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Vikings, Sagas & Folklore – A Cultural Journey

Viking heritage is intrinsically woven into the fabric of Icelandic culture and the Sagas, which recount early Viking voyages from the foundation of the Icelandic literary tradition. Take a walk through history, experiencing the epic tales of heroic deeds in the actual settings where the stories take place.

Season:01 June - 15 September
Duration:8 Days/7 Nights
Departure:All days
Language:English
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Vikings, Sagas & Folklore – A Cultural Journey

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Viking heritage is intrinsically woven into the fabric of Icelandic culture and the Sagas, which recount early Viking voyages from the foundation of the Icelandic literary tradition. Take a walk through history, experiencing the epic tales of heroic deeds in the actual settings where the stories take place.  Iceland’s breathtaking nature provides the backdrop for your cultural journey. In addition, discover our Icelandic folklore and our fascination with elves and mystical “hidden people.”

 

Included

Included:

  • Meet and greet at Keflavík International Airport upon arrival and transfer to hotel in Reykjavík
  • Guided coach tour as per itinerary
  • Departure transfer without guide
  • Accommodation 3 nights with breakfast and with private facilities in Reykjavik
  • Accommodation 4 nights with breakfast and with private facilities in countryside
  • 4 dinners in the countryside
  • Entrance to the following museums:
    • Settlement Exhibition (day 2)
    • Gljúfrasteinn Museum (day 3)
    • Icelandic Settlement Centre (day 3)
    • Eiriksstaðir (day 4)
    • Leifssafn Museum (day 4)
    • Víðimýri Church (day 5)
    • Glaumbær Regional History Museum (day 5)
    • Icelandic Emigration Centre (day 5)
    • Herring Industry Museum (day 5)
    • Saga Centre (day 7)

 

Not included (available upon request at extra cost):

  • Dinners in Reykjavík
  • Lunches
  • Beverages with meals other than coffee/tea and fresh tap water
  • Guide at departure transfer
  • Guide service during dinners
  • Optional tours and activities
  • Porterage at airport and hotels
  • Free passengers
  • Guaranteed early check-in or late check-out
  • Visit to Viking World in Keflavík on Day 1 or Day 8
  • Icelandic Sagas: Greatest Hits performance (day 2)

Group Optional Tours (at extra cost; prices provided upon request):

 

We advise limiting group optional excursions to no more than two per day.  Group optional tours must be based on participants doing all the activities together.  

 
 

DAY 1: Arrival

Approximate distance: ca52km / 33miles

 

Approximate Driving Distance:  52 km (33 miles)

 

Meet and greet at Keflavík airport. Drive to Reykjavík for check-in at the accommodation.

 

Overnight stay in Reykjavik for the next two nights.  Tonight, dinner is on your own.    Please note guaranteed early check-in is not included in the price.  Most hotels begin check-in around 14:00 (2:00pm).

 

 
 

DAY 2: Reykjavík City Sightseeing

Approximate distance: ca25km / 13miles

Panoramic views – old city centre - the Settlement Exhibition – Árbæjarsafn

 

Breakfast at your hotel.  First stop at Perlan, which is situated on top of hot water storage tanks; from here you can enjoy fantastic panoramic views of the city.

 

Then head to the old part of town for a visit to Hallgrímskirkja church whose high tower is a landmark visible from all over the city and beyond.  In the city centre you will see the Icelandic Parliament, which houses the world's oldest ongoing legislative assembly. Close by is  City Hall,the Lutheran and Catholic cathedrals, as well as the bustling Old Reykjavík harbour area. 

 

Next visit The Settlement Exhibition: in 2001 archaeological remains were excavated  Aðalstræt Street.  These turned out to be the oldest ruins of human habitation in Reykjavík. A wall fragment was found dating before 871 AD. During the excavation, a longhouse hall was found as well, dating from the tenth century. The hall and the wall fragment are now preserved at their original location as the focal point of an exhibition about life in Viking Age Reykjavík. The exhibition aims to provide insights into the environment of the Reykjavík farm at the time of the first settlers.

 

After the tour there is free time to explore Reykjavík on your own.  We especially recommend the National Museum, which has interesting exhibits on Iceland’s history from the Settlement until the 21st century.  Dinner is on your own.  

 

Highlights:

Reykjavík  |Arbaer Museum  |Perlan
 

DAY 3: Thingvellir – Kaldidalur – Borgarfjordur

Approximate distance: ca180km / 112miles

Halldór Laxness Nobel prize winner – World’s Oldest Parliament (UNESCO site) – Settlement Centre – Saga of Egill

 

Breakfast at your hotel.  Today depart Reykjavik, stopping first at Gljufrasteinn, the home and workplace of Halldor Laxness (winner of the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1955) for more than half a century. It has been opened to the public as a museum, unchanged from when Laxness lived there.

 

Head onwards to Thingvellir, a National Park and former site of the world’s oldest parliament. We walk through the stunning natural beauty of this ancient historic site that is also one of the most interesting geological sites in Iceland. Here you can observe the separation of the Eurasian and American continental plates.

 

Cross the mountain pass Kaldidalur and make a  stop at the picturesque Hraunfossar and Barnafoss waterfalls before heading to Reykholt, home of Snorri Sturluson, the eminent 13th century scholar, politician and Saga author. Drive to Borg Farm, the birthplace of Egill Skallagrimsson, Iceland’s most famous Viking poet from the Saga of Egill. The last stop of the day is at the Icelandic Settlement centre in Borgarnes and its exhibition about Egill Skallagrímsson.

 

Dinner and overnight stay in the Borgarnes area.

 

 

DAY 4: Laugar – Eiriksstadir – Hvammstangi – Thingeyrar - Varmahid

Approximate distance: ca318km / 198miles

Home of Leif Eiriksson – Elf Folklore – Saga of Laxdæla

Breakfast at your hotel.  From Borgarnes,  drive northwards to the fertile farmlands of Budardalur. Visit Eiriksstadir, the original home of Erik the Red, first settler of Greenland; and  the birthplace of his son Leif Eiriksson, who sailed all the way to America according to the Sagas. At this living history museum and archeological site, you´ll experience the places, artifacts, and activities that authentically represent the Sagas and Vikings. A short drive down the road brings you to Leifsbud Museum and the Vineland Exhibit of Leif Eiriksson, with tools and artifacts from the Viking Age.

 

In addition to Viking history, the Dalabyggd region is enchanting and magical, with  countless stories of elves, ghosts and sorcerers. The "Elf Colony" in the rock at Tungustapi is the setting for one of Iceland’s most-loved folktales, but it is also the heart of the Laxdaelasaga, one of Iceland’s historic Sagas.

 

Drive via Laxardalsheidi heath and along Vatnsnes peninsula to enjoy the extraordinary rock formation of Hvítserkur and, hopefully, spot some seals sunning themselves.  The final stop of the day isat the small church of Þingeyrar, the former site of Iceland’s first monastery, established in Iceland in the early 12th century. 

 

Dinner and overnight stay in the Varmahlíð area.

 

DAY 5: Varmahlid – Glaumbaer Folk Museum – Saudarkrokur – Holar – Siglufjordur

Approximate distance: ca304km / 189miles

Historical Farm and church - Saga of Grettir – Herring Heritage

Breakfast at your hotel.  Begin with a morning visit to the turf-roofed Glaumbær Regional History Museum and the old church at Víðimýri, considered to be an outstanding example of Icelandic architecture.

 

Then it´s onwards to Hólar, an important historical site in Iceland as a bishopric.  Today it is still a respected learning centre. Hólar played an important role in the medieval politics of Iceland. Your group will visit the beautiful 18th century church and the archaeological site. Drive along the coast to Hofsós and enjoy an excellent view of majestic Drangey Island, soaring 150 meters (500 feet) out of the ocean. This is where the great Icelandic outlaw, Grettir the Strong, met his destiny in the 10th century.

 

We stop at Hofsós for a glimpse into the difficult past conditions of ancient Icelandic fishermen. Visit the Icelandic Emigration Centre commemorating Icelanders who immigrated to North and South America, following a catastrophic eruption in the 19th century.

 

Afterwards,  head on to Siglufjörður, an isolated fishing village nestled between steep mountains and an open fjord. Siglufjörður was the capital of the herring industry in its heyday during the bountiful herring years of 1905 – 1965, also known as the "Icelandic gold rush".Visit the Herring Industry Museum where instruments of days gone-by are kept in perfect working order.

 

Dinner and overnight stay in the Varmahlíð area.

 

 

DAY 6: Kjolur – Gullfoss – Geysir - Skalholt

Approximate distance: ca289km / 180miles

Desert Highlands – Geothermal Area – Outlaw Country – Geysir site

 

Breakfast at your hotel.  Today  travel along the highland track Kjolur, a legendary route mentioned in the Sagas. Stop at the geothermal site of Hveravellir and take a short walk to the natural warm pool and hot springs with colourful silica deposits. This area is a famous former outlaw refuge from ancient times, where ghosts can still be seen as shadows moving across the desert.

 

Drive onwards to the great Geysir area with boiling mud craters and erupting hot springs, including Strokkur, which spouts every few minutes. Close by is Gullfoss, considered by many to be Iceland’s finest waterfall. Travel onwards to Skalholt bishopric, an important historic, cultural and political center until the year 1785.  In addition to the bishop's office, there is also a cathedral, school, smithy and a monastery.

 

Dinner and overnight stay in the Fludir area.

 

 

Highlights:

Kjolur  |Gullfoss  |Geysir  |Hveravellir
 

DAY 7: Hvolsvollur – Vik – Reykjavik

Approximate distance: ca335km / 208miles

Saga of Njall – Saga Centre – Black Sand Beaches

Breakfast at your hotel.  We drive through an area of rich farmlands and majestic mountains. On a clear day you may see the famous, still active Hekla volcano.  This countryside is the setting of  Burnt Njall’s Saga, one of Iceland’s most famous works of medieval literature. Visit the Saga Centre in Hvolsvollur and learn first-hand about the world of Norse mythology, ocean voyages, and the discovery of new lands.

 

The road then leads you to the thundering waterfalls of Seljalandsfoss and Skógafoss, giving you the chance of getting close to the forces of nature. In the cliffs above the waterfalls, we may see Fulmars nesting in the summer season. 

 

We continue to the Reynisdrangar rock formations and the village of Vik, surrounded by beautiful and impressive high bird cliffs and unique black sand beaches.  Drive back to Reykjavik in the afternoon.

 

Overnight stay in Reykjavík. Dinner is on your own.

 

 

DAY 8: Departure

Approximate distance: ca52km / 33miles

Transfer to Keflavík Airport for the return flight.

 
 

TBA


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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.