4 Opportunities to Circumnavigate Iceland with Hurtigruten

A land of stunning contrasts, Iceland is home to volcanic landscapes, massive glaciers, dramatic geysers, powerful waterfalls, cosmopolitan cities, charming villages, and fantastical myths and legends. It is the perfect destination for those searching for the unexpected; and Hurtigruten has several opportunities to discover this magical country. 

Hurtigruten is an exploration company in the truest sense of the word, offering unparalleled experiences in the most remote corners of the world. As the largest expedition cruise operator in both poles, and with 125 years of know-how, our captains, crew, and expedition teams have the most expertise in polar destinations—including Iceland.

Beginning next May, Hurtigruten is offering four itineraries that circumnavigate Iceland aboard MS Spitsbergen. In just 12 days, curious explorers can hike along lava fields, swim in natural hot springs, explore the countryside by horseback, and search for a variety of wildlife—whales, puffins, Icelandic sheep, Arctic fox, and much more. 

The voyage begins in Reykjavík, where guests will embark the intimate MS Spitsbergen; she carries no more than 335 guests on board. The next day, there will be opportunities to explore the town of Stykkishólmur, or join an excursion along the Snæfellsnes Peninsula where the Snæfellsjökull Glacier, black-sand beaches, and spectacular volcanic craters await. There will also be a stop at the tiny island of Flatey, known for its uniquely painted church and colorful houses. 

Next, one of Iceland’s best-kept secrets: Látrabjarg Peninsula and Bjargtangar of the Westfjords. Europe’s westernmost post is home to dramatic cliffs and a simply stunning number of seabirds, including puffins, northern gannets, guillemots, and razorbills. Continuing from here, guests will discover Ísafjördur, a nearly perfect natural harbor, and one of Iceland’s oldest fishing settlements. 

Halfway through the itinerary, guests will visit Hrísey, another well-known paradise for birdwatchers, home to the ptarmigan—along with more than 30 other bird species! The next stop is Akureyri, the most populated community outside of Reykjavík and an important hub for local fisherman.

Soon guests will get to cross a major item off their bucket list—crossing the Arctic Circle. This happens at Grímsey, which, despite straddling the circle, has a mild temperature and is known for its lush, green vegetation. A visit to Húsavík, one of the oldest settlements in Iceland, will certainly be a highlight—one of the best whale-watching locations in the world, humpback, minke, fin, orca, and sei whales have all been spotted here.  

On the east coast, explorers will visit Bakkargerdi, known for its natural beauty, as well as the Norwegian village of Seydisfjördur. The former is a popular place for birdwatching, with puffin colonies in constant view; the latter is home to colorful Nordic-style wooden houses, dating back to the early 1900s. 

After visiting a traditional Icelandic town, it’s time to jump back into nature with an exploration of Djúpivogur. From here, guests can enjoy an optional excursion to Vatnajökull National Park, home to the largest glacier in Europe, or spend time exploring the town itself, including a unique outdoor sculpture of massive eggs, representing the various migrating birds of the region. 

The final stop before returning to Reykjavík, Heimaey is the largest of the Westman Islands and dominated by magnificent cliffs, which serve as habitats for several different seabirds, puffins and kittiwakes among them. Heimaey is also known as Iceland’s Pompeii, due to a volcanic eruption in 1973; it forced the entire population to evacuate, and a number of buildings were buried under lava and ash.

Each of these visits to small towns and islands will be led by a member of the onboard expedition team, comprised of experts in their field—ornithologists, biologists, geologists, historians, photographers, and more. They love to share their knowledge with curious, like-minded travelers, be it during a presentation on board, leading a hike on shore, or simply sharing their insights while out on deck.

Hurtigruten is the expert in polar travel; exploring Iceland with us will be an authentic, immersive, and educational experience. And, interested travelers will be spoiled for choice with four different departure dates to choose from—May 18, 2019; May 29, 2019; June 9, 2019; June 20, 2019. 

For reservations, latest offers, or more information on Hurtigruten’s expeditions to Iceland—including our 2019/2020 Expedition Cruises Brochure—call +1 (866) 552-0371 or visit www.hurtigruten.com, today. 

This article was created in collaboration with the sponsoring company and our sales and marketing team. The editorial team does not contribute.