Grand Tour of Iceland (12 days)

Itinerary

DAY LOCATION(S) HOTEL MEALS DESCRIPTION
Day 1
Reykjavík, Iceland
None None

Welcome to Iceland! Our car service will pick you up at the airport and drive you to Reykjavik, where you check into your downtown hotel. Spend the day at leisure with recommendations from us.

Day 2
Gullfoss, Iceland
Geysir Area, Iceland
Þingvellir, Iceland
None Breakfast, Snack

Thingvellir, Geysir, Gullfoss: We start the day with a drive to Thingvellir National Park, a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Thingvellir is located in the dramatic rift valley where the North American and Eurasian tectonic plates pull apart, clearly visible at the great Almannagjá or Everyman’s Gorge. After lunch, proceed to Geysir, the place that gave its name to the phenomenon worldwide. From here, a 10-minute drive takes you to Gullfoss, or Golden Falls, Iceland’s most famous (and some say most beautiful) waterfall. In the afternoon, a scenic drive through classic Icelandic farmland delivers you to your hotel in time for dinner.

Day 3
Kirkjubæjarklaustur, Iceland
Hella, Iceland
None Breakfast, Snack

Iceland´s South Coast: Today, we drive along the south coast of Iceland, taking in some of its most dramatic scenery, exploring waterfalls and black-sand beaches along the way. After visits to the breathtaking Seljalandsfoss and Skogafoss waterfalls, we´ll explore Dyrholaey promontory and the town of Vik. Then we´ll traverse the Laki lava field, one of the world´s largest, before settling in near the town of Kirkjubaejarklaustur.

Day 4
Kirkjubæjarklaustur, Iceland
Jökulsárlón, Iceland
Skaftafell, Iceland
None Breakfast, Snack

Skaftafell National Park: Start the day with a 2-3 hour hike in Skaftafell, Europe´s largest national park, which encompasses a breathtaking collection of peaks and glaciers and varied flora and fauna. Our path will take us past scenic waterfalls, with commanding views of glacier tongues and black desert sands stretching out to sea. We´ll picnic overlooking Skaftafellsjokull glacier and, if we´re lucky, we´ll observe Iceland´s highest peak, Hvannadalshnjukur. Later in the day, we´ll go on a 45-minute boat ride on Jökulsarlon glacier lagoon. Two James Bond movies were filmed in this fantastic location and floating among the ice you may spot seals, eider ducks, and, even witness the glacier calving into the crystal turquoise waters.

Day 5
Seydisfjördur, Iceland
None Breakfast, Snack

East Fjords of Iceland: Today, we´ll explore the fjords and mountain passes of the East Coast, before ending the day in Seydisfjordur, one of Iceland’s most picturesque coastal towns. Nestled in a long, calm, fjord, lined with snow-capped mountains and tumbling waterfalls, the town is known for its colorful 19th century houses. We will stay here for two nights.

Day 6
Seydisfjördur, Iceland
None Breakfast, Snack

Seydisfjordur: Today, we´ll visit Skálanes Nature Reserve, home to over 40 different species of birds and other wildlife. Located at the mouth of the fjord, Skalanes offers beautiful walking and hiking opportunities and includes a visit to the Skalanes farm where we enjoy a homemade lunch. We´ll use the late afternoon and evening to explore the village of Seydisfjordur, including the Skaftfell Cultural Center, which hosts visiting artists from all over the world.

Day 7
Akureyri, Iceland
Mývatn, Iceland
Ásbyrgi, Iceland
None Breakfast, Snack

Highland Heaths and Dettifoss: Heading out from Seydisfjordur, we traverse a highland desert. By late morning, we should be at Dettifoss, Europe´s largest and most powerful waterfall. We then make our way along Jökulsargljufur canyon to Asbyrgi, and from there to Lake Mývatn, where we will spend the next two nights. After dinner, consider basking in the geothermal waters of the Mývatn Nature Baths, the north´s version of the Blue Lagoon.

Day 8
Akureyri, Iceland
Mývatn, Iceland
None Breakfast, Snack

Lake Mývatn: There is much to see around Lake Myvatn, which is famous for its rich bird life and geological formations. We´ll spend today exploring its bubbling geothermal mudflats, picturesque volcanic craters, recent lava fields (still steaming!), and grassy shoals teeming with water birds. In the late afternoon, consider a scenic 1-2 hour chartered flight over the surrounding area -- or as far south as Vatnajökull glacier.

Day 9
Saudárkrókur, Iceland
None Breakfast, Snack

Skagafjordur: Today, we leave Lake Myvatn and make our way to the Skagafjordur region in the northwest. It is a beautiful drive through mountain valleys, high up over heaths and through scenic farmlands. On the way, we´ll stop at beautiful Godafoss waterfalls and spend a few hours in Akureyri, Iceland´s second largest town with a population of 17,000. We will stay for two nights in Skagafjordur. The region is known for the quality of its horses. After checking into our hotel, we´ll visit a local ranch and go for a 1-2 hour ride on the friendly Icelandic horse.

Day 10
Reykjavík, Iceland
Borgarnes, Iceland
None Breakfast, Snack

Towards Reykjavik: Today, we sit back and enjoy the scenic drive back to Reykjavík. We will make stops along the way including the Grabrok lavafield, one of the most rugged and beautiful moss-covered lava fields in Iceland and Glanni waterfall which is believed by many local people to be the dwelling place of elves and trolls. Glanni is in Nordura river, known as the queen of rivers due to its abundance of salmon and trout. Arrive in Reykjavik in the afternoon.

Day 11
Reykjavík, Iceland
None Breakfast, Snack

Free Day in Reykjavik: Enjoy a free day in the city with recommendations from us. Consider going on a whale watching tour from the old harbor or a biking tour of the center. Or, you can stroll to the city lake and feed the ducks and swans.

Day 12
Reykjavík, Iceland
Grindavík, Iceland
None Breakfast

Blue Lagoon and Departure: We'll provide private airport transfers 3-hours prior to your scheduled departure time. Guests leaving in the afternoon may consider a day at the Blue Lagoon spa, in which case we'll pick you up at your hotel at 11 AM. After spending up to 90 minutes in the lagoon's warm aqua-blue waters -- renowned for their healing powers -- we'll drive you to the airport in time for your afternoon flight.

Exclusively for Virtuoso Guests

Iceland Encounter has been an exclusive Virtuoso supplier since 2012. All Virtuoso travelers receive a complimentary welcome package; breakfast is always included.

Tour Features

Experience(s)

Experiences have not been selected at this time

Description

The Grand Tour circles the island counter-clockwise from Reykjavik. Each day includes a mix of light hiking and other activities. Highlights include Lake Myvatn, Dettifoss waterfalls, the fjords of the East Coast, Jokulsarlon glacier lagoon, Vatnajokull glacier, as well as the beaches, headlands, and waterfalls of the South.

About Us

Iceland Encounter focuses on bespoke trips of high quality. We are the only Virtuoso On-Site headquartered in Reykjavik and were nominated for Virtuoso’s Best On-Site Award in 2015 and 2016. Iceland Encounter was founded by husband-and-wife team Kristín Björnsdóttir and Erling Aspelund. After working for over 20 years in the US computer software industry – both in New York and Seattle – they returned to their native Iceland in 2007 to start their travel company. We look forward to welcoming you to Iceland!

Insider Tip

In Iceland, the sun doesn’t set from May 21st to July 21st. Ask us about possible activities under the midnight sun: hiking, diving, golfing, fishing, snorkeling, and more

Terms & Conditions

Please contact supplier for detailed terms and conditions.



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Reviews and Recommendations for Iceland Encounter

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Visit Iceland with Iceland Encounter!

By: Lisa


Reviewed on: 29 Jan 2013

Our Iceland Encounter vacation was the experience of a lifetime. Our Rekyjavik hotel choice was perfect - lovely accomodations in City Center within walking distance of great food and shopping. Our guide/driver for three days in the country was knowledgeable and funny. Within the first hour he made us feel comfortable and safe in his care. He knew how to make the most of our limited daylight. Staying in the country for two nights was an outstanding recommendation because it gave us the opportunity to see the Northern Lights (upon request, the hotel wakes guests up if/when they become visible) and be closer to the places we wanted to visit. Our guide had a great relationship with other guides and establishment owners/operators and it made us feel like family. It was a very personal experience. We could not have done this on our own.
Travel Advisor:  Beth Jenkins

Fantastic Trip

By: Lisa & Catherine


Reviewed on: 20 Nov 2013

This was a fantastic experience. It is has been one year since our trip and we are still talking about how much fun we had and how much we want to go back. Everything was planned perfectly to maximize our time there. Snowmobiling and hiking on a glacier. Waterfalls. Geysers. Volcanos. Museums. Touring a geothermal plant. Blue Lagoon. Travleing with our guide, Valdimar, was amazing. He took such good care of us. I fell in love with Iceland.
Travel Advisor:  Beth Jenkins

Excellent guide, good hotel

By: Mike H


Reviewed on: 14 Jul 2016

Iceland Encounter made our journey to Icelamd most enjoyable and worthwhile. Our guide Teddy was most wenjoyable, knowledgeable, and provided a great local flavour to the journey. Our hotel was centrally located and comfortable. Our transfers were comfortable, friendly, and reliable. I would recommend them for anyone wanting a customized visit to Iceland.
Travel Advisor:  Roxanne Girard

Great experience!

By: Karen


Reviewed on: 05 Sep 2016

Our family had the most awesome trip to Iceland! We loved everything we did, and our guide, Snorri, was outstanding! He made the trip especially interesting and fun. He is very knowledgeable with diverse interests so it was such a treat to be with him all week. We miss him! We loved Iceland and want to return.
Travel Advisor:  Sam McClure

Fantastic Trip

By: Quesy


Reviewed on: 12 Mar 2017

Iceland Encounter planned an amazing trip for us. Our guide was efficient, had a delightful personality and was very knowledgeable about Iceland. We saw everything that we wanted to see and then some. We wouldn't have changed a thing!
Travel Advisor:  Rochelle Lieberman

3 days of touring in Iceland

By: No nickname


Reviewed on: 12 Jul 2017

Excellent! Did exactly what they said they would do. Totally satisfied.
Travel Advisor:  Birgit Navarre

Iceland 2017

By: Capilouto


Reviewed on: 29 Jul 2017

A wonderful experience and service. Excellent guides.
Travel Advisor:  Beth Flowers

Iceland Encounter

By: KJ


Reviewed on: 21 Aug 2017

Very good and addressed all needs and concerns. Always willing to help and be there.
Travel Advisor:  Nancy Macleod

Iceland Encounter

By: Carla


Reviewed on: 28 Aug 2017

I had the same wonderful guide that I had last year. It was like old home week and we had a great time. I think they do a good job.
Travel Advisor:  Barbi Lazarow

January

By: J&J


Reviewed on: 15 Jan 2018

The people at Iceland Encounter were very good to us. They guided us through several weather delays and airline changes, rearranging rides, hotels, restaurants, Blue Lagoon reservations and more with good grace. They provided our guide, Kristjan. He was knowledgeable, gracious, caring and proud of his country. We learned more and saw more than we ever would have on our own or in a large group.
Travel Advisor:  Deborah Bush

You HAVE to Visit Iceland

By: Don & Eileen


Reviewed on: 11 Apr 2018

They set up a 12 day guided tour that was incredible and beyond gorgeous. Our guide, Kristjan Petur Vilhelmsson, was one of the best we’ve had any where and gave us so many great experiences that few tourists get to have. He was tireless in making sure we got to explore everything we wanted to see - and then some. At the end of the trip, we considered him a friend and remain in frequent contact. We will go back and we want Kristjan to show us the way.
Travel Advisor:  Judy Schwartz

Iceland Encounter

By: Me


Reviewed on: 03 Jun 2018

They set up a really nice trip for me to Iceland. This is my 3rd trip and they didn't disappoint. I asked for a new guide and he was fabulous. Would highly recommend their services.
Travel Advisor:  Michael King

Awesome GUIDES

By: MC


Reviewed on: 23 Aug 2018

WE loved our Iceland Encounter guides- they were unbelievable. Made the trip. WE loved the activities as well, but the guides were awesome.
Travel Advisor:  Sam McClure

Iceland

By: Diane


Reviewed on: 26 Aug 2018

The experience was great. Our guide "Thor" was by far the best guide our family has experienced. He made our trip!
Travel Advisor:  Sheri Phillips

AA🇮🇸50

By: KGA


Reviewed on: 14 Oct 2018

Iceland Encounter was great and I highly recommend them. They were a front runner for us because they continually monitor the skies for Northern Lights visibility and guess what? We hit the jackpot and saw them! Thank you Iceland Encounter and a shout out to our guide, Sori! He was fun, told great stories, sang songs and was a pleasure!
Travel Advisor:  Shelley Rapp