. Indicated times are approximate. Program activities, schedules, and personnel may need to change due to local circumstances. In the event of changes, we will alert you as quickly as possible. Thank you for your understanding. Enjoy a swim in the Blue Lagoon, said to have demonstrable healing powers, especially against skin diseases and arthritis. Make sure to bring your bathing suit!

Dinner: Hotel dining room. Dinners on this program are typically a three course set menu. Please note that water is included in the program cost at all meals.

Evening: At leisure.

Day 3: Grindavik, Hvanneyri, Borgarnes

Meals: Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner

Accommodation: Hotel Borgarnes

Breakfast: Hotel dining room.

Morning: Depart for an expert-led visit to Grindavik's fish processing factory, and learn about the Icelandic fishing industry during a lecture.

Lunch: At a country restaurant.

Afternoon: Visit Hvanneyri, an Agricultural Science Center for an expert-led lecture and introduction to Icelandic agriculture. Arrival and check-in at hotel.

Dinner: Hotel dining room.

Evening: At leisure.

Day 4: Reykholt, Borgarfjördur Region, Borgarnes

Meals: Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner

Accommodation: Hotel Borgarnes

Breakfast: Hotel dining room.

Morning: Departure for Reykholt, homestead of the famous Saga writer, Snorri Sturluson. In Reykholt, attend a lecture: "Snorri Sturluson, Middle Ages & Struggle for Independence."

Lunch: En route.

Afternoon: After lunch we take an excursion through the Borgarfjördur region. Stops include Deildartunguhver, Europe’s most prolific hot spring; Hraunfossar, rare and beautiful waterfalls; and Borg, the homestead of Viking/poet Egill Skallagrímsson in the 10th century.

Dinner: Hotel dining room.

Evening: Evening entertainment at hotel with folk music and dancing.

Day 5: Stykkisholmur, Boat Ride and Scallop Fishing, Borgarnes

Meals: Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner

Accommodation: Hotel Borgarnes

Breakfast: Hotel dining room.

Morning: Depart for Stykkisholmur, a fishing village on the Snæfellsnes peninsula. Take a two-hour boat ride among the islands of Breidafjördur with some scallop fishing and tasting.

Lunch: In Stykkisholmur.

Afternoon: Visit farmer Hildibrandur’s shark museum to learn about shark processing. You will also get to taste this special Icelandic delicacy. Then take a peek into Hildibrandur's tiny church at Bjarnarhöfn.

Dinner: Hotel dining room.

Evening: At leisure.

Day 6: Textile Exhibition, Icelandic Horse, Akureyri

Meals: Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner

Accommodation: Hotel KEA

Breakfast: Hotel dining room.

Morning: Depart for Akureyri, North Iceland. En route we visit a horse farm, where we will become acquainted with the Icelandic horse. Enjoy an informative talk from the farmer about life at the farm, and meet the remarkable breed during a "horse show."

Lunch: At a country restaurant.

Afternoon: We stop at the textile exhibition at Blönduós, to see its beautiful collection of wool, national costumes, and tools of the trade including loom and spin wheels. Then enjoy an expert-led visit of the Glaumbær Folk Museum, located on an old turf farm that was inhabited until 1947. The farmhouse is a great example of the typical building method used in Iceland for centuries, and the exhibition focuses on rural life in Iceland in the 18th and 19th centuries. Arrival at the hotel.

Dinner: Hotel dining room.

Evening: At leisure.

Day 7: Akureyri

Meals: Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner

Accommodation: Hotel KEA

Breakfast: Hotel dining room.

Morning: Lecture: "Geology of Iceland."

Lunch: Hotel dining room.

Afternoon: Lecture: "Flora and Birds." Then take a sightseeing excursion through Akureyri by bus and on foot. Walk through the Botanical Garden, Akureyri's church, and the Hof Cultural Center, before enjoying some free time. Take this opportunity for personal independent exploration to see and do what interests you most. Please refer to the list of Free Time Opportunities, which can be found in the first Information Packet. The Group Leader will be happy to offer suggestions and give directions.

Dinner: Hotel dining room.

Evening: Departure for evening entertainment. More details will be provided in the final Information Packet.

Day 8: Whale Museum, Whale Watching Excursion or Local Museum, Akureyri

Meals: Breakfast and Lunch

Accommodation: Hotel KEA

Breakfast: Hotel dining room.

Morning: Departure for Husavik. Excursion to the Whale Museum, where we have a short lecture on the whales and other marine life in the waters surrounding Iceland.

Lunch: At Restaurant Salka.

Afternoon: If weather permits, embark on a Whale Watching Excursion! If the weather does not permit, enjoy a visit to the excellent local museum that houses a folk museum, a maritime museum and a natural history museum.

Dinner: Explore local fare on your own.

Evening: At leisure.

Day 9: Lake Myvatn, Fly to Reykjavik

Meals: Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner

Accommodation: Hotel Reykjavik Centrum

Activity note: Please note that today's internal flight is an Air Iceland flight, and is approx. 45 minutes long. The luggage limit is 44 pounds, and the hand luggage limit is 13 pounds. Please see Internal Flight Luggage Note for further luggage information.

Breakfast: Hotel dining room.

Morning: Depart for a full day of exploration at Lake Myvatn, one of the richest nesting grounds for wet birds in the world. Pseudocraters, solfataras, craters and volcanoes make a fascinating geological study.

Lunch: At Sel Hotel Mývatn en route.

Afternoon: Fly from Akureyri to Reykjavík. Check-in at hotel and settle in.

Dinner: Hotel dining room.

Evening: At leisure.

Day 10: Hellisheidi, Þingvellir, Gullfoss, Geysir, Skálholt, Reykjavik

Meals: Breakfast and Lunch

Accommodation: Hotel Reykjavik Centrum

Breakfast: Hotel dining room.

Morning: A full day excursion. We will visit the geothermal power plant at Hellisheidi, admire Þingvellir (the former site of parliament), marvel at the majesty of Gullfoss (the golden waterfall), appreciate Geysir (the geyser from which all others take their name), and explore Skálholt (the ancient bishopric).

Lunch: At a local restaurant.

Afternoon: Continue full day excursion.

Dinner: Explore local fare on your own.

Evening: At leisure.

Day 11: Arbær Open Air Museum, Reykjavik

Meals: Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner

Accommodation: Hotel Reykjavik Centrum

Breakfast: Hotel dining room.

Morning: Lecture: "Contemporary Iceland." Then take an expert-led excursion of Reykjavik. Visit the Arbær open air museum, an incredible representation of how life used to be in Reykjavik, and then enjoy a view of the city from the viewing deck of Perlan. During a bus excursion, see the Hofdi House, Lake Tjornin, City Hall, and the old Parliament.

Lunch: In downtown Reykjavík.

Afternoon: Afternoon at leisure. Take this opportunity for personal independent exploration to see and do what interests you most. Please refer to the list of Free Time Opportunities, which can be found in the first Information Packet. The Group Leader will be happy to offer suggestions and give directions.

Dinner: Farewell Dinner at a downtown restaurant followed by evening entertainment. More details about the evening entertainment will be provided in the final Information Packet.

Evening: At leisure.

Day 12: Departures, Reykjavik

Meals: Breakfast and Lunch

Breakfast: Hotel dining room.

Morning: Morning at leisure.

Lunch: Hotel dining room.

Afternoon: Transfer to Keflavík International Airport (KEF) for departures. This concludes our program.

Availability

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Price From $ 4,599
Price Per Day: $ 383 per day
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Stride Featured in

Stride Feature In

38 Road Scholar Travel Reviews & Ratings

89%
4.6 out of 5 (100+ reviews)
Excellent 31
Great 3
Average 1
Disappointing 1
Terrible 2
Value
4.6
Guide
4.7
Activities
4.6
Lodging
4.5
Transportation
4.5
Meals
4.4

The Best of Iceland: A Country of Beautiful Contrasts

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Company Reviews

Old Cuba is fantastic and should be seen before it's spoiled by capitalism.

5.0
Details
Value5.0
Guide5.0
Activities4.0
Lodging4.0
Transportation5.0
Meals3.0
This was my wife's and my first trip with Road Scholar. At the time (April, 2012), it was not possible for Americans to directly visit Cuba. You had to do it with a cultural/educational group, often associated with a university. Or, you could fly to Canada, Mexico, or Europe first and then get a flight to Cuba from there (while risking a ~$10,000 fine from the US Government). We opted for the legal route with Road Scholar.

It was a fantastic trip! We had a small-ish group of about 20 people and a wonderful guide, José Luis (who, like most Cubans, had never been off the island).
The trip began in Miami where we had an orientation and spent the night. Then we flew to Havana and stayed in the Hotel Nacional for four nights. It doesn't get more historic -- or fun -- than the Nacional:
https://vimeo.com/41612444

While in Havana, we enjoyed great history/culture lectures from experts, toured various parts of Havana (including Hemmingway's home in the hills nearby), and, on our own, had the opportunity to have dinner at a paladar -- a restaurant inside someone's home.

The Cuban people are friendly but the infrastructure of their country is in shambles. It's been a long time since Russia's deep pockets left the island (1991), and you see poverty everywhere. But not the begging-in-the-street kind. Cuba provides universal health care, education (including room and board all the way through grad/med school!), food staples, and a very modest income (~$30/month) to everyone. Most people add to that income by working on the side.

After Havana, we traveled to Cienfuegos. From there we saw the infamous Bay Of Pigs, but also the wonderful Benny Moré Art School where we learned of the fantastic support for the arts by the Cuban government. Children are identified in grade school as having artistic talent and then funneled into magnet schools like Benny Moré to study art for their entire scholastic career!

Don't go to Cuba for the food. It's edible (and won't make you sick) but rather boring. You mainly get the "three amigos": fish, pork, or chicken, along with rice and/or black beans. But the aged rum is superb and so are the cigars!

Probably my favorite thing on the island, though, was the music -- whether on the street or in a more formal setting:
https://vimeo.com/43273083

Cuba is fantastic. Go enjoy it!
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Best trip I ever took!

5.0
Details
Value5.0
Guide5.0
Activities5.0
Lodging5.0
Transportation5.0
Meals5.0
Loved the variety of different hotels, the expertise of the individual tour guides, the meals and especially the beautiful countryside. All 17 of us on the t rip got to know each other well, thanks to the kindness, the personality and the organizational skill of Mark, our tour director. Keep up the good work!
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Sunrise, Sunset, Learning Photography

5.0
Details
Value4.0
Guide5.0
Activities5.0
Lodging4.0
Transportation5.0
Meals4.0
Road Scholar offers many tours starting in Utah. The one I took focused of photography of the National Parks in Utah, with a professional photographer traveling with us. The schedule was set up such that we would get "the golden light" at each of the parks. Those not familiar with the term must know that the best light occurs at either sunrise or sunset, when the impact of the sun on objects is diffused by having to travel through the earth's atmosphere on a diagonal rather than vertically.

As such, you can now expect that sleep will be an issue as you will get to bed late and rise early. But the territory is beautiful at all times, and more so illuminated by the golden light.

In order to maximize your sleeping ability, the tour is only offered in the spring and the fall. Doing this in the winter would be pretty cold and require special equipment to traverse the snow. Doing it in the summer would basically mean no sleep as the daylight is so long.

A great learning experience in beautiful territory.
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Thank you Road Scholar

5.0
Details
Value5.0
Guide5.0
Activities5.0
Lodging5.0
Transportation5.0
Meals5.0
Thank you Road Scholar Staff for planning a wonderful introduction to Cuba today. My previous knowledge was from people who felt they had to leave Cuba more than fifty years ago. I learned from qualified professors, tour guides and from talking to Cuban people from different parts of Cuba who work in different kinds of jobs. I could see how the Cuban people have come together to meet the challenges of the past and to prepare for a brighter future.
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Thank you Road Scholar!

5.0
Details
Value5.0
Guide5.0
Activities5.0
Lodging5.0
Transportation5.0
Meals5.0
Road Scholar tours are the best bang for your buck

Fabulous!

5.0
Details
Value5.0
Guide5.0
Activities5.0
Lodging5.0
Transportation5.0
Meals5.0
This is a fabulous program for young and old. The instructors are great with kids and adults. The activities are very well organized and varied. My grandson is already making plans for next year.

Details

Flights & Transport

Internal airfare and ground transport

Group Size:

Standard Group

Accomodations

Northern Light Inn: 1 night  Grindavik

The Northern Light Inn is a small and friendly hotel located less than 1 mile from the Blue Lagoon, 15 minutes from Keflavik International Airport and 45 minutes from Reykjavik. It is located in the majestic lava landscape of Reykjanes Peninsula, Southwest Iceland, directly under the Aurora Borealis geomagnetic green belt.

Hotel Borgarnes: 3 nights  Borgarnes

Hotel Borgarnes is a three-star hotel in a town 70 kilometers west of Reykjavík and 120 kilometers from the international airport. There are many opportunities for recreation in the area: scenic hiking and riding paths, historical monuments, hot and cold swimming pools, and a museum.

Hotel KEA: 3 nights  Akureyri

Located in the heart of Akureyri, the gateway to the rich natural splendor of northeast Iceland, Hotel Kea has been welcoming guests since 1944 with the same high standards of elegance, quality, service and comfort.

Hotel Reykjavik Centrum: 3 nights  Reykjavik

Hotel Reykjavik Centrum is a first-class hotel in the heart of Reykjavik. It is located on one of Reykjavik's oldest streets, Adalstraeti, in a newly renovated building, the oldest part of which was built in 1764. During renovations, the remains of a Viking longhouse from the Settlement Period were found. In 2006, an attractive exhibition center opened under the hotel, where the longhouse's remains are on display together with related exhibits. Among the finds excavated were Iceland's oldest human remains, dating from approximately 870 AD.

Trip ID#:

BesIceRoa

Meals Included:

11 Breakfasts, 11 Lunches and 8 Dinners

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