Elves, Sagas and Volcanoes of Iceland 12 Days aboard MS Spitsbergen
This exciting circumnavigation of Iceland offers an in-depth exploration of the “land of ice and fire”, where majestic glaciers and imposing volcanoes lie side by side amongst a landscape of breathtaking proportions. Experiencing a variety of islands you will have the chance to hike through lava fields, take a dip in the natural hot springs, encounter rare wildlife, visit fascinating historic sites, sample the culture of the small towns and remote settlements and see some of the most beautiful scenery in the world.
Accompanied by an expedition team consisting of wildlife, history, geology and photography experts you will learn all about Iceland’s heritage. Gain an insight into the region’s mythical connotations, with tales of trolls and elves, visit the colourful fishing villages, seaside towns and vibrant urban spaces, and enjoy searching for sightings of an abundance of birds and whales on this unique voyage that takes you the whole way around Iceland’s diverse coastline.
Namibia Birding and Photography GuideAn accomplished and experienced Namibia birding and photographic guide, Toni holds a Namibia Academy for Tourism and Hospitality Level 3 qualification (the highest level attainable in Namibia) and is widely renowned for her extensive knowledge of the cultures, ornithology, flora, astronomy and wildlife of the country. Read more >
Wildlife Guide & PhotographerAndy is a 6th generation Falkland Islander, with a passion for wildlife, plants and photography. Raised in the Falkland Islands, Andy developed a close affinity with the Islands natural environment at a young age. School holidays where spent in the ‘camp’ or countryside with friends and family. For more than 10 years, Andy had the privilege of spending a time on Sea Lion Island, visiting his mother who managed one of the Islands premier tourist destinations. Read more >
Photographer and founder of the Travel Photographer Of The Year awardsA fascination with natural light and a passion with nature, landscape and travel underpin Chris Coe's photography. His images often have a striking simplicity and graphic quality. More recent work has introduced a subtlety with experimentation with both movement and light.Read more >
Falklands Expert & GuideBorn in Chartres in the West Falklands, Jenny grew up on the family farm where her love for animals was nurtured by the25,000 sheep, horses and cows that lived alongside her. Forever a nature, conservation and wildlife enthusiast Jenny has travelled extensively throughout the Falkland Islands, visiting each and every wildlife island at least once, and even travelling around some by yacht. Read more >
Special Guest LecturerExclusive to this voyage, Doug Allan, a multi award winning polar photographer and cameraman, will be your special guest lecturer. Doug has been on over 20 expeditions to Svalbard to film its wildlife, and knows the wonders of this area more than most. Read more >
- Explore the fascinating and diverse nature of Iceland
- Sailing the whole way around the coast visiting fascinating areas such as Reykjavik, Stykkishólmur, Westfjords, Ísafjörður, Akureyri, Grímsey, Húsavík and much more
- Spot native birds and maybe even whales
- Swim in natural hot springs and hike through lava fields
- See glaciers, volcanoes and waterfalls
- Learn about Iceland's heritage, ancient sagas and folk tales filled with mysticism, elves and trolls
- Full board accommodation on board ship
- Wind and water-resistant jacket
- Landings with small boats and activities on board and ashore
- Professional English-speaking Expedition team that provide lectures as well as accompanying landings and activities
- Free tea and coffee
- Loan of rubber boots
ITINERARY11 Nights 12 Days
- Day 1 | Reykjavik
- Day 2 | Stykkishólmur & Flatey
- Day 3 | Bjargtangar / Latrabjarg Peninsula
- Day 4 | Ísafjörður
- Day 5 | Hornbjarg cliff and Reykjafjörður
- Day 6 | Hrísey & Akureyri
- Day 7 | Grímsey
- Day 8 | Húsavík
- Day 10 | Bakkargerdi and Seyðisfjörður
- Day 10 | Djúpivogur
- Day 11 | Heimaey (Westman Islands)
- Day 12 | Reykjavik
Your Icelandic cruise will begin in the capital of Reykjavik where your expedition vessel will be waiting for you. You may wish to arrive a day or 2 early to spend some time exploring this charming and vibrant modern city which offers top restaurants, interesting museums and quirky narrow streets. Embarkation will begin in the afternoon and as you settle in to your cabin and explore your new surroundings we will set sail for our adventure.
Stykkishólmur & Flatey
Welcome to West Iceland, otherwise known as “The Sagaland”, where we will find a spectacularly diverse landscape of lava and rock formations, glaciers, volcanic activity and hot and cold springs. We will spend a day exploring here including the town of Stykkishólmur where you can enjoy a gentle stroll through the town or join an optional excursion to explore more of the Snæfellsnes peninsula. On these excursions you can expect to see the Snæfellsjökull glacier as well as the area’s volcanic craters, black sandy beaches, bird cliffs and spectacular mountains. After an exploration of Stykkishólmur we will take a visit to Flatey Island to take a stroll around the scenic village where time appears to stand still.
Bjargtangar / Latrabjarg Peninsula
Today we reach the Westfjords, Europe’s westernmost point and one of Iceland’s best-kept secrets. Here we will sail around the tip of the Látrabjarg peninsula to see the Bjargtangar lighthouse and come ashore to take a walk to the famous Látrabjarg cliffs. This is an excellent spot for birding with millions of birds of different species creating a hive of activity. We can expect to see razorbills, puffins, northern gannets and guillemots amongst much more.
Today we arrive at the exceptionally scenic natural harbour of Ísafjörður, which is spectacularly flanked on all sides by majestic mountains and is home to the oldest houses in Iceland. Here you can enjoy a wide range of optional excursions including horseback tours and walks through the hills to follow in the footsteps of the trolls. Alternatively you can enjoy a gentle stroll through the area to see the architecture, visit the Maritime Museum or browse the variety of local handicrafts on offer.
Hornbjarg cliff and Reykjafjörður
This stop is one for the birders as we visit the Hornbjarg cliff, one of the greatest sea bird habitats in Iceland. Exploring by small boat we will attempt a landing here to take a hike to get a closer look before cruising to Reykjafjörður to discover this equally stunning area.
Hrísey & Akureyri
Our first stop today will be Hrísey, a beautifully peaceful island in the middle of Eyjafjörður. Hrísey is another renowned bird watchers’ paradise, and we can expect to see about 40 different species nesting here including an abundance of ptarmigans. We will also take a walk through the pretty fishing village which is flanked by spectacular mountains and is home to just 200 residents.
Our next stop will offer a stark contrast to Hrísey as we visit the lively and vibrant town of Akureyri, Iceland’s second most populous community. Akureyri serves as the centre of trade, culture and services for the north of Iceland, and here there are many optional excursions available including a visit to the Myvatn nature baths or to the impressive Goðafoss waterfall.
Today offers the chance to cross the Arctic Circle from North to South as we hop into our small boats to land at the green and grassy island of Grímsey. The Arctic Circle cuts across the island and we will take a walk across the landscape to step over the invisible circle line.
Throughout our circumnavigation of Iceland we will be on a constant lookout for birdlife and marine wildlife, and our stop today is recognised as one of the best whale watching locations in the world. Húsavík’s unique ecosystem of melting snow and rivers bringing nutrients from the mineral-rich mountainsides combines with the boundless summer sun to bring masses of plankton, the main source of food for baleen whales, and we can expect to enjoy some up-close encounters here as we intend to use our small boats for a cruise through the bay.
You can also enjoy a walk around the island which is the oldest settlement in Iceland and is home to the famous landmark of Húsavíkurkirkja, a wooden church built in 1907, and the Húsavík Whale Museum. As we leave Húsavík behind we recommend spending some time on deck as we sail past the beautiful Langanes peninsula.
Bakkargerdi and Seyðisfjörður
Today we arrive in the “the land of elves” as we visit beautiful Bakkagerdi, the main settlement in Borgarfjörður. This peaceful area is one of Iceland’s hidden gems and is home to delightful views, tranquil walks and excellent birding opportunities with large puffin colonies abounding in the scenic fjord. Here there will an optional excursion to the natural forest of Hallormsstaður offered before heading onwards to Seyðisfjörður.
Seyðisfjörður’s Norwegian heritage is reflected in the colourful Nordic-style wooden houses which date back to the early 20th century, and you will have the opportunity to join an organised hike through this truly unique settlement or join an optional excursion to Skálanes.
Today we reach one of the most unique stops on our journey as we explore the naturally diverse and spectacular landscapes of the Djupivogur area. A day of adventure is on the cards and you can choose to partake in a number of excursions including a visit to the stunning Vatnajökull glacier, the largest glacier in Europe, or an optional excursion to Vatnajökull lagoon. Alternatively you can stay within the beautiful surroundings of the town itself and enjoy a hike across the terrains. In the town you will find the cultural centre which is housed in the town’s oldest building which was built in 1790, a heritage museum, a coffee shop with delicious homemade cakes and a display of local handicrafts, and the famous outdoor sculpture, Eggin í Gleðivík, which was created by the world famous Icelandic artist Sigurður Guðmundsson and consists of 34 eggs perched along the seafront.
Djupivogur is also a great spot for birding with it being home to the world renowned Búlandsnes bird sanctuary where you will be able to observe the majority of the Icelandic birds nesting in their natural habitat close by.
Heimaey (Westman Islands)
Spectacular Heimaey is the largest of the Westman Islands and will be the last stop on our exciting Iceland expedition. Our historian experts will accompany us here as we explore this island which is known as “Iceland’s Pompeii” due to an unexpected volcanic eruption in 1973 which forced the entire population of the island to evacuate and set sail to mainland Iceland. The eruption caused substantial damage, with a large number of buildings being buried underneath the ash and lava, and many being completely destroyed. A number of buildings have since been unearthed and restored and there is now a fascinating museum, Eldheimar, which has been built around the remains of one of the homes.
Located off the south coast of Iceland, the Westman Islands are dominated by magnificent cliffs which form the natural habitats for many different seabirds, including puffins and kittiwakes, and are also a great place for whale watching. We will hope to explore by small boat through the surrounding waters in search of wildlife sightings.
Arrival into Reykjavik will sadly signal the end of our thoroughly enjoyable cruise, and after breakfast it will be time to disembark and bid a fond farewell to our expedition team. There are numerous optional post-voyage excursions available in this unique city, an early Viking settlement that today has become the modern capital of Iceland. These include an exciting Golden Circle and Blue Lagoon excursion, and please feel free to ask for more details on these.
What Our Customers
Superlatives abound – a truly amazing experience...awesome. Thanks to all for making it such a memorable experience.
We have just returned from our Spitsbergen trip with Wildfoot and had to tell you what an amazing time we had! We saw 6 polar bears including a mother with 2 cubs as well as whales, walruses and lots of birds. The ship (Expedition) was really comfortable and the guides were so helpful and friendly. Thank you so much for making it all so easy.
I came to Wildfoot because a friend had booked with you when you were Antarctica Bound and they were right. Everything went perfectly, even when our flight was cancelled, you made sure we still made it to the ship with time to spare. L’Austral is a beautiful ship with first class service and food and the guides looked after us well. Very happy to recommend Wildfoot and L’Austral...
We had always wanted to see the Arctic and travelling all the way from Australia needed lots of information. After getting nowhere, we came across Wildfoot and found people who knew what they were talking about! Sara and John were so helpful and made the process easy, suggesting Iceland Greenland and Spitsbergen. This was perfect for us – amazing scenery and lots of wildlife, especially the polar bears in Spitsbergen. Thanks for everything. Ps, the ship was great too!
Just wanted to say thank you for suggesting a trip to Franz Josef Land as something different for the Arctic. We had a super trip and really enjoyed the Sea Spirit. Galapagos next!
Standing on the North Pole has been an ambition of mine since childhood and now I have done it! Thank you for making the process so easy - seeing polar bears and whales too was a real bonus.
The Sea Spirit expedition was excellent and the team organising it all were extremely good. 10 out of 10. Everything went very smoothly. The Iceland extension worked perfectly, all the organisation, connections etc. were excellent
The cruise was beyond my expectations. Got to see everything the captain wanted, even a polar bear mother with three cubs. Coal Miners Cabins were smashing. I did loads of birding and exploring over three days. All the people were great from the expedition leaders down to the passengers. So glad to have achieved my ambition of some 50 years standing and got amongst the ice of the Arctic, walked amongst it’s islands and witnessed the antics of its wonderful wildlife. What’s next??? I’ll need to speak with Sara again.
Thanks so much for enabling me to get to places I had always wanted to see from a very young age. “Ace” as my boys used to say!
Just wanted to send a quick note to say thank you very much for all your help in arranging our recent trip to Svalbard. Everything ran smoothly and the trip was a great success. Unfortunately I had to flew back a few days early and missed out on Isfjord Radio, which the rest of the team said was a brilliant place with amazing food, still the Basecamp Hotel and Nordenskiold Lodge were pretty amazing places, so I’m not complaining!
Writing back to tell you that the trip to the Arctic was all that it promised and more. It was a great wild-life sightseeing opportunity and the staff were really good.I had an excellent trip and have thousands of photos to go through.
I had an absolutely fabulous time won the Sergey Vavilov, it is an excellent ship. Sara was indeed right in her recommendation that they would be the most likely to push north into the ice to find the polar bears. We even circumnavigated Spitsbergen which was awesome and not o n the itinerary.It is such a wonderful way to take a trip when you are on your own – so if any of your potential single clients are unsure, definitely recommend it – I didn’t feel alone from the moment I stepped on board. I will be at the Birdfair next weekend and so will catch up with whoever is there – regarding this trip, and potentially my next!
Great cruise, staff and expedition team. Had a great trip.
Great cruise, staff and expedition team. Had a great trip.
We had a wonderful time, even though we didn't do all the places we were supposed to but we all felt were we went instead couldn't beaten. Saw animals I wanted to see. Bit worried what the food was like as some of the ships cooking leaves something to be desired, but food was very good. We thought all the guides were brilliant and informative, friendly and knowledgeable It was far better than we expected and even my husband thoroughly enjoyed it!
I wanted to let you know that I had a wonderful cruise in the Russian Far East. The landscape and destination were inspiring, we had some excellent wildlife sightings (sea otter, grey whale, Steller's sea eagle, snowy owl and Arctic fox were all firsts for me), and the Heritage team were superb. Rough seas forced a few changes to the itinerary but we also had some fabulous weather. All in all, a thrilling travel experience.Thanks once again for all your efforts
I thought you might like to know that this was an excellent holiday. Our guide, Brad, was absolutely wonderful, his enthusiasm and knowledge made the holiday even better. All in all the whole trip was excellent and we saw lots of bears, 24 on the first day. Fewer on the second and third days but still plenty, as well as arctic foxes,silver foxes and snowy owls. Even on the last day near the town we saw a bear on rocks by the beach.
What a great trip! Wildfoot built a great trip for us and every aspect was spot on. Our Iguazu guide was fun, interesting and helpful and all the transfers were timely and comfortable. The Antarctica Trip was superb - WIldfoot had given us the best advice and helped us choose the right ship and tour for what we wanted - A truly memorable Experience Thank You Wildfoot
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