Combine the wild beauty of Iceland with the historic cities of Eastern Canada on this two-week holiday. Starting with 7 days in Iceland, you’ll head north to the rural Westfjords, where tiny fishing villages and lush national parks sit quietly waiting for you explore. Hike along black sand beaches, watch puffins on bird covered sea cliffs and learn about the magic and mystery of this isolated corner of Iceland. Next head over to Canada where you’ll feel the spray at Niagara, walk beneath the gothic architecture in Ottawa and eat delicious French-influenced food in Montreal. This itinerary is perfect if you want to experience rugged wilderness and bustling cities in the same trip.
This itinerary can be tailored to suit your requirements, so please contact one of our consultants to start planning your dream trip.
Depart the UK from your chosen airport. On arrival in Reykjavik, you will pick up your hire car at the airport and drive down to the southern coast, where you’ll spend your first night in the charming village of Hveragerdi. This village is one of the few places in the world located directly on top of a geothermal area and, because of the many greenhouses heated by natural springs, it is known as the flower village.
Today you’ll set off on your trip in west Iceland, travelling along the scenic road towards the Snaefellsnes Peninsula. En route, you’ll pass by the Eldborg Crater, which looks as though it belongs on the moon. Keep your eyes peeled for birds as you make your way along the coast. Throughout the drive, you’ll see the snow-capped peak of the Snaefellsjokull glacier. Make a stop on the shiny black pebble beach at Djupalonssandur and take some time to explore the national park. Further along, you’ll arrive in Stykkisholmur, where you can spend the afternoon wandering through the pretty town, enjoying the restored timber houses and eating local blueberry ice cream by the harbour. All kinds of birdwatching tours and cruises depart from Stykkisholmur, including a great boat trip where you can see starfish, scallops and urchins pulled up from the ocean and try some of the freshest sushi around. If you want to add a cruise, just ask!
After breakfast, you’ll head north to the Westfjords, either by ferry or by road. The ferry takes around 3 hours while the journey by road trip is closer to 4 hours, but very scenic indeed. Arriving into the Westfjords, you’ll very quickly see why this is one of Iceland’s best-kept secrets. Here, you’ll find the 1500-foot-high Latrabjarg Cliffs, alive with millions of puffins, gannets and razorbills, all clamouring for a spot on the outcrop. It’s truly one of the greatest wildlife spectacles in the world. If you want to really get off the grid, head to Flatey Island, a tiny spot in the Breidafjordur Bay where native Icelanders go to renovate their ancestor’s old homes in the traditional village - strictly limited to the summer months.
Travelling across the spectacular Westfjords today, you can keep an eye out for hot bathing springs dotted throughout the rugged landscape. Head to the wide sandy beach at Raudasadur, famous for its orange sand and seal colonies, before stopping at the powerful Dynjandi waterfall, cascading 100 metres off the edge of a mountain with views over the lush valley. Why not stop here for a picnic lunch before driving leisurely through the pretty fishing village of Thingeyri? You’ll finish the day in the tiny town of Isafjordur, where you’ll find a thriving harbour, delicious local food and colourful narrow streets – perfect for an evening of exploration.
Today you’ll head over to the village of Hólmavík on the rugged eastern edge of the Westfjords, which has long been infamous for witches, sorcerers and all things magic. Here, you’ll find beaches strewn with driftwood, seals lazing on the beach, arctic foxes play in the grass and wild blueberries growing in abundance. This area is only accessible in midsummer, but its remote beauty makes it all the more worthwhile to visit. There are lots of opportunities for kayaking, horseback riding and hiking, as well as enjoying bustling village life in Hólmavík, which has regular food markets and summer festivals. End your day in the green valleys of Laugar in Saelingsdalur, rich in saga folklore and perfect for a pitstop on your way down south.
Spend the day slowly driving down to Reykjavik, stopping at Eiriksstadir, the Viking Age home of Erik the Red and birthplace of his son Leif, who discovered North America. Here, you can see the replica of his house and stand on its doorstep, with magnificent views over the Haukadalur Valley. Stop off at the Hraunfoss waterfall where the water trickles through moss into the pool below, as well as Deildartunuhver, Europe’s most powerful hot spring. If you’re peckish, you can even buy some tomatoes grown using geothermal heat to fill your sandwiches! Arriving in Reykjavik in the afternoon, you can spend some time exploring the city. Walk along the pretty harbour, browse the craft shops and feast on fresh Icelandic seafood for dinner. At the end of the evening, raise a pint of Icelandic craft ale and toast a wonderful trip to the spectacular west coast.
Today is your final day in Iceland and you’ll drive back to the airport in time to catch your flight to Toronto. On arrival, you’ll be picked up and driven into the city and check into your hotel for three nights.
Set out and explore Toronto - take a trip up the CN Tower where you can enjoy panoramic views over Lake Ontario – you can even walk on a glass floor above the city if you are feeling adventurous! Spend the afternoon wandering through Chinatown and Kensington Market. These colourful neighbourhoods reveal Toronto’s multicultural heritage as well as their independent roots – you won’t find any Starbucks or McDonald’s around here. The city is also famous for its museums and galleries; the Art Gallery of Ontario, full of Canadian, American and European art is a highlight of any trip to Toronto. Before you leave, be sure you try a bowl of ‘poutine’, a combination of chips, gravy and cheese curds – a true Canadian comfort food.
On your second day, you’ll head to Niagara Falls for a full day tour. You’ll be taken from Toronto for a trip through the orchard-laden Niagara Peninsula to Niagara Falls, one of the great wonders of the world. Your tour includes a Hornblower cruise or a ‘Journey behind the Falls’ tour, as well as plenty of time to take in Niagara-on-the-lake at your own pace. A meal overlooking the falls is a fantastic highlight of today, but it doesn’t stop there - you’ll have the chance to visit a local winery for a spot of wine tasting before heading back to Toronto.
Today you’ll spend the morning in Toronto before heading to the train station to catch the train to Ottawa, the capital city of Canada. We've included business-class train tickets, meaning you can enjoy the 5-hour train journey in style. Depending on the time of day, you'll get a warm meal as well as access to the bar cart, which will offer you a selection of wines or maybe a G&T to enjoy as you sit in large, comfortable seats. You'll also have access to the business class lounge in Toronto, so you can await boarding in comfort. Check into your hotel for two nights and get straight out exploring – why not head to a classy French restaurant for dinner to celebrate the city’s bilingualism?
Steeped in history and blending both French and English culture, Ottawa sits proudly around the gothic Parliament buildings that are at the heart of downtown. There is plenty to keep you busy for the day. Why not head towards the Sparks Street Mall and Byward Market, an area populated with cafes, craft shops and farmers markets? We’ve included a walking tour here for you, to make sure you get the most from your time in this beautiful city – you’ll visit the National War Memorial, the Bank of Canada, Parliament Hill and Sussex Drive.
Spend the morning in Ottawa before hopping back on the train to enjoy another business class journey heading to Montreal, a beautiful city in French Canada. On arrival, you’ll check into your hotel for two nights and head out into the city for a drink before exploring tomorrow and perhaps drop into a late night poutine joint to try this Canadian staple.
In Montreal, you will find an intriguing mix of both French and British cultures. You’ll be faced with exciting dining and shopping options, plus some magnificent architecture in the shape of the Notre Dame Basilica. Wander through the French Quarter, take in the views from Mount Royal and see the Olympic site and the McGill University. We’ve included a bike tour for you – a great way to explore the city quickly! This fun tour will guide you through all the highlights of the city, as well as stopping for a taste of Montreal’s most famous bagel at St-Viateur Bagel and a glass of wine afterwards!
Today is your final day in Canada – you’ll be taken to the airport in time to catch your flight home.
Iceland enjoys a milder climate than many people think. The summers are generally warm and sunny, while winters are as cold as they come. Due to its location - just at the point where the Gulf Stream and Arctic Air meet - the weather is extremely changeable, so make sure you bring a range of clothing, even if you are there in midsummer. The midnight sun shines between late May and August, which means you can maximise your time here by exploring until late at night. In the winter, however, the sun doesn’t rise until 11 am and disappears around 3 pm, perfect for aurora spotters out to see the northern lights.
Weather can be variable at all times of the year in Southern and Eastern Canada. The South (including Toronto & Ottawa) is the most densely populated part of the country and this combined with its southerly latitude makes for the warmest part of the country. The Great Lakes tend not to freeze over until Mid-December. Winter brings the snow and the weather can be pretty severe. Summers are quite warm with considerable amounts of sunshine. High season falls in the summer months here, with lots of tourists visiting and room rates at a premium. Crowds drop and temperatures are cooler during May, September and October which can make for a pleasant time to visit, although be aware some activity opening hours may be restricted. Ski resorts peak again during the winter months.
This itinerary is purely a suggestion and can be tailor-made to your requirements, so please contact us with your dates and requests, and we’ll put together a bespoke quotation for you.