"Highlights of Iceland and Greenland" is an aptly named tour, because each and every one of the natural wonders waiting for you above and below the water every day is a highlight. This is a tour for divers who would like to explore the arctic diversity of Greenland and Iceland. Countless photo opportunities should satisfy even the most ambitious photographers.
It is worth emphasizing the number of different dive sites we will visit, especially considering all the additional sights and adventures we will enjoy in between dives. Every minute of this tour, particularly during our stay in Iceland, is put to good use. Local guides will accompany you on all tours and are happy to share their expertise and answer all of your questions. During this trip, we will be changing accommodations quite frequently, and luggage should be kept easy to handle. The standard of the accommodations is generally good, but Greenland’s infrastructure does not offer great luxury. This is a discovery tour that lets you explore the most interesting regions of Northern Europe below and above water.
- Tour dates
- Tour price/Services
- Getting here
- Practical information
- The intercontinental fissure, Silfra (Thingvellir)
- The geothermal chimneys, Strytan
- Snorkeling in a warm river near the Arctic Circle
- Barren wild scenery and sulphur fields
- The Icelandic capital of Reykjavik
- Waterfalls and the “Geysir”
- Icebergs and ice in all forms, dimensions, and colors below and above water!
- Kelp forests, coral walls, and astonishing macro life
- Humpback whales, fin whales (finbacks), and minke whales – possibly also orca whales and other species
- Northern lights (aurora borealis), good chance to see them as early as September
- Calving glaciers and ice fjords
- Visit to an arctic town and encounter with Inuit culture
- Abandoned US military base from WW II
- Huge (massive) fjord sceneries
- Sea birds and seals
Price per person
Tour price INCLUDES the following services:
- All hotel/apartment accommodation in twin rooms, incl. breakfast
- Airport transfer in Greenland by boat or helicopter (if flights are available)
- All transportation in Iceland
- All boat and land excursions and activities according to tour plan
- All dives and snorkel dives (subject to weather conditions and compatibility with other activities!)
- Double-valve tanks and lead weights
- English-speaking support
- All local baggage/equipment transfers (e.g. from hotel to boat dock)
- Travel planning assistance
Tour price EXCLUDES the following services:
- Getting here / flights (incl. possible overnight stopovers)
- Single room (available at additional cost!)
- Oversize / extra baggage on helicopter flights
- Any additional activities
- Alcoholic beverages
Expedition members usually arrive by plane at Keflavik airport in Iceland where they transfer by bus or taxi to the national capital of Reykjavik. Overnight stay at a hotel. The first part of the tour will start the following day and you will get picked up at your accommodation.
After the round trip in Iceland is finished, you will return to Reykjavik and take a propeller aircraft from Reykjavik’s domestic airport to Kulusuk in East Greenland. The flight time is about two hours. Flight delays and cancellations are possible in East Greenland - in summer particularly due to fog and limited visibility! The airport of Kulusuk is situated on an island, and we will transfer you to the village of Tasiilaq by boat or helicopter (if helicopter flights are available)! If we transfer you by boat, we will meet you at the airport in Kulusuk. If a helicopter transfer is possible, we will meet you at the helicopter airport in Tasiilaq.
We will gladly provide you with additional information to current flight schedules and fares.
Day 1: Arrival in Keflavik. Transfer to Reykjavik and overnight stay at the hotel. Depending on arrival time, a city tour or a visit of the thermal bath "Blue Lagoon" is possible.
Day 2: We will visit the most popular dive site in Iceland: Silfra. The dive site is located in the Þingvellir (Thingvellir) National Park and UNESCO World Heritage Site, about a 45-minute drive from Reykjavík. On our way the guide will point out interesting facts about the history and geology of the park.
At Þingvallavatn (Lake Thingvallavatn), we will take one dive through Silfra. It is your first chance of enjoying the fantastic visibility in Silfra, and consciously experiencing the awe of diving in a fissure that separates the North American and Eurasian continental plates.
When we arrive at the dive site you will receive a detailed briefing about Silfra, including the plan and procedure before gearing up and walking to the fissure. We will take a few steps down the ladder and make contact with the world's clearest water. It is so pure you can even drink it!
The slight current formed by the underground wells will make our dive in the fissure an easy one.
After this amazing dive we will drive up north (about 380 km) towards the second-largest town of Iceland, Akureyri, where we will spend the night at the very cozy Skjaldarvík Guesthouse.
Day 3: In northern Iceland, not far from the country’s second-largest town, Akureyri, in the middle of the Eyjafjördur fjord are a couple of very special dive sites. At a depth of about 70 m, a hot spring releases hot mineral-rich water into the ocean. As soon as the minerals that dissolved in the hot fresh water come in contact with the cold ocean water, they react and solidify.
Throughout the last 10,000 years or so this process has created a 55 m tall chimney that reaches up to 15 m below the surface. Strýtan has been a protected nature reserve since 2001 and is subject to extensive research and observation. Apart from huge quantities of mineral-rich hot water, visible as an amalgam of haloclines and thermoclines, divers may see large schools of pollock swimming up and down the chimney. On the opposite side of the fjord lies another, yet smaller, geothermal chimney, aptly referred to as “Little Chimney.” While much smaller than its counterpart across the bay, “Little Chimney” is many divers’ favorite ocean site in Iceland. The reasons are many, one of them being the fact that this is probably one of the world’s best places to observe wolf fish in their natural habitat. As many as 15 specimens have been spotted on a single dive!
Other highlights include a plethora of invertebrates, from giant sea cucumbers and anemones to nudibranchs and the tiny, yet funny-looking, skeleton shrimp. On both of those sites, divers can explore the thermophilic flora and fauna that have developed and settled around the geothermal chimneys and feel the hot water that wells out of them.
We will complete two dives in these stunning underwater phenomena by RIB (rigid inflatable boat), weather permitting, which is almost always the case.
After diving we will have time to relax in the nice accommodation Skjaldarvík with hot-tub and bar.
Day 4: On this day we will visit the “Silfra of the North”: Nesgjá. This is a continuation of the same continental fissure that includes Silfra and is another exciting freshwater fissure with crystal-clear water. We will make our way through Húsavík, reported to be Europe’s whale-watching capital.
A scenic two-hour drive from your guesthouse, Nesgjá is a result of tectonic movement and the divergence of the Eurasian and North American continental plates. Similar to Silfra but different in many ways, Nesgjá is quite shallow but amazingly beautiful. The adjacent lagoon is huge and you can see much farther than 100 m. Sometimes we spot arctic char, a type of salmon, in the fissure.
We will also visit Litla á, the 17°C geothermal river, for a snorkeling expedition, where you will be mesmerized by the dancing volcanic sands and multi-colored sediments leaping from the bottom. Heated water erupts from below the earth’s surface creating beautiful designs and ripples in the riverbed while you drift along the surface above. It will make even the most experienced divers wonder if it is indeed possible to have nitrogen narcosis while snorkeling!
After the dive and snorkeling, we will make our way to Goðafoss, known as the “Waterfall of the Gods,” and visit the amazing Mývatn area for some sightseeing of craters and pseudo-craters, a hot spring area with steaming fumaroles and bubbling mud pots, referred to as the “devil’s kitchen”… and more.
After this long but thrilling day we will retire to our guesthouse in Skjaldarvík where you can enjoy a delicious Icelandic meal and relax in preparation for the next day’s diving.
Day 5: We return to Eyjafjordur fjord where we dived the chimneys on Day 2. This time we will aim for either the “French gardens” or the “Wall,” both of which are amazing geological structures with an abundance of marine life, including red fish, lump suckers, and wolf fish.They are also known for their colorful display of anemones and rocks covered with algae in shades of pink and purple you did not even know existed.
A third option would be to revisit one of the chimneys from Day 2. This depends on the weather conditions and the gusto of the group. Again we will be diving off an RIB boat a short boat ride away from the small fishing town of Hjalteyri with its interesting history of Iceland’s herring-fishing era.
After the dive, we will have lunch in Akureyri as we de-gas for a couple of hours before the scenic drive back to Reykjavik where we will spend the night.
Day 6: On our last day in Iceland, we will pick you up from your hotel in Reykjavík and take (if weather permits) the “scenic route” to Þingvellir National Park. It takes us past the geothermal power plant Nesjavellir, which supplies Reykjavík with a large part of its hot water.
After the dive we will have a steaming cup of hot chocolate and then head to the spouting hot spring area known as “Geysir.” Located in Haukadalur, it is the biggest geyser in Europe and truly impressive.
Your guide will show you around and tell you some interesting facts and stories about the spouting geysers, “Strokkur” and “Geysir,” as well as about the area. Strokkur is very reliable and erupts about once every 8 minutes.
You will have time to grab a sandwich at the snack shop of the Geysir Center and visit the multimedia show and souvenir shop. Our next stop is the most photographed waterfall in Iceland: Gullfoss!
It is a magnificent natural heritage site and should not be missed by any visitor to Iceland. Tumbling down a deep gorge, it has a number of great places for taking pictures and enjoying the beauty of natural Iceland. Even in winter, it is so powerful that it keeps flowing although it also freezes in parts. You will learn about the history behind this waterfall and the geological features that created the canyon.
After a day full of impressive experiences and views, we will drive you back to Reykjavík and you will surely have no problems falling asleep.
Day 7: Now it is time for the second part of this unique adventure! By propeller airplane, you will fly from Reykjavik to Greenland. If the visibility is good, you might see whales and, when getting closer to the Greenlandic coast, ice floes and icebergs. Arrival at Kulusuk airport (situated on a small island) and transfer by helicopter to Tasiilaq, the capital of East Greenland with about 2,000 inhabitants, 6 kilometers of road, about 80 cars and a few hundred sled dogs.
After bringing the luggage to the hotel, we will take you on a guided “city” walk in the afternoon. The local museum has collected many artefacts from the area. The first Europeans arrived here only less than 130 years ago, so it is hardly surprising that their modern lifestyle clashed with old local traditions. A small workshop provides insight into how the Inuit craftspeople create the famous (and a bit scary) tupilaks and other small sculptures.
If the weather is good we might also take a walk to the flower valley – and then maybe round off the day with a beer at the local pub?
Day 8: Our dive boats are built in Scandinavia and made for Arctic conditions. After breakfast, we will start on a day tour by boat and search for an interesting iceberg. Of course, you will get a briefing about safe diving around icebergs so that you will be ready to safely explore the mighty ice sculptures under water. 90% of the ice masses are hidden below the surface and have thus been seen by hardly anyone. It is an unforgettable experience to become one of the very few divers who have seen an iceberg underwater. In addition, you never know what kind of ice structures you might find – every iceberg is individually sculpted by nature, and due to the fact that icebergs are continually melting down and breaking apart, no one else will ever dive your iceberg again!
We will offer two dives. There are free soft drinks, snacks, and tea on board. You should not forget to bring your camera. The landscape is amazing and there are many photo motives above and below the water. By the way, the water temperature to expect is -1 to +2°C (30 to 35°F) - so after these dives you really can call yourself a “Cold Water Diver.”
The second dive might be at a wall with kelp forest that reaches right from the surface down to about 20 m (60 ft) and shelters soft corals, anemones, and an unexpectedly rich and varied Arctic marine life.
Depending on the weather situation, we might offer a whale safari in the evening where you can also snorkel-dive with humpback whales. You can also just stay in the boat and enjoy the evening and take pictures: whales and icebergs together on the same photo – could be worse!
Day 9: Your second diving day in Greenland. If the weather is good we will visit the Sermilik fjord, a fantastic ice fjord which produces about 10% of all icebergs in Greenland. The fjord reaches about 80 km into the land and is surrounded by different glaciers. The further our boat takes us into the fjord, the more ice covers the water surface. Here we freely choose “our very own” icebergs. It is usually an easy job for the skipper and the dive guide to find an iceberg that is safe but also offers unique structures for an unforgettable dive!
You will see white ice, blue ice, black ice, and clear ice. Often the blue icebergs are the most interesting dive sites.
There might also be canyons, tunnels, and caves in the icebergs. Underwater photographers and filmmakers will find many motives. However, visibility varies inside the fjord due to meltwater.
There is also a good chance to see seals, humpback whales, fin whales, and dolphins in the fjord. After a long day on the boat and two unique dives, we will have a good dinner at the hotel.
Day 10: Day tour by boat to the beautiful Knud Rasmussen Glacier in the north. On our way we will stop at an abandoned US military camp from WW II. You will see old trucks and other remains that were simply left in the Arctic at the end of the war. It is hard to believe that up to 1,000 airplanes per month once landed here and were immediately refueled. There was even a cinema for the waiting pilots – in the middle of nowhere!
The Knud Rasmussen Glacier produces just the right amount of ice to allow our local skipper to bring us close to the ice wall. The last meters we can walk at the fjord shore. We might even see huge parts of the glacier break off and turn into new icebergs? The glacier also produces beautiful blue ice. You will find photo motives all around you!
The boat tour is an adventure in itself with sea birds resting on icebergs, seals, mighty mountains, ice fields, and ice in different colors. We often see fin whales on this tour. The fin whale is the second-largest creature, after the blue whale, to ever inhabit our planet.
Day 11: After breakfast we will drive you to the helicopter airport in Tasiilaq. After a short flight (with great photo possibilities!) you will arrive at the main airport of East Greenland on the island Kulusuk and fly back to Iceland where you will spend the last night of this explorer tour at a hotel.
Day 12: Possibly last day of travel if an additional overnight in Iceland is necessary. Extending this tour in Iceland by a few days and dives is possible without any problems.
OPTIONAL UPGRADES FOR THE GREENLAND AND ICELAND TOUR
Upon special request we can add the following to the tour:
• Dry Suit Specialty Course (price: €299,-)
• Visit to the Blue Lagoon (incl. transport price: €39,- per person)
• Photo flight over Greenland (price from €200,- per person)
On this tour we will visit various dive sites. Some of the dives will proceed from the shore. It can be demanding to get in and out of the water. Stones can be slippery. Divers who suffer from knee problem or whose physical fitness is limited might not be able to join some of these dives.
A dry suit and two separate regulators are required for this tour. Divers have to bring their own equipment (except tanks/cylinders and weights), or contact us in advance. On the boat we have a ladder especially designed to give divers easy access to and from the water. The depth limit is 25 meters / 80 ft (for water temperatures of +1°C (34°F) and above. The depth limit is 15 meters (50 ft) from 0°C (32°F) and below (increasing risk of freezing regulators). We do many dives at icebergs where special safety rules have to be followed. These safety regulations will be explained on board before the dive and will be individually adapted to each respective dive. Oxygen equipment in case of diving emergencies is available on board.
We provide steel tanks with DIN double valves (200 bar) and a volume of 10, 12 or 15 liters as well as lead weight in different sizes.
The water temperature is generally around 6 to 10°C (43 to 50°F) and 4 to 5°C (39 to 41°F) at Silfra and up to 18°C (65°F) at Litla. Visibility varies from about 5 to 30 m (15 to 60 ft) in the sea water and up to 100 m (300 ft) and more at Silfra!
Weather forecasts are generally difficult to make for our tours because we often stay in polar areas where the weather can be less continual than in other places.
Nevertheless, in the late summer there is a good chance of experiencing sunshine and calm weather in Iceland and Greenland. The days are still long, but we have observed incredibly intensive northern lights as early as late August/early September. Rain and fog are, however, also possible.
Weather can influence the course of our tour considerably because our boats cannot leave the harbor during strong wind or storm. The air temperature usually varies between +3°C and +8°C (37 to 47°F) in Greenland and +5°C to +15°C (41 – 59°F) in Iceland.
Tour members who tend to suffer from seasickness should bring relevant medication such as pills or chewing gum. Waterproof suits and life jackets are available on board.
All participants must bring their own warm and weather-resistant clothing and shoes. Please transport all sensitive equipment such as cameras in water-resistant and shock-resistant bags or cases. All participants are responsible for their equipment for the entire duration of their journey!
- The national language is Icelandic. Most people understand and speak English.
- The currency is the Icelandic Krone (ISK). Prices are high. Credit cards are generally accepted. Customers are very often asked for a PIN. Currency conversion rates vary on a daily basis. Roughly, 1 € = 150 ISK, 1 £ = 200 ISK and 1 US$ = 130 ISK.
- The time zone is GMT -1 (CET -2).
- The national languages are Inuit and Danish. Some people understand and speak English.
- The currency is the Danish Krone (DKK). Prices are high. Credit cards (especially VISA) are generally accepted. Customers are very often asked for a PIN. Currency conversion rates vary on a daily basis. Roughly, 1 € = 7 DKK, 1 £ = 11 DKK and 1 US$ = 6 to 7 DKK.
- The time zone is GMT -3 (CET -4).
- Unfortunately, alcoholism is a problem in East Greenland, which is why local supermarkets sell nothing stronger than beer and wine.
- There are wonderful souvenirs for sale. Nevertheless, some of this craft art (for example, if narwhal tooth or walrus tusk was used) may not be carried out of Greenland.
- Vaccinations are not required.
- Visa requirements vary by nationality. No visa is required for visitors from the EU and the US.
- Electric appliances use standard European voltage (230 V) and plugs (types C and F)
- We strongly recommend complete insurance coverage (travel cancellation insurance, diving accident insurance, international health insurance, possibly also baggage insurance and camera equipment insurance).