Discover Iceland from the comfort of a small boutique ship. This country, unrivaled in raw beauty, has become a hot travel destination; Windstar’s Around Iceland itinerary gets you off the beaten path and into areas and ports of call that only smaller ships can access.
The all-suite, 212-guest Star Breeze departs from Reykjavik, circles the island, and arrives back in Reykjavik seven days later. Along your Icelandic journey, you can explore remote fjords, raging waterfalls, and traditional fishing villages nestled in smaller ports that have fewer residents than a large cruise ship carries. You can hike across 4,000-year-old lava fields, witness volcanic islands being born, and perhaps spot puffins and whales playing. Add in Windstar’s locally sourced culinary experiences, award-winning service, and expertly guided trip excursions, and you have an Icelandic experience that’s 180 degrees from ordinary.
Take in Iceland’s gorgeous rugged scenery—and maybe enjoy a soak in the healing, geothermally heated waters of the Mývatn Nature Baths.
Windstar is synonymous with elegant ships, intriguing and port-intensive itineraries, and authentic local experiences. Their expert travel itinerary designers have curated unique and exciting voyages that genuinely connect each guest with their surroundings. As the official cruise line of the James Beard Foundation, Windstar also celebrates regional flavors with locally sourced cuisine and recipes from some of the world’s most recognized chefs. All of this happens on ships that visit places the bigger ships can’t reach. All aboard!
Your Icelandic adventure kicks off in Reykjavik, so spend some time exploring this fascinating capital city. Soak up the summer’s nonstop sunlight by taking a long soak in the thermal waters of the nearby Blue Lagoon, or go check out the breathtaking Gullfoss Waterfall and Thingvellir National Park. If you’d rather stay in the city, Reykjavik is buzzing with eclectic architecture, world-class museums (the Reykjavik Art Museum and National Gallery are must-sees), and a vibrant culinary scene.
Located between an epic mountain range and the wild sea, Grundarfjordur is the first stop on your journey. The main attraction here is Snæfellsjökull National Park, a massive area riddled with regal glaciers, lava fields, waterfalls, caves, and basalt cliffs. Get an up-close-and-personal look at it with a guided hike to the 4,000-year-old Berserkjahraun Lava Field. Aside from its rugged beauty, the lava field is also famous for the legend surrounding it. As lore goes, a man fell in love with a chieftain’s daughter long ago and was tasked with building a path over the lava before he could marry her. As locals tell it, he went “berserk” while doing so.
On day three of your journey, you’ll visit the charming—and multi-faceted—town of Isafjordur. Aside from its large fishing industry, the town boasts a renowned music school, hosts epic Icelandic music festivals, and is surrounded by magnificent fjords. After a morning of exploring the town, discover the magic of the fjords on a guided Calm Fjord Kayaking tour. Paddle out and get close enough to almost touch these geological wonders.
Today you’ll venture to the end of Iceland’s longest fjord and to its second-largest city, Akureyri. In the summer, flowers blanket the area and the snow-capped peaks are ethereal. Akureyri may be just a stone’s throw from the Arctic Circle, but it’s surprisingly hip and vibrant. Must-sees include the Listagil’s art galleries, the Icelandic church, the botanical garden, and the shops along Hafnarstraeti. Outdoor lovers can also mount an Icelandic horse for the day or take a soak in the sky-blue Mývatn Nature Baths.
Days 5 and 6
Next stop is Seydisfjordur, a quaint town tucked at the end of an 11-mile-long waterway. The town is famous for its multi-colored wooden buildings and towering mountains—and it’s also home to the Skalanes Nature Reserve, which teems with wildlife. Outdoor adventures abound here; one option is to take a guided Chasing Waterfalls tour into the Vestdalur Valley and to the abandoned town of Vestdalseyri. On your way back, you’ll pass waterfalls galore, so keep your camera ready.
Heimaey Island & Surtsey
In 1963, a sailor off the coast of Iceland spotted smoke on the sea. Initially thought to be a boat fire, the smoke was actually the result of volcanic eruptions from beneath the sea—Surtsey Island was literally being born. Before circling Surtsey, you’ll visit Heimaey Island—where volcanoes have almost destroyed the town on several occasions—and see the notorious Eldfell volcano, as well as the largest colony of Atlantic puffins. Then it’s off to see Surtsey Island from the comfort of the Star Breeze and have a front-row seat to the flora, rock formations, and sea caves of this still-evolving UNESCO World Heritage Site.
Return to Reykjavik
On your eighth day, you’ll circle back to where your Icelandic adventure began—Reykjavik. Along your journey, you’ve seen storybook fjords and cascading waterfalls, 4,000-year-old lava fields, and volcanic islands still being created. You’ve visited small fishing villages and hopefully popped into an art gallery and a music hall or two. And you’ve relished in Windstar’s delightful amenities the entire way. As you arrive back in the capital, you could enjoy a five-star meal in the city and toast your trip. Iceland has a way of changing those who are lucky enough to visit it. You are now one of them.