Iceland In Summer – A Tour For Quilters
Under leadership of renowned Quilt Designer:
Guðrún Erla Gísladóttir
This tour is designed and organized by Icelandic travel professionals who reside in the United States. The group is led by a quilt expert, also born and bred in Iceland. Aside from being able to guarantee the true Icelandic flavor, every effort is being made to feature the best and most genuine Icelandic experience, both in the capital City of Reykjavik, as well as in the countryside.
A rare opportunity to join a fun group of quilters to visit Iceland, a unique country where the word “pristine” has not lost its meaning. From the colorful City of Reykjavik to impressive waterfalls, boiling hot springs, glaciers and volcanic landscapes, – friendly Iceland offers some incredible sights.
Travel with Guðrún Erla Gísladóttir, a true quilter expert and professional, from the United States and back.
DAY 1 – FRI: UNITED STATES – REYKJAVIK, ICELAND JULY 20
Departures from: Baltimore, Chicago, Denver, Minneapolis, Newark, Orlando, Pittsburgh, Seattle, Washington, D.C., and Dallas Airports for your nonstop/overnight flight to Keflavik Airport via Icelandair or WOW Airlines.
DAY 2 – SAT: KEFLAVIK – REYKJAVIK – BORGARNES JULY 21
Arrive at Keflavik Airport in the early morning. Clear customs then take a short drive to Viking World, a museum that features exhibitions about the times of the Vikings – Breakfast is served at the museum. Depart from the museum for Iceland’s capital city, Reykjavik, located just 32 miles north from the airport. Once in Reykjavik head directly for Hallgrimskirkja, the tallest and largest church in Iceland. You get a great view of the city, the ocean and the surrounding mountains from the church. A statue of Leif Eiriksson is aligned directly in front of the church, a gift from the U.S. commemorating the 1,000 anniversary of the Icelandic parliament and a tacit acknowledgement that Leif beat Christopher Columbus to North America by almost 500 years.
Your tour will include the Parliament Building, the National Theater and the main seat of government. Visit the harbor area, where older buildings have been retrofitted as boutiques and restaurants. Depart Reykjavik for a short spectacular drive, passing along the sea shore and taking you through 3.6 mile tunnel under Hvalfjordur (Whale Fjord) before arriving in Borgarnes, a small town of 2000 people. Check in to the Hotel Borgarnes, the rest of your day is at leisure to rest after your long journey. (B)
DAY 3 – SUN: BORGARNES – WEST FJORDS – BREIDAVIK – LATRABJARG BIRD CLIFFS JULY 22.
Rise and shine-enjoy breakfast then depart Borgarnes & proceed north to Stykkisholmur, on the northside of Snaefelsnes Peninsula. Travel via ferry “Baldur” for a 2-3/4 hours cruise across Breidafjordur Bay – stop at Flatey one of appx. 2700 islands in the bay. Upon arrival in the Westfjords Region continue along the coastline to Patreksfjordur one of many fjords that appear up ahead. Proceed to Breidavik and Latrabjarg, the westernmost point of Europe. The bird cliffs of Latrabjarg – the largest in the North Atlantic – up to a million birds of various species nest here. Weather permitting we will hike to the top of the cliff to visit with the puffins and see more birds in one place than you’ll ever see anywhere. Paradise for bird watchers and photographers.
At the end of the day check-in at Breidavik Guest House. You may feel you have arrived at the end of planet earth – but a comfortable bed and excellent dinner is waiting for you. (B)
Your Tour Guide
DAY 4 – MON: BREIDAVIK – ISAFJORDUR – HEYDALUR – “A TOUR OF THE WESTFJORDS” JULY 23.
Breakfast at Breidavik Guest House then proceed on a tour of the fjords: each more spectacular than the next. Arrive at Dynjandi Waterfall (The Thunderer) one of the most spectacular sites in the West Fjords. Locals claim this awesome waterfall is the most majestic in Iceland. Dynjandi is a combo of seven cascades resembling a tiered wedding cake…each tier has its own name. Take the hiking trail to the top of the falls; a 20 minute walk. Next is the short drive to Thingeyri a fishing village where you will lunch at Simbahollin – a small, cozy historic building where your group will fill every chair.
Drive on passing a few more fjords and arrive at Isafjordur, the largest town in the Westfjords where you will be met by a local tour guide for a short walk of the town. Next meet a group of Icelandic quilters at the Edinborg Community Center for a meet & greet session accompanied by coffee and Icelandic pancakes. The final phase of today’s tour of the fjords is Heydalur – check in at Heydalur Guest House for a 2 night stay. Here you will enjoy the Icelandic horses, 2 dogs and their friend, a small Icelandic Artic Fox. Relax in a thermal hot pot in the middle of nowhere. (B)
DAY 5 – TUES: HEYDALUR JULY 24
Breakfast at Heydalur Guest House and a day of leisure and outdoor activities. The best way to describe what is in store for you is to quote one of the reports published by TripAdvisor ’17.
The country hotel is a real gem for those looking to get off the beaten track and stay somewhere different and original. I dont think i have ever stayed at another hotel with a tame fox, a talking parrot and such a kind and caring staff. The rooms are cleverly designed allowing guests to come into a “shed” with wet or dirty outwear without tracking it into their room. Meals – excellent (some of the best lamb I have ever had) and the service was, if not super speedy, very thorough… Stella was a gem! The young staff from all over Europe seem to love their work. The hot pot was glorious with an exceptional view – the fox and the horses were amazing! (B)
DAY 6 – WED: HEYDALUR – BLONDUOS – GAUKSMYRI – REYKJAVIK JULY 25
Breakfast at Heydalur then depart for the West Fjords. Travel east to Holmavik; then south along Hrutafjordur, one of Iceland’s longest fjords until we reach the Ring Road. Continue north to Gauksmyri, a country lodge and equestrian center. Enjoy a horse show, where the various qualities of the Icelandic horse are shown and explained. Besides the traditional walk, trot and canter, the Icelandic horse performs two additional gaits, the tolt and the flying pace. You can visit the horses in their stalls and lunch is available at the Guaksmyri Lodge.
Proceed north to Blonduos located at the mouth of the glacial river Blanda. Here we visit the Textile Museum, a real gem. The modern museum celebrates the artistry of women’s handcraft and displays a unique collection of beautiful Icelandic costumes, local handcrafts, intricate embroideries and exhibits from contemporary Icelandic textile designers. Proceed south for the last phase of today’s journey. Check in at the splendid Icelandair Hotel Hamar, located a couple of miles outside Borgarnes – Hamar is a popular modern hotel. Guests love the outside hot pots and the restaurant is lauded for Icelandic cuisine, lamb and fish specialties. (B)
DAY 7 – THURS: THINGVELLIR – GEYSIR – GULLFOSS – REYKJAVIK JULY 26
Your visit to the western fjords region is now complete. We continue after breakfast to southern Iceland by the shortest route to enjoy a different part of the country and its many attractions.
The 8 hour “Golden Circle” tour covers three of Iceland’s major attractions all a absolute must for any visitor to Iceland. First visit Thingvellir, a meeting point of the continental plates and site of the ancient Icelandic parliament; second is a tour of the Geysir geothermal area and experience the thrill of an erupting geyser; and third arrive at the mighty waterfall Gulfoss, one of the world’s most beautiful. Like this you will explore a cross section of Iceland’s history and its natural wonders in a relaxed manner on a one day loop. You will be accompanied by a professional, local tour guide who will explain it all in detail. Depart Selfoss for Reykjavik and on arrival check in at the splendid 4 star Grand Hotel your home for the next three nights.. Leisure time in Reykjavik. (B)
DAY 8 – FRI: REYKJAVIK JULY 27 FREE DAY
You will cherish a full day in Reykjavik without regimentation to pursue your own interests. Reykjavik is a lively, colorful city with plenty to do to keep you . busy. Here is a couple of ideas:
Visit the Whale Museum – Followed by a 3 Hour Whale Watching Tour. Largest whale museum in Europe. Exhibit of 23 life size whales.
Visit the National Museum of Iceland – Excellent museum located in University area giving a comprehensive history of Iceland.
Visit Harpa Concert Hall – The cultural and social center located in the heart of the city.
Reykjavik Hot Dogs – You absolutely must try one! A unique secret recipe that contains pork, beef and lamb.
Reykjavik features many ore museums and attractions, such as the National Gallery of Iceland, the Saga Museum and the Settlement Exhibition. (B)
DAY 9 – SAT: REYKJAVIK – QUILTING WORKSHOP JULY 28
Breakfast at the hotel – morning at leisure without a program. This afternoon will be a Quilting Workshop in the Hyammur conference room where our Gudrun Erla Gisladottir will teach the class. The class will include both the American group as well as Icelandic quilters who will all mingle and learn together as Gudrun gives her instructions in both languages, English and Icelandic. Sewing machines will be provided and shared. Gudrun will bring her latest creations of designs and quilts that have not been seen before.
After the workshop then attend a Quilt Show & Tell in the hotel. Show will feature quilts made by Icelandic quilters, quilts brought by tour members and quilts designed and made by Gudrun Erla. After the show attend the “Farewell To Icelandic” dinner served buffet style at Grand Hotel for the tour members and Icelandic quilters – about 60 guests are expected.
After dinner a Fashion Show featuring several Icelandic companies who specialize in the making of “Icelandic Woolen Products”. (B, D)
DAY 10 – SUN: REYKJAVIK – BLUE LAGOON – RETURN TO UNITED STATES JULY 29
Have a leisurely breakfast then depart the Grand Hotel to Reykjanes peninsula where both the Blue Lagoon and Keflavik airport are located. Spend two hours at the lagoon. You can have lunch and drinks if you like before departing for the airport and your return flight home to the U.S. (B)