Summer is a great time for wildlife in the Land of Fire and Ice. The waders, wildfowl, seabirds and cetaceans of Iceland are justifiably world famous, and our trip is designed to show you the very best of them.
Exploring the dramatic landscapes, we seek the mighty Gyrfalcon, Red-necked Phalarope, Great Northern and Red-throated Divers, and North American birds including the dazzling Harlequin Duck and Barrow’s Goldeneye. We cover all the birdlife of this stunning and awe-inspiring land, including White-tailed Eagle, Ptarmigan, Brünnich’s Guillemot, Snow Bunting, Whimbrel, Arctic and Great Skua, Black-tailed Godwit, and hope to get some rarities as well. We have seen Ring-necked Duck, Lesser Scaup, American Wigeon and King Eider in a real waterfowl wonderland!
We now have three whale-watching trips—giving fantastic chances to see Harbour Porpoise, White-beaked Dolphin, Orca, Humpback and Minke Whales. There is also the possibility of the mighty Blue, Sperm, Fin and Sei Whales, and Bottle-nosed and White-sided Dolphins, as all these marine mammals congregate for the summer in the food-rich waters of the North Atlantic. No trip to Iceland would be complete without a chance to see these impressive animals.
This unique Heatherlea holiday has been carefully designed as a complete tour, giving you all the birds, Europe’s best cetacean searching, the magnificent volcanic scenery and the best geological sites in an unforgettable and thorough exploration of this remote northern wilderness.
This holiday represents exceptional value for a very comprehensive tour - don’t miss it!
Enjoy your complimentary pre-flight overnight hotel before your holiday begins. Full details from our office!
After relaxing in our VIP complimentary airport lounge, we fly from London to Iceland, then transfer from Keflavík airport to Snæfellsnes, birding en route. Great Northern and Red-throated Divers, Ptarmigan and Slavonian Grebe are all possible. Hotel in West Iceland.
The majestic scenery of Snæfellsnes provides perfect introduction to Iceland and a remarkable backdrop for our first day in the field. Seabirds provide a focus, and we expect to find Brunnich's Guillemot and other auks. Waders are everywhere including the Icelandic race of Black-tailed Godwit, and we will get good views of Red-necked Phalarope, Glaucous and Iceland Gulls. Hotel in West Iceland.
We take our first boat trip amidst the islands of Breiðafjörður. White-tailed eagle is a distinct possibility and we have the chance of finding porpoises or seals as well. Later we head north with a good chance of encountering White-tailed Eagle. We also look for Ptarmigan, Harlequin Duck, Pink-footed Goose, more white-winged gulls, and a chance of the elusive Arctic Fox in the field margins, or amongst the array of wild flowers. Hotel in North Iceland in a wonderful location overlooking the highest peaks in this part of Iceland, with Short-eared Owls quartering the fields.
The second of our cetacean trips, as we head out to the north. Humpback and Minke Whales, White-beaked Dolphins and Harbour Porpoise could be joined by something less common! Expect divers on the sea, and on inland lakes, and keep your eyes open for possibly our first Gyrfalcon as we explore the northern valleys later in the day. Hotel in North Iceland.
Iceland's wildfowl spectacular! Lake Mývatn is famous for its breeding wildfowl, and we hope to catch up with a good number of species. Barrow's Goldeneye and Harlequin are found amidst the tens of thousands of more familiar duck species, and potential trans-Atlantic vagrants. Slavonian Grebe and Great Northern Diver are also found here. We should see Gyrfalcon and Merlin in the area, too. Mývatn is also very important geologically, and we shall study the impressive landscape, sculpted by millions of years of volcanic activity. Later we will enjoy an evening whale cruise on Eyjafjörður. This will give us chances to see minke, humpback, dolphins and porpoise and we may have time for a very quick visit to the ptarmigan island of Hrísey as well. Hotel in North Iceland.
An adventurous day's travel across Iceland's interior as we head for the south. We may visit the hot spring area of Hveravellir on the way, the dramatic glacial river falls of Gullfoss and the famous geysers at Geysir. There's a good chance of encountering Gyrfalcon, Snow Bunting and Pink-footed Goose on our journey. Hotel in South Iceland.
The glaciers and waterfalls of South Iceland. The tumbled moraines at the edge of these provide much of interest for botanists and geologists, whilst birds include Great and Arctic Skua and breeding waders. There will be more seabirds at the coast including thousands of Puffin, and weather permitting great views across to The Westman Islands and to the active volcano of Hekla. Hotel in South Iceland.
Today we depart Keflavík, and arrive back in the UK.
More Holiday Information:
Accommodation is in a comfortable hotels/guest houses with all rooms en suite,
Food Breakfast is surprisingly good given the limited availability of local produce. Cold meats and cheese are usually offered, with ample bread and preserves. Fruit juice and tea or coffee are also usually available. Evening meals are generally local dishes, which are good but often quite simple. Chicken, fish and very lean lamb are common. Picnic lunches are included.
Walking is not strenuous. Leisurely walking, very occasionally over moderately rough terrain, is the only physical requirement.
Weather Be prepared for wet weather, but also possibly warm conditions. We will be spending time on windswept coasts; it is therefore vital to have suitable clothing and equipment. The temperature can change quickly, so layered clothing is recommended. Average temperatures in July/August around 13c
Insects biting insects (midges) are possible in a few places, but not as a serious problem. Please bring a general repellent.
Group size is restricted to 12 clients maximum.
Flights are by scheduled airline, from London. We may be able to offer flight arrangements from another airport and/or or quote without flights so you can make your own arrangements. If you wish to add an extension either before or after your holiday, please contact us and we will be happy to arrange this for you.
What's included in your holiday price:
* scheduled return flights between London and Keflavik, airport taxes,
* ground transportation as outlined including all transportation in Iceland
* accommodation and all meals, including breakfast, lunch and dinner.
* all boat trips and entrance fees as specified
* the services of your leader.
* The Heatherlea Pre-Flight Service offers everything you need at the airport, including hotels, car parking, airport lounges, regional flights, and upgrades. Let Heatherlea take the strain! Pre-flight airport hotel and lounge included free of charge subject to terms and conditions. Read more...
What's not included in your holiday price:
* personal insurance, drinks and other personal expenses, optional tips, and any other costs not specified as 'included'.
Trausti Gunnarson is a very experienced wildlfie guide, and has led many Heatherlea Groups in his native land. A very popular guide, he is known for his sense of humour, birding expertise, endless patience and in-depth knowledge of all things ranging from the Classics to Geology to English idioms.
WHY CHOOSE HEATHERLEA?
Our overseas holidays are planned with care to offer great birding and wildlife, led by capable Leaders who really look after you. Every holiday is run the 'Heatherlea Way', and we hope our Overseas Adventures remind you of the quality and care so many of you enjoy in Scotland. That means rewarding and exciting days in the field, and good quality accommodation and meals, with a real flavour of the country we are visiting. Heatherlea always seek to include the personal touches that make all the difference.
Heatherlea holidays are not ‘dawn to dusk’ expeditions. Our less-intensive approach is ideal for those who want to relax whilst experiencing the best wildlife watching, and wherever possible we organise early or late activity on an optional basis. We also take sensible breaks when in very hot places and regular comfort breaks on every holiday whenever possible. All itineraries are planned carefully around the best wildlife opportunities, and you won’t miss out on memorable wildlife, whilst enjoying relaxed, informal days that are great fun.
The really important part of any wildlife holiday is the experience for you, our valued customer. Heatherlea invest in many things to offer you the best possible service;
* We have been organising birding and wildlife holidays for over 27 years, and have a highly experienced and capable office team. We also offer a telephone and email service outside normal office hours.
* Heatherlea overseas holidays have a maximum of 12 clients per trip, putting the emphasis on personal service, and helping you get the best possible experience.
* Our holidays often include things which others might invite you to pay yourself, for instance Departure Taxes and tips to hotels.
* All elements of our holidays are sold under our own licence, ATOL 6113. Under ‘Flight-Plus’ legislation it is a legal requirement of any tour operator to hold an ATOL licence for the supply of any overseas holiday where a flight is involved, if that holiday includes either overseas accommodation and/or car hire. It can be a criminal offence for an operator to book flights as part of a package without an ATOL licence. Heatherlea also hold full Tour Operator Insurance for your added protection.
* Heatherlea is your complete wildlife holiday provider. Our ‘Back Office’ team can organise all your pre-flight and other travel needs. Our specialists will help you book the right services, at the best price. Book holiday extensions through us, and your ATOL protection is extended further. We don’t charge extra for this service.
* Heatherlea is a limited company, registered in Scotland, and registered to pay VAT (applies to all holidays within the European Union).
Please note: all itineraries are given as a guide only. Actual holiday content may vary according to the judgement of your guide, and elements beyond our control (eg weather)