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Iceland & Greenland DISCOVER THE WORLD valid to December 2013

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There is something for everyone in our brand new brochure, showcasing the huge range of incredible year round holiday options in Iceland, including ideas for exploring Greenland.


  • Iceland& Greenland DISCOVER THE WORLD valid to December 2013
  • 2 Page No. Introduction Welcome 3 Our Iceland Top 10 4 The Specialists 6 Booking with Us 8 Q & A with a Travel Expert 10 Iceland Summer in Iceland 12 Winter in Iceland 14 Activities & Experiences 16 Regions South West 20 South East 22 East 24 North East 26 North 28 West Fjords 30 Snaefellsnes & the West 32 Highlands 34 Reykjavik & Reykjanes 36 Accommodation in Iceland 38 Short Breaks in Iceland 40 Reykjavik City Break 42 Self-drive holidays Self-drive Iceland an Overview 44 Aurora Nights (3 nights) 46 Journey to the Centre of the Earth (7 nights) 48 Essential Iceland (7 nights) 50 National Parks & Natural Wonders (9 nights) 52 Around Iceland (14 nights) 54 Car choices & our Gold Service 56 Guided & small group holidays About our Escorted Tours 58 Northern Lights Special (3 nights) 60 Killer Whales & Northern Lights (4 nights) 62 Classic Iceland (9 nights) 64 Touring holidays (North, South, East, West) 66 Small group walking holidays (North, South) 68 Weddings, Honeymoons, & Other Celebrations 70 Iceland & the Icehotel 72 Greenland Introducing Greenland & Map 74 Greenland Holidays Overview 76 Our other destinations Scandinavia, Polar regions, Canada, Australia & New Zealand 78 Flights Airfares the Best Price for You 80 AITO Quality Charter 82 Map Iceland Map 83 Contents East FjordsHusavik Why choose Discover the World see page 6 For our ofce opening hours please visit our website Main front cover image of Kirkjufell, Snaefellsnes, copyright and thanks to Dennis Bromage, who wrote to us with this stunning shot that just had to grace our cover: This was our second night in Iceland and this view is a five minute drive from the hotel in Grundarfjordur. An incredible start to the trip thats for sure!
  • Talk to the experts 01737 218 800 3 3 WelcomeI rst visited Iceland 40 years ago and spent a year working and living in a remote shing village called Flateyri, in the north-west Fjord region. Of course the country has changed in many ways since then, but by and large the people have not. They are still some of the most hard-working, friendly, cultured and welcoming human beings on the planet and the time I spent living amongst them was, without a doubt, the most formative period of my life. The world economic crisis hit Iceland particularly badly, but the infrastructure of one of the most well developed societies in the world is still there and unlike certain other parts of the world, the Icelanders are slowly but surely putting their economic house in order, with many starting to ask if the Icelandic way is actually a model for many other countries. But enough of nancial woes no doubt what attracts you to an Iceland holiday is the prospect of some of the most spectacular and other- worldly scenery on Earth, which Iceland certainly offers by the bucket load! But what of the volcanoes you might say? Obviously Iceland would not be Iceland without them! Icelanders have lived respectfully and largely happily alongside, even harnessing the power of the planet for centuries. Most of its natural wonders are well behaved but of course there are a few unruly beasts, such as the Eyjafjallajkull volcano that disrupted air travel in 2010. In fact most eruptions in Iceland are less pesky and actually make an amazing spectacle to observe. You may like to register with our Volcano Hot Line, which we have been operating for over 20 years, to be kept up-to-date and own out to Iceland as soon as possible after an eruption. Whatever happens during your holiday in Iceland you can be rest assured that our team will be there to look after you. In the unlikely event that the Norse Gods become angry and stop you from returning home as scheduled, we will make all necessary arrangements to make sure that you are put in a hotel, fed and fully informed all without charge. Take a look at our Travel Disruption Charter and youll nd a clear, no-nonsense promise that we make to those who book with us (full details are available on our website). This is just an example of the many advantages of booking your holiday with a travel operator such as Discover the World (please see pages 6-7 for more reasons). Our brochure has been designed to give you a full and balanced account of all that Iceland has to offer to the savvy traveller, and is supported by our website where you will nd further holiday ideas and detailed, up-to-date pricing. This is all backed up by a team of travel professionals who know Iceland intimately and will be pleased to share their passion for the country with you. And for those of you able to make it to our modern and spacious ofce in Banstead, Surrey Sam our resident chocolate Labrador is looking forward to greeting you in his own charming style! We have been arranging holidays to Iceland for nearly three decades now, although Sam is a more recent addition to the mix! If I can be of any assistance you can reach me via email: [email protected] Please dont hesitate to contact me. I wish you a wonderful, exhilarating and memorable holiday but beware Iceland is highly addictive! Ga fer! Clive Stacey Managing Director and co-Founder Arnastapi Hagafellsjokull 3
  • Iceland is characterised by its abundance of natural wonders and plentiful unique features here are just some of the reasons why we love this fascinating country. Icelands topography is unmistakable. As soon as you y into Keavik airport you will spot immense lava elds and volcanic craters. At Thingvellir, walk between a great tear in the Earths crust as you straddle the North American and Eurasian tectonic plates. See page 21 Volcanoes, geysirs, and Thingvellir National Park The northern lights Superjeeps With raised suspension and gigantic tyres, these modied 4WD vehicles glide over deep snow and cope with ease on uneven terrain. Experience an Icelandic obsession on an excursion or hire one yourself. See page 17 Watching these streaks of magic ripple across the night sky has brought many a smile to visitors to Iceland. Thanks to a lack of light pollution and its location in the auroral zone, viewing is possible from end of September through to mid-April. See pages 46 and 60 for suggested holidays. See page 11 Gourmet food and hotdogs! Iceland is a foodies paradise the freshest possible sh, organic lamb and dairy produce combine avours to equal outstanding quality cuisine. We highly recommend trying the surprisingly addictive hotdogs at the Bjarins beztu pylsur kiosk in downtown Reykjavik! See page 37 Whale watching Husavik, in North Iceland, is known as Europes whale watching capital and offers sightings of minke, humpbacks and even the shy blue whale. Day trips are possible from Reykjavik too. Orcas also frequent the waters off the Snaefellsnes Peninsula. See pages 62-63 for our special tour Icelands top highlights! Budir Geysir Highlands Husavik 4 All our holidays are bound by our Terms & Conditions, which can be found on our website
  • Talk to the experts 01737 218 800 5 5 Snaefellsnes Godafoss Jokulsarlon The Blue Lagoon Indulge in the steaming, mineral-rich waters of this open air bathing spot. Conveniently located en route to Keavik airport, there is no excuse not to take a dip! See page 21 Waterfalls From shimmering bridal veils to torrents of water you can walk behind, Iceland boasts some of the prettiest cascades in the world, including Dettifoss - Europes most powerful. See page 26 A Photographers paradise Iceland remains remote and largely untouched, providing inspiration for both professional and amateur photographers at every turn. We thank our friends Ragnar TH Sigurdsson (www.arctic- and Cathy Harlow, for providing many of the stunning images for this brochure. Glacier Whether astride a snowmobile, wearing crampons on a glacier hike or scaling an ice wall, Icelands many glaciers just beg to be explored. Mighty Vatnajokull with its many tongues, is Europes largest and is found within the continents biggest national park. See page 16 An adaptable, forward-thinking attitude The refreshingly resilient yet friendly we can x it attitude has stood Icelanders well in recent years, and at just 320,000 inhabitants (approx.), their aptitude to both harness geothermal energy and respect the power of the planet is admirable. Scan with your smartphone and visit our website! Use the QR codes printed in this brochure to take you straight to our website when you scan them with your camera phone or mobile device. The codes can be found on each holiday page and will link you to further information about the trip as well the current prices. You must be able to access the internet on your mobile device and it will need to be equipped with a QR code reader application, available for download at
  • The Specialists Why you should book with the experts At Discover the World your holiday is important to us from the moment you book to the moment you return. We believe in value for money, excellent customer service, and a personal touch to planning your holiday. Having successfully operated holidays to Iceland and Greenland for nearly three decades, we offer not just a tremendous amount of valuable experience, but also an unmatched passion for the region. Iceland is our most popular destination and for good reason! Expert rst-hand knowledge Each year we send our team of travel specialists to Iceland, Greenland and further aeld, so that they can experience rst-hand the areas, accommodations and excursions we offer. We also have a few Icelanders working as part of the team in our Banstead ofce. You can be assured that you will receive excellent advice and rst- hand knowledge when planning your holiday - feel free to pick their brains! And remember, many of the options you nd in this brochure or on our website are suggested itineraries only; our team will be more than happy to tailor a holiday to your individual needs. Value for money Contrary to popular belief, it is often less expensive to book through a tour operator than to book direct on the Internet - and far more straightforward! Due to our longstanding relationships with a variety of Icelandic partners we can secure rooms at key hotels at the busiest times, with excellent rates and very often special offers too. When you book with us youll know exactly what is included and whats not - we dont believe in hidden extras. We make regular checks to ensure our prices remain competitive. Reliability We select our travel partners very carefully, based on the highest levels of service, value and quality and we constantly monitor their commitment to customer satisfaction. Taking care of you on holiday and before you leave We are proud of our excellent reputation for looking after our clients, without question, should the unexpected occur. Our Travel Disruption Charter offers a simple and transparent guarantee. Our team of dedicated travel consultants will do everything possible to rearrange your trip should it be cancelled or if your outward Seydisfjordur, East Fjords 6 Why choose Discover the World see page 6 For our ofce opening hours please visit our website
  • 7 Djupivogur Eyjafjallajokull ight(s) cannot operate within 24 hours of the scheduled departure time due to a range of natural events, including but not limited to seismic and volcanic activity. If it is not possible to re-arrange your trip, you will receive a refund of the trip cost you have paid to us. When you are on holiday, if it becomes necessary to alter or reroute your itinerary, we will make these arrangements at no additional cost to you. In the event your scheduled return ight(s) are cancelled and it is necessary to remain in your destination, we will provide you with accommodation and meals until such time that we or the airline can make arrangements to return you home as soon as possible. For full terms and conditions just give us a call or visit our website. Your money and customer rights are protected A key benet of booking with a UK-based specialist operator, is that you are covered by very stringent British travel industry regulations and UK legislation throughout your holiday. Our holiday packages are ATOL protected by the Civil Aviation Authority. Our AITO (Association of Independent Tour Operators) bond also offers further nancial protection for non-ight inclusive holidays, ensuring that all money paid to us is protected no matter what. We are also members of the Association of British Travel Agents (ABTA). Travel information - leave home well-prepared Once a booking is conrmed we will supply detailed literature, such as a handy Road Atlas and guide book for our self-drive holidays, to ensure you leave home fully prepared please refer to page 44 for further information. ABTA No.V28235042 Flexible pricing In this brochure you will nd an indication of the lowest price for each holiday at the time of going to press in September 2011. Up-to-date pricing is available on our website or can be obtained by calling our team of Iceland travel specialists. Once you have booked, prices are xed and guaranteed 100% against any increases which may occur, whatever happens to the pound, the price of oil or tax changes. Booking independently - an informed choice In this day and age, it may be quite tempting to try and book your holiday independently using the Internet rather than the services of a specialist tour operator. This is of course an option, but few understand the possible pitfalls and the potential false economy in doing so. There are various factors to take into consideration, for example assurance of quality and standards, what happens if the airline changes or cancels your ights, or the hotel room you thought you had booked becomes overbooked? What nancial or consumer protection do you have and what happens if something goes wrong on holiday? You may also nd that by the time you have booked all your arrangements there is little or no cost saving and you could well end up paying a lot more. Whilst of course you have a choice, these are things to take into consideration but by booking through us we can take the worry out of these eventualities by offering quality products, fully bonded and nancially protected holidays with trusted package holiday customer protection, along with peace of mind that with 24/7 round-the-clock support, we are only ever a phone call away. Talk to the experts 01737 218 800 7
  • 8 Your holiday, our expertise Your Iceland adventure starts here Our comprehensive range of Iceland holidays caters for a wide variety of tastes, budgets, interests and how much holiday time you have. Whether you are travelling on your own, with your family, a partner, or a group of friends, well be happy to advise and put forward suggestions, based on our rst-hand knowledge and experience. As destination specialists we will spend time and effort making sure that your holiday is right for you, ensuring your time away will be enjoyable and hassle free. Our team is friendly and knowledgeable. So if you would like to discuss any aspect of your holiday plans, or are just looking for inspiration and ideas, then get in touch with our Iceland specialists who are waiting to hear from you. Tailor-made self-drive itineraries are our fort, and the majority of tours suggested in this brochure and on our website are fully exible (limited only by the availability of arrangements). Guided small group trips are of course somewhat less adaptable by their very nature, however you may always opt for a private departure, or add nights at the beginning or end of a tour. Why choose Discover the World see page 6 For our ofce opening hours please visit our website Our Bonus Card, issued to all Iceland passengers, can offer you substantial savings of between 10% and 30% on goods and services purchased locally, including popular shops and some suggested restaurants in prime locations. Extra value bonus card
  • Talk to the experts 01737 218 800 9 99 Hvalfjordur Snaefellsjokull Book with condence & security Our air holiday packages are ATOL protected by the Civil Aviation Authority. Our ATOL number is ATOL 2896. In addition through our AITO (Association of Independent Tour Operators) bond, we offer nancial protection for non-ight inclusive holidays, ensuring that all money paid to us is protected no matter what. We are also members of the Association of British Travel Agents (ABTA). Conrm booking and make payment Once your form is received we will contact you for payment by either debit/credit card or cheque. At this point we conrm your holiday arrangements with our travel partners. Once your arrangements have been nalised, we will send you your booking invoice and further useful documentation; please see page 44 for information on the comprehensive books and information that we provide. Final documents are sent out 10-14 days in advance of your departure date. Dont forget, if youd like to add excursions to your itinerary or upgrade hotel rooms, you may do this at any time (subject to availability). Complete a booking form Once youve decided upon your holiday plans, youll then need to complete our online booking form. Alternatively, well be happy to send you a copy by post or fax. This ensures we have your correct contact details, personal information and requirements. Our full booking conditions as well as details of the travel insurance we offer are available on our website. Note: It may be possible to hold some travel arrangements for a short time prior to conrming your booking (for instance with ights and escorted tours), however this is subject to availability. Please discuss your requirements with your travel specialist if you would like to do this. Make an Enquiry or Request a Quote online, by phone or in person The rst stage is to let us know your broad travel plans and interests, or if you have specic ideas of what youd like to include in your holiday. You can do this by calling our ofce on 01737 218 800, emailing us at [email protected], or completing an enquiry form on our website If youve perhaps found an itinerary or tour in this brochure or on our website then call or email our team for current prices. Flights are quoted separately from ground arrangements please refer to pages 80-81 for further details. Youre welcome to stop by our ofces in leafy Surrey, where you can discuss your travel plans over a cup of coffee and browse our library of maps and guide books. Start planning your holiday Looking after you You are protected by our Travel Disruption Charter, which is a simple and transparent guarantee that we will take care of you in the event that your holiday is disrupted due to a range of natural events, including but not limited to seismic and volcanic activity. Full details are available on our website or from our specialist team. See page 6. ABTA No.V28235042 Step 1 Step 2 Step 3
  • Q&A with an Iceland Travel Expert Our team of travel specialists frequently visit Iceland throughout the year to see for themselves what makes it so special. They try out the wealth of activities and excursions available as well as visit the accommodation we feature and drive the rental vehicles we offer, so who better to give you rst-hand advice and knowledge. Tailor-made travel suited to our clients individual requirements and interests is what we specialise in. The following is an example of how we respond to the specic requests of our clients. Iceland is ideal for a family holiday with volcanoes, waterfalls, glaciers and geysirs its like stepping into a living geography lesson! From the end of September right through until mid-April youve a good chance of seeing the northern lights key points to remember are that it needs to be dark (away from light pollution), with clear skies. Anywhere outside of Reykjavik and the larger towns or villages is best. Unfortunately we dont offer husky sledging in Iceland (although this is available in Lapland, another of our destinations!), but superjeep trips, ice climbing, snowmobiling and glacier hikes are available, as well as other activities and excursions to entertain your family. As you are travelling with children you might like to consider staying in a cosy cottage with its own outdoor hot tub and kitchenette, such as Minniborgir, which is in the south west near the popular Golden Circle route. We offer a variety of self-catering properties across Iceland our suggested Icelandic Way holidays focus on itineraries staying in cottages and summerhouses. We would always recommend a 4WD vehicle in the winter months for ease and peace of mind, but the roads are generally kept clear of snow and easily navigable, especially in the south west area. You dont necessarily need a jeep the Category D cars which are 4WD (Skoda Octavia or similar) are very comfortable and economical on fuel too! In response to your question about packing - Iceland is warmed by the Gulf Stream, so winter temperatures are similar to those of Vienna or Milan. Layers are key when exploring outside. Fleece sweaters and thermals are a good idea, as are sturdy boots and a warm rain and windproof jacket and over-trousers. Dont forget to pack warm socks, a cosy hat, buff or neck warmer and also your sunglasses! The weather is renowned for being changeable. After booking your holiday with us, you will receive a Travel Tips booklet full of advice on what clothing and other items to take, notes on photography, local information and much more. We can understand your concern regarding volcanic eruptions. Icelands landscape is constantly evolving. All of our clients are protected by our Travel Disruption Charter, which is a simple and transparent guarantee that we take care of you in the event that your holiday is disrupted due to volcanic activity. Full details are available on our website where you can also read feedback from previous travellers about how we looked after them during their holiday. If you could provide us with details of your potential travel dates and how long youd like to spend in Iceland, well be happy to provide you with a detailed itinerary suggestion for your familys holiday. Any further questions you may have, please just let me know! Thank you. 10 +L WKHUH :H ZDQW WR WUDYHO WR ,FHODQG WKLV ZLQWHU ZLWK RXU WZR FKLOGUHQ WR VHH WKH QRUWKHUQ OLJKWV DQG GR VRPH KXVN VOHGJLQJ ,V LW HDV WR GULYH WKHUH LQ ZLQWHU DQG GR ZH QHHG D ELJ MHHS" :HUH IDLUO RXWGRRUV DQG DOUHDG KDYH VRPH ZDUP ZHDWKHU FORWKHV ZKDW VKRXOG ZH SDFN VR ZHUH QRW IUHH]LQJ FROG" $OVR ZHUH D OLWWOH ZRUULHG DERXW DQRWKHU YROFDQR JRLQJ RII ZKDW DGYLFH FDQ RX JLYH XV" 7KDQNV Response from Anna Heida, one of our Iceland specialists: Why choose Discover the World see page 6 For our ofce opening hours please visit our website
  • Talk to the experts 01737 218 800 11 11 MONTH Max Min RAINFALL (mm) SUNRISE/SUNSET (on 1st day of each month, in Reykjavik)* NORTHERN LIGHTS** or MIDNIGHT SUN? January 2 C -2 C 89 11:19/15:44 Northern Lights February 3 C -3 C 64 10:09/17:15 Northern Lights March 4 C -1 C 62 08:36/18:45 Northern Lights April 6 C 1 C 56 06:47/20:18 Northern Lights until approx. mid-month May 10 C 4 C 42 05:01/21:51 - June 12 C 7 C 42 03:23/23:30 Midnight Sun July 14 C 9 C 50 03:04/23:57 Midnight Sun August 14 C 8 C 56 04:33/22:33 - September 11 C 6 C 67 06:08/20:45 Northern Lights from late September October 7 C 3 C 94 07:35/18:58 Northern Lights November 4 C 0 C 78 09:09/17:12 Northern Lights December 2 C -2 C 79 10:44/15:49 Northern Lights Please note statistics shown above are averages, based on records. *Thanks to the Science Institute of the University of Iceland. **Possible viewing subject to weather conditions. TEMPERATURE (daily, in Reykjavik) East Fjords
  • xxxxx Summer in Iceland Iceland awakens in the summer months, bringing lush green elds, gloriously long hours of daylight, ample opportunities for ornithologists and keen whale watchers, as well as pleasantly mild temperatures. The months of June to August are also the most popular for visitors, making early booking advisable! Midnight sun In June and early July the sun barely sets in Iceland, skimming the northern horizon and illuminating the fjords and mountains in a wonderful warm glow. All around the island, these spectacular all-night sunsets can last for hours and are perfect for photography. From mid-May to the rst week of August, you can be out and about exploring late into the evening as it doesnt get dark at all. Wildlife Youll nd plenty of wildlife along Icelands 5000 km of coastline. From May to mid-July its huge cliffs are stacked with nesting sea birds, including the popular pufns. Seals haul up on rocky islets and if youre lucky you might spot a whale or two from the shore. For the best chances, sign up for a whale-watching boat trip to look for minke and humpback whales as they gather to feed in the fjords (contact our ofce to book an excursion). The islands unpolluted rivers, lakes and ponds are full of trout, char and salmon and abundant wildfowl. Youll soon discover that there arent many land mammals in Iceland but if youre lucky you might glimpse an Arctic fox or, in the eastern highlands, a herd or two of reindeer (excursions are available contact our team). Icelandic sheep graze freely in the mountains in summer and as you travel around the island, youll come across many beautiful pure- bred Icelandic horses, with their tolt gait, unique to the breed. Incredible landscape Of all the clichs, island of contrasts perhaps best describes Icelands landscapes, which include fjords, valleys, rugged peaks, craters, lava and ash deserts, waterfalls, icecaps and glaciers. Once the winter snows have melted, the island bursts into colour. Especially striking are the intense greens of the mountain slopes along the south East Fjords 12 Why choose Discover the World see page 6 For our ofce opening hours please visit our website
  • xxxxx xxxxx Talk to the experts 01737 218 800 13 13 Geysir coast and the vivid patches of luminous yellow-green moss in the highlands. The volcanic rock also comes in an amazing range of colours from jet black basalt to the warm pink, beige and brown of rhyolite. Of special note are the many delicate alpine owers, which are most abundant from mid-June to mid-July. The weather Being an island, Icelands weather changes quickly they say you can experience all four seasons in a day! In July, expect temperatures of between 10C and 15C but dont be surprised if it drops below or rises above this range. Theres often a stiff breeze so it can feel colder but in sheltered spots, youll be peeling off the layers. The south coast gets the highest rainfall, while the northeast of the island is often somewhat drier. When to visit and what to see and do Most visitors come to Iceland between May and September, with June, July and August being the busiest months. This is also when Icelanders travel around their island and the time that visitor attractions are open daily. The summer months bring with them the biggest choice of excursions, including museum visits and guided tours, boat trips, glacier excursions, whale watching trips, horse riding, rafting, kayaking, diving, caving, mountain biking, quad bike adventures and many other activities. See pages 16-19. Exploring Iceland in summer Many of Icelands natural wonders are found along or near the Ring Road Number 1; the circular route around the island. The North West Fjords, the Snaefellsnes Peninsula and the far North East of the island are sometimes overlooked by visitors, but also have much to offer. The uninhabited highlands have a strong lure for those with a sense of adventure. Gravel roads cross the lava and ash deserts, penetrating deep into the mountainous heart of the island. Most of these rugged routes are only suitable for high-clearance four-wheel drive jeeps, and with unbridged rivers to ford, special care is needed. The highland routes have specic opening dates, varying from year to year, and cannot be driven outside these times. Off-road driving is not permitted anywhere because it damages the landscape and vegetation. Alternatively, taking an organised trek with a guide into the remote regions that vehicles simply cannot reach, is a rewarding way to discover Icelands hidden landscape during the summer months. See pages 68-69 for walking tours in summer. Arnastapi Budir
  • 14 Winter in Iceland With the allure of the northern lights, the winter months are a fantastic time to take a short break to Iceland. Take advantage of this quieter time of year and enjoy the autumnal colours and wintry landscapes, as long shadows and a golden light offer wonderful photographic opportunities. This is also a great time of year to enjoy the warm Icelandic hospitality over long meals of delicious gourmet food in a friendly and informal setting. Daylight hours in winter Its a popular misconception that it is dark all the time in Iceland in winter. Actually there is always daylight - youll have to travel a lot further north than Iceland to experience the true polar night! In Reykjavik in December, the darkest month, the sun rises at 11:22 and sets at 15:30, though it doesnt rise very high above the horizon. In October and February there are around eight to ten hours of daylight. The weather Being an island, Icelands winter weather is inuenced by the sea and in particular, by the Gulf Stream. This means a much milder climate than youd expect for a sub-Arctic latitude and thus winter temperatures in Reykjavik average around 0C. You might experience a cold snap, with temperatures plunging to -10, or a warm period, when they might exceed 15o C. As in Britain, the winter is unpredictable. As Icelanders say, theres no such thing as bad weather, just the wrong clothing! For further information on daylight hours and temperatures, see page 11. Travelling around Iceland in winter One of the great things about travelling in Iceland in winter is that youll often have the place to yourself and accommodation prices are considerably lower than the busier summer months. The coastal roads and Ring Road, linking the main towns and villages, are kept clear of snow and with special winter tyres on rental vehicles, driving need not be any more challenging than at other times of year. We recommend a minimum 4WD vehicle at this time for your ease and peace of mind. Occasionally, heavy and prolonged snowfalls can close roads temporarily and icy conditions mean extra care is needed when driving. Aurora borealis Why choose Discover the World see page 6 For our ofce opening hours please visit our website
  • Talk to the experts 01737 218 800 15 15 Olafsfjordur Winter landscapes At sea level, the landscape is often free of snow but the mountains may be dusted white. Waterfalls, rivers and lakes can be partly frozen, with striking icicle formations. Snow softens the rugged contours of the landscape and with the sun hovering low on the horizon, the light is muted and shadows are long simply stunning scenes for creative photography. Things to see and do in winter Adventurous superjeep safaris, snowmobiling trips, hunting the northern lights, horse riding, caving, whale watching, glacier walks and sightseeing trips are among the many experiences on offer during the winter months. For obvious reasons there is not quite the same range of activities available in winter as in summer and outside of Reykjavik, some museums and attractions may be closed or only open by prior arrangement. Just ask us if there is something specic you would like to see or do and we will check out the options. See pages 16-19 for details. Wildlife in winter Around the coast, bird watching can be surprisingly varied with sea birds and ducks easy to spot. Orcas, minke whales and white-beaked dolphins can be seen on whale watching trips. In Grundarfjordur from January to March 2011, large groups of orca gathered in the bay to feed on herring and were sometimes even observed from the beach. See page 62 for details of our special tour to see killer whales and the northern lights. The aurora borealis The northern lights are a breathtaking natural phenomenon that can be witnessed in Iceland any time from September to mid-April, with peaks in October/November and February/March. Icelands location in the Aurora Zone, a band that spans the Arctic 10-20 from the magnetic north pole, coupled with a peak in solar are activity, means that fantastic displays of the aurora are expected to be particularly strong over the winters of 2011-2013. Of course theres an element of luck involved and generally you need to be away from sources of articial light. Reykjavik is therefore unsuitable as a base to see the lights. Once witnessed, the spectacle of these eerie, rippling curtains of light dancing across the night sky is rarely forgotten. Although the northern lights can be seen almost anywhere in Iceland, take a look at pages 46 and 60 for our special aurora-focus tours. Christmas and New Year in Iceland When it comes to celebrating, this is a time when Icelandic families gather together at home, with some restaurants and shops closed to allow this. Visitors are intrigued by Icelands unique festive traditions, including the mischievous Yule Tide Lads, with their troll parents and sinister family pet, the Christmas Cat. On New Years Eve, the skies alight with reworks the best show is in Reykjavik, however there is sometimes a display over the glacial lagoon Jokulsarlon. Skogafoss Geysir Reykjanes
  • 16 Whale watching Activities, excursions & experiences Iceland is a playground of waterfalls, glaciers, volcanoes, raging rivers, majestic fjords, thriving oceans and steaming geothermal pools. Whilst the natural experience is free, we are pleased to offer a selection of day trips and excursions, which can greatly enhance any holiday to Iceland and turn it into something extra special. Our exible self-drive itineraries and short breaks allow you to add in as much or as little activity as you wish - you can ll your holiday with exciting new adventures, pick one or two special experiences, or simply soak up the scenery and natural wonders, taking each day as it comes. Combination tours (for instance rafting and the Golden Circle) are available, offering excellent value. Our activities are offered by experienced local companies with a wide variety of options regarding duration and departure times, as well as location - please call our specialists to discuss slotting them into your itinerary. Prices and further information may be found on our website. Day trips by coach Youll be spoilt for choice with a wide variety of excursions available from Reykjavik for those who opt not to hire a car. Explore the capital on a sightseeing tour of Greater Reykjavik; visit the famous trio of natural wonders on a Golden Circle excursion, encompassing Gullfoss waterfall, Geysir and Thingvellir National Park as well as Nesjavellir geothermal area and Hveragerdi. A popular longer day trip is the South Coast & Jokulsarlon iceberg lagoon, which also takes in surf-lashed black sand beaches and powerful waterfalls. More options are available on our website or contact our ofce. Glacier hikes, ice climbing Get up close to the ice on a guided excursion, allowing you to learn more about this blue and white wonderland of rivers, crevasses and ridges. Learn how to use basic glacier equipment such as crampons and ice axes. Some excursions include a visit to hot springs and a lava cave. Excursions are available on the Solheimajokull glacier on the south coast (with optional transfers from Reykjavik), as well as the Vatnajokull glacier in the south east. Snowmobiling A popular choice is to take an exhilarating snowmobile ride on a glacier, with dramatic views of the surrounding scenery. Drivers must hold a full driving licence, and a supplement is payable should you wish to have your own snowmobile (otherwise prices are based on two sharing). Excursions are available on the Langjokull glacier which is close to Gullfoss waterfall (with optional transfers from Reykjavik), the Myrdalsjokull Why choose Discover the World see page 6 For our ofce opening hours please visit our website
  • Talk to the experts 01737 218 800 17 Blue Lagoon glacier on the south coast and the Vatnajokull glacier. Superjeep tours are also available on glaciers. Clothing and safety helmets are provided. Geothermal pools & bathing Iceland sits on the mid-Atlantic ridge, meaning that geysers, mud pools and gushing hot springs are abundant. In Landmannalaugar, Hveravellir, Askja and Laugafell it is possible to bathe in natural hot pools and steaming rivers. The Blue Lagoon is a large expanse of naturally powder-blue water, set amidst a jet black lavascape. Situated a mere 15 minute drive from the international airport at Keavik and around 30 minutes from Reykjavik, a visit here is a must (transfers available from Reykjavik, and entrance fee is prepayable through us). The ow and mix of the water is controlled, keeping temperatures at 37-39C / 98-102F ensuring bathers step out smiling and slightly pink! North Iceland has a smaller geothermal pool at Myvatn, which is also well worth a visit. Superjeep adventures These specially customised 4WD vehicles can drive almost anywhere, glide over snow, traverse rivers and climb steep slopes. The drivers show just how versatile the vehicles are on an exciting day trip into the wilds beyond the capital as well as from the North and East. One of our most popular excursions is the Golden Circle by Superjeep, with optional snowmobiling. Other tours from Reykjavik include Northern Lights by Superjeep, Thorsmork & Eyjafjallajokull volcano, the South Shore & Glacial Adventure, Mount Hekla & Landmannalaugar, and Reykjanes & Blue Lagoon with quad-biking. Whale watching & pufn trips Search for cetaceans and seabirds off the coast of Reykjavik. This area is known for sightings of white-beaked dolphins, minke whales and occasionally other species such as humpback and orca along with pufns, fulmars, gannets and kittiwakes. In the north, Husavik is known as Europes whale watching capital for good reason! Sail aboard a renovated traditional oak shing boat. Hot chocolate and cinnamon rolls are served on board and cold weather clothing is provided. Alternatively, take a look at pages 62-63 for a fantastic Killer Whales and Northern Lights winter tour, based at Grundarfjordur on the Snaefellsnes Peninsula. River rafting, sea kayaking & snorkeling From May to September try the thrill of river rafting as the spring melt swells Icelands glacial rivers (grades II+ to III). Tours are available on the Hvita river near Geysir for beginners and experienced rafters alike. For more challenging rapids, try the Jokulsa Austari East Glacial River which ows from Skagafjordur in the north west of the country (near Varmahlid). A dry-suit, safety vest and helmet are provided. A variety of kayaking trips are available at Hvalfjordur in West Iceland (transfers from Reykjavik available) and Isafjordur in the West Fjords. For beginners, Hvalfjordur (Whale Fjord) is a great choice, framed by mountains that stretch from the sea up to more than 1000 metres. The kayaks are stable and easy to use and no prior experience is necessary. Snorkeling and diving excursions between the continental plates at Thingvellir are also available contact us for more details. When on the road, look out for this symbol , which youll see whenever theres an attraction, place of interest or a cultural/ heritage site nearby. For those unmarked secrets and our own personal highlights refer to your complimentary Places to Visit booklet, or the comprehensive Landmark Guide to Iceland - which accompanies each Iceland self-drive holiday! Top Tip
  • 18 Kayaking at Hvalfjordur Horse riding There are various year-round options for horse riding, from an hour to a full day. Longer multi- day riding tours are available - please contact us for details. Take to the saddle and experience the unique tolt gait of the sturdy Icelandic thoroughbred. Horse riding is great fun for all the family! Helmets and cold weather clothing in winter are provided. Fishing, ferries & boat trips Step on board and sail Icelands thriving oceans and waterways. A boat trip amongst the icebergs on the fascinating glacial lagoon at Jokulsarlon is highly recommended. From Stykkisholmur explore Breidafjordur Bay by boat, and taste delicious scallops and the freshest sushi! Take your vehicle on the Baldur ferry which runs between Snaefellsnes and the West Fjords, with an optional stopover at the tiny island of Flatey (overnight stays are possible on the island but cars are not permitted). Icelands coastline has been known for centuries for its abundant shing grounds; catch cod, halibut, redsh and coalsh. Rods are available for hire, and it is often possible to pay a little extra and turn your catch into a delicious sh supper! For those whod like to tick crossing the Arctic Circle off their list, a return ferry service operates from Dalvik in the North to the tiny island of Grimsey. A ferry service is also available from Landeyjahofn in the South West to the offshore volcanic Westman Islands; approx. 30 mins duration. Hiking & walking With the largest national park in Europe, it is little wonder that Iceland is a major draw for those who love hiking and the great outdoors. Any of our self-drive or independent Iceland holidays may be adapted to include time for daily walks. Take a look at our walking-focus holidays such as Fly, Drive & Hike; multi-day treks staying under canvas and our small group hiking tours staying in hotel accommodation (pages 68-69). Guided day hikes are also available contact us for details. Sightseeing ights Depart from Reykjavik and enjoy a birds eye view of glaciers, volcanic craters, spouting geysers and the raw power of the planet. Visit the Westman Islands as well as areas surrounding the capital, and for the ultimate experience book an incredible Glaciers & Volcanoes ight over the infamous Eyjafjallajokull crater. Aircraft are usually Cessna 6-10 seater. Museums & galleries Throughout Iceland youll nd fascinating little museums and exhibitions on a wide variety of subjects: whales, textiles, sea ice, seals, glaciers, salt sh, the Sagas, birds, geology and geothermal activity. See turf houses and beautiful small churches with stunning natural backdrops. Reykjaviks art galleries are very good, and Icelandic art adorns the walls of homes and hotels throughout the country. The Icelandic Sagas The Sagas are deeply embedded into Icelandic culture, and a source of fascination for many travellers and literary enthusiasts. These stories describe events that took place in Iceland in the 10th and early 11th centuries, depicting the struggles and society conicts of the second and third generations of Icelandic settlers. Visit locations such as Thingvellirs law rock and the museum at Eiriksstadir which was home to Eirik the Red and Leif the Lucky. Visit for further information. Why choose Discover the World see page 6 For our ofce opening hours please visit our website Next step call us or visit our website for up-to-date excursion prices and departure details. It is advisable to pre-book where possible to ensure availability, which cannot be guaranteed when booking locally, especially during peak summer months. All excursions are weather-permitting (and may vary due to conditions) and subject to minimum numbers. Additional insurance premiums may be required for some activities (such as glacier trips); please check your policy. Children must be accompanied by an adult in most cases excursions are free for children aged 11 and under and, for certain excursions, for those aged up to 17, a 50% discount is applicable. Lunch and refreshments are not included, unless otherwise stated.
  • Talk to the experts 01737 218 800 19 Rafting the Hvita riverSkogafoss Jokulsarlon boat excursion Snorkeling at Silfra, Thingvellir Glacier hike, South West
  • Seljalandsfoss 20 Why choose Discover the World see page 6 For our ofce opening hours please visit our website
  • Talk to the experts 01737 218 800 21 21 South West Iceland Most rst-timers to Iceland choose to explore this region partly because it is where the international airport at Keavik is located but also because there is so much stunning scenery to explore, including the sights on the famed Golden Circle route, encompassing Thingvellir, Gullfoss and Geysir. Reykjanes Peninsula & Blue Lagoon explore fantastic lavascapes and soak away stresses at the Blue Lagoon. Visit the hot springs at Krisuvik or walk the Bridge between Continents where the tectonic plates are pulling apart. Eleven lighthouses grace this rocky coastline. Thingvellir this national park is an area of exceptional geological and historical interest; visit the law rock where Icelands ancient parliament, or Althing, met. Geysir this area of geothermal activity gives its name to other such waterspouts around the world. Strokkur, probably the most well-known, regularly erupts to around 30m. Gullfoss these spectacular rainbow misted double falls drop around 33m then plunge into a mile long gorge. Seljalandsfoss arguably the most beautiful waterfall in Iceland, the waterfall cascades over a former sea cliff. Hveragerdi is also known as the greenhouse village, as geothermal heat is harnessed to grow crops here. Thorsmork Thors Wood is almost completely surrounded by mountains between which three glaciers spill down. The valley oor is criss-crossed with streams that become raging rivers with the glacial melt. Explore by superjeep excursion or your own high- clearance 4WD vehicle. Skogafoss is a wide, thundering curtain of water, some 60m high. Nearby is the little Skogar Museum with its turf houses and pretty church. Mount Hekla at 1488m high this volcano attracts many hikers. The nearby Thjorsa Valley is home to Haifoss (Icelands second highest waterfall) and Hjalparfoss. Take a stroll through the Gjain gorge and visit the Viking farm Stong. Westman Islands a group of 15 volcanic islands, partly destroyed during the 1973 eruption. Get there by air from Reykjavik, or with the 30-minute ferry service (subject to weather conditions) from Landeyjahofn. Dyrholaey this natural rock arch in the headland is a great place to observe pufns, Arctic terns and guillemots (NB: closed May-June for the nesting season). Vik this small coastal town is an ideal pit stop for food and fuel, local crafts and a stroll along the black sand beach, with its distinctive sea stacks, Reynisdrangur. Myrdalsjokull experience a range of excursions on this glacier, including snowmobiling. Must Dos Treat yourself to a relaxing dip or even an in-water massage at the Blue Lagoon Walk, snorkel or even dive between tectonic plates at Thingvellir Capture gushing spouts of water on camera at Geysir Feel the spray on your face at Gullfoss waterfall Book a superjeep excursion to the infamous eruption site at Fimmvorduhals Gullfoss Thingvellir Dyrholaey
  • xxxxx South East Iceland Known as the beautiful south, this region is dominated by Europes largest national park and glacier, Vatnajokull. Road 1 winds past a myriad of glacial tongues and skirts the surreal iceberg lagoon at Jokulsarlon. This region is also where you will nd Skaftafell National Park. Vatnajokull National Park covering an area of 12,000 sq km, this is Europes largest national park. Around a dozen glaciers spill down from its icy domed plateau to a vast ood plain formed by volcanic debris from successive sub-glacial eruptions. The glacier snouts of Svinafellsjokull and Flaajokull can be approached with care by road. Skaftafell National Park is the islands most popular wilderness area 1,600 sq km of exceptional natural beauty, offering adventurous glacier hikes, ice climbing as well as easy walks and mountain biking on terra rma. Svartifoss waterfall plunges into a deep dark pool, set in its own little canyon of black basalt columns. Jokulsarlon is a glacial lagoon to the east of Skaftafell, where enormous icebergs calve off the Breidamerkurjokull glacier tongue as it retreats, falling into one of Icelands deepest lakes. From the shoreline capture this other- worldly landscape on camera whilst keeping an eye out for the odd inquisitive seal! This amazing lagoon has provided a natural movie set for lms such as Tomb Raider, James Bond and Batman and has also featured on Top Gear. Kirkjubaejarklaustur this village, with a population of around 300, is found in the dramatic setting of lofty cliffs, gorges, waterfalls and basalt features. Inland from here is Laki, a chain of around 100 craters formed in the powerful 1783 eruption, which produced the vast Eldhraun lava ow just west of the village. Hofn with a population of around 1,800 Hofn is the only shing port in the region and one of the most beautifully located of all towns in Iceland. Must Dos Take a hike to Svartifoss, one of Icelands prettiest waterfalls Join a boat trip on the iceberg lagoon Jokulsarlon (available May to Sept) Walk along the beach where stranded icebergs pop and crackle as they melt Seek out the lesser- known Fjallsarlon, a second, smaller glacial lagoon Visit the excellent Glacier Exhibition at Hofn Join a guided glacier hike, superjeep or snowmobile excursion at Vatnajokull Skaftafell HofnSvartifoss 22 Why choose Discover the World see page 6 For our ofce opening hours please visit our website
  • xxxxx Talk to the experts 01737 218 800 23 23 Jokulsarlon
  • xxxxxEast Fjords 24 Why choose Discover the World see page 6 For our ofce opening hours please visit our website
  • xxxxx xxxxx Talk to the experts 01737 218 800 25 25 The East Scoured by Ice Age glaciers, the dramatic east coast boasts long, narrow fjords with steep sides and jagged peaks which contrast with the areas inland fertile farmlands. Natural harbours create picture-postcard shing villages and seemingly never-ending roads cross the region, providing beautiful sweeping views. Djupivogur is a tiny harbour- side village, which sits on a rocky promontory, in view of the offshore pufn sanctuary of Papey (boat trips bookable locally). The Bulandsnes bird sanctuary is renowned amongst bird lovers and there are stunning coastal walks and hiking possibilities. Seydisfjordur this eastern shing town, set at the head of a 16km long fjord, is full of character. The town is popular with young artists and its brightly painted wooden houses of Norwegian origin are absolutely charming. The drive here up and over the mountains before sweeping down to sea level is breathtaking. Egilsstadir is the areas regional centre and an ideal base. Located on the banks of Lake Logurinn, the town is surrounded by extensive forests of birch and conifer and Icelands second highest waterfall, Hengifoss, is at the far end of the lake. Borgarfjordur Eystri also known as Bakkagerdi, this little town has a backdrop of colourful rhyolite mountains on one side and the magnicent Dyrfjoll (Door Mountain) with its cleft peak, on the other. Healthy colonies of pufns, fulmars and kittiwakes ensure bird watchers are entertained and the area is popular with hikers. Breiddalsvik is the largest lowland area of the region and the mountains framing the valley are the highest in the region. Stodvarfjordur the East Fjords are famous for their colourful minerals and beautiful crystals. Neskaupstadur has the largest population of any of the eastern towns and is a thriving shing port. Explore the nature reserve found just outside the town. Mjoifjordur this 18km long and 2km wide fjord is edged by sheer- sided mountains. At the mouth of the bay you will nd a weather station and a lighthouse. Must Dos Make a stop for coffee and cake at turf-roofed Modrudalur Farm; Icelands highest! Visit the remarkable rock collection of Petra Sveinsdottir at Stodvarfjordur Stop off at the small Museum of Natural History at Neskaupstadur See the amazing little turf house Lindarbakki at Borgarfjordur Eystri Step back in time at Randulfssjohus in Eskifjordur, a seafarers lodge unchanged since 1890 Rent a small boat, rod and line at Eskifjordur. Cod and haddock are still plentiful here! Grab your camera and go in search of reindeer on a guided tour by superjeep Seydisfjordur
  • xxxxx North East This is a region of diverse and incredible natural beauty. During the height of the summer, you can witness the full effect of the midnight sun as it dips towards the horizon, barely touching it before rising again, swathing the landscape in a beautiful golden light. Lake Myvatn a showcase of craters and volcanic and geothermal oddities surround this enormous lake which, in summer, is a magnet for birds. See, hear and smell the bubbling mud pools at Namaskard, hike amongst eerie lava formations at Dimmuborgir and drive past incredible pseudocraters at Skutustadagigar. Jokulsa Canyon this rugged 25km long canyon plunges up to 100m deep into the raging Jokulsa River. The falls at Hafragilsfoss are best viewed from the east bank, whereas access to the chaotic Hljodaklettar volcanic plugs and basalt columns is from the west side. Continue to Asbyrgi, a horse- shoe shaped gorge approximately 3.5km in length and 1.1km wide with a distinctive rock formation in its centre. Dettifoss waterfall is best approached from the south for non-4WD vehicles (due to road conditions). Husavik visit this quaint northern town if you have an interest in all things cetacean. Also known as the whale watching capital of Europe. Godafoss the waterfall of the gods can be found near to Lake Myvatn and is said to be one of the most beautiful in Iceland. At 30m wide and with a 12m drop, it is incredibly photogenic. Raufarhofn this small town on the Melrakkasletta Peninsula, whose tip is virtually on the Arctic Circle, is mainland Icelands most northerly point. Known for its superb bird watching, hiking and y shing opportunities, the peninsula is characterised by inlets, lagoons and deserted beaches. The pond in the centre of town is a bird sanctuary. Raudanes sited midway between Raufarhofn and Thorshofn, this coastal peninsula boasts a fantastic array of columnar basalt cliffs and natural stone arches. Must Dos Join a whale watching excursion and visit Husaviks excellent Whale Museum Watch the cows being milked whilst enjoying a coffee at Vogafjos Cowshed Caf, Myvatn Take a relaxing dip at the fantastic geothermal Nature Baths Take a trip to thundering Dettifoss, Europes most powerful waterfall Walk to the sheer 100m high bird cliffs and a silent pond at the head of Asbyrgi gorge Wander around Sigurgeirs Bird Museum and hide away in one of the lakeside birdwatching shelters found close by NamaskardAsbyrgi 26 Why choose Discover the World see page 6 For our ofce opening hours please visit our website
  • xxxxx Talk to the experts 01737 218 800 27 27 Myvatn
  • xxxxxAkureyri 28 Why choose Discover the World see page 6 For our ofce opening hours please visit our website
  • xxxxx xxxxx Talk to the experts 01737 218 800 29 29 North Fly to Akureyri from Reykjavik in under an hour and the scenic north of Iceland is yours to explore. Here youll nd fascinating towns and villages, and an abundance of opportunities to explore the great outdoors. From summer 2012, y from Heathrow with Icelandair, with a quick and easy same-day connection at Keavik; see page 80. Akureyri the principal town of the north, with just 17,000 inhabitants, has a charming small and friendly appeal. Due to the towns position near the head of Eyjafjordur, a long fjord shielded by high mountains, the area often enjoys a pleasant summer. It is also home to one of the worlds most northerly Botanical Gardens. Visitors can choose from a number of excellent restaurants and bars. It is also pretty good for shopping with a small pedestrian area and mall. Skagafjordur this is one of Icelands most prosperous farming regions, known for its very successful horse breeding. Dalvik the town of Dalvik hosts the famous Fish Day, a summer sh festival and one of Icelands liveliest. From here you can also visit the nearby pretty offshore island of Hrisey, a haven for birdwatchers. Siglufjordur is a picturesque town with a quaint harbour and is home to the award-winning Sildarminjasafnid Herring Museum, the largest marine and industrial museum in Europe. Find out about this valuable commodity, and how these silver darlings were pursued and processed. The Folk Music Centre is also found in the town. Grimsey is the northernmost inhabited Icelandic territory, found approximately 40km north of the mainland. Visitors often come by ferry from Dalvik, just to claim they have crossed the Arctic Circle. Though barely 5 sq km in area, it has a small but thriving population of 100 people joined in summer by a million or so noisy sea birds. Holar & Hofsos are an early episcopal seat and one of Icelands oldest trading ports, respectively. Must Dos Spend time browsing Akureyris gift shops and small galleries Raft the rapids of the West Glacial River canyon at at Varmahlid Visit the collection of thirteen turf buildings at Glaumbaer Visit Hvammstangis seal exhibition and the hide at Osar, on the Vatnsnes Peninsula Tick a few more bird species off your list at Hvitserkur, a curious 15 m high monolith Siglufjordur EyjafjordurAkureyri
  • xxxxx West Fjords Icelands oldest and wildest region is remote and stunningly beautiful with countless fjords, precipitous mountains and amazing coastal gems. Sparsely populated, the region is connected to the rest of Iceland by a strip of land barely 10km wide. Latrabjarg these impressive sheer cliffs are an astonishing 14km long and reach 444m high in places. They are home to the countrys largest concentration of sea birds including pufns, kittiwakes, razorbills, fulmars and guillemots. A visit here is a must for any keen ornithologist. Isafjordur the largest settlement in the region (population 3,500), is located on a spit of land which juts into the fjord of Isafjardardjup, and is a picturesque natural harbour. Flateyri this typical Icelandic shing village has an idyllic setting on the shores of Onundarfjordur. A whales pelvic bone sits in the main square and a little church completes the picture. Dynjandi these mountain falls, consist of numerous smaller falls, are also known as Fjallfoss. Water tumbles from a height of 100m, fanning out like a bridal veil to their base, 60m in width. Hornstrandir this uninhabited wilderness peninsula to the north of Isafjardardjup is popular with serious hikers. Here you will nd 580 sq km of nature reserve with golden sands, towering bird cliffs and glacial valleys, as well as plenty of wildlife, including Arctic fox, seals, cetaceans and a myriad of bird life. Hornstrandir is accessible during the summer by boat from the Isafjordur area. Isafjardardjup this spectacular 75km long fjord almost cuts the region in two. Just one of around fty deep fjords with alternating steep headlands, Isafjardardjup splits into further fjords providing ample kayaking opportunities and a very scenic drive to Isafjordur. A pretty speck of land Vigur lies within the fjord, boasting Icelands only windmill and a single farm (reachable by boat trip in the summer). Strandir the regions east coast presents yet more amazing coastlines and a scattering of settlements, mainly associated with shing and sheep farming. Huge amounts of driftwood are washed ashore here from Scandinavia and Siberia. Must Dos Pay an early evening visit to the Latrabjarg bird cliffs Stroll along the 20km stretch of golden sand at Raudisandur Visit Isafjordurs Maritime Museum with its 18th century timber buildings Take a boat trip to Hornstrandir Wander around the old herring factory at Djupavik, Strandir Black Guillemot 30 Why choose Discover the World see page 6 For our ofce opening hours please visit our website
  • xxxxx Talk to the experts 01737 218 800 31 31 Dynjandi
  • xxxxxSnaefellsjokull 32 Why choose Discover the World see page 6 For our ofce opening hours please visit our website
  • xxxxx xxxxx Talk to the experts 01737 218 800 33 33 Snaefellsnes & West Iceland This western region is beloved by artists, musicians, writers and anyone seeking Viking history and inspiration from nature at its most magical. The Snaefellsjokull glacier, made famous by Jules Verne as the setting for his novel A Journey to the Centre of the Earth, dominates this spectacular region. Snaefellsjokull National Park the famous glaciated cone-shaped volcano sits almost at the regions western tip. It is the focus for much lore and legend and is said to hold mystical powers. Last erupting almost two thousand years ago, at 1446m the three-pronged snow- capped peak dominates the skyline. Budir on the south coast boasts a lovely hotel and quaint wooden church, popular for intimate weddings. Nestled between lava elds and with a beautiful sandy beach, Hotel Budir is the perfect place to stop for a gourmet meal. Arnarstapi & Hellnar these sleepy villages lie at the foot of the glacier. Arnastapis rock features are covered with birds striking sea stacks, basalt columns, natural arches and hidden caves. Seals and even dolphins have been spotted from Hellnars harbour during the summer months. Rif, Hellisandur & Olafsvik a trio of small towns on the tip of the peninsula Hellisandur has a maritime museum, Rif a huge colony of Arctic terns and Olafsvik an unusual modern church. Stykkisholmur the regions most characterful town, where the local restaurants offer the freshest catch of the day. The 3 hour ferry between Snaefellsnes and the West Fjords operates from here. Hraunfossar these tumbling falls, some 1km wide, spill out from under the lava into the Hvita River. Nearby is enchanting Barnafoss, a set of rapids squeezing through a narrow channel. Reykholt & Deildartunguhver west of Hraunfossar is Reykholt. This hamlet is a place of great historical signicance for Icelanders - the birthplace of Snorri Sturluson, Medieval literary giant. Icelands most powerful and largest hot springs, Deildartunguhver, are found nearby. Borgarnes this town can be found on the northern shore of Borgarfjordur, in one of the islands most extensive farming districts. Rich in Saga history, many of the walking trails in the area are inuenced by these historical tales. Must Dos Buy fresh produce from the market at Deildartunguhver hot springs In winter, watch orca hunting just offshore at Grundarfjordur (see pages 62-63 for a dedicated tour) Taste unbelievably fresh sushi, scallops and sea urchins on a day trip out into Breidafjordur bay from Stykkisholmur Explore the Sagaland starting with a visit to the Settlement Centre at Borganes Hraunfossar Budir Church Hellnar harbour
  • xxxxx The Highlands A vast and fascinating area, remote and rugged - once visited, never forgotten. This is a raw and beautiful region where visitors are left spell-bound by dramatic scenery and Mother Natures magnicent power. A 4WD, high clearance vehicle is an absolute must, unless taking a guided tour or trek. Landmannalaugar this area in the southern highlands, part of the Fjallabak region, offers countless stunning views and outstanding natural beauty. The rhyolite lava actually sparkles in the sunshine and the myriad of colours in the mountains have to be seen to be believed. Tours from Reykjavik are prebookable, and this is the starting point for the popular trek the Laugarvegur Highland Trail - contact us for further details. Sprengisandur & Kjolur are remote gravel roads which cross the highlands, offering far-reaching views of the icecaps in clear weather. Sprengisandur is the longest of the unpaved roads at over 200km, beginning near Hekla volcano in the south and ending at Godafoss in the north, it crosses vast ancient ice-age moraines. Kjolur, to the west, is also unpaved; it passes the Kerlingarfjoll rhyolite ranges and Hveravellir, a colourful geothermal area. Both routes are inaccessible in the winter due to snow and ice, and reopen each summer after the rush of the glacial river melt; at that time only 4WD high-clearance vehicles can ford the rivers of this wild and stark area. Askja is a central volcano and caldera located in the most remote part of the highlands, only accessible for a few months each year. Excursions are pre-bookable, talk to us to nd out more. A massive eruption in 1875 catapulted this region onto the world map and created the stunning lake, Oskjuvatn, actually the deepest in Iceland at 220m. Askja has erupted frequently over the last century, most recently in 1961. Viti this is a smaller explosion crater close to Oskjuvatn, about 100m in diameter. The crater contains a lake of steaming, mineral-rich, opaque blue water. Eldgja meaning re canyon was formed during a powerful eruption in 934. The canyon and nearby Laki craters are part of the same volcanic system as Grimsvotn and Katla. It is actually the largest volcanic canyon in the world an impressive 270m deep and 600m wide. The area is also home to the Ofaerufoss waterfall. Laki this chain of 100 craters was formed during a cataclysmic ssure eruption in 1783 that belched out toxic gases and caused widespread famine in Iceland and throughout Europe. Herdubreid this 1682m high summit rises from the central plateau and has a at top and steep sides typical of volcanic tuff table mountains fondly referred to as the queen of mountains. A beautiful nature reserve lies at its foot. Karahnjukar Icelands largest hydroelectric power plant is located in the eastern highlands. Five major dams collect water to power six 115 MW turbines, making a project of such proportion that it has featured on the National Geographic channels Megastructures series. Must Dos Bathe in a natural hot river at Landmannalaugar Learn about Icelands most infamous volcano at the Hekla Centre at Leirubakki, just on the outskirts of the Highlands Take a superjeep excursion deep into the countryside; these impressive vehicles tackle even the roughest mountain tracks with ease! Bathers at LandmannalaugarFjallabak 34 Why choose Discover the World see page 6 For our ofce opening hours please visit our website
  • xxxxx Talk to the experts 01737 218 800 35 35 Landmannalaugar
  • Hallgrimskirkja, Reykjavik 36 Why choose Discover the World see page 6 For our ofce opening hours please visit our website
  • Talk to the experts 01737 218 800 37 37 Reykjavik As the worlds most northerly capital and one of the most compact Reykjavik, the Bay of Smoke, is a delightful place to spend a few days at any time of year. With convenient connections from several UK airports (see page 80), it is less than a three hour ight from the UK. Icelands capital is around a 45 minute drive from the international airport at Keavik and is situated in the south west corner of the island. Reykjavik is a modern and friendly city that can easily be explored on foot, making it an ideal short break destination in its own right. Perlan one of Reykjaviks two most prominent landmarks is Perlan, or the Pearl, which sits atop Oskjuhlid Hill with outstanding views of the skyline from the outside viewing platform. Six large, silver circular tanks hold naturally heated hot water servicing the greater Reykjavik area, above which a glass dome houses a revolving, world-class restaurant. Inside the building you will often nd a craft fair or art exhibition to stroll around. Hallgrimskirkja vying with Perlan for the most distinctive building award has to be Reykjaviks tallest, the centrally located Lutheran church. Beautifully sculpted out of concrete and nished in 1986, the building is said to mirror natures own basalt columns. For wonderful views over the city, take the lift to the top of the 250 foot tower. Laugarvegur this is the original and main shopping street in Reykjavik, running east to west across the city. In Reykjaviks downtown area youll nd an eclectic mix of cafs, high fashion, Icelandic handicraft and book stores. The city also has two shopping malls, Kringlan and Smaralind. The National Museum this state-of-the-art museum presents 1,200 years of Icelands cultural and social history. The Culture House, Reykjavik Art Museum and Reykjavik Museum of Photography are also well worth a visit. Blue Lagoon this world-famous attraction is around a 30 minute drive from the capital, en route to Keavik airport. A swim in the surreal powder-blue, steaming lagoon which is surrounded by a craggy jet black lavascape is a must-do for any visitor to Iceland. Must Dos Try on some Icelandic fashion or buy a beautiful design piece from Skolavordustigur Sample some of Icelands mouth- watering cuisine at one of the capitals top restaurants Join the coffee crowd at Austurvollur square in Reykjaviks Old Town Stroll by the water at Tjornin; Reykjaviks downtown lake Book a days excursion out into the countryside there are plenty to choose from! See pages 16-19 Reykjavik Old HarbourPerlan Reykjavik itself is not recommended as a location to see the aurora borealis due to light pollution. Northern lights hunt trips are available from here. Note
  • xxxxx Accommodation Options We offer a comprehensive range of accommodation throughout Iceland. In our almost three decades of creating holidays there weve developed longstanding relationships with many key hoteliers and property owners. Perhaps youre looking for an intimate boutique hotel for a romantic northern lights getaway; a cottage with character and all the facilities you need to cater for family and friends, including a private hot tub; a stylish city centre hotel close to shops, restaurants and galleries; or maybe you simply wish to stay in a stunning countryside location. Through our collection of suggested pre-planned itineraries presented in this brochure, as well as on our website, we have selected what we consider to be the best value lodging option in each location. Remember that our self-drive tours and independent short break itineraries can be adapted according to your specic wishes. When planning your trip to Iceland it is worth bearing in mind that certain hot spots such as Myvatn and Skaftafell have a limited number of accommodation options and are very popular. If you have a particular area you wish to visit or a specic place you wish to stay then we highly recommend that you book as early as possible for the peak summer months. Luxury properties are few and far between in Iceland, with the exception of Reykjavik and the countryside Hotel Ranga and Hotel Budir. There are no 5-star hotels in Iceland and often the initial impression of the outside of a property belies a cosy and delightful interior. What you will nd is a friendly welcome, mouth- watering food, breathtaking locations and a comfortable, clean and personable space to lay your head each night. Remember that tailor-made self- drive holidays are our particular speciality. Contact us to create your own unique itinerary. Please visit our website for images and further information regarding the accommodation we offer. Hotel Budir 38 Why choose Discover the World see page 6 For our ofce opening hours please visit our website
  • xxxxx xxxxx xxxxx Talk to the experts 01737 218 800 39 Accommodation Options Reykjavik many of our pre-planned self-drive itineraries begin or end with time in the capital, or possibly both. From the fantastic value Hotel Cabin, well-located Centerhotels, the charming and ever-popular Hotel Reykjavik Centrum, to the stylish and homely Grettisborg studios and apartments, youll be spoilt for choice in the worlds most northerly capital. Rural hotels & guesthouses accommodation is usually found around Icelands towns and villages, and therefore dotted around the countryside, as much of Iceland is remote and unpopulated. We offer rooms with private shower/WC, although some properties offer rooms with shared bathroom, mostly in the 3 or 4 star range. These are in hotels or well appointed guesthouses. All supply breakfast (included in price) and most have a restaurant (some with seasonal opening hours). Cottages these are ideal for families. Our self- catering options - cottages, cabins or wonderful summerhouses - are fully equipped and many have verandas with barbeques and some even boast outdoor hot tubs. Accommodation size and facilities vary between properties early booking is essential! Summer hotels we also offer accommodation for the budget-conscious traveller generally boarding at schools whilst closed for the summer holidays. Although basic, some establishments have surprisingly good facilities. The Lava House (Stadarhraun) is a fantastic property in the north, with ve bedrooms, two bathrooms, a full kitchen, cosy lounge and dining area, plus outdoor hot tub, it sleeps up to 12 people. Northern Light InnMyoeyri Cottages Northern lights over Hotel RangaHotel Framtid Nupar cottagesReykjavik Centrum Hotel OrkHotel Hengill
  • xxxxx Short Breaks in Iceland If youre looking for a short break with a difference then Iceland has so much to offer. Home to the worlds most northerly capital, Reykjavik is unique and cosmopolitan but Iceland offers much more than a city break. Ranked by Forbes Magazine as the worlds cleanest country in 2010, it offers an abundance of clean air and plentiful natural wonders. Easily and quickly accessible from the UK, you could be driving through lava elds in a little over three hours after leaving British soil! Our suggested itineraries range from 3 to 4 nights. With a plethora of outstanding natural wonders on Reykjaviks doorstep easily reached by car or guided excursion, even with a short city break in mind you may wish to consider staying that little bit longer! Blue Lagoon 40 Why choose Discover the World see page 6 For our ofce opening hours please visit our website
  • xxxxx xxxxx Talk to the experts 01737 218 800 41 41 Although Reykjavik is often considered as the rst choice for a quick weekend or a mid-week escape, with fascinating places such as the Snaefellsnes Peninsula and the stunning south west region within just an hour or two of the capital, a short stay in the countryside is denitely worthwhile and very easy to arrange. With vehicles available from either Keavik Airport or Reykjavik, as well as other locations throughout Iceland, a short break with car hire is a popular choice, especially during the winter months. You can choose to stay either in Reykjavik, out in the country, or a combination of the two! For the full range of suggested self-drive itineraries please see our website. If youd prefer to base yourself in Reykjavik without car hire, you can still enjoy what the surrounding area has to offer. You will be spoilt by the huge choice of adventurous, as well as the more leisurely, excursions available. From the thrill of snowmobiling to an invigorating hot spring hike, a sightseeing ight over ice and re or a whale watching trip Reykjavik is an ideal base from which to explore but is not recommended as a spot from which to see the northern lights due to light pollution. Evening excursions by superjeep venturing out into the countryside in search of the aurora are however possible from the capital. For an overview of the comprehensive range of experiences available in Iceland, see pages 16-19 or take a look at our website. Beyond Reykjavik The countryside on your doorstep Reykjavik City Break With optional activities Aurora Nights (3 nights, pages 46-47), Reykjavik Explorer (4 nights), Romantic Retreat (4 nights) (see our website). Or for a small group escorted tour, may we suggest Northern Lights Special (3 nights, pages 60-61) or Killer Whales & Northern Lights (4 nights, pages 62-63). Reykjavik City Break (3 nights +, see pages 42-43) or for a relaxing spa break outside the capital try the popular Blue Lagoon Spa Break (3 nights, see our website). Consider Consider A full range of accommodation options, suggested itineraries and tours can be found on our website. Alternatively, contact our specialist team who will be happy to talk through your travel ideas with you. Back from Iceland and just a line to say thank you for making it all so simple! Fantastic operation and organisation...thank you! We want to go back! Andy Bolton Reynisdranga Thingvellir Grundarfjordur
  • xxxxx Reykjavik A delightful city break What a great place for a weekend getaway at any time of year! With our exible arrangements you can choose from an outstanding selection of hotels and add in any number of excursions to discover the city or the wealth of natural wonders on its doorstep. Christmas or New Year in Reykjavik is truly special. During the festive season Icelands capital is literally covered in lights - everywhere glows with warmth and a magical atmosphere envelops the city. Fact File Independent B&B 3+ nights, breakfast basis Year round, daily Overnight at 3 nights Reykjavik Who for? Those looking for a short break and a taster of Iceland, with plenty of options for hotels and excursions. Prices from Land: 116 (two sharing) 137 (single occupancy) Flights: see p80 Reykjavik City Break Highlights Huge choice of accommodation in the city centre, from budget-conscious options to apartments and centrally located hotels. An excellent base from which to explore - many excursions are available and the city is easily accessible on foot. Just a three hour ight from the UK, then a 45-60 mins transfer into Reykjavik from Keavik International Airport. Top Tip: The REYKJAVIK WELCOME CARD makes it easier for you to enjoy the best that the city has to offer. Available for 24, 48 or 72 hours and offering great value for money, it gives you free admission to all of the citys thermal pools, a great many museums and other attractions, unlimited travel on buses, discounts at shops and restaurants and free Internet access. Reykjavik harbour Note Reykjavik itself is not a good base to see the northern lights. Excursions from here into the countryside are available. Scan with your smartphone for more holiday information on our website (see page 5). 42 All our holidays are bound by our Terms & Conditions, which can be found on our website
  • xxxxx xxxxx xxxxx Talk to the experts 01737 218 800 43 Reykjavik is a place of many facets: the cosy timber dwellings of its historic heart are clustered around the citys centrepiece - a lake and bird sanctuary. In the bustling streets surrounding the cathedral and Parliament, Reykjaviks cafs radiate inviting warmth. This compact city is easy to explore and almost everyone speaks English, which is useful! At home in this youthful and growing city is the contemporary architecture - three examples of which are its church - Hallgrimskirkja, a skyline sentinel whose prole draws from the landscapes basalt columns, Perlan with its shimmering glass dome and the waterside Harpa Concert Hall, inspired by Icelandic nature. Where architecture leaves off, art takes over. Reykjaviks galleries and an unusual array of museums are complemented by a lively theatre and concert scene. The capitals varied nightlife is legendary for a city of this size and on Friday and Saturday nights, the 120 or so bars and clubs generally ll up around midnight, with the good-natured party crowd having fun through until breakfast time. Reykjavik has more than its fair share of top class restaurants with many internationally- known chefs preparing a vast range of cuisine to the highest standards. Presentation is impeccable as is the dcor of the well known restaurants in the centre. Reykjavik has an unlimited supply of nature on its doorstep making it an ideal base from which to explore. Head down to the sea and let your eyes wander to the broody mountains across the bay, then jump on a whale watching excursion or a tour in search of pufns. There are many day trips to pick from - try snowmobiling on a glacier, riding an Icelandic thoroughbred or driving a quad bike through lava elds. Alternatively, take it easy on a coach tour of the Golden Circle, or a day trip along the South Coast. Some experiences are highlighted in our brochure on pages 16-19 but for a more extensive list, please see our website. xxxxxHarpa Concert Hall Hallgrimskirkja Our Bonus Card, issued free to all Iceland bookings, can offer you substantial savings of between 10% and 30% on goods and services purchased locally, including popular shops and suggested restaurants in prime locations. Extra value Bonus Card Our Reykjavik trip - awesome! Hotel Cabin was central and the superjeep excursion certainly an experience - cooking sausages on hot lava! Five days was just not enough! Yvonne Parris
  • xxxxx Self-Drive Iceland If you enjoy exploring independently then Iceland makes an ideal self-drive destination it remains by far our most popular way to discover the real Iceland. Flexible itineraries, uncluttered and easy to navigate roads and magnicent scenery make driving in Iceland a thoroughly enjoyable way to explore. Each of our tried and tested itineraries has been carefully researched and designed to include the places that we know visitors will enjoy. However, if youd prefer, we are happy to tailor a route to your individual needs. In this brochure we list a few taster routes to provide some inspiration. A self-drive holiday is ideal if you want the freedom to stop where you fancy en route - be it to take a short hike, to browse around a little museum, photograph a waterfall or to stretch your legs and simply enjoy the landscape. With your own vehicle, and armed with plenty of informative documentation, this type of holiday will appeal to couples, families and single travellers of all ages (NB: you must be 20 yrs and over to hire a car in Iceland). What you actually see and do each day is up to you and with a free copy of the splendid book Landmark Guide: Iceland (RRP 9.99) and an excellent Road Atlas (RRP 22) that we provide for our self-drive clients, youll be more than well informed. In addition, our Places to Visit guide highlights the natural wonders, activities and unmissable attractions in the regions through which you will be travelling. In the summer, some of the more remote countryside properties and the most popular areas get fully booked months in advance. Therefore the peace of mind we offer by pre- booking accommodation in what we believe are the best places to stay, is an invaluable aspect of our self-drive tours. For further reasons why booking with Discover the World is we believe the best choice, please see pages 6-7. A map of Iceland and a grid of driving distances between key locations is provided in the inside back cover of this brochure, for your guidance. Map & driving distances 44 Why choose Discover the World see page 6 For our ofce opening hours please visit our website
  • xxxxx xxxxx Talk to the experts 01737 218 800 45 45 We generally use the excellent services of Europcar, the largest, and in our opinion, one of the best car rental companies in Iceland. Europcar provides reliable service, competitive rates and a great choice of makes and models generally from new up to around eighteen months old see our website or contact us for vehicle categories and specications, as well as whats included. Prices shown on the following pages are intended as a guideline at the time of printing (full details are on our website or contact us). They reect the cost of staying in a twin room with private facilities (double occupancy, two adults), whilst sharing car hire between either two or four adults. We will be happy to provide you with a holiday quotation specic to you. The approximate kilometres shown against each self-drive itinerary are a guideline only, given the suggested places to visit. The distance you cover yourself will of course be governed by your choice of route and what amazing places catch your eye along the way! For further information on car rental, please see page 56. Everything about the holiday was brilliant, the accommodation was good, we had a brand new car and the suggested hikes were very useful. I will have no hesitation in recommending Discover the World to friends. Sheila Baker South coast driving
  • Aurora Nights One of our most popular winter self-drives, this fantastic short break at luxury ranch-style Hotel Ranga offers great possibilities of seeing the aurora borealis. If you wish, you can request a wake-up call during the night if the auroral display is particularly special. During your three nights here you may also have the opportunity to watch a presentation at the hotel about the northern lights in Iceland. Fact File Self-drive B&B 3 nights, breakfast basis September - March, daily Overnight at 3 nights Hella (Ranga) Who for? For potential aurora watchers who like to do it in style! Prices per person from Land: 307 (two sharing in one room) 259 (four sharing in two rooms) Flights: see p80 Aurora Nights Highlights Stay in the rural countryside, just a two hour drive from Reykjavik and within easy reach of the Golden Circle and South Iceland highlights. Hotel Rangas river view restaurant is noted for its extensive wine list and rst class international gourmet cuisine, plus there is a bar and comfortable lounge area. Relax in the steaming outdoor hot tubs, the perfect place to keep watch for the aurora borealis! With uninterrupted 360 skies for miles around, this is one of the most popular places in Iceland for aurora watchers. Northern lights over Hotel Ranga 46 All our holidays are bound by our Terms & Conditions, which can be found on our website
  • Talk to the experts 01737 218 800 47 Day 1 y from the UK to Keavik. Collect rental vehicle from the airport and drive to Hotel Ranga. Day 2 discover the beautiful south: expl