June: 18, 25
July: 2, 9, 16, 23, 30
August: 6, 13
sgl. room suppl. ISK 28,000
|The South Shore|
Stopover Tour – The South Shore of Iceland
Day 1: Keflavik - Reykjanes Peninsula - Blue Lagoon - Reykjavik
After an overnight flight we make an early morning start from Keflavik (if you are already in Iceland we'll pick you up at your hotel).
We'll start the day by exploring the Reykjanes Peninsula. Reykjanes Peninsula is an exciting area on the margin of the Eurasian and North American tectonic plates, directly located on the Mid-Atlantic ridge. It’s a mysterious and breathtaking area of volcanic rock, lava, fissures and gorges and along the shore the ocean waves crash onto the coast. We'll have a look at a few wetlands on the Reykjanes peninsula, which should yield the first Red-necked Phalaropes of the trip. Other migrants, such as the Ringed Plover, European Golden Plover and drumming Common Snipe, will be conspicuous, while the shoreline will hold some visiting Red Knot and Sanderling. Dunlin and Purple Sandpiper will also be around and will of course all be in splendid summer plumage. Other species such as Harlequin Duck, Great Northern Diver, Northern Gannet, Great Cormorant, Black-legged Kittiwake, Arctic Tern, Razorbill, Redwing, Meadow Pipit and many more should also be seen in the spectacular moonlike landscape during the day. We'll end the day around the Reykjanes Peninsula by going for a swim and relaxation at the Blue Lagoon.
The Blue Lagoon is a unique geothermal spa where guests relax in warm geothermal water. It is comprised of a sandy bottom, lovely milky-blue-green water and silica mud. The silica mud contains natural active ingredients such as various salts, silica and blue algae which gently cleanse and revitialize your skin. A visit to the Blue Lagoon is known as an invigorating and exciting experience and at the same time a way to relief stress and strain of daily life.
In the early afternoon we make our way to Reykjavik where we stay for the night.
Day 2: Reykjavik - Thingvellir - Gullfoss Waterfall - Geysir Area - Seljalandsfoss Waterfall - Eyjafjallajokull Glacier - Vik - Myrdalsjokull Glacier - Myrdalssandur - Eldhraun
We'll start the day by travelling east towards Thingvellir National Park. A beautiful area which, like the Reykjanes Peninsula, shows the meeting point of two tectonic plates in a dramatic way. Thingvellir National Park is not only a geological wonder but also one of the most important places in Icelandic history. A few pairs of Great Northern Diver breed in the area and if we are lucky we might see a hunting Merlin fly by. Thingvellir National Park was added to UNESCO’s World Heritage List in 2004.
After visiting the National Park we continue to the majestic and beautiful waterfall Gullfoss and from there towards the geothermal area around the incredible spouting hot springs in the Geysir area. As we continue on our way we’ll see many of Iceland’s main attractions, among them Seljalandsfoss waterfall, Eyjafjallajokull glacier, Myrdalsjokull glacier, Skogafoss waterfall, Dyrholaey and the town of Vik. On the way we’ll drive through some of Iceland’s most vegetated areas, through farmlands in valleys between high mountains with glaciers on top, through small villages, huge open areas with nothing but black sand as far as your eyes can see and big fields of young lava before we reach our destination at Hotel Laki where we will spend the night. On the way we’ll have a look at some hot spots for Nature- and Wildlifewatching which should produce among other species the Icelandic race of Black-tailed Godwit, Great Skua, Redwing, Common Redpoll and possibly the Winter Wren.
Day 3: Hotel Laki - Lakagigar Craters - Skogafoss - Reykjavik - Keflavik airport
We will devote most of day three to the phenomenal Lakagigar craters. The craters were formed in in 1783 when earth literally ripped open in 10 parellal fissures 1.5 – 3 miles each (2-5km) forming a crater row. The lava that these craters formed came extremely fast flowing down the hills (as much as 6000m3 per second!) creating the largest lava field on earth in historical times (580km2). The following winter was disastrous, with poisonous ash covering the ground in most part of the country and polluting gases in the air. It is estimated that in the next two years that followed the stock of cattle halved, the number of horses was reduced by two-thirds and only one-fifth of the sheep flock survived. This in turn resaulted in a 20% loss of the human population. As one can imagen this sureal natural disaster did of course not only affect people in Iceland the mist that followed reached Europe the same summer. The European press portrayed the sun as a blood-red disc at sunrise and sunset. The mist caused a 2°F drop in overall temperature causing climatechanges that lasted for three years causing disasters for human populations all over the world. It is only in recent years that the area has been opened for public to go there. With better roads to drive there and walking paths the area is becoming more accessible. To visit the area is an extremely unique experience. Some describe it as a real life Jurassic Park. You can read much more about Lakagigar craters on the The Icelandic Environment Agency's website here.
After visiting Lakagigar Craters we head back to Reykjavik. On our we'll be visiting among other things Skogafoss Waterfall and possibly see if we can find breeding Atlantic Puffin, Great Skua or Short-eared Owl.
Day 4: Reykjavik - Keflavik airport
Today we make sure everyone gets to the airport on time. Depending on when your departure is you might have some free time in the morning to look around in the capital before heading to the airport. We'll leave the hotel shortly after lunch and if time allows visit some interesting areas before reaching the Keflavik airport at around 2:00pm