London to Iceland

Tailormade Rail and Sea Adventure

London to Iceland – Rail and Sea Adventure – a 15 day Private Tour from £2,790 per person.


A unique adventure travelling all the way from the UK by train and ferry to one of Europe’s most exciting destinations – Iceland.

The London to Iceland trip starts with a journey on the Eurostar from London through the Channel Tunnel to Brussels. Continue on a German ‘ICE’ high-speed train to Cologne and then a connecting intercity service to Hamburg. Stay overnight in Hamburg – a city that has something for everyone.

The next day head north and onto Denmark. Take time to discover Aarhus – a previous European Capital of Culture. A small, compact city, with a population of just 330,000, Aarhus’s attractions are easily explored on foot or bicycle.

They include: ARoS, the contemporary art museum whose rainbow-coloured roof installation can be seen from all over town; the cutting-edge architecture of the revitalised harbour area; the gobsmacking redevelopment of Godsbanen, a goods station turned cultural centre; and the medieval streets of the Latin Quarter.

A bike also comes in handy for making the most of the city’s location on the Jutland peninsula. On two wheels and within 15 minutes, you can reach a forest or beach.

 

After a two night stay in Aarhus continue to the northern tip of Jutland where you board the ‘Norröna’, a Smyril Line cruise ferry bound for the remote Faroe Islands. Relax on-board and enjoy the ship’s excellent facilities. These include a small indoor swimming pool and outside on deck some hot tubs. During the voyage look out for birds and if you are lucky you may even see some whales.

Arrive in the little known Faroes and adjust to the slow pace of life of the islands. With three full days you will have ample opportunity to explore. Take a stroll around the colourful capital Tórshavn, with its charming old town, marina, museums, restaurants and cafés. The following day you will see more of the Faroes on a guided tour of Streymoy, the largest of the islands. In the summer months (May – August), look out for nesting Puffins.

Your North Atlantic adventure continues when you re-join the Norröna for the last leg of your voyage from the Faroes to Iceland. The ship docks in the small town of Seyðisfjörður, located in the east of the country. Made up of multi-coloured wooden houses and surrounded by snow-capped mountains and cascading waterfalls, super-picturesque Seyðisfjörður (pronounced ‘say-this-fjurther’) is the most historically and architecturally interesting town in East Iceland.

The next day take delivery of your rental car which you will keep until your flight home. Follow a carefully planned self-drive itinerary mostly driving along the spectacular coastal route to the capital Reykjavik. Over three days and with three overnight stops along the way, discover some of the country’s most spectacular sights.

Get up close to thundering waterfalls and erupting geysers. And put on some crampons and enjoy a guided glacier walk before reaching your destination for a two night stay in friendly Reykjavik with its great outdoor spaces and museums.

Finally before the end of our London to Iceland adventure, you might have time for a relaxing dip in the famous Blue Lagoon geothermal spa.

Tour ratings.

  • Fitness
  • Off the beaten track
  • Culture 
  • History 
  • Wildlife 

Tour pace

Busy

Tour style

Traveller

Relaxed Pace

Relaxed tours are easy paced with plenty of leisure time built in. The tour will in all probability still be off the beaten track, with the occasional early start and there may still be occasional long drives. In general on a relaxed pace tour you can enjoy easy-going activities and experiences with opportunities to absorb the sights and immerse yourself in the local surroundings.

Moderate Pace

Moderate pace tours are ideal if you want a tour experience that combines activities and experiences with some time to relax. Typically you will be active and busy for part of the day but then also have time to rest and recharge your batteries. In general on a moderate paced tour there may be some long journeys involved but the tour is not an expedition or a road trip. On a moderate paced tour it will be necessary to have some early starts.

Busy Pace

A busy paced tour means that you can expect to be doing, seeing or experiencing something new almost every day, and moving on from place to place to pack in as much as possible. There may be early starts, long journeys and tiring days along the way, but you’ll return home feeling you’ve really experienced as much as you possibly could.

Pioneer Class Tours

On our Pioneer tours, you will be amongst an elite group of intrepid travellers and some of the first to explore a country that few have been privileged enough to discover. Of course, exploring such areas of the world will come with its challenges; it may mean several nights camping, long journeys by 4WD and the need to maintain a degree of flexibility for when carefully laid plans change. These are challenging tours in countries and areas that may have poor infrastructure, high levels of poverty and illiteracy. This can translate in to low standards in hotels, bad roads and poor driving standards among other issues. We try and smooth out as much of these issues as we can but you should be prepared to experience the bad with the good.

Traveller Class Tours

Our Traveller itineraries are at the core of our programme. These journeys are designed for travellers who still want to discover a land away from the tourist crowds but expect minimum standards. Accommodation will be primarily hotel based, although you could still find yourself camping, or the guest of a local family. Depending on the destination and itinerary, you’ll likely be travelling in a private vehicle, with occasional use of public transport. This is adventure travel with some of the rough edges smoothed out.

Itinerary

We begin our London to Iceland adventure! Take a morning Eurostar from the spectacularly-restored St. Pancras station to Brussels’ elegant Midi Station, designed by Victor Horta, a journey of just over two hours. After a short connection continue on a high-speed German ICE train to Cologne, where you will see the city’s magnificent cathedral which stands right next to the station, before taking another train to Hamburg.

On both trains you will find a bistro car serving full meals and drinks, and you can order from an English language menu. The route takes you through some of Belgium and Germany’s fascinating towns, whilst the modern architectural masterpiece that is Liege station is worth watching out for.

Arrive in Hamburg at around 7pm and walk the short distance to your overnight hotel, located conveniently close to the railway station. Overnight IntercityHotel Hamburg Hauptbahnhof or similar.

After a leisurely breakfast today you will head north by intercity train for the four and half hour journey to Denmark and the country’s second city, Aarhus. Upon arrival walk the short distance from the station to your centrally located hotel. After check-in and time freshen-up take a stroll around the Old Town and get your bearings. Overnight Scandic Aarhus City or similar. (B)

Aarhus (oar-hus) has long laboured in the shadow of consummate capital Copenhagen, but transformation is afoot. Denmark’s second-largest city is busy staking a claim for visitor attention, and building a reputation as an emerging European destination for savvy city-breakers, festival-goers, art and food fans, and those looking beyond the capital-city conga.

This Viking-founded, student-filled hub has accrued some weighty accolades to shore up its appeal, too: in 2017 its titles included European Capital of Culture and European Region of Gastronomy (the latter was awarded to Aarhus and the larger central Denmark region).

The ever-expanding menu of architectural landmarks, lauded restaurants, bars, festivals and boutiques is a mark of a vibrant city on the rise. A great place to explore on foot – Aarhus is compact, photogenic and friendly (its local nickname is ‘the city of smiles’). Overnight Scandic Aarhus City or similar. (B)

Make your way back to the station and board a train to Lindholm, where you will connect to a local train taking you north to Hirtshals, which is located at the top of the Jutland peninsula. From the railway station make your way by taxi or connecting bus (please check for further details) the short distance to the town’s ferry port.

Check-in at the Smyril Line terminal and board the ‘Norröna’ which is scheduled to sail at 15:30. Overnight Norröna ferry – outside two berth cabin. (B)

MV Norröna

Although the Norröna is a ‘working’ ship and provides a vital link between Denmark, the Faroes Island and Iceland it offers an almost cruise like experience. The ship is relatively large at 36,000 tonnes and can carry nearly 1,500 passengers and 800 cars.

From the deck you will enjoy incredible views, particularly as the ships sails in and out of the Faroes, and on the final leg of the voyage, on the approach to Iceland. Look out for birds and maybe even a whale or two.

On-board you will find a variety of restaurants including the popular Norröna Buffet where you will take breakfast as part of your package. Other meals can be paid for on-board or if you prefer in advance through Undiscovered Destinations. Pre-payment and restaurant reservations are recommended at busy times of the year.

Please contact us for further details or visit Smyril Line’s website – https://www.smyrilline.com/ms-norroena/restaurants. As well as a choice of eating options Norröna offers two lounges, one of which often hosts live Faroese musicians. Other facilities include outdoor hot tubs (bathrobes and slippers provided) and a small indoor swimming pool.

Today our journey from London to Iceland means that you will be at sea as the Norröna heads north to the Faroe Islands. Enjoy the ship’s on-board facilities and take the time to relax, or to chat to your fellow passengers. Arrival in Tórshavn is scheduled at 22:30, so you may want to have dinner before disembarking – again pre-payment and reservations are recommended.

Once you have disembarked make your own way to your hotel, located less than a 10 minute walk from the ferry terminal. Overnight Hotel Hafnia or similar. (B)

After the long voyage from Denmark we have left today free for you to relax and to adjust to the slow pace of life of the islands. With three full days you will have ample opportunity to explore. Today we suggest you experience the colourful capital Tórshavn, with its charming old town, marina, museums, restaurants and cafés.

The following day you will see more of the Faroes on a guided tour of Streymoy, the largest of the islands. Overnight Hotel Hafnia or similar. (B)

Our local representative will collect you from your hotel and you will drive firstly through the streets of old Tórshavn to the historic village of Kirkjubøur, the southernmost village on Streymoy and the country’s most important historical site. The ruins of the Magnus Cathedral date from around 1300, the Saint Olav’s Church from 12th century and the old farmhouse Kirkjubøargarður from 11th century, which is still occupied by the same family for 17 generations. You will then drive to the beautiful village of Saksun with its natural amphitheatre of cliffs, waterfalls and stunning nature.

After exploring Saksun, your next stop is the village of Tjørnuvík, the most northerly village on Streymoy and now popular with surfers. Tjørnuvík also has one of the oldest Viking burial grounds where you can see the original burial stones.

Your guide will usually suggest that you take time to enjoy a picnic lunch (included as part of the tour) whilst admiring the view of the “Giant and Hag” rock formations on the headland and telling you the legend behind the rocks. You will have time to take a stroll on the beautiful sandy beach.

The tour continues with a stunning drive up and past the highest point on the Faroe Islands and descending into the beautiful and picturesque village of Gjógv.  In the summer months (May – August) it is possible to glimpse Puffins nesting on the ledge above the gorge in Gjógv. Later take a scenic route back to Tórshavn and your hotel. Along the way there will be plenty photo opportunities and your guide will tell you of some of the legends and myths that abound in this magical country. Overnight Hotel Hafnia or similar. (BL)

A full day at leisure before our trip from London to Iceland continues as we board the Norröna ferry for the last leg of your North Atlantic adventure to Iceland.

With a departure time of 18:00 you will have the full day before boarding the ferry, so you may want to arrange some optional guided sightseeing. A popular excursion is a morning boat trip to Vestmanna Sea Cliffs – a good chance to see some of the most remarkable coastline in the Faroe Islands. The cliffs are a natural wonder and a must-see experience while in the Faroe Islands.

Sheer mountain sides, towering sea stacks, and rich birdlife are what you will explore on this one and a half hour boat tour which leaves from the harbour in Vestmanna. To reach Vestmanna there is a good bus service which works well with the excursion and takes just under one hour. The trip can be booked in advance and prepaid through Undiscovered Destinations, or subject to availability once you are in the Faroes.

Please contact us if you would like further information. Late afternoon you will be welcomed back on-board the Norröna. As with your previous crossing from Denmark we recommend that you pre-pay and make a reservation in advance for dinner. Options include the ship’s buffet restaurant or you may like to enjoy dinner in Simmer Din – a chance to try some Scandic gourmet dining. Overnight Norröna ferry – outside 2 berth cabin. (B)

Welcome to Iceland!

At around 08:30 the Norröna docks in the small town of Seyðisfjörður, located in the east of the country. Made up of multi-coloured wooden houses and surrounded by snow-capped mountains and cascading waterfalls, super-picturesque Seyðisfjörður (pronounced ‘say-this-fjurther’) is the most historically and architecturally interesting town in East Iceland.

It is also a friendly place with an international community of artists, musicians, craftspeople and students. Therefore, before you continue your adventure by road across the country to the capital, we would recommend that you stay overnight at a local hotel, located a 10 minute walk from the ferry terminal. We have chosen a wonderful hotel which is shared across three old wooden buildings, one of which was a former bank.

After check-in (please note rooms may not be available until after lunchtime) the rest of the day will be free for you to relax or to perhaps take a hike in the surrounding area.  Overnight Hotel Aldan or similar. (B)

After breakfast you will take delivery of your rental car. Given that the nearest rental location for vehicles is in the town of Egilsstaðir, some 27km from Seyðisfjörður, arrangements will be made in advance for the car to be delivered to your hotel.

Although an extra cost applies, this has been included as part of your package. Once you have taken delivery of the vehicle, which you will keep until your departure from Iceland, you will be free to set-off for today’s scenic drive to Höfn.

The distance is 277km and can be covered in about 3½ hours but will take longer depending on stops. The road hugs the east coast and you can expect stunning coastal and mountain views, and you will see many waterfalls. Along the way we would recommend that you stop in the small town of Djúpivogur where you can see a unique sculpture – 34 large granite eggs, all spread out with each egg on its own stand.

It is said that the 34 eggs represent each of the local birds to the area. Continue to Höfn which literally translates to Harbour. Sitting on the shores of the totally breathtaking Hornafjörður, in the shadows of the largest ice cap in Europe, the majestic Vatnajökull is magical.

However, technically Hornafjörður is not actually a fjord, but a large freshwater lagoon, formed by the sediment left by powerful glacial rivers. Overnight Fosshotel Vatnajokull or similar. (B)

Car Hire – Important Information

Hire of a compact group of vehicle will be arranged in advance, generally with Europcar and their local agent Höldur ehf (www.holdur.is/en). The rental will include full insurance subject to an excess which at the time of writing is as follows;

Collision Damage Waiver (CDW) – Excess amount £450

Theft Waiver (THW) – Excess amount £450

The rental excludes the following costs;

Risk Reduction Cover (SCDW) – from £55.00 per rental (subject to change)

Fuel – the vehicle should be returned with a full tank

Additional driver fee – from £26 (subject to change)

Deposit will apply (the amount will be pre-authorised on your credit card at the time of rental pickup, but not debited from your account).

Our journey from London to Iceland has arrived and we continue the exploration. Today you will continue on Iceland’s Ring Road to the small town of Vik. Along the way you will have the opportunity to stop at one of the country’s main attractions the Vatnajökull National Park and in particular the breathtaking peaks and glaciers of Skaftafell.

Located just off the Ring Road, and less than two hours from Höfn, from the park’s visitor centre it is possible to arrange a glacier walk. Short tours are available and can be booked in advance or subject to availability on the day. A typical 3 to 5 hour tour starts off with meeting a certified and experienced glacier guide. The guide will instruct you on how to use the basic and required glacier equipment provided, including crampons and an ice axe. Once you step onto the ice field it will feel as if you have been transported to an icy, foreign planet.

As you walk through a wonderland of glacial ice sculptures, ice ridges and deep crevasses on the glacier, you will witness stunning scenery as far as the eye can see. For many visitors to Iceland this is must-see experience. From Skaftafell rejoin the Ring Road and continue to Vik which will take about two hours. Upon arrival in Vik check-in at your accommodation. Overnight Katla by Keahotels or similar. (B)

Visiting Vatnajökull National Park

Please note that all visitors must pay an entrance fee. At the time of writing the fee for a car is ISK 750. For further details and to pay the admission fee in advance please see –

www.vatnajokulsthjodgardur.is/en/plan-your-visit/basic-information/rates-and-tariffs.

Glacier walks can be arranged through reputable operators including Icelandic Mountain Guides. Their ‘Blue Ice Experience’ is suitable for families. Please note that minimum age requirement of 10 years and a minimum shoe size of European 34 (U.S. – 2.5) both applies. For bookings and further information please see

www.mountainguides.is/tour/blue-ice-glacier-walk. Alternatively please contact Undiscovered Destinations and we will make a booking on your behalf.

Continue on the Ring Road for about 100km before heading north to the Gullfoss Waterfall (Golden Falls) where you will stay overnight.

The falls are considered one of Iceland’s most treasured natural wonders, with a name inspired by the phenomenon when glacial sediment in the water turns the falls golden in the sunlight. As you approach, it is possible to hear the falls before you see the wild, tumbling water. Gullfoss makes up a part of the highly popular Golden Circle sightseeing route, alongside Geysir geothermal area and Þingvellir National Park.

By staying overnight you will have plenty of time to visit all of the main attractions. Your hotel is just a 5 minute drive from the falls which can be visited free of charge. And about a 10 minute drive from your hotel you can visit, without charge, Strokkur – an active geyser, located in the Geysir Geothermal Area. Overnight Hotel Gullfoss or similar. (B)

Today you will drive to the capital Reykjavik.

Before setting off be sure to visit the falls and/or the Strokkur Geyser if you did not take a look the previous day. Along the way, and about 40km from Reykjavik, you will have the opportunity to stop at Þingvellir National Park, the only UNESCO World Heritage site on the Icelandic mainland and one of the three stops on the Golden Circle sightseeing route.

The first thing that visitors to the national park notice is its sheer aesthetic beauty; dried magma fields, covered in Icelandic moss, sit carved by glacial springs and surrounded by a bowl of ancient mountain peaks. Two of the greatest attractions in the park are the exposed North American and Eurasian tectonic plates; it is one of the only regions in the world where you can see geology such as this on land.

Visitors are encouraged to walk along the North American tectonic plate, where they can read more about the area’s fascinating formation and history, before descending into the valley below. From Þingvellir National Park continue to the capital and check-in at your hotel where you will stay for two nights. Overnight Reykjavík Residence or similar. (B)

Notes

Although at the time of writing there is no admission fee to visit the sights on the Golden Circle route please note that parking fees may apply.

A full day to explore the capital or to relax after your unique adventure. A range of optional tours can be booked locally, or in advance through Undiscovered Destinations. Or by car you can visit the famous Blue Lagoon, about a 30 minute drive from the city.

The lagoon is one of Iceland’s most popular attractions, and it is little wonder as to why. The beautiful milky-blue water is unlike anything else found on earth and makes a stark contrast to the surrounding black lava fields and creeping grey moss.

The water sits at 39°C (102°F) year-round, making it the perfect bathing temperature. The lagoon is on the Reykjanes Peninsula in southwest Iceland, a region renowned for its barren landscapes and cone-shaped volcanoes. Please note that admission charges apply and booking ahead is essential.

For further details please see – www.bluelagoon.com/ or contact Undiscovered Destinations to make a booking on your behalf. Overnight Reykjavík Residence or similar. (B)

Ou epic journey from London to Iceland ends today. After check-out from your hotel drive from Reykjavik to Keflavík International Airport which will take about 45 minutes. Please ensure that you allow plenty of time to return your vehicle and for check-in as the airport and car hire companies can be very busy.

We offer this tour for private departures only

Prices start from £2,790 per person, based on two people travelling.

Call us to book.

Tour Notes

A Single Supplement for the London to Iceland trip starts from £1,330.

At the end of the London to Iceland trip, one way flights from Reykjavík to London start at £60. Contact us for a quotation.

Want to see details of your itinerary on a map?

Download the full tour dossier for this trip here.

Iceland Holiday Map

For expert advice get in touch now with our passionate,
well-travelled team.

+44 (0)191 296 2674 from THE UK
1-800-614-2967 from THE US & CANADA
1-300-956-415 from AUSTRALIA

Tour inclusions.

  • All accommodation
  • Meals as show in the itinerary; B = Breakfast, L = Lunch
  • Rail travel based on 2nd class seats – please contact us about upgrading to first class
  • Ferry crossings: Denmark – Faroe Islands – Iceland, including a 2 berth outside cabin and buffet breakfast
  • Full day guided sightseeing tour, as part of a small group, in the Faroe Islands on Day 7
  • 4 days car rental (compact group of vehicle) in Iceland including insurance. Please note that you must return the vehicle on the morning of Day 15

Tour exclusions.

  • International flights
  • Any airport taxes
  • Travel Insurance
  • Visas
  • Services, Meals and Drinks other than those mentioned in the itinerary
  • Extra car rental charges – additional driver fees, insurance excess
  • Items of a personal nature
  • Tips

Thanks for arranging our rail trip in Europe. We hope to do another one of your long distance trips.

Amanda Clarke, Australia