Sir Chris Bonington, the first British climber to ascend the Vinson Massif, the highest mountain in Antarctica, is one of Britain's most accomplished mountaineers. He was the first Briton to conquer the north face of the Eiger and led the first successful ascent of Everest's south-west face in 1975. He has presented documentaries and written many books, including his autobiography, Ascent, which was published last October. He is still active in the mountains, climbing with the same enthusiasm he had when he began at the age of 16.
Discover Iceland with Sir Chris Bonington
Iceland is an extraordinary place filled with towering waterfalls, mountains, ice, fire, and landscapes that look as if they belong on another planet. Such an astonishing country deserves a special tour - and that's exactly what you will find on this one-off itinerary with our partners Intrepid Travel next spring.
Not only will you take in the great sights, from the capital Reykjavik to mighty waterfalls and geysers, you will also meet one of Britain's greatest mountaineers and adventurers: the brilliant Sir Chris Bonington. An inspiring figure, Sir Chris will join you on the tour and accompany you on a glacier walk on Vatnajokull, Europe's biggest ice cap.
As well as exploring Iceland's beautiful and dramatic scenery, you will hear Chris talk about the incredible peaks and troughs of his adventurous career in some of the most precarious places on Earth. And don't worry, you won't need crampons for this journey: this is an accessible, 'soft' adventure that will give you lasting memories of an amazing destination.
Reasons to book
Q&A with legendary Chris Bonington
The immense Gulfoss Waterfall
Your special guest
- Six nights' accommodation with breakfast
- Exclusive talks from Sir Chris Bonington
- Excursions to waterfalls, geysers and glaciers
- All transport between hotels
- Tour manager throughout
- Local guides
- Complimentary copy of Sir Chris Bonington's autobiography (one per booking)
Day1Arrival in ReykjavikReykjavik, Iceland
The world's northernmost capital of Reykjavik lies just below the Arctic Circle. The city sees around four hours of sunlight a day in winter and 22 hours or more in summer. Surrounded by volcanic peaks and crystalline ocean, and boasting a vibrant arts and nightlife scene, Reykjavik's contrasts are utterly beguiling. Why not arrive early and head to the National Museum, which depicts the history of Iceland from the 9th century, when the first Vikings from mainland Scandinavia arrived and settled, to the present day, or join locals who gossip and chatter in the Laugardalslaug Geothermal Pool?
Day2Golden Circle – Hvolsvollur areaUNESCO World Heritage Centre Thingvellir National Park, Iceland
Following the route of the 'Golden Circle', visit Thingvellir National Park, the site of Iceland's first parliament, founded in 930, and a geological wonder where the American and Eurasian tectonic plates are pulling apart. Next, head to Iceland's Geysir geothermal area, where you'll see the Strokkur geyser shoot water 30 metres into the air. Be spellbound by the immense beauty and sheer power of the Gullfoss Waterfall, also known as Golden Falls, before continuing on to the Hvolsvollur Valley, where you'll spend the night.
Day3Jokulsarlon Glacier LagoonJokulsarlon Glacier Lagoon, Iceland
In the morning enjoy a talk with Sir Chris Bonnington, before driving to the famous Jokulsarlon Glacier Lagoon, a stunning sea of floating icebergs whose blue contrast with the charcoal coloured sand of the beach.
Day4Skaftafell National Park - VikVik, Iceland
Today drive to Skaftafell in Vatnajokull National Park, where you'll take a walk with Sir Chris Bonnington on Europe's biggest ice cap - Vatnajokull - which has around 30 glaciers flowing out from it. No experience is necessary to partake in the hike.
It's sobering to think that the glacier is retreating due to rising world temperatures, and in some years the glacier may be gone. Later on say goodbye to Sir Chris and journey on to the black sand seaside town of Vik for lunch and some free time to explore. With the sea on one side and high cliffs on the other, this dramatically positioned quaint little village is Iceland's most southerly mainland settlement.
Day5South CoastSkógafoss waterfall, Iceland
Today, start the slow journey back to Reykjavik with Sir Chris. Stop at the stepping-stone rock formations of Reynisdrangar, and the night black sand beach of Reynisfjara, this is one of the country's most scenic regions. Visit the eerily beautiful Skógafoss waterfall, one of the biggest waterfalls in Iceland. Skógafoss is a giant of a waterfall, 25 metres wide and also dropping down 60 metres. You can get up close and feel its power, and also climb a (long) windy set of stairs up to a stunning viewpoint. Also stop at the narrow cascade of Seljalandsfoss, which drops 60 metres over the cliffs of a former coastline, and for a unique view it's even possible to trek behind the waterfall. On a sunny day you should be able to spot a rainbow or two in the spray.
This morning we continue to make our way back to Reykjavik, but this time stopping at the Secret Lagoon to soak in the thermal waters that Iceland is famous for.
Back in Iceland's capital, you'll get to experience the city's eclectic arts and music scene, an abundance of quirky cafes and a laid-back vibe. Perhaps browse some of the city's great art galleries. If you feel like something more active, you can take an optional ride on an Icelandic horse or see killer whales just off-shore on a whale watching expedition.
Tonight there is an optional exclusive dinner with Sir Chris, where you'll have a chance to ask him about his adventures.
There are no activities planned for the final day and you are able to depart the accommodation at any time.
Storm Hotel is a 93-room hotel in Reykjavik city centre offering stylish and comfortable quality accommodation. The hotel is located between Reykjavik's main business district and Laugavegur shopping street.
Storm Hotel combines Nordic-inspired design and functionality, with high quality and style. Every guestroom has a sleek bathroom and an ultra-comfortable luxury bed. The hotel is modern, clean and comfortable and is just a short walk from the sea, where you'll find some spectacular views.
"A home away from home" in the South of Iceland, with spectacular views, comfortable rooms, restaurant and bistro bar.
The stunning view from Stracta Hotel - one of the best views in Iceland- did play a major role in the decision to locate the hotel in Hella. Guests can enjoy views from the Vestman Island in the south to the mountains in Reykjanes peninsula in the west. Founded by father and son, Hreiðar Hermannsson and Hermann Hreiðarsson, they describe their welcoming rooms, restaurant and bistro bar as "a home away from home".
A country hotel in the Vatnajokull Region.
All rooms at Hotel Smyrlabjörg feature country house-style décor. Some rooms come with views of the Atlantic Ocean, while others overlook the mountains. In the hotel restaurant you can enjoy homemade dishes made from local produce.
Hotel Katla is family owned and operated and features a cosy bar, fresh produce in the restaurant and a geothermal hot tub.
This countryside hotel offers spacious guestrooms in the beautiful surroundings of mountains, black sand beach and the Myrdalsjokull Glacier. Guests have free access an outdoor geothermal hot tub, great for relaxation.
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