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  • Flowers at Skogafoss

  • A whale off the Icelandic coast

  • Krafla Caldera

  • Jökulsárlón glacial lagoon

  • Gullfoss waterfall

  • Thingvellir National Park

Fitness / Practicalities
Tour Director

  • Uncover Iceland’s awe-inspiring landscape, wildlife and cultural heritage on this rich and expansive tour with geographer Harriet Allen

  • Make an excursion by boat to the Westman Islands, and visit the otherworldly Jökulsárlón lagoon, where luminous blue icebergs drift across the lake

  • Explore the famous ‘Golden Circle’ including Gullfoss waterfall, the Geysir Geothermal Area and Thingvellir, where Iceland’s early settlers established their open-air assembly

“An amazing country and excellent Tour Director who was full of enthusiasm and energy. The whole trip was one joy after another”

– ACE customer on a previous tour to Iceland led by Harriet Allen

Rising out of the North Atlantic, just south of the Arctic Circle, Iceland is a volcanic island alive with hot springs, geysers, boiling mud-pots and stupendous waterfalls. Renowned for the variety of its stunning landscapes borne of 30 million years of active volcanism and 3 million years of glaciations, Iceland in summer also offers opportunities to see a great variety of birds and plants. Our once-in-a-lifetime tour explores far and wide, uncovering the country’s austere beauty, its singular geology and incredible wildlife.
Although woods and trees are generally few and far between, there is a profusion of flowering plants which are at their best in the summer months, growing on lava fields and glacial moraine of different ages. The greys and blacks of the rocks are shot through with purple, white, mauve and yellow from thyme, mountain avens, nootka lupine and angelica.


This tour will provide opportunities to learn more about the ecology of these and other plants and animals, on visits to places such as the Krossanesborgir reserve and Myvatn, an area of active volcanism which is home to a rich variety of landscapes and wetland birdlife. We hope to catch glimpses of species such as puffins, whales, fulmars and guillemots on a dedicated boat trip.


Further sites will include the spectacular Vatnajökull National Park; the falls of Dettifoss (with the greatest volume of any waterfall in Europe); the lunar landscapes of the Krafla volcanic eruptions; and the otherworldly Jökulsárlón lagoon, where luminous blue icebergs drift across the lake.


Uniquely, our tour will feature a whole day excursion by boat to the Westman Islands, a stunningly beautiful archipelago where puffins flock during the summer months and which is also home to the fascinating Eldheimar Museum. An excursion to the mountain ridge landscape of Thórsmörk by 4x4 will be another unforgettable highlight.


Iceland has a relatively young history of settlement, dating from the 9th century AD. In that time Icelanders have experienced extreme environments, including volcanic eruptions and the cold periods of the Little Ice Age.


We plan to explore the famous ‘Golden Circle’: Gullfoss waterfall, the Geysir Geothermal Area – with the frequently erupting geyser Strokkur – and Thingvellir, where Iceland’s early settlers established their open-air assembly, one of the oldest parliaments in the world. Thingvellir is the site of the crest of the Mid-Atlantic Ridge, and is one of the few places in the world where the separation of the Eurasian and North American tectonic plates can be observed.


We will stay in a series of comfortable hotels. Some of these will be of a simpler standard, with more basic facilities, but all are welcoming and well situated for our daytime visits.

This tour will be led by Harriet Allen, MA, MSc, PhD, a geographer and Fellow and Director of Studies at Girton College, Cambridge. Harriet has been leading field excursions for over 30 years, and has extensive experience of flora and birds in Iceland, Norway, Canada, Portugal and the northern islands of Scotland. She has led many tours for ACE and looks forward to returning to Iceland with another ACE group.


Tour Director Harriet Allen writes:


“Iceland is the land of fire and ice, resulting in dramatic landscapes. In July we will have 24 hours of daylight. It's a wonderful time for wild flowers and encounters with birds, such as puffins, whimbrel, godwits and, we hope, red-necked phalaropes and divers. Two of the highlights of this tour are the trip to Thorsmork in the Highlands, where we need a special coach to ford the glacial rivers, and the trip to the Vestmannaeyar (the Westman Islands). The Eldheimar Museum in Heimaey Town sensitively chronicles the eruption of 1973 which brought the islands to international attention.”

Tour Code

Included: return airfare, accommodation based on sharing a twin or double bedded room, full board (some packed lunches) with water and coffee with dinner, excursions & admissions, gratuities & all taxes.

Not Included: travel insurance, double room for single use supplement £1495.

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