A perfect pairing of natural Scandinavian beauty! Explore Reykjavik and the Golden Circle of Iceland before exploring the rustic charms and raw landscapes of the Faroe Islands.
We recommend that you begin this trip in Reykjavik, where you’ll stay in one of the city’s premier five-star hotels. Take part in a private culinary tour, a guided city walking tour or choose to take in a private tour at one of Reykjavik’s many museums. Reykjavik is a beautiful city with colorful architecture, natural beauty—the mountains Akrafjall and Esja hover over the bay near the harbor city—and a number of gastropubs, restaurants and quirky cafés linger in and around the city, creating a vibrant international atmosphere.
Spend time exploring the Golden Circle with a private chauffeur. Take in the Gullfoss Waterfall, the iconic 230-foot waterfall fed by Langjökull Glacier, crisscrosses the river Hvítá and gushes down a series of rock facades toward the base of a narrow canyon. You can get right up close to the falls, walking safely along the canyon’s side and then stepping out along a wide stone outcrop to peek over the edge.
The Geysir hot spring area contains many different spouts—Geysir (after which all other geysers in the world were named; the verb ‘geysa’ is an Icelandic word descended from Old Norse that means ‘to gush’), Strokkur (‘the churn’), Blesi (‘blaze’, often used as a horse’s name), Fata, Konungshver (‘the royal spring’, or ‘the king’s hot spring’), Seidir, Litli-Geysir, Oþerrishola, Þykkuhverir, Smidur (‘the smith’), and Sodi among others. Explore the area and witness Strokkur’s famous bubble rise just before it erupts!
Þingvellir National Park was once the site of the world’s oldest Parliament, known as Iceland’s Alþingi or Althing (‘all-thing’, a general assembly), which moved to Reykjavik in 1881. Ceremonial meetings are occasionally held at the park for various reasons, the last being in 2000. The park itself is a stunning visual reminder of what makes Iceland’s landscape so unique, with an additional surprise: two tectonic plates—the North American and the Eurasian— collide on land in the park, a phenomenon that occurs almost nowhere else on Earth, and it offers up fascinating diving opportunities.
After your scenic tour of Iceland, you’ll hop a short flight to the Faroe Islands, a hidden Scandinavian gem, where you’ll start the trip in Tindhólm. This small city is filled with impressive views, don’t miss the attractive waterfall that runs down into the sea. The quiet and stunning view of Tindhólmur in particular is a must-see: the steep, .25-square-mile islet was named for its five peaks (Ytsti, Arni, Lítli, Breiði, and Bogdi) and is uninhabited. Explore the island of Mykines with a private-guided day trip. You reach the island of Mykines by ferry, which passes by some of the Faroe Islands’ most majestic sea cliffs. On the island you will spot charming puffins with their colorful red beaks and the striking gannets that only breed on Mykineshólmur, the tiny islet at the tip of Mykines Island. Cross the footbridge over the open Atlantic Ocean to reach the islet and its lighthouse. You can explore the islet and its lighthouse before crossing the bridge back to the village, where you can pop in at the local café.
Next, we recommend a visit to Tórshavn’s Old Town (Reyni, the historic district, and Tinganes, the governmental district) to soak up the atmosphere of the small houses with their white window frames and grass roofs. When the first Vikings settled here in the early 9th century, they established their main parliament base on the Tinganes peninsula. The Viking Age and its influence ended approximately in 1035 with the death of the Danish, English, and Norwegian (and parts of what is now Sweden) king Canute the Great (Cnut); at this point Tinganes became a market and, gradually, a permanent trading area. The old town here is unique, not only in the Faroes but in the entire world: its oldest houses were never destroyed by fire, and therefore can be dated from the early 14th century. These houses are still in use today as private residences and administrative offices. We also recommend a private-guided tour to Kirkjubøur, which is the historical and cultural center of the country. In Kirkjubøur you can visit Kirkjubøargarður, which is thought to be the oldest inhabited wooden house in the world (approx. 900 years old, established in the 11th century).
Intersperse several hikes throughout your trip to see the many beautiful vistas and cliffs of the Faroe Islands. It’s a destination with unmatched views, unique history and a diverse wildlife population.