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Highlights
  • Learn about Iceland’s energy source at a geothermal power plant.
  • Explore Skaftafell National Park, which spans three glaciers on the southern edge of Vatnajökull, Europe’s largest icecap.
  • Soak in a naturally heated river in the colorful, volcanic Landmannalaugar region.

The world’s 18th-largest island is also one of the most fascinating, where eons of glaciation, combined with an active molten core, have resulted in a landscape like few others on the planet. Traverse the landscape and national parks on foot, studying Iceland’s natural and cultural history with local experts. Don’t miss a chance to revitalize in one of South Iceland’s many thermal pools.

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30
Road Scholar Travel Reviews & Ratings
87% Recommend

4.5 out of 5
Excellent 23 Great 3 Average 1 Disappointing 1 Terrible 2
Value
4.5 Guide
4.6 Activities
4.5 Lodging
4.3 Transportation
4.4 Meals
4.3
Walking and Hiking in South Iceland: The Drama of Nature

No reviews yet for this trip. Browse other reviews below for Road Scholar .

K

Does Not Recommend

Road Scholar Owes My Mom A Huge Apology and Refund. Highly advise AGAINST using them. May 2018

1.0
  • Value 1.0
  • Guide 1.0
  • Activities 1.0
  • Lodging 1.0
  • Transportation 1.0
  • Meals 1.0
Let me preface this story with some background about myself: I backpacked through most of Europe by myself when I was studying abroad in Ireland. I suffered through horrendous bus rides, getting kicked out of seats on trains, sleeping in questionable hostels, and going weeks without being able to really do laundry. I know how crappy it can be to actually get from one place to another, and how worth it is to suffer through all of that just to lay eyes on something magnificent.

And yet, Road Scholar has, without a doubt, managed to give me the single worst travel experience I've ever had in my entire life, and we didn't even make it off the ground. I would never, ever, EVER recommend them to anyone looking to go anywhere, and as far as I'm concerned, Road Scholar needs to seriously reconsider their travel-making procedures and give my mother a huge apology and refund. (Also, I'm only in my twenties, so I have a lot of years ahead of me to make referrals.)

It all started with Road Scholar not getting us flights. We claimed our spot on a trip to the Lake region in Northern Italy, but no one ever called us back about any travel arrangements. It appeared we were on the trip IN Italy, but no one had bothered to make any arrangements to get us there. My mother called and left messages, emailed people, and the only response we got was that our flight should be booked at some point in early May (when our trip was set to start on May 22). Road Scholar urges people to book their flights through their preferred travel agency, which is who didn't call us back. Road Scholar, to market themselves as educational tourism rather than shallow "I just want to see things" tourism, partners up with different educational institutions, and ours was through Trinity College. The director of the Italian programs called us asking for our travel information, since she didn't have it yet. Interesting news to us. We were then told that we could make travel arrangements of our own (even though we were paying Road Scholar to do it for us) and then inform the program of our travel plans and how we were getting to our hotel. So we started to investigate making our own plans, when someone finally called us back saying that they were taking care of our travel arrangements, and they "didn't know why we hadn't had them made for us already." The director of the program was happy to hear this, because the Lake region of Italy is not as easily accessible as other areas.

We asked for upgraded seats because my mom has had both of her knees replaced, and while that doesn't inhibit her in the slightest from being active, it limits where she can sit on planes. In a cramped regular economy seat with no leg room on an international flight that was going to last 8-10 hours, she wouldn't have been able to walk off the plane because of how her knees would cramp up. But they said they could make the arrangements (which is also advertised on their website) so that was that. We got our itinerary, accommodations, and were all set. We were booked through United and Lufthansa (neither of which either of us will EVER book through again), so I downloaded the United app onto my iPhone so I could check us in and make sure we had mobile copies of our boarding passes in addition to the paper ones my mom printed out. We were all set to fly from Cincinnati to Washington D.C., from D.C. to Frankfurt, and from Frankfurt down to Verona where we would be meeting up with the group -- which, by the way, we never received any information regarding where the group was meeting, the transportation to the lake resort, etc. Nothing. Just "after you get there" stuff.

Then this morning, I woke up to a notification from United Airlines (and a text message alert that I had set up) saying that our flight to D.C. had been cancelled due to weather. Obviously I'm not blaming Road Scholar for that. What I am holding Road Scholar accountable for is what happened next: my mom called the Emergency Hotline (which is a recording -- and I HIGHLY recommend that they change this, because when I studied abroad, we had two emergency hotlines, both of which were always answered by real human beings, one for anything happening in the United States, and the other for the program, which was a different number for each location and a direct line to one of the program directors on the ground in the country you were actually in). We left a voicemail, someone named Mike called us back, and he was an absolute asshole. When you book your flight through a travel agency/group travel organization, if anything happens to your flight, it is the THEIR responsibility to take care of it. We were told by Road Scholar, and it's available on their website: "When you book your airfare through Road Scholar, we're there to help you in case of any emergencies." When Mike called us back and we told him that our flight to D.C. had been cancelled, he told us that he couldn't look up any other flights (on both United and any other airlines) for us to potentially get on to get to D.C for our transatlantic flight. Instead, he told us to call United ourselves and to go to the airport and talk to the desk agent. I then ended up on the phone (and on hold) the entire drive to the airport, which resulted in nothing because tons of flights had been cancelled due to airline politics and weather. We finally got to the desk agent at the airport, had a hell of a time getting rebooked on another flight, and weren't able to get the upgraded seats that we paid extra money for. When we called Road Scholar and Mike back to ask if during the course of our day when we would be traveling (and unable to make phone calls) he would call Lufthansa to at least make the airline aware of our need for better seating due to my mother's knee replacements, he was unhelpful and rude, at first attempting to refuse calling on our behalf and finally agreeing to, but only after repeatedly telling us "there's no guarantee of those seats" (something we definitely understood because we're not stupid).

Our rebooked flight wasn't set to leave until 7:45 PM tonight, putting us in Verona at 4:05 PM the next day (4 hours after the group transfer to the hotel), so we returned home instead of waiting around the airport for 12 hours. We got on both United and Lufthansa's websites and discovered that not only had our original itineraries not been removed, we had been double booked, one for a flight out of North Carolina to Munich through Delta, and another out of D.C. (the 7:45 PM flight) which had a 23 hour layover in Munich. A call to Road Scholar resulted in us being told that we had to contact the airlines. My mother was on the phone, talking to either United representatives or Lufthansa representatives, from about 9:30 AM to 2:00 PM. We were told we had reservations but no tickets, told we had tickets but couldn't see the numbers, told there were seats available for us to get upgraded to but we would have to try to get the desk agent in D.C. to arrange that for us, told that there was no guarantee we could get those seats, and more. It was incredible the amount of bureaucratic bullshit we had to put up with, especially since each airline wouldn't take any responsibility for us getting the seats we paid for and on a new flight, telling us "we'd have to talk to the other company about that." We finally called Road Scholar to see if there was anything more they could do, who encountered the same mess we already had, and all they did was eventually advise us to go back to the airport (a 45 minute drive) and talk to the desk agent to see IF they could put us in the upgraded seats -- ones we had already paid for and my mom couldn't make the trip without!

Then when asked how they would be getting us to our destination in the Lake region (which is not an easy place to get to, as I looked up the train and bus schedules myself, because - remember - I have tons of experience at this point traveling on the ground across Europe), they wouldn't outright say what our plans would be, which could've been anything from picking us up in the airport in a car, giving us a damn rental to drive ourselves, or simply paying for tickets and expecting us to haul all our luggage from the airport to the shuttle to the train station in Verona, take the 2+ hour train to a town an hour away from our destination, have to catch a bus to the actual town we were supposed to be in, and then walk the rest of the way there. Seeing what all happened, I would bet it would've been the latter, which isn't a problem for someone like me, but is an issue for someone like my mom.

The moral of the story here is that my mom and I shouldn't have had to be on the phone with anyone other than Road Scholar, PERIOD. Seeing as we paid well over $10,000 for this trip, the minute the flight was cancelled, Road Scholar should've called us to let us know that they would be making other arrangements for us to get to our trip in the Lake region of Italy. THEY should've been the ones on the phone, dealing with the airline bureaucrats, working their hardest to get us any combination of flights to get us to Italy in the seats that we paid for. Or, if it really came down to it, they should've made arrangements for us to be on this trip at another point in time, offered us another excursion in its place, or simply given us a refund. Instead, they didn't want to do the jobs that we paid them to do, and we were the ones that had to take time out of our day, which was already scheduled to be a hectic and stressful time because traveling is simply just that, to do Road Scholar's job. They didn't look out for us one single bit and completely and utterly RUINED what was supposed to have been a wonderful trip for me and my mom.

My mother has an adventurous and curious soul and hasn't gotten to go to Europe the way she always wanted to. Since I graduated college, my mother suggested taking a mother-daughter trip. This was supposed to be incredibly special for the both of us, getting to go somewhere new together (I hadn't explored Northern Italy much and that's where we decided to go), learning about the food and the culture, and bonding over all the amazing things we were going to be able to do. I think my mom was even more excited about this trip than I was, voraciously reading all the required/recommended reading, practicing Italian in her room so she could order correctly at restaurants, not giving up when we hit little bumps in the road along the way. Instead, we have been nothing but doubtful at best in the entire planning of this trip, and deeply disappointed and angered at worst. I will never again recommend Road Scholars to anyone looking to go on group trips. Instead, I will steer people away and recommend that they either find a better travel agency, book the trip themselves, or go through Rick Steve's program.

Road Scholar should issue my mother a refund and an apology or risk being sued.
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Operator Road Scholar

S

Does Not Recommend

They take advantage of the elderly May 2018

1.0
  • Value 1.0
  • Guide 4.0
  • Activities 1.0
  • Lodging 1.0
  • Transportation 1.0
  • Meals 1.0
I had high hopes for Road scholar. However, when I was diagnosed with cancer I got no sympathy from Road Scholar. The agents and management kept saying you should have purchased insurance. But the insurance was extremely expensive and would not have covered the cancellation fee either. I ended up attending anyways because I didn't want to lose my money. I felt sick the entire time and could barely complete the activities. The group leader was wonderful. But the program was very strict and I felt that they over charged for everything. They demonstrated shocking behavior for a non profit that is supposed to be all about education and supporting the elderly. Yet they constantly are sending catalogs and pushing expensive programs. I highly recommend taking your money elsewhere. They do not respect their customers and only care about money. They took advantage of a cancer patient and according to the others on my trip this is common.
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Operator Road Scholar

S

Does Not Recommend

A BIG DISAPPOINTMENT August 2017

3.0
  • Value 3.0
  • Guide 5.0
  • Activities 3.0
  • Lodging 4.0
  • Transportation 2.0
  • Meals 3.0
I would have enjoyed this trip much more if I felt I was being treated as an adult, the educated, enthusiastic traveler that I am.
Unfortunately, I took a fall and broke my arm near the end of the trip. I was shocked at the very insolent, uncaring attitude of Road Scholar. I received two calls from the insurance program my husband was encouraged to pay for for the trip (we usually use Travel Guard who is great). Both calls were very negative. Neither expressed concern about my condition and both apparently had called to state that ROAD SCHOLAR
WOULD NOT PAY FOR ANYTHING! WOW! A WAKEUP CALL FROM HELL. I WILL BE SHOUTING THIS FROM THE ROOFTOPS SO NO ONE ELSE
HAS THIS EXPERIENCE. DO NOT PURCHASE ROAD SCHOLAR INSURANCE -- IT IS A BOONDOGGLE!
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Operator Road Scholar

LG

Does Not Recommend

Don't go! March 2017

2.0
  • Guide 1.0
  • Activities 4.0
  • Lodging 1.0
  • Meals 1.0
  • Value 2.0
  • Transportation 2.0
I took a four day bridge class at Jekyll Island Club Hotel. The class was mediocre. And I came home with over 50 BED BUG BITES! Please beware.

Operator Road Scholar

TCtssvawmc

Recommends

Excellent coverage of major cities and Guizhou Province January 2017

5.0
  • Value 5.0
  • Guide 5.0
  • Activities 5.0
  • Lodging 5.0
  • Transportation 5.0
  • Meals 5.0
Road Scholar (also known as Elderhostel) offers hundreds of tours worldwide, using local tour companies, sometimes universities. I have taken RS tours to Africa, China, and France and look forward to more. This was my first "tour" of China, but my 20th visit, with the rest on business. Our guide, Mei Mei, was one of the finest I've seen on tours. We started with Beijing and continued to Xian and then to Guizhou Province for a week in this fascinating area, which was new to me. We were able to meet the people in the villages, thanks to our guide, and enjoyed the chance to see and photograph such a variety of places in China. Hotels were excellent and appropriate to this type of tour (usually centrally located and very fine). Meals were family style and always good. Road Scholar makes its tours educational and doesn't push shopping as so many commercial ones do. Touring in China is very safe. You do have a lot of walking and RS tells you this in the tour, but it seems that a great deal of the walking is in those huge airports! I recommend Road Scholar and always turn to their catalogs to choose my next trip.
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Operator Road Scholar

Itinerary

Day 1: In Transit to Program

In Flight

Day 2: Blue Lagoon, Thingvellir National Park, Hveragerdi

Meals: Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner

Accommodation: Hotel Eldhestar

Activity note: Please make sure to pack your bathing suit in your carry-on luggage, as we are visiting the Blue Lagoon on our way to the first hotel. Check-in available from 2:00 PM. Walking 1 hour on gravel paths.

Breakfast: At the Northern Light Inn. 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, drive to the famous Blue Lagoon for a soak in the mineral-rich, geothermally heated waters. Following the relaxing bath we drive to Hotel Eldhestar near Hveragerdi.

Lunch: Hotel dining room.

Afternoon: This afternoon we will have an introductory meeting. 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. Then we head to Thingvellir National Park where we have a lecture on "Thingvellir: Geological Study." Thingvellir was the site of parliament during the Saga Age (930-1262). We will take a 1 hour expert-led walk around the site with commentaries.

Dinner: Hotel dining room.

Evening: At leisure.

Day 3: Hellisheidi Geothermal Power Plant, Mount Hengill, Hveragerdi

Meals: Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner

Accommodation: Hotel Eldhestar

Activity note: Walking up to 5 hours on uneven terrain and dirt paths. Ascend approx. 984 feet.

Breakfast: Hotel dining room.

Morning: An excursion to Hellisheidi geothermal power plant to learn about how geothermal energy is used in Iceland. We will then take a 1 hour hiking field trip in the Mount Hengill, one of the most powerful geothermal areas in the world.

Lunch: At a local restaurant.

Afternoon: We explore the Mount Hengill area further this afternoon with a 3-4 hour walk. We get the chance to take a dip in the geothermal river.

Dinner: Hotel dining room.

Evening: At leisure.

Day 4: Gullfoss, Kirkjubæjarklaustur

Meals: Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner

Accommodation: Country Hotel Geirland

Breakfast: Hotel dining room.

Morning: We drive to Gullfoss (the Golden Waterfall) and Geysir geothermal area, where we are likely to see the hot spring Strokkur spout to the height of 25-30 meters.

Lunch: At a local restaurant.

Afternoon: Our route to Kirkjubæjarklaustur takes us along the south shore between sea and glaciers. Stops include magnificent waterfalls and the Skogar Folk Museum, a lovely representation of the cultural heritage of the region.

Dinner: Hotel dining room.

Evening: At leisure.

Day 5: Kirkjubæjarklaustur

Meals: Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner

Accommodation: Country Hotel Geirland

Activity note: Walking up to 6 hours on uneven terrain including gravel and dirt. Ascend approx. 700-984 feet. Short walks during the day (1-2 hours each) and then drive to the next hiking place.

Breakfast: Hotel dining room.

Morning: Full day walking field trip in the area of Kirkjubæjarklaustur. We will see Fjardargljufur canyon, Systrastapi mountain and Systrafoss waterfall, Kirkjubæjarklaustur’s chapel and the Church Floor (Kirkjugolf), an approximately 80 square meter expanse of columnar basalt, eroded and shaped by glaciers and waves.

Lunch: Hotel dining room.

Afternoon: We continue our morning field trip.

Dinner: Hotel dining room.

Evening: At leisure.

Day 6: Jökulsárlón glacier, Skaftafell National Park, Fagurholsmyri

Meals: Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner

Accommodation: Hotel Skaftafell

Activity note: Walking 2.5 hours on uneven terrain including gravel and dirt.

Breakfast: Hotel dining room.

Morning: We head for Jökulsárlón glacier lagoon for a 1 hour walking field trip followed by a short boat ride on the lagoon. Enjoy commentary from a local expert as you sail among the icebergs.

Lunch: At Skaftafell.

Afternoon: Drive to the National Park where we will be welcomed at the Visitor Center. We will then take an approximately 1.5 hour walk in Skaftafell National Park, a natural wonderland of powerful glaciers, turbulent waterfalls, lush birch woodlands, and vibrant wildflowers with fantastic views of the mountain and its sliding glaciers.

Dinner: Hotel dining room.

Evening: At leisure.

Day 7: Skaftafell National Park, Fagurholsmyri

Meals: Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner

Accommodation: Hotel Skaftafell

Activity note: Walking up to 6 hours on uneven terrain including dirt and rocky paths. Ascend approx. 700-984 feet.

Breakfast: Hotel dining room.

Morning: A full day walking field trip (approximately 6 hours) in Skaftafell National Park.

Lunch: Packed lunch en route.

Afternoon: Continue our field trip in Skaftafell National Park.

Dinner: Hotel dining room.

Evening: At leisure.

Day 8: Landmannalaugar, Reykjavik

Meals: Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner

Accommodation: Hotel Reykjavik Centrum

Activity note: Walking up to 2 hours on uneven dirt paths. Ascend approx. 700-984 feet. In June the route to Landmannalaugar may be closed to traffic. In this case, we will visit Thorsmork Nature Reserve for a walking excursion.

Breakfast: Hotel dining room.

Morning: Travel to Landmannalaugar, an oasis in the harsh interior of Iceland, for a walking excursion and a swim in the naturally warm pool. Our stay in the area will be for 2-3 hours. We continue past volcano Hekla on our way to Reykjavik.

Lunch: A picnic lunch at Landmannalaugar.

Afternoon: Arrive in Reykjavik. Check-in and get settled.

Dinner: Farewell dinner in the hotel dining room.

Evening: At leisure.

Day 9: Departures Reykjavik

Meals: Breakfast and Lunch

Breakfast: Hotel dining room.

Morning: Morning at leisure.

Lunch: Hotel dining room.

Afternoon: Departure for Keflavík International Airport (KEF) to check-in for departure flights. This concludes our program.

Dates & Pricing

Price From

$ 3,599

Price Per Day:

$ 400 per person
 
  • Select Custom Arrangements to get to and from Road Scholar-provided airfare for your program
Prices may vary due to local taxes and trip seasonality. Click "Request Info" to inquire directly with the tour operator for the final trip price.
Details
Trip Includes
  • 7 nights of accommodations
  • 1 expert-led lecture
  • 12 expert-led field trips
  • An experienced Group Leader
  • Customary gratuities throughout the program
  • The Road Scholar Travel Protection Plan, 24-hour-a-day emergency assistance coverage
  • Taxes
Meals Included:

8 Breakfasts, 8 Lunches and 7 Dinners

Flights & Transport
Only ground transport
Group Size:
Small Group - 24 max
Maximum Number of People in Group: 24
Accomodations

Hotel Eldhestar: 2 nights  Hveragerði

Surrounded by beautiful Icelandic nature, the Hotel Eldhestar is located at the Vellir farm in Ölfus, a 30-minute drive from Reykjavik. As the first hotel in Iceland to receive the Nordic eco-label "The Nordic Swan," this hotel is committed to eco-friendly operations on a daily basis.        

 

Country Hotel Geirland: 2 nights  Kirkjubaejarklaustur

Hotel Geirland is located near the small village of Kirkjubaejarklaustur. A quaint country hotel, it has excellent service, delicious food and breathtaking surroundings.  

 

Hotel Skaftafell: 2 nights  Oraefi

Hotel Skaftafell is a splendid resort located near Skaftafell National Park. The hotel is sheltered by vegetated glacial moraines in front of one of Iceland’s most impressive glaciers, the Svínafellsjökull glacier. It truncates from the biggest volcano and highest mountain in Iceland, Öræfajökull (2119 m). Behind the hotel, there are many of the highest and most impressive glacier peaks in the country. In front, a vast glacial outwash plain stretches to the sea, some 20 km away.

 

Hotel Reykjavik Centrum: 1 night  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.

Start City
Reykjavik
End City
Reykjavik

Trip ID#: WalHikRoa

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