In Iceland you are on the top of the world physically and mentally! AACI will show you a land of boiling mud pools, spurting geysers, glaciers and waterfalls. Its breathtaking landscapes are inspirational. Iceland is the least densely populated country in Europe with a pure, unpolluted and truly magical landscape. Our kosher, Shabbat observant, English speaking tour will allow us many hours of happy touring as the sun dips down to the horizon, but never sets.
We will visit Reykjavik the capital and Akureyri, the Northern capital as we drive past tiny villages and farms nestled under the huge volcanic cliffs, punctuated every so often by spectacular waterfalls each more breathtaking than the next. Sites that can only be seen on our unique Iceland Golden Circle tour. Our days will be filled with activities such as walking through Lava fields, snowmobiling, whale watching and relaxing in some of the natural hot baths. AACI’s Iceland is an exceptional journey like no other.
Day 1. Sunday: Tel Aviv – Keflavik – Snaefellsnes Departing from Israel and other foreign departure points, we will fly to Keflavik, Iceland. Upon arrival we will make our way to the Snaefellsnes (Snow Mount) peninsula – an apt name for a peninsula that has a volcano crowned with a glacier on its tip.
Day 2. Monday: Snaefellsnes Today we will visit the Snaefellsnes peninsula, where we will take an easy walk and discover black pebble beaches, basalt cliffs that rise above the sea, lava fields alongside greenish mossy areas, small fishing villages and nesting colonies of beautiful birds – gulls, parrots, ducks and storm birds. We will reach the lava cave in the famous Snaefellsjökull (Snowfly) volcano, which rises to a height of 1,446 m and has a crater adorned with a glacial dome. This mountain owes its fame to Jules Verne’s book “Journey to the Centre of the Earth”, in which the book’s protagonists chose this volcano as their entry point into the Earth’s crust
Day 3. Tuesday: Snaefellsnes – Akureyri – Jokulsa-a-Fjollum Canyon – Dettifoss / Selfoss Falls – Husavik After breakfast, we will drive to Akureyri, the largest settlement in Iceland, beyond the Reykjavík area. Akureyri, which is surrounded by a spectacular fjord, is the capital of the north, providing the entire area with government and cultural services, trade and industry, despit its small population of 19,000. It also has a hospital, an airport for international flights, TV and radio studios, a university, a museums and a wonderful local beer. We will take a panoramic tour of the picturesque streets of this beautiful city and visit the local botanical garden. From here we will continue to Gullfoss waterfall, known as the “Waterfall of the Gods” and considered the most beautiful waterfall in Iceland and one of the most spectacular waterfalls in Europe. It is in fact the wide cascade of the Quita River, known by Icelanders as the “White River”, flowing from a glacier and falling in some spectacular waterfalls into a deep basalt canyon, created by the river itself.
We will continue our journey along the huge Jokulsa-a-Fjollum river, and later, we will walk along the Jokulsa-a-Fjollum Canyon, where the Dettifoss waterfall flows. This is considered the most powerful in Europe with 210 tons of glacial water per second falling from a height of c. 44 m. If conditions allow we will also tour inside the impressive basalt canyon, a challenging hiking trail that will lead us to hidden springs and waterfalls. From here, we will continue to our hotel in the Husavik area.
Day 4. Wednesday: Lake Myvatn – Egilsstadir Today we will go on a whale watching cruise. After the cruise, we will reach one of the most fascinating geological and geomorphological sites in Iceland – Lake Myvatn (Mosquito Lake). It is a shallow lake, rich in organic matter, formed 2,300 years ago following a volcanic eruption during which a large amount of basaltic lava flowed and groups of craters were formed on its shores. This type of lava formation is known as “simulated craters”. We will continue to Dimmuborgir, the “Black Castle”, for a walk inside a volcanic maze, which is the only place in the world where you can see huge lava formations that are sometimes reminiscent of humans, or birds and even cathedrals. It is one of the most volcanically active areas in Iceland with small geysers, steam and smoke visible (and heard) from all sides, with sizzling sulfur springs, bubbling mud pools and solidified remnants of fresh volcanic eruptions. Here also is one of the largest nesting areas in Europe, with ducks, swans, gulls and over 115 rare species of waterfowl. The entire Lake Mivatan area was declared a protected area (nature reserve) in I974 and has since become one of the main and attractive tourist sites in Iceland. From here we will continue to the town of Egilsstadir.
Day 5. Thursday: Egilsstadir. – Eastern Fjords – Snowmobile Experience Carole – is this part of the itinerary? After breakfast, we will drive along the “Ring Road”, which is the main and most important road in Iceland. The road is 1,336 km long and encompasses the entire island, connecting all the main population centers in the country and providing spectacular views. We will continue south to Egilsstadir, the largest city on the eastern side of Iceland, which is a transit station between northern and southern Iceland, The area includes an airport, a hospital and college, as well as being a starting point for excursions to the eastern fjords and glacial lagoons. The eastern fjords are over 13 million years old, among the oldest in Iceland geologically.
Day 6. Friday: Skaftafell Reserve – Glacier Lagoon – Selfoss After breakfast, we will head to the largest glacier in Iceland and in Europe, Vatnajökull Glacier. The glacier covers 8,100 square kilometers and covers about 8% of the entire island. The highest peak of the glacier is in Skaftafell National Park. It is a beautiful, mountainous nature reserve, with spectacular waterfalls and icebergs that almost touch the sea. We will reach the “Black Waterfall”, Svartifoss, a amazing waterfall, named after the black basalt pillars behind it. We will view one of the southern spurs of the huge glacier and return to the visitor center, where we will learn about the violent eruptions of the volcanoes on which the huge glacier sits. We will continue to the glacial Jokulsarlon lagoon, which is strikingly beautiful. It is the largest and deepest glacial lagoon in Iceland, above which the Öraefajökul, the highest volcano in Iceland, rises to a height of 210 m. The lagoon is the result of the accelerated thawing of the Vatnajokull Glacier, which created glaciers floating in the lake in a variety of shapes and sizes.
Day 7. Saturday: Selfoss Prayers and Shabbat meals. We will take a walking tour of the hotel area.
Day 8. Sunday: Selfoss, Vestmannaeyjar (Westman) Islands Cruise, Boat Cruise around the South Coast of the island This morning we will set sail south on the ferry to the Vestmannaeyjar Islands which are a group of 14 islands, with a total area of 17s square kilometers, located near the southern coast of Iceland. Of these, only the large island of Heimaey is inhabited, with about 4,000 inhabitants, most of them in the city of Vestmannaeyjar. Westman Islands are located on a volcanic area of about 800 square kilometers with about 80 volcanic craters, of which only 17 or 18 are above sea level. In 1963 one of the underwater volcano erupted, and the raging lava raised its summit above sea level. Thus was born the island of Surtsey. The eruption lasted until June 5, 1967. Surtsey is considered the “youngest” island on Earth being only 56 years old, and is a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
A dramatic-historical landmark of the island of Heimaey and its inhabitants is 2 a.m. on January 23, 1973. For more than 100 years,its mountain erupted from a depth of 100 m from the Earth’s mantle. Suddenly, without prior warning from seismographic systems, the awful sight of lava jets leaping into the sky and gliding through rivers of fire everywhere terrified the inhabitants. The eruption continued for more than 5 consecutive months, and the residents only returned to the island months after the eruption ceased, to begin the restoration work. The date of the eruption is a traumatic one for the inhabitants, and any event is described as being “before” or “after” the eruption.
We will sail around the Heimaey Island to beautiful and hidden corners and basalt cliffs along the shores, and for birdwatching. In the afternoon, we will return by ferry to the shores of Iceland and immediately continue to visit the impressive Selfoss and Zealand waterfalls.
Day 9. Monday: Selfoss, Golden Circle After breakfast, we will head towards the “Golden Circle” where we will visit three very impressive sites. The first site is Gullfoss – “Golden Waterfall”, consisting of two huge and beautiful waterfalls. Not far from here is the famous Great Geysir geyser, which erupts to great heights. At the same site is also the Strokkur geyser that erupts every five minutes. The third site we will visit in the Golden Circle is the Thingvellir National Park, which, in addition to its natural beauty, is the place where the Althing – the Icelandic Parliament – was founded in 930 considered the oldest parliament in the world and one of the most important attractions in Iceland. Evidence of these heroic days is a natural bedrock on which the representatives of the tribes on the island used to sit for their meetings. Here they made their historic decisions, including giving up their pagan religion, trying law-breakers, carrying out executions by tying heavy stones to the convicts’ necks and throwing them into the nearby river. The Parliament site is right on the fault line across the Icelandic island from southwest to northeast. The walk between the upright basalt walls along the fault line gives an understanding of the drama that took place in the depths of the earth, resulting in the separation between the continents of Europe and America.
Our Golden Circle leads us to the next magical destination – a visit and bathing in the “Secret Lagoon”, not far from Gullfoss, located in the town of Fludir where about 400 people live. Steam fumes rising around, already mark the way to this pool, which is actually a natural thermal spring. The warm water, the fresh air and the view of the surrounding lava fields give bathers a feeling of relaxation and serenity. The small geyser that erupts from time to time is part of the magical atmosphere of the bathing experience. This geyser is the source of water that seeps into the pool and thus helps fill it up and keep the water warm.
Day 10. Tuesday: Landmannalaugar Reserve, The colorful rock reserve Without a doubt, Landmannalaugar Reserve, “People’s Pools”, is one of the most spectacular areas in central Iceland. It is so named because of the abundance of mud pools it provides for tourists, along with countless formations, ranging from volcanic rocks carved in black stripes of volcanic ash, with the colorful red, orange and yellow mountain slopes above them. Huge lava fields, steam jets erupting from cracks in the ground and areas covered with thin mossy vegetation complete this magical picture. We will hike along a trail in the center of the reserve, and as time allows – we will end up bathing in the hot springs.
Days 11-12. Wednesday: Selfoss – Reykjavik – Keflavik – Tel Aviv After breakfast, we will visit the fascinating geothermal power station to learn how clean electricity powers the country. We will then continue to beautiful Reykjavík, which is the northernmost capital city in the world. Reykjavik means the “smoking bay”, named because of the volcanic activity around it. The city is surrounded by mountains and is located within a wide bay, in the heart of a geothermal area of hot springs, which erupt from the ground and serve as natural central heating with no air pollution. Therefore, despite its name, its air is actually clear and clean, which is aided by the winds that blow constantly. Reykjavík has a population of close to 120,000. In winter, it has only 4 hours of daylight, and in summer the night is almost as bright as the day. The sun sets towards 23:00, so that the cafes and pubs as well as the heated thermal pools are bustling till late. We will tour the city and stop at the “Pertlan” water reservoir, which provides hot water to the entire city. We will visit the Hallgrims Church towering over the city and finish at the port complex and the new Harpa Cultural Center building. From there we will drive to Keflavik Airport, and fly back to Israel.
Price: $ 6975 per person in a double room for AACI members $ 7,050 per person in a double room for non-AACI members $1200 Single supplement
Included in the price for this tour:
Flights from Israel
11 nights’ accommodation in country lodges and hotels
Kosher full board including provisions to make sandwiches for lunch
Tours and entrances to the sites as described in the route
English-speaking escort from Israel
AACI escort/guide/kosher supervisor
Cruise to the Westman Islands to see the famous Puffins
Glacier lagoon cruise
Entrance and bathing in the blue lagoon including towels
Snowmobile Experience on a glacier (2 passengers per snowmobile)
Not included in the price:
Any items not mentioned in the above itinerary
*Minimum number of participants required
**Itinerary is subject to change without notice