The falls of Dettifoss
Whale off the Icelandic coast
Uncover Iceland’s extraordinary natural history on this tour exploring its fascinating plantlife, wildlife and heritage in the company of geographer Harriet Allen
Travel in the summer months, when a profusion of flowering plants are at their best
Explore the famous ‘Golden Circle’: 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 tour explores the country’s austere beauty, its singular geology and its incredible wildlife.
Although woods and trees are generally few and far between, there is a profusion of flowering plants 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 lupins 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, fulmars and guillemots, and whales on a dedicated boat trip.
Further sites we hope to feature in our itinerary include the spectacular Vatnajökull glacier; 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. A special feature of our tour will be a whole day excursion by boat to the Westman Islands, with an exploration of the fascinating Eldheimar Museum, while an excursion to the mountain ridge landscape of Thórsmörk by 4x4 will be an 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 also 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.
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.
Full details, including the dates, itinerary and cost, will be released in 2024. Please click here to register your interest.
Included: Full details, including the confirmed itinerary, dates and cost, will be released later in 2023. Please contact the ACE office or use the form to register your interest.