Astonishing Iceland!

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Transformational Adventure

There’s “Bragging Rights Travel,” and you’ve no doubt heard of “Bucketlist Travel.” Then, there’s what we like to call “Transformational Travel.”

That’s the only way to describe Quo’s exceptionally active expedition to Iceland.

Experience the natural, rugged beauty, witness geologic wonders, and dive into the rich culture. Gain new perspectives and broaden your horizons while exploring black sand beaches, geysers, glaciers, and geothermal lagoons.

Your journey of discovery is calling — grab your curiosity and clip on some crampons…the glaciers are waiting!

Program Highlights

Smaller groups.

Bigger impact!

Program length: 8 days
All Inclusive Price:  from $4,995
Programs Depart:  week of June 17th, 2019

Minimum Group: 25 Paying Travelers

Program priced from Leader’s departure airport.

Program Highlights:
  • Active Itinerary!
  • Immersion in Local Culture, Science, Conservation & History
  • Blue Lagoon
  • The Bridge Between Two Continents
  • Focus: Geothermal Power meets 70% of Iceland’s Energy Needs
  • Geothermal Power Plant of Hellisheiði
  • Hike to Swim in Streams Warmed Inside the Earth
  • Introduction to Icelandic Democracy and History
  • National Parks, Waterfalls and Geysers
  • Instructional & Historic Viking Farm
  • Visit Volcanic Structures Made Famous by Game of Thrones
  • Explore distinctive Icelandic Vegetation and Wildlife
  • Meet the Surprisingly Diminutive Icelandic Horses
  • Seljalandsfoss and Skogafoss Waterfalls
  • One of the Most Beautiful Black Sand Beaches on Earth
  • Guided, Hands-On Glacier Expedition by Boat in Glacier Lagoon



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Full Program Itinerary

Day One – Embark!
Today your group finally boards the plane and departs for an unforgettable adventure in Iceland!

Although just about everyone speaks English where we’re headed, prepare to for the pronunciation challenge of a lifetime! Icelandic words contain sounds you may have never heard before, and spelling them uses letters you’ve probably never seen. You’ll see in the details below just how inexplicable some words appear. How many Icelandic words will be in your vocab a week after your program begins?!

Day Two – Reykjavik: Culture & Vibe
We’ll arrive this morning and head to a delicious & hearty welcome breakfast, as we get to know our Travel Manager and the local staff.

No matter the time of year, swimming pools are a cultural mainstay and everyday part of living in Iceland.

  • We’ll begin by diving into Iceland at the newly renovated Sundhöll Reykjavikur in the center of the city. Swim, soak, and refresh after a looooong flight!

Next, we dive into a different aspect of Icelandic culture as we visit Safnahúsið, the “Culture House.” We’ll visit the Points of View exhibition to learn about Icelandic art and history.

You’ll have the incredible honor of a short private concert of Icelandic folk music, presented by the winner of several Icelandic Grammy Awards.

  • This will be a fun and completely engaging introduction to “the old ways” of Icelandic music performance.
  • And yes, you can ask for autographs.

You’ll quickly discover just how much Icelanders know and love their heritage, their culture and their folklore. But they are also intrigued by how outsiders view them.

  • We’ll encounter an unconventional perspective at the “Tales of Iceland” Museum.

We’ll head back out into the sunshine for an urban hike. Reykjavik is a relatively small city, best seen, explored and experienced by foot. Hence, the Reykjavik City Walk.

  • Our expert local guide will lead us into Reykjavik’s city center.
  • Here, we’ll see most of the buildings relevant to Icelandic society…
  • But this walk is about much less about seeing the buildings and much more about understanding what makes this society so distinctive from any other nation on earth.

By navigating our way among both traditional and modern buildings, we’ll learn how Reykjavik’s architecture, history, city planning and citizens who inhabit these structures today, all come together to represent the structure of modern Icelandic society.

Dine like a Viking: after our vigorous City Walk, we’ll enjoy a fantastic Icelandic Welcome Dinner!

Day Three – Golden Circle
The culture and history of a country always tells a fascinating story.

Nowhere is this more evident than when traveling in Þingvellir National Park. This is the perfect place to learn about early settlements and democracy’s history in Iceland.

  • We’ll hike through this UNESCO world heritage site to see where the tectonic plates meet, and where the first parlaiment was formed in 930 AD
  • Any Game of Thrones fans? We’ll see several distinctive places where GOT scenes are filmed.
  • The Cave People: Think you’re Viking tough? In this cave exhibition in the Icelandic wilderness, you’ll be astonished to see how primitively some Icelanders still lived less than 100 years ago.

In the remote town of Laugarvatn, we’ll learn about Iceland’s education system and see a typical school.

Lava Bread! You’ll never forget your first taste the delicious rye bread that locals literally bake in the ground.

  • Using an ancient recipe, this bread bakes in a pot heated by water that literally boils up out of the rocks.
  • We’ll learn how to make the dough and place our pots in the “earth ovens,” before enjoying some fresh bread still piping hot from the lava!

The ancient bread experience will get you thinking about this country’s food heritage, and soon you’ll be wondering how people grow crops here at all. Cue: next we’ll encounter a modern solution to such inhospitable growing conditions: Friðheimar Greenhouse.

  • This organic tomato farm will invite us inside to observe how they use Iceland’s natural resources to grow their beautiful produce all year round.

Geysers are a big deal in Iceland, and you’ll see why as we enter the Geyser Geothermal Area.

  • Get your camera ready to capture these distinctive geological wonders!
  • In Iceland, you can’t help but learn about different types of geothermic activity, but the phenomenon is on maximum display here.
  • This is where the OG (the original geyser) is located – the geyser that all other geysers are named after.
  • Right next door, you’ll see his little geyser brother, Strokkurshoot magnificently into the sky.

One waterfall to rule them all: Gullfoss Waterfall!

  • Prepare to see what is widely considered to be “the most beautiful waterfall in the world”
  • What Niagara Falls is North America, Gullfoss is to Iceland.

It stands to reason that the ancestors of the Vikings would excel at navigating watercraft, doesn’t it? That’s why Icelanders love river rafting today!

  • We’ll finish this big day of exploration and discovery by joining expert river guides for a rafting adventure on the Hvítá River!

When we finish on the river, you’ll be ready to head back for a delicious outdoor BBQ dinner, and a great night’s sleep.

Day Four – Westman Islands
Today, we will cover some new ground!

Our day will begin with a ride on the Herjólfur Ferry, from the mainland out to the island of Heimaey, or “Home Island.”

  • Historically, Heimaey was known as Iceland’s most important fishing port.

But today, what will capture our attention – and our hearts – is that it’s home to one of the largest congregations of PUFFINS in Iceland!

ELDFELL: From a global perspective, Heimaey Island is known as the location of a dramatic eruption that created a brand new volcano in 1973, the fiery birth of which was televised around the world in 1973.

  • At the Eldheimar Museum, which documents the eruption, we’ll see the volcano’s awesome and destructive power in a new light.

If you want to understand the people of a nation and their culture, it’s essential that you understand the industry that supports their way of life. That’s why we’re going to spend some time getting to know Iceland’s fishing industry.

  • Fishing is the second largest industry in the Icelandic economy.
  • We will meet a hardworking local fisherman who makes his living in the waters off Iceland’s coast.

“Regular” school will be out for the summer when we’re in Iceland, but that doesn’t mean we can’t hang out with our peers in a classroom. While we’re out on the island, we’ll visit local kids at the town “Work School.”

  • We’ll get to pitch in with these students to participate in a local community service project, while rolling up our sleeves, sweating, bonding and making some new friends!
Day Five – Glaciers, Lagoons & Icebergs, oh my!
During our travels today, we’ll be learning about some unique vegetation and wildlife that’s found only in Iceland.  Bring you sharp inquiry and get ready to think like a scientist!

Seljalandsfoss Waterfall is one of the most famous features of Iceland.

  • In fact, Seljanlandsfoss was featured in Justin Bieber’s “I’ll show you” video.
  • Today, we’ll hike up to and around this magnificent waterfall so we can appreciate it from every angle, including from behind!

As our day progresses, you’ll see that there are nearly countless waterfalls in Iceland, but not all waterfalls are created equal. While each may be blessed with natural beauty, some are distinctively spectacular. Case in point: Skogafoss.

Have you ever seen a black sand beach?  Today, you can check that off of your list!

  • After our waterfall treks and science lessons, we’ll head in the direction of the Dyrhólaey Peninsula and Reynisfjara black beach!
  • You’ll never forget your time on this picturesque volcanic sand beach with it’s unique rock formations.

Despite the often shockingly-barren landscapes of Iceland, another industry that thrives here is sheep farming and wool production. We’ll visit the small town of Vík and one of it‘s local employers: the Víkurprjónn Wool Factory.

Anyone from a small town knows that local folklore is, in some ways, the glue that holds a community together. We’ll get a dose of myth & legend when we visit Kirkjubæjarklaustur, home of the “Kirkjubæjarklaustur Fire Sermon.”

  • We’ll see a short film in this south Iceland town about the most famous sermon in Icelandic history.
  • It is said that, back in 1783, this minister’s sermon was so powerful that it stopped the flow of lava from one of the largest volcanic eruptions in human history.

A major highlight of our time in Iceland is this afternoon’s visit to Jökulsárlón.

  • We’ll board a specialized boat to sail out onto the glacial lagoon so we can see its floating icebergs up close.
  • If we’re lucky, we’ll be witness the haunting event that is new icebergs calving where the glacier meets the sea.

It’s hard to do better than sailing among the icebergs, but Skaftafell National Park is actually amazing enough to follow your glacier lagoon adventure.

  • We’ll wrap up our day with a hike in Skaftafell to see the effects of global warming on an Icelandic glacier.
  • The things you’ll learn here today will be fuel for papers and research for the rest of your educational career.
Day Six – Vulcanology, Horses & The Hot River
Into volcanoes?

Today, we’ll learn about the science behind all that power, destruction & creation at the Lava Center. Their expert vulcanologists will instruct us about volcanic activity, earthquakes and how Iceland was formed.

Volcanoes aren’t the only thing we’ll see today that’s distinctly Icelandic. Our next stop will be at a local stable to meet the world-famous and diminutive Icelandic horses. We’ll learn about the history of this distinctive breed and what makes it so unique (beyond the obvious). HINT: We recommend that you don’t call it a pony. Icelanders are very sensitive about this.

Have you seen “Skyr” in your local grocery store?

  • Icelandic Skyr is showing up in the dairy aisle all across America.
  • Considered a very healthy type of yogurt, this thick and creamy treat is a stable of the Icelandic diet.
  • We will visit Skyrgerðin, the famous milk produce factory, to see how skyr was originally made and how it’s produced today.

Hot River Hike: Travel is at its best when you see and do things that only the locals know about. This afternoon, we’ll join our local hosts for a very off-the-beaten-path adventure. (We won’t judge you for bragging about this when you get home.)

  • We’ll hike into the Reykjadalur Valley to soak in the river that flows through here.

This day has been amazing, but it’s far from over. After being immersed in the river this evening, you’ll be immersed in local tradition and culture tonight.

Kind of like the vikings of old, we’ll attend the Eyrarbakki Town Summer Solstice Festival.

  • In this quaint historical town (population: 480), we’ll witness the festivities and join the locals for song around the bonfire of Jónsmessatheir summer solstice festival!
  • What will your friends back home be doing for the solstice? Yeah, you’re definitely gonna brag about this.
Day Seven – Reykjanes Peninsula & Blue Lagoon
The pace of the past few days has been intense, so we’ll enjoy a gentle start to our day today. Take some time to enjoy the remote beauty of this isolated village. There will be lots of stories to tell at breakfast about the bonfire and the local festival. When we do board our motor coach, we’ll be headed toward the Reykjanes Peninsula.

Our Icelandic experience wouldn’t be complete without a studied focus on the benefits of geothermal energy.

Today’s stop takes us to the Geothermal Power Plant of Hellisheiði, located just outside of the city.

Then, we’re off to experience the #1 most popular attraction in Iceland: The Blue Lagoon. We’ll enjoy a luxurious soak in the award-winning waters of this world famous “hot lagoon.”

After lunch, we’ll visit the local shopping district. Here’s the perfect chance to unearth some last-minute gifts and souvenirs.

After the powerful bonding experiences of the past week, your big “Farewell, Iceland!” Dinner will be a bittersweet opportunity to reflect and reminisce. It’s hard to imagine that this adventure is already coming to a close!

Day Eight – Við Sjáumst, Reykjavik & Bon Voyage!
We’ll awaken this morning to the uniquely captivating beauty of Reykjavik, and feel some remorse as we pack our bags.

It’s an early flight, so we’re off to the airport to board the plane and begin our journey home! Góða ferð!

Quo Student Travel - Iceland - EF Tours