Iceland Retreat: Golden Circle
Iceland is a land of contrasts of steaming hot springs and icy glaciers, of endless landscapes and cosy, little villages. On this journey around the Land of Ice and Fire, youll have the chance to see the highlights of the iconic Golden Circle including stops at Gulfoss Waterfall, Strokkur Geysir and Thingvellir National Park. Youll be staying on a sustainable, working farm where youll be treated to paddock to plate meals and the opportunity to learn about how a working farm operates. Relax in the countryside, even enjoying a soak in the famous hot springs, before spending some time exploring the capital of Reykjavik, guided by your local host.
Day 1: Reykjavik / Seltun / Hvolsvollur Valley
Welcome to Iceland, commonly known as the Land of Fire and Ice. This morning youll meet your local host and group in the hotel lobby for a welcome meeting at 10 am, before heading off to explore the island. Your first stop will be a colourful geothermal area known as Seltun. The hot springs and vibrant mud pools are located close to the road, so youll be treated to exceptional photo opportunities. As you continue on your journey youll stop at the remote Strandar Church, built on the Angels Cove. Legend has it that a group of fishermen lost at sea made a pledge to build a church wherever they found land, and then suddenly saw a bright light on the coast, which guided them to safety. From here, youll continue to your accommodation for the night, a sustainable working farm that doubles as a hotel. Enjoy a farm to table dinner and get to know your group a little better.
Day 2: Golden Circle / Secret Lagoon / Hvolsvollur Valley
Today will be spent touring Icelands famous Golden Circle. Head to Thingvellir National Park, home to the Parliament Plains and the location of Icelands first parliament. Thingvellir also contains the Silfra fissure, where the North American and Eurasian tectonic plates are slowly pulling apart. The resulting gap is partly filled with fresh water and is clearly visible. From here head to the Geysir geothermal area, checking out Strokkur and watching as the geyser swells with blue water before erupting and shooting some 20-30 metres in the air. Be spellbound by the immense beauty and sheer power of the Gullfoss (Golden) double waterfall on the Hvita River. When youve had your fill of wandering through the picture-perfect landscapes, youll head to the Secret Lagoon, where you can soak in the hot springs and unwind from a full day of sightseeing. Once back at your farmstay for the evening perhaps get together with the group and prepare a self-catered dinner.
Day 3: Hvolsvollur Valley
If you are visiting Iceland in summer, your morning will begin by heading out on to the farm and planting a tree, to help support your hosts commitment to sustainability and carbon offsetting efforts. Your guesthouse is the leader in responsible tourism and sustainability in Iceland. Since the arrival of the first settlers to Iceland, deforestation has taken place in order to make space for pastures. Overgrazing has then led to soil erosion. With this in mind, the owners had the idea to start a tree planting project on their land to contribute to lowering CO2 and counteract soil erosion. Join the effort to counteract this and head out into the hills surrounding the property to plant trees. During the colder winter months, when the ground is frozen, its not possible to partake in this activity, but never fear you’ll have the chance to head out in search of the elusive Northern Lights later in the evening. This afternoon, youll explore the countryside on a quad bike, led by a local guide. Travel on the paths and across the hills in the valley and visit a remote cave. Here, itll be time to warm up over a cup of tea and hear stories about the area and local life from your guide.
Day 4: Hvolsvollur / Seljalandsfoss / Reykjavik
Today is the final day of your journey. After saying goodbye to the farm, youll set off on the journey back to Reykjavik. On the way, youll have the chance to stop off at the Seljalandsfoss Waterfall. Once back in Reykjavik your host will take you on a final walking tour of the city, before your retreat comes to an end and you say your goodbyes.