Welcome to this month’s edition of the Travelous Virtual Tour! We are committed to bringing you and your loved ones content to inspire your future travels, from home.
On this VR tour, we take a journey to the Land of Fire and Ice, a.k.a. Iceland, famous for its spectacular mountains, glaciers, northern lights, and geothermal springs.
If you choose to put Iceland on your travel list this year, know that you’ll be able to do so sooner rather than later: after June 15th Iceland will allow foreign nationals to enter the country, and given the choice between a two-week quarantine or being tested for the virus upon arrival, or otherwise proving that they are free of coronavirus infection.
And while summer is usually the most popular tourism season, we expect less of a crowd headed there this year, which makes it an ideal time to visit. With virtually no nighttime darkness during the summer, there is plenty of time to try the many outdoor activities such as horseback riding, glacier hiking, exploring the famous Golden Circle, whale watching, witnessing the neon-green pastures dotted with Viking horses and sheep, dog sledding, snorkeling, snowmobiling, helicopter sightseeing, river rafting, caving, paragliding, golfing and swimming (the country has over 150 public swimming pools, most of which are heated, and over 600 hot springs, thanks to the geothermal activity on the island).
Temperatures in the country hover around 55 degrees during the summer, so be sure to pack layers, but nothing beats seeing sights like these at midnight:
If you choose to visit in the winter, horseback riding, outdoor swimming & snow adventure activities become an entirely different experience, under the electric Northern Lights, or Aurora Borealis. For entertainment, cultural events like plays, musicals, and orchestra performances are in full swing, and film, art, & music festivals spillover from the fall season.
In the meantime, let’s dive into one of our favorite tours, the self-drive 9-day “Classic Iceland” tour, to see some of the highlights of this breathtaking country, including Europe’s largest Glacier, black-sand beaches, thundering waterfalls, stone arches, the Golden Circle, Myvatn, Akureyri, Skagafjordu, Vik, Reykjavik, and so much more.
For an overview of what makes this country so special, here are two videos to prepare you for the grandeur that awaits:
And your personal Travelous Tour:
Day 1, Reykjavik
Your tour begins in Reykjavik, after arrival into Keflavik Airport, and receiving your car, which will be waiting for you upon arrival. After a stay at the Grand Hotel Reykjavik, guests head out to begin their adventure. We recommend stopping into the iconic Blue Lagoon for your first taste of Iceland’s geothermal hot springs. The water is oh-so-warm, and the people are as well. For a peek at the scene in the Lagoon, check out this video:
Or, take a walk around the northernmost capital in the world, Reykjavik, where you can stroll the main shopping streets of Laugavegur and Skolavordustigur, or go to the top of Hallgrimskirkja church and take in the view of the entire city.
Reykjavik & The Capital Area:
Day 2: The Golden Circle, or, er.. the Golden Hectagon? Reykjavik - Thingvellir - Geysir Hot Spring Area - Gullfoss waterfall - Fludir area
Day two begins your journey on the Golden Circle, exploring the UNESCO Thingvellir National Park, famous for its Viking history and geological wonders, the Geysir Hot Spring Area, with its collection of bubbling pools and spouting geysers, and the majestic, two-tiered Gullfoss (Golden Falls). Then soak in the Secret Lagoon or Laugarvatn Fontana Baths, or try riding an Icelandic horse. Finally, stop at Fridheimar greenhouses to see how food is grown in Iceland and sample fresh local cuisine.
For a preview of the Golden ‘Circle’ route, watch this:
And for a taste of Gullfoss falls, check out this 360-degree video:
And this amazing footage via helicopter:
Day 3: Icelandic South Coast: Looming volcanoes - Black-Sand Beaches - Thundering Waterfalls - Sea Cliffs & Stone Arches
The third day in Iceland takes you to the South Coast, and along the infamous Eyjafjallajokull volcano, which erupted, and disrupted, air traffic in the northern hemisphere for weeks in 2010. Star Wars fans will be pleased to know that the opening scenes from The Force Awakens were shot in this area.
Then, on to Skogafoss. We recommend that visitors stop to see the beautiful Gljufrabui and Seljalandsfoss waterfalls and Myrdalsjokull glacier, which covers the powerful Katla volcano. Optional excursions include exploring an ice cave or snowmobiling on the glacier. Further on, stop by the peaceful seafront village of Vik to grab a meal and explore the dramatic stretch of coastline, beautifully poised between glacier-topped mountains, rugged sea cliffs & world-famous black sand beaches.
A peek at Seljalandsfoss Waterfall:
And Mýrdalsjökull glacier:
And an unbelievable walk through an ice cave:
Day 4: Vik - Kirkjubaejarklaustur - Skaftafell - Jokulsarlon - Hofn
Today you’ll venture to Skaftafell, a green oasis nestled below the great Vatnajokull glacier, the largest glacier in Europe, and part of the Vatnajokull National Park. You’ll experience the height of glacier hike here, then cross black sand plains created by glacial activity.
Next, stop at the incredible Jokulsarlon Glacial Lagoon, a filming location for many Blockbuster movies, including Lara Croft: Tomb Raider and the James Bond films Die Another Day and A View to a Kill. And just across the road, you’ll be able to walk among the ice rocks on Diamond Beach.
Finally, head to the seaside town of Hofn, where you can taste the authentic Icelandic cuisine, in the langoustine capital of northern Europe.
Be awestruck by the Iceland Ice, Jokulsarlon Glacier Lagoon:
Day 5: Narrow Fjords - Steep Mountains - Picturesque Coastline - Intriguing Stone Collection
Next, you’ll start out visiting some of Iceland's oldest landscapes, the rugged and scenic East Fjords. Djupivogur, the gateway to the East Fjords, is ideal for coastal hiking. As you travel, we suggest a visit to Petra's famous collection of local stones and minerals at Stodvarfjordur.
Later, you’ll enter Faskrudsfjordur, a pretty town with an interesting historical connection to France. East Iceland also has ties to the Second World War, and those that are history buffs should check out the Icelandic Wartime Museum in Reydarfjordur town.
Click here for a tour of Iceland’s East Fjords:
Day 6, Diamond Circle of North Eastern Iceland: Egilsstadir - Dettifoss Waterfall - Asbyrgi - Husavik - Dimmuborgir - Myvatn
Day 6 journeys along the magnificent "Diamond Circle" of the Icelandic North East. You’ll head from Egilsstadir to the Modrudalsoraefi highlands, renowned for their stark, untouched beauty, and on to the massive Dettifoss, Europe's biggest waterfall. Then, stop by the Selfoss waterfall, and the horseshoe-shaped canyon Asbyrgi. Next, the friendly Husavik fishing port, known as the Iceland capital of whale watching, and Lake Myvatn, renowned for their nature baths.
Explore the waterfalls by drone: Skogafoss, Dettifoss, Godafoss Waterfalls & More:
Day 7: Exploring the Northern Capital: Myvatn - Akureyri - Skagafjordur
Today you’ll explore the highlights of the Lake Myvatn area, including the mystical volcanic formations at Dimmuborgir, the pseudo craters at Skutustadir, the colorful sulfurous slopes of Namaskard, and the Krafla volcanic area. Then visit Godafoss waterfall, en-route to Akureyri, the charming "capital" of northern Iceland.
Day 8: Skagafjordur - Reykjavik
On your last day, enjoy the scenic route back to Reykjavik, making stops along the way, or opt to return early to the city for an afternoon at leisure. On your final night, we recommend diving into some authentic Icelandic cuisine, or a local bar, to toast your Icelandic adventure!
To get inspired, check out this video from Inspired by Iceland:
Gudmundur Hangouts - Reykjavik Culinary Adventure: