Authentic Iceland: Living with the Locals

Looking for a unique Icelandic experience? Experience spectacular wilderness nature, local culture and delicious regional cuisine in this award-winning living history getaway.

Type of tour:Short breaks
Season:01 October - 25 April
Duration:5 Days/4 Nights
Departure:All days
Language:
Transport:
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Authentic Iceland: Living with the Locals

Experience a compelling mix of discovery, fascinating history and great food experience in an authentic, historical setting.  Stay at an the Wilderness Center, an award-winning and innovative holiday farm accommodation and living history/culture centre on the edge of the Eastern Highlands.  You’ll enjoy spectacular wilderness nature, local culture and delicious meals in a home-like atmosphere.   We’ve added in lots of local cusine and unforgettable experiences unique to East Iceland so you’ll have great stories to share with friends and family.  You can add in some optional activities or simply indulge in some “digital detox” or relaxing down-time in an inspiring setting. The trip also includes visiting Reykjavík, a great opportunity to combine city and wilderness settings in one stay!

 

Highlights: 

  • Find inspiration and relaxation in a tranquil, scenic location on the edge of the wilderness
  • Sleep in a truly authentic, historic setting.  Rest comfortably in rooms furnished to evoke Iceland of the 19th and early 20th century—with a few modern touches such as Wi-Fi
  • Learn about life and nature in the highlands at an interactive exhibit
  • Hear compelling accounts about the people who lived near Northern Europe’s largest wilderness over the last few centuries
  • Experience local food, including a wilderness dinner expertly prepared with ingredients foraged from the highlands
  • Discover constellations at a unique wilderness stargazing station
  • Indulge your adventurous side and cross over a glacier river in a renovated cable box
  • Enjoy opportunities to meet area locals
  • Walk in Iceland’s most famous forest restoration project
  • Enhance your East Iceland experience with high-quality optional activates
  • Enjoy great value since all meals and many experiences are included during your stay at the Wilderness Center

Why East Iceland?

  • This region bordered by wilderness highlands and steep fjords is not well known, however it’s one of the best places to enjoy a local Icelandic experience!
  • It has some of Iceland’s oldest land area—a genuine “classroom” for geology buffs
  • The East is rich in local legends of Vikings, outlaws, monsters and elves
  •  It’s the only part of Iceland that is home to reindeer, which can often be seen in the valleys during the winter. 
  • This part of Iceland is becoming famous for its locally-sourced culinary culture
  • East Iceland has created a unique focus for visitors to be a part of local life, especially during winter months
  • East Iceland has the country’s largest forest- and its first environmental project
  • It’s your inspiration for outdoor fun, authentic history, and unforgettable experiences

 

About the Wilderness Center

The award-winning Wilderness Center opened in 2016.  It is an innovative concept combining history, nature, local life and home-like accommodation in one setting.  Located about an hour from Egilsstadir in East Iceland, the Wilderness Center puts you close to the remote, untouched beauty that makes Iceland so special. 

The locally-owned and family- operated Wilderness Center was developed by a  film-maker and a historian who used their skills to bring Iceland’s past to life.  When you cross the old wooden bridge at the Wilderness Center, you’ll step into an adventure of the past. Every detail at the premises is designed to make you feel a part in this adventure. Buildings, interior decorations, food, activities and hosts all play a vital role.  The Center’s accommodation is in artfully renovated historic buildings which allow you to authentically experience Iceland’s history in comfort.  The hosts prepare all the meals in the historic kitchen in front of the guests with an emphasis on locally sourced ingredients.  The cuisine is based on authentic historical recipes.  You can book a variety of locally-guided (optional) activities that bring you even closer to Iceland’s unique nature and history.  All activities include a touch of storytelling, in the tradition of the Icelandic Sagas!

Visit here for more information on the Wilderness Center's unique accommodation concept.

 

 

Important:

  • Departures are on Sundays, Mondays and Thursdays

2018 departures:  1 October – 17 December

2019 departures:  3 February – 25 April.  No departure on 18 Apr, 2019

  • Minimum of 2 people required to guarantee each departure

Included

  • 2 nights at selected hotel in Reykjavik with private facilities, including breakfast (except arrival day)
  • 2 nights at the Wilderness Center in history-themed room with shared bathroom facilities (upgrade option available), including breakfast
  • Round-trip flights Reykjavik-Egilsstadir-Reykjavik (excluding airport taxes)
  • Round-trip transfer between Egilsstadir airport and the Wilderness Center
  • Lunch on Day 2 and 3
  • Dinner on Day 2 and 3
  • Light afternoon refreshments (Icelandic afternoon coffee) on Day 2
  • Admission to the interactive, multi-media Wilderness Museum (Day 2)
  • Guided visit to a scenic abandoned farm  (Day 2)
  • Guided visit to the  Wilderness Center Stargazing Center (includes campfire, hot chocolate, use of blankets) (Day 2)
  • Guided visit to a local traditional sheep farm (Day 3)
  • Visit and guided walk in Hallormsstaður Forest
  • Visit to Egilsstadir town (Day 4)

 

Not Included:

  • Breakfast on arrival day
  • International airfare
  • Baggage porterage at airport/hotel/Wilderness Center
  • Personal travel insurance (highly recommended)
  • Round-trip transfers between Keflavik airport and Reykjavík hotel and between Reykjavík Domestic airport and Reykjavik hotel
  • Alcoholic beverages during meals on Day 2 and 3 (available for purchase)
  • Beverages, snacks, lunches, dinners unless otherwise noted in itinerary
  • Guaranteed early check-in or late check-out (check-in time for most hotels in Iceland is 14:00/2:00pm)
  • Any service not specifically listed under "included"

Map

 
 

Day 1: Arrival

Once you have landed at Keflavik Airport in Iceland, please pick up your luggage and head through customs. Transfer on own to Reykjavik and check-in at your hotel in Reykjavik city.  Transfers are not included in your package, but we would be happy to arrange an arrival transfer for you, perhaps even with a stop at the popular Blue Lagoon.  

The day is yours to rest and use at your own leisure. You might consider a visit to the National Museum, which focuses on the cultural history of Iceland.

Another interesting historical place to visit is the Arbaer Museum.  This open air museum contains buildings from the last 170 years of Reykjavik's history.  

Overnight in Reykjavik.

 

Day 2: A Local Welcome to Authentic East Iceland

Reykjavik – Egilsstadir- Wilderness Center- Abandoned Farm – Stargazing Station

Breakfast at your hotel. On your own, transfer to Reykjavik Domestic Airport (cabs plentiful, also city bus goes to the airport ). Morning flight to Egilsstadir, the largest town in East Iceland.  If the skies are clear you’ll have views of majestic Vatnajokull Glacier.   A local guide will meet you at the airport and take you for a scenic drive.  Follow along  Lagarfljot River, home of a famous river monster.  Enjoy hearing tales about the mystical creature.

 At the Wilderness Center, you’ll cross over a wooden bridge and into the Iceland of the past.  You’ll be guided through a unique wilderness museum with interactive exhibits created by local artists, film-makers and historians.  Afterwards, enjoy a delicious lunch with local specialties made in the Center’s cosy kitchen. 

 

In the afternoon your guide takes you on a beautiful route along a glacier to a picturesque abandoned farm situated under numerous waterfalls and full of stories and traces of the past. Those who dare can experience the adventure of crossing the glacial river in a renovated, hand-operated cable box.   Enjoy some light refreshments in the Center’s kitchen and relax on your own at the lodge/farm.  The opportunity to enjoy downtime while taking in the view of the peaceful valley is a delightful treat.

 

Tonight experience a local wilderness dinner prepared from ingredients gathered in the nearby highlands.  You can watch your local hosts cook and chat with them as they prepare the tasty repast.

 

After dinner, visit the Wilderness Stargazing Station.   Located in the reconstructed ruins of an old stone and turf sheep stable, the station has a fabulous view of clear skies.  The historic location and the peaceful atmosphere often makes for a magical experience for visitors. Use the Center’s powerful telescope for stargazing through the open roof and be inspired by stories about how the distant stars have impacted those in the past.  Your hosts will make sure you stay warm with wool blankets, sheep skins, a campfire and hot chocolate.  Perhaps, if the conditions are just right, the northern lights might be out dancing?  (The best time for northern lights is between 15 Sep and 15 April).

 

Overnight at the Wilderness Center

 

Day 3- A Day to Enjoy the Beautiful, Tranquil Wilderness

Enjoy a delicious and plentiful Wilderness Center-style breakfast.  This morning visit the Center’s neighbour at the last working farm in Iceland that still keeps all the sheep in a traditional turf and stone stable.  This is a perfect glimpse into how Icelanders of the past made use of local materials to survive in an often harsh landscape.

 

The rest of the day is open for you to enjoy the inspiring setting to its fullest.  You can either relax on your own, or you can take part in optional activities offered by the Wilderness Center.  (See below for options). 

 

Lunch, dinner and overnight at the Wilderness Center

 

Wilderness Center Optional Tours for Day 3

 

Introduction to the Icelandic Horse-

One of the Wilderness Center’s special expertise is Icelandic horses, which were important to the area’s history and legends.  Visit the Wilderness Center’s stable, meet the horses and learn about what makes the Icelandic breed so special.  You also have the option to take a guided horseback ride, enjoying the winter landscapes and more insights into the area.  Your guides will select horses to suit each rider’s experience.

 

Hengifoss Waterfall 

 Hengifoss is one of the highest waterfalls in Iceland, measuring 128 m (420 feet) as it plunges from the highland plateau into a magnificent gorge. A colourful rock face surrounding the waterfall depicts different layers from volcanic eruptions in the Tertiary period, when Iceland was formed. Take a guided walk (40-60 minutes) from the parking lot to the waterfall. On the way you can view another astonishing waterfall called Litlanesfoss. It is crowned by exceptionally high basalt columns, making for a unique and photogenic view.

 

 

Local Food Adventure – (Note:  Must be booked in Advance)

Upgrade your dinner on Day 3 to a special culinary experience!

 Are you are interested in tasting what the Authentic East has to offer and curious about local culture and history? Explore Iceland’s history through a 3- hour food tasting program!   Your taste buds will be delighted and your mind enlightened, as your Wilderness Center hosts share their knowledge and passion on this unique tour, ending in a dinner feast.

 

 

 

 
 

Day 4- Iceland’s Most Famous Forest and Egilsstadir Town

Enjoy breakfast at the Wilderness Center.  You’ll have some relaxed time before departing from the Wilderness Center in the mid-morning.  Visit Hallormsstadur, Iceland’s largest forest and one of Iceland’s oldest environmental projects.  The forest is a popular local recreation area and has marked hiking trails.  Enjoy a guided walk, taking in the smell of birches and the sounds of the wind in the trees.

 

In Egilsstadir there is free-time time to explore this young but fast-growing town.  Lunch is on your own at one of the town’s restaurants.  You can enjoy an optional visit to the spa at the historical Lake Hotel Egilsstadir.  (Must be booked in advance).  Another option is a visit to the town’s geothermal swimming pool (not included), a relaxing way to experience daily life.  Before heading to the airport, visit a local market with art and handicrafts from the locals.

 

Flight back to Reykjavík on Air Iceland Connect.  On your own transfer from Reykjavík Domestic airport to your hotel in Reykjavík.  Enjoy an evening in Reykjavík comparing the differences between the tranquil wilderness farm life and the bustling Reykjavík city scenes.  Dinner is on your own.

 

Day 5: Departure

Breakfast at your hotel.    On your own, transfer to Keflavik airport for your international flight. Transfer not included, but we would be happy to arrange it for you. We can also assist you with extending your trip with hotel nights and tour add-ons.

 

Please note:  The itinerary might have minor changes due to winter weather conditions. 

Northern lights are a natural phenomenon and sightings, therefore, cannot be guaranteed.

 

Children rate

Infants 0 - 1 year are free of charge.

Children 2 - 11 years sharing a double room with 2 adults will receive 25% discount from the listed price.


Prices may change without prior notice. If an incorrect price has been listed, we reserve the right to refuse, cancel or limit any order placed at the incorrect price.

   

Budget self-drive holiday

By selecting a budget self-drive holiday you'll lower your costs considerably as you'll be staying in accommodation with shared facilities.
These are a combination of basic hotels, farmhouses and guesthouses. All rooms have made-up beds and some rooms have washbasins. Showers and WC are shared facilities. The first night in all budget self-drives with Iceland Travel include a accommodation with private facilities in the town of Hveragerdi.

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Economy self-drive holiday

Our economy self-drives offer you the chance to travel around Iceland in a worry free spirit, staying in accommodation with private facilities without stretching your budget. Throughout your stay you'll be residing in a combination of standard hotels, farmhouses and guesthouses. Your final night will be in a 3 star hotel in Reykjavik.

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Comfort self-drive holiday

Our comfort self-drive holidays allow you to spend your days exploring rural Iceland, knowing your nights will be spent in the most comfortable accommodation each area has to offer. Throughout the tour you'll stay in quality hotels and guesthouses where all rooms have private facilities. Your final night will be in a 4 star hotel in Reykjavik.

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Superior self-drive holiday

Upgrade your comfort car rental holiday to the best possible accommodation with premium amenities, either for the full duration of your stay or only selected nights. The upgrade can either be to a superior room in a comfort hotel, or a standard room in an upscale hotel.
The cost for a superior upgrade is 84 EUR per room per night (on prices in comfort category).
This upgrade is only available upon request. Let us know during the booking process just how superior you want your holiday to be, and we'll customize your trip!

Late Arrival Supplement

Late Arrival Supplement for passengers arriving late evening/night. Stay at Airport Hotel Smari at Keflavik International Airport for your pre night instead of Hveragerdi Area. Supplement per room per night is 48 EUR in Category Comfort and 63 EUR on prices in Economy and Budget.

 

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