Around Iceland in 11 days

(itinerary)

Day 1:

We set off early from ReykjavÝk on this long journey, which will first take us into long fjord of Hvalfj÷r­ur, with it's majestic scenery and W.W.II relics, then across the mountain pass of Draghßls into the valley of Skorradalur, where we will get a splendid view of the peaks Skar­shei­i , with it's long lake, and after having crossed the salmon fishing river of GrÝmsß, we finally arrive at Iceland's most powerful hot-spring, the famous Deildartunguhver produces almost 50 gallons of boiling water per second. Nearby, we will come to the historic place of Reykholt, the fief of clan chieftain and historian Snorri Sturluson in the 12th century, where, among other things we can still see Snorri's bathing pool and also visit an interesting museum dedicated to his life and historical works. Further up the valley, we will admire two beautiful waterfalls, first the quite unique Hraunfossar and thereafter Barnafoss, both in the HvÝtß River which originates in the Langj÷kull glacier. Then down the HvÝtßrsÝ­u valley, past Varmalandi and across the Nor­urß salmon river until we reach the town of Borgarnes around noontime.
After lunch, and a short visit to the burial mound of Viking SkallgrÝmur Kveld˙lfsson in the centre of town, we head westwards across the Mřrar region and admire from afar the impressive Eldborg volcanic crater as it protrudes out of the ground, in stark contrast with the flat, featureless area around it. On the southern side of the SnŠfellsnes mountain range, some vast lava -fields along with some other strange geological features such as the basaltic pillar cliffs at Ger­uberg and nearby the Rau­amelur mineral water spring. After a short halt at the Vegamˇt roadside cafeteria, we cross over to the northern side of the peninsula, passing near the haunted Baulßrvallavatn and after crossing some more lava-fields, we arrive at the farm of Bjarnarh÷fn in order to see how sharkmeat can be cured, and to taste the final product.
After a tour and sightseeing trip around the town of Stykkishˇlmur, where we will first and foremost admire some of the beautiful 19th century houses which have been admirably restored by local craftsmen, we will pay a visit to the brand new swimming-pool for a quick swim, and then bask in the "warm tubs" courtesy of the recently found hot water discovered in the vicinity of the town, we will finally turn in for a dinner and a good night's rest at the town's hotel.

Day 2:

We set off early the next day, and arrive shortly in Dalirnir (the Dales) which, in the eyes of the Icelanders, are first and foremost important for being the stage of some of the most renowned of the Icelandic sagas, especially the LaxdŠla Saga, which is the only one of the sagas which, in modern terms, can be described as a "love story", albeit a strange one. The Sturlunga Saga, and the Saga of Eric the Red, discoverer of Greenland, are also set here, and we will try to visit some of the place mentioned in those sagas, for instance EirÝkssta­ir, the reconstruction of Eric's last abode in Iceland and the Calvary of Au­ur Dj˙p˙­ga, at Krosshˇlaborg. Heading west along the Fellsstr÷nd coast, we will arrive shortly at the historic locality of Skar­ on the Skar­sstr÷nd, which in former times was one of the most important places in western Iceland, but nowadays mostly known for being the only place in Iceland which has stayed in the hands of the same family ever since the days of the settlement of Iceland (32 generations!). The vast acres of the SaurbŠr county are always an impressive sight, and so are the great number of wading birds which we are likely to see on the tidal areas of Gilsfj÷r­ur while we're crossing that fjord on a new dike. Once across the fjord, we have arrived in the Western Fjords proper, and in a new county, which boasts a whole range of attractions: the peculiar Va­alfj÷ll mountains, the beautiful hillside of BarmahlÝ­, and the interesting seaweed factory, which makes use of the geothermal energy available in the area to dry the seaweed for export. Anywhere in this area, we also stand a very good chance of seeing the Iceland's biggest bird, the White-tailed Eagle in flight. Having left the bustling Reykhˇlasveit behind us, we will have to brace ourselves for a drastic change of scenery, since the almost a dozen or so fjords which lie ahead of us are now all abandoned, with only the occasional ruin of a farmstead here and there to indicate that not so long ago people used to live here in substantial numbers. However, the change is not totally for the worse, since after the livestock and herbivores disappeared, the vegetation in the area has staged a tremendous comeback, and flowers and trees are now blooming where there were none before. Soon, however, we will arrive in a built-up area again, in the neighborhood of Vatnsfj÷r­ur, and our first task will be to head for lake of Vatnsfj÷r­ur, a nature reserve, which is generally considered to be the main attractions of the whole Bar­astr÷nd coastline.
Next, we set off on a short hike to the Surtarbrandsgil canyon, above the farm of BrjßnslŠkur, where the abundant fossilized warm weather plants and tree-leaves indicate that during the Tertiary era, the climate in this zone must have been quite similar to the present day East-Coast U.S. or Western European climates. We then continue our journey westwards, through the lush green fields and pastures of the Bar­astr÷nd county, until the road starts to climb up towards the mountain pass of Kleifahei­i, from the top of which the view towards the fjord of Patreksfj÷r­ur is especially memorable. Downhill, and after having had a look around the fishing village of that same name, we cross over the ridge of Lambeyrarhßls into the fjord of Tßlknafjar­ar, where the inhabitants also enjoy the luxury of a splendid outdoor swimming-pool which we will visit, before setting out on the final leg of today's journey, over the mountain pass of Hßlfdan, and arrival in the village of BÝldudalur, for dinner and overnight stay.

Day 3:

We bid farewell to BÝldudalur early the next morning, and weave our way through the "Southern Fjords", and shortly we will be reminded that we have arrived in the area where one of the most dramatic Icelandic Sagas, the GÝsla-Saga S˙rssonar, as we pass in front of Otradalur, homestead of Eyjˇlfur "The Grey", the archenemy of GÝsli, and climbing to the top of the Dynjandishei­i Pass, we will be able to look down into the tiny fjord of Geir■jˇfsfj÷r­ur where GÝsli finally met his fate and was killed.
In the majestic fjord called Arnarfj÷r­ur, our gaze will first fall upon the wonderful waterfall of Dynjandi, the most renowned landmark in the Western fjords. At a place called Hrafnseyri, our minds will wander back to the time a thousand years ago when the first Icelandic medical doctor, Hrafn Sveinbjarnarson used to live and was assassinated here. And also back to the 19th century when the hero of the struggle for the independence of Iceland, Jˇn Sigur­sson, was born and raised here. Left for a long time in abandon and neglect, this place has now undergone a thorough facelift, and is well worth the visit. As we proceed further northwards, we will soon start to feel the effects of the enormous improvements which the road system in the Western Fjords has undergone in recent years. As we speed across the fjords of Dřrafj÷r­ur, and Ínundarfj÷r­ur, it becomes difficult to keep within the legal speed limit on the straight, excellent but little traveled roads, and our mind only fleetingly glances back to the tremendous threshold and obstacle of Brei­adalshei­i of old, as we, instead of laboriously crossing over it, simply plunge into a 5 mile long tunnel and find ourselves with only a few miles to drive before reaching the main town in the Western Fjords, ═safj÷r­ur, for lunch.
In the afternoon, we'll start with a visit to Ne­stakaupsta­ur in ═safj÷r­ur, an assortment of old Trading Post houses, warehouses, and hangars, dating back to the 18th century, now fully restored and converted into the local maritime museum, an exhibition room, cafeteria, etc. After this visit, we will head out of town, under the towering cliffs of the EyrarhlÝ­ mountain, towards the fishing village of BolungarvÝk, where we intend to visit the cove called Ësv÷r, where the local people have restored a so-called "v÷r" in Icelandic, which was a one of these countless places in former times where the rowing boats put out to sea and the catch brought back, was dried or salted, and prepared for sale or export. With all the old fishing gear, the seamen's clothes, and living quarters all as they looked two or three hundred years ago, it is a place where our mind wanders back and we wonder if anybody would put up with such hardship and cramped living conditions today.
Heading back eastwards, passing through ═safj÷r­ur, we will be driving along the coastline of the bay of ═safjar­ardj˙p, Dj˙pi­ (the Deep) for short. First on our way will be the little village of S˙­avÝk, which in January 1995 was very severely hit by an avalanche which killed more than 20 people. The sequels to that disaster are still plain to see, and even to this day, the village has not fully recovered. But once we have left the fjord of ┴lftafj÷r­ur behind us we will be driving again through a succession of deserted fjords, like in the southern part of the fjords, not quite as numerous, and on this side, some of the old pivotal places like Ígur, Vatnsfj÷r­ur, situated on the tip of the peninsulas still remain inhabited. If there is time enough, we will try and visit either one of the beautiful islands on the Deep, Ă­ey or Vigur. Failing that, we will head towards Reykjanes, which is one of the rare places in the western fjords which enjoys geothermal energy, and we will make use of their good outdoor swimming pool. Off shore, seals can often be seen basking on reefs and skerries. Soon, however, we have reached the end of the Deep and ahead of us is the moor of SteingrÝmsfjar­arhei­i, formerly also an obstacle but now traversed by a good highway. Dinner and overnight at the village of HˇlmavÝk, or nearby Hˇtel Laugarhˇll at Bjarnarfj÷r­ur.

Day 4.

On this fourth day of our trip, we'll start by driving around the Drangsnes peninsula, which offers a very good view over to the island bird sanctuary of GrÝmsey, as well as over the bay of SteingrÝmsfj÷r­ur and a beautiful panoramic view of the surrounding mountain range. In this area, there are several extra distractions available, such as horse riding, which we can perhaps take advantage of. We can also go and explore for fossils again at a place called H˙savÝkurkleif, but thereafter, we will head southwards and southwards by way of the fjords of Kollafj÷r­ur and Bitra, we will visit the old trading post of Bor­eyri, and stop over for lunch at the roadside cafeteria of Br˙ in the fjord of Hr˙tafj÷r­ur.
In the early afternoon, we head for the nearby interesting Folk-Museum at Reykir, which has a unique collection of objects pertaining to the shark fishing industry in Bay of H˙naflˇi during the 19th century. In the valley of VÝ­idalur, we will go and inspect the impressive Koluglj˙fur canyon, as well as recollecting how one branch of the English Royal family's tree can be retraced to the farm Au­unnarsta­ir in this valley. In the valley of Vatnsdalur, we can observe the effects of a giant prehistoric landslide which created the singular group of hills Vatnsdalshˇlar and the lake Flˇ­i­ which now adorn the valley. The town of Bl÷nduˇs is well situated for taking afternoon refreshments, then we cross over the Vatnsskar­ mountain pass, into the Skagafj÷r­ur valley where our first halt will be at the turf covered 19th century chapel at VÝ­imřri. Overnight in the town of Sau­ßrkrˇkur or in farm-accommodation nearby

Day 5 .

The next day, we start by visting the old farm and folk museum at GlaumbŠr, and learn how people used to live in Iceland for centuries, nearby at VÝ­imřri, a traditional little chapel can also be found, and then we head across the HÚra­sv÷tn river on the eastern side of the Skagafj÷r­ur valley, and as we pass successively by the battlefields of Flugumřri, Haugsnes and Írlygssta­ir, our minds will wander back to the troubled "Age of the Sturlungs" in the 13th century just preceding Iceland's loss of independence to the King of Norway in the year 1262. Conquering the steep slopes of the Íxnadalshei­i mountain pass, we will cross into the majestic fjord of Eyjafj÷r­ur, and arriving shortly thereafter in the picturesque town of Akureyri. The town boasts of a number of worthwhile things to do and see for the curious visitor, the foremost of which is the renowned botanical garden where the complete range of the Icelandic Flora can be observed. A bustling pedestrian shopping street, a busy shipping and fishing harbour, etc. Leaving Akureyri, we head eastwards, with a view of the Kaldbakur (ColdBack) mountain, across the Va­lahei­i pass if it is open, otherwise by way of VÝkurskar­ pass, and into the valley of Fnjˇskadalur whose main attraction is the Vaglaskˇgur forest, and the old bridge across the Fnjˇskß River.
The Christianization of Iceland in the year 1000 and it's recent millennium celebrations will undoubtedly spring to mind when we pass before the farm Ljˇsavatn and head for the Go­afoss waterfall and remember the deeds of Ůorgeir Ljˇsvetningago­i who was the main catalyst of the conversion. The sights and sounds of the lake Mřvatn area are too numerous for us to enjoy them all at once. Among the lake's main attractions is first of all the varied bird life, the Sk˙tusta­agÝgir pseudo-craters, Dimmuborgir Rock formations, Grjˇtagjß and Stˇragjß fissures (with the latter being perfect for bathing "au naturel"), the Nßmaskar­ solfatares and fumaroles , etc. Weather permitting, we can maybe walk to the top of the rim of the explosive crater Hverfjall, or take advantage of the natural sauna nearby.
Overnight at Hˇtel GÝgur, Sel-Hˇtel Mřvatn or in a similar good hotel by the lakeside.

Day 6.

We leave the Lake Mřvatn area early the next morning, and head northwards via the so-called Kieselguhr-Road, across the desert of Hˇlasandur, where a tremendous land erosion occurred in the first half of the XXth century. However, in the past decade or so, some steps have been taken both to halt and to turn back this erosion, and the results have been quite remarkable. The road will next take us to the old style farm of Grenja­arsta­ur, which we will visit as well as the church and cemetery in which a tombstone with a runic inscription can be found, one of only a handful of such stones in Iceland. We then head down the A­aldalur valley, alongside the meandering Laxß salmon fishing river, and shortly thereafter, we arrive in the fishing town of H˙savÝk. Here, in season, i.e. spring and summertime, we will set off on a whale-watching trip, but outside that time frame, we will have to make do with visiting the Whaling Centre which director ┴sbj÷rn Bj÷rgvinsson and his people have been constantly been expanding and improving over the last few years.
Next we'll be driving around the Tj÷rnes Peninsula, stopping off at the cliffs of Hallbjarnarsta­akambur in order to admire the huge sedimentary layers of fossilized seashells, both cold- and warm water species, dating also from the Tertiary Period, which also prove that in former times the climate of Iceland has been both much warmer and much colder than it is today. On the horizon, we can spot the island of GrÝmsey which straddles the Arctic Circle, and closer to shore, the tiny islands of Mßnßreyjar which are the well know epicentre of important earthquakes. On the eastern side of the peninsula, the Axarfj÷r­ur will spring into view, and then we will enter the continental drift zone again and the geologically active Kelduhverfi area, where we will take a peak into some of the impressive fissures which were created there at the outset of the 1975-'84 series of volcanic eruptions in the Krafla region.
After refreshments and a touch of oriental hospitality at the roadside shop and cafeteria of ┴sbyrgi, and a visit to the strange canyon formation of the same name nearby, the road will take us across the bridge over the impressive glacial river J÷kulsß ß Fj÷llum, where we turn northwards with the intention of studying people and places in the least visited corners of Iceland, i.e. the moor of MelrakkaslÚtta and the Langanes Peninsula. Our first encounter will be with the people of the tiny village of Kˇpasker which is well known in Iceland for being situated close to the epicentre of frequent earthquakes, but also for it's resistant stock of people who, in the face of frequent adversity, such as the depletion of the stock of shrimp in Axarfj÷r­ur, have refused to concede defeat and have turned their attention to other fields of activity (fish-farms, curing and smoking of lamb, etc). A short distance to the north of this village, we will encounter the signs of a tiny volcanic eruption which happened here in the gully of Leirhafnarsk÷r­ in 1823, but when we arrive at the northern edge of the MelrakkaslÚtta peninsula, the first thing to catch our eye is the tremendous amount of driftwood which is washed upon these shores each year, a great source of income for the population in the old days of dire wood shortage in Iceland, but nowadays largely neglected or abandoned.
Arriving on the eastern side of the peninsula, we will shortly enter the fishing town of Raufarh÷fn, which has known better days, since, as so many other similar places in Iceland specialized in one particular type of fishing activity only, (here production of fishmeal) the stocks of species needed for this production (herring, capelin) have been depleted. However, an upswing can always be hoped for and even expected, and in the meantime there is ample time for factory maintenance, ship repair, etc. After a stroll through the town, we will seek food and shelter for the night with veteran Iceland traveller and present day innkeeper and excellent chef Erlingur Thoroddsen, at Hˇtel Nor­urljˇsum.

Day 7.

Heading southwards from Raufarh÷fn we will cross over the long moor of Ytrihßls and around the mount Vi­arfjall, and head out to the little ness of Rau­anes, which is one of the main natural wonders in this area: An abundance of bird- and sealife, cliffs and rocks, caves and skerries, a nature wonderland which we will explore on foot. Back in the vehicle, our tour will take us through the grassy and fertile county of Ůistilfj÷r­ur, where prosperous farms are numerous, sadly however, this is an exception rather than a rule in this remote north-east corner of the country which has been hit harder than most by the rural exodus of the past few decades.
Soon, we will encounter another small village ١rsh÷fn, where we intend to seek support aid and help from a local tour guide in order to explore the highly interesting Langanes Peninsula, which is now all but deserted and only endowed with very rudimentary jeep tracks and trails. Should our local guide not be available, for one reason or another, we will nevertheless push at least as far as the presbytery of Sau­anes and perhaps a little further out if possible.
Arriving on the southern side of the Langanes, at the farm Fell on the Finnafj÷r­ur, we will remember the renowned counterspy Ib ┴rnason Riis, code-named "Cobweb" who during the Second World War surrendered himself here to the British defense forces of Iceland, after having been put ashore nearby from a German submarine. Some more moorlands, abandoned farms, countless brooks and rivers before we arrive in the southern half of the Bakkaflˇi Bay at the tiniest villages of them all, Bakkafj÷r­ur, where some robust fisheries and cod salting plants nevertheless thrive under the leadership of entrepreneur and former Althing member Kristinn PÚtursson. However, services to the passing tourists are in very short supply here, so we will not stay long and head across another moorland called SandvÝkurhei­i. Descending from it on the southern side, we can make our way to the interesting promontory of Fuglabjarganes, which presents a splendid view, both northwards along the coastline as well as to the south towards the town of Vopnafj÷r­ur. To finish off the day, we will make use of the excellent swimming pool at Selßrdalur, situated right beside the salmon fishing river of the same name. After the bath, we will make our way the short distance to the important fishing town of Vopnafj÷r­ur for dinner and a good overnight sleep at Hˇtel Tangi.

Day 8.

We start this day by driving through the lush fields and pastures of the fertile Vopnafj÷r­ur valley, passing on to the side valley of Hofsßrdalur until we reach Burstafell, which is one of only 6 of the old style turf farms to have been preserved in Iceland, and by many people thought to be the most interesting and authentic of the whole lot. After visiting Burstafell, we usually have the choice between two routes in order to reach HÚra­, which is the central region of Eastern Iceland: Either by way of the steep mountain pass Hellishei­i Eystri from the top of which a splendid view can be had over the bay of HÚra­sflˇi, or by way (usually the only available in winter), of heading inland, towards the desert of M÷­rudals÷rŠfi until we reach the ring-road, and then head down the J÷kuldalur valley, until we reach HÚra­. But in either case, we intend to visit farmer Írn Ůorleifsson at H˙sey, and ask him to show us his driftwood beaches, the curing of seal-skins and other interesting features of his remote farm. In the centre of the HÚra­ region, we will stop over at the church of KirkjubŠ, which is one of the most splendid country churches in Iceland, having been recently completely overhauled and restored to it's original splendour by the House Preservation Service of the National Museum of Iceland.
After lunch at Egilssta­ir, the main urban centre of the East, we can take note of the fact that some highly interesting archeological discoveries from the Viking times have been made here recently , and visit the local museum to see some of the treasures, then head south over the Fagridalur valley to the first of our Eastern fjords, Rey­arfj÷r­ur, where plans are afoot to implant several heavy industries in the near future. But for the time being, everything is still quiet, and we can enjoy the serenity of this very long fjord, before passing around the cap Vattarnes, where the beautiful rocky island Skr˙­urinn lies just offshore, and into the next fjord, Fßskr˙­sfj÷r­ur, where some important relics pertaining to the important French High Seas Fisheries around Iceland during the 19th century can be found. In the St÷­varfj÷r­ur, we will be visiting Mrs.Petra's interesting rock collection, and the next fjord, Brei­dalsvÝk will be very well situated for our afternoon refreshments. Finally on our road in the afternoon will be Berufj÷r­ur, where herds of reindeer can sometimes be spotted in the late wintertime and near it's entrance is situated the picturesque fishing village of Dj˙pivogur, which in earlier times was one of the country's most important trading posts. Some beautiful old wooden houses dating from that period have recently been restored.
Dinner and overnight accommodation in Dj˙pivogur.

Day 9.

Hamarsfj÷r­ur and ┴lftafj÷r­ur are the last of the Eastern Fjords, with the latter (The Fjord of Swans), which is the country's closest spot to mainland Europe,often being covered with thousands of migrating birds in the springtime and in autumn.
From now on, the fjords will be replaced by lagoons, and the first of those, Lˇn, is embellished on it's northern side by the towering Eystra-Horn peak, made of gabbro which is a rock of granite origin. Next we pass over the Hvalnesskri­ur, and nearby we will take a short walk along the seaside. The grandiose view from the Almannaskar­ Pass, when we can clearly see the cascading glaciers for the first time,is generally considered to be one of the country's finest, and from there we will be going to Cape Stokksnes, with a splendid view of the gabbro peak Vestra-Horn, which is renowned for it's bird- and marine life. The most captivating aspect of the town of H÷fn Ý Hornafir­i is the thrifty character of it's very busy port and fishing industries, which belie the fact that the town was only founded 100 years ago. It is also renowned for being the place where the greatest number of foreign birds, which have strayed here from both sides of the Atlantic and sometimes even from exotic locations, are sighted each year.
After lunch, we have the possibility to head up to the top of the glacier Skßlafellsj÷kull where we can have a snowcat trip (not included) or head straight for the J÷kulsßrlˇn Glacial lagoon and observing on the way all the spectacular features of the Skaftafellssřsla region's landscape i.e. the sandy deserts,the numerous cascading glaciers, and hopefully also Iceland's highest peak, the ÍrŠfaj÷kull. The famous boat trips on the J÷kulsßrlˇn Glacial lagoon are only operated during the summer season, but out of season, the floating icebergs can just as well be observed from the shoreline, and a stroll down along Iceland's shortest glacial river(less than a mile!) to it's outlet into the sea, where seals can often be spotted, is also very rewarding. Another possibility for taking an adventurous trip this morning is, weather permitting, to go on the trailer tour to Cape Ingˇlfsh÷f­i, operated by a father and son team in the ÍrŠfasveit county. This trip is especially rewarding during the puffin breeding season, from early spring onwards. Arriving in the Skaftafell National Park in the late afternoon, we will go on a short hike, either to the edge of the Skaftafell glacier,or head up to the acclaimed Svartifoss waterfall which falls off a cliff of basaltic columns. At the vantage point Sjˇnarsker, an incomparable view can be had over the Skei­arßrsandur desert and the surrounding peaks and glaciers. In season, refreshments can be obtained at the Skaftafell Park cafeteria, but out of season the only recourse is to head for to the village of KirkjubŠjarklaustur where all the necessary services are available on a yearly basis. En route, we can have a look some other interesting rock formation i.e. basaltic columns called Dverghamrar ,which can be found near the farm of Foss ß SÝ­u, and the so-called Kirkjugˇlf (church floor) and we can also visit the tiny 18th century chapel at N˙pssta­ur.
Dinner and overnight at KirkjubŠjarklaustur or nearby farm-accommodation in Me­alland region.

Day 10.

Next morning , after leaving KirkjubŠjarklaustur,we will be driving across the tremendous Eldhraun lava-field which is the country's largest in historical times and then over the vast expanses of the Mřrdalssandur sandy desert before arriving in VÝk Ý Mřrdal, Iceland's southernmost village. If our tour takes place sometimes from early spring till late summer, have the opportunity to start this day by setting off on yet another adventurous trip, this time in an amphibious vehicle owned by a local tour operator, either on a short cruise around the Reynisdrangar rocks or even go all the way to the Dyrhˇlaey mull itself and to continue our journey from there. In any case, the breathtaking landscape and very active bird life, i.e.fulmars, kittiwakes and seagulls all year round, arctic terns, puffins by the thousands in summer are all there for our enjoyment. Skˇgafoss is towering waterfall of 180 ft on the southern flank of the Eyjafjallaj÷kull glacier, and next to it is the highly interesting folk museum at Skˇgar, which is the lifetime of achievement of a very singular man, Mr. ١r­ur Tˇmasson, who, as a rule takes a great pleasure in presenting it personally to his guests, an event which many people have even considered to be the highlight of their Iceland tour. We will then admire another shapely waterfall, Seljalandsfoss, as it falls in a beautiful curve off a high cliff. Then we cross over the Markarfljˇt bridge and head towards the historical FljˇtshlÝ­ hill, and perhaps make a halt near the Stˇri-DÝmon rock, as did the the Njßla hero Gunnar about 1000 years ago and reflect as he did "How splendid it is, my hillside"! At the village of Hvolsv÷llur, a permanent exposition about the events of the Njßls saga has recently been opened, and from there, we head northwards to the ancient farmhouse Keldur, which is probably the oldest building in Iceland. The nearby springs of sparkling pure water,are also a memorable sight. Proceeding further to the north, we will soon be leaving the lush green grasslands of southern Iceland behind, and entering the wastelands and erosion areas which indicate that we are now approaching Iceland's most famous volcano, the Hekla, whose last eruption started in February 2000. Near the farm of Selsund, we will encounter the first lava fields, which later will give way to enormous fields of pumice which the volcano also produces occasionally. To the north of mount B˙rfell, we will be crossing over Iceland's longest river, the Ůjˇrsß, and head for the devastated valley of Ůjˇrsßrdalur where we will pay a visit "Ůjˇ­veldisbŠrinn", i.e. the reconstructed Viking age farmhouse at B˙rfell, and the nearby waterfall of Hjßlparfoss. Overnight at ┴rnes, Fl˙­ir or nearby farm-accommodation.

Day 11.

The small village of Fl˙­ir is situated in a hot-spring area, and the abundant hot water in the area is put to good use in the numerous greenhouses that can be found here, and one of which we will visit and see the thriving tomatoes, cucumbers, etc.
About twenty miles to the north of Fl˙­ir, we cross over the glacial torrent HvÝtß at Br˙arhl÷­, a place where river rafters can often be seen, and head to the splendid Gullfoss waterfall, which never fails to profoundly impress the visitor. Nearby, we will reach the world famous Geysir geothermal area: The "old faithful" himself is now dormant, but nearby Strokkur erupts regularly every 4-5 minutes. Next, we will discover the holiday resort of Laugarvatn, where geothermal activity is also abundant: the VÝg­alaug fountain, greenhouses and both a swimming-pool and a natural steam-bath, simply built on top of a hot-spring, where we can have a relaxing sauna. Proceeding across the Lyngdalshei­i moor, with it's numerous caves and volcanic craters,we will soon be reaching the Ůingvellir National Park,via the beautiful shoreline of the lake Ůingvallavatn. Criss-crossed by faults and fissures, we will first go to see the best known of these, the Nikulßsargjß, before passing over to the parliament site Ůingvellir (parliament plains) and towards L÷gberg (Speaker's Rock), where the country's national assembly took place for centuries. Then we will ascend the Almannagjß fissure,where the effects of the tectonic plate movements on the earth's crust can clearly be seen. We will then wind up this journey by visiting the Geothermal Power Plant at Nesjavellir, and take advantage of their excellent cafeteria for lunch, a rapid return to ReykjavÝk, via the so-called pipeline road, in the late afternoon, and after a short sightseeing trip of the city, the tour winds up by your return to your hotel.

Duration of tour: 11 days, 10 nights.
Minimum number of passengers: 3 persons
Departures: Mondays by-weekly or by request, all year round.

The Around Iceland in 11 Days Tour
Season:
Validity:
Price:
Winter
October-> April
Summer
( May->September)

Deposit amount at reservation: 20% ; Single room supplement: +16%
Trade enquiries welcome: contact us!

Conditions of sale.

Services included: (4x4) transportation* and guidance. Small comfortable hotels, farm accommodation or similar, in double rooms, usually with "en suite" facilities. Meals: Full board, (big breakfast, quick lunch, three course dinner), starting with lunch on first day and ending with lunch on the last day.Drinks/minibars not included.
*(4x4) Vehicles generally used: (however, we reserve the right to change vehicle if necessary)
1 > 4 Passengers : Toyota Landcruiser ; 5 > 10: Ford Econoline,
10>19 passengers: Mercedes Benz minibus. 20>35: Mercedes Benz full size
Necessary gear: Good outdoor clothing and sturdy footwear. Also bring your swimsuit.
Operated: All year round. Note: During the wintertime (or indeed exceptionally in other seasons as well) , the tour may come momentarily to a halt for reasons of bad weather, snow, flooded roads or other such unforseeable "force majeure" causes. Valfer­ir ehf, acting in good faith, will not accept any responsibility for the inconvenience or extra-cost incurred because of such events.

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