2022 August 7 to 14
Prices listed are per person:
Shared Room: $5598
Private Room: $7048
“The most fun I’ve had in a beautiful place in a long time” – Fred H., PA
“A life-changing exhilarating experience.” – Craig B., NY
“This was the best experience of my life.” -Marc T., CA
“Our Iceland trip was great. What a unique and fascinating place to visit—from the glaciers and the tectonic plates to the waterfalls, geysers, and lava tubes. Great guides and a great group of guys.” – Ron Roman, Oak Park, IL
“Visiting Iceland is like a trip to another planet. Majestic, unique, a land that is living and breathing before your eyes and stunningly beautiful. And the people are great too! Puffins rule!” – Brian Farmer, San Francisco, CA
“Friends asked me before the trip, “Why Iceland?” After they saw my pictures, they answered their own question.” – Alan Meyer, Lincoln, NE
“I didn’t know what I was getting myself into. It turned out to be one of the best vacations I’ve ever had.”— Jimmy Halpin, New York, NY
“I liked that we were able to go to many places off the beaten path and get away from the huge crowds of tour bus operators. The hotels were all very nice, and I liked the company of the other guys on the tour.” – Brian M., Boston, MA
Hike to the edge of Iceland’s most recent volcano, still fuming and cooling
Enjoy a short ferry ride to the Westman Islands where the island of Surtsey emerged from the sea in 1963
Visit the ruins of Pompeii of the North in Heimaey, a town half-covered in lava and ash, where you’ll learn the herculean efforts by the local residents to save their port. And then summit the still smoldering volcano towering above.
Experience a glacier hike across one of Iceland’s mighty glaciers.
Explore the raw, geologic beauty of the national reserve Landmannalaugar.
Trek to the edge of the America tectonic plate, then through the rugged chasm where the European plate is ripped away from it.
Relax in a few of Iceland’s geothermally-heated spas, lagoons in the lava.
Climb around, behind, and into a variety of waterfall wonderlands.
Savor delicious seafood, lamb, and even that Icelandic delicacy, Hákarl, putrid shark!
For those with extra time, come a day or two early to experience the fabulous Reykjavik Pride Festival!
Eerie Landscapes and Extraordinary Fun
During our gay Iceland adventure week explore many of the country’s natural wonders and its unique Nordic history and culture. We’ll take day hikes through the amazingly green countryside, across steaming rivers, around waterfalls, into volcanic craters, on top of icy glaciers, and even through rift valleys, not to mention ferry boat rides and natural hot springs! Optional activities on your free day include horseback riding, arctic rafting, and whale watching.
The small island of Iceland offers enormous contrasts and variety: unspoiled landscapes, uncrowded parks, and unique geology. Iceland has a small, friendly gay and lesbian community in the capital, but you’ll find few signs of gay life outside Reykjavik. In true Scandinavian tradition, people don’t feel it’s any big deal whether you’re gay or straight.
If you have a little extra time, consider adding a day or two BEFORE your trip to join Reykjavik’s gay pride celebrations. These begin with opening ceremonies Thursday evening and conclude in the early hours on Sunday. The Pride parade is usually on Saturday, around 2 PM, followed by an outdoor festival and midnight dance parties.
Day 1: Volcanic Craters and Welcome Dinner
We start the tour this morning exploring the area around Iceland’s newest volcano, Fagradalsfjall, and other interesting geologic sites and geothermal areas on the Reykjanes peninsula.
And we can’t miss one of Iceland’s most unique hot spots, the much-famed Blue Lagoon! Enjoy this sprawling outdoor pool, naturally contained in a lava flow on the Reykjanes Peninsula. It is the perfect antidote to jet lag and a great welcome to Iceland with a long soak and a therapeutic swim. Immerse yourself in a soothing soak in the geothermally-heated waters.
Then it is on to Reykjavik, the capital, for our welcome dinner this evening and a one-night stay.
Day 2: Where the Continents Divide, Geysers Erupt, and Mighty Waters Fall
Today we’re off to explore some amazing geology:
- See where the North American tectonic plate is pulling away from the European tectonic plate, creating rifts in the earth’s crust – sheer cliffs pulling from each other, creating gorges and canyons that get wider each year. We’ll hike in between these tectonic plates through a rift valley.
- Visit “Geysir,” the original spouter, whose name is now used around the world as a generic term for all geysers. Next to it, at “Strokkur”, we’ll see the pool repeatedly rise and fall, as if panting hard. Then the water surface swells like a giant blue egg emerging from the earth, and finally, hot water spews, bursts, and jets into the sky.
- Marvel at waterfalls galore this week, beginning today with huge Gullfoss(“golden falls”), a huge double-decker that entices us into its misty veil.
After lunch in one of Iceland’s geothermal grown houses, we’ll learn a bit about Viking history and politics, too. High up in the hills along the shores of the Oxara River we find Iceland’s most historic spot: Thingvellir (Parliament Plains). This is where the rowdy Vikings formed the world’s oldest true parliament, in A.D. 930.
After an exhilarating day, we head for two nights to a lovely country guesthouse in southern Iceland, with a hot pool to relax and soak in while enjoying the late-setting sun.
Day 3: Highlands of Iceland: Landmannalaugar and Thjorsardalur Valley
After breakfast, we will have a magnificent drive across at first barren lands — all white with pumice, then suddenly brittle black rock strewn everywhere by the mighty volcano Hekla nearby. It’s a scene out of the film Prometheus, filmed here a few years ago.
But things brighten and begin to green as we approach the beautifully-sited national reserve known as Landmannalaugar, mysterious land of multi-hued volcanic mountains: yellow, white, red, green, gray, and black. We have an excellent hike of 2-3 hours. Half chaos, half Garden of Eden, it’s an amazing land with an eerie mystical bent, made even more so by multiple steam vents and the occasional whiff of sulfur coming from deep within the Earth.
Later, we explore more of the pristine Highlands region, with hikes through native Icelandic forests and farm ruins, and a bevy of amazing waterfalls in the Thorsa river valley.
We’ll enjoy a beautiful, towering set of twin falls, 400+ feet high, in a side tributary before working our way downriver to the idyllic naturescape of Gjáin, with its series of springs and waterfalls sprouting from all sides, before wandering down to the Viking farm ruins Stöng, which was pummeled by the Hekla volcano in 1103.
And soon afterward, we visit the modern replica of that 11th-century Viking long-house, called Pjodveldisbear (you may have seen it in a few scenes of the Game of Thrones). Afterward, we will return to our country hotel for another night.
Day 4: Puffins, Glacier Hike and Pompeii of the North on the Westman Islands
This morning we have a 30-minute ferry ride to Heimaey, the main town of the Westman Islands. We will offer a variety of things to see and do in the Westman Islands, depending on time, weather, and ability. These include:
- Tour of the various natural sites around the island and the amazing effects of the Eldfell volcanic eruption that buried half the town of Heimaey in 1973.
- Visit the buried section of town and their excellent museum “Pompeii of the North”
- Hike up the Eldfell cinder cone to its still-warm summit.
- Look for puffins nesting at Storhofdi and hear about puffin traditions.
Next, we return to the mainland and visit the waterfall, Seljalandsfoss, before we continue around the great volcano that disrupted so much of Europe’s air traffic in 2010, Eyjafjallajökull, and on to our next country lodge.
Day 5: Glacier Lagoon and Diamond Beach
From Vik, we travel east today past Skaftafell National Park to one of the lagoons sometimes found at the foot of retreating glaciers. These lagoons or lakes occur naturally where the great weight of thousands of feet of ice scoured the ground, leaving a depression that filled with meltwater from the retreating glacier. While many of the world’s glaciers have retreated much higher in the mountains, here we find the glacier extending almost to the sea, calving off icebergs into the lake. We will enjoy a zodiac boat ride in the lake as we learn more and celebrate the power and beauty of glacial ice.
On our return to Vik, we stop for a few walks at an almost fairytale-like canyon, Fjaðrárgljúfur, that was carved about 9,000 years ago, yet another idyllic geologic formation.
Day 6: Glacier Hiking and more Waterfalls
This morning we meet our glacier guide who will show us how to use our glacier hiking gear and then instruct us on how to walk on ice. We will then spend the next few hours exploring the terrain on the top of the glacier, which is sometimes smooth and at other times rough-and-tumble, such variety caused by a constantly moving and eroding glacier. The cerulean blue of the dense ice is revealed in its crevasses, ice caves, and towering seracs, some of which we hope to explore.
Afterward, we continue east, stopping at the powerful Skogarfoss waterfall and another waterfall nearby. There is a deep culture in Iceland involving the hidden folk, including trolls and elves. During our tour this week, we will learn more about how locals respect certain rocks where trolls live. And even re-route roads and highways to avoid disturbing a troll’s rocky home.
This evening, we arrive back in Reykjavik for two nights.
Day 7: A Day in Reykjavik
Explore Reykjavik, the northernmost capital city of Europe, and perhaps the most eclectic. It’s a working harbor and a cultural center; you can fish for salmon right here in town, or dine on salmon at a fine restaurant. (Likewise, and perhaps more discomfiting to some: you can see puffins at the zoo, from a boat – or eat them at a fine restaurant.)
It’s easy to fill a whole day strolling the streets, plazas, and waterfront of Reykjavik. While many imported items are expensive, travelers with a yen for shopping can find several bargains, most notably the strikingly-patterned wool sweaters. You can rent a bike to explore on your own or join a two-to-three-hour city tour or a longer mountain biking tour just outside the city.
Reykjavik’s museums, galleries, and cultural sites are an easy walk from our hotel, as is the Phallological Museum, which houses the world’s largest collection of penises and phallobelia, with specimens from all kinds of mammals, from whales to man, and even an exhibit for Iceland’s hidden folk, from trolls to mermen. Yes, mermen!
This afternoon we will relax, soak, and reflect on our week in Iceland at a lovely new oceanside spa, located on the outskirts of town. And tonight, as honorary Vikings, we gorge on a gourmet dinner to celebrate our adventures and experiences this past week here in geologically wild and wonderful Iceland.
Day 8: Departure
The hardest thing about our trips is saying goodbye to a wonderful group of new friends. We hope that you have enjoyed the magic of Iceland, its culture, history, landscapes, and warm people.
Thank you for joining us — and we hope to see you again!
Price includes: Airport transfers into Reykjavik on arrival and back to the airport on departure. All group transportation within Iceland; Accommodations for seven nights in a double room(unless requesting a private room); Tour guide accompanying the group at all locations; Breakfast every day, 4 lunches, and 5 dinners; Hiking, glacier hike, boat ride to/from Westman Islands & on the glacier lagoon (weather permitting), entry to Pompeii of the North Museum, entry for soaking in the Blue & Sky Lagoons, and other outdoor activities. Services of a knowledgeable HE Travel tour host (with a minimum number of participants). HE Travel provides complimentary Medical & Evacuation Insurance for every US Resident on our group tours who does not have other coverage.
Not included: Airfare; souvenirs, snacks, admissions, and meals not listed above; Alcoholic beverages; Optional activities (bike tours, horseback riding, and whale-watching are available.); Gratuities for Icelandic guides and HE Travel host.
We strongly recommend the purchase of Trip Cancellation and Interruption insurance to protect your vacation investment in case of unforeseen circumstances such as flight delay, illness, or injury. Click Here to learn more about our Insurance partner.
- What if I am traveling alone?
- Most of our trips draw more single travelers than couples. When couples do join us, it’s usually because they’re looking forward to interacting with a gay group; if they wanted a holiday by themselves, they wouldn’t have signed up to travel with us. Furthermore, the activities included with our trips serve as natural ice-breakers. Within a day, you’ll be traveling with friends. You don’t need to pay the single supplement if you’re traveling alone. We’ll be happy to match you with a roommate. Pay the single supplement only if you want a bedroom to yourself. For selected trips, including cruises, we will charge half the single supplement if you request a roommate but we can’t match you with someone.
- What is the physical activity level of this tour?
Physical Activity Level
In Iceland, we have several hikes over sometimes rough terrain, so a decent amount of walking/hiking ability over uneven and sometimes slippery surfaces is required. If you can comfortably hike for half a day, you’re ready for this trip; those eager to do more will have plenty of opportunities. Your guides on the tour will help you access what is appropriate and reasonable given your desires and abilities each day.
- Where and when does the tour start and end?
- This tour starts and ends in Reykjavik, Iceland, with flights in and out of the nearby international Keflavik Airport (KEF). Consider arriving a day or two early to enjoy a well-supported, fun Gay Pride. Pride is on the several days leading up to our tour, with the grand parade in Reykjavik Saturday afternoon, the day before our tour starts. And there is a large outdoor festival following the parade, as well as parties and other activities through the night, but those may be affected by COVID-19 precautions. The tour lasts 8 days and 7 nights. On our first day, Day 1, we expect to depart at 9AM from our main hotel in Reykjavik(overnight flights usually arrive between 5:30-7:00AM). We’ll have 7 nights in Iceland, with most people flying back home on the afternoon of the last day, but you can depart anytime that day.
- How do I get there?
- From North America, Icelandair offers flights from several gateway cities: Boston, New York JFK, Newark, Washington Dulles, Minneapolis/St. Paul, Denver, Seattle, Toronto, and Halifax. Delta also offers a daily summertime flight. You can check flight options at www.icelandair.com, www.delta.com or call our office and ask to speak to our flight specialist. From Europe, Icelandair offers flights to Reykjavik from several cities. Since airlines regularly change their routes, you should check with Icelandair, a travel agent, or online for up-to-date schedules. At the airport, small islands have their advantages: it takes only minutes after your plane touches down outside Reykjavik before you’ve collected your baggage.
- What's gay life like in Iceland?
- Iceland is a Scandinavian country, with similar attitudes: Most people have better things to do than worry about whether you’re gay or straight. There are strong civil rights protections for gay people (including the right to marry), and homophobic attitudes have never really taken root. Perhaps because of this generally accepting attitude, there has never been a strongly developed gay culture as in some other world capitals. Reykjavik has a few gay organizations, a gay disco, and several clubs that serve a mixed clientele. Things don’t really get moving at the clubs until after midnight, so most of us are more likely to go out for a night at the end of the trip, rather than the beginning.
- What's the weather like in Iceland?
- The Gulf Stream has a moderating influence on Iceland’s climate. Expect daytime summer temperatures in the southwest to range from the fifties to the low seventies, Fahrenheit. Odds are, you’ll experience a full gamut of these temperatures. You can also count on some clear, sunny days, with blue sky from one horizon to the other; and some overcast or rainy days. And you can count on variability. A day that begins with a grey cloud cover can give way to blue sky by noon. Be prepared for this range: pack a warm fleece jacket, and something waterproof, as well as a few t-shirts.
- Additional Questions
- For answers to your additional questions, please email firstname.lastname@example.org or call 305-294-8174