Day 1 | Saga of Skallagrimsson – Snæfellsnes peninsula – lava and sands
Pick-up at lodgings between 08:30-09:00. Our adventure begins with history
and ends with the incredible nature of Iceland. We depart from Reykjavik and head north into Whale Bay and onwards to the lovely and historical town of Borgarnes. Skallagríms Park contains a viking burial site and monuments offer insight into the Saga of Egill Skallagrimsson. Continuing to Snæfellsnes peninsula where the contrasts in nature are quite remarkable; rough lava fields, desert sands, mountains and Snæfellsjökull glacier are good examples of what the peninsula is all about. Vegetation in the country may appear sparse and only a small proportion of the land is arable, yet more than 130 plant species have been found in the area, some very rare (Viola Riviniana, Ranunculus Auricomus and Carex Pulicaris to name a few). Visit to Budir with its beach of yellow sand and black lava field. Overnight and dinner in Countryhotel Hellnar
Day 2 | Fishing villages – Islands of Breidafjordur Bay
Our exploration of Snæfellsnes peninsula continues before we take to
the sea. We leave Hellnar and continue westward to the tip of the peninsula. We will stop at significant places such as Lóndrangar and Dritvik. Continue onto the north side of the peninsula, passing the fishing village of Ólafsvik and Grundarfjörður. Arriving in the picturesque Stykkishólmur town where you will have time to explore it on your own before the ferry crossing. The ferry brings the tour past the uncountable islands in Breiðafjörður Bay before reaching Brjánslækur on the north side. It is believed that the norseman, Flóki Vilgerðarson (Raven Floki) who gave the land its name made Brjánslækur his temporary winter home around 860. Thus the monument! Overnight and dinner at Hotel Flókalundur.
Day 3 | Secrets of Westfjords
The next two days of the tour are quite exceptional with historical
sites and nature woven together. The region without doubt is one of Iceland´s best kept secrets. Some of the oldest rock formations in the land are found in these parts, around 10.5-11 million years. Lunch (included) will be at Rauðisandur after which the tour continues north across the mountains into Patreksfjördur (named after Bishop Patrekur). Stops on the south side of the fjord at the Hnjóti Museum and the Sauðlauksdals church. Built in 1863, this church is quite significant as some rare relics are displayed here, for example, a silver beaker from 1698 and one church bell from 1683. Rev. Björn Halldórsson served in this parish in the 18th century. He is most famous in our history for being the first man in Iceland to grow potatoes!! Overnight and dinner at Hotel Breidavik
, located at Breiðavik Bay with excellent possibilities for a nice evening walk.
Day 4 | Latrabjarg bird cliff – Hrafnseyri of Jon Sigurdsson – Dynjandi waterfall
We will take a short drive up to the top of Latrabjarg cliff. It truly
is one of the most remarkable cliffs in Iceland. It is home to a great variety of cliff birds such as puffins, razorbills, guillemots, fulmars, cormorants and kittiwakes. And what a view!
We will continue to Patreksfjörður village and head north. The sights on the drive give a very good idea what life in these parts is all about. Towering mountains reach out into the ocean, most often leaving very little flat land. Consequently these parts have always been sparsely inhabited, very little farmland is available. Efforts were made to make enough hay for a few sheep and a cow or two. Man has through centuries attempted to survive here in the most amazing places as is borne out by the ruins of abandoned farms, often visible from the highway. Through centuries, inhabitants of the peninsula have depended on fish, and the food basket from the ocean has always been full. When natural disasters or overpopulation caused famine in other parts of the country, people often headed for the Westfjords. We will make stops at Dynjandi waterfall, Hrafnseyri, birthplace of Jón Sigurðsson and Þingeyri, another small fishing village with quite a history. The name itself (Thing-eyri) indicates that during the settlement times this location was used for assemblies. Americans had a fishing station here from 1884 until 1898. Overnight and dinner in Guesthouse Núpur
Day 5 | Isafjordur Town – View of the fjords
The tour continues noth across Gemlufallsheidi to Önundarfjordur.
We stop at Holt, an old settlement site. The church was built in 1869 and significant items are preserved here such as two majestic candlesticks dating back to 1604. We continue west with stops at Kirkjuból and Sæból, two churches on the south side of the fjord and in Flateyri village. We travel onwards to Isafjörður, the largest town on the Westfjords. You will have a few hours to explore in the town before the tour continues. Our next stop is at The Arctic Fox Center in Súðavik village. This fox was the only mammal in Iceland when norse settlers first arrived. Tour continues to Ögur, an important settlement site and once one of the largest farmsteads in Iceland. During the 15th and 16th centuries quite a few wealthy and powerful individuals lived here. Onwards along the fjords. Overnight and dinner at Guesthouse Heydalur
Day 6 | Strandir region - Sorcery and witchcraft
We travel eastward from Heydalur onto Steingrimsfjarðarheiði, a
mountain road leading down into Steingrimsfjörð. We continue up along the coast to Djúpavik village. The place has an extraordinary history which has to do with herring. A salting plant was built in 1917 which blossomed for a few years but the boom happened in 1934 when The Old Herring Factory was built. It is a remarkable building and was upon completion the largest concrete building in the country. The area is perhaps best known for sorcery and witchcraft which explains the location of the museum, the sorcerer´s house. Here in an old turf house is a part of the Museum of Sorcery & Witchcraft. The sorcerer´s house provides an idea of how a tenant farmer managed in the 17th century and what magic he used to make life more bearable! The main museum building is at the village Hólmavik, some 30 km away. We travel off the peninsula into Hrútafjörður for an overnight and dinner at Countryhotel Staðarflöt
Day 7 | Borgarfjordur – Snorri Museum – Thingvellir
Water is the theme for the day and you will see it in several forms.
We will also tour the homestead of Snorri Sturluson the father of the written sagas. We head south across Holtavörðuheiði into Borgarfjörður. Our first stop is Deildartunguhver, Europe‘s largest hot spring. The seemingly endless flow of boiling water coming up to the surface of the ground is unbelievable. Reykholt, the home of writer and chieftain Snorri Sturluson is next. Sturluson was a brilliant scholar but at the same time a ruthless warrior. Visiting the Reykholt Museum will be educational and certainly worth the stop. The tour now heads eastward up to Hraunfossar and Barnafoss (Children´s Falls), a beautiful site in a large lava field. Onwards to Húsafell on the edge of the uninhabited interior. This is also the home of sculptor Páll Guðmundsson whose artwork is highly regarded in the country. Continue into Kaldidalur in the interior past Langjökull glacier along the mountain road to Þingvellir National Park – tour ends in Reykjavik.