Exploring Iceland May 25 – June 4, 2023
It’s a surprising, even astonishing land; one of the massive glaciers and rumbling volcanoes, bubbling mud holes and powerful waterfalls; hugely abundant birdlife and just 340,000 people; and where the sun never sets for six splendid weeks. It’s also perfect for exploring in a small group, as we discover traveling the breadth of the country and getting an up-close view of this natural “wonderland.”
Accompanying the group is UCSC Associate Professor Terry Blackburn. He is a geologist specializing in determining the age of Earth materials. His research has allowed him to approach several problems in the Earth Sciences, from the timing of volcanic flood basalt eruptions and their relationship to past extinction events to dating a two hundred-thousand-year-old mammoth tusk found on the ocean floor. Making for a truly unique travel experience!
This trip is sold out.
NEW DATES: Dates: May 25 – June 4, 2023
Please note, all prices are for a standard, double room unless listed otherwise.
Land Only (transfers not included): $4,395
From San Francisco*: $5,492 inc. taxes
Single Supplement**: $795
*Other cities listed on the brochure, which can be downloaded on the overview tab of this trip. Airline prices are subject to change, and airline upgrades will be additional to the costs listed above.
**Please note that this is an additional cost.
Your Tour Price Includes:
- Round-trip air transportation from listed cities; flight within itinerary
- 9 nights’ accommodations in First Class hotels
- 20 meals: 10 breakfasts, 3 lunches, 7 dinners
- Extensive sightseeing as described, including all entrance fees
- Services of an Odysseys Unlimited Tour Director
- Private motorcoach transportation throughout your trip
- Luggage handling for one bag per person
- Gratuities for local guides, dining room servers, airport and hotel porters, and all drivers
- $100 frequent traveler credit towards your next Odysseys Unlimited tour ($200 after 3 tours; $300 after 10 tours)
If you would like to reserve your place on the Iceland tour, fill out the reservation form on the back of the trip brochure and email it to IEtravel@ucsc.edu.
On receipt of your signed reservation form and deposit, we will, subject to availability, reserve your place on your trip.
Travel Dates: May 25 – June 4, 2023
Tuesday, May 25, 2023
Depart U.S. for Reykjavik, Iceland
Wednesday, May 26, 2023
Upon our early morning arrival in Iceland’s capital, we meet our Odysseys Unlimited Tour Director, have breakfast at a local restaurant then enjoy a scenic drive east. We stop to view the geothermal exhibit at the Hellisheidi Power Plant. Mid-afternoon, we reach pastoral Selfoss, and our hotel. Tonight: a briefing on the journey ahead followed by a welcome dinner. B,D
Thursday, May 27, 2023
Our first stop today is at picturesque Seljalandsfoss, Iceland’s most visited waterfall, followed by nearby Skogafoss, another popular waterfall, known for its rainbows on sunny days. We continue on to lovely Vik, Iceland’s southernmost town, where we’re free to explore and shop for items of locally produced wool. This afternoon, we walk along the black-sand beach at Reynisfjara, lined with columnar basalt-filled caves. En route to our hotel, we stop by the Solheimajokull “sliding” glacier. B
Friday, May 28, 2025
We transfer to Reykjavik this morning for the one-hour flight to Akureyri, Iceland’s “northern capital,” where, upon arrival, we travel to beautiful Lake Myvatn. One of the world’s natural wonders, Lake Myvatn and its environs of bubbling mud flats, lava fields, and lunar-like volcanic craters comprise a stunning national park. We stop to explore the bizarre lava formations at Dimmuborgir, and also see the region’s unique “pseudo craters,” the boiling mud pots at Namaskard, the explosion crater at Viti, and the flat volcano system at Krafla. B,D
Saturday, May 29, 2023
This morning we travel to Husavik, where we embark on a bird-watching cruise to Puffin Island. Depending on the season, we may see thousands of seabirds here, including puffins, black guillemots, fulmars, and Arctic terns. On departures that visit after the puffins have migrated for the season (typically in August), we take a whale watch cruise out of Husavik. This afternoon, we visit Vatnajokull National Park, yet another of Iceland’s natural wonders. Here we see Asbyrgi, a huge canyon enveloped by towering walls; in the middle of the partially wooded canyon sits a hoof-shaped rock called “The Island.” Next, we visit Hljodaklettar Echo Cliffs, where we explore the labyrinth of “echoing rocks” created by the spiral basalt formations of the arches and canyons here. Our last stop: jaw-dropping Dettifoss, Europe’s most powerful waterfall and Iceland’s “Niagara.” B,L,D
Sunday, May 30, 2023
This morning, we stop at Godafoss, the “waterfall of the gods” named for the carvings of Norse gods discarded here when the country was declared Christian a thousand years ago. Mid-morning, we arrive in Akureyri, where we have free time to explore and for lunch on our own. We travel on to Siglufjordur, where we visit the unique Herring Era Museum then arrive at our hotel in time for dinner there tonight. B,D
Monday, May 31, 2023
We travel towards the southwest corner of Iceland today, passing through more incredible natural scenery. En route, we visit Glaumbaer, a folk museum featuring authentic turf houses. Later we stop at a Gauksmyri farm featuring famed Icelandic horses – small, hardy, and with long manes. We also enjoy scenic views at Grabrok Crater, and stop to view the thermal areas of Deildartunguhver and Hraunfossar Falls. B,D
Tuesday, June 1, 2023
Today we encounter the stunning Snaefellsnes Peninsula. We begin with a walk along the shell sand beach at the abandoned fishing village of Budir, surrounded by a vast lava field. We also explore the caves and bizarre rock formations along the rugged shore at Arnarstapi, site of thousands of nesting cliff birds. After a lunch of a traditional fresh seafood soup at a rustic oceanfront restaurant, we see the haunting remains of abandoned coastal farms at Djupalonssandur. B,L,D
Wednesday, June 2, 2023
En route to Reykjavik today, we visit Thingvellir National Park, known both for its historic import and as the place where the fissure between the geological plates of North America and Europe is most evident. It’s also a gem of nature, with canyons, caves, waterfalls, and ponds surrounded by snowcapped mountains. We learn about the historic parliament founded here in 930 CE, and walk along a gorge into the rift valley itself. Then we depart for famed Great Geysir and Gullfoss, Iceland’s immensely popular “golden” waterfall. We continue on to Reykjavik, arriving in time for dinner on our own in this stylish city. B,L
Thursday, June 3, 2023
This morning we embark on a tour of the Icelandic capital. Then the remainder of today is at leisure to explore and enjoy Reykjavik as we please; those who wish can join in an optional tour to the Blue Lagoon. Tonight, we celebrate our adventure over a farewell dinner. B,D
Today we depart for the airport and our return flights to the U.S. B
B = Breakfast, L = Lunch, D = Dinner
Make the most of the long days in Iceland’s colorful capital, at your own pace.
Total Price: $395
Single Supplement: $295
Your Tour Price Includes
- 2 nights’ accommodations at Hotel Reykjavik Centrum (First Class)
- 2 meals: 2 breakfasts
- Transfer to Reykjavik airport
Please see the Accommodations tab for hotel information.
Terry Blackburn, an Associate Professor at the University of California, Santa Cruz, is a geologist
specializing in determining the age of Earth materials. His research has allowed him to approach
several problems in the Earth Sciences, from the timing of volcanic flood basalt eruptions and
their relationship to past extinction events to dating a two hundred-thousand-year-old
mammoth tusk found on the ocean floor. His recent works focuses on the history of subglacial
precipitates–stalagmite-like mineral accumulations that form beneath glaciers—which he uses
to understand how polar ice sheets respond to past climate change. Outside of the lab, Terry
enjoys swimming, cycling, and spending time with family exploring the Santa Cruz coast and
This bright, modern 99-room lodging is located on the banks of the Ölfusá River amidst the stunning natural beauty of South Iceland. The hotel offers a restaurant; bar and lounge with fireplace; café; spa with steam room, sauna, thermal hot pool, and massage services; laundry and dry cleaning services; and internet access. Guest rooms have a private bath with a hairdryer, mini-bar, in-room safe, TV, and phone.
Recently opened in July 2017, the rural yet contemporary Fosshotel Myvatn features 92 rooms in a spectacular location north of Lake Myvatn. The hotel was designed by award-winning Nordic architects using sustainable and ecologically conscious materials, and blends into the surrounding countryside with its timber walls and grass-thatched roof. Amenities include a restaurant, bar with views of the lake, bicycles for rent, and complimentary Wi-Fi internet access throughout. Guest rooms have private bath with hair dryer, radio, TV, and phone.
Sitting on a promontory jutting out into the Siglo fjord, the recently opened Siglo Hotel enjoys wonderful views of the fjord, mountains, and peaceful small town of Siglufjordur. Amenities of the hotel include a restaurant and bar (along with another restaurant and café in adjacent buildings), cozy fireplace sitting room, outdoor hot tub overlooking the harbor, and complimentary Wi-Fi internet access. Guest rooms have private bath with hair dryer, in-room safe, TV, and phone.
Situated at the edge of Iceland’s central highlands, this luxury hotel offers stunning views. Hotel Husafell is located in the heart of Husafell, and offers a restaurant and bar, laundry service, and complimentary Wi-Fi internet access. Each of the 36 guest rooms has a private bath with hair dryer, mini-refrigerator, tea- and coffee-making facilities, TV, and phone.
Opened in 2005, the Hotel Reykjavik Centrum comprises three renovated historic houses in Reykjavik’s historic city center. Designed in early 20th-century Icelandic fashion, the 89-room hotel offers a restaurant, bar, and café; Internet access; and laundry and dry cleaning services. Guest rooms have private bath with hair dryer, tea- and coffee-making facilities, mini-bar, in-room safe, TV, and phone.
We will do our best to adhere to our printed itinerary. Occasionally, though, unexpected obstacles – and opportunities – may arise that will force us to deviate from the itinerary as written. We would ask you to be open-minded and flexible should we vary the itinerary slightly. In addition, please note that airline schedules are subject to change. We will provide you with updated flight information closer to your
departure. Additionally, this trip involves considerable walking on uneven or cobblestone streets and at sites of ancient ruins, and you should be in good physical condition to enjoy the tour to the fullest.
Odysseys Unlimited provides state-of-the-art audio headsets for all guests to use on this tour. These devices enable you to hear the commentary offered by your tour director or guide during visits to museums, historic sites, and other stops on your tour where crowds may make it difficult to hear. They also allow you to stay a few steps behind as your group moves forward. Please note that a limited number of hearing aid-compatible headsets will be available as well.