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Iceland, land of fire and ice – and volcanic island – boasts some of the most beautiful landscapes and lights of our planet, as well as a unique fauna often easy to approach.
Photo and birding tour:camera lovers will be ecstatic, especially when it will come to take pictures of sea birds. There are not so many places in Europe allowing getting so close to the bird colonies without disturbing them. Puffins are without a doubt the stars of the Icelandic cliffs.
We also have elaborated this photo and birding tour for photographers who will always be delighted by the access to short distance breath-taking locations and by a travel pace accorded to picture taking and fauna observation.
SUMMER SOLSTICE The night has totally disappeared, the day is permanent. Twilight and dawn blend together all the pink, blue and coral of their collection. The green colors are still here and blend in the colors of the tundra and meadows where the young lambs tender the traveler, while the alarmed shorebirds are on the fence posts asking their chicks to stay put in the moss and to trust absolute mimicry … The peek tourist season has not yet really begun and the circular road still breathes freedom.
Situated at 66 ° North, on the borders of the Atlantic and the Arctic Ocean, halfway between Europe and America, at the crossroads of the main East-Western and North-Southern migratory routes, Iceland is undoubtedly the paradise of winged fauna. Species on both continents as well as Arctic species cohabit. Some cliffs are experiencing a real housing crisis, while heaths and meadows are invaded by countless shoreline birds.
Our journey takes us on the great North-Western peninsula to majestic fjords and impressive mountains. We observe the white-tailed eagle whose kingdom is here. Látrabjarg is considered to be the longest bird cliff in the world. Many grey seals lounge on sandy beaches. It is also the region where the most common eiders occur in the North. The Reykhólar marshes are a small paradise for ornithologists and the islands of the Breiðafjord are a sanctuary where men and birds are perfectly combined.
This beautiful discovery of Iceland and its birds in the permanent light of the boreal summer is placed under the sign of the Arctic Tern and the Polar Fox.
Domestic flight (only) for one-week trips:
The prices shown do not include domestic flight return Ísafjörður-Reykjavík for the first trip and the flight Reykjavik-Ísafjörður for the second trip. If you want us to book this flight for you, then choose this option when registering online. Warning: the price of the domestic flight is only indicative and may vary!
For participants in the first part of 7 days from 10 to 16 June it is possible to choose (option offered online at registration) to fly to Reykjavik on the evening of 15 June.
Also, before booking your international flight first register on the trip. We will quickly send you the exact schedule of the domestic return flight for the first trip and for the domestic flight for the second trip.
Departure for the West. After crossing the Fjord of the Whales, the road before reaching the base of the Snæfellsnes peninsula, we cross a large swampy area where one can observe innumerable birds: shoreline birds, ducks, divers …
We drive around the Snæfellsness peninsula, crowned at its end by the famous Snæfellsjökull volcano, the volcano of the heroes of Jules Verne Journey to the center of the earth. Beautiful basalt cliffs at Arnarstapi where thousands of kittiwakes are nesting. The northern coast is cut out by numerous small fjords, some of which have active small, colorful fishing ports where several species of gulls can be observed.
The shallow waters of the large bay of Breiðafjörður are brewed by strong tidal current. Scattered with thousands of islands and islets, rich in food the Breiðafjord overflows with life. White-tailed Eagle, Atlantic Puffins, Great Cormorant, Hoop Cormorant, Harbour Seal, Grey Seal. By boat we win the pretty little island of Flatey and its old preserved village. An ambulatory stroll through this little paradise, the sanctuary of Guillemots, little fierce birds nesting in the most incongruous places: old tractors, tires, barns …
From Breiðavík , by Hvallátur (where the whales give birth) to reach the cliff of Látrabjarg. 17 km of cliffs and several millions of birds farther the landscape plunges into a pretty creek before ending on the coppery sand of the bay of Rauðasandur. Observations on the first stretch of the huge Látrabjarg cliff considered the largest seabird cliff in the northern hemisphere. Real housing crisis. Puffin monk, Petrel fulmars, Guillemots de Troïl and Brunnich, Penguin Torda, Herring gull, Black-legged Kittiwake along with the notorious raven. Under the lighthouse we can observe a colony of large grey seals swimming in green water basins or resting on the reef kelp.
While Iceland has accustomed us to black sands, here, curiously, in the Far West of the largest volcanic island in the world, the sand is clear and the sea takes on tropical nuances. A sand of shells ranging from the most perfect light grey as in Kolsvík to the dark orange as here at Rauðasandur (Red Sand). Here the only bathers in the area are grey seals and sea calf seals. Offshore to the south stands the great solitary snow-capped volcano of the Snæfellsjökull, which we have skirted three days before. This Fuji Yama of Iceland was an important landmark for the long boats of the Vikings who sailed between Greenland and Iceland.
The road crosses to the South some high desolated plateaus of broken rocks still partly snowy and then bypasses profound branched fjords dominated by impressive mountains of stratified basalt to cross again other passes. Visit of the famous waterfall Dynjandi, one of the most beautiful and graceful of the great falls of Iceland. In the evening we reach the big fjord of Ísafjörður and the small fishing town of the same name with its old tarred wooden warehouses. Evening and dinner on your own
Domestic flight to Ísafjörður if your journey starts this day. You have the choice to fly in the morning or in the afternoon ( just let us know) – Possibility to take an early flight to Ísafjörður on June 17
For those who come on the second part of the trip, domestic flight in early morning to Isafjörður where your guide welcomes you. Large opened landscapes on the wide as far as possible towards the bottom of the fjords. Bypassing many fjords all more beautiful than each other. With a large number of birds with a group of Harlequin tunas on the estuaries of the torrents. Maybe even a grey-headed eider?
Passing through the highlands from Ísafjarðardjúp to the Strandir coast, on the eastern side of the western fjords. A desolate and magnificent country. Wood of stranding and wrecks of all kinds, innumerable common eiders, numerous seals on the reefs. The end of the world!
We continue to the end of the road which ends at Nordfjord. A grandiose landscape of mountains and ocean typical of the Far North. Bath in a natural hot water pool on the shore. Seals in iced water watch us while we bathe in hot water.
We descent to the south along the shores of Strandir. Then one oblique along the North coast. After briefly joining and following Route number 1, we leave it again and explore the Vatnsnes Peninsula – We approach an extraordinary vein of lava, discarded by erosion and planted in the sea, a few cables from a Seal calf colony.
Heading towards the Langjökull Glacier towards the arctic birch forest of Húsafellskógar. The Hvitá cooler lagoon flows through a vast lava flow covered with moss and shrubby vegetation. Filtered, it emerges in resurgences of the front of the cast in a water of a beautiful turquoise blue. Thingvellir, the national park of the valley of the Parliament (now classified by Unesco as a natural and historical monument of World Heritage), is one of the most beautiful grabens on the surface of the globe. Large parallel collapse faults cross the valley from north to south. In one of them, Almannagjá, were the summer sessions were held of the ancient Parliament of one of the oldest republics of the world established in 870.
To avoid the countless tourists who frequent these places that are too famous, we leave very early in the morning for the famous springs of Geyser. Arrival in Reykjavik at the end of the morning to soak up the small capital in a relaxed and original atmosphere, excellent coffee shops, beautiful bookstores, museums and art galleries, extraordinary outdoor pools and spas and a night life (without night) out of the ordinary.
Group from 6 to 10 people.
Recommended gear:A 75-200mm lens allows taking nice pictures. Take a wide-angle lens, a 200-400 lens, a tripod or monopod, and your ornitholidays will be perfect. For numeric cameras, you can charge your batteries in most accommodations, but you should take spare batteries anyway.
Think also to protect your gear (lens, cameras and films…) against humidity with plastic bags and waterproof bags.
In Iceland, the firsts hours of the morning and evening are the best moments to enjoy wonderful light and to take beautiful pictures, although day time do not lack of good opportunities. Keep in mind that light is very changing in Iceland and, if a picture by blue sky is always perfect, by bad weather it can turn completely spectacular.
Indicative itinerary and safety:The schedule day by day of your birding tour is given indicatively and is susceptible of changing. Changes can sometimes be mandatory for safety reasons, mainly due to natural phenomena: volcanism, bad weather… Your guide knows perfectly well these situations and remains the only one in charge to take decisions regarding weather and natural events on these volcanic lands of high latitudes.
Vehicle:4WD minibus, comfortable and well equipped for Icelandic tracks, or Land Cruiser. We use a private bus only operated for our group. For a small group, the guide can also drive.
Food:cuisine based on local organic products. Rich “Scandinavian” breakfast, picnic basket for lunch with salads, cookies and warm beverages. In the evening, rich and casual meal based on local products and specialities: trout from the lake, leg of lamb, vegetables, potatoes, salads and nice dairy products including skyrwith blueberries. It is mandatory that any special needs or allergies are notified clearly when booking.
For conviviality within the group, nothing mandatory, but we encourage everyone to bring a local delicacy (biscuits, cheese, wine…).
Considering the season and changing weather of these northern latitudes, we ask you to follow the gear list below, for you comfort and safety.
In case of doubt, feel free to contact us to receive personalized advices about your gear!