DAY 1 Arrival in Reykjavík, Iceland’s Capital
After an early morning arrival and check-in at Holt Hotel, we start off with a guided stroll through the old district of Reykjavik, a quaint part of town. Its colourful timber houses, covered in corrugated iron, give the world’s northernmost capital a distinctive atmosphere. In the evening, we head to one of Reykjavik’s most renowned restaurants, The Fish Market. Located downtown in one of the city’s oldest buildings, it offers exotic seafood and meat dishes with a modern twist.
DAY 2 The Golden Circle: Thingvellir-Gullfoss-Geysir
We explore some of Iceland’s most famous and historical destinations. The first stop is the geological wonder of Thingvellir, the country’s symbolic birthplace. The area is a rift valley, sundering the Eurasian and North American tectonic plates. A one-hour hike crosses through spectacular lava fields and climbs over dramatic fissures. After the hike, we enjoy a fresh river trout in a charming village restaurant. The next stop is Gullfoss, one of Europe’s most beautiful and spectacular waterfalls. From there, it’s on to the boiling waters and erupting spring of Geysir, after which the natural phenomenon is named. The day concludes in comfort and luxury in the south Icelandic countryside.
DAY 3 Under the Volcano
Our adventure continues through the narrow farmlands, framed by the black-sand shoreline to the south and the jagged verdant cliffs to the north. The road takes us right up to the base of the infamous ice-capped volcano of Eyjafjallajökull. We break for a midday meal in a lighthouse perched high on an enormous cliff. Home to scores of puffin, this promontory offers an impressive view over the black beaches of south Iceland. In the afternoon, we explore the many majestic waterfalls cascading over steep, towering cliffs. Nearby, we can visit a lovingly curated folk museum and learn how the people of Iceland lived in earlier centuries. We close the day with a dinner feast at a farmhouse near Eyjafjallajökull before returning to our hotel for the second night.
DAY 4 Colours and Contrasts—Fjallabak Route
We leave the inhabited areas for the vast wilderness of the interior mountains. Our trail threads through the lava fields, left by Hekla volcano, and the unbridled rivers of Fjallabak. A two-hour hike circles around the brilliant yellow, green and red ridges of Landmannalaugar Springs. Deep blue lakes dot the cream-coloured outwash plains and snowy patches accent the grey moss. Our traveling party pauses for a picnic lunch under fantastic rock formations, where tales of trolls and mischievous monsters are spun while you eat. At day’s end, we leave these formidable surroundings and head for a cozy retreat in the charming village of Kirkjubæjarklaustur.
WORKSHOP: ANGLES, CLOSE-UPS & RELATED TECHNIQUES
DAY 5 Time and Textures
We experience the passage of time when lying on the thick, sponge-like moss of the Laki lava fields. Century after century, the moss grows slowly on the vast lava rock fields created by the deadly and climate-changing Laki volcano eruptions of 1783. After a workshop in the moss landscape, we stop for a picnic lunch and then continue on to the Skaftafell National Park. The landscape changes dramatically to alpine mountains and the glacier tongues of the Vatnajökull glacier. After a two-hour hike in the multi-hued hillsides, we close the day’s adventures with dinner at our lodgings and a peak at the stars.
DAY 6 Natural Ice Wonders
Vatnajökull Glacier is the third largest ice mass in the world, surpassed only by the Antarctic and Greenland glaciers. Our day starts at the iceberg-filled lake of Jökulsárlón, one of Iceland’s most photographed sights. After a picnic lunch, we take a two-hour hike on one of Vatnajökull´s glacier tongues, where ice masses that are centuries old flow down to the coastal plain. In the evening, we’re treated to the hospitality of an Icelandic farm guesthouse, with an early supper and warm bed for the night.
DAY 7 Elves, Trolls and Thermal Springs
The landscape changes once more. This time, we’re off to the fjords and wind-worn cliffs of the east coast. It’s in this rocky vista where the elves of Icelandic folklore make their home and trolls are transformed into a stone perch on mountain outcrops. In the afternoon, we venture through the geothermal area and astounding lava formations of Lake Myvatn. Before arriving at our comfortable and cozy guesthouse, we have the opportunity to bathe in a secluded, natural hot spring.
WORKSHOP: TIPS AND FOLLOW-UP