Iceland Discovery Trip Notes

Iceland Discovery

Last Modified: 28 Sep 2016
Iceland Discovery
Trip code: BMSI
Validity: 01 Jan 2017 to 31 Dec 2017
Travel to Iceland and delve into the ancient land of Vikings and volcanoes on this 10-day Icelandic adventure. Marvel at geothermal hot springs, witness the steamy eruptions of a giant geyser, touch the tongue of Europe's biggest glacier, see lava that's still warm after 20 years and scale giant waterfalls. Travel through Iceland's desolate lands, so mysterious and ethereal that they have inspired artists, poets and musicians for centuries. The ancient, untamed beauty of Iceland will stay with you forever.
Table of Contents
StyleAccommodationFinish point
ThemesAccommodation NotesFinishing point instructions
Is this trip right for you?Meals introductionEmergency contact
Why we love itMealsVisas
MapTransportWhat to take
ItineraryMoney mattersHealth
Itinerary disclaimerGroup leaderTravel insurance
Physical ratingSafetyA couple of rules
Included activitiesJoining pointResponsible Travel
Group sizeJoining point descriptionThe Intrepid Foundation
Your fellow travellersJoining point instructionsFeedback
Is this trip right for you?
- The destinations visited on this trip can be cold throughout the year, especially at the start and end of the season and at night. Please bring appropriate clothing for adverse weather conditions. There may be the rare occasion where your leader has to alter the itinerary and activities due to the weather. In this case an alternative will be offered.
- Due to the remote locations we visit, there are a few long drives on this trip. This is a great opportunity to enjoy the scenery and spend some time getting to know the other members of your group.
- As accommodation on this trip is either twin or multi share, single travellers will share a room with other travellers of the same sex. Hotels in Europe often don't have double beds, but rather two single beds that can be pushed together/apart. Also our accommodation in Iceland mostly has shared bathroom facilities, rather than en-suite. Please note that a single supplement is not available on this trip.
- Iceland can be an expensive destination in terms of eating out. Your leader will be able to advise on how to save money. In remote areas the only option for dinner will be at the guesthouse we are staying at. Please stock up on food at a supermarket prior to arrival if you would like to opt out eating at the guesthouse's restaurant.
Why we love it
- There's a lot more to Iceland than ice (and Bjork). Ford the fjords, glaciers, volcanoes, black sands and thermal springs of this magical land in the world's far north
- Discover Iceland's fascinating history on a guided tour of Reykjavik, which includes a visit to the astonishing Lutheran church of Hallgrimskirkja
- The Eurasian and American tectonic plates may now be pulling apart in Thingvellir National Park, but over a thousand years ago this was the site where Iceland's first parliament came together
- Hike to the tongue of Europe's biggest glacier and marvel at the waterfall of Svartifoss in Skaftafell National Park
- Southern Iceland is a world of striking contrasts. Glide past blue-white icebergs on a boat tour of Jokulsarlon glacier lagoon, and soak up the silence of the surrounding grey sand desert

Day 1 Reykjavik
Hallo! Welcome to Iceland. The world's northernmost capital of Reykjavik lies just below the Arctic Circle. The city sees around four hours of sunlight a day in winter and 22 hours or more in summer. Surrounded by volcanic peaks and crystalline ocean, and boasting a vibrant arts and nightlife scene, Reykjavik's contrasts are utterly beguiling. Your adventure begins with a Welcome Meeting at 6pm today – see reception for more details. If you can't arrange a flight that will arrive in time, you may wish to arrive a day early. We'll be happy to book additional accommodation for you (subject to availability). If you're going to be late, please inform the hotel reception. We'll be collecting your insurance details and next of kin information at this meeting, so please have these on hand. You can check in at the joining point hotel anytime after 2pm. While early check-in is not guaranteed, feel free to store your luggage until needed. Please note that the guest rooms may be spread across a number of buildings all situated along a quiet street in central Reykjavik, a 5-minute walk from each other. Why not arrive early and head to the National Museum, which depicts the history of Iceland from the 9th century (when the first Vikings from mainland Scandinavia arrived and settled) to the present day, or join locals who gossip and chatter in the Laugardalslaug Geothermal Pool.
Hotel (1 nt)
Day 2 Reykjavik / Golden Circle / Hvolsvöllur Area
Today take a one-hour guided city tour of Reykjavik, passing the city’s eclectic mix of architecture and delightfully coloured houses, and the famous Hallgrimskirkja church and the Pearl monument. Following the route of the 'Golden Circle' head out to Þingvellir National Park, home to the Parliament Plains. Þingvellir was the location of Iceland's first parliament, founded in 930 and ostensibly the world’s oldest, and is the location of the Silfra fissure, where the North American and Eurasian tectonic plates slowly pull apart. The resulting gap is partly filled with fresh water and is clearly visible. From here head to the Geysir geothermal area, checking out the Strokkur Geyser – get a thrill as the geyser swells with blue water before erupting and shooting a cloud of water some 20-30 metres in the air. Finally, be spellbound by the immense beauty and sheer power of the Gullfoss (Golden) double waterfall on the Hvita River, before proceeding to your overnight stay in the Hvolsvöllur region.

Notes: Total driving distance approximately 200 kilometres.
Included Activities
  • Reykjavik City Tour
  • Golden Circle (Þingevellir National Park, Strokkur Geysir, Gullfoss Waterfall)
    Guesthouse (1 nt)
    1 breakfast
    Day 3 South Coast
    Begin the day with a visit to two breathtaking waterfalls, Seljalandsfoss and Skógafoss. The narrow cascade of Seljalandsfoss drops 60 metres over the cliffs of a former coastline, and for a unique view it’s even possible to trek behind the waterfall. On a sunny day you should be able to spot a rainbow or two in the spray. Skógafoss is a giant of a waterfall, 25 metres wide and also dropping down 60 metres. You can get up close and feel its power, and also climb a (long) windy set of stairs up to a stunning viewpoint. Afterwards, there is time to see the lovely Skógasafn Museum, which houses a large collection of cultural folk artefacts and period buildings. From here, continue along Iceland's beautiful South Shore to take in more of the country’s renowned natural wonders, spotting sea bird colonies on the promontory of Dyrhólaey, which is rich in birdlife and Iceland's southernmost point. You’ll also see the amazing stepping-stone rock formations of Reynisdrangar and its night black sand beach Reynisfjara, as well as the dramatic otherworldly landscape of the Solheimajokull glacier along the way. Today's journey ends at our guesthouse near the seaside township of Vík, Iceland's most southerly village.

    Notes: Total driving distance approximately 100 kilometres.
    Included Activities
    • Museum at Skogar
    • Waterfalls of Seljarlandsfoss and Skogafoss
      Guesthouse (1 nt)
      1 breakfast
      Day 4 Skaftafell National Park / Jökulsárlón Glacier Lagoon / Höfn Area
      Today your journey continues over the squeaky black lava sands formed by the eight-month long Laki eruption in 1783-1784. Head to Skaftafell National Park, where you'll take an invigorating short walk (approximately 1.5 hours return) to the beautiful Svartifoss (the Black Waterfall). The surrounding black hexagonal basalt columns make it one of the most striking waterfalls in the world. Another walk will take you to Svínafellsjökull (one of the tongues of Vatnajökull, Europe's largest glacier), where you’ll see glacial ice sculptures, deep crevasses, and wonderful shades of blue. Continue to the one of Iceland's undisputed highlights, the glacier lagoon of Jökulsárlón, where you will board an amphibian vehicle to cruise the lagoon and be amazed by some of Mother Nature’s finest work as you’re surrounded by floating icebergs. From here it’s not far to your overnight stay, picturesquely located on another lagoon sheltered by a black sandbar.

      Notes: Total driving distance approximately 300 kilometres.
      Included Activities
      • Skaftafell National Park
      • Glacier Boat Tour - Jokulsarlon
      • Dyrholaey, Reynisdrangar & Solheimajokull Glacier
        Guesthouse (1 nt)
        1 breakfast
        Day 5 East Fjords / Egilsstaðir / Möðrudalur Valley
        After breakfast, you’ll have a full day to appreciate the stunning Icelandic countryside. Drive on a road that tightly curves with the sea through the coastal region of the East Fjords, enjoying spectacular views of high steel-grey mountains, deep fjords, spectacular waterfalls, glaciers, winding mountain passes, and quaint fishing villages. Stop at the wooded village of Egilsstadir, before continuing along mountain roads into the Icelandic interior and the highland farm village of Möðrudalur. At 469 metres (1,539 feet) above sea level, Möðrudalur Valley is the highest inhabited place in Iceland, and snow can be seen almost year round. There are majestic views across Herðu­breið, one of the most beautiful mountains in the whole country.

        Notes: Total driving distance approximately 300 kilometres.
        Included Activities
        • East Fjords, Egilsstadir & Modrudalur
          Guesthouse (1 nt)
          1 breakfast
          Day 6 Húsavík / Lake Mývatn
          From Möðrudalur you will drive to the magnificent Dettifoss waterfall, Europe's mightiest cascade. 96,500 gallons of water flow through it per second, often black from sediment, and it’s so powerful that the vibrations can be felt in the nearby rocks. The falls are 100 metres wide, with a 45-metre drop down into the craggy shores of Jökulsárgljúfur canyon below. You'll also pay a visit to the nearby natural phenomenon of the Ásbyrgi canyon, a massive horseshoe-shaped gorge formed by a glacial flood after the last ice age, some 8,000 years ago. Legend has it that the gorge was formed when Sleipnir, Odin's eight-legged horse, stamped one of its feet to the ground here. Continue on towards the town of Husavik at the south end of Skjalfandi Bay, before driving towards the glassy surface of Lake Myvatn. Recent and old volcanic activity has shaped the landscapes of the area, making it one of the most interesting geological regions in the northern hemisphere. See boiling and bubbling mud pools, the lava labyrinth of Dimmuborgir and the interesting pseudocrater group at Skutustadir. If you like, you can even take a soak in the hot blue waters of the Myvatn Nature Baths.

          Notes: Total driving distance approximately 250 kilometres.
          Included Activities
          • Lake Myvatn
          • Dettifoss Waterfall
          • Namaskard boiling mud pools
            Guesthouse (1 nt)
            1 breakfast, 1 dinner
            Day 7 Akureyri / Trollaskagi Peninsula / Gauksmýri
            This morning, drive to the impressive Goðafoss waterfall (the Waterfall of the Gods). It’s said that into this 30 metre wide, gently curving waterfall, a pagan priest called Þorgeir Ljósvetningagoði symbolically threw the idols of the Norse gods in the year 1,000, signifying Christianity becoming Iceland’s official religion. From Goðafoss continue on to Akureyri. Situated at the head of Iceland's longest fjord, Akureyri is the nation's second largest city. Embark on a short guided tour of the town before enjoying some free time to explore. Wander the streets of arts and crafts galleries and shops, passing wooden houses in pastel colours, and perhaps dropping into the Folk Museum. In the afternoon, journey on to the town of Siglufjordur and then around the dramatic north coast of the Trollaskagi Peninsula, where there are beautiful landscapes of deep valleys carved by the glaciers. Continue on to Gauksmýri, where you'll spend the night.

            Notes: Total driving distance approximately 400 kilometres.
            Included Activities
            • Town of Akureyri
            • Town of Siglufjordur & Trollaskagi Peninsula
            • Godafoss Waterfall
              Guesthouse (1 nt)
              1 breakfast, 1 dinner
              Day 8 Hrútafjörður / Snaefellsnes Peninsula
              Continue your journey into Snæfellsnes National Park, home to the magnificent Snæfellsjokull Glacier. The glacier tops a 700,000-year-old volcano – a magnificent sight when the fogs clears to reveal it – and it played a starring role as the entrance to the Earth’s core in Jules Verne's 1864 novel ‘Journey to the Centre of the Earth’. The mystical power of the glacier has long inspired many folk and fairy tales, and this ruggedly beautiful sight is one of the best known in Iceland. Visit Djúpalónssandur and check out the smooth, black basaltic pebble beach, which is set to a backdrop of glaciers and strange lava formations. On the beach lie four 'aflraunasteinar' (lifting stones) weighing from 23 to 154 kilograms, and once used to measure a fisherman’s strength for working on the boats. Continue on to Arnarstapi, where a short stroll along the coastal cliffs exposes you to rich bird life and stunning lava formations. Look out for the large stone monument to the pagan figure Barður Snæfellsás who, according to local legend, still lives in Snæfellsjökull and protects the area from evil. Visit a picturesque rural church and white beach at romantic, windswept Búðir, which is surrounded by Búðahraun lavafield.

              Notes: Total driving distance approximately 250 kilometres.
              Included Activities
              • Snaefellsnes National Park
                Guesthouse (1 nt)
                1 breakfast, 1 dinner
                Day 9 Grábrók / Reykjavik
                Today head back towards Reykjavík to complete your circuit of Iceland. Your first stop is at the old Grábrók volcano, where you'll take a hike to the crater summit. Soak up views of the valley and rugged lava fields, and look down into the crater from the rim – it’s still active but hasn’t seen any eruptions for 3,500 years. Continuing on your journey, check out the waterfalls of Hraunfossar (Lava Waterfall) and Barnafossar (Children's Waterfall). The former makes for great pictures – a gentle series of rivulets that tumble over bright green mossy cliffs into bright turquoise waters – while the latter is a series of rapids as the Hvita river makes its way through a small canyon. Barnafossar gets its name from the story of two children who disappeared into the falls many years ago, and whose mother destroyed the arch crossing the falls, cursing any who should try to cross. Next stop is a visit to steamy Deildartunguhver, Europe's hottest and highest flow thermal spring. 180 litres of 97 degree hot water emerges here per second, billowing steam into the air in an impressive sight. Much of the water is tamed and piped to the surrounding villages, heating some as far as 60 kilometres away. From here, you will head back to Reykjavík, passing beautiful Hvalfjörður (Whale Fjord) along the way. Back in the capital, perhaps gather together you fellow travellers to celebrate your last night as a group.

                Notes: Total driving distance approximately 300 kilometres.
                Included Activities
                • Hraunfossar and Barnafoss Waterfalls
                • Grabrok Volcano
                • Deildartunguhver Hot Spring & Hvalfjordur Fjord
                  Hotel (1 nt)
                  1 breakfast
                  Day 10 Reykjavik
                  Today is departure day and time to say 'sjáumst'. As there are no activities planned, you are able to depart the hotel at any time. Check out time is at midday. If you are departing later, you can arrange to store your luggage at the hotel. As limited time is spent in Reykjavik on this trip, it’s recommended to stay a few extra days. We are happy to book additional accommodation for you (subject to availability). Please ask your travel consultant for details. Iceland's capital has an eclectic arts and music scene, an abundance of quirky cafes and a laid-back vibe. Perhaps browse some of the city's great art galleries. If you feel like something more active, you can take a ride on an Icelandic horse or see killer whales just off-shore on a whale watching expedition. Alternatively, while away the hours with a soak in the geothermal waters of the famous Blue Lagoon, or maybe chase the Northern Lights outside of town.

                  Note: The Blue Lagoon has limited availability, and during peak times tickets sell out far in advance. We recommend you book your time slot online in advance if you would like to be sure of a certain time/date for your visit:
                  Optional Activities
                  • Reykjavik Summit Helicopter Tour - EUR202
                  • Blue Lagoon - ISK9000
                  • Summer Hot Springs Hunt - EUR95
                  • Whale Watching - ISK9000
                    1 breakfast
                    Itinerary disclaimer
                    ITINERARY CHANGES Occasionally our itineraries are updated during the year to incorporate improvements stemming from past travellers' comments and our own research. The information given in this itinerary may be slightly different to that in the brochure. It's very important that you print and review a final copy of your Trip Notes a couple of days prior to travel, in case there have been changes that affect your plans. If you have any queries, please contact your travel agent or our staff. We are here to help you! Please note that while we operate successful trips in this region throughout the year, some changes may occur in our itineraries due to inclement weather and common seasonal changes to timetables and transport routes. This can happen with little notice so please be prepared for modifications to the route. The order and timing of included activities in each location may also vary from time to time.

                    OPTIONAL ACTIVITIES: A selection of optional activities are listed in the day-to-day itinerary. This isn't an exhaustive list and should be used as a guide only. Prices are approximate and are for entrance only and don’t include transport to and from the sites or local guides unless indicated. All activities are subject to availability and it may not be possible to do all the activities listed in the time available at each destination. Where activities are considered medium or high risk, we work with operators whose safety and credentials we have sighted and assessed. This means that it is possible that you may find the same activity cheaper with another operator on the ground, however we cannot vouch for the safety or quality of that operator. Activities not listed above have not been assessed by us and as such our staff and leaders are unable to assist you with booking these activities. The decision to partake in any activity not listed is at your own discretion and risk.
                    Physical rating

                    Included activities
                    Reykjavik City Tour
                    Golden Circle (Þingevellir National Park, Strokkur Geysir, Gullfoss Waterfall)
                    Museum at Skogar
                    Waterfalls of Seljarlandsfoss and Skogafoss
                    Skaftafell National Park
                    Glacier Boat Tour - Jokulsarlon
                    Dyrholaey, Reynisdrangar & Solheimajokull Glacier
                    East Fjords, Egilsstadir & Modrudalur
                    Lake Myvatn
                    Dettifoss Waterfall
                    Namaskard boiling mud pools
                    Town of Akureyri
                    Town of Siglufjordur & Trollaskagi Peninsula
                    Godafoss Waterfall
                    Snaefellsnes National Park
                    Hraunfossar and Barnafoss Waterfalls
                    Grabrok Volcano
                    Deildartunguhver Hot Spring & Hvalfjordur Fjord
                    Group size
                    Maximum of 12 travellers per group.
                    Your fellow travellers
                    GROUP TRAVEL
                    As you travel on a group trip you will be exposed to all the pleasures and maybe some of the frustrations of travelling in a group. Your fellow travellers will probably come from all corners of the world and likely a range of age groups too. We ask you to be understanding of the various needs and preferences of your group - patience with your fellow travellers is sometimes required for the benefit of everyone's travel experience. Remember too that you have responsibilities to the group. If you are requested to be at a place at a certain time, ensure that you don't keep the rest of the group waiting. We have found time and time again that the very best trips we operate are those where the dynamics within the group work well - this takes just a little effort on your part. Due to privacy reasons we are unable to provide you with contact details and any personal information about your fellow travellers booked on your trip prior to departure.

                    SINGLE TRAVELLERS:
                    Our group trips are designed for shared accommodation and don't involve a compulsory single supplement. Single travellers share with people of the same gender in accommodation ranging from twin to multishare. Some of our itineraries have accommodation booked on a mixed gender share basis and where applicable this will be specified in our Trip Notes. On a selection of our trips, you have the option to pay a single supplement to ensure that you have your own accommodation (where available). Please note that this only applies to accommodation during the tour - pre-trip and post-trip accommodation will be booked on a single room basis.

                    SINGLE SUPPLEMENT
                    Please note that a single supplement is not available on this trip, as many of the properties we use on this trip have only a limited number of rooms. If a single room becomes available at check-in for any of the nights, there may be the option to upgrade to a single room and pay the surcharge locally for that night.
                    Guesthouse (8 nights), Hotel (1 night)
                    The style of accommodation indicated in the day-to-day itinerary is a guideline. On rare occasions, alternative arrangements may need to be made due to the lack of availability of rooms in our usual accommodation. A similar standard of accommodation will be used in these instances.

                    TWIN SHARE / MULTI SHARE BASIS
                    Accommodation on this trip is on a twin/multishare basis. Please note there may be times where facilities will be shared rather than ensuite and rare occasions when you share a room with passengers travelling on different Intrepid trips than your own.

                    CHECK-IN TIME
                    Throughout the trip we request that our hotels prepare rooms in time for our arrival, especially if we're arriving prior to normal check-in time. However this isn't always possible which means we won't be able to check-in immediately on arrival at some hotels. Instead, we can store our luggage and explore our new destination.

                    If you've purchased pre-trip or post-trip accommodation (if available), you may be required to change rooms from your trip accommodation for these extra nights.

                    Your accommodation may not always have private en suite facilities or air-conditioning. European hotels generally don't provide kettles or fridges.
                    Meals introduction
                    While travelling with us you'll experience the vast array of wonderful food available in the world. Your group leader will be able to suggest restaurants to try during your trip. To give you maximum flexibility in deciding where, what and with whom to eat, generally not all meals are included in the trip price. This also gives you more budgeting flexibility. As a rule our groups tend to eat together to enable you to taste a larger variety of dishes and enjoy each others company. There's no obligation to do this though.

                    Vegetarians might find the menu selection less varied than they would see at home. Vegetarianism is not as common in this region and generally the choices are basic, involving vegetables, soups, salads, bread, cheese, fruit, yoghurt, eggs etc. Vegans and those on gluten-free diets may find this region very challenging and may need to supplement meals with their own supplies from supermarkets and markets. Wherever possible we will cater for dietary needs for any included meals, but there may be times when those with special requirements may need to provide their own.

                    There are some basic breakfasts included on this trip which may simply include bread/toast or pastries, butter, jam, coffee/tea/juice (or similar).

                    For more isolated stays on this trip there will be a limited selection of places to eat, in some cases meals will be taken at the overnight accommodation.
                    9 breakfasts, 3 dinners
                    Private minibus

                    On this trip we are travelling in our own private minibus, as this allows us to reach some more off the beaten track destinations and give us flexibility which would not be possible by public transport. Please note that there are some long travel days and some rough stretches on gravelly and windy roads. On some days we depart early in the morning to ensure we optimise our time.
                    Money matters
                    The official currency in Iceland is the Icelandic Krona (ISK).

                    ATMs are available in most towns, so the easiest way to access cash on your trip is to bring a credi/debitt card. Please check with your bank about overseas withdrawal fees before you depart. Some banks will allow a cash advance against a major credit card which will incur a service charge of 5% or more. Currency exchange is available at major banks and some hotels. The easiest foreign currencies to exchange are USD and EUR, however please be aware of the security risk of carrying large amounts of cash.

                    SPENDING MONEY:
                    When it comes to spending money on the trip, every traveller is a little different. You know your spending habits better than we do, so please budget a sensible amount for things like meals not included, drinks, shopping, optional activities and laundry. It's always better to bring a little more than you think you'll need. Also make sure you've read your trip details thoroughly so you know what's included in the trip price and what isn't. This should make budgeting a little easier. You'll find this info in the Inclusions section of your Essential Trip Information (that's this document).

                    Please budget for additional meals and expenses while on your trip. We suggest ISK 60,000 for meals not included on this trip. Our suggestion is based on past traveller feedback but you may choose to spend more or less.

                    If you're happy with the services provided a tip - though not compulsory - is appropriate. While it may not be customary to you, it's of great significance to the people who will take care of you during your travels, inspires excellent service, and is an entrenched feature of the tourism industry across many Intrepid destinations. You may consider tipping your tour leader/driver for outstanding service throughout your trip. The amount is entirely a personal preference, however as a guideline 300ISK-600ISK per person, per day can be used. Of course you are free to tip more or less as you see fit, depending on your perception of service quality and the length of your trip. Remember, a tip is not compulsory and should only be given when you receive excellent service. Tipping is not a way of life in Iceland for meals, hotels or taxi drivers though.

                    EMERGENCY FUNDS:
                    We try to plan for every eventuality, but there are still some things beyond our control. Please make sure you bring an extra USD500 for emergencies (e.g. natural disasters or civil unrest). Sometimes these things necessitate last minute changes to our itineraries, and we can’t guarantee there won’t be some extra costs involved.
                    Group leader
                    All Intrepid group trips in Iceland are accompanied by one of our group leaders, who will also be the driver. The aim of the group leader is to take the hassle out of your travels and to help you have the best trip possible. Intrepid endeavours to provide the services of an experienced leader however, due to the seasonality of travel, rare situations may arise where your leader is new to a particular region or training other group leaders.

                    Your leader will provide information on the places you are travelling through, offer suggestions for things to do and see, recommend great local eating venues and introduce you to our local friends. While not being guides in the traditional sense you can expect them to have a broad general knowledge of the places visited on the trip, including historical, cultural, religious and social aspects. At Intrepid we aim to support local guides who have specialised knowledge of the regions we visit. If you were interested in delving deeper into the local culture at a specific site or location then your leader can recommend a local guide service in most of the main destinations of your trip.
                    Many national governments provide a regularly updated advice service on safety issues involved with international travel. We recommend that you check your government's advice for their latest travel information before departure and ensure that your travel insurance covers you for all areas your itinerary covers. Please refer to our website's safety page for links to major travel advisories and updates on safety issues affecting our trip.

                    We strongly recommend the use of a neck wallet or money belt while travelling, for the safe-keeping of your passport, air tickets, cash and other valuable items. Leave your valuable jewellery at home - you won't need it while travelling. Many of our hotels have safety deposit boxes, which is the most secure way of storing your valuables. A lock is recommended for securing your luggage.

                    Your leader will accompany you on all included activities, however during your trip you'll have some free time to pursue your own interests, relax and take it easy or explore at your leisure. While your leader will assist you with the available options in a given location, please note that any optional activities you undertake are not part of your Intrepid itinerary, and Intrepid makes no representations about the safety of the activity or the standard of the operators running them. Please use your own good judgement when selecting an activity in your free time. Please also note that your Leader has the authority to amend or cancel any part of the trip itinerary if it's deemed necessary due to safety concerns.

                    For more details on the type of conditions and safety standards you can expect on your trip, please refer to Intrepid's operational safety policy on our website. We recommend that you take a moment to read through this information before travelling, and would appreciate any feedback on how well it's being implemented in the field:


                    FIRE PRECAUTIONS:
                    Please be aware that local laws governing tourism facilities in this region differ from those in your home country and not all the accommodation which we use has a fire exit, fire extinguishers or smoke alarms.

                    Depending on where you come from please note that drivers in this part of the world may drive on the opposite side of the road from what you are used to. Look both ways before crossing any road. Traffic can be a little more chaotic than you might be used to at home. Be aware!

                    SEAT BELTS:
                    Please be aware that local laws governing transportation safety may differ from those in your home country and not all the transport which we use is able to provide seat belts.
                    Joining point
                    Guesthouse Aurora
                    Freyjugata 24
                    Phone: +354 8991773
                    Joining point description
                    Aurora guesthouse is family owned, in a quiet street, yet in the centre of Reykjavik. The guesthouse is only 1 - 2 minutes walking distance from the highest building in Iceland the wonderful church, Hallgrímskirkja. Please note that rooms have shared bathroom facilities (
                    Joining point instructions
                    Keflavík International Airport (KEF) is located about 50 kilometers southwest of the capital. It is 45 minute drive from Reykjavik. Taxis are located outside the terminal. It can cost between 14000 ISK and 19000 ISK. These can be pre booked before you travel. Reykjavik Excursions and Iceland Excursions both offer coach transfer into the city centre. You are able to purchase single or return tickets at the airport once you are through the arrival doors. The buses are located just outside the terminal doors. Due to the narrow streets in the city centre, the buses are unable to drop everyone one off at their hotels. The buses stop at their own bus stations. From here you are able to transfer to a smaller mini bus and be transferred to your hotel. You can pay for either the transfer to the bus terminal (From 1950 ISK one way) or a transfer to the bus terminal and then another transfer to your hotel (From 2500 ISK one way).

                    Pre booked arrival transfer from the airport: If you have pre booked an arrival transfer, your transfer driver will be holding a board with the Intrepid Logo or your name at the arrivals hall. In case of flight cancellations, changes, if you experience severe delays at immigration, baggage collection or customs, or if you are not able find the driver, please contact the emergency phone number: + 354-561-1110.
                    Finish point
                    Guesthouse Aurora
                    Freyjugata 24
                    Phone: +354 8991773
                    Finishing point instructions
                    If you are making your own way to the airport the hotel will be able to help book you an airport shuttle or taxi. Please ask at reception.

                    Pre booked departure transfer to the airport: If you have pre booked a departure transfer, you will be collected from your hotel 3 hours prior to your flight departure time. Please reconfirm your departure transfer with your tour leader. Maximum waiting time: 30 minutes from the expected time of pick up. In case of flight cancellations, changes or if you are not able find the driver, please contact the emergency phone number + 354-561-1110.
                    Emergency contact
                    While we always endeavour to provide the best possible holiday experience, due to the nature of travel and the areas we visit sometimes things can and do go wrong. Should any issue occur while you are on your trip, it is imperative that you discuss this with your group leader or our local representative straight away so that they can do their best to rectify the problem and save any potential negative impact on the rest of your trip.

                    We recognise that there may be times when your group leader/local partner may not be able to resolve a situation to your satisfaction - if this is the case, please ask the leader to speak to their direct manager.

                    You may also choose to provide details in your online feedback, which we ask you to complete within 30 days of the end of your trip. But we do ask you to be aware that it is very difficult for us to provide any practical help after the trip is complete.

                    For general contact details please use the following page:

                    In the case of a genuine crisis or emergency, Intrepid's Europe Office can be reached on the number listed below:

                    Peak Europe: +49 8677 9186 657
                    Visas are the responsibility of the individual traveller. Entry requirements can change at any time, so it's important that you check for the latest information. Please visit the relevant consular website of the country or countries you’re visiting for detailed and up-to-date visa information specific to your nationality. Your consultant will also be happy to point you in the right direction with acquiring visas. Visas can take several weeks to process, so familiarise yourself with any requirements as soon as you have booked your trip to allow for processing time.

                    Visas for Iceland are not required for passport holders of the European Union, Australia, New Zealand, USA and Canada. All other nationalities should check with the relevant authorities.
                    What to take
                    On this trip you must pack as lightly as possible because you will be expected to carry your own bag and although you won't be required to walk long distances with your luggage (max 30 minutes), we strongly recommend keeping the weight under 10kg / 22lb. Most travellers carry their luggage in a backpack, although an overnight bag with a shoulder strap would suffice if you travel lightly. Smaller bags or backpacks with wheels are convenient although we recommend your bag has carry straps to accommodate the cobbled streets, uneven surfaces, stairs and steps you are lightly to encounter while carrying your luggage. You'll also need a day pack/bag to carry water and a camera etc for day trips. You can find Intrepid's Ultimate Packing List on our website. It should be used as a guide only and isn't intended to be a complete packing list.


                    The Icelandic climate is very unpredictable the whole year round thus we recommend to all our guests to bring good sturdy shoes for trekking, a warm wind and rainproof jacket and trousers, gloves or mittens, good head wear and sunglasses.

                    WATER BOTTLE
                    Consider bringing your own water bottle to refill along the way. The sale of bottled water contributes to an enormous environmental problem around the world. In addition to the water in bottles, the production of a 1 litre plastic bottle takes 2 litres of water and 200ml of oil. A large proportion end up in limited landfill or discarded in waterways and natural environments. Cold tap water is safe and good to drink so you can avoid the purchase of bottled water by refilling from the tap.
                    All Intrepid travellers need to be in good physical health in order to participate fully on this trip. When selecting your trip please make sure you have read through the itinerary carefully and assess your ability to cope with our style of travel. Please note that if, in the opinion of our group leader or local guide, any traveller is unable to complete the itinerary without undue risk to themselves and/or the rest of the group, Intrepid Travel reserves the right to exclude them from all or part of a trip without refund.

                    You should consult your doctor for up-to-date medical travel information or for any necessary vaccinations and anti-malarial requirements before departure. We recommend that you carry a first aid kit as well as any personal medical requirements (including a spare pair of glasses) as they may not easily be obtained at the locations on this trip. For legal reasons our leaders and guides are prohibited from administering any type of drugs including headache tablets and antibiotics. Please ensure that you are adequately prepared.
                    Travel insurance
                    Travel insurance is compulsory for all our trips. We require that, at a minimum, you are covered for medical expenses including emergency repatriation. We strongly recommend that the policy also covers personal liability, cancellation, curtailment and loss of luggage and personal effects.

                    When travelling on a trip, you won't be permitted to join the group until evidence of travel insurance and the insurance company's 24 hour emergency contact number has been seen by your leader.

                    If you have credit card insurance your group leader will require details of the participating insurer/underwriter, the level of coverage, policy number and emergency contact number rather than the bank's name and credit card details. Please contact your bank for these details prior to arriving in-country.

                    A couple of rules
                    Illegal drugs will not be tolerated on our trips. Possessing or using drugs not only contravenes the laws of the land, but also puts the rest of the group at risk. Smoking marijuana and opium is a part of local culture in some parts of the world but is not acceptable for Intrepid travellers. Intrepid's philosophy of travel is one of respect towards everyone we encounter and in particular, the local people who make our destinations such special places. The exploitation of prostitutes is completely contrary to this philosophy. Our group leader has the right to expel any member of the group if drugs are found in their possession or if they use prostitutes.

                    Everyone has the right to feel safe and secure on their trip. We don’t tolerate any form of sexual harassment at Intrepid, either between passengers or involving our leaders or local operators. Sexual relationships (consensual or otherwise) between a leader and a passenger are unacceptable. If you ever feel another person is behaving inappropriately please inform us immediately by contacting the emergency contact number detailed in these trip notes.
                    Responsible Travel
                    We believe strongly in low impact or rather positive impact tourism. Broadly speaking this means that we try to minimise the negative aspects of tourism on the local cultures and environments that we visit and highlight the positive aspects. Please visit our website for further details and suggestions on how you can be a responsible traveller.


                    Intrepid Travel is a big supporter of the protection of endangered species around the world. Although a global ban on commercial whaling came into effect in 1986, approximately 1,000 whales are still being killed every year, as Iceland, Norway and Japan ignore the ban. We strive not to visit places that serve whale on any of our trips, however often this is unavoidable and there is a likelihood that you will come across whale meat on a menu or at a market stand.

                    The Intrepid Foundation
                    Since Intrepid Travel commenced operating in 1989 we've been committed to giving something back to the communities we visit. One way has been through our support for local humanitarian, development and conservation projects. Many of our travellers want to contribute something too. Whilst it is often tempting to give hand-outs to those less fortunate, this has the potential to promote a culture of begging and dependency. Handouts are not a sustainable way for individuals or communities to live. That’s why we established The Intrepid Foundation – to make it easier for travellers wishing to give back to communities in an effective and meaningful way.

                    The Intrepid Foundation is a not-for-profit fund offering a selection of excellent grassroots organisations which you can contribute to. All donations to The Intrepid Foundation will be matched by Intrepid Travel dollar for dollar (up to AU$1,000 per donor and a total of AU$400,000 for all donors in each financial year, excluding emergency appeals). And every cent gets there as Intrepid Travel pays for all the administration costs. Donating is simple and secure. Please ask your leader for information on the projects we support through The Intrepid Foundation or go to our website:


                    After your travels, we want to hear from you! We rely on your feedback. We read it carefully. Feedback helps us understand what we are doing well and what we could be doing better. It allows us to make improvements for future travellers.