About This Study Abroad Program
The land of ice, fire, and Viking lore, Iceland is a country of extreme contrasts.
The cities are vibrant and full of life, with many artistic sites, cozy hip cafés, and a music scene to rival cities many times their size. Reykjavik in particular is home to numerous artists and a youthful social scene—with almost 24 hours of sunlight in the summer months, it truly is a city that doesn’t sleep! A soak in the hot pools of the Blue Lagoon just outside the city is a must on any visit. To the north is Akureyri, Iceland’s second-largest urban area. Originally settled in the ninth century, this fishing and port town was the site of Allied units during the Second World War, largely due to the fact that its harbour is mostly ice-free! Folk culture is alive and well in Akureyri, and the city holds several summer festivals, including a music festival and medieval fair.
Outside the urban areas, Iceland offers a landscape like no other. Experience all the wonders it has to offer while exploring the unique countryside—with lava moonscapes, mountains, and rocky fields where Icelandic horses roam, the views are truly exceptional. South Iceland is famed for black volcanic beaches, basalt lava rock formations, and rugged sea cliffs, while the East Fjords are known for reindeer, calm weather, and seclusion (only three percent of the population lives here!). To the west, the Snaefellsnes Peninsula is dotted with colourful fishing villages, and its empty beaches offer a habitat for a multitude of native birds. The famed Golden Circle is home to Thingvellir National Park, a UNESCO World Heritage Site where you can hike between the North American and Eurasian continental divide. Marvel at the Strokkur Geyser, which erupts in a steaming fountain every few minutes, and perfect your photography skills at Gullfoss (Golden Waterfall), fed by glacier meltwater.
Don’t head home without working up the nerve to try fermented mutton paté (kæfa), dried fish (harðfiskur) or even sheep’s head (svið)!
SPECIAL PROGRAM NOTE: Iceland is a place of a few hotels, catering more to a backpacking and adventurous tourism market. Students will be staying in upscale hostels with equipped communal kitchens and common areas. There is no major train system, students will travel between locations via comfortable coach buses on the country’s pristine and modern highway system.
Included in your Program
Visits to waterfalls
OTHER INCLUSIONS OF THIS PROGRAM:
- Round-trip group airfare from Toronto, arranged by Blyth Academy
- Group airport transfers at location
- Transportation for moves between cities with the group
- Breakfast and dinner daily
- Farewell Banquet
- Pre-departure briefing and materials
- Designated outings and activities
- City orientation tours
- Use of free Internet, where available*
- Access to Blyth Academy Travel Journal
- Access to Vidigami photo sharing
- And much more!
* Most hotels have Wi-Fi in common areas. Please note Internet access may not be available in bedrooms.
Groups are required to meet at the airport 3 hours prior to departure
|Monday, July 1, 2019||Icelandair flight 602||Depart Toronto 9:00 pm||Arrive Reykjavik 6:20 am, July 2
|Wednesday, July 24, 2019||Icelandair flight 603||Depart Reykjavik 5:00 pm||Arrive Toronto 6:55 pm
Are you flying into Toronto Pearson International Airport to join the group?
Blyth Academy airport staff will meet students flying into Toronto Pearson International Airport from any city with same-day connections to Blyth Academy group flights at no additional charge. Once your student is registered, please complete the Airport Meet-and-Greet application. Applications must be received by June 1st and will be fulfilled as available.
*The following are examples of optional excursions our students went on in 2018, and are subject to change. Please take a look and don’t forget to check back soon for the final list of excursions, and your chance to register!
Glacier Hiking at Solheimajokull (Southern Iceland)
The Solheimajokull glacier is an outlet of the larger Myrdalsjokull glacier on the south coast of Iceland. Approximately 11-km-long, this glacier is within a narrow valley falling from an altitude of 1300m to about 100m. It is highly sensitive to climate change, and since 2010 has been retreating. We will learn more about this from our knowledgeable guide on our hike.
After a safety briefing and a lesson in ice walking, we will head onto the glacier to experience this unique environment with some amazing terrain with ice sculptures, deep crevasses, sinkholes and ice ridges. The spectacular surroundings are marked by majestic rock formations shaped by the glacier.
An English speaking guide, helmet, crampons, ice axe, and other safety equipment are included. Please ensure you dress in layers, with warm waterproof clothing and sturdy hiking shoes.
Please note there is an approximate 30-40 minute hike from the parking lot to the glacier due to the changes in the landscape.
Boat Ride on the Glacier Lagoon (Eastern Iceland)
As we drive from the south coast to the eastern fjord lands of the island, we will make a rest stop on the black sand shores of the Jökulsárlón glacier lagoon.
For those who sign up for this excursion, we will take an amphibian boat ride on the lake to cruise amongst icebergs of all shapes, sizes and colours. These chunks of ice have broken off the Breiðamerkurjökull glacier (an outlet of the huge Vatnajökull glacier) and can be watched as they make their way floating out to sea. The lagoon today is at least 18km², and at a depth of 284m is the deepest lake in Iceland. Around the lake, during the summer we can see Arctic Skuas, and Arctic Terns, which migrate from the other side of the world and hold the world record in migratory flight.
Cruising around these calm waters, have your camera ready to photograph the incredible shapes, colours and mirror-like reflections. If we’re lucky, we may see seals, and we’ll even get to taste 1000-year-old ice!
Horseback Riding & Seal Watching (Eastern Iceland)
Two large glacial rivers flow towards the sea through the wide plain around Húsey Farm, a working farm where Icelandic horses are bred. Here large numbers of seals chose to congregate to rest on the river and sandbanks in relative safety. Open to visitors for eleven months of the year, our hardy hosts have opened up their land to share so everyone can enjoy the fantastic views and untouched nature.
Our local guide will accompany us on our horseback ride to the best places for seal viewing, teach us about Icelandic horses and birds, and tell us stories of the local landscape and elves! Off the beaten track, we will appreciate the almost complete peace and quiet. At the end of our 2hr ride, we’ll have the opportunity to purchase farm produce, from smoked fish to jam.
This ride is suitable for beginners. Safety helmets are provided. Please wear warm, weather appropriate clothing and sturdy boots – and bring gloves.
Húsey is a 1-hour drive from our hostel. We will leave after morning class and return in time for dinner.
Whale Watching & Húsavík (Northern Iceland)
Nestled on the edge of Shaky Bay, the town of Húsavík is globally recognized as one of the best locations in the world from which to watch whales. In fact, there is a higher chance of seeing whales in Húsavík than any other place in Iceland. So, if you’re ever considering where to go whale-watching, the town is without a doubt, second to none!
Though 23 species of whales have been recorded in Icelandic waters, the most likely we may see are Humpbacks, Minke and Blue. Lucky whale-watchers here may get to see them feeding, breaching (jumping out), slapping (slapping their flippers against the water) or spy-hopping (dipping their head out of the water to see what’s near). To see any of these creatures in the wild is a truly breath-taking sight to behold.
This day excursion will take place come rain or shine, so please dress according to conditions and be prepared by wearing layers. Only high winds may prevent departure. Insulated coveralls will be provided against the cold.
White Water Rafting (Reykjavik)
Fed by the Langjökull glacier, the Hvítá River has carved a magnificent canyon below the Gullfoss falls. It’s a perfect place to view the beautiful landscape from a different perspective.
This fun tour offers an awesome adventure! We’ll take to our raft, with our specially trained and certified river guide, and dressed in wetsuit and life-vests, we’ll see grand rock formations, portholes, and turquoise waters as we cruise through the exhilarating rapids!
As we arrive back to the rafting basecamp we will enjoy a hot sauna, (there are also hot showers), before we return to Reykjavik.
Please plan to wear:
Lower body: swimwear (under rafting pants-which are provided), warm socks; Upper body: warm fleece/wool sweater (will get wet). Please bring a towel and a complete change of clothes. Unless your camera is 100% waterproof, we do not advise rafting with your camera! Waterproof Go-Pros can be rented locally at an additional charge.
Some of the students who participated in 2017 said this was the best day of their lives!
Lava Cave (Reykjavik)
In the afternoon, we depart Reykjavik and head out to the lava fields where we will adventure into the Earth and view fantastic colours and stalagmites of a lava tube cave. These natural phenomena are created when during volcanic activity the surface lava solidifies and magma continues to flow in tunnels beneath. We’ll walk where the lava once flowed!
Our knowledgeable local guide will explain the science, nature and folklore behind the cave as we walk, crouch and crawl through these incredible tunnels.
Please wear weather appropriate clothing and sturdy shoes. The average temperature in the cave is 2°C/35°F so gloves are also good to have! Helmets and headlamps are provided.
July 1st – 24th, 2019*
(Flights, Accommodation, Meals, etc.)
|Taxes & Fees||$895|
|Tuition & Supervision||$1,645|
Courses, Choose One
- English (ENG3U)
- Biology (SBI3U)
- Visual Arts: Photography (AWQ3M)
- English (ENG4U)
- Biology (SBI4U)
- Visual Arts: Photography (AWQ4M)
- Reykjavik: 4 Days
- South Iceland: 2 Days
- East Fjords: 2 Days
- Akureyri: 4 Days
- West Iceland: 2 Days
- Reykjavik: 8 Days
*All dates are subject to change.
**Plus $195 registration fee. Includes group airfare arranged by Blyth Academy and an estimated $895 in airline and departure taxes, local taxes and fees. Please visit www.blythsummers.com/fees for an explanation of our departure taxes, fees, and surcharges, and when these fees will be invoiced. All itineraries, excursions, dates, departure taxes, fees, and surcharges are subject to change.
***Please visit www.blythpoints.com for more details on funding your program through Aeroplan points.