SMALL GROUPS, BIG ADVENTURES
Iceland Encounter offers unique, active adventure tours that take you through some of the most spectacular parts of Iceland, one of the largest remaining wilderness areas of Europe. Our itineraries cover dramatic highland areas, scenic beaches and everything in between. Activities include hiking, horseback-riding, sailing, kayaking, caving and glacier-walking. We offer both private and scheduled tours for groups of 2 to 12 persons.
WE UNDERSTAND THE NORTH AMERICAN TRAVELER
Iceland Encounter was founded by husband-and-wife team Erling Aspelund and Kristin Bjornsdottir, both native Icelanders. After completing their graduate studies in New York, they settled in Seattle in the early nineties to work in the computer software industry—Kristin at Microsoft and Erling at Bill Gates’ Corbis Corporation. When their twins reached school-age, Erling and Kristin returned to Iceland in 2007 to start their own adventure travel company, Iceland Encounter. As owners, they are intimately involved in day-to-day operations, guiding tours and focusing on customer service. You´ll get their personal attention right from the start.
ICELAND MADE EASY
Our carefully designed tours offer quality accommodations, safe transportation, gourmet dining and expert local guides. We handle all the details of your trip from the time you land until the time you take off again.
Iceland is less than a 5 hour flight from the US East Coast and 7 hours from Seattle. National carrier Icelandair currently serves 7 cities in North America and 14 in Europe. The airline offers free stopovers in Iceland for up to 7 days on their routes between North America and Europe, creating interesting options for travelers who may want to include a stop in Iceland within a longer trip across the Atlantic.
Iceland Encounter offers private and scheduled trips throughout all of Iceland. No two trips are alike, but all are designed around one or more of the following activities.
It’s easy to get close to a glacier in Iceland. Ice-walking, ice-climbing, snowmobiling, and sailing on glacier lagoons are exciting and unique activities, which can be accomplished on day tours from Reykjavik or on longer trips in the countryside.
Spas and Swimming
Icelanders have one of the longest life expectancies in the world. We think it has a lot to do with our clean air, pure drinking water, and daily dose of cod-liver-oil. Icelanders also frequent geothermally heated swimming pools and spas of which there are plenty around the island. We can plan a trip for you that includes visits to the Blue Lagoon, to geothermally heated outdoor swimming pools with saunas and steam baths, and if you like, dips in secluded natural hot-springs in the wilderness.
Iceland is a hiker’s paradise. The scenery is like nowhere else on earth and the trails are never crowded. We organize a variety of single- and multi-day hikes in various parts of the country. For longer hikes, you stay in cozy mountain huts along the way. One of our most popular hiking routes is called Laugavegur. This is a four-day hike that takes you into a landscape of colorful rhyolite mountains, hot springs, neon green moss, enormous ice caps, raging glacier rivers, pristine mountain lakes, and fertile green valleys.
Kayaking and River-Rafting
Iceland’s numerous fjords offer a variety of kayaking opportunities. White river rafting is also popular on many of Iceland’s glacial rivers.
Salmon and Trout Fishing
Iceland has more than one hundred salmon rivers. About twenty of them are in the first-class bracket, ranking with the finest in the world. We work with local angling clubs to organize fishing trips that often include other activities as well.
You can’t help but being a bird watcher in Iceland. The island lies at a major junction of migratory routes, and hosts close to 300 species. The birding season starts in March and the best bird watching months are May and June. About 6 million puffins come to Iceland in the summer. Lake Myvatn has more species of ducks than anywhere else in the world. Other birds popular with bird watchers include divers, eagles, Ptarmigan, Gyr Falcon, Common Eiders, Arctic Terns, Arctic Skua, and numerous seabirds, waders and passerines.
Most photographers who visit Iceland are impressed by the rapid changes in the scenery, intense colors, crystal clear air, and the dramatic interplay of light and shadows. The relatively short distances between areas of interest make it easy to experience a lot of variety within a matter of days. We love to plan photography tours for both professional and amateur photographers.
Plan your trip around gourmet food experiences. Iceland offers great produce and numerous excellent restaurants. In February, during the Food and Fun Festival in Reykjavik, renowned chefs from around the world come to Reykjavik to try their hand at cooking with Icelandic produce. Want to cook with Icelandic master chefs? Private cooking classes can be arranged in a renowned restaurant in Reykjavik specializing in French-Icelandic fusion cuisine.
Iceland was settled by Norwegian Vikings in the 9th century and our culture reflects our Viking heritage. If you or your children are interested in Vikings, Iceland has a lot to offer. Visit various museums and hear stories of the Icelandic Vikings. Dine in Viking-themed restaurants and explore the regions where the most famous Vikings lived. Combine with nature explorations and horseback-riding on the unique Icelandic horse, which was brought to Iceland by Vikings over one-thousand years ago, and has remained genetically unchanged since then.
There are about 60 golf courses in Iceland; many of them are 18-hole courses. The long summer nights are popular with golfers. Every summer at the end of June, golfers visit from all over the world to take part in the unique midnight sun golfing tournament called The Arctic Open Golf Championship.
The innovative Icelandic design scene is young, fresh, and progressive. Explore art galleries and museums in Reykjavik and visit shops selling Icelandic clothing, accessories and home ware. Visitors are entitled to a 15 percent tax refund. The currently low exchange rate of the Icelandic króna makes shopping in Iceland more affordable than ever.
Study Tours on Renewable Energy
Iceland’s use of renewable energy sources is the highest of any country. Over the last few decades a vast knowledge has built-up in the use of geothermal and hydropower resources as well as in the production of green energy from waste or biomass. We´re interested in developing tours for students, teachers, scientists and anyone else interested in this important field.
Study Tours on Geology
Iceland is a geologically young country and a great place to study the forces of nature. There is easy access to numerous geological phenomena including glaciers, hot springs, waterfalls and volcanoes. Iceland sits astride the Mid-Atlantic Ridge and is being stretched by the movements of the North American and Eurasian tectonic plates. Iceland is one of the most volcanically active regions in the world, with more than 35 active volcanoes and eruptions occurring on average every 4-5 years.
WE´RE LOOKING FOR PARTNERS
Iceland Encounter is actively looking for outbound tour operators, travel agencies and other partners interested in working with us on product development and sales. Call us at (+354) 857-8804 or e-mail at [email protected].