Iceland | Natural History of Iceland with Delaware Nature Society

Iceland | Natural History of Iceland with Delaware Nature Society

About this trip

Iceland’s dramatic landscape is marked by majestic features that enchant and enthrall: thundering waterfalls, sprawling glaciers, and craggy cliffsides, along with otherworldly geological marvels such as geysirs, mudpools, and lava fields. Embark on this comprehensive island circuit to discover a cross-section of Iceland’s most engaging scenery and learn about the dynamic earth forces that created them. You’ll also have the chance to observe the lifeforms that thrive in such a rugged environment, and understand the innovations they’ve adapted for survival, from humans and horses to bird life and flora. Join Delaware Nature Society for an Icelandic expedition like no other!

Highlights

  • Journey along the famed “Golden Circle,” with stops at Þingvellir National Park, the Geysir geothermal area, and Gullfoss waterfall.
  • Learn about climate change and glacier melt, with the chance to explore two glacial lagoons, on foot and by boat.
  • Seek out some of Iceland’s signature avifauna, including skuas, terns, gulls, ducks, and auks, such as the beloved Atlantic Puffin.
  • Take part in an innovative farm-to-table experience at an organic greenhouse in the countryside.
  • Set out on a whalewatching tour along Iceland’s scenic northern coast.
  • Enjoy a refreshing soak in the geothermal mineral waters of the Blue Lagoon.

Jun 11, 2022

Depart US

Reykjavik

Jun 12, 2022

Upon arrival, after clearing customs and immigration, meet your guide and driver, who will take you to a local restaurant for breakfast and a program orientation. Then, head to the Blue Lagoon for a rejuvenating soak in its mineral-rich waters, complete with a drink and a mud mask at the in-water bar. After this refreshing excursion, finish the journey into Reykjavík, where you'll see the sites of the city before arriving at your hotel. Take time to freshen up before meeting in the conference room for a lecture by a local conservation expert. Dinner is on own tonight to experience local Icelandic cuisine. Check-in starts at 2:00 pm.

Breakfast- included
Overnight at CenterHotel Plaza

Vík

Jun 13, 2022

After breakfast at the hotel, depart for Þingvellir National Park to explore the grounds of Alþingi, the ancient parliament site on the shores of Iceland's largest lake. Þingvellir also showcases the dramatic continental drift between the American and Eurasian tectonic plates. Next, visit Iceland's famous Gullfoss, or "Golden Falls," and the nearby Geysir hot spring area to see numerous spouting hot springs and boiling mud pools. Lunch will be at Friðheimar Greenhouses for an out-of-the-ordinary "stem to table" experience. After an introduction to the greenhouse, enjoy a special lunch served among the plants. Sample classic tomato dishes like Friðheimar's famous tomato soup, as well as new creations made with a twist, like green tomato and apple pie or refreshing, homemade tomato ice cream. Afterward, head outside the greenhouse to take in a horse show and learn about the proud history of the Icelandic horse. Continuing along the South Shore region, we will admire Seljalandsfoss and Skógafoss waterfalls before arriving at the charming village of Vík. We will make the short drive to nearby Dyrhólaey, a massive stone arch surrounded by a black sand beach, which is also a popular nesting area for Puffins. Though the nesting area is fenced off, you may have the opportunity to observe the birds. If Dyrhólaey is closed, we will visit Reynisfjara Beach.

Breakfast-Lunch-Dinner included
Overnight at Hotel Vik

Glacier Lagoon

Jun 14, 2022

This morning, traverse Eldhraun, a lava field that formed from an eruption in 1783-1784 AD. The resulting lava flow was among the largest in recorded history. Make a stop in the town of Kirkjubæjarklaustur, where the greenery contrasts beautifully with the surrounding lava fields and black sands. During your drive, take notice of the flora that lends the stark landscape a little color. The dainty but resilient Holtasoley is Iceland's national flower. It grows mainly on gravelly mountain slopes and moorland, and has long been used for medicinal purposes. You may also notice fields of purple flowers called Alaskan lupine that were introduced in 1945 as a way to add more nitrogen to the soil and to help anchor other species in the constant erosion of the ground. Continue the journey into the glacial areas of Vatnajökull National Park, Europe's largest national park. Make a stop at Skaftafell, and take a hike to admire the glacier tongue. After lunch, depart for Ingólfshöfði Cape, a small island that serves as a perfect nesting place for thousands of seabirds. Due to the terrain, we'll reach the island in a special vehicle, driving about four miles over water, marshes, and sand. Hike around the reserve to reach the best point to see the puffins. The hike starts with a steep incline, followed by rocky terrain, but gets easier, as the rest of it is on flat grass with many stops along the way. After the excursion, drive to the hotel.

Breakfast-Dinner included
Overnight at Fosshotel Glacier Lagoon

Egilsstaðir

Jun 15, 2022

After breakfast at your hotel, take a hike at Fjallsárlón Glacier Lagoon while your guide talks about climate change and its effects on the glaciers. Continue to Jökulsárlón Glacial Lagoon and enjoy a boat tour. Sail among the lagoon's many floating icebergs, and possibly glimpse sunbathing seals on the ice. After lunch, drive from Höf through Almannaskarð Pass, stopping to admire the majestic coastline. Continue for magnificent views of the East Fjords, towering mountains that plunge into the sea.

Breakfast-Dinner included
Overnight at Lake Hotel Egilsstadir

Lake Mývatn

Jun 16, 2022

Depart for the Lake Mývatn area, stopping en route at Dettifoss, one of the waterfalls that flows from the Vatnajökull glacier. Arriving in Mývatn, explore the vast highland desert plateau of Möðrudalsöræfi, and visit Námaskarð Pass, with its boiling mud pools and vibrant colors. Continue exploring the area's natural beauty, including the peculiar lava formations of Dimmuborgir and the pseudo craters at Skútustaðir. Enjoy close up views of the Harlequin Duck on the River Laxá as it flows out of Lake Mývatn. Red-necked Phalarope often spin on the river and feed on emerging flies, while Whimbrel and Golden Plover live in the surrounding moorlands. Also scan the lake for some of its 14 Icelandic breeding duck species, such as the Black Scoter, Barrow's Goldeneye, Tufted Duck, Eurasian Wigeon, and Greater Scaup.

Breakfast-Dinner included
Overnight at Fosshotel Myvatn

Lake Mývatn

Jun 17, 2022

This morning, journey toward Husavik, on Iceland's northern coast. Here, we'll board a vessel for a whale watching tour. This area is the best spot to see the enormous humpback whale, and the boat tour offers a chance to observe fantastic bird life and natural scenery as well. Have lunch in town, then drive back to the hotel, stopping at Ásbyrgi to see a glacial canyon in the remarkable shape of a horseshoe.

Breakfast-Dinner included
Overnight at Fosshotel Myvatn

Reykjavík

Jun 18, 2022

Travel toward the scenic port town of Akureyri, the unofficial "capital" of northern Iceland. En route, make a stop at a plantation in hopes of finding Goldcrests, and visit the famous Goðafoss waterfall. On arrival in Akureyri, have time to explore the city, admiring its beautifully restored timber buildings. The town also boasts a vibrant art and culture scene. Have lunch, then transfer to the airport for your flight to Reykjavík. On arrival, check in to our hotel, then take an urban bird walk to look for Redwings and Common Redpolls. Nearby ponds should yield Arctic Terns that breed roadside, and Lesser Black-backed Gulls usually gather here in good numbers as well. This evening, come together with our group for a farewell dinner at a local restaurant.

Breakfast-Dinner included
Overnight at CenterHotel Plaza

Departure

Jun 19, 2022

Check out of your hotel in Reykjavík and transfer to Keflavík International Airport for your flight back home. Check-out is at 12:00 pm.

Breakfast- included