9 DAYS & 8 NIGHTS
Reykjavik & Hvolsvollur
For incredible natural beauty and otherworldly landscapes, there’s no place quite like Iceland. And there’s no better way to take in this unique country than by true immersion. Over the course of 9 days, you’ll soak in natural hot springs, descend into a dormant volcano, traverse to the center of a glacier via an ice tunnel, and snorkel through a deep chasm between two tectonic plates.
When night falls, retire to your luxury glamping camp, complete with deluxe tents, cozy duvets, and unparalleled natural views.
Private Journeys -Handcrafted itineraries for one or more travelers with on-the-ground support, a private guide, and a private vehicle. Private Journeys represent the best of the custom programs we’ve designed over the years. Our insider knowledge and destination expertise make these innovative journeys truly unique experiences.
Day 1-Arrive Reykjavik
Welcome to majestic Iceland! After meeting your Cox & Kings private driver at the airport, spend the morning relaxing and recouping from your overnight flight at your new boutique hotel.
This afternoon, meet your fun and knowledgeable local guide in the lobby of the hotel and depart on a four-hour private food walk in Reykjavik. You’ll visit everything from well-known restaurants to small, family-run businesses and secret local hangouts. Explore why the Icelanders are so proud of their local food by focusing on the most delicious traditional cuisine.
Sand Hotel (L)
Day 2-Reykjavik – Glamping
Depart this morning to the dormant Thrihnukagigur Volcano, a unique natural phenomenon that’s not to be missed. After putting on the necessary gear and equipment, a 45-50 minute hike, and a 400-foot descent to the bottom of the crater in an open cable lift, a whole new world opens. After this once-in-a-lifetime adventure, return to the city for lunch.
In the afternoon, visit the Blue Lagoon, Iceland’s most popular attraction. The Blue Lagoon is a natural geothermal spa surrounded by lava field and black sandy beaches. Have “the swim of your life”enjoying the comfort of the warm lagoon water.
After crossing this iconic destination off your bucket list, head to your glamping site, where your private chef awaits with a gourmet dinner this evening.
Glamping in Luxury Tent – 5 Nights (B, L, D)
Today, you will depart towards western part of the island and the Snaefellsness Peninsula.
Sparkling fjords, dramatic volcanic peaks, sheer sea cliffs, sweeping golden beaches, and rough lava flows make up the diverse and fascinating landscape of the 62-mile-long Snaefellsnes Peninsula. The shining star is the glistening ice cap Snaefellsjokull, immortalized in Jules Verne’s Journey to the Center of the Earth.
Start at Kirkjufell Mountain-Grundarfjorour’s beautiful landmark is the most photographed mountain in Iceland. Its isolated position jutting out into the sea makes it a focal point for tourists and seamen alike.
After a local lunch, the tour continues to Vatnshellir Lava Cave, located in Snaefellsjokull National Park. Exploring Vatnshellir, you’ll descend into a subterranean world of stalactites, stalagmites, and strange lava formations. The glow from your headlamp may form eerie shapes and shadows, which dance across the walls of the cave. The caving is short, very easy, and suitable for everyone.
Continue to the twin fishing towns of Arnarstapi and Hellnar, which are connected by a very pretty cliff-side walk past interesting rock formations and through a small lava field. Take a 2-hour walk along the cliffs with views of arches below before turning back.
Glamping in Luxury Tent (B, L, D)
Today, you will explore the western part of the island on a tour to Langjokull Glacier and Ice Cave.
This day will be full of natural wonders that you will never forget, combining the tour’s highlight inside the glacier with other remarkable sights and attractions in the area.
Departing from Reykjavik with your private guide, make a stop at Hraunfossar Waterfalls and Deildartunguhver Geothermal Hot Spring area, then visit beautiful Husafell and enjoy the Langjokull Glacier, both outside and inside! Langjokull Glacier is the second-largest glacier in Iceland and never before have Cox & Kings travelers been able to see the remarkable blue ice at the heart of this ice cap glacier.
An extensive system of man-made ice tunnels stretch almost 1,000 feet into the solid ice cap, leading you towards a breathtaking ice cave at the heart of the glacier. There is enough room for everyone and even a chapel to get married! The deeper you go, the bluer the ice. Believe it when you see it.
Glamping in Luxury Tent (B, L, D)
You will start the day by going to the shoreline to the village of Stokkseyri for a private kayaking adventure. Paddle along Longudael Lake and through the narrow canals of the area, amid skerries and coastal lagoons. Keep an eye out for the seals and sea birds that call this region home.
After lunch at a local restaurant, depart on a hike through the Reykjadalur Valley. This is a great 4.3-mile half-day hike that is suitable for anyone. It is also a unique chance to visit the hot springs for a nice bathing session, just as the locals do.
The hike starts from the outskirts of Hveragerdi, the town of hot springs and flowers, and continues into the beautiful geothermal valley of Reykjadalur. In the ‘Steamvalley’, naturally hot water flows down of the slopes of Hellisheidi Mountain Range, creating the ideal place to bathe in a hot river. The valley also has an amazing abundance of geothermal hot springs. You will witness everything from small gurgling melting pots to vibrant, super-heated pools of water. After exploring these wonders of nature, hike back down into the town of Hveragerdi.
Glamping in Luxury Tent (B, L, D)
Depart to Thingvellir, an outstanding national park and the jewel in the crown of Iceland’s historical sights. The undulating landscape of Thingvellir encompasses lava formations, crevasses, rivers, and a waterfall. It is also on the periphery of the largest natural lake in Iceland, Lake Thingvallavatn.
In the midst of this wilderness is the ancient site of Iceland’s national parliament, which was established in 930 and held its sessions there until as recently as 1798.
Thingvellir is also the point where the Eurasian and North American tectonic plates on the Mid-Atlantic Ridge meet, although they are actually separating at a rate of 2.5 centimeters per year. The craggy rift valley falls into a ‘no-man’s land’ between the two continents, and you can also almost touch the two continents if you take an icy dip in the clear waters of Lake Thingvallavatn.
Next, slip on a dry suit and snorkel the Silfra Fissure in Thingvellir National Park, one of the world’s most incredible freshwater snorkeling sites. It is the point where two continental landmasses, the North American and Eurasian tectonic plates, are pulling apart at a rate of almost 3cm per year. As a result, a deep chasm has formed and you can swim through the yawning gap between the continents. Brown, craggy rocks strung with strands of green algae drop away into the yawning crevasse.
The clear glacial waters of the lake are the result of the slow filtration of melted water from the Langjokull Glacier. This glacial run-off is gradually filtered through the porous lava fields surrounding the lake at such a slow rate that it can take 100 years for a single drop of water to reach Silfra. As a result, the visibility is outstanding-exceeding 325 feet-before fading into the indigo blue depths.
Sand Hotel (B, L)
Day 7-Reykjavik – Hvolsvollur
Today, visit Haukadalur Valley to see the famous geyser. Did you know Iceland gave the world the word ‘geyser’? It is derived from the Old Norse verb ‘geysa,’ which means ‘to gush.’ Well, here amidst the sulphurous rocks you can see the incredible geyser that first contributed to the world’s lexicon. It has been active for as long as 10,000 years, and eruptions can hurl boiling water as high as 230 feet into the air. While the geyser hasn’t been particularly active recently, one of the most active, and reliable, geysers in the area is just 165 feet away. Strokkur is capable of shooting water 65-100 feet high and erupts every five minutes on average. There are also about 30 smaller geysers and hot pools in the area, including one named Litli Geysir (‘Little Geyser’), making this area a thrilling hub of geothermal activity.
After lunch, depart on a private buggy safari. You ascend into the lunar-like landscape of the erosion-blasted Haukadalsheioi Plateau. From there, you will head on to the rough and rocky Kjolur Highland Road, led by your expert guide. Possible sights en route are Langjokull Glacier, Blafell Volcano and Sandvatn Glacier Lagoon, all depending on weather and conditions.
Your next stop is the majestic Gullfoss Waterfall. From a distance, it seems as if the Hvita River disappears into the ground, but as you draw near to it you will discover the water foams and froths over three ridges before suddenly dropping in two stages into a 105-foot-deep crevice.
The scale of Gullfoss and the thundering roar of the water has to be seen to be believed. You will have the unique opportunity to get up close to the very brink of the waterfall and feel glacial water spray on you as you admire its sheer power. On sunny days, a rainbow forms a colorful bridge across the torrent, while the winter temperatures transform it into a magical spectacle of twisted ice and snow, the full force of nature temporarily frozen in time.
Skalakot Lodge – 2 Nights (B, L, D)
Start the day exploring Markarfljotsgljufur Canyon by Jeep. It is one of the country’s most impressive and stunning canyons, but it’s not visited by many, so today is a special experience. Although not among the largest canyons in Iceland, it is quite deep, about 650 feet where it is deepest, and the main and most interesting and most accessible part spans about 2.5 miles.
After a picnic lunch, continue on to Alftavatn Lake and the South Fjallabak Nature Reserve.
Explore the volcanic craters, deserts of lava and ash, a red river bed, and green grassy plains. Fjallabak means ‘behind the mountains,’ and as the name suggests, an incredible secret world is hidden away behind the peaks. In your off-road vehicle, you’ll traverse rivers and gain access to a large variety of beautiful and colorful terrain with barely a sign of human existence. Another highlight is a valley of fissures leading to a spectacular multi-tiered waterfall, pouring through a chasm.
Skalakot Lodge (B, L, D)
Day 9-Depart Iceland
The morning is at your leisure.
Transfer to Keflavik Airport and bid farewell to Iceland and all its beauty.