Iceland Land Tour, June 3-9, 2017
Reykjavik is the northern most capital in the world, with a small metropolis of 190.000 inhabitants. With plenty of space, clean air and natural green energy, Reykjavik clearly revels in its reputation as being one of the most modern, progressive societies in Europe. The city’s motto “pure energy” speaks of its ideals and this pure energy can be portrayed in numerous forms including the city’s sustainable heating, exciting nightlife or vibrant culture. Reykjavik’s reputation as a cultural city has grown rapidly with extensive and beautiful art, design, music, theater and literature offered daily and major festivals taking place throughout the year. Exploring the small city center reveals an abundance of vibrant museums, galleries and craft shops hidden in all corners of the city.
Day 1: Saturday June 3rd
At the Keflavik International Airport, transfers will be awaiting you, and each driver will have our logo for you to look for.
You will be staying at Hotel Borg. Hotel Borg combines classic elegance with modern style in the heart of Iceland’s capital, Reykjavik. Built in 1930 and restored to its original Art Deco style in 2006, Hotel Borg is a showcase of sophistication. All rooms have custom made furniture and offer fittings with modern amenities including a flat-screen satellite TV and high-speed internet connections. Hotel Borg is an experience of its own with character, soul, and style. You will have the day to yourself to explore Reykjavik.
You will meet the group in the Hotel at 6:15 pm for introductions.
After gathering at the hotel, we will take a short walk to Idno restaurant, where we will have a cocktail reception and brief overview of our week, followed by a Welcome Dinner Reception.
Idnó was built in 1897 and reconstructed in its original form in 1997. It remains as it was in 1897, a testament to the grand vision of Iceland’s artisans. We will start with a drink in the reception area of the restaurant overlooking a beautiful pond adjacent to the restaurant. In the reception area, you will find the Idnó art collection, comprised of paintings by most of Iceland’s greatest painters of the twentieth century including Jóhannes Kjarval, Ásgrímur Jónsson, Jón Stefánsson and Jóhann Bríem. After your drink, the gourmet kitchen will provide a delicious 3 course meal including wine.
After dinner we will head back to the Hotel Borg at approximately 10:00 pm.
Day 2: Sunday, June 4th
Morning CME sessions runs from 8:00 am 1:00 pm.
Each morning you may enjoy breakfast in your hotel. For attendees, coffee and a light snack will be available throughout the conference sessions as well. Conference registration will take place at the beginning, from 8:00-8:15 am. After the morning conference sessions, there will be a short break for lunch before the afternoon activity. After lunch on your own, we will embark on an organized tour of Reykjavik.
The tour will leave Hotel Borg at 2:00 pm.
On our tour we will cover the core of the city from one end to the other and see many of the fantastic sites Reykjavik has to offer. We will first visit Parliament House, known as the Alþingishúsið to locals. Icelandic parliament is one of the oldest operating parliaments in the world, dating back to 930. The current Parliament House building was created in 1881 and today is one of the oldest stone buildings in Iceland. Located beside Parliament house is the beautiful Reykjavik Cathedral which we will also have the opportunity to see. We will visit the National Museum, established in 1863 and refurbished extensively in 2004. The museum is modern and progressive, providing a comprehensive picture of the past 1200 years of Iceland´s cultural history. The main exhibition ‘Making of a Nation’ has interactive elements many visitors enjoy such as having a one-way telephone conversation with a medieval chieftain from 1117. This section also reveals interesting DNA research used on the teeth of the first Viking settlers to determine their origins.
We drive past the city's Salmon River which provides outstanding evidence that Reykjavík is a pollution free capital with its clear water and abundance of fresh fish. We will see the historic Árbæjarsafn outdoor folk museum, which offers an interesting contrast to the modern buildings of the newer part of Reykjavík. The drive will continue past Reykjavik's largest outdoor swimming pool in Laugardalur which is heated from natural hot springs under the city. The tour will provide the opportunity to see both Ásmundur Sveinsson Sculpture museum and Hallgrímskirkja Church. Hallgrímskirkja Church is the largest church in Iceland and the 6th tallest architectural structure in Iceland. The steeple of the church is a city landmark. After the busy tour we will go back to the Hotel where you can have some time to unwind and relax.
The tour will drop you off at the Hotel Borg at approximately 5:00 pm.
In the evening you will have the opportunity to further explore the city and have dinner on your own. You´ll be amazed by the range of restaurants available in Reykjavik. The city’s chefs have gained a global reputation for creatively fusing cuisines of the world with Icelandic ingredients like fresh Atlantic seafood, free range lamb, and locally grown organic vegetables. After dinner, Reykjavik’s legendary nightlife beckons with an eclectic mix of clubs, sophisticated wine bars, cozy pubs and other hangouts to suit every style.
Day 3: Monday, June 5th
Morning CME sessions runs from 8:00 am-1:15 pm.
You may enjoy breakfast in the hotel. For attendees, coffee and a snack will be available throughout the conference sessions also.
After the morning conference sessions, there will be a short break for lunch before the afternoon activity. After lunch on your own, we will drive through rugged lava fields to the Blue Lagoon.
The tour will leave the hotel for the Blue Lagoon at 2:00 pm.
The Blue Lagoon is a unique natural pool of mineral rich geothermal water located in the middle of a lava field in the pure and beautiful Icelandic wilderness. It is known for its special properties and its beneficial effect on the skin. The natural benefits and beauty of the lagoon attract visitors from all over the world in search of health, relaxation and an exotic experience. We will stop for a refreshing bath or swim in the pleasantly warm mineral-rich water, renowned for its healing properties. The talented staff off the Lagoon offer skin care treatments to revitalize the senses and cleanse the pores. Included in the tour is your entrance fees to the Blue Lagoon, a towel, a silica mud mask, an algae mud mask and one alcoholic drink of your choice. Additional drinks can be purchased throughout the day. In addition to bathing in the lagoon, guests have access to a sauna with a gorgeous view of the surrounding area, a steam-bath with white walls that resemble silica-mud and a cozy steam bath carved into a lava cave. Guests can also stand beneath a small waterfall for an energizing massage. If swimming does not interest you, you can take a magnificent walk on the lava field which surrounds the lagoon.
The tour will drop you off at the Hotel Borg at 5:45 pm.
In the evening you will again have dinner on your own, and further explore Reykjavik.
Day 4: Tuesday, June 6th
Morning CME sessions runs from 8:00 am-1:00 pm.
You may enjoy breakfast in the hotel. For attendees, coffee and a snack will be available throughout the conference sessions also. After the morning conference sessions, there will be a short break for lunch before the afternoon activity. After lunch on your own, we will take a half day tour to Thingvellir National Park and Hellisheiði Power Plant.
The tour will the leave the hotel at 2:00 pm.
Thingvellir is an Icelandic National Park and a designated UNESCO World Heritage Site as of 2004. The park is a remarkable historical and geological site, which is located by Lake Thingvallavatn, the largest lake in Iceland. The park was the site of the original Icelandic Parliament in 930, and it remained there until 1798. Aside from its historic interest, Thingvellir holds a special appeal for nature lovers. It is the visible site of a ridge where the North American and Eurasian tectonic plates meet, and are being pulled apart at a rate of 2 centimeters per year. The geology here is not only interesting to learn about but also spectacular to behold.
The Hellisheiði Power Plant started operating in October 2006. It is the biggest geothermal power plant owned by Reykjavík Energy, which is owned by the Government of Iceland and the City of Reykjavik. Today it produces 210 MW of electricity and it hopes to produce 300 MW of electricity in the near future and 400 MW of thermal heat. The construction area for the power plant is Hellisheiði Heath in the vicinity of Mount Hengill. This area is a part of the Hengill area, which is one of the largest high temperature areas in Iceland, with resulting hot springs and seismic activities. In the neighbourhood of the power plant there are many possibilities for outdoor activities. Your entrance fees to both the National park and power plant are included.
At the visitor centre you can learn about geosciences, geothermal technology, the environment and the history of the area. Find out about Reykjavík Energy and how it harness’s geothermal energy from the earth to provide heating, water and green electricity. Iceland can proudly state that 99% of its electricity is green and renewable. You will be served Icelandic coffee and homemade donuts at the visitor centre. For further information you can visit: http://onpower.is/exhibition
The tour will drop you back off at the Hotel Borg at 5:50 pm.
This evening there will be a complimentary cocktail reception, all companions and family members are welcome to attend. We will meet in the lobby at 6:45 pm and take a short walk to Skolabru for the 7:00 pm reception.
In the evening you will again have dinner on your own.
Day 5: Wednesday, June 7th
Guided tour will leave at 8:30am.
After eating breakfast in the Hotel, the group will head east of Reykjavik. For this day, instead of a standard coach bus for transportation, we will be riding in “super jeeps” which truly enhances the experience.
We will drive through the agricultural areas of the southern lowlands, arriving at the first stop of the day, the Seljalandsfoss waterfall. This waterfall drops 60 meters and was recently featured as a waypoint in The Amazing Race TV show. After admiring the waterfall and perhaps even going behind it, we will board back into the jeeps and continue on towards Skogarfoss.
We will have lunch at the Hotel Skogar Bistro. Hotel Skogar offers a dining experience that showcases the country side that Iceland has to offer, within sight of the dramatic Skogarfoss waterfall. Emphasis is put on quality, from local farms, fishermen, and dairies and to prepare these ingredients.
After lunch, we head into our afternoon glacier walk on Myrdalsjokull, Iceland’s fourth largest glacier. Upon arrival, we will be met by experts that will guide us on the glacier. The tour takes us to the frozen glacial tongue that is Sólheimajökull. It is an otherworldly scene, rugged, raw and an ancient hub of frozen water. While walking on the glacier, observe the spectacular surroundings. We will provide all the tools you need including ice axes, crampons and safety lines. The safety line will ensure that you will not fall to the ground even if you lose your grip. While this excursion may seem daunting to some, it provides people the chance to see and do what most of the population will only dream about and very few ever try. The beauty and excitement of the Glacier is truly something that cannot be replicated anywhere else. Upon departure from the glacier, there will be a light snack and water bottle available in the jeeps.
The tour will drop you back off at the Hotel Borg at 7:00 pm.
In the evening you will have dinner on your own.
Day 6: Thursday June 8th
Today the group breaks into two – those of you who purchased the optional Snowmobile tour will meet in the lobby at 7:15 am for a 7:30 departure.
Those of you not on the additional tour will meet at 8:15 and depart for your tour at 8:30 am.
Standard tour: After meeting your respective guides and bus drivers we begin our tour by driving through the Golden Circle which includes passing through the Thingvellir National Park that we stopped at earlier.
For the included tour on the bus we will visit Haukadalur area where we will discover the famous Geysir which has given its name to hot springs all over the world. Eruptions at Geysir can hurl boiling water up to 70 meters in the air, although a long period can pass between eruptions. The Strokkur, another geyser in the area is much more active spouting up to 30 meters in the air, every 5 to 7 minutes.
Only a few minutes’ drive away is Gullfoss, or the Golden Waterfall, one of the most impressive waterfalls in Europe. Here you will see thousands of tons of icy water thunder majestically down into a deep gorge. As you first approach the falls, the crevice is obscured from view so that it appears that a mighty river simply vanishes into the earth.
Our tour continues on to the Fridheimar Farm. An interesting fact about Iceland is that it is the only country in the world where tomatoes are grown the whole year around. On this visit we will see firsthand the methods of production for tomatoes and other delicious vegetables grown in Iceland no matter what time of year it is. Enjoy the special experience of entering a greenhouse with its fragrance of tomato plants. The atrium also includes an exhibition about the use of geothermal heating in Icelandic horticulture. Visitors can take away delicious food souvenirs such as Tomato Jam, Cucumber Salsa and various vegetables juices. If all the talk about food makes you hungry then fortunately you will be able to enjoy a delicious organic lunch right on the property of Fridheimar Farm.
This group will arrive back at the Hotel Borg at 3:15 pm.
Optional Snowmobile Tour: this tour will depart the Hotel Borg at 7:30 am and head for Gullfoss waterfall first. Then you will arrive at the glacier for your snowmobile excursion. Lastly you will head to Geysir, where you will have lunch and sightsee before you head back to the Hotel Borg for approximately 5:15 pm.
The whole group will reconvene and meet in the hotel lobby for transfer to Harpa Concert Hall at 6:15 pm.
You can choose to walk (approx. 7 minute walk) or can take a prearranged bus to the Harpa Concert Hall, one of Reykjavik‘s greatest and most distinguished landmarks. It is a cultural and social centre in the heart of the city and features stunning views of the surrounding mountains and the North Atlantic Ocean. Built in collaboration with renowned visual artist Olafur Eliasson, Harpa has a glass facade made up of cubes that change color with the light of day. Enjoy a tremendous night of entertainment and a 3 course dinner at Kolabrautin Ristorante within Harpa. Kolabrautin is a modern restaurant where the exquisite selection of Icelandic ingredients blends beautifully with the best of Mediterranean cuisine. The heart of Kolabrautin is the fiery furnace of the coal oven at the centre of its kitchen. The magnificent view will add a magical touch to your evening, while you enjoy the delicious food and ambitious wine list from all over the world.
Bus or walk home after the meal and evening.
Day 7: Friday, June 9th
Transfer from the Hotel Borg to Keflavik international Airport in time for your flight.
After having your final breakfast at the hotel it is time to pack bags and get ready to depart for back home. The drive to Keflavik international Airport is approximately 45 minutes. Buses will be available for various departure times.
If at any time you have any questions, feel free to reach out to your concierge, Kirsten Dawick via email firstname.lastname@example.org or by phone 905-334-6016, she will have her cell phone on at all times.
Iceland Travel is our ground handler and has been assisting with the group, and they may also be reached via phone at +354 585 4300.
You may also reach out to the CME AWAY by Sea Courses office if you have any questions about your booking or trip at any time via email at email@example.com or via phone at 1-888-647-7327.