Join this gay tour and witness the extremes of Iceland: friendly Viking descendants; unspoiled lush wilderness; fuming volcanic craters, geysers and natural hot springs; rainbow-festooned waterfalls; playful puffins; and a rich history including some of folklore’s strangest sagas.
During our gay Iceland adventure week explore many of the country’s natural wonders and its unique Nordic history and culture. We’ll take day hikes through the amazingly green countryside, across steaming rivers, around waterfalls, into volcanic craters, on top of icy glaciers, and even through rift valleys, not to mention ferry boat rides and natural hot springs! Optional activities on your free day include horseback riding, arctic rafting, and whale watching.
Consider beginning your holiday week by arriving a day or two early to join Reykjavik’s Pride parade and celebrations. Opening ceremonies begin Thursday evening. The Pride parade usually begins 2pm Saturday, followed by an outdoor festival and midnight dance parties. At the end of our tour, we’ve allowed time to enjoy the nightlife of gay-friendly Reykjavik.
August 11, to August 18, – US $4,998.00
Hike up lava flows to the top of a volcanic crater, deep into a lava tube, and along the top of dramatic sea cliffs to see nesting puffins.
Enjoy a short ferry ride to the Westman Islands, among the earth’s newest places, where the island of Surtsey emerged from the sea in 1963
Visit the ruins of Pompeii of the North, a town half-covered in lava and ash.
Experience a glacier hike across the ever-changing terrain of rivers of ice flowing from frosty summits toward the sea.
Explore the raw, geologic beauty of the national reserve Landmannalaugar.
Trek to the edge of the America tectonic plate, then through the rugged chasm where the European plate is ripped away from it.
Stroll across a landscape so moonlike that NASA sent astronauts for practice walks before the first Apollo moon landing.
Swim in natural hot springs dotted across the Icelandic wilderness.
Climb around, behind, and into a variety of waterfall wonderlands.
Savor delicious seafood, lamb, and even that Icelandic delicacy, Hákarl, putrid shark!
For those with extra time, come a couple of days early to experience the fabulous Reykjavik Pride Festival!
All group transportation within Iceland; All accommodations; Tour guide accompanying the group at all locations; Breakfast every day, 2 lunches, and 4 dinners; Hiking, glacier hike, boat ride to/from Westman Islands (weather permitting), entry to Pompeii of the North Museum and the Viking House recreation, and other outdoor activities. HE Travel provides complimentary Medical & Evacuation Insurance for every US Resident on our group tours who does not have other coverage.
Optional Tour Choices:
$1300 Single Supplement (for solo travelers who wish to enjoy a private bedroom and bathroom)
Airfare; Airport transfers on arrival and departure; Souvenirs, snacks, admissions; Meals not listed here; Alcoholic beverages; Optional activities (bike tours, horseback riding, and whale-watching are available.); Gratuities for guides.
The small island of Iceland offers enormous contrasts and variety: unspoiled landscapes, uncrowded parks, and unique geology. Iceland has a small, friendly gay and lesbian community in the capital, but you’ll find few signs of gay life outside Reykjavik. In true Scandinavian tradition, people don’t feel it’s any big deal whether you’re gay or straight.
If you have a little extra time, consider adding a day or two BEFORE your trip to join Reykjavik’s gay pride celebrations. These begin with opening ceremonies Thursday evening and conclude in the early hours on Sunday. The Pride parade is usually on Saturday, around 2 PM, followed by an outdoor festival and midnight dance parties.
After lunch, we’re off for deep lava on an afternoon tour to the Reykjanes Peninsula, including spelunking through a lava tube and a relaxing soak in the wonders of a geothermal spa located on top of a lava flow.
Lava Tube Leidarendi: we will enjoy a 1-hour hike deep into a lava tube, a tunnel that was created by swift running lava. Bending, twisting, and, for the hardy, squeezing our way through the unworldly shapes, we’ll pop out into daylight bedside the entrance!
And we can’t miss one of Iceland’s most unique hot spots, the much-famed Blue Lagoon! Enjoy this sprawling outdoor pool on the Reykjanes Peninsula with a long soak and a therapeutic swim. Immerse yourself in the geothermally-heated waters, which are naturally blue from a heavy mineral content, as steam fills the air.
In fact, it would be hard to find a water heater anywhere in Iceland. Enjoy taking a long shower every morning — the hot water is piped right from the earth, and there’s plenty more where it came from. We will return to our hotel in the afternoon and have our welcome dinner this evening.
See where the North American tectonic plate is pulling away from the European tectonic plate, creating rifts in the earth’s crust – sheer cliffs pulling from each other, creating gorges and canyons that get wider each year. We’ll hike in between the continents.
Visit “Geysir,” the original spouter, whose name is now used around the world as a generic term for all, well, geysers. Next to it, at “Strokkur”, we’ll see the pool rise and fall, as if panting hard. Then the surface swells like a giant blue egg emerging from the earth, and finally, it spews, bursts, and jets into the sky.
Marvel at waterfalls galore this week, beginning today with huge Gullfoss, a huge double-decker that entices us into its misty veil.
And we’ll learn a bit about politics, too:
High up in the hills along the shores of the Oxara River we find Iceland’s most historic spot: Thingvellir (Parliament Plains). This is where the rowdy Vikings formed the world’s oldest true parliament, in A.D. 930.
After an exhilarating day, we head for two nights to a lovely country guesthouse sitting in a steaming valley, with multiple hot pools to relax and soak in while enjoying the late-setting sun.
Then through volcanic valleys and past hot spots, hot springs, fumaroles, mud pots, and steaming rivers. We may reward ourselves half-way through the mountain hike with a wilderness soak in a steaming river.
And we will likely soak again once we arrive back to the geothermal pools at our guesthouse.
Next, we return to the mainland and journey underneath the great volcano that disrupted so much of Europe’s air traffic in 2010, Eyjafjallajökull. Nearby is the glacier Sólheimajökull.
There we meet our mighty Viking glacier guide who outfit us in our glacier gear and then instruct us how to walk on ice before taking us to explore both the smooth and the rough and tumble terrain of a constantly moving and eroding glacier. The cerulean blue of the dense ice is revealed in its crevasses, ice caves, and towering seracs.
After our glacier hike, surprise, we visit more waterfalls, hopefully with the evening sun perfectly angled to allow for fantastic views and pictures. The main waterfall, Seljalandsfoss, is special because you can actually walk behind it and revel in its mist. Afterward, we continue to our next country lodge.
We’ll have hikes of varying lengths and reward ourselves with a wonderful soak in one of Iceland’s best natural hot springs, with fantastic views, before venturing on to our more casual, but well-suited, wilderness lodge for the night.
Afterward, we’ll enjoy another double waterfall before we work our way back to the bright lights and energy of Reykjavik, where we’ll stay for two nights.
It’s easy to fill a whole day strolling the streets, plazas, and waterfront of Reykjavik. While many imported items are expensive, travelers with a yen for shopping can find several bargains, most notably the strikingly-patterned wool sweaters. You can rent a bike to explore on your own or join a two-to-three hour city tour or a longer mountain biking tour just outside the city.
Reykjavik has several outdoor, naturally-heated pool complexes that are a mainstay of Icelandic social life, which provide a tempting way to relax. More impressive yet, they have a warm-water beach where they’ve pumped the geothermal water in to warm the cooler North Atlantic waters in a crescent-shaped, golden sand beach. Whale-watching trips are another option as is returning to the countryside to scuba dive in one of the tectonic rifts or try for a horseback ride. Hop onto a handsome palomino, a purebred descendant of the horses that arrived with the Vikings. This is the only horse in the world able to achieve the remarkably smooth, yet fast, 5th gait known as the tolt.
Tonight, our last evening together, a wonderful dinner awaits our whole group. As always, there are alternatives for vegetarians and those with special dietary requirements. Then, Reykjavik’s gay disco awaits those who still have some energy!
We’ll bet you’ve made some new friends. Thank you for joining us — and we hope to see you again!
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02 8667 3336