Find Your Roots Itinerary
Sample Genealogy – Find Your Icelandic Roots – Iceland Itinerary (10 days)
IST will help locate ancestral farms and settlements and customize a travel plan to maximize on your research and cousin-seeking goals. This is an actual itinerary used by a client couple in 2001.
Depart US to Keflavík on Icelandair.
Day 1- Reykjavík
Arrive Keflavík, Iceland the next morning (unless taking a daytime flight from the US). Take the FlyBus to your accommodations in Reykjavík – Spend the day in Reykjavík – meet up with relatives, visit local research authorities, swim in geothermal swimming pools, visit the Reykjavík zoo and botanical gardens. Or take an optional afternoon or evening whale watching cruise from Reykjavík harbor. Stay at accommodations ranging from 4-star hotels to charming guesthouses located in downtown Reykjavík. Private facilities and breakfast included.
Day 2 – Reykjavík – Golden Circle - Reykjavík
Take the most popular day tour in Iceland: The Golden Circle Super Jeep tour – the best way to get to know Iceland’s history, culture and geology before heading off on your own on day 3. Includes visits to hot springs, waterfalls, geysers and the mid-Atlantic ridge at Iceland’s famous Thingvellir National Park. Same overnight location in Reykjavík.
Day 3 – Borgarfjörður - Reykholt
After breakfast, pickup rental car from your accommodations and checkout. Head north and inland to the region of Borgarfjörður to the history-rich settlement of Reykholt for an overnight at the Viking spa hotel at Reykholt. Visit the Settlement Center in Borgarnes on your way. In the afternoon visit hot springs, waterfalls and lava caves or put your feet up for some first class spa services. Learn about the life of Snorri Sturluson, historian and chieftain murdered at his home in Reykholt 900 years ago. Be sure to visit the new Settlement Museum in the nearby town of Borgarnes.
Day 4 – Skagafjörður - Sauðárkrókur
Today you will drive north on the ring road to the Skagafjörður region (3.5-hour drive) rich in history and the heart of Iceland’s 19th century emigration to North America. Overnight at Iceland’s oldest accommodations Hótel Tindastóll or Fosshótel Áning in the town of Sauðárkrókur. Visit turf covered farms at Glaumbær and quaint country churches from the 18th and 19th centuries.
Day 5 – Skagafjörður
Today you have options to visit to Emigration Center at Hofsós, take a boat ride to the island of Drangey of saga fame, visit Hólar the northern bishopric of Iceland or visit ancestral farms.
Day 6 – Akureyri
Heading east along the ring road, you will visit Akureyri the charming “capital” of north Iceland nestled at the southern end of the beautiful Eyjafjörður (2-hour drive). Today is an opportunity to relax in town for lunch and a walking tour of town and its beautiful botanical gardens. Stay at one of four downtown hotels or a nearby country hotel overlooking the fjord and town. Free afternoon to explore the sites in town including the beautiful botanical gardens. Or consider a ferry trip to the island of Hrísey, a step back in time. Optional evening flying tour to the island of Grímsey, straddling the Arctic Circle - note only available 10 June - 20 August each summer.
Day 7 – Mývatn
In the morning head east to Iceland’s bird and geology paradise of Mývatn (1.5-hour drive). Settle in at one of the four lakeside country hotels for two overnights. Spend the afternoon and evening hiking in the lava jungle at Dimmuborgir or walking along the lake shore.
Day 8 – Mývatn
Today is a free day to explore the region – hot springs (visit the new Jarböðin Natural Baths for a dip), waterfalls, bubbling sulfur pits, and the village of Húsavík (1.5-hour drive) north of the lake and Iceland’s whale watching capital. Whale watching cruises are offered May – September. IST will pre-book cruises, if desired. Same overnight location.
Day 9 – Mývatn – Akureyri – Reykjavík
Today drive back to Akureyri for a noon flight back to Reykjavík. This is a 1.5 hour drive. Drop off car at the city airport and check in for the 45 minute flight. Upon arrival in Reykjavík, take a taxi to your accommodations for your last overnight in Iceland.
Day 10 – Reykjavík – Blue Lagoon - Home
After breakfast, check out and wait for pickup with luggage for the Blue Lagoon, which includes plenty of time to bathe at the lagoon, have lunch and shop. You will be dropped off at Keflavík airport with your luggage at 2:30 PM in time for check-in before your flight departure for the US.
Feel free to add a day or two to this itinerary or focus on a different region of the country all depending on the optimal location for searching your roots and ancestral farms. For flight departures to Europe, the final day in Iceland may require adjustments. Check with IST for options and costs.
Iceland Saga Travel (IST) prepays all Iceland-based service providers. Client and service providers will have prepaid vouchers for each service (rental car, accommodations, tours, ferries, etc.). All accommodations include breakfast. IST provides airport FlyBus tickets, maps, driving directions and regional information brochures. IST is happy to recommend and pre-book Reykjavík restaurant reservations.