Wonders of Iceland 2024

Volcanoes, Geysers and Glaciers

Trip Scholar: Prof Robert White FRS

Professor of Geophysics, Earth Sciences Department
University of Cambridge

8 day tour
Price from £4,295

Departing 21 June 2024

A land of myth and geological marvel, Iceland is one of the youngest landmasses in the world, formed only 25 million years ago, and its landscape is still in the midst of its geological development. Iceland is constantly being shaped by the mighty forces of its rumbling volcanoes, shifting tectonic plates and its glaciers making their slow but powerful progress through the mountains. Geysers and mudpots spring from the ground, waterfalls rush over precipices and beaches sparkle with black sand. The last few years have seen exciting volcanic eruptions in the region, with brand new lava flows to visit and even the option to add a helicopter flight over the volcano to see the molten lava as it spews out if still erupting during our visit.  With our esteemed scholar, Cambridge Geophysicist Professor Robert White FRS on hand to interpret the staggering landscape, we shall visit the important geological and cultural sights of the island, from steaming lava fields, mud pots, geysers and volcanoes to iceflows, waterfalls and hot-spring lagoons, at one of the loveliest  times of year to visit Iceland –  during the period of its famed ‘midnight sun’.

For those who would like to take their exploration even further, we’re pleased to offer a 3 night/4 day Greenland extension which coordinates with the Iceland tour.  Wonder at the UNESCO-listed Ilulissat Icefjord,  enjoy a boat trip to the breathtaking Eqi Glacier,  and learn about Inuit culture at the historic settlement at Sermermiut.

Note: the start date of this tour has been moved a few days later than the originally advertised date in order to avoid Iceland’s National Day which is on 17 June.

Tour highlights

  • Explore the UNESCO site of Þingvellir, where history and geology collide. One of very few places in the world where two tectonic plates can be seen pulling apart above sea-level, it is also the site of Europe’s first parliament, established in 930.
  • Enjoy the bizarre and beautiful sight of luminous blue icebergs drifting along the Jökulsárlón glacial lake before washing up on a dazzling black sand beach, a favourite movie setting for the likes of A View to a Kill and Batman Begins.
  • Delight in Iceland’s powerful waterfalls, from Skogafoss (one of the biggest) and Seljandsfoss known for its double rainbows, to Svartifoss (Black Falls) where water falls between imposing basalt columns.
  • Walk round the rim of the Crater lake of Kerið and explore the lava fields, hot springs and glaciers of Þórsmörk nature reserve, famous for the 2010 eruption of nearby Eyjafjallajökul volcano which grounded Europe’s air traffic.
  • Geothermal wonders include the active Strokkur geyser which erupts every few minutes, the boiling mud pots, volcanic vents and sulphur springs of Krýsuvik which runs along the mid-Atlantic rift, and a chance to swim in Europe’s most powerful hot spring, Deildartunguhver.
  • Understand Iceland’s Viking history with visits to Skálholt, a centre of learning and culture in the middle ages, Borganes Settlement Centre and the National Museum in Reykjavik as well as the folk museum of Skógar housed in preserved turf-roofed houses.

Itinerary at a glance

Day 1:    Tour starts on arrival in Keflavik at 15:15  |  Visit Viking ship Íslendingur  | Overnight Borgarnes
Day 2:    Drive to Snæfellsnes peninsula | Visit Snæfellsjökull Volcano | Explore lava fields at Arnastapi  |  Overnight Borgarnes
Day 3:    Visit Hraunfossar & Barnfoss waterfalls  |  Deildartunguhver thermal spring & Grábrók crater |  Overnight Borgarnes
Day 4:    National Museum Reykjavik  |  Þingvellir National Park   |  Gullfos waterfall & Geysir  |  Skálholt  |  Overnight Selfoss
Day 5:    Full day Þórsmörk nature reserve  |  Tindfjallajökull and Eyjafjallajökull glaciers, lava fields, desert scenery  |  Overnight Vik
Day 6:    Skaftafell NP  |  Walk to Svartifoss waterfall  |  Visit Jökulsárlón glacial lake with icebergs |  Svínafellsjökull glacier  |  Overnight Vik
Day 7:    Seljalandsfoss & Skógafoss waterfalls  |  Skógar Museum folk art |  Black sand beach and basalt stacks at Reynisfjara  |  Overnight Hella
Day 8:    Reykjanes Peninsula  |  Mid-Atlantic Rift  | Geothermal wonders of Krýsuvik  |  Krýsuvíkurberg Cliffs |  Sandvik Bridge  |  Transfer to airport

Dates and Prices
Prices are in UK£, per person, based on double occupancy

21-28 June 2024
Room TypePrice per personSingle SupplementOptional Flight from LondonAvailability
Main tour only (Twin/Double)£4,295£1085£250 return approxAvailable
Greenland Extension (3 nts)£3650£330Return flights Iceland-Greenland includedAvailable

Inclusions
Twin or double bedroom with a private bathroom, breakfast daily, 7 lunches, 5 dinners, all excursions with local guides including entrance fees, transfers and expert leader.

Exclusions
International flights, breakfast and lunch on Day 1, dinner on Day 3 and 4 and dinner on Day 8, travel insurance, drinks, tips to drivers & local guides, items of a personal nature.

Optional flights
Temple World can arrange flights from London to coordinate with this tour. We have planned the tour to coordinate with the following recommended flights with Icelandair from Heathrow to Reykjavík:

21 June Heathrow to Reykjavik FI 451 departing 13:05 arriving 15:15
28 June Reykjavik to Heathrow FI 454 departing 16:10 arriving 20:20

Tickets currently cost £230 – £250 in economy, return (including taxes) but fares will fluctuate with availability so we advise booking early to secure these rates.  Temple World can hold seats on these flights for anyone who would like us to do so,  without any additional deposit.   We can also book direct Icelandair flights from Manchester, or BA flights from Heathrow.

Booking your own travel
Clients wishing to use airmiles to buy or upgrade flights, those wishing to fly on a low-cost carrier and those joining the tour from outside the UK are advised to book their own flights.  We are always happy to help find appropriate flights for those not travelling from London, and can advise the best way to book them if we are unable to book them on your behalf.  If not asking us for assistance, we recommend that you double-check with us whether your preferred flights will coordinate with the tour joining and finishing times before confirming them as errors are easily made and can be expensive to fix.

Easyjet flies to Reykjavík direct from Luton, Manchester and Edinburgh should these airports be more convenient than Heathrow or Glasgow. We are not able to book these on behalf of clients but as mentioned, will be happy to provide information how to make these work with our tour.

If the arrival or departure times of these alternative flights are not a good match for the tour we would be delighted to quote and book pre or post-tour hotels for those who need to arrive a day before the tour or depart a day later.

We will arrange a group transfer to and from the airport to coincide with the flight/departure time to the Icelandair flight. Private transfers to meet any flight are possible at a supplement but note that as there are excursions on both the arrival and departure days you may find it advisable to arrive a day before the tour and/or depart a day afterwards if booking your own flights.

The start and end point of the tour is Keflavik Airport.

*Very important! Those who plan to book their own flights should not make any binding or non-refundable arrangements until their place has been confirmed in writing on the tour and Temple World has confirmed that it is a guaranteed departure

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Immunisations                                                                                                                

NHS Fit For Travel advises travellers to Iceland are usually recommended to immunise against: Seasonal Flu.   There may be a requirement to provide a Please seek professional medical advice at least 8 weeks before departure. NHS Fit For Travel Website

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Entry Regulations

British citizens can enter and remain in countries in the Schengen area (which includes Iceland) for a maximum of 90 days in every 180 day period without a visa.  Visits to any other Schengen area countries within the 180 days before your date of travel will count against this 90 day limit, so if you’ve travelled to any other Schengen area country in the 6 months leading up to the tour you’ll need to ensure that you still have at least 8 days left of your 90 day limit to be allowed entry to Iceland.  Your passport should be valid for a minimum period of 6 months from the date of entry into Iceland.



Fitness Guideline

We have graded the fitness level required for participation in this tour as Moderate. There is quite a lot of walking in the tour, on uneven paths such as lava flows or in conditions which might be an uneven and rough.  There may not be anywhere to rest or sit down regularly.   During sightseeing walks we might be ‘on the go’ for several hours at a time, without breaks to sit down and rest.  It is important that everyone is able to keep up with the group.  The tour is not suitable for those who require walking aids to get around the house or walking in their local area.  Those used to taking hiking poles for lengthy or hilly walks are welcome to bring them.  Tour participants over 80 will be asked to provide a letter of fitness from their GP. Please contact us for a full fitness briefing.

Trip Scholar
Professor Robert White,  FRS, Professor of Geophysics, University of Cambridge
Professor White is Professor of Geophysics in the Earth Sciences Department, University of Cambridge and was elected a Fellow of the Royal Society (FRS) in 1994. He is Director of the Faraday Institute for Science and Religion.  Bob White is also a Fellow of St Edmund’s College, Cambridge, prior to which he was a student and Research Fellow at Emmanuel College, Cambridge.  A Fellow of the Geological Society, and a member of the American Geophysical Union and several other professional bodies; he serves on numerous of their committees. He leads a research group investigating the Earth’s dynamic crust.  His work at sea has taken him to the Atlantic, Indian and Pacific Oceans and his research group is currently investigating the internal structure of volcanoes in Iceland, New Zealand, the Faroes and the Atlantic margin. His scientific work is published in over 350 papers and articles.  Professor White has been conducting fieldwork in Iceland since 1994, and has a specialism in volcanism and rifting.

Lectures during our tours
All our tours are accompanied by an academic ‘trip scholar’ as well as local guides. The local guide or guides provide the day-to-day guiding on our tours, whilst the trip lecturer will give regular lectures on his/her specialist subject throughout to provide an academic overview. Lectures/talks usually last 30-40 minutes including questions and answers (if applicable). These are generally held in the evenings before dinner and attendance is optional. We don’t usually specify before travel which days the lectures will be given (for operational reasons) but guests can expect them roughly every other day as a minimum, with some lecturers giving some kind of talk or presentation more frequently.

Optional Greenland Extension 29 June – 02 July 2024

Greenland is so remote that there are no direct flights there and the only air access is via Iceland. So, if you have ever wanted to experience the wonders of Greenland under the magical light of the midnight sun, it makes sense to add it on to this trip while you’re already in Iceland! In the summer months only, there are flights from Keflavik in Iceland to Ilulissat in the west of Greenland, a quaint port town 300 kilometres above the Arctic Circle, which serves as the gateway to the famed Ilulissat Icefjord and Disko Bay. This 3 night/4 day small group tour led by a local English-speaking guide uses Ilulissat as a base, known for its mix of Inuit culture, modern life and thousands of sledge dogs. Almost 90% of Greenland’s population is Inuit, who have learned to thrive under extreme Arctic conditions. From Ilulissat you’ll set off on exciting excursions, from a sunset cruise to see the Icefjord itself and a trip to see the spectacular calving glacier Eqi, to cultural visits such as Rodebay, the hunters’ village, and Sermermiut Inuit settlement.

Note: Flights between Iceland and Greenland are included in the rate; those adding this extension who are taking the group flights will have their return date moved to coordinate accordingly.  Overnight accommodation on 28 June is not included in the rate – there are numerous B&Bs near the airport or we can quote for a 4 star hotel in Keflavik or near the Blue Lagoon if you’d like us to arrrange your accommodation for this evening.

Itinerary:

Day 1     29 June 2024        Fly to Greenland and sunset cruise to Ilulissat Icefjord
This morning, you’ll catch a 3-hour flight from Keflavik international airport to Ilulissat, where you’ll be transferred to the hotel.  There will be free time to explore the quaint town and perhaps visit the local museum or observe Greenlandic life at the always busy harbour.  Enjoy a welcome dinner at the hotel, then at around 22:00, depart for a sunset cruise to the famous Ilulissat Icefjord, the world’s largest ice sculpture park. The experience is overwhelming; the lights and colours constantly change. Enjoy a late drink on “the real rocks”. The tour duration is about 3 hours. Dress warmly.

Overnight:  Hotel Ilulissat or similar.     Meals:  D

Day 2   30 June 2024  Eqi Calving Glacier and Rodebay hunting settlement
After an early breakfast at the hotel, depart for a full-day boat trip to Eqi – the calving glacier. The Eqi glacier runs into the fjord 80 km north of Ilulissat and is one of the most beautiful places in Greenland. It is possible to get very close to the 5-km wide glacier front and experience huge pieces of ice breaking off. The sound of an active calving glacier is quite remarkable, while the sight of icebergs toppling into the water is breathtaking. Afterwards, continue to the small settlement of Oqaatsut/Rodebay. The local population of about 40 people is dependent on fishing and hunting; you experience an entirely different world compared to the nearby town of Ilulissat. Guided walk through the village before enjoying a local meal at the old trading station. For hundreds of years, Oqaatsut/Rodebay was a stop-over port for Dutch whalers, who dragged the huge whales onto land here in the old village. The village, which lies in a beautiful natural setting just 15 km north of Ilulissat, has a school, church, shop and a single restaurant, “H8”, which serves excellent meals in the old colonial building.   Afterwards, return to our hotel in Illusat.

Overnight:  Hotel Ilulissat or similar.     Meals:  B /  – / D

Day 3     01 July 2024 Sermermiut Inuit settlement and Ilulissat city tour
Today after breakfast we’ll head off by coach towards Sermermiut, as far as the road goes. Enjoy a guided walking tour of the Inuit settlement, located on the famous Ilulissat Icefiord that was added to UNESCO’s world heritage list in 2004. The ancient settlement of Sermermiut, 1.5 km south of the town, is surrounded by Ilulissat’s beautiful icebergs. Various Inuit cultures have lived here over the past 4,000 years, and you can still see remains from ancient times. Learn about local history and local customs from before any Europeans arrived. See plots settled for thousands of years and admire the views across the majestic icebergs.

Return to Ilulissat to enjoy a guided city walk, and afterwards, you have some time to wander around town, perhaps picking up some local crafts or souvenirs of your visit before enjoying dinner back at the hotel.

Note: You’ll need proper boots or hiking boots.  The hiking distance is about 3 km (1,9 mls) round-trip; hiking time is about 1 hour. Terrain: mainly track bridge and a bit of uneven nature/ rocky trails. The tour duration is about 3 hours.

Overnight:  Hotel Ilulissat or similar.     Meals:  B /  – / D

Day 4   02 July 2024  Fly back to Keflavik – onward connections
After breakfast at the hotel, you will be returned to the airport for the flight to Keflavik at 10:15 arriving 15:45. On arrival into Keflavik,  it is likely to be necessary to stay in an airport hotel before flying onwards to your final destination the next day,  as there are often no same-day connections – we will be happy to provide a quote for any additional accommodation you may require.

Price:  Estimated rate £3650* per person based on twin/double share.  Single supplement £330pp

*Rates for summer 2024 are not yet available. We have based the price on summer 2023 prices and have added an expected price increase for 2024 but won’t know the final rate until October 2023. Please let us know if you’re interested in adding this and we will be in touch as soon as we have confirmed rates.

Inclusions: Return flights Keflavik to Ilulissat, accommodation in a 4 star hotel in Ilulissat, services of local guide, all entry fees and transport on excursions, meals where indicated.

Does not include: Night at airport hotel or accommodation of your choice on 28 June, and 02 July if required,  guest lecturer, lunches, flights to/from Iceland.

Note: Minimum two participants are required to operate this extension, and due to local requirements, a 60% extension deposit is required at time of booking to confirm the reservations.  Greenland is remote so is a pricey destination to visit.  To keep costs to a minimum whilst including some of the best excursions possible, this extension is based on joining a set- date small group departure with a local English-speaking guide. (max participants 12)  This enables us to offer this extension with a minimum of two guests rather than requiring 8 participants which is what would be required to run this tour on a private basis at the same rate.  As such, there may be some other (non alumni group) clients sharing the same transfers and guided tours on this Greenland trip. 

Privately guided Greenland extensions are available of any length and with inclusions to suit your interests – please enquire for options and prices. 

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    OUR ALUMNI TOURS

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