Spot bears, whales and reindeer on this twin-centre wildlife holiday in Iceland and Canada. Starting with a week in Iceland, you'll head out on the ring road and circle the island. During the trip, you'll see puffins on a coastal cruise from Reykjavik, spot reindeer on a safari from Eglisstadir and look for whales off the north coast. You’ll even try riding the famous Icelandic horses before flying to Vancouver Island for a Pacific wildlife experience. Look for orcas in the waters around Victoria and drive to the rugged beaches of Tofino, where bears forage for snacks along the wild coastline. Keep an eye out for birdlife as you head north and take a floatplane up to the northern inlets for a unique stay in a floating bear lodge – one of the best ways to see these animals in their natural habitat. Finish your trip with a stay on the Canadian Sunshine Coast - whether you relax with a glass of wine or head out kayaking with seals, you’ll be sure to end your wildlife holiday on a high!
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 and head off on your Iceland road trip! From the airport, we recommend driving along the Reykjanes Peninsula, a colourful area of interesting geological sites and dramatic coastlines. Tonight, you will be staying in the charming village of Hveragerdi, one of the few places in the world that located directly on top of a geothermal area.
Today you’ll have time to explore the Golden Circle, which features three of the most popular natural attractions in Iceland. Visiting Thingvellir National Park, where two tectonic plates pull away from each other to create a rift valley, you’ll see the spectacular Gullfoss waterfall and the Geysir hot spring, after which all other geysers are named. In the early afternoon, you’ll stop into Sydra Langholt Farm to ride some Icelandic horses, a unique breed to the island. Later, you’ll head along the rich farmlands of the south coast, passing by Eyjafjallajokull, the volcano that infamously brought air travel in Europe to a standstill in 2010, before stopping in at the Seljalandsfoss and Skogafoss waterfalls. Tonight, you’ll check into your hotel in Vik for two nights.
After breakfast, you’ll have the whole day to explore the legendary south coast – a world of active volcanoes, black sand beaches, blue glaciers and moss-covered lava flows. You’ll discover the magnificent Fjadrargljufur, an oddly shaped canyon, as well as the pretty basalt pavement at Kirkjubaejarklauster village, similar to the Giant’s Causeway. One of the most spectacular sights on the south coast is the black sand beach at Reynisfjara, where huge basalt stacks, locally known as Troll's Toes, loom out of the sea mist. When you experience this spooky setting, you'll begin to understand why Iceland is so full of mythical legends and creatures.
Today, you’ll need to leave yourself plenty of time to enjoy the glacial vistas of Vatnajokull National Park, a beautiful area that covers a vast area of Iceland. With glaciers high above, you’ll come across the magnificent waterfall at Skaftafell, where you'll hardly be able to believe that the basalt framed falls are a natural creation. This is also a great area to take a guided hike on the glacier – if you want to add this, just ask!
In the afternoon, you’ll continue on to Jokulsarlon Glacier Lagoon, where huge blue icebergs bash against each other as they float in the chilly water. You’ll be able to snap some amazing photos here, as well as of the black sand dunes at Vestrahorn. Tonight, you’ll check into your hotel in the Hofn area for 1 night.
After breakfast, you’ll set off to drive along the rugged shores of the Eastfjords, where towering mountains and charming fishing villages are dotted along the coast. These are some of Iceland’s geologically oldest landscapes in Iceland – perfect for a morning hike with endless views of the sea. In the summer you could hop on the boat to Papey Island, where thousands of Puffins nest in the summer or visit Faskrudsfjordur, a pretty town with a French heritage. Later you’ll reach Egilsstadir, the main town in the region where you’ll check into your hotel for one night.
This morning, you’ll enjoy a four-hour reindeer safari, heading inland to get a glimpse of these nomadic creatures with furry antlers and sweet faces. Guides will talk to local farmers that provide information about the reindeer’s location, so, in addition to wildlife-spotting, you'll meet the locals and get an insight into their lives. All of the guides come from this region and they know the area like the back of their hands – perfect for finding some reindeer in the hills.
After lunch, you’ll drive through Vatnajokull National Park, visiting the mighty Dettifoss waterfall and the horseshoe canyon Asbyrgi. Stop in at Husavik, a colourful fishing village before heading to Myvatn Nature Reserve, where you’ll spend the night.
You'll spend the morning exploring the surreal highlights of the Lake Myvatn area, including the colourful sulphurous Namaskard slopes and the Dimmuborgir volcanic formations. Driving on to Akureyri, you’ll stop at the Godafoss waterfall, arriving at Akureyri, the cultural capital of Iceland, ready to hop aboard a boat for a whale watching tour. The fjord here is brimming with whales, porpoises and dolphins, but make sure you look up too! Above your head, you’ll see breath-taking mountain scenery and a coastal landscape peppered with colourful fishing villages and farms.
Returning to the pier with a camera full of photos, you’ll drive on towards the west coast. This is a fairly long drive, but the scenery is beautiful and the summer days are long. Around three hours later, you'll arrive into Lauger. On arrival, you’ll check into your hotel for one night.
The Snaefellsnes Peninsula is a gorgeous area to explore and you’ll have all day to do so. First visit Stykkisholmur, a small town overlooking a bay filled with thousands of islands. Here you’ll enjoy a ‘Viking Sushi’ cruise, heading out onto the water to admire the birdlife including cute puffins on the rocky headland before a shellfish plough is lowered into the ocean and a wonderful selection of sealife emerges, from sea urchins to starfish and sea cucumbers to crabs. You’ll even get to taste some of the edible catch, such as fresh local scallops! While you're here, be sure to snap a photo of Kirkjufjall, the famous cone mountain, as well as Snaefellsjokull, a glacier-capped volcano. Late in the afternoon, you’ll drive down to Reykjavik. Why not head out for a dinner of fresh fish and a cold glass of Icelandic craft ale?
Today is your final day in Iceland - you'll hop on a shuttle bus over to the airport in time to catch your flight to Vancouver. You’ll arrive in Canada later the same day and make your own way into the city, checking into your hotel for one night. Settle down for an early night before heading off on your wildlife adventure tomorrow.
If you want to add more nights in Vancouver – just ask!
This morning, you'll pick up your hire car and head off on your journey to Vancouver Island by ferry, leaving the city behind you and arriving in Victoria a couple of hours later. Settle in with a walk around the pretty harbour, enjoy the English style architecture, and check into your hotel for two nights.
This morning, you’ll set off on a whale watching tour on an open zodiac boat – perfect for the adventurous at heart! It’s an exhilarating experience, complete with sea spray, and these vessels are well known for their safety. Keep an eye out for the orcas that make their home in the bay - they’re mostly seen between May and October, but a few resident killer whales can be found on a year-round basis. During the tour, you can also spot humpbacks, grey whales, porpoises and Californian sea lions frolicking in the water. Spend the afternoon at leisure in Victoria, where you can have a coffee by the harbour or head to the Royal British Colombia Museum, where you can learn about the first nations history.
Today, you’ll set off into the heart of Vancouver Island, heading up the coast to Tofino, where the rugged coastline is ravaged by the Pacific Ocean. On arrival, you’ll check in for three nights. Why not head off for a hike along the wild beach?
On your first day in Tofino, you’ll head off on a coastal bear watching tour, exploring the fjords and inlets of Clayoquot Sound. In May, the bears leave their cosy dens where they have been holed up all winter and head for the closest food source – the ocean! While the bears forage along the shore, you can easily observe and photograph them from the boat. It’s an exciting day and will give you a great introduction to the bears that you’ll hopefully see more of later in the trip.
On your second day, you’ll enjoy another whale watching cruise - this time with a bit of a difference. You’ll not only enjoy whale watching but head all the way up to the north end of Clayoquot Sound, where you'll visit a sea cave, look out for black bears and watch seabirds nesting. You’ll also travel to visit a series of thermal rockpools and ride the rainforest boardwalk train to the sulphur springs. It promises to be a busy day with lots of wildlife spotting opportunities.
This morning, you’ll drive north to Campbell River. There’s no rush, so why not have another hike in the woods around Tofino or even trying cold water surfing with the locals in Cox Bay? When you do head north in earnest, you can stop in Parksville for lunch before continuing to Campbell River and checking into your hotel for one night. Get an early night – you’ll be up tomorrow morning to start your adventure to Knight Inlet!
This morning, you’ll be up bright and early for your transfer to the floatplane dock, ready for the next stage of your adventure. Knight Inlet Lodge is located 80km north of Campbell River, in a wild and remote area of the Pacific Northwest. Set along one of the largest fjords on the British Colombia coast, it offers spectacular scenery amidst steep cliffs and thundering waterfalls, where the silence is only broken by the slap of water against the shore and cries of the seabirds. The floating lodge is tucked into Glendale Cove.
Your time at Knight Inlet will involve a mixture of bear-watching tours, scenic boat rides, and kayaking trips in the estuary, as well as free time to enjoy the bear-viewing stands and enjoy the evening interpretive programme. Your meals are all included as well as wine with dinner – so you'll be well looked after AND surrounded by exceptional wildlife.
After breakfast, you’ll hop on the seaplane back to Campbell River before picking up your hire car and driving to the Sunshine Coast, taking two ferries to make your way off Vancouver Island. On arrival at the lodge, you’ll check in for two nights and get ready for some well-earned rest or, if you’re still looking for adventure, some exciting activities.
Your time on the Sunshine Coast is free you to relax in the beautiful setting or head out for some activities. If you fancy the latter, we can book zodiac cruises to see colonies of seals, guided kayaking treks through the Sutton Islands or hikes through the nearby forests.
Today is the last day of your wildlife holiday in Iceland and Canada. You'll drive back to Vancouver and head straight to the airport in time to catch your flight home.
Why not add in a stopover in Toronto on your way home? It's a great multicultural city within easy distance of Niagara Falls, making it ideal if you want to break up your journey home.
The best time to visit British Colombia, Canada is between March and May - or, alternatively, from September to November. Over these periods, you’ll find mild temperatures and bargain hotel rates. Peak season runs from May to August, with prices at a premium and lots of tourists. However, the summer brings beautiful weather, making it a popular season to travel to this region, despite the crowds. December to February is winter and temperatures can drop below freezing. If you're a winter sports fan, it's worth braving the weather to enjoy all the snow-based adventures available in nearby Whistler.
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 meets - the weather is extremely changeable, so be sure you bring a range of clothing, even 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, the sun rises at 11am and disappears around 3pm, making it perfect for aurora spotters out to see the Northern Lights.
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.