- Iceland Family: Post-Trip Southern Iceland Extension4 days from $5,590
Continue your Iceland adventure, exploring the country’s southern highlights. Visit two magnificent national parks—one a UNESCO World Heritage Site; cross the “Bridge Between Two Continents,” symbolizing the tectonic connection between Europe and North America; and view the volcano that erupted dramatically in 2010 while the whole world watched. During four days of adventure, walk atop the ice cap of Europe’s largest glacier; take a Zodiac glide across a lagoon dotted with glittering icebergs; and hike through a bubbling geothermal wonderland.
Depart Reykjavik and head towards the village of Hveragerdi.View the fascinating exhibit, Eyjafjallajokull Erupts, at the visitor center situated beneath the legendary glacier, and learn about the volcanic eruption that had an impact on travel around the world. This afternoon, continue toward Hella with a stop to view Seljalandsfoss and Skogafoss waterfalls, two magnificent cascades that plummet more than 100 feet. Enjoy dinner this evening in our hotel’s restaurant overlooking the Ranga River.
Drive to Skaftafell National Park and Vatnajökull, Europe’s largest glacier, under which lie buried seven volcanoes. Atop Svínafellsjökull, one of the largest of the outlet glaciers, local experts outfit your family with appropriate gear, including crampons, and you’ll take your first steps on the great ice cap—which covers eight percent of Iceland’s landmass and averages 1,300 feet in thickness. Notice the varying textures in the ice as you walk and explore seemingly infinite chasms and crevasses sculpted by melt-water. And take in the sweeping expanse of glittering ice. Then set out for the Jökulsárlón glacial lagoon, a spectacular mirror-like body of water, and board Zodiacs for an exhilarating ride among floating icebergs calved from the ice wall of Vatnajökull glacier. Watch for eider ducks and lounging seals and come almost close enough to touch— but not quite—the glacier face.
Halfway between Skaftafell and the glacial lagoon lies Ingólfshöfdi, an isolated cape named for Iceland’s first Nordic settlers, Ingólfur Arnarson and his wife Hallveig, who spent their first winter in Iceland here in 874 A.D. To reach the headland— part historical reserve, part seabird sanctuary—travel across shallow waterways, marshes, and sand by tractor-drawn hay cart accompanied by a local expert. Then head westward toward the town of Selfoss. On the way, stop to explore the extraordinary, and massive, Fjaðrárgljúfur canyon; carved during the last Ice Age, it reaches a depth of 300 feet. Your family can choose to hike the bottom of the canyon or take the trail along the top for the stunning views.
Frost and Fire Hotel
Explore Geothermal Park at Hveragerði, which translates to “hot springs corral”— and prepare to be amazed by the enterprising use of underground heat! Treat your feet to a soft clay bath, and then rinse them in one of the hot springs. Walk over to the hole in the park floor that serves as a natural geothermal oven; locals come here daily to bake the famous regional bread. Since no one likes to live by bread alone, the resident hen population lays eggs in the park, which are then boiled in the hot springs—breakfast at the hot springs corral! Make a fascinating stop at the Reykjanesvirkjun Geothermal Power Plant to view the “Power Plant Earth” exhibition; its impressive centerpiece is a geothermal turbine, which can generate 50 Mega-Watts of “green” electrical power, enough to run the entire city of Reykjavik for a day! At Sandvík, walk across the small footbridge known as the “Bridge Between Two Continents,” built across a major fissure that offers physical evidence of the continually spreading plates. Continue to the Reykjavik Airport for flights home.