MS Fridtjof Nansen
9 days

Circumnavigating Iceland - The Land of Elves, Sagas and Volcanoes (Itinerary 1)

Price from
$ 5535
Breakfast, lunch and dinner included
MS Fridtjof Nansen
9 days

Circumnavigating Iceland - The Land of Elves, Sagas and Volcanoes (Itinerary 1)

Price from
$ 5535
Breakfast, lunch and dinner included

Embark on an epic expedition to the majestic volcanoes, cascading waterfalls, and bubbling springs of Iceland, the land of ice and fire. 

A jaw-dropping landscape

Start your expedition cruise in Iceland’s capital Reykjavik, filled with art, culture and history to discover. Journeying north, we commence our circumnavigation of Iceland’s stunning coast. Stykkishólmur is your doorway to the breath-taking Snæfellsnes Peninsula National Park. Nicknamed ‘Little Iceland’, this region is like an Icelandic Greatest Hits album, filled with sheer cliffs, silent fjords and volcanic peaks. After that, dive into Iceland’s maritime history in the tranquil fishing village of Patreksfjördur. 

Crossing the arctic circle

Compared to the sparsely populated stops on your expedition, Akureyri will stand out. As Iceland’s second city, you’ll have some first-rate restaurants and museums to tuck into. We sail on to Grimsey, which is probably best known for its proximity to the Arctic Circle which cuts across the island - the only part of Iceland to do so. You’ll have the chance to step across that line, North to South.

The land of elves

Take in the enchanting beauty of Bakkagerdi, the land of elves. With stunning rhyolite peaks on one side and the majestic Dyrfjöll Mountain range on the other, it could not have a more scenic location. Finally, you’ll get to Explore Iceland’s Pompeii, Heimaey. Discover this island's fascinating backstory before ending your journey where it all started in Reykjavik.

Circumnavigating Iceland - The Land of Elves, Sagas and Volcanoes (Itinerary 1)
  • 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 Fridtjof Nansen 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
    Akureyri

    Capital of the North

    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 5
    Akureyri

    Capital of the North

  • Day 6
    Grimsey Island

    Step Across the Arctic Circle

    When people imagine a windswept, remote Icelandic isle, they’re probably thinking about Grimsey. We will use our tender boats to reach this small, green and grassy island. With roughly 60 people, the only settlements are located on the southern and western parts - mostly around the little harbour.

    Grimsey is serene, beautiful, and steeped in folklore and legend. The hardiness of the local fishermen is attributed to Grimsey’s first settler Grímur. Legend has it he slew the giants and trolls who inhabited the island and took one of their daughters as his bride.

    Grimsey’s sheer cliffs are home to vast colonies of sea birds – outnumbering humans 17,000 to 1 – and in summer, the intrepid islanders will abseil down them to collect the eggs that are considered a local delicacy. The chance to see Atlantic Puffins, the iconic seabird species of Grimsey, is a major attraction for bird lovers.

    Grimsey is probably best known for its proximity to the Arctic Circle, which cuts across the island - the only part of Iceland to do so. You’ll have the chance to step across that line, North to South.

    You can explore the island on foot and hike to the ‘Orbis et Globus’ a nine-ton concrete sphere that marks the edge of the Arctic Circle. The walk to the monument will allow you to take in the windswept scenery and observe birds. The three-metre globe is moved a bit each year by the locals as the Arctic Circle creeps slowly northwards at a rate of about 48 feet a year.

    By 2050, Grimsey Island will lie outside the Arctic – more reason to visit now. In the afternoon, we sail towards Husavik, where we will arrive in the evening and stay overnight.

    Day 6
    Grimsey Island

    Step Across the Arctic Circle

  • Day 7
    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 7
    Bakkagerdi

    The Land of the Elves

  • Day 8
    Heimaey

    Iceland`s Pompeii

    Our next stop is Heimaey, the only inhabited island in the Vestmannaeyjar archipelago, off the south coast of Iceland.  Everything here has been touched in some way by the volcanic eruption that occurred unexpectedly one morning in January 1973. The narrow harbour, the tephra -made airport runway and the curl of cooled lava in the town center all point to the volcanic cone that casts a figure over the island.

    Heimaey means “Home Island,” and you’ll certainly feel welcome here. It’s near 4000 inhabitants are friendly and the vegetated landscape is pleasing to the eye. You can learn all about the town’s history at the Museum of Eldheimar. Heimaey has got a fascinatingly dark past, complete with runaway slaves, murder, revenge and pirates. And that’s before you get to the volcano that almost destroyed the island. 

    The Sea Life Trust Beluga Whale Sanctuary is also one of the town’s highlights. Home to two resident belugas, the sanctuary also inhabits a local species aquarium and a Puffin rescue center. 

    In keeping with the rest of the Westmann Islands, Heimaey provides a habitat for countless birds. Around 8 million Puffins nest here every summer. A hike to Stórhöfði, south of the island, will provide you with excellent opportunities to observe them nesting. Claimed to be the windiest spot in Europe, you’ll be grateful for viewing facilities that’ll allow you to quietly observe these delightful birds in their natural habitat.

    A visit to Heimaey would not be complete without checking out its most prominent feature, Eldfell, or “Mt Fire.” By the end of its eruption, it stood at 220 metres. It’s worth the effort to hike to the top. You’ll have incredible views of the town below and the winning feeling of conquering the volcano that almost wiped out the island.

    Day 8
    Heimaey

    Iceland`s Pompeii

  • Day 9
    Reykjavik - Disembarkation

    The End of the Adventure

    Estimated time of arrival is 6:00 AM

    We say a fond farewell to MS Fridtjof Nansen as we end where we started in the fabulous city of Reykjavik. You’ll now have an opportunity to see all the places you missed out on when you arrived. If you want to conclude your expedition on a high, you’re in the right place to do it. Reykjavik's galleries, restaurants and spas are internationally recognised.

    If you want to recharge your batteries, you can do so at Iceland’s most famous heitur pottur, Blue Lagoon. Situated in a vast 800-year-old lava field, the waters blend of silica, algae and minerals have helped this magical location earn its place on National Geographic’s 25 wonders of the world. As a way of signing off your Icelandic adventure, few things would top soaking yourself in relaxing volcanic water, with a beverage of your choice surrounded by beauty. 

    We recommend booking one of our Post-Programmes to explore the city and beyond further. Whatever’s next for you, we wish you a safe onward journey and look forward to seeing you on your next adventure!

    Day 9
    Reykjavik - Disembarkation

    The End of the Adventure

Departures

  • 2022
  • Jul
  • Aug
  • Sep
  • Oct
  • Nov
  • Dec
1 June 2022
9 June 2022
17 June 2022

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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 and Fredheim 
  • 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’s hot tubs, panoramic sauna, outdoor and indoor gyms, and outdoor running track 
  • Informal gatherings with the crew such as daily recaps and preparation for the day to come

Landing Activities 

  • Escorted landings with 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 
A large boat in a body of water with a mountain in the background
Pool area on MS Fridtjof Nansen
Photo: Oscar Farrera
Science Center
Photo: Agurtxane Concellon

Your ship

MS Fridtjof Nansen

Year built 2020
Shipyard Kleven Yards, Norway
Passenger capacity 530 (500 in Antarctica)
Gross tonnage 20 889 T
Length 140 m
Beam 23,6 m
Speed 15 knots
A large boat in a body of water with a mountain in the background

MS Fridtjof Nansen is the latest addition to Hurtigruten’s fleet of custom built ships – and the next generation expedition ship. She will explore some of the most spectacular corners of the globe.

Read more about MS Fridtjof Nansen

Suite MD on MS Roald Amundsen
Photo: Agurtxane Concellon
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