Encounter Shetland ponies roaming verdant landscapes in the Legendary Northern Isles. Go back in time at Skara Brae, a 5,000-year-old stone-slab village on Orkney and see the mysterious standing stones of the Ring of Brodgar. Walk with a historian through Jarlshof archaeological site, a complex of ancient settlements spanning 4,000 years of human history. Meet the welcoming islanders who call the scenic Faroes home. Observe incredible birdlife—massive puffin colonies in the Faroes and Grimsey, and on the Cliffs of Noss, thousands of murres and kittiwakes. Experience a near circumnavigation of the geologic wonders of Iceland.
[table id=24 /]
Bergen is one of the major cities of the powerful Hanseatic League. Hansa merchants operated in the historic Bryggens Wharf area, filled with wooden buildings from the Middle Ages. Embark on the National Geographic Explorer in the afternoon.
Enjoy a morning at sea, then see the standing stones at the Ring of Brodgar and the stoneslab village of Skara Brae. Step into the past at the red sandstone cathedral of St. Magnus, built in 1137.
Your ship will glide past the towering bird cliffs of Noss for views of murres and kittiwakes. Visit the Jarlshof archaeological site, a prehistoric and Norse settlement continuously inhabited for more than 4,000 years. It is here that you will see the famous Shetland ponies.
The rugged Faroese are proud of their Viking ancestry, reflected in their ancient language and love of the sea. Explore the archipelago with possible stops: in Tórshavn, wooden boats bob at anchor in the harbour and harken back to Viking times; visit the natural history museum and the Kirkjubøur archaeological site, a medieval farming and religious center; see the incredible bird cliffs and scenic landscapes of northern Streymoy, at the cliffs of Vestmanna.
Dock in Djúpivogur and drive down the coast to explore the vast Vatnajökull icecap and the deep blue icebergs of the large ice lagoon of Jökulsárlón. Alternatively, choose to go by 4×4 vehicle to visit some of the secluded valleys and remote waterfalls in the countryside around Djúpivogur or visit a local farm to meet the families living in rural Iceland.
Enjoy a morning at sea as you sail northward to the land of the midnight sun, going ashore in the evening at the tiny island of Grimsey. Home to nesting sea birds, it lies exactly on the arctic circle.
Drive to Lake Mývatn, the most geologically active area in Iceland. See the mud pools at Hverarond and the unforgettable sight of Goðafoss, the waterfall of the gods. Also visit the explosion crater at Viti. In the afternoon drive to Akureyri with its beautiful period houses, backed by snow-capped mountains.
Located in the Westfjords, the tiny town of Ísafjördur is surrounded by water on three sides and is a great place to view the stunning fjord landscape and photograph tiny flowering plants.
Cruise past the immense Látrabjarg cliffs, the westernmost point of Iceland and home to a huge population of razorbills. Continue to Flatey Island, a trading post for many centuries. Walk around the charming hamlet that grew here.
The Westman Islands were formed by undersea volcanoes and are among the youngest of the world’s archipelagos. Surtsey, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, was created in 1963 and 10 years later, Heimaey was threatened by lava flows that nearly closed off its harbor. Visit the crater where the earth is still hot and see areas that were engulfed by lava.
Today you will disembark in Reykjavík with options to visit either the famous Blue Lagoon thermal baths or the hot springs, geothermal power plant and a horse farm, prior to your flight home.