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Iceland Expedition

Land of Fire and Ice
15 Days

  • Trek across glaciers and lava fields
  • Cruise through a glacial lagoon and swim in natural hot springs
  • Discuss climate change and biodiversity with Icelandic scientists
  • Explore black-sand beaches where Icelandic horses roam
Iceland Expedition
Iceland Expedition
Iceland Expedition

Dates & Tuition

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Nat Geo Expert

Environmental scientist and writer Ford will join the Iceland expedition.
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On Assignment Projects

Choose one of these projects and delve further into your area of interest:


Climate & Geology


Itinerary — 15 Days

Iceland is a nation of dramatic extremes, where geysers and steaming lava flows coexist with powerful waterfalls and vast calving glaciers. Located at the edge of the Arctic Circle, much of the country remains under ice. Yet it is also one of the most volcanically active countries on the planet. Take advantage of long days and bright nights to explore the stunning beauty and unforgettable natural wonders of this otherworldly landscape. Choose your On Assignment project — Photography, Climate & Geology, or Filmmaking — and set out to discover one of the most dynamic physical environments on Earth.

Reykjavík and the Golden Circle

4 days. The program begins with an orientation in Reykjavík, Europe's northernmost capital. Get essential background on the geology of this subarctic island nation, and learn the basics of climate change. Hike to the top of a nearby volcano and learn about Viking heritage at some of Reykjavík's cutting-edge historical museums. Head out to the Golden Circle and discover Gulfoss, a thundering waterfall that appears to vanish into the earth. Then continue to Geysir — the earliest geyser known to Europeans — where boiling water can rocket up to 70 meters in the air. Follow a guide through an ultramodern geothermal plant that provides much of Reykjavík's energy. Iceland is at the forefront of the sustainable power movement, with 70 percent of its energy renewable and much of that derived from its prodigious geothermal sources. Explore ancient lava flows to learn how volcanism continues to shape Iceland's dynamic landscape. Hike along the shores of Thingvallavatn, the country's largest lake, where a scientist provides an introduction to the effects of climate change on biodiversity. Summer days are very long this far north, and much can be seen and done in a single day. We'll end most days with a relaxing soak in one of Iceland's abundant geothermal pools.

Höfn and the Vatnajökull Glacier

6 days. From Reykjavík, journey east to Höfn, a remote gateway to the mighty Vatnajökull Glacier, the world's third largest ice cap after Antarctica and Greenland. Cruise through a glacial lagoon between fantastically shaped icebergs. Participate in dynamic field-based seminars with experts on glaciology and climate change. Camp on a vast glacial moraine in the heart of Skaftafell National Park. Don crampons and ice axes to trek over the massive ice cap with certified local guides. Ride Icelandic horses to black-sand beaches, or visit the remote original landing place of the Vikings, a peninsula of rugged cliffs dotted with puffins. Interview local fishermen about changes in the composition of fish stocks and seabird populations caused by warming waters. Explore Iceland's southern coast and remote glacial valleys with your On Assignment team, and report back to the group on what you find.

Lake Mývatn and the Northern Coast

5 days. Iceland straddles the Mid-Atlantic Ridge, where the North American and Eurasian tectonic plates diverge. This unique position makes it one of the most volcanically active countries in the world. Head north across the uninhabited interior to the wild volcanic area around Lake Mývatn. Explore bubbling mud pots, hissing steam vents, and the craters of dormant volcanoes. Hike on congealed lava flows from a series of massive eruptions that occurred the late 1970's. Visit magnificent Dettifoss, Europe's most powerful waterfall, where gray glacial meltwater from Iceland's interior blasts through a spectacular basalt canyon. Bathe in the blue mineral waters of a natural thermal pool surrounded by steaming black lava beds. Visit Akureyri, a thriving modern city on the Arctic Ocean, and complete your final On Assignment presentation. Hike into the forests of Jökulsárgljúfur National Park to roaring glacial waterfalls, or up one of the many dormant volcanoes to capture stunning panoramas. Explore ancient fossil beds, go whitewater rafting, or set out on a boating excursion in the Arctic Ocean to search for blue, minke, and humpback whales.

The program concludes with the presentation of your On Assignment projects. Return to Reykjavík, and end your adventure with a swim in the famous Blue Lagoon geothermal pool.


We will stay in small hostels and cabins, and spend several nights camping in tents.
Apply now for this program or call us for more information at 877-877-8759.

Your participation in a National Geographic Student Expedition provides support to National Geographic's mission of increasing global understanding through exploration, geography education, and research.
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