Circumnavigating Iceland - The Land of Elves, Sagas and Volcanoes (Itinerary 2)

Circumnavigating Iceland - The Land of Elves, Sagas and Volcanoes (Itinerary 2)

Circumnavigating Iceland - The Land of Elves, Sagas and Volcanoes (Itinerary 2)

Circumnavigating Iceland - The Land of Elves, Sagas and Volcanoes (Itinerary 2)

Travel information 11 days MS Fram
Departures
28 July 2022
7 August 2022
Price from $ 6913
$ 6222
Breakfast, lunch and dinner included
Check prices and availability

Discover remote fishing villages, spectacular bird colonies and the picturesque fjords, lakes and mountain peaks of Iceland, the land of ice and fire.

Smoky Bay

Your expedition starts in Reykjavik, Iceland’s quirky and laidback capital. Known as ‘Smoky Bay’ due to the rising steam from the surrounding geothermal features, you’ll be just hours away from geysers, glaciers, hot springs and waterfalls. Sail on to the colourful and well-preserved houses of Stykkishólmur, your ticket to natural wonders in the Breidafjordur bay and the Snæfellsnes Peninsula National Park. After, discover the peace and silence of a tranquil fishing village in Patreksfjördur.

Iceland’s northern capital

Explore a lovingly repurposed Herring factory in Djupavik nestled in the stunning beauty of northwest Iceland, with its deep blue water, crisp, clear air, and verdant green hills. At the base of Iceland’s longest fjord lies Akureyri. This youthful ‘Northern Capital,’ stands out from the more rural destinations on your journey with plenty of top-notch eateries and museums to enjoy.

Whale watching and historic volcanoes

Husavik looks out over the Skjálfandi Bay which enjoys regular visits from whales. You’ll have the chance to scan for various species including humpback, minke, white-beaked dolphin, harbour porpoise and the elusive blue whale. In Heimaey, you’ll discover the fascinating history of a people who fought against a volcano and won, before ending your epic expedition right where it started in Reykjavik.

Circumnavigating Iceland - The Land of Elves, Sagas and Volcanoes (Itinerary 2) Circumnavigating Iceland - The Land of Elves, Sagas and Volcanoes (Itinerary 2)
  • Day 1
    Reykjavik

    Arriving in Iceland

    Estimated time of departure is 8:00 PM

    Your expedition starts in Reykjavik, the northernmost capital in the world. Reykjavik is quaint and cosmopolitan at the same time. This small city is the perfect size for a walking tour, packed full of art, culture and history.

    Take a stroll along Laugavegur, the main shopping street, with its boutiques and outdoor shops. Or head towards the architecturally striking Hallgrimskirkja Cathedral. Art lovers can visit the Reykjavik Art Museum, National Gallery and the many smaller galleries and museums dotting the city. From the comprehensive National Museum to the delightful Icelandic Punk Museum, you’re bound to find one or more to engage you.

    The abundance of geothermal energy sources in Iceland has forged a strong tradition of public bathing in swimming pools and hot tubs known as “heittur pottur” in Icelandic. They’re what pubs are to the British - a perfect way of catching up with friends and unwinding after a long day. Bring your swimsuit if you fancy a dip in one of the city’s 18 swimming pools, many with saunas and heitur pottur.

    The list of possibilities doesn’t end there. Reykjavik means ‘Smoky Bay’ in English. Named by the first Viking settlers who saw rising steam from the surrounding geothermal features, you’ll be just hours away from Iceland’s famous lagoons, geysers, hot springs and waterfalls.

    At Reykjavik harbour, MS Fram awaits you. After you collect your complimentary expedition jacket and check-in, you’ll have time to settle in your cabin. There is a mandatory safety drill just before departure after which you can walk around to explore the ship. The welcome dinner in the evening ends with a toast by the Captain, wishing everyone an enjoyable expedition. After meeting your expedition team, you’ll be ready to start your grand Icelandic adventure.

    Day 1
    Reykjavik

    Arriving in Iceland

  • Day 2
    Stykkishólmur

    Welcome to Sagaland

    Our first stop is Stykkisholmur, pronounced ‘Stikkish – holmur’, a small fishing town surrounded by views of innumerable islets in the picturesque Breiðafjörður Bay. With a population of roughly a thousand people, no traffic, and a laid-back, slow pace, it gives the impression of a place where time has stood still.

    Perhaps Stykkisholmur’s most defining feature is the well-preserved houses found in its old city center. Bursting with colour, they stand out in contrast to the distant mountain ranges. Ingeniously repurposed, the former library is now an art installation, the old recreation center now harbours a volcano museum, and the fish processing plant is now a restaurant that serves a delicious fish soup.

    Another highlight of the town is Norwegian House, named for the Norwegian imported wood used to build it in 1832. The Regional Museum of Snæfellsnes is based here, with rotating exhibitions and handicraft on sale. For a lovely view over the town, hike to the top of the cliff with the little orange lighthouse.

    Most people, however, come here to see the fantastic Snæfellsnes Peninsula National Park. It’s nicknamed ‘Little Iceland’ as everything the country has to offer can be found here, including fjords, mountains, waterfalls, volcanoes, lava fields and more.

    An optional excursion to Snæfellsnes will take you to some of its most iconic sights, such as the black-sand beach at Djúpalónssandur, where – if you’re feeling energetic – you can try your hand at lifting ‘strength testing’ rocks placed there by Vikings. A word of warning though: the heaviest rock weighs 154kg!

    Another stop is at the Lóndrangar basalt cliffs where huge stacks of jagged rock jut photogenically out of the sea. Interesting fact: the massive Snæfellsjökull volcano, which looms over the landscape, is the setting of the classic sci-fi novel Journey to the Centre of the Earth, by Jules Verne.

    Day 2
    Stykkishólmur

    Welcome to Sagaland

  • Day 3
    Patreksfjördur

    Patreksfjördur

    When Orlygur Harppsson saw today’s destination for the first time in the 9th century, he gave it a straightforward name - Patreksfjördur, or ‘the fjord of St Patrick,’ after his spiritual guide. Its appeal today is just as uncomplicated – this settlement on the west coast of Iceland is utterly gorgeous.

    Discover the peace and silence of a tranquil fishing village. Serving as a fishing port as far back as the 16th century, this is a town shaped by a rich maritime history. Patreksfjördur served as a base for English, French and German fishermen, merchants and naval mariners in olden times.

    As you explore the lively harbour, you’ll learn about the towns local fishing tradition and the different kinds of fish found in its waters. You can also choose to take a dip in the outdoor pool, a new addition to the town with wonderful views over the fjord.

    The sheer beauty of this region makes hiking through it such a rewarding activity if conditions allow. Nearby is Latrabjarg, Europe’s largest bird cliff and most western point. It’s home to millions of birds including Puffins, Northern Gannets, Guillemots and Razorbills. The bird watching here is spectacular. Safe from arctic foxes, the birds bravely cling to the high cliffs, and offer excellent photo opportunities.

    The dream beach of Raudsandur is also close by. In contrast to other beaches in Iceland which are black with volcanic sands, the colors of Raudsandur are rose–coloured with golden hues. 

    The Dynjandi series of waterfalls are also one of the big draws of this area, and it’s easy to see why. Six different waterfalls combine to make the largest waterfall in the Westfjords with a cumulative height of 100m. In a country famed for its waterfalls, this is one of the most impressive.

    Day 3
    Patreksfjördur

    Patreksfjördur

  • Day 4
    Northwest Iceland

    Northwest Iceland

    One of the best things about Expedition cruising is the feeling that anything can happen on any given day. The elements and conditions mean nothing is ever quite set in stone. That’s why we’ve carved out one day on your expedition to fully take advantage of that novelty - an exploration day, with no pre-arranged plan for the day.

    We plan to be in Iceland’s Northwestern Region, but the rest will be up to the Captain and the Expedition Team to decide. They will set the final plan for the day, depending on conditions and opportunities that may come up.

    Activities might include using our small boats to come ashore for hiking, participating in a beach clean-up or launching our kayaks. If a pod of whales breaches the surfaces as we’re sailing, we may decide to linger and enjoy the sight. Being adaptable to whatever nature presents to us is what expedition cruising is all about.

    Day 4
    Northwest Iceland

    Northwest Iceland

  • Day 5
    Djupavik

    Remote Ruins and Natural Beauty

    In 1917, Elías Stefánsson settled down in Djupavik and built a herring salting factory. After many failed attempts and setbacks, the factory and the town that had formed around it were abandoned. For decades, it remained a ghost town - until the settlement was adopted by modern-day pioneers Eva and Ásbjörn in 1985. What you’ll see in Djupavik today, is a fascinating portal to a well-preserved past.

    Eva and Ásbjörn renovated the site into a hotel and have been restoring the buildings including the herring factory nearby ever since. The hotel occupies what used to be the dormitory for female workers. If you’re lucky, the manager may tell you a tale or two about the history of this cosy and laid-back hotel. Sample the fabulous home-made cakes and sit back with a hot chocolate and gaze out at the beautiful vista of the peaceful fjord. Bliss!

    A guided tour of the old herring factory is a must. Iceland’s biggest concrete structure when it opened in 1935, the rusting old factory now features artworks, installations and annual concerts such as one performed by Sigur Rós in 2006.

    Of course, the backdrop to this hulking factory is what makes exploring it even more engrossing. All around is the stunning beauty of this remote part of northwest Iceland, with its deep blue water, crisp, clear air, and verdant green hills. Sea birds swoop in and out of darkened factory windows as white water tumbles down from the craggy mountains.

    Explore the magical surroundings here on foot and take a short and invigorating hike to the waterfall just above the old herring factory. There’s also a longer 5km circular route if you’re feeling energetic. From the beach, you might see seals and even small whales.

    Day 5
    Djupavik

    Remote Ruins and Natural Beauty

  • Day 6
    Akureyri

    Northern Centre

    Akureyri is located near the base of the longest fjord in Iceland, Eyjafjörður. As we cruise along the fjord, you’ll have incredible views of snow-capped peaks and a lush coastline. The fertile waters here make it one of the best places in the country to spot whales. Species including humpback, white-beaked dolphins and harbour porpoises are regular visitors, although orcas, blue and fin whales have been seen here too. 

    Nicknamed ‘Iceland’s Northern Capital’, Akureyri is a lively university town. With a population of almost 20, 000 it’s the largest metropolitan area outside the populated southwest region, meaning there’s plenty to delve into here including some top-notch eateries and museums. Check out the Akureyri Museum, which gives you an insight into how Icelanders used to live here. The Nordurslod Museum of natural history also combines exhibitions about the local environment and the history of settlers

    You’ll be astonished by the array of flowers and foliage at the Arctic Botanical Gardens. Its serene atmosphere is like an oasis of lush green in the most unlikely of settings. And while you’re exploring the town, check out the striking architecture of Akureyri Church, designed by the famous architect Gudjon Samuelsson.   

    On an optional excursion outside town, you can explore natural treasures often considered some of the must-see sights in Iceland. At Goðafoss waterfall, nicknamed ‘waterfall of the gods,’ you’ll have the chance to see translucent turquoise water pounding against immense black rocks.

    Located within a highly active volcanic area, Lake Mývatn has unique and beautiful geology, including shimmering waters and otherworldly colours. It’s also a great place for birds; Eider and Harlequinn Ducks in particular. Watchers of hit series Game of Thrones may recognise it.

    Day 6
    Akureyri

    Northern Centre

  • Day 7
    Grimsey & Husavik

    Step Across the Arctic Circle

    Day 7
    Grimsey & Husavik

    Step Across the Arctic Circle

  • Day 8
    Husavik & Langanes Peninsula

    Whales and Birds

    Welcome to Husavik! Widely considered Iceland’s whale capital, this small town on Iceland’s northern coast has gained international popularity as one of the world’s best places to see whales.

    Husavik looks out over the Skjálfandi Bay which enjoys regular visits from whale species including humpback, minke, white-beaked dolphin, harbour porpoise and the elusive blue whale. If you’re lucky, you might get the chance to see one or more of these giants of the sea.

    It only fits that a town so geared towards whales would have a museum to match. If you want to learn more about these gentle giants of the ocean, you have to visit Husavik’s highly informative Whale Museum.

    If you’re also interested in space travel, the Exploration Museum is fascinating. The astronauts involved in the Apollo space missions trained in Husavik in 1965 and 1967. Iceland’s basalt rocks are a close approximation of lunar rocks and provided essential geology training. The museum’s main exhibition is centered around this pioneering endeavor. 

    Around 2km south of Husavik, Kaldbakur pond offers a swimming experience out of the ordinary if you’re looking for something a little different. Not only is it a heitur pottur heated by geothermal energy, you’ll also be swimming with goldfish.

    In the evening, we sail past the scenic Langanes Peninsula. By looking at it on the map, you can almost guess what its unique feature is - birds. After all, it’s shaped like a goose with a colossal head.

    Day 8
    Husavik & Langanes Peninsula

    Whales and Birds

  • Day 9
    Bakkagerdi

    The Land of the Elves

    With stunning rhyolite peaks on one side and the majestic Dyrfjöll Mountain range on the other, the coastal village of Bakkagerdi could not have a more scenic location. According to regional folklore, this tiny hamlet on the coast of Borgarfjörður Eystri inhabits a large population of elves. As a matter of fact, the hamlet derives its name from the rocky hill Alfaborg, the supposed home of the elf queen herself.

    A settlement of around 100 people, Bakkagerdi is well off the typical tourist track and offers peace, quiet and lovely views. A short walk is all it will take to explore the town. You can sample freshly caught fish in one of the cafes; the tasty fish soup is a local favourite.

    This area’s natural beauty, however, is the main draw and allows for fantastic hiking. Shades of pink, blue, and yellow rhyolite rocks give way to lush green valleys in multiple hiking trails. In any direction, you’ll be rewarded by a pristine wilderness and the sights and sounds of the prominent wildlife to be found here - birds.

    The coastal cliffs of Bakkagerdi are home to a wide variety of birds, including Fulmar and Kittiwake. This is also a good place to see Eider farming, which has been done for hundreds of years in Iceland. The end product is the very exclusive eiderdown, the most prized variety of down in the world.

    The stars of the show, however, are Puffins. If conditions allow, we’ll attempt to visit Hafnarhólmi, a fishing harbour home to a large Puffin colony, and some of the best bird watching in Iceland. A boardwalk and several platforms will allow you to get really close to the Puffins safely. For nature and bird lovers, this region is an absolute gem.

    Day 9
    Bakkagerdi

    The Land of the Elves

  • Day 10
    Heimaey

    Iceland`s Pompeii

    Heimaey, or “Home Island” welcomes us for our visit.  The harbour has a very narrow entrance, caused by a volcanic eruption in 1973. Most of the island has steep cliffs, is well-vegetated and provides a habitat for countless birds, including the charming puffin.

    Day 10
    Heimaey

    Iceland`s Pompeii

  • Day 11
    Reykjavik

    The End of the Adventure

    Estimated time of arrival is 6:00 AM

    Our voyage of discovery and adventure ends in Reykjavik. If you have the time, we recommend to book our Post-programme or spend some extra days to explore fascinating Reykjavik. 

    Day 11
    Reykjavik

    The End of the Adventure

Departures

2022

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July:
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August:
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What's included

Included in your voyage

Expedition Cruise 

  • Expedition cruise in a cabin of your choice 
  • Breakfast, lunch and dinner including beverages (house beer and wine, sodas, and mineral water) in restaurants Aune 
  • À la carte restaurant Lindstrøm included for suite guests 
  • Complimentary tea and coffee 
  • Complimentary Wi-Fi on board. Be aware that we sail in remote areas with limited connection. Streaming is not supported. 
  • Complimentary reusable water bottle to use at water refill stations on board 
  • English-speaking Expedition Team who organise and accompany activities on board and ashore 
  • Range of included excursions 

Onboard Activities 

  • Experts on the Expedition Team deliver in-depth lectures on a variety of topics 
  • Use of the ship’s Science Center which has an extensive library and advanced biological and geological microscopes 
  • Citizen Science program allows guests to assist with live scientific research
  • Professional onboard photographer gives top tips and tricks for the best landscape and wildlife photos
  • Use of the ship’shot tubs, panoramic sauna, indoor gyms 
  • Informal gatherings with the crew such as daily recaps and preparation for the day to come

Landing Activities 

  • Escorted landingswith small expedition boats while in Iceland 
  • Loan of boots, trekking poles, and all equipment for activities
  • Complimentary wind and water-resistant expedition jacket
  • Expedition Photographers help with your camera settings before landings 

Not included in your voyage

  • International flights  
  • Travel insurance 
  • Luggage handling 
  • Optional shore excursions with our local partners 
  • Optional small-group activities with our Expedition Team   
  • Optional treatments in the wellness and spa area

Notes

  • All planned activities are subject to weather and ice conditions 
  • Excursions and activities are subject to change  
  • Please ensure you meet all visa entry requirements
  • No gratuities expected 
MS Fram in Greenland
Photo: Stian Klo
MS Fram in Antarctica
Photo: Sandra Walser
Your ship

MS Fram

Year built 2007
Year of refurbishment 2020
Shipyard Fincantieri, Italy
Passenger capacity 250 (200 in Antarctica)
Beds 276
Car capacity 0
Gross tonnage 11 647 T
Length 114 m
Beam 20.2 m
Speed 13 knots
MS Fram in Greenland
Photo: Stian Klo

The original Fram was the most famous explorer ship of its time, and the achievements of her expeditions are unparalleled. MS Fram brings on the heritage of the original Fram, using the most advanced technology to make her exceptionally well suited for expedition voyages in Polar Regions.

Read more about MS Fram

Icebergs – one of many favorite photo motives when on an expedition with MS Fram
Photo: Tomas Mauch
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