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 13, to August 20, – US $4,548.00
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!
Amazing Spaces. Incredible Places.
Duration: 8 days
Operator: HE Travel
Price includes: 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 2016 Tour Choices:
$1250 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.
Lava Tube Leidarendi: we will hike a 1-hour loop that including deep into a lava tube, a tunnel created by swift running lava. Bending, twisting, and 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! This sprawling outdoor pool on the Reykjanes Peninsula offers a therapeutic swim. Immerse yourself in the waters, geo-thermally heated and 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.
You can also visit the outdoor Arbaer Museum, where some of Iceland’s oldest surviving homes have been relocated.. The Arbaer Museum’s buildings showcase an assortment of artifacts and household items from the past. Our favorite: Shoes made from fish, one of the three commodities of which Iceland has never had a shortage (the other two: Ice, and hot water). Or visit the world’s original Philological Museum with over 215 penises and penile parts belonging to virtually all of Iceland’s various mammals inhabiting Iceland and its shores.
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.
Visit “Geysir,” the original spouter, whose name is now used generically for its cousins in Yellowstone and elsewhere. At “The Churn”, 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 and bursts.
Marvel at waterfalls galore this week, beginning today with huge Gullfoss, a 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 back to our hotel in Reykjavik for the night.
After our hike, we’ll journey across southern Iceland, swinging underneath the great volcano that disrupted so much of Europe’s air traffic several years ago, Eyjafjallajökull, and then to the base of one of its nearby glaciers, the Sólheimajökull. There we meet our mighty Viking glacier guides who outfit us in our glacier gear and then instruct us how to walk on ice before taking us to explore the rough and tumble terrain of a constantly moving and eroding glacier. The cerulean blue of the ancient ice is revealed in the crevasses, ice caves, and even towering seracs we’ll pass. That evening we stay at a small hotel nearby, but before unloading, we’ll enjoy another mighty waterfall, Skogarfoss, which drops a couple of hundred feet in a mass of water. And for those with remaining energy, we might have a late night hike to Iceland’s oldest swimming pool hidden in the wilderness nearby.
Tour of the various natural sites around the island and the amazing effects of the Eldfell volcanic eruption that buried half the town of Heimaey in 1973.
Visit the Natural History Museum: one of Iceland’s best.
Visit the buried section of town and the new museum “Pompeii of the North”
Hike up Heimaklettur (283m), with amazing views of the island, lava flows, and even the cove of Klettsvik, former home to Keiko the whale.
Look for puffins nesting at Storhofdi and hear about puffin traditions: puffin hunting; and the egg hunting tradition known at Sprangan (collectors would dangle themselves from long ropes over cliffs, swinging from side to side as they gathered eggs). And also the annual Puffin Patrol, usually mid-August, when baby puffins wander aimlessly into town, following the night lights, instead of heading to sea. The locals collect, weigh, and feed the babies, then release them the next morning, into the sea.
After our touring, we’ll return to the mainland, and, surprise, visit another pair of waterfalls, this time 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 wilderness lodge where we’ll stay for two nights.
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.
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!