Iceland: Reykjavik & National Parks

Guided Walking Tour, Iceland: Reykjavik & National ParksGuided Walking Tour, Iceland: Reykjavik & National Parks

Iceland

Reykjavik & National Parks

overview

The summer sun never sets on this geological wonderland of verdant hills, active volcanoes, fumaroles, and mudpots. Your adventure brings Iceland’s surreal beauty into clear focus. From Pingvellir National Park, site of Iceland’s thousand-year-old parliament and nearby Gold Falls, you’ll journey to Vík, whose huge black sea columns are said to be trolls turned to stone. Enjoy Iceland’s finest folk museum beneath the sea cliffs of Skógar; explore the glaciers, lava fields, and black-sand desert at Skaftafell National Park. Boating through Jökulsárlón Lagoon’s massive blue ice forms, and a “midnight sun” kayak tour are among Iceland’s “musts.” Other amazing natural sights include Europe’s largest migratory-bird sanctuary at Lake Mývatn, a peaceful oasis surrounded by steaming earth; Dettifoss, Europe’s most powerful waterfall; and Iceland’s

Activity Level
Easy to moderate;
4-9 miles daily
Meet
Reykjavík, Iceland
Depart
Reykjavík, Iceland
Daily Itinerary
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itinerary
Reading List
Recommended
pre-trip reading
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From our blog

Guided Walking 
8 days, 7 nights Trip Includes 

Trip Includes:

  • Two expert, local guides (for groups of 8 or more), with you 24/7
  • All meals except for one dinner; local beer or wine included with dinner
  • All accommodations while on tour
  • Transportation from the meeting to the departure point
  • Entrance fees and special events as noted in the itinerary
  • The unbeatable and cumulative experience of the CW staff
per person double occupancy
Single supplement + $760
 

Solo surcharge + $0
 

Airfare additional + $200

Call 800.234.6900 to book this trip.

REQUEST RESERVATION
Number of Travelers
Total in your party
Price From
per person double occupancy

Airfare additional + $200

Call 800.234.6900 to book this trip.

REQUEST RESERVATION

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Itinerary and Accommodations

Days
Destination
1
Hella
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2
Freysnes
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3
Freysnes
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4
Seyðisfjörður
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5
Seyðisfjörður
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6
Reykjahlíð
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7
Reykjahlíð
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8
Reykjahlíð
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Day 1

Hella

Meet in Reykjavík. Þingvellir National Park; 3 miles, easy to moderate. Geysir and Gullfoss; 1 mile, easy. Transfer to Hella. Optional evening river walk; 2 miles, easy

You begin with an early meeting in your centrally located Reykjavík hotel for a brief orientation before departing on the 50-minute drive northeast of the city through the countryside to Þingvellir National Park, one of the three national parks that you visit on this itinerary. A UNESCO World Heritage site, Þingvellir, literally “Parliament Plains,” is the site of Iceland’s ancient parliament, first established in 930 AD and convened continuously until 1798. Not only a gathering place for chieftains establishing law, it was also an open-air meeting place for games, feasts, marriages, and trade, and the site of some of the country’s momentous decisions: from the adoption of Christianity in 1000 AD to the foundation of the Republic of Iceland in 1944. Fascinatingly, it is situated on the dramatic rift valley where the North American and Eurasian tectonic plates pull apart, clearly visible at the great Almannagjá (Everyman’s Gorge), a group of gorges extending almost continuously from Lake Þingvallavatn north to Mt. Ármannsfell. The trail continues to Lögberg (Law Rock), where the “Law Speaker” proclaimed memorized laws.

Moving into the park, a two-hour walk takes you to Öxarárfoss waterfall and through a lava field covered by patchy pine plantations, dwarf birch forest, and heathland plants such as bog bilberry, wooly willow, lady smock, sweet grass, and lichen. Continuing along some of the many fissures in the rift valley, you enjoy great views of the crystal-clear, deep waters of the Vallagja, Flosagja, and Nikulasargja fissures.

From Þingvellir, a short drive takes you to a local farm for a tour of a state-of-the-art greenhouse and delicious lunch featuring fresh tomato-and-herb soup and homemade bread, followed by warm apple and rhubarb pie. The farmer and his family will also take you on a tour of the stables and introduce you to the Icelandic horse.

After lunch you make your way to your first hotel, with a number of stops en route. The first stop is at Geysir, the place giving its name to the phenomenon worldwide, and Strokkur, or the “churn,” the latter spouting every five minutes. From here, a 10-minute drive takes you to Gullfoss, or Gold Falls, Iceland’s most-famous and most-visited waterfall, a national monument. Then you continue about 90 minutes more through much of the country’s agricultural land to Hella, known for its gentle Icelandic horses.

Before gathering for a welcome cocktail and dinner in your hotel’s acclaimed riverside restaurant, you may slip into one of its geothermally heated outdoor hot tubs. On the menu of high-quality local offerings, you may choose the organic lamb pastrami, followed by fresh wild salmon from the neighboring river, chocolate and skyr (Icelandic cream cheese) cake for dessert. After dinner, with daylight lingering well into the night, you may choose to go for a peaceful evening walk along the banks of the Eystri-Rangá or an optional horseback ride at a nearby family-run ranch.

Hotel Rangá

A member of the Special Hotels of the World, Hotel Rangá is beautifully situated on the banks of Iceland's premier salmon river, the Eystri-Rangá. This four-star, log-cabin-style resort features cozy and comfortable rooms, facing either the river or Iceland's famous volcano, Mt. Hekla, as well as an acclaimed riverside restaurant and several geothermally heated outdoor hot tubs.

Day 2

Freysnes

1¼-hour transfer to Vík with stops en route at Seljalandsfoss, the Skógar folk museum, and Skogafoss waterfall. Vík cliff/beach walk; 2 miles, easy. 2-hour transfer to Freysnes. Optional late-afternoon glacier walk; 2 miles, easy

After a bountiful buffet breakfast, you drive east along the Ring Road (the one road encircling the entire island) where you take in some of the southern coast’s most dramatic scenery—tall mountains with a succession of waterfalls cascading from the glaciers above on one side and views of the North Atlantic coastline with its black sand beaches and dramatic headlands on the other. A 20-minute drive brings you to a brief stop at Seljalandsfoss, a narrow waterfall dropping 130 feet into a shallow pool with space to walk behind it. From here another short drive brings you to the tiny village of Skógar, a summer resort and home to one of Iceland’s finest folk museums; its old turf farmhouse provides a glimpse into the fishing and farming culture of past centuries. Afterward, you stop at the town’s breathtaking Skogafoss waterfall, which drops nearly 200 feet into the river Skógaá, full of salmon and char, and, according to legend, hiding a gold treasure trove visible when the sun hits it the right way.

Continuing eastward, a 35-minute drive brings you to the town of Vík, Iceland’s most southerly village. This quaint town is tucked in between mountains, sea cliffs, and a long, beautiful, black sand beach. Following lunch, a spectacular coastal walk departs directly from the restaurant. Reaching the outskirts of the village, you skirt the vertical Reynisfjall cliffs—home to a remarkable bird colony including kittiwakes, fulmar, and puffins—as well as the Reynisdrangar, a series of black basalt columns sculpted by the sea. According to local folklore, these twisted shapes are trolls turned to stone by the sunrise while dragging their boats to shore. The walk concludes with a stroll along the beach, ending with an optional visit to Vík’s lovely woolens shop.

Another hour’s drive traverses the beautifully austere landscape of the moss-covered Eldhraun lava field, one of the largest lava fields in the world, and then another 60 minutes through a glacial floodplain called “The Sandur,” the world’s largest example of a black sand desert, the sand and sediment deposited by subglacial volcanoes.

By late afternoon you reach your hotel, situated at the base of vegetated glacial moraines in front of Iceland’s most impressive (and largest) glacier, Vatnajökull, and also adjacent to the breathtaking Skaftafell National Park (the second national park on this tour). Before dinner at your hotel, your guides will take you on an optional two-hour walk on the run-off glacier, Svínafellsjökull.

Hotel Skaftafell

Freysnes, Iceland

Ideally located three miles east of the breathtaking Skaftafell National Park, this three-star property boasts incredible glacier and mountain views, a restaurant, spacious bar, and very simple yet comfortable rooms.

Day 3

Freysnes

Skaftafell National Park; 12-mile full-day option, moderate to challenging, or 4-6 mile morning option, easy to moderate, followed by visit to Ingólfshöfði headland, 1-2 miles, easy

Following a buffet breakfast, a few minutes’ drive brings you to the start of an optional full day’s loop walk in Skaftafell National Park. An initial ascent up the Bæjargil gully with its multiple waterfalls, including the spectacular Svartifoss (Black Waterfall), you continue across Skaftafellsheiði heath to the viewpoint at Sjónarnipa, where you enjoy a picnic lunch. From here, you may decide to continue across Skaftafellsheiði heath for the remainder of the afternoon. As you proceed toward Kristínartindar (the Peaks of Kristín), you take in some of Iceland’s most imposing and picturesque views, with Vatnajökull glacier and its craggy peaks to the north and the vast black desert to the south.

The flora and fauna in the park are much more varied than in other parts of the country, and in midsummer you find large numbers of butterflies and considerable birdlife on the wooded slopes—the redwing, common snipe, meadow pipit, and wren are among the most common species. This is also one of the North Atlantic’s most important breeding areas for the Great Skua. The park’s sheltered position and rich volcanic soil encourages a profusion of lush vegetation, and more than 200 species of plants have been found here, including abundant summertime wildflowers.

Those who wish to forgo the more challenging afternoon walk option through Skaftafell National Park return to the Visitor Center following lunch. From here you drive south to Ingólfshöfði, a striking headland and the arrival point of Iceland’s first Norse settler, Ingólfur Arnarson, more than 1,000 years ago. Today these cliffs and grassy fields atop the promontory provide nesting grounds for more than a dozen bird species, including kittiwakes, snipe, guillemots, the Great Skua, various gulls, graceful Arctic terns, and their ungainly but charming opposites, the puffin. Getting to Ingólfshöfði is truly half the fun; you ride in an open cart towed by a kindly—and now famous—local farmer over hard, sea-washed volcanic sand. Once at the promontory, you climb up a sand dune to the top, where your farmer-host regales you with stories of the ancient Norse settlers, and dramatic tales of modern sailors shipwrecked along these shores.

A late-afternoon coffee at the Skaftafell visitor center is a chance to explore the exhibition room, with its interesting display showing the intertwined lives of the local people and natural history, as well as to view a video showing the effects of the Skeidarár glacial outburst floods (jökulhlaup) in 1996. You return to relax at the hotel before gathering for dinner in its dining room.

Hotel Skaftafell

Freysnes, Iceland

Ideally located three miles east of the breathtaking Skaftafell National Park, this three-star property boasts incredible glacier and mountain views, a restaurant, spacious bar, and very simple yet comfortable rooms.

Day 4

Seyðisfjörður

1-hour transfer to Jökulsárlón glacial lagoon. Jökulsárlón beach; 1 mile, easy. 4½-hour transfer to Seyðisfjörður with stops en route in Höfn and Djúpivogur. Seyðisfjörður town walk; 1-2 miles, easy

Today’s travels take you from Skaftafell in the south to the final destination of Seyðisfjörður in the east. With an early departure, an hour’s drive takes you to the dramatic Jökulsárlón glacial lagoon, the best-known and largest of a number of glacial lakes in Iceland. Here, you board an amphibious vehicle for a 40-minute boat ride and a close look at the blue-tinted natural ice sculptures, a myriad of unique shapes and sizes. Two James Bond movies, “Die Another Day” and “A View to a Kill,” were filmed in this fantastic location, where a large pool between the nose of the Breiðamerkurjökull glacier and the sea formed after the glacier began shrinking rapidly in the 1940s, and filled with icebergs calved from the glacier. Floating among the ice you may spot seals and eider ducks, and even witness the glacier calving into the crystal turquoise waters. Crossing the road, an awe-inspiring walk takes you along the iceberg-covered black sand beach where you might spot seals as well as the Great Skua.

Climbing into your private coach, an 80-minute drive provides fantastic views of the Vatnajökull glacier before arriving at the busy fishing port of Höfn, the epicenter of Iceland’s lobster catch. At the lobster/langoustine capital of the north, the menu for lunch at a charming local restaurant with harbor views features langoustine tails grilled with butter, parsley, and garlic, served with salad and fresh bread. You have a short stroll before the three-hour transfer to Seyðisfjörður. Breaking up the drive, you take a coffee break in the charming East Iceland fishing village of Djúpivogur, at the tip of the lower Eastfjords.

You reach your final destination of Seyðisfjörður by late afternoon. Iceland’s most picturesque coastal town, Seyðisfjörður is nestled in an 11-mile-long, calm, deep fjord, lined with snowcapped mountains and tumbling waterfalls. The town’s streets are lined with colorful Norwegian wood kit homes from the 19th and early 20th centuries, Iceland’s best-preserved old wooden buildings. With a thriving arts scene, Seyðisfjörður also serves as the port to mainland Europe, as the Smyril Line car ferry Norræna transits weekly to Norway, the Shetland and Faroe islands, and Denmark. The modern Icelandic poet Matthías Johannessen called the town a “pearl enclosed in a shell.”

You enjoy an easy walk through the town before settling into Hotel Aldan. Your home base for the next two nights lives up to the setting: a lovely heritage hotel, its rooms beautifully furnished with handcrafted bedspreads, embroidered rugs, and antiques. The hotel’s warmly lit gourmet restaurant—housed in one of Iceland’s oldest general stores—invites, serving local, organic ingredients such as East Icelandic reindeer steak with caramelized onions, root vegetables, and red wine sauce. Intrigued, you may opt for a late-evening stroll through the old town or visit the vibrant Skaftfell Cultural Center and Café, where local artists and musicians meet in a grand old house with an art gallery.

Hótel Aldan

Seyðisfjörður, Iceland

This lovely in-town Heritage Hotel is comprised of three historical buildings: a former bank, post office, and one of Iceland's oldest stores, now completely restored more than a century later to their former splendor. Inviting rooms exude old-fashioned charm and are beautifully furnished with handcrafted bedspreads, embroidered rugs, wood floors, and antiques. (Please note: while rooms do not feature telephones, there are phone services available at the reception desk.)

Day 5

Seyðisfjörður

Skálanes; 7 miles, moderate. Fjarðará River; 3 miles, moderate with some challenging downhill sections

A scrumptious breakfast buffet starts the day with still-warm home-baked bread, fresh fruit, and cereals. Afterward a 20-minute drive brings you to the trailhead for a four- to five-hour walk to Skálanes—a nature reserve located at the mouth of Seyðisfjörður fjord. With snowcapped mountains and cascading waterfalls on one side and the deep blue fjord on the other side, the morning route takes you across peaceful meadows, along sandy beaches, and into lush wildflower fields. The area is known for its beauty and considerable birdlife, including the Arctic tern, black-tailed godwit, golden plover, and eider duck. Other wildlife includes seals and whales in the fjord and reindeer populating the high-mountain heathland. Around lunch time, you arrive at Skálanes farm, where a delicious lunch is served. Continuing on after lunch, the trail proceeds to the edge of the fjord, up along the bird cliffs with large colonies of sea birds including kittiwakes and puffins. From here you ascend lupine-covered hills before descending alongside a stream bank back toward the fjord trail. The bus is waiting to drive those who wish back to town; others may choose to walk into town.

This afternoon a short drive takes you above the town of Seyðisfjörður for an optional walk along Waterfall Lane. You follow a path along the south bank of the Fjarðará River dotted with more than 20 waterfalls, past Iceland’s oldest operational power plant (1913), and down the dramatic valley back to your hotel.

You are free to continue your explorations this evening with dinner on your own in one of Seyðisfjörður’s restaurants or cafés, or at your hotel. With the late setting sun, you may venture out on a midnight sun paddle: an evening guided kayak tour in the lagoon in front of the hotel—a wonderful way to experience the fjord—chosen by Lonely Planet as one of Iceland’s 10 best experiences. (The tour is at your own expense but your guides assist in arranging.) Or a more sedentary option is a visit to the local pub, Kaffi Lára, known for its beer, El Grillo, named for a British tanker sunk in Seyðisfjörður by German bombers in 1944.

Hótel Aldan

Seyðisfjörður, Iceland

This lovely in-town Heritage Hotel is comprised of three historical buildings: a former bank, post office, and one of Iceland's oldest stores, now completely restored more than a century later to their former splendor. Inviting rooms exude old-fashioned charm and are beautifully furnished with handcrafted bedspreads, embroidered rugs, wood floors, and antiques. (Please note: while rooms do not feature telephones, there are phone services available at the reception desk.)

Day 6

Reykjahlíð

3-hour transfer to Lake Mývatn with stop en route at Sænautasel Farm. Jökulsárgljúfur National Park: Dettifoss; 1 mile, easy. Lake Mývatn: Leirhnjúkur and Námaskarð; 1-3-mile options, easy

Today you leave the Eastfjords to head north with a final destination of Lake Mývatn, via a three-hour drive across the fascinating interior of the island, with its stark and barren northeast highland desert plateaus. The halfway point is a coffee break at Sænautasel Farm, a reconstructed turf farm on a 37-mile-long remote heathland called Jökuldalsheiði, where you may see reindeer grazing! Halldór Kiljan Laxness, Iceland’s Nobel Prize-winning author, used the farm as the setting for his novel, Sjálfstætt folk (“Independent People”).

You first stop is Jökulsárgljúfur National Park, which translates as “Glacial River Canyon,” Iceland’s most well-known canyon, replete with extraordinary rock formations, waterfalls, and plant life. Arriving at the park’s southern boundary, an easy, one-mile loop leads to Dettifoss, Europe’s most powerful waterfall (often compared to Niagara Falls).

After fueling up with lunch, you proceed to the day’s final destination—the Mývatn/Krafla region—the part of Iceland where you see that it is indeed a land in formation. Geologically active, the landscape is teeming with volcanic craters, recent lava fields, and bubbling mud flats, and is part of the greater Krafla volcanic system, a three-mile-wide and 50-mile-long strip of faults and fissures running north to south, with the Krafla caldera at its center. In the midst of the evolving geology is stunning Lake Mývatn, a unique ecosystem and Europe’s largest migratory bird sanctuary, with its many species of waterfowl feeding on the insects and algae of the lake’s warm, shallow waters. The region is also the center of the country’s geothermal energy industry.

Not far from the lake, in the active Krafla volcanic zone, you stop for an easy two-hour walk at Leirhnjúkur, an eerie expanse of still-smoldering lava resulting from the Krafla fires of 1974-1984. You explore the multicolored sulfurous slopes of Námaskarð Pass at 1,300 feet above sea level and Hverir, a large geothermal field, full of bubbling mud pots, hissing steam vents, and fumaroles.

This evening, after settling in to your room on the shores of Lake Mývatn, you gather for dinner in the hotel’s dining room. If you still have energy after dinner, you may take an evening walk along the southwest shore of the lake to observe some of the varied birdlife—merganser, widgeon, teal, and the rare Barrow’s goldeneye, to name a few. Or you can jump on one of the hotel’s bikes for an easy spin. The Northern version of Reykjavík’s Blue Lagoon, the Mývatn Nature Baths, are nearby, and your guides can arrange a visit at your own expense. Lastly, a neighboring farm provides Icelandic horse rides, also at your expense, but with the guide’s assistance.

Hótel Reynihlíð

Reykjahlíð, Iceland

The family-run Hotel Reynihlíð is ideally located on the shores of Lake Mývatn. Spacious rooms, with lake or mountain views, are well-equipped with modern amenities. This comfortable hotel also features a welcoming lobby bar, sitting rooms, and restaurant.

Day 7

Reykjahlíð

Lake Mývatn: Hverfjall and Dimmuborgir; 8 miles, moderate. Skútustaðagígar; 2 miles, easy, or Hofdi; 1-2 miles, easy

After a delicious breakfast buffet, you set off on foot directly from the hotel for a full day’s exploration of the Lake Mývatn region. The morning’s trail transitions from richly vegetated lava fields to an area blighted by wind erosion. En route you pass by the Storagja and Grjotaga fault fissures, both used for bathing in earlier times. From Grjotaga, you proceed through sandy plains and lava formations up the northern side of Hverfjall, a classic tephra ring. This near symmetrical crater appeared 2,500 years ago in a cataclysmic eruption. Rising 1,520 feet from the ground and stretching 3,400 feet across, it is a massive and awe-inspiring landmark in Mývatn. The trail circles along the western edge of the crater, from where you enjoy stunning views of the crater itself and the surrounding landscape, before continuing down the southern side of the crater into Dimmuborgir. The giant jagged lava field at Dimmuborgir (literally the “Dark Castles”) is one of the most interesting lava flows in Iceland. The strange lava pillars were created about 2,000 years ago when lava flowed across older lava fields and was dammed into a fiery lake. The surface of the lake cooled but when the dam broke the remaining lava flowed onwards and left behind the cooled oddly-shaped pillars.

Following lunch in Dimmuborgir, you continue your exploration of the natural wonders of the Lake Mývatn area. A short transfer brings you to Skútustaðagígar craters, an unusual geological formation found only in Iceland and on the planet Mars! Alternatively, you may elect an easy and tranquil walk through the forested lakeside Hofdi area; viewpoints over the lake may offer sightings of Barrow´s goldeneye, wigeon, Slavonian grebe, scaup, and many other water birds.

This afternoon you return to you hotel in Mývatn with time to relax and pack before a celebratory farewell dinner in the hotel’s dining room. Starting with the Mývatn specialty of Hot Spring bread, baked in the local underground bakery using geothermal heat and traditional methods, topped with butter and smoked arctic char, the main course may be wild thyme-crusted roasted leg of lamb or pan-fried Lake Mývatn trout.

Hótel Reynihlíð

Reykjahlíð, Iceland

The family-run Hotel Reynihlíð is ideally located on the shores of Lake Mývatn. Spacious rooms, with lake or mountain views, are well-equipped with modern amenities. This comfortable hotel also features a welcoming lobby bar, sitting rooms, and restaurant.

Day 8

Reykjahlíð

Transfer to Akureyri with stop en route at Goðafoss. Flight from Akureyri to Reykjavík. Departure from Reykjavík

The final day of your tour begins with an early-morning departure to the city of Akureyri for the 11:40 a.m. flight back to Reykjavík. En route, after just under an hour’s drive, you stop at the beautiful Goðafoss waterfall, meaning as it sounds, “waterfall of the gods.” Another 50 minutes brings you to Akureyri. After your 40-minute flight, you arrive into Reykjavík’s domestic airport just after noon. Following lunch in Reykjavík, you are driven to the bus terminal to catch the 2:00 p.m. Flybus to Keflavík.

Itinerary Disclaimer

Bear in mind that this is a typical itinerary, and the actual activities, sites, and accommodations may vary due to season, special events, weather, or transportation schedules. We reserve the right to alter the itinerary since tour arrangements are made up to a year in advance, and unforeseen circumstances that mandate change may arise. Itinerary changes are made to improve the tour and your experience. If you are currently booked on a CW adventure, an itinerary has been sent to you for your exact departure date. Please call CW at 800.464.9255 if you have any questions about the exact itinerary or hotels selected for any of our tours.

Guides

Erling Aspelund

Erling is a native of Reykjavík. He received his Masters from the Tisch School of the Arts in New York and worked for years in the computer software industry in Seattle. Erling has traveled all over Iceland and is passionate about the outdoors. He enjoys hiking, kayaking, swimming, skiing, and photography.

Kristin Bjornsdottir

Kristin moved back to her native Iceland a few years ago after living in the US where she graduated from New York University and worked in educational media. She is a certified travel guide and loves to share her passion for the outdoors and all things Icelandic. Kristin offers her extensive knowledge of Icelandic folklore and folktales as well as history and culture.

Arngunnur Yr

Born and raised in Iceland, Arngunnur studied fine arts in San Francisco. She is an accomplished painter who exhibits at galleries and art museums around the world. Her love of nature and the outdoors led her to guiding. She is a certified guide and spends her summers in Iceland sharing her extensive knowledge of Icelandic geology, nature, and culture with visitors.

Sigurthor Heimisson

Sigurthor, also known as Sori, hails from the East Coast of Iceland. Trained as an actor, he has performed professionally in Iceland and the United States. Like most of the men in the village where he grew up, Sori worked as a fisherman in his youth. Today he applies his knowledge of the sea to competitive yacht sailing. Sori is a certified Iceland tour guide and particularly enjoys leading guests through his home territory in the East.

Rakel Jónsdóttir

Rakel has been sharing her love of Icelandic nature with English and French-speaking visitors for over a decade and is known for her great story-telling skills. She is a certified guide and when she is not attending to guests, she teaches geography in the tour guide program at the University of Iceland. Rakel grew up in Hafnarfjordur, a beautiful old town south of Reykjavik. She has also lived in France and in the US, specifically in Hollywood, where she worked as an extra in movies and television shows.

Yrsa Gylfadottir

Yrsa was born in Reykjavík, but lived part of her childhood in Canada and later she lived for many years in France. Her educational background is in literature and she has a passion for writing and telling stories.  She published her first novel a few years back and has another one in the works. Yrsa is a certified tourist guide and she loves sharing stories about Iceland and Icelanders with guests from around the globe. Yrsa's other passions are board games, soccer and singing.

Guest Comments

C. Thompson, Illinois, August 2013

It was my first time hiking and my first CW tour. The guides were incredibly knowledgable and our tour group meshed really well together. It was overall an excellent experience. I would definitely take part in another tour in the future.

J. Rowlandson, Ontario, July 2013

This was an amazing trip. Iceland is a very diverse and beautiful country - lava fields, volcanic ash deserts, volcanoes, glaciers, lush green hillsides, beautiful beaches, scenic fjords, countless waterfalls.

C. & R. Park, Texas, June 2013

Beyond expectations. Professional and superb guides, flexible when necessary. The most sensitive to the clients’ needs of any tour we have taken. Very enjoyable.

E. Briskin, Michigan, June 2013

An amazing country where two tectonic plates meet and can even be seen on one of the optional walks...beautiful glaciers, icebergs, amazing cliff walks and great puffins!

S. Reines, Pennsylvania, June 2013

Our guides were both truly outstanding. The itinerary was varied and flexible enought to accomodate some bad weather without loss of worthwhile activities. The scenery was outstanding; food and accomodations were very good. Iceland is a remarkable country, well worth experiencing.

B. Baird, Maryland, August 2010

Consistently first-rate hikes, food, lodgings, cultural experiences, and especially good guides.

K. Brown, Texas, July 2011

The trip was phenomenal―from the waterfalls, geysers, volcanoes, black sand, glaciers, and glacial lagoon.

J. Brambilla, Virginia, June 2012

Our group bonded the first day we were together and continued throughout the tour.  The entire tour was planned to perfection and I would not change one moment of the tour.  Our two guides Kirsten and Sori were outstanding.  They made the tour for me.

A. Champion, Illinois, August 2011

This was a wonderful trip. I learned many new things about the Icelandic people, their history, and culture. The scenery was breathtaking. I would love to go back sometime.

A. Dominguez, Maryland, August 2011

CW trips are perfect for me! I adore every minute of them. They are so well-planned and well-paced, and the groups have been companionable and fun. Always small enough. The guides are superb. Kristin & Arngunnur were fabulous at interpreting Icelandic culture and designing a charming, action-packed trip.

N. & D. Hover, Colorado, August 2011

This was our 3rd CW trip and not our last. Iceland far exceeded our expectations. The country is fascinating and riveting to see. There is so much to learn and the people were so friendly―every one of them we met. We could easily have stayed longer. This forgotten destination is a must-go!

J. Kennard, Delaware, July 2011

Iceland is gorgeous. Kristin and Arngunnur were wonderful; they created a perfect balance between Icelandic culture and Icelandic natural beauty. They were flexible and kept everyone happy.

A. Lennox, Toronto, Ontario, June 2011

Loved every minute of it. An excellent overview of a large part of Iceland. Everything was superbly organized. Kristin, our tour leader, was the very best one can have.

A. Lennox, Toronto, Ontario, June 2011

Fantastic. Truly saw everything Iceland had to offer. Kristin, our guide, was superb and all details of the trip went without any problems.

S. & D. Martel, Colorado, August 2010

Phenomenal guides! Kristin and Arngunnur had incredible knowledge of Iceland from geology to folklore. They were thoroughly entertaining and made a great team!

W. Parker, Mississippi, July 2011

Well organized, well planned, quality lodgings and food, superb guides, wonderful locations. Among the best of tours I’ve taken in over 20 countries.

H. Plott, Virginia, June 2011

The Icleand trip was fantastic! We were able to hike and see all of Iceland's varied terrains. We hiked on glaciers, over recently formed (25 years old is recent!) lava fields, across beautiful fields with dozens of waterfalls, and on black sand craters. No else is the terrain so so varried. The guides were wonderful and really made the trip memorable. The trip takes you almost all the way around the island, so there is a bit more bus time than on other tours, but there is so much to see (especially the sheep :-)

D. Shamblin, Illinois, June 2011

The country was fantastic, the people were remarkable, and the culture and traditions were truly interesting. I thoroughly enjoyed the experience.

K. Brown, Texas, July 2011

What a truly beautiful and diverse country! Our two guides, Arngunnar and Kristin, were full of Icelandic history and other stories which brought the country to life.

J. Gardner, Texas, June 2011

Why You May Love Iceland...Amazing scenery-geysers, volcanos, lava fields, waterfalls, glaciers, icebergs. Great guides-native Icelanders who are knowledgeable, personable, organized. Walks-a wide variety and usually several each day. All are easy to moderate. Hotels-the best available in the location. Food-breakfast is the best meal of the day.Why You May Not...Time on the bus: Iceland is as big as Ohio and you'll see much of it (Iceland, not Ohio) on this tour. Most walks are short so guests expecting longer treks may be disappointed. Food: Fish or lamb for lunch, lamb or fish for dinner. Repeat daily until you will trade your first-born for a burrito. Wildlife: Angry birds. No kidding, they truly are angry birds in the Hitchcock sense. Would I Go Again? Absolutely.

E. Smith, Massachusetts, July 2012

In Iceland the geologic and human history seems more tangible than anywhere else we have been. Our guides, Kristin and Arngunnur, were modern Icelandic-Americans but they seemed at the same time to be like Vikings. The tour had it all: magnificent scenery, friendly people, splendid hikes, awesome geology, as well as contact with modern Icelanders and their enterprises. Our tour group decided that we want CW to sponsor Iceland II with walks in the Western Fjords.

K. Sinizer, Oregon, July 2012

I'd go back to Iceland in a hot minute. This country is spectacular, it defies words. The guides on our tour were very much like good friends rather than staff.

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