August 5 – 14, 2022
A LAND OF SURPRISES
Iceland is a rather unfortunate name for this land of exquisite beauty and sharp contrasts. In the Viking Sagas, there is a legend that the first explorer to discover the island wanted to keep it all to himself, so he named a green country “Iceland” and a nearby frozen wasteland “Greenland,” hoping that future immigrants would chart their course further north. Who knew Vikings were such practical jokers?
Once you experience Iceland, you’ll understand what early settlers were eager to protect. Majestic landscapes, twisting coastlines, deep fjords, intricately carved mountains, belching mud pools, steaming hot springs, blinding glaciers, heavenly waterfalls and hellish volcanoes all contribute to the sense that the land has just emerged from Mother Nature’s forge.
This magnificent country is perfect for a summer fling! The sky is light almost 24 hours per day, everyone speaks English, the friendly city of Reykjavík is festooned with gay flags, and it seems like the entire country turns out for a spectacular celebration of Iceland’s Gay Pride. Join us, as we revel in an electric green landscape, full of wide-open spaces, and discover one of Europe’s best kept secrets.
COVID-19 & VACCINATION DISCLAIMER:
All plans for this tour are made with the current COVID procedures in place at the time of publication. Entry requirements and proof of vaccination requirements are subject to change at any time without notice.
We only accept tour participants who are fully vaccinated, and current with their covid vaccines including any recommended boosters as of 4 weeks prior to departure. Proof of vaccination will be required no later than 4 weeks prior to departure.
- Golden Circle Tour *
- Blue Lagoon *
- Thingvellir, Viking open air parliament *
- Geysir Park *
- Skaftafell Reserve *
- Jökulsárlón Lagoon boat ride *
- Thundering waterfalls *
- Langjökull Glacier Ice Cave *
- Whale Watching *
- Moderate hiking in spectacular scenery 2-5 hours daily *
- Iceland Gay Pride – one of the greatest parties in the world!
Arrive in Reykjavík – Welcome to Iceland
Arrive at the Keflavik International Airport. Book your own Flybus shuttle from Keflavik International Airport to Reykjavík. Details will be provided prior to departure. Our rooms should be available for check-in in the early afternoon, so if you arrive early, plan on enjoying some down time exploring the city. Our guide will meet the group at 17:30 local time at the hotel and share highlights of the adventure ahead before leading the group to dinner. This evening Toto Tours hosts a festive Welcome Dinner at a local restaurant. (Welcome Dinner included)
Day Tour to Borgarfjörður
Today’s full day excursion will take you north of Reykjavík to Borgarfjörður, a fjord in the southwest of Iceland. You will get your first taste of the natural beauty that Iceland offers as we drive through rural countryside decorated with scenic, varied mountains.
Along the way we stop and experience Deildartunguhver, the highest flowing hot spring in Europe, known for its rapid flow rate of 47.5 gallons per second. The hot spring also serves as a perfect example of how Iceland has harnessed its natural resources to meet the needs of its citizens. Deildartunguhver produces water at an incredibly consistent 207 degrees Fahrenheit, which is piped as far as 40 miles away to heat homes. We explore the hot spring safely from the wooden walkways and observation points situated throughout.
Continue on to the breathtaking Hraunfossar and Barnafoss waterfalls. Hraunfossar, which translates to “Lava Waterfalls,” is a collection of countless creeks and cascades of all sizes streaming out over a half mile lava field. The water can sometimes be a dazzling turquoise, but on occasion you will see it as milky white. Barnafoss is another beautiful waterfall steeped in local lore.
The final stop of today’s tour is the Langjökull Glacier where we explore an ice cave. This journey into the glacier is an adventure unlike any other. The manmade tunnel was constructed to allow visitors to explore the inside of a glacier year-round. Experience the vivid blue walls within and see the glacier's beauty from the inside.
Today’s tour ends after returning to the hotel. You have the evening free for dinner and independent exploring in Reykjavík. (Breakfast)
Reykjavík – Golden Circle - Hella
Pack your bags and meet the group for breakfast before beginning a full day tour of Iceland’s popular Golden Circle. The tour focuses on the scenic natural wonders for which Iceland is justly renowned. The National Park of Thingvellir was for centuries the open-air Viking parliament. We will walk through the natural, beautiful and historic site, where the continents of North America and Europe separate. Afterwards we visit the original Geysir, Iceland’s “Old Faithful” and discover Gullfoss, considered by many to be Iceland’s finest waterfall. We end the day with a group dinner at Hotel Hella, where we stay one night. (Breakfast / Dinner)
Hella – South Shore – Vík
Today’s full day excursion takes us across the South Shore. Along this beautifully scenic drive we stop to experience two of Iceland’s most popular waterfalls. The spectacular Skógafoss is one of the biggest waterfalls in Iceland, falling from a height of nearly 200 feet and measuring nearly 80 feet wide. We hike right up to the waterfall’s base and experience its thunderous crashing, but be prepared with the proper waterproof gear. You can also hike up to the top of the waterfall and experience it from above. Seljalandsfoss also falls nearly 200 feet, but is much narrower. It is popular because it can be fully encircled by following a pathway into the cavern behind it. We finish our day by continuing on to Vik where we spend the next 2 nights. Enjoy dinner with the group at Hotel Vik. (Breakfast / Dinner)
Vik – Skaftafell - Jökulsárlón Glacier Lagoon – Vik
The Skaftafell nature reserve is a part of the Vatnajökull National Park, the largest national park in Europe. The area nestles under the slopes of Vatnajökull, Europe’s largest glacier, and is dominated by Iceland’s highest peak, Mount Hvannadalshnjúkur (6,922 feet). This area used to be one of the most isolated communities in Iceland because of the ice cap on its north, the harbourless sandy beach of the Atlantic Ocean to the south and the wild glacial rivers in the barren sands to the east and the west. The landscape has been formed through thousands of years by different influences of fire, ice and water and the mild climate is characteristic for Skaftafell compared to the rest of southern Iceland. We hike up to the waterfall Svartifoss (Black Fall), which is surrounded by black basalt columns, and from there to Sjónsker (View Cliff) where we have a magnificent view of Mount Hvannadalshnjúkur and the area that was flooded during an eruption under the ice cap in the year 1996.
In the afternoon we head over to the famous glacier lagoon for an amphibian boat tour, cruising between icebergs of all shapes and sizes, which float in the clear blue water. After the boat tour we visit a black sand beach to take a closer look at icebergs that have floated all the way from the glacier lagoon into the Atlantic Ocean.
We return to Hotel Vik in time for dinner at the hotel with the group. (Breakfast / Dinner)
Vik – Blue Lagoon – Reykjavík
Today we return to Reykjavík with a stop at the Blue Lagoon along the way. The Blue Lagoon is one of Iceland's most popular attractions. The beautiful milky-blue water is unlike anything else found on earth, and stands in stark contrast to the surrounding black lava fields and grey moss. The water remains at 102°F year-round, making it the perfect bathing temperature. Our admission includes a towel, a free drink from the swim up bar, and a silica mud mask.
After finishing at the Blue Lagoon, we have a short drive back to Hotel Alda in Reykjavík. You have the evening free for dinner and exploring in Reykjavík, which should be buzzing with pre-Pride festivities. (Breakfast)
Reykjavík City Tour and Whale Watching
After breakfast, experience Reykjavík with our guide and learn all about Iceland’s capital and largest city. Included in the tour is entry to Hallgrímskirkja Bell Tower which offers expansive views of the city and surrounding countryside.
In the afternoon enjoy a whale-watching tour from Reykjavík harbor before returning to the hotel.
Tonight we celebrate the conclusion of our hiking adventures and the start of Gay Pride festivities with a celebratory dinner. (Breakfast / Farewell Dinner)
Since there are so many parties and venues, we keep the days and nights free for your own personal choices. We will provide information about the various Pride festivities prior to departure.
On Saturday, the annual pride begins at 2 pm, and this is an unforgettable event attended by almost one third of the country’s population! Live concerts in the park where the parade ends continue into the night, and the party goes on from there. You will probably get back to your room just in time to check out! (Breakfast daily)
Your tour ends officially after breakfast this morning. Schedule your return flights home for any convenient time today. No airport transfers are included, but we can help you book your shuttle with FlyBus, which picks up at all the downtown hotels. (Breakfast)
This Toto Tours Iceland Walking & Hiking Adventure Tour is accessible and suitable to all those with good health and those who are doing some sport regularly and are able to walk/hike 4-6 hours without much carrying. This tour is based on moderate daily hiking of 2-5 hours, 4-16 km and with elevation gains of from 200-800 meters.
MEET YOUR TOUR LEADERS
Leading this tour are two Toto veterans, Matt Young and Jason Cooper. This will be Matt’s 12th Toto tour and Jason’s 10th. It will be their 9th tour as co-hosts and their second time hosting the Iceland Pride Tour. Matt & Jason are accomplished adventure travelers having been to more than 70 countries together. They embody the Toto spirit and will ensure that everyone feels included and has a good time on the tour.
Entry Requirements-- For citizens of the United States and Canada, no visas are necessary. All you need is a valid passport.
Immunizations-— No immunizations are required, but it is wise to have your inoculations up to date. Is your tetanus booster current?Exit Requirements -- Your airport departure tax will be included in the cost of your international airline ticket.
WHAT TO BRINGIceland’s name and northern location influence the packing list. Even summer weather can be quite cool, so light woolens, wind/rain proof jacket and coat are essential. Wearing a number of layers is best, as items can be added or removed as need be when temperatures change quickly. Pack light and try to limit yourself to one suitcase plus carry-on. Pack medications in a carry-on just in case your bag doesn’t arrive when you do. We suggest leaving expensive jewelry at home!
Suggested Packing List:
- Proof of citizenship. Passport required.
- Casual outfits for Reykjavík dinners and nightlife.
- Comfy walking shoes for city nights and waterproof hiking boots for outdoor adventures.
- Polo shirts / T-shirts (4 - 5).
- Long sleeve shirts / pullovers (2 - 3) for cool evenings.
- Hiking pants (2) suitable for all weather during outdoor adventures.
- Wind- and rain-proof jacket.
- Jacket & thick sweater. Be ready to layer up in case there is a cold snap.
- Scarf, hat, gloves.
- Sunscreen / lip balm.
- Sunglasses / sun hat with tie-on.
- Personal toiletries (Bring an anti-diarrheal remedy just in case!)
- Camera, lots of digital memory, extra batteries.
- Ziploc Bags (sandwich size for documents, gallon size for wet items or toiletries).
- Electrical Adapter. The electricity supply in France is 220 Volts/50 Hertz, so be sure not to plug in electrical appliances from the US without checking labels first. Many notebooks and Smartphones nowadays can run their power supply units on either system. Click here to see examples of the outlets you will find, and the plug you will need. Be sure to bring an adapter that will fit with two round prongs.
MONEY MATTERSThe monetary unit is the Icelandic “krona.” Bills come in denominations of ISK 5000, 2000, 1000 and 500. Coins are ISK 100, 50, 10, 5 and 1. MasterCard and Visa are widely accepted; American Express is less common. On July 1, 2021, the interbank exchange rate was 123 ISK to the US dollar.
Taxes and Tipping: Tipping at restaurants and bars is not expected. However, we will make a collective tip to our driver and guide at the end of touring. Budget at least $50 U.S. each day for out-of-pocket expenses.
Why Is Iceland Expensive? Iceland’s geographic isolation and harsh climate make it virtually 100 percent dependent on imports for everything except meat, potatoes, fish and dairy products. While virtually every conceivable item is available, import tariffs inflate retail prices considerably. Click hereto read an article about tipping and etiquette in Iceland.
THE TOTO SPIRITToto Tours provides Adventure Travel Experiences as differentiated from tours in the traditional sense. Adventure Travel allows (even encourages) you to be an active participant. Adventurers can be identified by certain traits. They are:
- fun-loving optimists who have a sense of humor and accentuate the positive;
- good natured realists who are willing to accept situations as they exist;
- undaunted by the unexpected, like occasional delays or bad weather;
- willing to forego some of the amenities we normally take for granted;
- eager to try new things & test limits;
- not whiners!