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Find Peace on Iceland at Its Most Relaxing Retreat
G Adventures’ 7-day Wellness Iceland itinerary is proof that this land of hot springs, spectacular waterfalls, and rugged beauty is an ideal place to reconnect with the world—and yourself. Every day offers opportunities to soothe yourself with activities like yoga on black-sand beaches or a soak in thermal waters. Of course, at the heart of every healthy lifestyle is healthy eating, and you’ll enjoy meals made with locally sourced ingredients and a class on baking rye bread. 

Your itinerary includes time to explore some of the highlights of Reykjavik, the country’s capital, and then follows a route along the southern coast, with stops at some of Iceland’s most spectacular sights. You’ll be with a group of no more than 15 other travelers and led by a CEO—Chief Experience Officer—who will take care of the logistics. All you need to worry about is eating well, enjoying the activities, and pursuing new health and wellness goals in this land of natural wonders.
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    Day 1
    Arrive in Reykjavik
    You’ll start your journey through Iceland when you fly today to Reykjavik, where you’ll be met at the airport for a transfer to your hotel. Even though it’s the country’s largest city, Reykjavik is relatively modest in size—with just over 120,000 people—making it easy to explore. Perhaps you’ll want to visit the National and Saga museums, where you may find inspiration for the adventure that lies ahead (though your journey will be far more comfortable than those of the fearless men and women who settled Iceland).  

    Even if you aren’t especially religious, the Hallgrímskirkja—Reykjavik’s enormous Lutheran church—is a good place to stop and meditate on what you hope to achieve on your wellness journey. Or you can simply admire the expressionist architecture of the capital’s most famous landmark, and one of the country’s tallest structures (at 244 feet high). The soaring church’s design was inspired by the mountains and glaciers of Iceland; from the top of the observation tower you can take in views of the city and the surrounding countryside—some of which you will explore in the days ahead. 

    Later in the day, you’ll be introduced to your fellow travelers at a welcome meeting.
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    Day 2
    Start day two with a hike to Öskjuhlíð Hill, led by your CEO. Part of the appeal of Reykjavik’s modest size and setting is that you don’t have to travel far to feel like you’re outside the city. Just 20 minutes on foot from the city center, this park offers a chance to wander through woods of pine and birch on meticulously maintained trails. The hill is only around 120 feet high, making for an easy walk and a relaxed start to your week of activity. That height is still high enough, however, to offer views of the city below.  

    Sitting atop the hill is one of Reykjavik’s newest attractions, the Perlan Wonders of Iceland museum. On an optional tour here, you can learn about Iceland’s glaciers and their uncertain futures. Depending on the time of year you visit Iceland, you may get a chance to see the northern lights in the sky, but you’re guaranteed a sighting of them at Perlan’s planetarium.

    You’ll have the rest of the day free to explore more of the city on your own. Some suggestions that your CEO can arrange: Hop on a bike and pedal along Reykjavik’s streets, lined with colorfully painted houses, and stop for coffee and a pastry. If you’re visiting in the summer, when migrating whales are in their greatest number, you’re almost guaranteed a sighting. There are 23 different species found in the waters here—blue, fin, humpback, minke, and many others. Or you could head to the beach. Nauthólsvík is a small beach with golden sands and a pool formed by a geothermal spring.
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    Day 3
    Explore Iceland’s Golden Circle
    On the third day of your trip, you’ll explore the Golden Circle, a roughly 180-mile route through southern Iceland that includes many of the country’s highlights. When you’re with G Adventures, you’ll enjoy some exclusive extras, like a yoga session in Thingvellir National Park, Iceland’s only UNESCO World Heritage Site, where the American and Eurasiatic tectonic plates meet. The result is dramatic geological formations and lakes that provide a perfect backdrop to hold a pose.  

    Follow your session with a soak in a geothermal spring. Once you’re sufficiently relaxed, you’ll continue on to a local bakery for a lesson in baking rye bread. While you won’t be cooking the bread in black sands heated by geothermal activity as is done here, you can still go home with some new baking skills. Studies have indicated that rye flour is healthier than wheat flour, thanks in part to its high fiber content and low glycemic index. In any case, it’s delicious, especially straight from the oven—or black sands—and served with soft butter.  

    You’ll end the afternoon with a visit to the famous Geysir Hot Springs and the Gullfoss Waterfall. Geysir is the namesake of all geysers around the world, though these days eruptions are relatively rare. Still, you’ll see the active geyser Strokkur, and the landscape of fumaroles with steam rising from the ground is starkly beautiful. Gullfoss is one of Iceland’s most beloved waterfalls, consisting of a series of three falls. It’s at its most spectacular in the summer, when some 460 cubic feet of water plunge from the falls every second.
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    Day 4
    Start today with a hike around the town of Hveragerði, most famous for its hot springs. (In fact, the name comes from the Icelandic for “hot springs.”) You’ll see steam rising from the landscape; locals and visitors alike enjoy hard-boiling eggs in some of the area’s many springs, then enjoying them with slices of rye bread. Also, hiking trails traverse the landscape, connecting pristine valleys and springs. Your group’s CEO will then lead a guided meditation session in a particularly picturesque spot. 

    Later in the day you’ll visit a horse farm, where you’ll get to meet some of the island’s most famous locals. Icelandic horses are generally short—at an average of 52 to 56 inches, they’re pony-sized compared to other breeds. The unusual animals are believed to have descended from horses introduced a millennium ago by Vikings; they’re famous for their big personalities in relatively small bodies.  

    After meeting the horses, you’ll enjoy a true farm-to-table meal, using both ingredients grown on-site and others sourced locally.
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    Day 5
    Sólheimajökull Glacier, Reynisfjara Beach, and Waterfalls
    On day five, you’ll make a big loop to the southwestern corner of the island. The first stop is the Sólheimajökull glacier, which is roughly six miles long and a mile wide. Here you’ll put crampons on your feet, be handed an ice axe, and then head out on a hike that includes opportunities to admire the blue ice and astounding ice formations. No previous experience is required, and the G Adventures’ crew will explain everything you need to know to safely explore the glacier.  

    Afterwards, you’ll head to Reynisfjara Beach. Iceland is volcanic in origin, having been formed around 20 million years ago by a series of eruptions. It’s not surprising, then, that it has black-sand beaches; Reynisfjara is one of the most stunning, thanks in part to the sea stacks found just offshore. According to local legend, the stacks were formed when some trolls, attempting to drag ships to shore, were turned to stone at dawn one day. (They may also look familiar from their appearance in an episode of Game of Thrones.) You’ll enjoy a Vinyasa yoga session and a guided meditation session here.  

    In the afternoon, you’ll visit two of Iceland’s most famous waterfalls—Skogafoss and Seljalandsfoss—and enjoy another guided meditation. Though Skogafoss is one of 20 waterfalls along the Skoga River, it’s by far the most dramatic, dropping almost 200 feet in a single fall. Rainbows abound in the spray, and according to another local legend, a treasure of gold and gems can be found behind the waterfall. Seljalandsfoss, roughly the same height as Skogafoss, plunges from the cliff to the lower plain below. One of the highlights of this waterfall is being able to view it from behind, where a small cave is accessible to visitors.
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    Day 6
    Reykjanes Peninsula
    Today, you’ll explore the Reykjanes Peninsula, which stretches west into the Atlantic, just south of Reykjavik. Here, vibrant green moss grows on volcanic fields that stretch for miles in every direction. The geothermal activity here has produced some 55 identified geosites: fissures, ridges, lava shields, and other landmarks that are the result of volcanic activity.

    Your day exploring the peninsula will include a lakeside yoga session at Kleifarvatn, the largest lake in the region and the third largest in the country. Since 2000, the lake has actually decreased in size; geologists believe this is due to new fissures opening up in the lake bed. This landscape that embodies the turmoil of change is an ideal setting to embrace the calm and steadiness that comes with following a yoga practice. And the volcanic landscape along the lake’s edge is simply awe-inspiring. 

    This evening you’ll enjoy a final farewell dinner with your group. It’s an ideal time to exchange emails and also photos of some of the sites you’ve seen on your travels.
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    Day 7
    Blue Lagoon and Departure
    This morning after a morning yoga session, you’ll head to the Blue Lagoon, Iceland’s most famous geothermal spa. Year-round, the temperature of the lagoon’s mineral-rich waters is 102° Fahrenheit—perfect for a long soak. You may want to check out the spa facilities, including saunas and treatment rooms. But even if you only choose to visit the lagoon itself, you can apply your own silica mud mask. After your transfer to the airport and your flight back home, you’re sure to land glowing and rested.