Explore the jewels of the north and visit the country formed by the gods, before landing in countries that are fit for kings! This is a fantastic pre-conference option for our Berlin 2020 conference.
Details of the Northern Europe and British Isles Cruise:
Day 1 - Reykjavik, Iceland
Sprawling Reykjavík, the nation's nerve center and government seat, is home to half the island's population. On a bay overlooked by proud Mt. Esja (pronounced eh-shyuh), with its ever-changing hues, Reykjavík presents a colorful sight, its concrete houses painted in light colors and topped by vibrant red, blue, and green roofs. In contrast to the almost treeless countryside, Reykjavík has many tall, native birches, rowans, and willows, as well as imported aspen, pines, and spruces. Reykjavík's name comes from the Icelandic words for smoke, reykur, and bay, vík. In AD 874, Norseman Ingólfur Arnarson saw Iceland rising out of the misty sea and came ashore at a bay eerily shrouded with plumes of steam from nearby hot springs. Today most of the houses in Reykjavík are heated by near-boiling water from the hot springs. Natural heating avoids air pollution; there's no smoke around.
Day 2 - Isafjordur, Iceland
Two colossal terraces of sheer rock stand either side of this extraordinarily located town - which rides a jutting spit onto an immensity of black fjord water. Surprisingly, considering the remoteness of its location and its compact size, Isafjordur is a modern and lively place to visit, offering a great choice of cafes and delicious restaurants – which are well stocked to impress visitors. The town is a perfectly located base for adventures amongst Iceland's fantastic wilderness - with skiing, hiking and water-sports popular pursuits among visitors.
Day 3 - Akureyri, Iceland
Iceland’s Capital of the North is the gateway to a thrilling land of roaring waterfalls, soaring volcanoes and glorious wildlife. It may lie a mere 60 miles from the Arctic Circle, but Akureyi blossoms with a bright, cosmopolitan feel, and explodes into life during the summer months, when its outdoor cafes and open-air bathing spots fill up with visitors ready to immerse themselves in Iceland’s cinematic scenery. Feel the thundering impact of Iceland’s celebrated natural wonders shaking your bones at Godafoss Waterfalls, known as the ‘Waterfalls of the Gods’. Here, the Skjálfandafljót river unleashes a colossal torrent of water over charcoal-black rocks below. Or, find some peace at the Botanical Gardens, which opened in 1957 and offer space for contemplation - amid plants that bloom with unexpected vibrancy, even at this northerly latitude.
Day 4 - Eskifjordur, Iceland
"Almost swallowed up by the looming forms of Eskja and Hólmatindur mountains, the quiet fishing village of Eskifjordur minds its own business in the midst of some of Iceland's most extroverted natural scenery. A place where the wind's gentle whistle and the whir of fishing rods unspooling are the only sounds you hear as you stroll, Eskifjordur is a peaceful introduction to eastern Iceland's fjord lands. Get lucky, and you'll witness the scenic setting bathed in an otherworldly, achingly-beautiful light - as daylight trickles away and emerald plumes spread across the night's sky. Natural wonders abound here, whether it's the streams that gurgle, the finger-like reach of the Reyðarfjörður fjord, or the geothermal pools that bubble with warmth from the depths of the earth. Hólmatindur mountain lends the area's scenery evocative drama, soaring from the waters like a snow-speckled pyramid.
Day 5 - Day at Sea
Day 6 - Torshavn (Faroe Islands)
More than 600 miles (nearly 1,000 kilometres) from Denmark’s west coast lie the Faroes, a triangle of eighteen windswept islands, seventeen of which are inhabited. Only 48,500 people plus some 70,000 sheep roam these remote lands. Much of the islands’ heritage reflects a medieval past, beginning with the arrival of farmers from western Norway who settled here in the 9th century. Evidence of this Scandinavian heritage is preserved through centuries of isolation; ancient structures can still be seen in villages clustered around old churches. Sheer cliffs and waterfalls carve Streymoy, the largest of the islands, where Torshavn is one of the world’s smallest capitals with about 12,400 inhabitants, plus another 5,000 living in the suburbs of Argir and Hoyvik. Visitors find interesting museums, churches, monuments and all the amenities of a modern town and thriving harbour here. The world’s oldest, still active parliament was founded in the Viking age.
Day 7 - Lerwick, Shetland Islands, United Kingdom
Founded by Dutch fishermen in the 17th century, Lerwick today is a busy town and administrative center. Handsome stone buildings—known as lodberries—line the harbor; they provided loading bays for goods, some of them illegal. The town's twisting flagstone lanes and harbor once heaved with activity, and Lerwick is still an active port today. This is also where most visitors to Shetland dock, spilling out of cruise ships, allowing passengers to walk around the town.
Day 8 - Kirkwall (Orkney), United Kingdom
In bustling Kirkwall, the main town on Orkney, there's plenty to see in the narrow, winding streets extending from the harbor. The cathedral and some museums are highlights.
Day 9 - Invergordon (Highland), United Kingdom
The port of Invergordon is your gateway to the Great Glen, an area of Scotland that includes Loch Ness and the city of Inverness. Inverness, the capital of the Highlands, has the flavor of a Lowland town, its winds blowing in a sea-salt air from the Moray Firth. The Great Glen is also home to one of the world's most famous monster myths: in 1933, during a quiet news week, the editor of a local paper decided to run a story about a strange sighting of something splashing about in Loch Ness. But there's more to look for here besides Nessie, including inland lochs, craggy and steep-sided mountains, rugged promontories, deep inlets, brilliant purple and emerald moorland, and forests filled with astonishingly varied wildlife, including mountain hares, red deer, golden eagles, and ospreys.
Day 10 & 11 - Edinburgh (Leith), United Kingdom
Edinburgh is to London as poetry is to prose, as Charlotte Brontë once wrote. One of the world's stateliest cities and proudest capitals, it's built—like Rome—on seven hills, making it a striking backdrop for the ancient pageant of history. In a skyline of sheer drama, Edinburgh Castle watches over the capital city, frowning down on Princes Street’s glamour and glitz. But despite its rich past, the city’s famous festivals, excellent museums and galleries, as well as the modern Scottish Parliament, are reminders that Edinburgh has its feet firmly in the 21st century.Nearly everywhere in Edinburgh (the burgh is always pronounced burra in Scotland) there are spectacular buildings, whose Doric, Ionic, and Corinthian pillars add touches of neoclassical grandeur to the largely Presbyterian backdrop. Large gardens are a strong feature of central Edinburgh, where the city council is one of the most stridently conservationist in Europe.
Day 12 - Day at Sea
Day 13 - London (Tower Bridge), United Kingdom
London is an ancient city whose history greets you at every turn. If the city contained only its famous landmarks—the Tower of London or Big Ben—it would still rank as one of the world's top cities. But London is so much more. The foundations of London's character and tradition endure. The British bobby is alive and well. The tall, red, double-decker buses (in an updated model) still lumber from stop to stop. Then there's that greatest living link with the past—the Royal Family with all its attendant pageantry. To ice the cake, swinging-again London is today one of the coolest cities on the planet. The city's art, style, and fashion make headlines around the world, and London's chefs have become superstars.