Adventure sailing expedition around Iceland
An extraordinary high latitudes sailing expedition as we complete a three-leg circumnavigation of Iceland. The route starts in Seydisfjordur and the the snow capped fjords on the east coast. It then traverses west along the northern coast past Akureyri and Dalvik to the wild west fjords and Isafjordur on the north west coast. Finally, we head through the west fjords and sail south toward the capital Reykjavik.
These are the available dates and routes. To book your place, please select the dates from the drop-down above the ‘Add to Cart’ button.
LEG 1 TRIP CODE: STA19072021
- Start date / place: July 19 2021. Seydisfjordur, Iceland
- End date / place: July 30 2021. Akureyri, Iceland
- Full price: £2,399
- Deposit: £960
LEG 2 TRIP CODE: ATI02082021
- Start date / place: August 02 2021. Akureyri, Iceland
- End date / place: August 13 2021. Isafjordur, Iceland
- Full price: £2,399
- Deposit: £960
LEG 3 TRIP CODE: ITR16082021
- Start date / place: August 16 2021. Isafjordur, Iceland
- End date / place: August 27 2021. Reykjavik, Iceland
- Full price: £2,399
- Deposit: £960
Please see ‘TRAVEL – GETTING TO & FROM YOUR TRIP’ tab for advice on start and end points.
All crew must produce a negative Covid-19 test result within 72 hours before the start date.
This is 40% of the trip price and is non-refundable. On making payment, your berth is guaranteed.
Paying the balance
The balance of the invoice can be paid at any time. It must be received by Rubicon 3 90 days before the trip start date or your place will automatically be cancelled. We will remind you of the date nearer the time.
Cancellations and moving trips
Our expedition sailing yachts only have between 7 and 10 berths on them. When you book, you are committing to take one of these places. Due to these very limited numbers, we will often have turned away someone else who would have liked the berth. Unlike many other holidays, please understand this gives us little if any flexibility to make changes or to move trips. We will always endeavour to assist you (& the earlier you tell us the better), but unless we can find someone else to take your place, we usually cannot move your booking.
Please note these itineraries are given as an example only. The wind and weather will determine exactly where we can stop and when.
Leg 1: Iceland’s Eastfjords and the Arctic Circle
The remote north east coastline is indented with fjords and populated with just a handful of small fishing harbours where the rugged landscape is balanced by the warmth of the people. As we sail around the north eastern corner of Iceland we’ll also head inland to discover lava fields, geothermal pools and powerful waterfalls. This is real Iceland: awe inspiring nature, the friendliest people we’ve ever met and a true adventure.
Nestled at the head of a long fjord the harbour of Seydisfjordjur is one of the best harbours on the east coast. It is a gorgeous little town with brightly painted wooden houses on the waterfront and vibrant community. The Skaftfell centre is a hub for local artists and the eerie Tvisongur sound installation, a short walk along the fjord, is a must see. We’ll maybe finish the first day with a drink in one of the cosy bars which serve local craft beer.
Sailing in the dramatic East fjords
With stunning scenery on our doorstep we’ll have a prompt start and head out to learn the ropes to a backdrop of snow-capped fjords before settling alongside the small wharf in Mjoifjordjur for the night. This tiny village is just a handful of houses and small community hall which has been known to host the crew of Hummingbird for the Football World Cup a few years ago – well there aren’t any Sky sports bars around! Just to the south is the larger town of Neskaupstadur where the geothermal pool has views of the surrounding fjord. Don’t be surprised if you find yourself sharing the hot tub with the local fishermen after a long day on the water..
Around the northern tip of Iceland
It’s an overnight passage from Neskaupstadur to Raufarhofn, which will see us settle into a watch system and experience the magic of sailing through the night. This close to the Arctic circle we’ll have the midnight sun to make this a really special experience. This sleepy fishing village is the northernmost settlement on mainland Iceland home a herd of beautiful Icelandic horses and the Arctic Henge monument, a gigantic 21st century sundial. By now everyone will be getting up to speed with the yacht, taking it in turns to plan the passages, pilot us safely into port, helming and handling sails.
Husavik – humpback whale central
Husavik is a day-sail away from Raufarhofn. Once the centre of the whaling industry, in recent years it’s had a complete role reversal and is now a whale-watching hub. We’re very likely to see humpbacks breaching on our sail into the bay, and if we’re lucky these amazing creatures will come close to the boat to say hello. Once we’re tied up in the harbour the Geosea thermal pool lies right on the shoreline with warm mineral waters ready to soothe any aching muscles. Husavik is also a great place for us to strike off inland for a day and explore. Close by are the extraordinary basalt formations at Hljóðaklettar, the Dettifoss waterfall and the steaming yellow landscape of the Hveraströnd Sulfur Springs.
Offshore islands and the Arctic Circle
To cross the Arctic Circle proper we need to sail to the island of Grimsey, 30nm north of Husavik. The island is home to a few hardy fishing families and thousands of seabirds. It’s a great place to watch puffins raising their chicks in burrows on the cliff. Sailing back towards the mainland, we’ll spend a night at anchor off the tiny island of Flatey. This peaceful place is just a few houses and wild flower meadows. Having by now mastered the art of fishing, we’ll find a spot on the rocks to grill our fresh fish.
The final sail up through Akureyri fjord is a dramatic one. The fjord gets narrower and narrower as we approach, so we’ll be putting our well-honed sailing skills to the test as we tack along the narrow channel. Akureyri is a lively city with cafes, bars and a vibrant art and music scene. We’ll aim to be in by 1600h, making the most of our final day of sailing before heading out for a crew dinner in a local restaurant.
Leg 2: Iceland’s Eastfjords and the Arctic Circle
In leg 2, we discover one of Iceland’s most spectacular regions as we voyage around the Westfjords and Hornstrandir National park. This is the land of the arctic fox, humpback whale and clouds of seabirds with few roads and only a handful of settlements. Calling anyone with a drop of Viking in their blood, this is a trip for anchoring in deserted fjords and exploring uncharted waters on our very own voyage of discovery.
Leg 2 starts in Iceland’s second city, Akureyri. It’s a lovely town with several centuries of history, quirky cafes and art galleries. After introductions and safety briefings we’ll likely head down the fjord for a quiet night at anchor off the island of Hrisey. Akureyri fjord is lined with snow capped peaks and if we’re lucky a pod of humpback whales will come over to investigate our brightly coloured boat.
Grimsey and the Arctic Circle
No trip to the north coast of Iceland would be complete without a crossing of the Arctic Circle. The small fishing harbour on the island of Grimsey lies just inside it at 66°33’ North, so we’ll sail over for a glimpse of the midnight sun and to award ourselves with The Order of the Blue Nose – the official award for sailing into Arctic Waters. After puffin watching on the cliffs we’ll head back to the mainland. Siglufjordjur is an ancient fishing port this was once home to a huge fleet of herring trawlers and the brightly coloured warehouses still line the shore, now housing artists workshops and museums.
Crossing Hunafloi Bay
Now it’s time to cross the Hunafloi bay to the uninhabited arm of the Westfjords: Hornstrandir. If there’s time we’ll take a detour to the eerie Hvitserkur rock formations, anchoring for the night. By now everyone will be getting up to speed with the boat and your two instructors will be teaching you how to navigate along this rugged coastline. There’s an emphasis on using traditional techniques, identifying land features and using natural navigation techniques. Soon you’ll feel the magic of being more connected with the landscape and reading the contours of Icelandic charts.
Pull on your walking boots, grab a packed lunch and head out into the wilderness. There are opportunities for you to head off hiking for a couple of hours or a full day depending on your stamina, meeting the boat on the other side of a headland or peninsular. With its wild flower meadows, deserted whaling stations and dramatic cliffs exploring the Hornstrandir National park is one of the highlights of the trip.
We end Leg 2 in the town of Isafjorjur, one of the best harbours in Iceland and the heart of the Westfjords. The waters are teeming with life and we’ll be unlucky not to catch our own cod or see humpbacks breaching on the way in. The wonderful local fish house does incredible seafood and it’s the perfect place to celebrate an unforgettable trip.
Leg 3: Iceland’s west coast: Isafjordjur – Reykjavik
Leg 3 sees us sail along a route encompassing uncharted fjords, glacier-topped volcanoes and millions of seabirds. This is Iceland’s West coast, the landscape of the sagas and a coastline steeped in myths and legends. Discover the dramatic scenery which is every bit as awe-inspiring today as it was to the Vikings hundreds of years ago.
We start in Isafjordjur and the heart of the West Fjords. The flight into Isafjordjur is pretty spectacular, sweeping down alongside the fjord and landing on a runway right by the water’s edge.
The wilderness of the Hornstrandir National park is right on our doorstep. Home to the arctic fox, alpine fox, rolling meadows and basalt cliffs it’s time to put on those walking boots and head out for a hike.
Uncharted fjords of Lonafjordjur and Hrafnsfjordjur
Two uncharted fjords lie in the Hornstrandir region, with names which are as tricky to say as they are to navigate! You’ll put all your new expedition navigation techniques into play as we head into these remote fjords and enjoy a night or two of total isolation.
With it’s abandoned whaling station Hesteyri is an eeri but atmospheric spot to anchor. The rusting machinery is witness to an abandoned industry, and the regular sight of breaching humpback whales in the area is proof that conservation works.
Sailing further south we enter the impressive fjord network of Arnafjordjur, home to the Dynjandi waterfall. Meaning ‘thunderous’ these falls are spectacular and far less touristy than the better known Gullfoss waterfall of the Golden Circle route.
Home to over a million puffins these dramatic cliffs are also the westernmost point of Europe. If the weather’s right we can sail past close inshore and enjoy clouds of seabirds flying around their nests.
It’s a fantastic sail across the big inlet of Breidafjordjur to the Snæfellsnes peninsular, but in good weather the 1400m peak of the extinct volcano is visible from over sixty miles away. The summit’s covered in a glacier, and it’s not surprising that Jules Verne used it as the setting for his book Journey to the centre of the earth: this truly is a combination of fire and ice! We’ll aim to spend a couple of nights here to allow us time to explore the crazy lava tubes of the Vatnshellir cave or even trek across the Snæfellsjökull glacier to the top of the mountain.
Finally we set off to Reykjavik with an overnight passage in the Denmark Strait. Not many sailors can claim to have conquered this notorious stretch of water, it’s quite an addition to the logbook and give you serious kudos back home! But for now it’s time to head to a bar for a local craft beer, swap stories and photos with your fellow crew and say goodbyes. The end always comes too soon, but you’ll return home with a whole host of new stories and a new connection to your inner Viking!
JOINING & LEAVING THE BOAT
- You should join the boat at 1100hrs on the start day. It is important you are not late.
- You will disembark between 0700 and 1200hrs on the end day.
- For exact start and end locations, please see the ‘Dates & Prices’ tab
- The closest airport to Seydisfjordur is Egilsstaðir. There is a bus that runs between the two and which takes around 45 minutes. Icelandair fly between Egilsstaðir airport (IATA code: EGS) and Reykjavik (IATA code: RKV).
- From Reykjavik (the internal airport) you need to transfer by bus or taxi to Keflavik (IATA code: KEF) which is the international airport.
The international airport is actually called Keflavik (IATA code: KEF)
Air Iceland flies from Reykjavík to Akureyri (IATA code: AEY) 3 times a day. Alternatively, Strætó operates a bus from Ártún to Akureyri – Hof twice daily. Tickets cost £45 – £65 and the journey takes 6h 24m. SBA-Norðurleið also services this route 4 times a week
AGE & EXPERIENCE
These adventure sailing holidays are open to anyone aged 18 – 70 years. No previous sailing experience is required for this route
CLOTHING & EQUIPMENT
We provide the foul weather clothing, life-jackets and all other technical equipment you will need. You need to bring a sleeping bag and some waterproof boots.
FITNESS TO SAIL
We believe that as many people as possible should be able to head out to sea and have a great adventure. However, it is essential for everyone’s safety that you are in a fit enough state to be on board. Ability to complete the five exercises below is a pre-requisite for joining as a crew member. They are not designed to be physically taxing and almost everyone should be able to complete them. Rather they are in place to check that you have the stability and basic physical condition to be on-board. If when you join the vessel the skipper believes you are not capable of completing these exercises, you will probably not be allowed to embark. If you have any doubts at all about your ability to complete these exercises safely, you must contact your doctor before attempting them.
Four weeks before your trip start date, you will be sent final joining instructions. At this time you will be asked to complete our medical declaration. At the time of booking, it is your responsibility to be sure that you will be able to pass all the criteria at the start date of your trip. If you cannot pass the criteria you will probably be refused permission to board.
- All crew must have adequate travel insurance in place for your sailing holiday.
- We strongly recommend that you arrange insurance as soon as you book. This ideally will cover you for any mishaps, medical or otherwise, in the build-up to your holiday so that should you have to cancel, you can reclaim you fees.
- Please note we will not refund your money or cancel your invoice due to medical issues that disqualify you from joining your trip.
- For our latest guidance on travel insurance, please read here.
TRIP CATEGORY: COASTAL SAILING
For a full explanation of what to expect with the various trip ratings please click here.
INCLUDED IN YOUR SAILING HOLIDAY
- Fladen immersion suits. These will keep you warm in even the coldest, windiest conditions.
- Ocean-spec lifejackets. These are the best on the market.
- All on-board food and snacks.
- Daily sailing lessons and tuition from two highly experienced instructors.
- RYA sailing qualifications can be earned where applicable.
WHAT’S NOT INCLUDED
- Your travel to and from the start and end points.
- Travel insurance (see our travel insurance page here)
- Any alcohol – but feel free to bring your own or buy some along the route.
- Any meals you eat ashore.
Everything’s included except for flights, travel insurance, a sleeping bag and some waterproof boots. There are no hidden extras.
- These expeditions have small numbers of people on board. When you book, you are committing to being a part of the crew.
- These are genuine adventure sailing holidays and you will be helping sail the boat, planning where we go, navigating, cooking and keeping the boat clean and tidy.
- When you book, the deposit is non refundable. It is possible to cancel subsequently, however you may still be liable for the balance of the invoice, depending on how close you are to the start date when you cancel.
- Please ensure you have read and agreed to the T&Cs and Trip Notes before booking.