Tour Manager / Cynthia Baldauf
United States – Iceland
Baltimore, Boston, Chicago, Denver, Minneapolis, Newark, New York, Orlando Raleigh-Durham, Seattle, Washington D.C., Toronto and Montreal airports for your nonstop/overnight flight to Keflavik Airport via Icelandair or Delta Airlines. Both airlines will be adding more departure cities and we will update this list as they come on board.
Tour #1 will be lead by quilt designer Gudrun Erla Gisladottir to her homeland Iceland, featuring many of the major natural attractions of this unique country. – the majestic waterfalls, boiling hot springs, mountains and glaciers.
Tour #2 will be lead by Cynthia Baldauf a nationally recognized photographer. Cynthia will conduct a workshop teaching how you can produce a georgeous quilt from the photogenic “Icelandic Horses.”
Keflavik – Reykjavik – Thingborg - Hella
Arrive at Keflavik Airport in the early morning. Clear customs then take a short drive to Viking World, a museum that features exhibitions about the times of the Vikings – Breakfast is served at the museum. Depart from the museum for Iceland’s capital city, Reykjavik, located just 32 miles east from the airport. Once in Reykjavik head directly for Hallgrimskirkja, the tallest and largest church in Iceland. A statue of Leif Eiriksson is aligned directly in front of the church, a gift from the U.S. commemorating the 1,000 anniversary of the Icelandic parliament and a tacit acknowledgement that Leif beat Christopher Columbus to North America by almost 500 years.
Your tour will include the Parliament Building, the National Theater and the main seat of government. Visit the harbor area, where older buildings have been retrofitted as boutiques and restaurants. Leave Reykjavik and travel along the main route through southern Iceland. Pass green farmlands where the Icelandic horses will be grazing along the roadside. Arrive in Thingborg and visit the Wool Center, a good source for the genuine Icelandic woolen products. Continue on to the hamlet of Hella and check in to the Hotel Laekur your home for the next 3 days. “Welcome to Iceland” dinner this evening and get acquainted with your fellow travelers.(B,D)
Hella - Thorsmork - Gigjokull Glacier - Hella
Rise and shine-enjoy breakfast at Hotel Laekur. Depart for Eyjafjallajokull, the 6th largest glacier in Iceland, beneath its cap hides the volcano that erupted in 2010 and disrupted air traffic throughout the northern hemisphere. Today you will visit Thorsmork, a hidden valley between three glaciers. You reach this verdant nature reserve by crossing lava fields and glacial rivers in a modified “Monster” truck – an exhilarating but safe experience, an adventure of a lifetime. Thorsmork is a popular place for hikers, the “Ring of Basar” is an easy 1.5m walk. Buffet lunch is served at Volcano Huts in Husadalur. On your return visit Gigjokull glacier with its giant icicle ravines – a good introduction to the “Land of Fire and Ice.” Dinner at Hotel Laekur. Enjoy the outside “hot pot” or the sauna. (B,L,D)
Hella - Gullfoss - Geysir - Fridheimar Farm - Hvolsvollur - Hella
Depart the Hotel Laekur after breakfast for a full day’s excursion that includes some of the major natural attractions in Iceland. Gullfoss is the majestic waterfall that spans the Hvita River, known as one of the world’s most beautiful gorges. A short drive will then take you to the next phenomenon, the “Geysir Geothermal Area”. The Geysir is the first geyser ever mentioned in text; the one for which all geysers are named. Though it rarely erupts the nearby “Strokkur” keeps the show alive erupting every 4 to 8 minutes.
Drive on to Fridheimar Farm, an amazing greenhouse and horse breeding complex. Tour the greenhouses to gain knowledge into the uses of geothermal heating in Iceland. Savor a delicious lunch then enjoy a horse show that provides insight into the remarkable Icelandic horse breed.
*Optional: A photography workshop with Cynthia Baldauf featuring the Icelandic Horses. Cynthia has been taking photos of horses in Montana for many years. Learn how to take the best photos of these beautiful horses in their natural environment. Learn how to use these images to create a beautiful quilt. Class limited to 10 people ($100). (B,L,D)
Hella - Seljalandsfoss & Skogafoss Waterfalls - Hali
Depart Hella after breakfast for southern Iceland. Todays visit will include Seljalandsfoss and Skogafoss waterfalls and the Skogar Folk Museum. Lunch break in Vik i Myrdal, the southernmost village in Iceland. Continue driving east across the vast Myrdalssandur glacial plain where the immense Vatnajokull, the largest glacier in Europe offers spectacular views. Arrive at Country Hotel Hali, where you have a clear view of the glacier on the one side and the Atlantic ocean on the other. Upon arrival in Hali meet with Icelandic quilters (“The Ribbons”) from the nearby town of Hofn for a fun session of “show and tell”.
Dinner at the hotel.(B,D)
Hali - Jokulsarlon (Glacial Lagoon Cruise) - Westman Islands
Breakfast at Hotel Hali then depart for Jokulsarlon. Board a amphibian boat on Iceland’s deepest glacial lagoon for a 30 minute excursion. The lagoon is 150 feet deep and has enormous icebergs with huge blocks of ice breaking off the glacier. Once back on land continue to a small village for lunch at elegant Klaustur Restaurant.
Your next stop is Reynisfjara to see the fascinating black sand beaches with their crushing waves, basalt columns and huge cave.
Continue to Landeyjahofn and board the Herjolfur ferry to Heimaey, the largest of the Westman Islands. Check in at Hotel Vestmannaeyjar your home for the next two nights.
Dinner at Einsi Kaldi (Einar The Cool One). (B,L,D)
You have not been to Iceland if you have not been to the Westman Islands, a archipelago of 15 islands – off the beaten path of most tours. The islands were formed by submarine volcanic eruptions 11,000 years ago. The biggest island, Heimaey is the only permanently inhabited one and is the home to approximately 4300 people. Visit the Volcano Museum and the lava fields. Lunch is at “Gott Restaurant”. Continue after lunch to the Beluga Whale Sanctuary, the world’s first open water whale sanctuary, located in Klettsvik Bay.This is where two female Beluga Whales – “Little White” and “Little Grey” were moved from a entertainment park in China in June 2019. Dinner tonight at “Slippurinn Restaurant”. (B,L,D)
Westman Islands- Selfoss - Reykjavik
Today take a exciting excursion by boat around Vestmannaeyjar. With a excellent view from the ocean you can see the cliffs teeming with puffins and other birds. Surtsey, a newly formed volcanic island with a rugged lava coastline and colorful caves will also be in your view. Depart by ferry to the mainland and continue to Reykjavik by shortest route. Check in at the Hotel Plaza located in the heart of the city with restaurants, shopping and nightlife on your doorstep. Remainder of day is at leisure. (B,L)
Reykjavik - Free Day
Breakfast at the hotel – morning at leisure without a program. There is lots to choose from on how to spend your free day. You may take a optional whale excursion or visit the Whale Museum of Iceland or attend a concert at the Harpa Concert Hall. (B)
Reykjavik - Quilting Workshop
Breakfast at hotel and morning at leisure without a program. We offer a optional tour to Thingvillir National Park, site of the ancient Icelandic parliament. Thingvillir has been designated a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Afternoon transfer to the Grand Hotel Reykjavik where there will be a Quilting workshop where a local Icelandic quilter will teach the class. The class will include both the American group as well as Icelandic quilters who will all mingle and learn together with instructions in both languages, English and Icelandic. Sewing machines will be provided and shared.
Attend a “Quilt Show & Tell” after your workshop in the hotel; featuring quilts made by Icelandic quilters, quilts brought by tour members and quilts designed and made by today’s teacher. When the “Show and Tell” is over enjoy a “Farewell To Iceland” dinner served at Islenski Barinn, located next door to your hotel. Tour members and Icelandic Quilters will participate – about 40 guests are expected. (B, D)
Reykjavik - Return to the United States
This is your last day in Iceland. After breakfast check out of the Hotel Plaza for the Reykjanes peninsula, where both the Blue Lagoon and Keflavik Airport are located.
Upon arrival at the Blue Lagoon (optional) we will spend two hours enjoying the lagoon and the adjacent facilities. For those that do not participate in the Blue Lagoon visit you a few more hours for shopping or take a last walk through the pretty city of Reykjavik before departing for the airport and your flight home. (B)
**Send us a email at (email@example.com) or call (864-263-7962) and we will mail you a 26 page tour presentation with all the detailed information about this tour.