North Iceland is Icelanders’ favourite winter activity destination. Discover why with this driving holiday.
Duration: 5 days/4 nights
Take a triangular route capturing the sparkling colors and historical gems of Iceland's wondrous East and North.
Take a triangular route capturing the sparkling colours and historical gems of Iceland´s wondrous East and North. Discover dramatic hues found in the reindeer-filled eastern wilderness highlands, the majestic glacial and volcanic creations of the Diamond Circle, steep fjords plunging sharply into the seas …and more. Tucked away in these amazing areas you´ll also discover cultural treasures bringing you closer to the fascinating heritage of this intriguing part of Iceland. Add in some tasty local treats and a few beloved West Iceland wonders, and you will experience a complete Icelandic spectrum.
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Day 1: Arrival
On your own, transfer to Reykjavik. We recommend the easy and convenient FlyBus Plus transfers, which can be booked through Iceland Travel. If your flight lands early in the day, a great suggestion is to explore Reykjavík, the largest municipality in Iceland.
Dinner is on your own. Reykjavik offers a multitude of restaurants and/or coffee-houses, making dinner a great way to get better acquainted with Iceland's capital.
Please note guaranteed early check-in is not included in the price. Most hotels begin check-in around 14:00 (2:00pm).
Overnight stay in Reykjavík (airport transfer not included). Dinner on own.
Day 2: Egilsstadir – East Iceland Mountains and Moors - Wilderness Centre of Iceland
Breakfast at your hotel. In the early morning, your guide will pick you up at your hotel to check in at the domestic airport in Reykjavik. Catch a one-hour flight to Egilsstadir, the capital of the East. If the skies are clear, you‘ll have amazing views over the dramatic mountains and glaciers of the highland interior.
Upon arrival at Egilsstadir, drive to Fljotsdalur Valley, with rich green forests bordering the legendary Lagarfljót lake. According to local folklore, the lake is home to a sea monster similar to the one in Loch Ness, Scotland—but with its own unique story.
Visit Hengifoss, a little-glimpsed silvery waterfall dropping down a multicolour cliff. Then discover local heritage at Skriduklaustur, the turf-roofed black-and-brown stone mansion of renowned Icelandic poet Gunnar Gunnarsson. This area was also the site of a medieval monastery that helped preserve Old Norse history and lore, and you can discover a few written treasures here.
Then it´s time to head to edge of the eastern highland wilderness a stunning area of vast green heaths, black mountains and rushing glacial rivers. The Icelandic highlands are Northern Europe‘s largest wilderness area. The new Wilderness Centre is the gateway to the highlands, and it is also an experience of history. Walk over a wooden bridge and into the past as you discover beautifully-restored farm buildings from various periods in Iceland‘s highland history, including a turf-roofed smoke house. An interactive exhibit tells you the story of highland nature and the independent people who settled here.
As part of your experience, you´ll also enjoy coffee and home-baked Icelandic refreshments in an old farmhouse kitchen… along with a chance to chat with area locals.
With luck, you may even catch a glimpse of reindeer, the symbol of East Iceland, wandering in the mountains surrounding the Wilderness Centre.
Dinner and overnight Egilsstadir
Day 3: Lake Myvatn Area
Breakfast at your hotel. Cross vast black-sand deserts of the Modrudalsoraefi highland wilderness, before heading to the Lake Myvatn area. Today we explore the natural beauty of this world-renowned volcanic area, including the mysterious black lava formations at Dimmuborgir, the jade green and umber pseudo craters at Skutustadir, and the intense colours of Namaskard pass with its boiling mud pools and fumaroles. One of the Myvatn area's claims to fame is that it is home to more species of ducks than any other place on Earth, with very diverse birdlife in general.
Dinner and overnight in the Myvatn area for the next 2 nights.
Day 4: The Diamond Circle: Dettifoss – Asbyrgi - Husavik
Breakfast at your hotel. Myvatn makes up part of the magnificent Diamond Circle route. Today you will see other wonders on this route. Cross a bridge over a powerful glacial river that flows through Jokulsargljufur, Iceland’s longest river canyon (25 kilometres / 16 miles). Stop to admire the imposing milky-white glacial waterfall, Dettifoss. This is Europe‘s largest waterfalls You will also visit the brilliant foliage and dark rocks of Asbyrgi, a remarkable horseshoe shaped canyon that Viking settlers believed to be created by the legendary 8-legged horse, Sleipnir. The next stop will be Husavik, Iceland´s main whale watching town. Enjoy a walk through the busy harbour area in town, admiring the bright hued and charming buildings.
Dinner and overnight stay in the Myvatn Area.
Day 5: The Troll Peninsula – Akureyri – Siglufjordur
Breakfast at your hotel. Travel west towards the bustling northern port of Akureyri, making a stop at the magnificent Godafoss, the waterfall of the gods. Akureyri, the capital of North Iceland, was voted number one in Lonely Planet’s Best Destinations 2015. The town has some of the finest timber buildings in the country, beautifully restored to their original glory. Its sits in a magnificent setting of glacier-capped mountains and the blue waters of Eyafjordur.
Continue along Eyjafjordur with its magnificent views. Take a tour of Ektafiskur, family-owned fish processing company that makes gourmet quality bacalao. Continue through magnificent fjords where black, steep mountains drop into the vast blue seas. Pass through the small fishing villages Dalvik and Olafsfjordur and onwards to Siglufjordur, a very pretty town in a haunting fjord setting. Visit Segull 67, a family-owned microbrewery.
Overnight stay at the new Hotel Siglo in Siglufjordur. Dinner is on your own, and there are several delightful restaurants with a local focus.
Day 6: Siglufjordur – Deildartunguhver – Hraunfossar - Reykjavik
Breakfast at your hotel. In the morning explore Siglufjordur and visit the award-winning Herring Era Museum, where a 1950s harbour atmosphere has been brought to life and taste herring as a part of the visit.
In the afternoon, drive through Skagafjordur, an area central to Icelandic history and culture It is also Iceland‘s main horse breeding area, and you will pass fields with horses of many colours grazing in the wide fields. Cross Holtavorduheidi plateau, the gateway between North and South, on your way to the West of Iceland, which is characterized by fjords, valleys, volcanoes and craters. Lonely Planet chose West Iceland as one of their Top Places to Visit in 2016.
In the West, water flows from the earth in every form, from rivers of sparkling cool mineral water to Europe’s most voluminous hot spring, Deildartunguhver. Stop to admire the beautiful Hraunfossar waterfalls seeping through black lava rock, before the last stop of the day in Borgarnes at the Farmers Market, Ljómalind. The non-profit market offers seasonal and regional produce and is run on a volunteer’s basis by local ladies. Continue via Hvalfjordur tunnel back to Reykjavik. Dinner is on your own.
Day 7: Departure
Breakfast at your hotel. Transfer to the airport not included. We advise departing your hotel no later than three hours before your international flight.
If you did not visit the Blue Lagoon on your arrival day, you might use the opportunity to stop there now on your way to the airport.
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