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group of puffins on cliff overlooking sea

Overview

An awe-inspiring journey

Born of fire and ice with some 30 active volcanic systems and relentless geological drama, Iceland is an astounding revelation of elements, sculpted landscapes and tectonic wizardry. Buttressed by soaring basalt cliffs that are home to millions of nesting seabirds, carpeted with wildflower-strewn tundra, punctuated with lakes and glittering glaciers, and populated by a hardy and hospitable people, this small, but larger-than-life, country offers one of travel’s greatest adventures.

We are fortunate to have on hand faculty leader Ayla Pamukçu, associate professor of geological sciences and an expert in volcanology, to help us better understand how Iceland uses its abundant natural resources to continually improve the pursuit of sustainable energy.

Dates

July 25–August 2, 2022

Duration

9 days

Price

From $8,995 per person

Trip size

38 participants

Minimum age

18 years

Faculty leader

A different kind of classroom

With renowned Stanford faculty and scholars leading the way, every Travel/Study trip is a one-of-a-kind educational experience.

Ayla Pamukçu

Geological Sciences

Professor Pamukçu works on unlocking the history of volcanoes through observations and data spanning a wide range of scales and perspectives.

Itinerary

A summer expedition into the land of fire and ice

Take a walking tour of Reykjavík and explore the acclaimed Golden Circle route of geological highlights. Go inside the Langjökull glacier and soak in the therapeutic waters of the world-famous Blue Lagoon.

  • Reykjavík, Iceland

    Arrive in Reykjavík (or “Bay of Smokes”) and transfer to our hotel for an early-morning check-in and breakfast. This afternoon on our orientation walking tour, admire Reykjavík’s Hallgrímskirkja cathedral, designed by Iceland’s most beloved architect, Gudjón Samúelsson, and continue to the Einar Jónsson sculpture garden and museum. This evening gather for a welcome reception and dinner with fellow travelers.

    Accommodations:

    Canopy by Hilton Reykavík

    Included meals: Breakfast and dinner
  • Reykjavík

    Following a morning lecture at our hotel, drive to Perlan, a Reykjavík landmark and museum featuring a rotating glass dome with stunning views of the surrounding area. Visit the building’s observation deck and exhibitions and watch Áróra, a planetarium show about the northern lights. After lunch travel to the Hellisheidi power plant, which produces electricity for more than half of the population of Iceland, mainly by harnessing geothermal energy. Dinner this evening is on our own.

    Accommodations:

    Canopy by Hilton Reykavík

    Included meals: Breakfast and lunch
  • Reykjavík / Langjökull

    This morning drive to Húsafell, where we take a ride onto Langjökull (“Long Glacier”) in a specially modified snow truck and go on a guided tour inside a man-made ice cave to witness the blue ice at the heart of this ice cap glacier. After a gourmet lunch in a restaurant with beautiful views of the remote countryside, stop at the Hraunfossar and Barnafoss waterfalls to admire their natural beauty. Return to Reykjavík for an independent evening.

    Accommodations:

    Canopy by Hilton Reykavík

    Included meals: Breakfast and lunch
  • Reykjavík / Golden Circle / Vík

    Set out on an unforgettable drive around Iceland’s famous Golden Circle. Our first stop is Thingvellir National Park, a UNESCO World Heritage site that lies in the rift valley between the North American and Eurasian tectonic plates. Dig up and taste hot spring bread, baked over 24 hours in the warm earth, and experience how Icelanders have been harnessing geothermal power since long before power plants came into existence. After a lunch of local specialties, see Strokkur, Iceland’s most active geyser, as well as Geysir, which erupts infrequently (sometimes with breaks of several years) but is famously the first geyser known to Europeans, its name thus becoming the root for the English word. Finish the afternoon admiring the beautiful Gullfoss, or “Golden Falls,” then head to the charming coastal town of Vík, our home for the next two nights.

    Accommodations:

    Hotel Kría

    Included meals: Breakfast, lunch and dinner
  • Vík / Jökulsárlón

    Drive two hours to Diamond Beach, passing through the vast Eldhraun lava field, the largest on earth since the end of the Ice Age. Journey through beautiful scenery toward Vatnajökull, the largest glacier in Europe, and see the Öræfajökull volcano and Iceland’s highest peak, Hvannadalshnjúkur. Hop on board a speedy Zodiac or amphibian boat to see up close the massive icebergs of the magnificent Jökulsárlón (“Glacier Lagoon”). Be awestruck by the beauty of the blue-and-white ice floating peacefully toward the ocean. Walk to nearby Diamond Beach to observe chunks of ice floating by, washing up to shore and sparkling on the black sand. With a bit of luck, see seals at play. After lunch enjoy magnificent views of Skaftafell National Park on the drive back to Vík and enjoy dinner together at our hotel.

    Accommodations:

    Hotel Kría

    Included meals: Breakfast, lunch and dinner
  • Vík / Reykjavík

    Start the day with a visit to the black beach of Reynisfjara, near Vík, to admire its basalt-column cliffs, often dotted with puffins, and the basalt sea stacks sitting just offshore. Continue to the fascinating folklore museum in Skógar to see how Icelanders lived through the centuries. A historian will discuss with us the importance of the Vikings to Icelandic history and creativity and explain how functional items became works of art. After lunch at a local farmhouse, continue through fertile farmlands and across numerous glacial rivers to Seljalandsfoss, a 197-foot-tall waterfall that visitors can walk behind. Return to Reykjavík, check back in to our hotel and enjoy an evening at leisure.

    Accommodations:

    Canopy by Hilton Reykavík

    Included meals: Breakfast and lunch
  • Reykjavík

    Following a morning lecture at our hotel, visit the U.S. Embassy and meet with staff working in Reykjavík. Then spend the afternoon soaking in the healing waters of the Blue Lagoon, a geothermal spa rich in minerals, while sipping a local beer or cocktail.

    Accommodations:

    Canopy by Hilton Reykavík

    Included meals: Breakfast and lunch
  • Reykjavík

    Enjoy a guided tour of the spectacular Harpa conference center, located within walking distance of our hotel in Reykjavik’s old harbor area. Lunch and the remainder of the afternoon are free for exploring or to take part in an optional horse-riding excursion in the countryside near Reykjavík. This evening rejoin our group for an Icelandic farewell reception and feast at one of Reykjavík’s celebrated restaurants.

    Accommodations:

    Canopy by Hilton Reykavík

    Included meals: Breakfast, lunch and dinner
  • Reykjavík / Home

    Check out of our hotel today and transfer to the airport for flights home.

    Included meal: Breakfast

Trip details

Start preparing for the trip of a lifetime

From top to bottom, we’ve taken care of all the details, so you can enjoy a no-stress, worry-free travel experience.

stunning view of waterfall

Pricing

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The price of your trip covers a comprehensive educational program in addition to meals, accommodations, tours and excursions. Continue reading for a full list of what’s included.

island rock with arch over sea

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