10 Day Cruise Around Iceland by Sea
Explore the incredible country of Iceland in a unique and immersive way by booking this ten-day cruise circumnavigating the island. You’ll get to spend time in each of its diverse and spectacular regions, and see many of its most iconic sites.
This tour sets out from Reykjavík Harbour, before cruising clockwise around the island. You’ll stop at the dramatic Snæfellsnes Peninsula; the remote and otherworldly Westfjords; four diverse locations in north Iceland; the Eastfjords; and the Westman Islands.
Each day you will have the complete freedom to explore these fascinating areas, taking in the incredible nature and soaking up the local culture. You’ll also have plenty of time to take tours that will allow you to immerse yourself even further into this awe-inspiring land.
There are many advantages to taking a cruise. For example, by night you will sail under the midnight sun past some of the world’s most impressive scenery. You’ll also have countless opportunities to look out for seabirds, dolphins and whales.
More practically, you will not need to worry about driving or booking accommodation, and all meals will be provided. You'll have guides on board to answer any questions and provide presentations, and a great entertainment programme.
Of course, there is also no more wonderful feeling than falling asleep after enjoying a day in one incredible location, and waking up somewhere completely new, ready to go again.
Don’t miss this immersive circumnavigation of Iceland by ship. Check availability by choosing a date.
Day 1 - Departure from Reykjavik
Your first day is yours to enjoy in Reykjavík. Iceland’s capital boasts a thriving cultural scene, with award-winning restaurants, museums that appeal to all interests, galleries, public art displays, and many architectural and historical points of interest.
You simply need to be at the harbour in the evening with your tickets to board the ship. The ship will open for embarkment at 17:00, giving you ample time to get comfortable before it will set out into Faxaflói Bay at 20.00.
Before retiring in your cabin for the night, be sure to look out at the spectacular scenery of west Iceland under the midnight sun, for an awe-inspiring glimpse into what is coming ahead.
Day 2 - Stykkisholmur and the Snaefellsnes Peninsula
On your second day, you will reach Stykkishólmur, the largest town of the Snæfellsnes Peninsula, at about 08.00. This town is steeped in history and folklore, allowing you to start getting to know more about Icelandic culture immediately. Its thriving fisheries also make it a great place to try freshly caught seafood.
For those wanting to travel and explore there are some incredible activities, you can join. To start with there is a sightseeing tour by bus around the Snæfellsnes peninsula, often called 'Iceland in miniature' for its diverse geological wonders, all packed in the same place. You'll visit iconic locations, such as Kirkjufell mountain and Lóndrangar rock stacks and Djúpalónssandur black beach, and, of course, the Snæfellsjökull glacier itself.
You’ll also find cultural sites such as the Bjarnahöfn Shark Museum, where you can learn about the processing of the foul traditional delicacy of ‘hakarl’, fermented shark, and small fishing villages Arnarstapi and Búðir.
Another option, for those who prefer to stay in town, is a trip out onto the Breiðarfjörður bay with some local fishermen, who will introduce you to the culinary wonders of Viking sushi, caught fresh on the boat, while you enjoy the sights of the bay, and travel close to the bird cliffs and rock formations near the shore.
For those who are all about adventure, a glacier hike on the Snæfellsjökullglacier is sure to get the heart rate up. Travelling on an open snowcat up onto the cracked surface of this frozen giant, you will then disembark to hike to the top and be rewarded with magnificent views of the Hellisandur and Breiðafjörður area.
In the evening you will be back at Stykkishólmur, ready to depart and continue you adventure around Iceland.
Day 3 - Isafjordur and the Westfjords
You aim to reach your next destination bright and early at 07:00. Overnight, you’ll have sailed into one of the most remote and wild regions of Iceland, the Westfjords.
The port you will moor at will be in the largest town of the region, Ísafjörður. Ísafjörður is a beautiful settlement, surrounded by dramatic, flat-topped mountains with countless trickling waterfalls, with unmatched views of the fjord.
The charming town has a lot to offer for those who'd like a true taste of Icelandic village life, and a visit to the old bakery is certainly on top of the to-do list. For those looking for some activities, a kayaking tour of the deep and dramatic fjords is an excellent way to get in touch with nature.
There are also optional excursions, offering a view into the dramatic landscapes of the fjords. One is a boat trip to Vigur, an island with only five inhabitants, filled with natural beauty and bird life. There is also a bus tour to the magnificent Dynjandi waterfall, the highest and most impressive waterfall in the region.
At 17:00, you cruise is set to depart, sailing out through the beautiful, dramatic Westfjords towards the country’s north.
Day 4 - Siglufjordur and Grimsey Island
Your fourth day is unique, in that you will visit two different sites in north Iceland. The first is the town of Siglufjörður, which is nestled deep into a narrow fjord sheltered by enormous, sheer-cliffed mountains. You’ll aim to get here for 08.00.
Siglufjörður is a peaceful place with beautiful architecture, an idyllic charm, and a long fishing tradition. This industry and its history can be learned about in the award-winning Herring Era Museum, but you can add an excursion to the museum to your day for some in-depth knowledge.
At midday, you will sail away from here to literally head into the Arctic. Grímsey Island is Iceland’s northernmost territory, straddling the Arctic Circle. With under 100 inhabitants in one small village, it is a windswept, remote land with an otherworldly beauty.
Hiking around Grímsey is an option, but for the most part, you’ll want to stay by the coast, as this is one of the best places in the world for puffin watching. They nest in their thousands on the shores of the island, and can be marvelled upon from up close as they nest, fly and dive into the seas.
You’ll arrive at Grímsey in the mid-afternoon, and set off from it at 19.30. If the weather does not allow the ferry to safely reach Grímsey, you’ll instead sail to the island of Hrísey.
Though outside of the Arctic Circle, it is also a birdwatcher’s paradise; the puffins here are even less cautious of people than at Grímsey, as they are protected within a private nature reserve and have not been hunted for years.
Day 5 - Akureyri
On your fifth day, you’ll arrive at Akureyri, the ‘Capital of the North’ with the ship set to arrive at 00.00. You will have a full day here, allowing you to explore one of Iceland’s most bustling cultural centres.
The town is one of the most beautiful in the country, with many feats of great architecture and serene green spaces, such as at its botanical gardens, the northernmost in the world. It is surrounded by enormous mountains, and has stunning views of the fjord Eyjafjörður.
Akureyri also boasts a wealth of museums and galleries, excellent restaurants and bars, and a lively shopping street with some wonderful boutiques. You could even opt to visit the northernmost 18-hole golf course in the world and spend the day golfing.
There is also the option to get into the history of Iceland a bit better and explore the Eyjafjörður region and visit the old turn farm at Laufás. Those interested in getting out into nature can join tours, either via bus or by air, to the astonishing lake Mývatn area and the natural gems of north Iceland.
The Lake Mývatn area is filled with geothermal and geological wonders, and is another paradise for bird watchers. This area is home to the idyllic Mývatn Nature Baths. There are also some incredible nearby waterfalls, such as Goðafoss, the Waterfall of the Gods, and Dettifoss, the most powerful waterfall in Europe.
Your ship is not set to leave harbour until 22.30, allowing you to get a glimpse of the nightlife in the town.
Day 6 - Husavik and the North
The sixth day of your cruise around Iceland will be spent in Húsavík, a serene fishing town. You’ll arrive at 06.00, and will have the majority of the day to explore.
Húsavík means ‘the Bay of Houses’, as it is thought that a man called Nettfari and two slaves settled here before even Iceland’s official first resident, Ingólfur Arnarsson. It has been populated since the nation’s earliest days, surviving off the fertile waters of Skálfandi Bay.
Today, its is an ever-growing tourist hot-spot, as it boasts the best whale-watching in Europe, with many operators experiencing 100% success rates in summer. You can opt to join one of those tours, heading out to the Skjálfandi bay to spot the gentle giants of the north.
If you have already seen whales and dolphins, and want to see more nature, you can opt to see Mývatn, Dettifoss and other beautiful sites in the north, as they are still easily reached from Húsavík. These other sites include Ásbyrgi, a dramatic and fertile horseshoe-shaped canyon, and Mount Námafjall, with its seething geothermal areas. For the more active ones, a hike in the Ásbyrgi area is on offer.
You will set off from Húsavík at 17:00, no doubt with your eyes peeled on the water in hunt of one of the many resident whales.
Day 7 - Seydisfjordur and the Eastfjords
On your seventh day, you will sail around the beautiful Eastfjords, stopping at one of the most beautiful and historic towns in the region, Seydisfjörður.
Settled since the 10th Century, Seydisfjörður has many historical points; some of the wooden buildings are amongst the oldest in the country, and there are still relics from World War Two, when Allied Forces created a base here. Its culture is thriving, with a technical museum, heritage museum and cultural centre.
Like the Westfjords, the Eastfjords are little touched, meaning you can explore from Seydisfjörður without being surrounded by other visitors. You can also opt for a horseriding tour to a local seal colony, or a hike by the Lögurinn lake. Another option is then a bus tour to the archaeological sites at Skálanes nature reserve, sure to please both nature lovers and history buffs.
You will set out from Seydisfjörður at approximately 22.00 to continue on your journey.
Day 8 - Djupivogur and the South East
On your eighth day, you will reach the southern end of the Eastfjords, and stop in the southeastern corner of the country at a town called Djúpivogur. Iceland’s only ‘Cittaslow’ town, the settlement prides itself on its culture of enjoying a relaxed way of living.
It’s chilled out atmosphere is far from Djúpivogur’s only appeal, however. The town is renowned for its public artworks, most notably ‘the Eggs of Merry Bay’, where large sculptures of the eggs of the 34 species of local bird are lined along the seafront. It also has hot tubs by the sea, perfect to embrace the town’s ethos.
Of course, you could also use this opportunity to explore the local area. In the south-east, you are perfectly poised to take super jeep tours into the dramatic and diverse Vatnajökull National Park, named after the largest glacier in Europe, which sits within it. Such tours expose you to highland views you otherwise would not get on this cruise, and will bring you close to this vast, awe-inspiring ice cap.
You could also use the opportunity to head to the Jökulsárlón glacier lagoon. This enormous, coastal lake is connected to a glacial tongue, from which enormous icebergs break throughout the year. These bergs cruise slowly through the vast lagoon, some shockingly tall, as they make their way to the ocean.
Often called the Crown Jewel of Iceland, the lagoon’s beauty will leave you in no doubt as to why. You can take boat tours amongst the ice for an even more special experience.
You’ll have to be back at the boat by evening time, however, for a departure at around 18.00.
Day 9 - The Westman Islands
Overnight, you will have sailed along the long expanse of Iceland’s South Coast, reaching the beautiful archipelago of Vestmannaeyjar, or the Westman Islands, at around 09.00.
The Westman Islands, for their small size, boast a huge wealth of attractions all vying for attention, making them a perfect place to spend your last full day on this cruise.
For example, the archipelago has more pairs of nesting puffins than anywhere else on earth throughout summer. They are so abundant, in fact, that at the end of the season many of the pufflings end up lost, wandering the streets of the town of Heimaey.
These beautiful birds can be seen from land or on a boat tour. Some of these boat tours are often combined with whale watches; the Westman Islands are the best place in the country for finding Fin Whales and Orcas.
Heimaey is also the site of a great volcano, Eldfell. This first erupted without warning in 1973, threatening to destroy the whole town. The population was evacuated but hundreds of homes were burned to ash. It was only by ingenious techniques utilised by the Icelandic Coast Guard and US military that the rest of the buildings, and the harbour, were saved.
You can join a tour to explore the parts of town that were buried under the lava, or even go on a hike up to the Eldfell mountain, to get up close and personal with the destructive geology of the place, though the mountain now soundly sleeps. If you would rather relax, you can take this unique opportunity to play golf in a lava field.
You will stay on the Westman Islands until 18.30, before boarding your ship once more and sailing back to Reykjavík.
Day 10 - Return to Reykjavik
You return to Reykjavík on your tenth day, arriving at the harbour at 08.00. From here, you are free to explore the city more, or jump on a tour to see some inland sightseeing spots you’d not been able to before you left, such as those on the Golden Circle.
If you are planning to end your holiday today, ensure your flight from Keflavík departs after 12.00 to ensure you can catch it in good time.
What to bring
Good to know
Please note that Iceland is a country of oppositions. The weather might be fickle and change rapidly and can get quite cold, even in summer. Wearing proper shoes and overcoats will certainly make your travels more enjoyable.
Some optional activities might be subject to a minimum age requirement or require a valid driver's license or additional information.
Please note that this itinerary might have to be altered in case of unfavourable weather or other uncontrollable circumstances.
All additional excursions can be reserved with the booking of this tour. However, they are not paid upon the time of booking, but aboard the ship. All options display the price of each excursion in US dollars, but no charge is made to this booking.
If you book the extra activities alongside this tour, you will get them at a lower price.
All cabins are on the outer side of the ship and have a window facing the ocean. They are equipped with a TV, wardrobe, refrigerator, individual temperature controls, hairdryer and satellite telephone access. They have all been remodelled and renewed in the last three years. If an odd number of travellers are booked together, they will be placed in double cabins and one single cabin.
Outside cabin on deck 3 with a porthole window. Roomy, 19 square metre room with a double or twin bed and an ensuite with shower.
Outside cabin on decks 5 and 6 with a full window. The view is obstructed e.g. by the ship’s lifeboats. Roomy, 19 square metre room with a double or twin bed and an ensuite with shower.
Outside cabin on decks 4, 5 and 6 with a full window. Full picture window offers unrestricted views during your travels. Approx. 18 square metre room with a double or twin bed and an ensuite with shower.
Spacious, 30 square metre Suite on deck 7. An open sitting area with floor-to-ceiling windows and a private balcony. Double or twin bed and an ensuite with shower.