T O U R C O D E : G R A D E : D + J U L Y Jul 22 - Aug Days Duration ICELANDIC EXPLORER

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1 T O U R C O D E : G R A D E : D + J U L Y Jul 22 - Aug Days Duration ICELANDIC EXPLORER Experience the raw beauty of nature at the top of the world

2 H O L I D A Y I N F O R M A T I O N TOUR DESCRIPTION This information is additional to our General Information Booklet, which is enclosed. Iceland, just south of the Arctic Circle, is a fascinating land sculpted by millions of years of volcanic and glacial activity. The tremendous forces of nature have created a landscape full of wonders where hot springs, geysers, waterfalls, glaciers, majestic mountains, volcanoes, lava fields, lakes and rivers abound. In midsummer the sun never sets but skips on the horizon to give 24 hours of daylight. Iceland was first settled by Scandinavian peoples fleeing from their native lands in the 9th century and they created Europe s first democracy here in 930AD. The land is still sparsely populated by open, friendly people who have done little to spoil the magnificent scenery. Our first centre in western Iceland is at Reykholt (three nights), a cultural highlight of Iceland. Set in stunning surroundings, Reykholt was the former home of Snorri Sturluson, a 12 th century Icelandic author, historian and chieftain, who is now one of the most celebrated writers in Icelandic literature. Reykholt is situated around 20 minutes by road from Bifrost which is situated at the foot of the mountains in the Northurardalur area some fourteen miles northeast of Borgarnes. We move on northwards to Akureyri (four nights), a historic town at the head of Eyjafjordur, the fjord which opens to the ocean just 25 miles south of the Arctic Circle. The surrounding flattopped mountains are formed from ancient lavas carved by vast glaciers into steep sided ridges, some still topped with ice. We will walk in the immediate surrounds and make trips further afield to walk and explore. From Akureyri we include a day trip to Myvatn, a jewel of the north. This is a beautiful lake in an active volcano area dotted with small volcano islands, home to much bird life and surrounded by many geothermal features. We can explore on foot and observe lava formations, boiling mud pools, steam spouts and recently active volcanic fissures. Leaving Akureyri, we head south crossing the Interior Highlands, passing hot springs, majestic mountains and vast expanses of wilderness topped by snow and ice. We can stop and explore before descending to Gullfoss (Golden Waterfall), a magnificent waterfall. Then it s on to Geysir where Strokkur shoots boiling water into the air every few minutes. We end our day s journey at Hveragerdi (two nights). Hveragerdi, also known as Iceland s flower town, is situated in a valley on the edge of an active geothermal region. The town itself is built in an area of hot springs and the centre of the community boasts steaming hot geysers and boiling mud pits! We will walk in this unspoilt area of natural beauty. Scenically this area offers the largest lake in Iceland and ancient roadways for some fine walking with a backdrop of mountains. Our final night is spent in Reykjavik for some sightseeing before our return home.

3 ITINERARY IMPORTANT NOTE: Whilst every effort is made to adhere to the itinerary, weather conditions may necessitate a change in the programme. Day: Overnight accommodation: Daily itinerary: Meals: 1: Reykholt Travel to Keflavik. Transfer by service bus to D Reykholt. 2: Reykholt Walking from Bifrost. B,D 3: Reykholt Local walk/sightseeing in Reykholt. B,D 4: Porisstadir Transfer by bus to Porisstadir, Akureyri. B,D Akureyri 5: Porisstadir B** Akureyri We will walk in the immediate surrounds of Akureyri 6: Porisstadir and make a trip to Myvatn. B** Akureyri 7: Porisstadir B** Akureyri 8: Hveragerdi We travel south to Hveragerdi. B,D 9: Time to walk and explore Hveragerdi and the B,D Hveragerdi surrounding area. 10: Reykjavik We travel by bus to Reykjavik for our final night. B,D 11: Return flight to the U.K. B D (Dinner) B (Breakfast) ** packed lunches will be provided on these days HOLIDAY GRADE & WALKING PROGRAMME This holiday is graded D+. Generally walks will be up to 6 hours duration, with some energetic days and some easier or rest days. Some of the volcanic rock can be rough under foot, so boots are essential on this holiday. Most of the ascents will be on walks from Akureyri and will generally be between 300 and 900 metres. An example of some of the walks we may include in our programme (dependant on weather conditions and the ability of the group) are as follows: ~ Raucsgil and Burfell. Ascent/Descent 350m, approximately 12.5 miles, 6hrs. Walk along a river and along the top of a gorge, passing waterfalls the rocky summits of Burfell. ~ Hredavatn Circular Walk. Ascent/Descent 220m, approximately 10 miles, 5.5hrs. Variety of scenery including lava fields, lakes, moors and waterfalls.

4 ~ Sulur Mountain. Ascent/Descent 880m, approximately 6 miles, 5hrs. Waymarked footpath to a great summit with amazing views. ~ Olafsfjordur. Ascent/Descent 240m, approximately 7.5 miles, 5hrs. Pleasant coastal route walk before heading inland to the head of a former glacial valley. ~ Reykjadalur. Ascent/Descent 400m, approximately 11 miles, 8hrs. Walk taking in mudpools and fumaroles with some great views. Involves a stream crossing. PERSONAL EXPENDITURE Travel costs in conjunction with the programme of walks may vary depending on the size of our party and weather conditions, please allow approximately 60 for the 11 days. Any local excursions taken will be at additional cost. Please note that the estimation of local costs relating to this holiday is based on currency exchange rates valid at the time of the publication of our brochure and this Holiday Information sheet. Any fluctuations in exchange rates may impact on this estimation of local costs. Please check with your bank or foreign currency provider prior to your holiday to enable you to plan your spending. Each evening the leader will discuss with you the programme of walks for the following day. Should you not wish to join the party, please let the leader know. Please note: There will usually be some free time available details will be confirmed locally by your tour leader. INSURANCE Please make sure that your insurance for this holiday covers you for guided walking below 2000m. TRAVEL INFORMATION Flights: London Heathrow to Keflavik and return with Icelandair. Baggage allowance will be confirmed in your travel documents, sent approximately 10 days prior to departure. The transfer to Reykholt from the airport is by road and takes approximately 2 ½ hours. Travel in Iceland will be by service and private bus. If you intend joining and leaving the party in Iceland, it is assumed, unless you advise us otherwise, that you will meet and leave the party at Keflavik Airport. If this is not your intention please let us know in writing at least 5 weeks prior to departure.

5 PASSPORTS & VISAS Please refer to Section 2 of the enclosed General Information Booklet. It is a good idea to carry photocopies of the personal details pages of your passport. Should you lose your passport, this may assist with the issue of replacement documents and your return to the UK. Please also take your European Health Insurance Card (EHIC) with you - it will help in the event of an emergency. See our General Information Booklet for further details. Please note that the EHIC has an expiry date. Please check that your card is still valid for the duration of your holiday. Please note that passport, visa and health requirements can change at any time. It is your own responsibility to ensure that you inform yourself from a professionally qualified source on, and comply with, such requirements. Advice on vaccinations is available from your GP, or can be obtained from the Medical Advisory Services for Travellers Abroad (MASTA). In addition, general travel advice is available from the Foreign and Commonwealth Office at LOCAL CURRENCY Please refer to Section 2 of our General Information Booklet for details. The currency in Iceland is the Icelandic Krona. ATM machines provide the most convenient way to withdraw cash. Credit cards are widely accepted throughout Iceland. Foreign currency and travellers cheques can be exchanged in banks, hotels and currency exchange bureaux. Please note that there are no facilities for exchanging money in Reykholt. The hotel accepts debit and credit cards for small sums and packed lunches. ACCOMMODATION AND MEALS We stay in twin bedded and single rooms with bath/shower and wc at the following hotels: Fosshotel Reykholt 320 Reykholt Reykholt Iceland Tel: (00354) Fax: (00354) Hotel Natur Porisstadir IS 601 Akureyri Iceland Tel: (00354) Fax: (00354) Hotel Ork Breidumork Hveragerdi Iceland Tel: (00354) Fax: (00354) Fosshotel Lind Raudarastigur Reykjavik Iceland Tel: (00354) Fax: (00354)

6 Continental breakfasts, seven dinners and 3 packed lunches are included in the holiday charge. Lunches other than the three provided are not included. Dinners are included at Reykholt (days 1, 2 & 3), Akureyri (day 4 only), Hveragerdi (days 8 & 9) and Reykjavik (day 10). At Reykholt and in Porisstadir Akureyri, facilities are very limited and you may wish to bring some food supplies with you if needed. You should allow around 40 per person per day for dinners in Akureyri (we suggest you take these at the hotel on two days and go into Akureyri on another day with transport provided by us on one day) and between 1-2 for coffee throughout Iceland. Please note that alcoholic beverages can be very expensive. The leader will be able to recommend restaurants for those members of the group wishing to eat together. RESORT INFORMATION Resort facilities in Reykholt include: Tourist Office Small shop Resort facilities in Akureyri** include: Restaurants/bars Bank Local shops Cinema Post office Hospital Supermarkets ** Please note that we stay around 10 minutes by road outside of Akureyri in Porisstadir and there are no facilities in this area. Resort facilities in Hveragerdi include: Supermarket Bank Post office Bakery Tourist Information centre Resort facilities in Reykjavik include: Supermarkets Banks Post office Restaurants/bars Shops Medical facilities CLIMATE, CLOTHING AND EQUIPMENT During the summer months the climate in Iceland is cooler but not that dissimilar to British weather. There are many websites that you can look at to get an idea of the climate of the area you are visiting including:

7 We recommend you take lighter summer clothing as well as a windproof jacket, waterproofs, hat, gloves and extra woollens for the cooler evenings. You may also wish to bring swimwear as there should be opportunities for swimming. Gaiters or sandals/jelly shoes will prove useful for stream crossings. You may also wish to bring an umbrella in case of rain and a sleeping mask for the light nights. We also recommend that you bring insect repellent and a headnet for the walk at Myvatn as there can be midges around the lakes. Walking boots with moulded rubber soles and ankle support are essential as the countryside is rough, stony and sometimes steep. It is essential to wear the correct footwear, as any injury caused by insufficient ankle support can spoil the enjoyment of your holiday. We recommend that you wear your walking boots or pack them and some waterproofs in your hand luggage as in the unlikely event that your hold luggage is delayed, you will still be able to participate in the walking programme. TRAVELLING LIGHT As we travel between four hotels and you will have to handle your own baggage, please try to travel reasonably light. You should be able to lift and carry your own luggage. At some hotels, the coach may have to stop some distance short of the hotel entrance. Also, within some of the hotels themselves there may be some long walks between the rooms and lobby area which may include steps. MAPS & SUGGESTED READING Maps and books of Iceland may be obtained before departure from specialist mapsellers such as: Maps of the area are also available locally. The Map Shop 15 High Street Upton upon Severn Worcs WR8 0HJ Tel : Fax : Many local libraries stock a selection of travel guides and books which may offer you more information regarding Iceland.

8 For further information on Iceland, you may find it useful to contact the Icelandic Tourist Board at the following address: Icelandic Tourist Board, Laekjargata 3, 101 Reykjavik, Iceland Tel: PLEASE QUOTE YOUR HOLIDAY CODE AND BOOKING REFERENCE NUMBER IN ALL CORRESPONDENCE. WE WISH YOU AN INTERESTING AND ENJOYABLE HOLIDAY AND WE WELCOME YOUR COMMENTS UPON YOUR RETURN.

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