Explore Iceland

Join the Columbia Alumni Association (CAA) from June 13 - 23, 2019 and discover the astonishing natural history and rich cultural heritage of vast, unspoiled Iceland.

oportoJoin the Columbia Alumni Association (CAA) from June 13 - 23, 2019, and discover the astonishing natural history and rich cultural heritage of vast, unspoiled Iceland. Traveling the breadth of the country, view  stunning and unique natural scenery and stay in well-located, atmospheric small hotels.

Start your 11-day tour in Borgarnes and visit the Reyholt Cultural Centre. Tour the beautiful Snaefellsnes Peninsula with its small fishing villages, bizarre rock formations, and nesting cliff birds. Enjoy three nights in the region’s charming capital, Akureyri, situated at the base of a fjord and ringed by snow-capped mountains. Travel to one of the world’s natural wonders, Lake Myvatn and its environs of bubbling mud flats, lava fields, and lunar-like volcanic craters and stop at Godafoss, the “waterfall of the gods.” Visit the incredible “Glacial River Canyon” National Park and walk to jaw-dropping Dettifoss, Iceland’s “Niagara.” Embark on a bird-watching cruise to Puffin Island where, depending on the season, you may see thousands of seabirds: puffins, black guillemots, fulmars, Arctic terns. Visit Thingvellier National Park, known both for its historic import and as the place where the fissure between the geological plates of North American and Europe is most evident. Spend two nights in Iceland’s capital, Reykjavik. Embark on a city tour and enjoy time on your own in this sophisticated city.

It’s a surprising, even astonishing land; one of massive glaciers and rumbling volcanoes, bubbling mud holes and powerful waterfalls; hugely abundant bird life and just 300,000 people; and where the sun never sets for six splendid weeks. Join alumni and friends on this unique small group adventure. Space on this program is limited to just 24 travelers and will fill quickly. Please contact us today to reserve your place on this unique and exciting journey!

Dates & Prices

Dates: June 13 - 23, 2019

Price: tour package only from $5,595* per person based upon double occupancy

          air-inclusive from $6,297* ($5,995 air & land inclusive plus $302 airline taxes and fees)

*Rates will vary depending upon your departure city. Please see the program brochure for full details. Rates are per person based upon double occupancy.

Single space is limited. If available, there is a single supplement charge of $1,395 per person. Please contact us to check single availability prior to sending your reservation, or to inquire about possible roommate options.

Business Class upgrade on round-trip international flight:

per person, in addition to the economy air-inclusive cost from your selected departure city: $1,495 from Boston, New York, Newark, Washington, DC (Dulles); $2,195 from Chicago, Minneapolis; $2,395 from Denver, Seattle (upgrade is subject to availability and pricing is subject to change).

Please note: This trip involves considerable walking on uneven terrain in a natural environment. You should be in good physical condition to enjoy this tour to the fullest.


Day 1: Depart U.S. for Reykjavik, Iceland

Day 2: Arrive Reykjavik/Borgarnes

Upon our early morning arrival in Iceland’s capital, we meet our Odysseys Unlimited Tour Director and enjoy a scenic drive to our hotel in Borgarnes, stopping for breakfast along the way. After some free time to rest, we take an afternoon excursion to the thermal areas of Deildartunguhver and also to Hraunfossar Falls. Then we visit the Reyholt Cultural Centre, a historic site based on the life and residence of saga writer Snorri Sturluson who lived here between 1206 and 1241. Tonight we gather at our hotel for a briefing on the journey ahead followed by a ­welcome dinner. B,D

Day 3: Borgarnes/Snaefellsnes Peninsula

Today we encounter the stupendous scenery of the Snaefells­nes Peninsula. We begin with a walk along the shell sand beach at the abandoned fishing village of Budir, surrounded by a vast lava field. We also explore the caves and bizarre rock formations along the rugged shore at Arnarstapi, site of thousands of nesting cliff birds. After stopping for lunch – a traditional fresh seafood soup – at a rustic oceanfront restaurant, we visit Djupalonssandur where we see the haunting remains of abandoned coastal farms. B,L,D

Day 4: Borgarnes/Akureyri

We travel towards the northeast corner of Iceland today, and to the fjords of Akureyri, Iceland’s northern capital. Along the way we visit Grasbrok Crater for scenic views. Next we call on a Gauksmyri farm featuring famed Icelandic horses – small, hardy, and with long manes. In Akureyri, we have free time for lunch on our own then take a guided coach and walking tour of this urban gem before checking in at our hotel. Dinner tonight is on our own. B

Day 5: Akureyri/Lake Myvatn

Today we travel to beautiful Lake Myvatn. One of the world’s natural wonders, Lake Myvatn and its environs of bubbling mud flats, lava fields, and lunar-like volcanic craters comprise a stunningly beautiful national park. Our explorations begin with a stop at Godafoss, the “water­fall of the gods” named for the carvings of Norse gods discarded here when the country was declared Christian a thousand years ago. We con­tinue with a walk up to the fascinating Hverfjall crater, a local landmark. Later we see the region’s unique “pseudo craters,” the boiling mud pots at Namaskard, the bizarre lava formations at Dimmuborgir, the explosive crater at Viti, and the flat volcano system at Krafla. Our last stop is the incredible “Glacial River Canyon” National Park, yet another of Iceland’s natural wonders, where we walk to jaw-dropping Dettifoss, Europe’s most powerful waterfall and Iceland’s “Niagara.” After this day of stunning scenery, we return to our hotel ­in time for dinner on our own tonight. B

Day 6: Akureyri/Jökulsárgljúfur National Park

This morning we visit Hljodaklettar Echo Cliffs where we explore the labyrinth of “echoing rocks” created by the spiral basalt formations of arches and ­canyons here. We travel next to Asbyrgi, a huge canyon en­­veloped by towering walls; in the middle of the par­tially wooded canyon sits a huge hoof-shaped rock called “The Is­land.” We continue on to Husavik, where mid-afternoon we embark on a bird-watching cruise to Puffin Island to see the thousands of seabirds here (based on seasonality): puffins, black guillemots, fulmars, Arctic terns. B,L

Day 7: Akureyri/Reykjavik/Hella

This morning we fly to Reykjavik; upon arrival we coach to Thingvellir National Park, known both for its historic import and as the place where the fissure between the geological plates of North America and Europe is most evident. It’s also a gem of nature, with canyons, caves, waterfalls, and ponds surrounded by snow-capped mountains. We learn about the historic parliament founded here in 930 CE, and walk along a gorge into the rift valley itself. After a lunch of wild freshwater trout at a lakeside hotel, we depart for famed Great Geysir and Gullfoss, Iceland’s immensely popular “golden” waterfall. Then we drive down to the southern coast to the beautiful agricultural area of Hella. B,L,D

Day 8: Hella/Vik

This morning we walk along the black-sand beach at Reynisfjara, lined with columnar basalt-filled caves. Next we visit picturesque Seljalandfoss, Iceland’s most visited waterfall, followed by a stop at the Skogar Folk Museum, which depicts traditional life in Iceland. From here we walk to nearby Skogafoss, one of Iceland’s most popular waterfalls, known for its rainbows on sunny days. After lunch on our own at the museum, we continue on to lovely Vik, Iceland’s southernmost town, where we’re free to explore on our own and to shop for items of locally produced wool. En route to our hotel, we stop by the Solheimajokull “sliding” glacier, so named for its rapid advance in the 1990s. B,D

Day 9: Hella/Reykjavik

Heading back to Reykjavik today we travel through “saga” country, the setting of one of the country’s famous medieval stories. Upon arrival in Reykjavik, we have lunch at a local restaurant then embark on a city tour of the Icelandic capital. Home to more than half of Iceland’s population, Reykjavik ranks as one of the world’s safest and cleanest cities. Later, we check in at our well-located hotel in the city center. Dinner tonight is on our own in this stylish city. B,L

Day 10: Reykjavik

Today is at leisure to explore and enjoy Reykjavik as we please; those who wish can join in an optional tour to the Blue Lagoon for a soothing bath in geothermal waters rich with silica, sulfur, and other minerals. The city is a sophisticated European urban center with museums and galleries; theater, symphony, and dance; boutiques and restaurants. Tonight we celebrate our adventure over a farewell dinner. B,D

Day 11: Depart for U.S.

This morning is free, per­haps for some last-minute shopping. Early this afternoon we depart for the airport and our return flights to the U.S. B

B = Breakfast included    L = Lunch included    D = Dinner included

Tour Price Includes:

  • Round-trip air transportation from listed cities; flight within itinerary
  • 9 nights’ accommodations in First Class and unrated hotels
  • 19 meals: 10 breakfasts, 4 lunches, 5 dinners
  • Extensive sightseeing as described, including all ­entrance fees
  • Services of a professional tour director
  • Private motorcoach transportation throughout your trip
  • Luggage handling for one bag per person
  • Gratuities for local guides, dining room servers, airport and hotel porters, and all drivers

What’s not included:
Taxes; passport, visas and associated fees; personal expenses such as laundry and telephone calls; accident/sickness, trip cancellation, and baggage insurance; excess baggage charges on aircraft; transfers and baggage handling to/from hotel on day of arrival and/or departure if you have booked as a "land only" participant or if you are arriving earlier or later than and/or departing earlier or later than the scheduled group transfer(s); any overnight on land due to flight schedule(s); meals, alcoholic or other beverages and all other services not specifically mentioned in the “Included Features” section of the program brochure.

Cancellations, Refunds, and Changes: If you must cancel your trip, the effective date of cancellation will be upon receipt of your written notification. Refunds for cancellations are subject to the following per person charges: cancel 95 days or more before departure: $200 charge; cancel 94-65 days before departure: 25% of tour price; cancel 64-45 days before departure: 50% of tour price; cancel 44-30 days before departure: 75% of tour price; cancel 29-0 days before departure: no refund.

Please call us toll-free at (866) 325-8664 or email us at travelstudy@columbia.edu for more details.