Iceland Adventure and Discovery
$4,995 + Airfare
Jun 26 – Jul 8, Jul 8 – Jul 20, Jul 20 – Aug 1
Session 2, Session 3, Session 4
|Who can go on this trip?||
Students from around the world!
9, 10, 11, 12
|Places we visit:||
Reykjavik, Laugarvatn, Vik, Hofn, Egilsstadir, Myvatn, Akureyri, Stykkisholmur, Flatey Island
|Optional group flight there:||
New York (JFK) to Reykjavik
|Optional group flight back:||
Reykjavik to New York (JFK)
Breathtaking waterfalls, immense glaciers, spectacular volcanoes, and some of the richest wildlife on the planet…It’s no wonder that Iceland is one of the world’s hottest travel destinations! This remote European country is just waiting for you to discover its hidden treasures. We’ll begin in the hip city of Reykjavik, home to funky street art, artisan boutiques, and some of the friendliest people you’ll ever meet. From there we’ll road-trip around the entire country following the Ring Road, making stops along the way to soak in one of the world’s most untouched countries. You’ll have the chance to snorkel in the fissure where the European and American tectonic plates meet, hear the roar of waterfalls as you stand behind the cascading water, and hang out with puffins as they roost on the cliffs! Go for a soak in not just one, but several natural hot springs, including the famous Blue Lagoon. Hike in the amazing Dimmuborgir Lava Forest, and even ride the majestic Icelandic horses. Cross fjords, kayak through a beautiful harbor to a shipwreck, and of course go on a whale watch! This trip is ideal for anyone who loves nature, off-the-beaten-path travel destinations, and adrenaline-inducing adventure activities.
On This Trip You Will:
- Explore the fun and unique capital city of Reykjavik
- Experience all the major sights of Thingvellir National Park’s Golden Circle, including Gullfoss Waterfall, Strokkur Geyser, and hot springs
- Snorkel the bright blue waters of Silfra Fissure, where the North American and Eurasian tectonic plates meet*
- See massive waterfalls around every corner, like Seljalandsfoss, Skógafoss, Godafoss, and Dettifoss
- Walk along the famous black sand beaches of Reynisfjara
- Observe the thousands of puffins roosting at Dyrholaey Promontory
- Drive over fjords and through lava fields that look like you’re on another planet
- Do a glacier walk on Europe’s largest glacier, Vatnajokull*
- Go for a twilight horse ride on the gentle but strong Icelandic horses with a friendly local Icelandic family
- Take a boat tour of the Jokulsarlon floating iceberg lagoon
- Spend an afternoon soaking in the Myvatn Nature Baths
- Hike the Hverfjall Crater and see the Grjotagja Cave (aka Ygritte’s cave from Game of Thrones)
- Go on a Viking Sushi boat cruise for the freshest seafood you’ll ever have!
- Hike a coastal trail between two picturesque fishing villages
- Visit Iceland’s most active volcanic areas and even see some steaming hotpots for yourself
- Go on a whale watch and see these beautiful creatures in their natural habitat
- Soak natural hot springs at the famous Blue Lagoon and much more!
*These are optional excursions.
DAY 1: GROUP FLIGHT DEPARTS FROM NEW YORK-JFK
DAY 2: REYKJAVIK
Welcome to Iceland! You’ll arrive first thing in the morning, but the sun will already be up–in the summer, the days are about 20 hours long! For our first day in Iceland, we’ll explore the capital city of Reykjavik. There’s street art everywhere, beautiful parks, and unique shops where local artisans sell their handmade wares. We’ll take a walking tour with very entertaining locals, enjoy traditional and modern cuisine at a hip food market, and shop for souvenirs in the neat stores. You’ll even get to ride the elevator to the top of Hallgrimskirkja Church for a fantastic view of the whole city.
DAYS 3-5: THE GOLDEN CIRCLE AND SOUTHERN COASTLINE
Iceland’s natural beauty can be found everywhere along the southern coast. We’ll begin in Thingvellir National Park, home to Gullfoss Waterfall and many other natural landmarks. Gaze in awe at the Strokkur Geyser, which erupts every 10 minutes like clockwork, then go for a soak in the nearby hot springs! You’ll also have the option of snorkeling in the Silfra fissure, where the Eurasian and North American tectonic plates are separating by approximately two centimeters each year, and where you can see for about 300 feet down, due to the water being some of the clearest in the world. From there, we’ll move on along the coast to the beautiful black sand beaches, the cliffs home to massive colonies of puffins, and Seljalandsfoss and Skógafoss Waterfalls.
DAYS 5-7: GLACIERS AND THE EASTFJORDS
Our road trip continues as we head east, past lava fields that will make you feel like you’re on another planet. We’ll spend a day exploring the Vatnajokull Glacier, the largest glacier in Europe. If you so choose, you can even put on crampons, grab an ice pick, and climb the glacier yourself to see the fantastic ice formations at the top! You’ll also be given the option to hike among the massive waterfalls around the glacier. That evening we’ll take a boat tour of a lagoon filled with floating icebergs–be sure to keep an eye out for seals swimming in the lagoon! Next, take a leisurely drive through the majestic Eastfjords. We’ll stop along the way for a ride on the gentle Icelandic horses, and snack on waffles and hot chocolate to warm up afterwards. In the evening, go for a kayak ride out to a shipwreck in the harbor of the beautiful fishing village Seydisfjordur.
DAYS 7 – 8: MYVATN
We’ll continue along the ring road up to the sunny northern area of Lake Myvatn. After the drive up, spend the afternoon unwinding in the Nature Baths. During your time in Myvatn, you’ll hike up the Hverfjall Crater, hike through the Dimmuborgir lava formations, and see the Grjótagja Hot Springs, where Game of Thrones was filmed.
DAYS 9-10: AKUREYRI and HUSAVIK
What better way to begin the day with an incredible whale watch? Northern Iceland’s waters are teeming with massive whales that migrate here in the summer. Suit up in a special windbreaker and enjoy a relaxing cruise around the beautiful fishing village of Husavik to see them up close!
From Husavik, it’s on to Iceland’s other major city, Akureyri. Well, “major” is a relative term…It only has around 20,000 inhabitants! On the way, we’ll stop at Godafoss, also known as the “Waterfall of the Gods.” We’ll learn all about traditional Icelandic life here as we visit the turf homes (houses built into the ground), and check out the impressive Akureyri Church. Of course, no trip to Akureyri would be complete without a visit to its most famous ice cream parlor!
DAYS 10-12: SNAEFELLSNES PENINSULA
Often referred to as the “gem of the west”, Snaefellsnes’ rich geological variety means that around every corner is a cave, crater, or mountain just waiting to take your breath away! We’ll stay in the cozy fishing village of Stykkisholmur and explore Breidafjordur Bay, including Flatey Island, which seems like it is frozen in time, as well as go on a Viking Sushi cruise to sample seafood pulled fresh from the ocean right in front of you. We’ll also go on a caving expedition and hike between the two villages of Hellnar and Arnarstapi, topping off our day with fresh fish and chips from a family-run food truck.
DAY 12: REYKJAVIK
We’ll come full circle as we return to Reykjavik for one final night in Iceland. Along the way we’ll stop at Hraunfossar, widely considered to be the most beautiful waterfalls in all of Iceland. Last, you’ll have your chance to soak all afternoon in the famous Blue Lagoon hot springs! You’ll also have some time for last-minute souvenir shopping and exploring any places you missed the first time around. Of course, our final dinner of the trip will be at one of Iceland’s top-rated restaurants, so be sure to dress accordingly!
DAY 13: FLIGHT HOME
Who can go on this trip? What kind of teen typically goes on this trip?
We have teens join this program from all over the world! They are typically culturally curious teens who are excited about making new friends, stepping out of their comfort zone, expanding their horizons, and trying something new.
Where do we stay?
Our hotels are specifically chosen to be in safe areas and well-suited to facilitating group supervision. We stay in centrally located accommodations, usually within walking distance of the main attractions. This means we do not use large, impersonal chain hotels on the outskirts of cities. We prefer to select smaller, family-run hotels where we establish personal relationships with the owners.
In Iceland, it is more common to stay in family-run guesthouses and hostels, as American-style hotels are few and far between. Iceland is incredibly rural, so the guesthouses are all run by local villagers and have a cozy family vibe. They even ask that everyone take off their shoes before going in to make you feel like you are at home!
For safety reasons, we do not publish the names of the accommodations we use. We do not feel it is safe to publish the name of a hotel where a group of teenagers is staying abroad. After registering, participants and parents are given access to our secure parent website where you will be able to see the names of all of the accommodations for a trip.
Do most travelers go by themselves?
Yes, in fact over 75% of students who travel with us choose to come independently. This encourages teens to step further outside their comfort zone and make new friends. We believe that one of the most rewarding and exciting elements of travel is the new friendships that are formed along the way. If you travel by yourself, you are bound to make new friends from all over the country and even the world. The best part is, you can travel again with your new BFFs on another TFT trip the next summer!
Can I bring a friend?
Absolutely! We just ask that if you come with a friend, you and your friend(s) are still open to meeting new people and sharing this special experience with the entire group.
What do students generally like most on this program?
Students love that they are able to explore the entirety of a country that is very off-the-beaten-path. Iceland is a small country and two weeks is the perfect amount of time to learn about its culture, people, and unique geography, while participating in all sorts of adrenaline-inducing adventure activities.
What is unique about this program?
From the complete view of the country it provides–we go all around!–to the sheer variety of activities on the trip, students will take advantage of Travel for Teens’ fourteen years of experience and providing unique insider access to make teens true travelers, not just tourists.
What is included?
Ground transportation, accommodations, all breakfasts and dinners, chaperones and guides, trip related activities, trip related activity admissions, taxes and tips.
Not included (not intended to be an exhaustive list): Airfare, rail passes, lunches, visas and visa application fees, beverages other than tap water, activities and admissions not referenced in the itinerary or deemed not trip related such as movies, clubs and the like, expenses incurred by the participant that are outside the trip description such as damage to hotels, excess baggage fees and the like, expenses related to unforeseen circumstances such as transportation strikes, natural disasters and the like, personal and medical expenses.
How do the optional group flights work?
Upon registration, you will be contacted by our International Logistics Team to discuss this trip’s flight details. You are not required to take the group flight, although there are several advantages to doing so. The group flight is chaperoned by TFT staff, it offers an opportunity for the students to get to know each other before the trip starts, and we get preferred group flight prices on trips that have group contracts (ask for details). Parents are responsible for arranging for participants to get to the group flight airport. Travel For Teens staff are at the airport, greet arriving participants, and help them get to where the rest of the group has assembled. For more information about Flights, visit our Flights page.
Who are the counselors on the trip?
The Trip Director for every trip is a seasoned teen travel professional with extensive TFT experience. Trip Directors often live or have lived and worked in the destination country. Extensive knowledge of the language and culture of the destination is crucial. Our Senior Counselors are experienced, responsible and fun-loving individuals who our participants can share experiences with and look to for guidance and support. At Travel for Teens we pride ourselves on our rigorous staff application process and the professionalism of our full time and summer staff.
It is the job of the counselors to keep the trip fun and exciting, the learning and the laughter in good balance, and to oversee the safety of the participants. Minimum ratios are on average one staff member to every seven participants. Trips may also include one or two Junior Counselors, who are college students with a history of TFT travel, and one or more Counselors in Training (CIT’s) with limited responsibility. CIT’s are not counted in staff-participant ratios.
What are the safety qualifications for our staff?
All of our staff members attend a week long training session every May to prepare for the upcoming summer and go over safety precautions and protocols. Likewise, every counselor is CPR/First Aid certified and Trip Directors are Lifeguard certified. All staff undergo a rigorous interview process and thorough background check.
What is the average group size?
Group size is important! A smaller group size provides unique opportunities that a large group cannot accommodate. Think of your favorite local restaurant; could it easily accommodate a group of 50 teens? Probably not! Our group sizes average between 14 to 21 students, which means that we are able to comfortably use local transport, enjoy local restaurants, and have a more authentic experience overall! A smaller group size also eliminates the likelihood of cliques, meaning that our groups all tend to bond as a cohesive unit. We guarantee that you’ll have enough people to meet some new best friends, but not so many that you feel like “just a number” or lost in a crowd.
How does this program connect to other programs?
Most of our Europe programs are designed specifically so that participants can combine them with other trips. If you are connecting to another program, your counselor will escort you to the airport on the last day of the trip and help you get to your next destination where you will meet up with your new counselors and group.
What is the food like on this trip?
In a word – Delicious! At TFT, we believe food should be an integral part of the travel experience and always make an effort to eat at authentic establishments when we can. What better way to immerse yourself in the culture of a place than by sampling the local delicacies, and we encourage students to do so whenever possible! Just as we stay away from Americanized hotel chains, we try to avoid restaurants with menus that cater only to tourists because every good traveler knows the best food is found wherever the locals are eating!
Icelandic cuisine is centered around seafood, especially fish. The fish is some of the freshest in the world, as fishing is a major part of Icelandic industry, and there are literally hundreds of different ways of preparing it. They enjoy rye bread that they bake underground, and other hearty, rustic-style cuisine. However, they also love pizza, burgers, nachos, and vegetarian cuisine, so there will certainly be something for everyone on this trip.
We also love to have picnics al fresco, and do this whenever possible, which is a great way to taste some local food while sitting out in the fresh air taking in the sights and sounds of our surroundings.
As always, we are willing and able to accommodate vegetarians, vegans, gluten allergies, and other dietary restrictions.
Do I need any vaccinations for this trip?
We recommend that you check with your family doctor regarding vaccinations and medical advice for the areas you will be visiting. For more information, please check out the World Health Organization’s website www.who.int/en/.
How much free time do we get?
Our counselors are with the group nearly always. Everyday we will break up into smaller groups to give our participants some choices and flexibility in their itinerary. We do offer some free time to do some shopping, for example, in defined areas that we are very familiar with. If participants are ever shopping by themselves within these defined areas they go in groups and for no more than an hour. On this trip, the group will have some free time to explore some of the safe pedestrian areas of Reykjavik and Akureyri. A counselor will always be nearby when participants have free time in each city. A lifeguard certified counselor will be supervising the students any time they are involved in water activities.
What kind of visa do you need for this trip?
Any US citizen that enters Europe is automatically granted a free 90-day tourist visa. If you are coming from somewhere outside the US, please be sure to check your country specific visa requirements.
Do I need to speak the language?
No, our skilled staff members will help you get around and even teach you a few fun phrases! Plus, Icelanders speak impeccable English.