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2021 August 8 to 16
Prices listed are per person:
Shared Room: $5998
Private Room: $7298
Enjoy several afternoon soaks in geothermal hot springs during the trip, including the Blue Lagoon.
Wonder in amazement as you gaze across geothermal areas, including the geyser Stokkur.
Experience the the beauty of the Snæfellsnes Peninsula, from sea coast to icy volcano.
Explore a real glacier from the inside as you hike into Iceland’s 2nd largest glacier, Langjokull.
Trek along the coast from Arnastapi to Hellnar villages.
Cruise across the bay to the stunning mountains and bird-filled cliffs of the West Fjords
Savor delicious seafood, lamb, and even that Icelandic delicacy, Hákarl, putrid shark!
For those with extra time, come a couple of days early to experience the fabulous Reykjavik Pride Festival!
Gorgeous Landscapes and Extraordinary Fun
During our gay Iceland week, explore many of the country’s natural wonders and its unique Nordic history and culture as we travel northwest of Reykjavik to the Snaefellsnes Peninsula and then explore the wonders of the even more remote West Fjords. We’ll hike through amazingly green countryside, into a huge glacier, along remote coastlines, under giant volcanoes, and even onto one of Europe’s tallest sea cliffs. We dine at seaside villages, cross a fjord on a ferry boat, and delight in oodles of natural hot springs! Optional activities on your free day back in Reykjavik include horseback riding, arctic rafting, and whale watching.
The small island of Iceland offers enormous contrasts and variety: unspoiled landscapes, unique geology, and a cosmopolitan atmosphere in the northern-most capital, Reykjavik. 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.
Consider beginning your holiday week by arriving a day or two early to join Reykjavik’s Pride parade and celebrations.
Day 1: Blue Lagoon and Welcome Dinner
After that long flight into Iceland (or, perhaps, a long night of Pride), we have a soft start, with a mid-morning walking tour of central Reykjavik, then an afternoon at one of Iceland’s most unique hot spots, the much-famed Blue Lagoon! No, don’t look for naked boys and girls and a dolphin or two — that’s a different travel package and a different Blue Lagoon. But this sprawling outdoor pool does offer a vivid reminder that we aren’t in Kansas anymore! Immerse yourself in the waters, naturally heated and naturally blue from heavy mineral content, as steam fills the air.
And don’t be deceived by the nearby power plant, which merely converts some of the Earth’s deep heat into electrical energy for Iceland. The water here is naturally blue from a heavy mineral content that’s also touted for its therapeutic value. And the water is naturally heated, from 6,000 feet below you.
In fact, it would be hard to find a water heater anywhere in Iceland. Enjoy taking a long shower every morning — the hot water is piped right from the earth, and there’s plenty more where it came from. We will return to our hotel in the afternoon and have our welcome dinner this evening.
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 the continents.
- Visit “Geysir,” the original spouter, whose name is now used around the world as a generic term for all, well, geysers. Next to it, at “Strokkur”, we’ll see the pool rise and fall, as if panting hard. Then the surface swells like a giant blue egg emerging from the earth, and finally, it spews, bursts, and jets into the sky.
- Marvel at waterfalls galore this week, beginning today with huge Gullfoss, a huge double-decker that entices us into its misty veil.
And we’ll learn a bit about 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.
Day 3: Goats and Ice
Today we will make our way north to Iceland’s second-largest glacier, Langjokull, for a once in a lifetime trip. After a ride in a 20-ton former NATO missile launcher up to the ice, we hike through amazing ice tunnels carved into the glacier, where we can see the cerulean blue of the tightly packed ice and learn how glaciers and ice caps are formed and how they change over time.
After that chilly visit, how about something warm and cuddly? We’re off to visit a local farm to meet Icelandic goats, purebred descendants of those brought by the Vikings a thousand years ago. These gentle, curious animals are on the brink of extinction. But with dedication and determination, friendly local breeders keep the stock thriving. We will enjoy a cup of warm coffee and spend some time with these amazing animals.
The day will continue with a visit to a few waterfall gems: Barnafoss and Hraunfossar. Barnafoss shows the brutal, rough side of rushing water’s erosive powers through a narrow chasm, while Hraunfossar offers an idyllic view, with waters magically appearing through various layers of lava, seemingly from nowhere, creating a broad cliff covered in small waterfalls, cascading into a bright turquoise river below.
With Iceland’s largest natural hot spring nearby, we will reward ourselves with a relaxing soak, joining the social tradition of late afternoon relaxation in Icelandic hot pots.
Day 4: Snaefellsnes Peninsula
Today’s adventure has us traveling out a unique peninsula that has at its end the huge volcano Snaefellsnes, topped by a glacier, which you may have read about as a child. Jules Verne selected this behemoth as the entrance to the Earth in his novel after reading explorers’ accounts of the area. Alas, Jules never visited Iceland, but we will show you many of the wonders that he could only dream about There’s so much variety out here that some called it a miniature version of Iceland. Enjoy the sights and multiple stops today.
We enjoy a quaint hike from the seaside village of Arnarstapi, once an important fishing and trading village, to Hellnar village, which is surrounded by peculiar rock formations and caves to explore. There is even a freshwater spring by the lava’s edge dedicated to the Virgin Mary, said to have appeared here once upon a time.
After lunch in Hellnar, we have a guided hike into a colorful lava tube, Vatnshellir, to explore interesting stalactites and stalagmites formed out of lava before heading to an eerie black sand beach containing other-worldly formations, also formed of lava remnants. Take a stroll down the black beach and you will encounter parts of shipwrecks scattered along the way. In days past, locals proved their strength lifting huge stones along the beach – and some of us may take the challenge.
The day continues with a visit to one of Iceland’s most picturesque waterfalls, Kirkjufellsfoss, a beautiful area with a backdrop of the famous mountain Kirkjufell, which you may recognize from the Game of Thrones. We will end our day in the quaint village of Sykkisholmur, located on Breiðafjörður Bay, surrounded by wonderful views of the innumerable islands.
Day 5: West Fjords
After breakfast, we will board the Baldur ferry and head to Brjanslaekur in the West Fjords. The ride will take us about two and a half hours as we cruise across Breiðafjörður Bay. Enjoy the cruise and keep an eye out for possible whale sightings. On arrival, we will likely make our way to Rauoasandur Beach, with 10km of red sand, countless seabirds, and hopefully seals — usually a tranquil oasis.
Next, is a trip highlight, Latrabjarag Cliffs, a series of cliffs about 14 kilometers long and over 1,200 feet high, home to insane numbers and varieties of seabirds, which tend to be protected from Arctic foxes in this extreme area. While we will see a variety of seabirds, the Atlantic Puffins found here are particularly tame and are frequently found in the grassy, higher part of the cliffs. Adorable and playful, but graceful they are not. Watch as they crash-land near their burrows.
Onward we go for our now-traditional afternoon soak, this time further out in the wilderness, to enjoy some time in natural pools near Talknafjordur, which offers an amazing view over the fjord. We will enjoy some relaxation time here before heading to our hotel for the night.
Day 6: Dynjandi Waterfall and Fjord Kayaking
Today we will visit Dynjandi, meaning to boom thunderously, deep in the remote Westfjords. It a favorite attraction, with a series of 7 waterfalls with a total height of 328 feet. We will enjoy lunch at a family-owned restaurant where they serve the catch of the day. Usually, this consists of wolffish, cod, halibut, bacalao, redfish, and spotted catfish.
From here we will check into our hotel and then head out for sea kayaking. Enjoy the peacefulness of the fjord and be on the lookout for seals.
Day 7: Volcanic Crater and Reykjavik
After breakfast, we will head to Strandagaldur. Also known as The Museum of Icelandic Sorcery and Witchcraft. Opened in 2000, it contains various permanent and special exhibitions such as the Nabrok, Icelandic magical staves, Tilberi, and grimoires. The entire second floor is dedicated to the history of witch hunts in Iceland, and the genealogy of witches and their accusers. From there we will have a quick visit to the Sorcerer’s Cottage. Here we will be immersed in the life of people in Iceland during the 17th century. Apparently, turning to sorcery back then, made lives easier in Iceland.
Then, we will make our way to the volcanic crater of Grabrok, the largest of three craters in the West of Iceland. The crater was formed in an eruption 3400 years ago and we will enjoy hiking around the area.
This evening we arrive back in the capital city, Reykjavik.
Day 8: Free 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 has several outdoor, naturally-heated pool complexes that allow you to continue your soaking adventures, enjoying that mainstay of Icelandic social life. More impressive yet, they even have a warm-water beach where they pump warm geothermal water into the cooler North Atlantic waters in a crescent-shaped, golden sand beach. Whale-watching trips are another option as is returning to the countryside to scuba dive in one of the tectonic rifts or try for a horseback ride. Hop onto a handsome palomino, a purebred descendant of the horses that arrived with the Vikings. This is the only horse in the world able to achieve the remarkably smooth, yet fast, 5th gait known as the tolt.
Tonight, our last evening together, a wonderful dinner awaits our whole group. As always, there are alternatives for vegetarians and those with special dietary requirements. Then, Reykjavik’s nightlife awaits those who still have some energy!
Day 9: Departure
The hardest thing about our trips is saying goodbye to a wonderful group of new friends, and the magic of Iceland. But you’ve seen parts of Iceland that most travelers miss; you’ve interacted with the country and its people in ways that give you an extra appreciation for it.
We’ll bet you’ve made some new friends. Thank you for joining us — and we hope to see you again!
Price includes: All group transportation within Iceland; Scheduled airport transfers on arrival and departure; All accommodations for eight nights; Tour guide accompanying the group at all locations; Breakfast every day, 2 lunches, and 4 dinners; ferry travel; multiple soaking geothermal experiences; Guided glacier tunnel and lava tubes hikes, sea kayaking, and other activities & entry fees as listed in the itinerary. 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; Meals not listed here; Alcoholic beverages; Optional activities; Gratuities for guides and host.
Optional Tour Choices:
$1300 Single Supplement (for solo travelers who wish to enjoy a private bedroom and bathroom)
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 early to enjoy a well-supported, fun Gay Pride near the Arctic. 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. The tour lasts 9 days and 8 nights. On our first day, Day 1, there is an optional, city tour beginning at 10 AM at our main hotel in Reykjavik, if you happen to arrive early enough. Otherwise, be sure to be in Reykjavik in our hotel lobby by 1:30 PM for an afternoon of touring and geothermal soaks. We’ll have 8 nights in Iceland, with most people flying back home on the afternoon of the last day. If you have a couple of extra days, we encourage you to join the Reykjavik Pride celebrations, usually the weekend before our tour.
- 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 between JFK and Reykjavik. 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. We include a shuttle transfer for you to our hotel in downtown Reykjavik. They will take you to a central location on a large bus, but as part of the same ticket, you’ll switch to a smaller van for drop off at our hotel, but some may deliver you directly to our central hotel.
- 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 to range from the mid-forties to the low seventies, Fahrenheit. Odds are, you’ll experience a full gamut of temperatures here in the changeable Arctic region. You can also count on some beautiful clear and sunny days with blue skies as well as overcast days with rain. It’s best to come prepared for a variety of weather: pack a warm fleece jacket, rain-proof gear, and plan to dress in layers so that you can go from sunshine to windy chill with ease.
- Additional Questions
- For answers to your additional questions, please email email@example.com or call 305-294-8174