The Arctic Coast Way is 900 km long in its entirety and is in fact the country’s first official touring route. Discover the World’s new 11-night trip takes in most of the route and makes for a perfect ‘slow’ summer holiday option this year, as an alternative way to explore the country’s lesser-visited North Coast luring visitors off the popular Route One ‘Ring Road’.
Visitors will discover rural villages, islands and numerous activities, as well as experience the dramatic shift from Midnight Sun to Northern Lights following the coastal roads from Hvammstangi in the west to Bakkafjördur to the east.
Coastal hikes, geothermal pools, some of the best whale, seal and bird watching in Iceland as well as festivals and unique museums can all be experienced as part of this new road trip.
The journey takes on three distinct themes as visitors travel from west to east, the coast of sagas and mythology, the coast of fishing villages and heritage and the coast of elemental nature, exploring the shoreline as well as roads carved into steep mountains before stopping off to discover wild peninsulas. This is ‘slow travel’ at its finest, with the itinerary allowing plenty of time to meander and explore.
New ‘Arctic Coast Way – North Coast Highlights’ Self-Drive
11 Nights, June-September, from £2,176pp
The trip begins in Keflavik and initially follows Route One north, passing Reykjavik, before reaching the northern shores of Hunafloi, where the Arctic Coast Way begins. From here, there’s the opportunity to join a seal watching boat trip from Hvammstangi, visit the Kolugljufor waterfall and look out for the basalt rock stack that resembles a dragon stooping to take a drink from the sea.
The next week or so is all about exploring off the beaten track, enjoying the quiet roads and visiting small coastal communities. Spend time in the historic fishing town of Siglufjörður with its colourful harbour-side buildings and visit the Herring Era Museum with its vintage fishing boats and artefacts telling the story of a town that once became the herring fishing capital of Europe. Spend two nights at Hotel Siglo, featured in BBC4’s recent ‘Nordic noir’ drama series Trapped, before continuing on to Iceland’s ‘Capital of the North’ Akureyri and the Myvatn region, known for its bubbling mud pools, geothermal nature baths, the Krafla volcano crater and Europe’s most powerful waterfall, Dettifoss.
The journey will also take in Husavik, for optional whale watching trips into Skalfandi Bay, and the new GEOSEA spa. From here it’s a scenic drive to Kopasker, with its Earthquake Centre, and Melrakkasletta peninsula boasting remote beaches strewn with driftwood and many different bird species including Redwing, Great Skua, Ringed Plover and Dunlin.
An overnight in the town of Raufarhofn allows for a visit to the Arctic Henge project, an impressive Pagan monument inspired by Stonehenge, before heading south to spot the majestic sea stacks at the Laganes Peninsula, full of nesting Gannets. Then it’s onto Vopnafjördur for swimming in a pool by the Sela River before continuing to Egilsstadir for a final night.
11-nights between June-September 2019 are priced from £2,176pp based on two sharing hotel rooms on a B&B basis including car rental throughout and unlimited access to Discover the World’s iDiscover App with personalised itinerary. The price excludes flights but these start from £120pp with Icelandair.
What’s more, Discover the World guests will receive access to a new digital guide, iDiscover App, which links to their personal itinerary as well as offline maps, weather updates, travel tips, hidden gems and nearby attractions.
The Arctic Coast Way project is just the start of an ongoing development to open up the driving route to more visitors with new experiences and resources to come in the future including further signage at the beginning and end points of the route.
For more information, please visit www.discover-the-world.com or call 01737 886 131.
Mark Bibby Jackson
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