Photo Explorer Tours:
Custom Tours for Independent Photo Explorers

Iceland Summer Explorer

Photograph the Country of the Midnight Sun on the Island of Fire and Ice

This adventurous itinerary circles the island providing a fascinating photographic journey filled with a visual diversity of this land's glaciers, waterfalls, lava fields, geysers, icebergs, volcanoes, geothermal lagoons, whales and birds, farms, fishing villages, and folk museums. With the special creative direction of one of Iceland's most capable photo guides, Stefan Valsson (who can actually pronounce the names of all the places to be visited), this tour will provide plentiful opportunities to leisurely photograph this spectacular land.

Highlights include the Thingvellir National Park, several waterfalls including Dettifoss (largest in Europe), an excursion into Thorsmork Valley via 4x4 super jeeps, bird-watching including puffins, a glacier lagoon in Skaftafell National Park, a whale-watching cruise at Husavik, Skogar Folk Museum, the horse show in Skagafjorour, a herring salting demonstration at the Siglufjorour Herring Museum, a swim in the famous volcanically heated Blue Lagoon, and several unhurried hikes amid this unspoiled and unpolluted land resplendent with natural wonders.

A price quote for four or more persons in your group will be determined for the Iceland Summer Explorer tour. International air service is available on Icelandair from several East Coast cities (departures other U.S. departure cities may result in additional cost). The land price includes all ground transportation in Iceland, first class and superior hotels, breakfast and full course dinner daily, all admission fees, and the services of our veteran English-speaking photo guide experienced at completely facilitating the special requirements of a photographic group.

Iceland Summer Explorer is guided by native Icelander Stefan Valsson. Stefan has been a student in the U.S.,
a tour guide in South Africa, and is preparing to someday be Iceland's Minister of Tourism.

All photos © 2001 Dennis Cox

Iceland Summer Explorer Photo Tour Itinerary

Day 1/2 Departure from various US and Canadian airports on Icelandair flights in evening, arriving at Keflavik Airport near Reykjavik on following morning. Transfer to geothermal town of Hverageroi for welcome breakfast. Rest until 2PM departure to Iceland's largest lake, Thingvallavatn and Thingvellir National Park -- sacred site of the old Viking parliament, and Nesjavellir geothermal field. First of three nights at the Superior Country Hotel Ork equipped with geothermal pool, sauna facilities, and walking trails into the nearby mountains.

Day 3 Excursion to Kerio, a lake-filled extinct volanic crater, the other-worldly hot spring area of Geysir with its multi-colored pools of water and mud, Gullfoss (the Golden Waterfall) where the river Hvita tumbles 32 meters into a double cascade, Thjorasdalur valley with a view of Iceland's most famous volcano Hekla, Hjalparfoss waterfall framed in twisted basalt columns, the excavated ruins of a Viking-era farmhouse at Stong, and Gjain ravine.

Day 4 A colorful change of scenery to the yellow, red, and green hills and rhyolite peaks of Landmann-alaugar, dotted with deep blue lakes, creamy brown outwash plains, and snow patches lying on grey Rhaco-metrium mosses. Photo possibilities include the hot springs with steam rising from every corner of this incredible valley and an optional climb up Blahnukur peak for its far ranging views and close-ups of interesting rock formations and moss-covered lava flows. A dip in the natural pools completes the day.

Day 5 Leaving Hverageroi through the rich farmlands of the south coast, at Hvolsvollur we begin our journey through Thórsmörk's forested glacial valley surrounded by snowy peaks and glaciers. Traversing the rough roads and braided rivers is only possible with high clearance 4x4 super jeeps. In Thórsmörk enjoy a moderate walk of about 2 hours in one of Iceland's most beautiful nature spots and "hike" in a narrow canyon that leads to a hidden waterfall. Traveling further south to Seljalandsfoss, a graceful ribbon-like waterfall which drops from an overhanging lava cliff, we continue to the impressive 197-ft-high Skógafoss waterfall. Lodging and dinner in Hotel Vik in the small village of Vík.

Day 6 Start today with a walk over Vik's black lava beach to the picturesque Dyrhólaey promontory. Squawking bird-life, including puffins and arctic terns, and the sea stacks of Reynisdrangur rising up to 66 meters above the sea dominate this walk. Later drive east through the the black sands of Myrdalssandur and the lava fields of Eldhraun (fire lava from a devastating year long eruption in 1783) whose green moss covering gives the impression of endless green desert. Stops include Núpsstaour farm situated beautifully under high cliffs to visit the old tiny turf church/chapel. Overnight and dinner in Hotel Skaftafell. In the evening a 15 minute walk up to a glacier tongue behind the hotel is possible.

Day 7 Morning will be spent in the Skaftafell National Park, one of Iceland´s three national parks since 1967. The park offers big contrasts in landscape with glaciers, moors, mountains, birch forest, glacial rivers and sandy plains, and includes the Svartifoss (black waterfall) with its nice formations of basalt columns. After lunch continue east past the highest peak in Iceland, 2119m Öræfahnjúkur in Vatnajökull glacier, before arriving at the glacier lagoon, Jökulsárlón, for a 30 minute boat trip among its floating icebergs, slowly melting as they head towards the sea a couple of hundreds meters away). Overnight and dinner in the fishing village of Höfn.

Day 8 Morning drive along many of the scenic fjords of the East, through small fishing villages including Stöovarfjörour where the small Stone Museum of Petra, a private house with stones and minerals of the region, is displayed for visitors. Also to be visited is the fjord Seyoisfjördur, to which there is only a mountain road that suddenly falls into the narrow fjord of Seyoisfjörour. The village at the bottom of the fjord, also called Seyoisfjörour with its 1000 inhabitants is in a way like an open-air museum because of its colorfully renovated old houses covered with corrugated iron, many dating from the time when the first fisherman arrived here little over 100 years ago. Overnight and dinner in EgilsstaĆir village at Hotel Herad.

Day 9 Driving north along the glacial valley of Jökuldalur, through bare and sometimes deserted landscape, takes us to the Myvatn area, one of the most volcanically active regions in the country. There we find Námaskaro's seething sulphur pits and boiling mud pools, perhaps one of Iceland's most infernal and fascinating sights. Walkways run across the multi-coloured clay of the area, through dozens of bubbling pits, steaming vents and mud pots. Lake Myvatn and its surroundings is one of the richest bird-life areas in the world and the duck population numbers up to 150,000 in summer. At Dimmuborgir, with its amazing and grotesque lava formations, is a beautiful walk through a labyrinth of eerie landscapes, arches, gates and caves. A most famous formation is Kirkjan (the Church), resembling the interior of a Gothic cathedral. Overnight & dinner at Hotel Reynihlio.

Day 10 Drive this morning to the 145-ft-high Dettifoss, Europe's largest waterfall and arguably Iceland's most awesome sight. Continue to the National Park along the country's second largest river to explore the mysterious natural columns of the ghostly stone forest, Hljodaklettar, and to the canyon of Asbyrgi, thought by the first Vikings to have been formed by the crashing giant hoof of god Odin's flying horse. Overnight and dinner in Fosshotel Húsavík, in the picturesque fishing village of Húsavík.

Day 11 In the morning we take a three hour whale watching tour aboard a classic sailing vessel in one of Iceland's most scenic fjords. You'll be photographically challenged when these large, majestic marine animals rise from the deep and churn the surface in play and search of food. In the afternoon we stop at the Waterfall of the Gods and stay the next two nights in Kea Hotel in Akureyri, the capital of Northern Iceland.

Day 12 Morning drive along the scenic coast of Iceland's largest fjord to village of Siglufjorour to visit the herring museum with a herring-salting demonstration accompanied by traditional music and song. Afternoon free to photograph the town of Akureyi's 19th century wooden houses, waterfront, and botanical garden.

Day 13 Today's journey is a long one from North to South. Leaving Akureyri early morning by the ring road takes us via a scenic route over mountains to Skagafjörour, the valley of the horses, for an Icelandic horse show. We then visit the lovely turf-covered church of Vioimyri and travel the rocky Kjölur track that picks its way southwards based on an ancient byway used during the Saga Age as a north-south crossing of the interior. The route winds and bumps to Hveravellir, an oasis within the cold desert where hot springs show deep pools of brilliant, near-boiling blue water, lined with white silica, and small mud pools of black, brown and red minerals. Enroute the glacier panorama is great with Iceland's second largest icecap, Langjökull, calving into a lake filling it with icebergs. Further ahead on the horizon lies another icecap, Hofsjökull. In the later evening we again reach Gullfoss Falls and the hot springs of Geysir for a second chance to photograph in case the weather was unfriendly during our first visit. Overnight/dinner at Grand Hotel in downtown Reykjavik.

Day 14 Morning free to explore Reykjavik before heading to the airport with one last magical stop at the Blue Lagoon, a natural geothermal pool in the middle of a large and dramatic lava field which owes its existence to a nearby geothermal power plant. We stop approximately one hour for a refreshing swim in the pleasantly warm mineral-rich water, reputed for its healing properties before reaching Keflavik airport for the afternoon flights home.

Iceland Summer land price determined by group size of four or more participants. Call for quote and guide availability..

International airfare is not included.

Air service is available for this tour on Icelandair from several U.S. East Coast cities (JFK, BOS, BWI).
Flights from other U.S. and Canadian cities may result in additional cost.

Photo Explorer Tours DENNIS COX LLC

2506 Country Village, Ann Arbor MI 48103-6500 USA

Phone 800-315-4462 or 734-996-1440 Fax


May all your journeys be care free,

And may all your days be filled with wonder. 

NOTICE: The photographs on this website are legally protected by United States and international copyright laws and may NOT be used for reproduction in any manner without the explicit authorization of Dennis Cox.