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Iceland in Summer

Birds, cetaceans and geology - 'Complete Iceland'!

2024 Dates
  • 08 Jul - 15 Jul 2024
Duration8 Days
2024 Price
£3995 pp
£495 single supplement. Deposit £800

pre-flight airport hotel and lounge are inc.

2025 Dates
  • 14 Jul - 21 Jul 2025
Duration8 Days
2025 Price
£4295 pp
£685 single supplement. Deposit £800

pre-flight airport hotel and lounge are inc.

2026 Dates
  • 06 Jul - 13 Jul 2026
Duration8 Days
2026 Price
Price TBC
Max Group Size6 per guide

Summer is a great time for wildlife in the Land of Fire and Ice. The waders, wildfowl, seabirds and cetaceans of Iceland are justifiably world famous, and our trip is designed to show you the very best of them.

Exploring the dramatic landscapes, we seek mighty Gyrfalcon, Red-necked Phalarope, Great Northern and Red-throated Diver, and North American birds including the dazzling Harlequin Duck and Barrow’s Goldeneye. We cover all the birdlife of this stunning and awe-inspiring land, including White-tailed Eagle, Ptarmigan, Brünnich’s Guillemot, Snow Bunting, Whimbrel, Arctic and Great Skua, Black-tailed Godwit, and hope to get some rarities as well. We have seen Ring-necked Duck, Lesser Scaup, American Wigeon and King Eider in a real waterfowl wonderland!

We now have three boat trips—giving fantastic chances to see Harbour Porpoise, White-beaked Dolphin, Orca, Humpback and Minke Whale. There is also the possibility of the mighty Blue, Sperm, Fin and Sei Whale, and Bottle-nosed and White-sided Dolphin, as all these marine mammals congregate for the summer in the food-rich waters of the North Atlantic. No trip to Iceland would be complete without a chance to see these impressive animals.

This unique Heatherlea holiday has been carefully designed as a complete tour, giving you all the birds, Europe’s best cetacean searching, the magnificent volcanic scenery and the best geological sites in an unforgettable and thorough exploration of this remote northern wilderness.

This holiday represents exceptional value for a very comprehensive tour - don’t miss it!

Enjoy your complimentary pre-flight overnight hotel before your holiday begins. Full details from our office! Read more about our Pre-flight Service here!

Day 1:  Mon 8 July 2024  Arrival and Transfer
After relaxing in our complimentary VIP Airport Lounge, we fly from London to Iceland, then transfer from Keflavík airport to Snæfellsnes, birding en route. Great Northern and Red-throated Divers, Ptarmigan and Slavonian Grebe are all possible. Hotel in West Iceland.

Day 2: Tue 9 July   Snæfellsnes
The majestic scenery of Snæfellsnes provides perfect introduction to Iceland and a remarkable backdrop for our first day in the field. Seabirds provide a focus, and we expect to find Brunnich's Guillemot and other auks. In the afternoon we take a whale watching boat trip from Ólafsvík where we've a chance of Orca, White-beaked Dolphin and, if we're lucky, Sperm Whale. The boat trip lasts three hours and is weather dependant. Waders are everywhere including the Icelandic race of Black-tailed Godwit, and we will get good views of Red-necked Phalarope and Glaucous Gull. Hotel in West Iceland.

Day 3: Wed 10 July   Heading North
It's a travelling day today as we head north with a chance of encountering White-tailed Eagle on the journey. We also look for Ptarmigan, Harlequin Duck, Pink-footed Goose, more white-winged gulls, and a chance of the elusive Arctic Fox in the field margins, or amongst the array of wild flowers. Our hotel in North Iceland is in a wonderful location overlooking the highest peaks in this part of the country, with Short-eared Owl quartering the fields.

Day 4: Thu 11 July   North Iceland 
This morning we'll take a cetacean watching trip on Eyjafjörður.The boat trip lasts two and a half hours and is weather dependant. Humpback whale is a possibility and Minke Whales, White-beaked Dolphins and Harbour Porpoise could be joined by something less common! In the afternoon we'll take the boat to Hrísey island where we should get good views of Ptarmigan and breeding waders with the possibility of some land based whale watching as well. Expect divers on the sea, and on inland lakes, and keep your eyes open for possibly our first Gyrfalcon as we explore the northern valleys later in the day. Hotel in North Iceland.

Day 5: Fri 12 July   Lake Mývatn
Iceland's wildfowl spectacular! Lake Mývatn is famous for its breeding wildfowl, and we hope to catch up with a good number of species. Barrow's Goldeneye and Harlequin are found amidst the tens of thousands of more familiar duck species, and potential trans-Atlantic vagrants. Slavonian Grebe and Great Northern Diver are also found here. We should see Gyrfalcon and Merlin in the area, too. Mývatn is also very important geologically, and we shall study the impressive landscape, sculpted by millions of years of volcanic activity. Hotel in North Iceland.

Day 6: Sat 13 July   Hot Springs, Waterfalls and Geysers
An adventurous day's travel across Iceland's interior as we head for the south. We may visit the hot spring area of Hveravellir on the way, the dramatic glacial river falls of Gullfoss and the famous geysers at Geysir. There's a good chance of encountering Gyrfalcon, Snow Bunting and Pink-footed Goose on our journey. Hotel in South Iceland.

Day 7: Sun 14 July   South Iceland
The glaciers and waterfalls of South Iceland. The tumbled moraines at the edge of these provide much of interest for botanists and geologists, whilst birds include Great and Arctic Skua and breeding waders. There will be more seabirds at the coast including thousands of Puffin, and weather permitting great views across to The Westman Islands and to the active volcano of Hekla. Hotel in South Iceland.

Day 8: Mon 15 July   Departure
Today we depart Keflavík, and arrive back in the UK.

Please note: all itineraries are given as a guide only. Actual holiday content may vary according to the judgement of your guide, and elements beyond our control (eg weather).

What's included in your holiday price:

  • scheduled return flights between London and Keflavik, airport taxes,
  • ground transportation as outlined including all transportation in Iceland
  • accommodation and all meals, including breakfast, lunch and dinner.
  • all boat trips and entrance fees as specified
  • the services of your leader.
  • The Heatherlea Pre-Flight Service offers everything you need at the airport, including hotels, car parking, airport lounges, regional flights, and upgrades. Let Heatherlea take the strain! Pre-flight airport hotel and lounge included free of charge subject to terms and conditions. Read more...

What's not included in your holiday price:

  • personal insurance, drinks and other personal expenses, optional tips, and any other costs not specified as 'included'.

More holiday information:

Accommodation is in a comfortable hotels/guest houses with all rooms en suite,
Food Breakfast is surprisingly good given the limited availability of local produce. Cold meats and cheese are usually offered, with ample bread and preserves. Fruit juice and tea or coffee are also usually available. Evening meals are generally local dishes, which are good but often quite simple. Chicken, fish and very lean lamb are common. Picnic lunches are included.
Walking is not strenuous. Leisurely walking, very occasionally over moderately rough terrain, is the only physical requirement.
Weather Be prepared for wet weather, but also possibly warm conditions. We will be spending time on windswept coasts; it is therefore vital to have suitable clothing and equipment. The temperature can change quickly, so layered clothing is recommended. Average temperatures in July/August around 13c

Insects biting insects (midges) are likely in a few places. Please bring a good insect repellent.
Group size is restricted to 12 clients maximum.
Flights are by scheduled airline, from London. We may be able to offer flight arrangements from another airport and/or or quote without flights so you can make your own arrangements. If you wish to add an extension either before or after your holiday, please contact us and we will be happy to arrange this for you.

Your Leader:

Andy Jones: A native of Wales though resident for many years in Iceland, Andy is perhaps better known to many as 'The Iceland Naturalist'. A leader of wildlife trips in Iceland for more than thirty years, Andy is an expert on birdlife, cetaceans, flora and geology, the perfect choice as Leader for this tour!

Dave Pearce: Originally from Barnsley in South Yorkshire, Dave now lives in East Yorkshire, and alongside guiding bird tours works as a Consultant Ornithologist, undertaking bird surveys, bird monitoring and research from Scotland to Kent, Wales to Norfolk and many points in-between.


Other birding and wildlife holidays in Iceland

Why choose Heatherlea for your birding and wildlife holiday in Europe?

Our overseas holidays are planned with care to offer great birding and wildlife, led by capable Leaders who really look after you. Every holiday is run the 'Heatherlea Way', and we hope our Overseas Adventures remind you of the quality and care so many of you enjoy in Scotland. That means rewarding and exciting days in the field, and good quality accommodation and meals, with a real flavour of the country we are visiting. Heatherlea always seek to include the personal touches that make all the difference.

Heatherlea holidays are not ‘dawn to dusk’ expeditions. Our less-intensive approach is ideal for those who want to relax whilst experiencing the best wildlife watching, and wherever possible we organise early or late activity on an optional basis. We also take sensible breaks when in very hot places and regular comfort breaks on every holiday whenever possible. All itineraries are planned carefully around the best wildlife opportunities, and you won’t miss out on memorable wildlife, whilst enjoying relaxed, informal days that are great fun.

The really important part of any wildlife holiday is the experience for you, our valued customer. Heatherlea invest in many things to offer you the best possible service;

  • We have been organising birding and wildlife holidays for over 30 seasons, and have a highly experienced and capable office team. We also offer a telephone and email service outside normal office hours.
  • Heatherlea overseas holidays have a maximum of 12 clients per trip, putting the emphasis on personal service, and helping you get the best possible experience.
  • Our holidays often include things which others might invite you to pay yourself, for instance Departure Taxes and tips to hotels.
  • All elements of our holidays are sold under our own licence, ATOL 6113. Under ‘Flight-Plus’ legislation it is a legal requirement of any tour operator to hold an ATOL licence for the supply of any overseas holiday where a flight is involved, if that holiday includes either overseas accommodation and/or car hire. It can be a criminal offence for an operator to book flights as part of a package without an ATOL licence. Heatherlea also hold full Tour Operator Insurance for your added protection.
  • Heatherlea is your complete wildlife holiday provider. Our ‘Back Office’ team can organise all your pre-flight and other travel needs. Our specialists will help you book the right services, at the best price. Book holiday extensions through us, and your ATOL protection is extended further. We don’t charge extra for this service.
  • Heatherlea is a limited company, registered in Scotland, and registered to pay VAT (applies to all holidays within the European Union).
Tour Details

About Heatherlea Holidays

Contact Information

The Mountview Hotel, Nethybridge,
PH25 3EB Scotland

T: +44(0)1479 821248