Luxury Iceland - Summer in Style
Thingvellir National Park • Gullfoss Waterfall • Geysir • Silfra Lagoon • Longudael Lake • Skogafoss Waterfall • Eyjafjallajokull glacier • Thorsmork Valley • Jokulsarlon Glacial Lagoon • Blue Lagoon
Travel with a private driver-guide to experience the extraordinary highlights of Iceland. Some truly exclusive experiences include a stay on an untouched private island, seeing how its owner uses traditional fishing and gardening skills to live a sustainable lifestyle. The active traveller will enjoy opportunities for scenic hikes, kayaking, ice-climbing, horse-riding, snowmobiling and even snorkelling between the tectonic plates of North America and Eurasia! Hand-picked accommodation in stunning locations add to your enjoyment of Iceland's spectacular natural beauty.
Day 1: Keflavik > Reykjavik On arrival you will be collected by your private driver-guide and transferred to your hotel for check-in. Relax in your King Premium room at Hotel Canopy in Reykjavik, and perhaps stretch your legs with a stroll through the city centre. The contemporary hotel spans six connected buildings just steps from Laugavegur Street, and rooms are inspired by volcanic rock and soothing blue shades of the ocean.
Day 2: Reykjavik > Golden Circle After check-out, meet your private driver-guide for a tour of the famous Golden Circle, featuring some of the country's most famous landmarks. Your first stop is Thingvellir National Park, Iceland's greatest historical site and a jewel of nature. Enjoy an easy hike in this stunning area, where you can actually see where the North American and Eurasian tectonic plates meet. This is also where the first ever parliament was created by the Vikings in the year 930.
Head next to the breathtaking Gullfoss (Golden) waterfall, where traversing a narrow path provides close-up views of the thundering two-tiered cascade below. In the Geysir geothermal area, hot springs are in abundance, geysers explode and boiling pools of mud bubble. Although Geysir is not as active these days, its neighbour Strokkur certainly is, spouting water 30 metres up into the air every few minutes in a thrilling display of nature's forces.
One of the most unique activities on the Golden Circle route is snorkelling at Silfra lagoon, which offers up to 100 metres of underwater visibility in the canyon between the North American and Eurasian tectonic plates. On this private excursion, admire extraordinary rock formations and colourful marine life as you snorkel between the continents. This is a once in a lifetime experience, and even the best underwater photographs cannot truly capture the feeling of being suspended in the crystal clear waters. Enjoy some hot chocolate and cookies before ending the day at the Hotel Geysir, located on the doorstep of the Geysir and Strokkur geothermal area. Designed to reflect and blend into the natural surroundings, the Junior Suite rooms are decorated in soothing earth tones and feature a balcony with views of the mountains.
Day 3: Golden Circle > Private Island After check-out this morning, head towards Blafjoll (Blue Mountains) where you will join an expert guide on a scheduled group tour to a dormant volcanic crater. After a 45 minute hike over the lava field, arrive at the opening of Thrihnukagigur volcano. Here you'll be informed of all safety procedures - you will be surrounded by expert mountain guides and cave explorers at all times - and fitted with a helmet and harness. Descend 120 metres via an open elevator at a safe, slow pace that gives you the opportunity to admire the otherworldly scenery. You'll then have about half an hour on the ground in the heart of the volcano, where you'll be spellbound by the enormous size and varied colouration of the magma chamber. On return to the surface, enjoy traditional Icelandic meat (or vegetable) soup and a hot drink.
In the afternoon, enjoy a privately guided kayak tour, paddling along Longudael Lake and into the narrow canals of the swamp. At the end of the tour experience local culinary delicacies such as dried fish, dried seaweed and local spring water.
After your kayaking tour, you will be dropped by a glacier riverbank where your host for the evening and his sheepdog will welcome you to the island where he spent his childhood summers. Transfer on a small motorboat to his private island for a dinner and overnight experience. The island is a place of stunning beauty, untouched by modern development, with electricity generated from a windmill. The owner collects rainwater, and food comes primarily from the island. Herbs and vegetables are grown in his gardens and you will have an opportunity to experience a traditional way of catching wild salmon in the river, using a net. A bonfire will be lit and wooden coals prepared for the grill. Together you will enjoy a three-course meal which includes the catch of the day and home-grown herbs and vegetables. Learn about the life and history of the island and its surroundings - sharing stories by the fire is a great way to end the day. The island also offers excellent opportunities for nature walks, seal spotting, bird watching and stargazing. Prepare for a refreshing sleep in the serene stillness of the island in your cosy yurt.
Day 4: Private Island > Hvolsvollur Depart your tranquil private island and return to the mainland for a day exploring Iceland's famous South Coast. This is a place where you can walk behind waterfalls, admire the natural beauty of Iceland, and see fertile farmlands side by side with pitch black lava fields. See Skogafoss waterfall, situated in the river Skoga at a height of 60 metres. Hike to the top for an amazing view of the scenic surroundings and the snow-capped heights of two towering glaciers. Afterwards, enjoy a private snowmobile tour on Eyjafjallajokull glacier. There is nothing quite like driving a snowmobile across a glacier surrounded by stretches of snow and ice. Stunning views all around will surely take your breath away, and on a clear day you can see all of the south shore, the Westman Islands and the Highlands.
Next, visit Seljalandsfoss waterfall, which offers a truly unique viewpoint by walking behind the curtain of thundering water. Hike around this area, then see the famous Reynisfjara black sand beach before heading to your hotel for the evening. Your home for the next three nights is a Grand Double room at Hotel Skalakot, a boutique manor hotel in the tranquil countryside on a family farm that blends simple elegance with art deco style. The family breeds Icelandic horses and takes great pride in offering guests Icelandic hospitality and a genuine local experience.
Day 5: Glacier Hiking & Horseback Riding The ever-changing glacier has spectacular scenery and perfect locations for a day out walking on the ice. Accompanied by a qualified guide, you will have the chance to enjoy your level of ice climbing, from easy first attempts to harder steep walls. Your guide will give you any technical introduction needed, and customise the experience to your comfort level. All rain gear, mountaineering boots and technical glacier equipment is provided.
Return to your hotel to relax for a bit before enjoying the long summer daylight hours on the back of a purebred Icelandic horse. Meet your guide at the Skalakot stable and get to know your horse - they will do their best to find the perfect horse for your experience level, whether you are a beginner or a more experienced rider. Set off on a ride over the hills and through the small valleys surrounding the farm, passing waterfalls along the way.
Day 6: Thorsmork Today you will be collected by your private driver-guide and together you will head into the wild wonderland of the rugged and stunningly beautiful Thorsmork Valley. Named after the Norse God Thor, it is situated in the south of the country between the Tindfjallajokull and Eyjafjallajokull glaciers. This natural paradise is only accessible by 4WD vehicles with an experienced driver, as glacial river crossings are required to reach it. On the way into the valley, stop by Gigjokull glacier, where the eruption of 2010 dramatically altered the landscape. Enjoy a picnic lunch with a view in this beautiful area - there is a surprising richness of bird life, arctic birch trees and wildflowers. After a day exploring the unbridged rivers and rough gravel tracks of this jewel of the highlands, return to Hotel Skalakot for the evening.
Day 7: Hvolsvollur > Jokulsarlon > Hof Depart early this morning for the famous glacier lagoon Jokulsarlon. This mystical lagoon has featured in many major films and TV shows, including Batman Begins and Game of Thrones. Nearby is Breidamerkursandur, often called 'Diamond Beach' for the pieces of the glaciers that have washed up on the sands, sparkling like diamonds. Enjoy an hour long private Zodiac boat tour of Jokulsarlon, allowing you to cover large areas of the lagoon and get closer to the icebergs. Taste the 1,000 year old ice, and, if lucky, you may even see some seals. Afterwards, continue to the Fosshotel Glacier Lagoon for check-in and time at leisure. The Junior Suites feature large windows with sweeping views of the surrounding countryside, designed in a contemporary Nordic style.
Day 8: Hof > Hvolsvollur After check-out this morning, drive past big glacial rivers with an excellent view of Hvannadalshnukur, Iceland's highest peak. Stop at Skaftafell for a relatively easy hike to the unique waterfall Svartifoss, which inspired the design of Reykjavik's Hallgrimskirkja church and Iceland's National Theatre. Glacial meltwater tumbles down 20 metres over a cliff, surrounded by tall black basalt columns that resemble giant organ pipes. Further along the main road, visit the magnificent Fjadrargljufur canyon. Somewhat serpentine and narrow, the canyon has sheer walls and stretches around 2 kilometres. Continue to Hotel Skalakot for check-in and time at leisure.
Day 9: Hvolsvollur > Blue Lagoon Today's destination is The Retreat Hotel at the Blue Lagoon, the perfect location to conclude your Iceland adventure. Built into an 800 year old lava flow on the south shore of the Blue Lagoon, the spa at The Retreat embodies the harmonic convergence of nature, design and the radiant powers of geothermal seawater. The spa journey culminates with the Blue Lagoon Ritual, based on the trinity of natural wonders - silica, algae and minerals. The Lagoon View Junior Suites feature floor-to-ceiling windows and private balconies, elegantly blending luxurious interiors with sublime exteriors.
Day 10: Blue Lagoon Today is at leisure at your hotel to relax in the Retreat Lagoon, enjoy a spa treatment, join the daily hike on offer, or attend a yoga class. For your final night, we suggest dining at one of the country's best restaurants - MOSS Restaurant at The Retreat Hotel. It offers stunning views of the volcanic landscape and seasonal gourmet tasting menus that highlight the diverse delights of Icelandic cuisine.
Day 11: Blue Lagoon > Keflavik Today you will be privately transferred to Keflavik International Airport for your onward flight.
• Private arrival and departure airport transfers • 9 nights' accommodation in carefully selected hotels with upgraded room categories • Overnight private island experience with landowner (yurt with outdoor shower - exclusive use of property) • Transport by SuperJeep Patrol/Land Cruiser or similar vehicle from Day 2 to Day 9, with a private driver-guide • Private sightseeing with driver-guide as per itinerary • Privately guided activities (snorkelling, kayaking, snowmobiling, glacier hiking/ice climbing, horseback riding and Zodiac lagoon experience) as per itinerary • Scheduled 'Inside the Volcano' group tour • Light refreshments during some excursions as per itinerary • 10 breakfasts, 1 picnic lunch pack and 1 three-course dinner • Water bottles in vehicle, light snacks in vehicle during day tours with driver-guide
Pricing (per person) $NZD
Departs Daily May through to September
Daily May through to September