Summer short break to Iceland
Description of Summer short break to Iceland
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Small group tours:
Small group travel is not large group travel scaled down. It is modeled on independent travel – but with the advantage of a group leader to take care of the itinerary, accommodation and tickets, and dealing with the language. It’s easy to tick off the big sights independently – but finding those one-off experiences, local festivals, traveling markets and secret viewpoints is almost impossible for someone without the insider knowledge gained from years in the field. Those with a two-week vacation, a small group tour will save valuable planning time.
As the pioneers of responsible tourism, we've screened this (and every) vacation so that you can travel knowing it will help support the places and people that you visit, and the planet. Read how below.
PlanetActivity & Environment:
We are very conscious of our effects on the environment and where possible we favour sustainable activities to take part in that have little detrimental effect on the environment. Throughout this trip we have numerous opportunities to get involved with a range of low impact activities, from relaxing in the Krauma geothermal baths to walking glaciers. On day two we’ll take a 6km hike to the Eldborg Crater and follow this to a hidden waterfall. On day four after our glacier walk, we’ll also have the opportunity to investigate this further by taking to the water on kayaks and paddling past the majestic glacier.
Whilst visiting Thingvellir National Park, guests can witness some dramatic landscapes where the Eurasian and American tectonic plates are pulling away from each other, and on our final day, we can enjoy a relaxing bath in the Blue Lagoon, enabling guests to experience the mineral-rich waters. If the weather is good, there may even be a chance to see the northern lights.
Generally, a huge proportion of tourists don’t venture further than the key popular sites - for instance the Blue Lagoon - whereas we do. The challenge for Iceland is to spread the economic benefit of tourism further than the capital, and our visit helps with this through our visit to Krauma. Few tourists visit Krauma and other less known areas for geothermal bath, but by visiting underrated areas on this trip, we are sustaining other areas and communities, meaning that people can stay in their original communities rather than having to relocate to the city to make an income from tourism.
Moreover, we also encourage our guests to pack reusable bottles to reduce the need for single use plastic on this trip. In our UK office, we are working towards reducing our carbon footprint through engergy conservation measures, recycling policies and the promotion of cycling and walking as a means for our staff to commute. Our head office in the UK has become a plastic-free zone with the use of plastic bottles being banned and we distributed reusable water bottles and tote bags to every staff member.
PeopleCommunity & Culture:
Our Icelandic operators hire local guides for each trip, which is mutually beneficial in that the community benefits from employment opportunities, whilst clients gain an insight into the country from staff with valuable local expertise. The guides union has taken steps over the past few years to ensure minimum wage and other working conditions, which is important. We don’t import short term cheaper guides from other countries to undercut this.
In addition to this, the hotel we stay at in Reykholt is located in the town where Snorri Sturluson lived – a medieval chronicler of Norse sagas and histories. On this trip we also support local businesses through our visit to Fridheimar Greenhouse, where we learn how Mediterranean vegetables are grown using clean geothermal energy and sample home-grown tomatoes. Guests are also free to purchase any of the products from this innovative set up. Our tourism directly benefits smaller establishments like this, since we are financially giving back to the places we visit. Olverk Pizzeria and Brewery is another example of this, where guests will experience a tour a tasting session from the family business.
This is a small group tour, meaning that we have a low impact on the environments and communities we visit and are able to ensure that we do not disrupt or lead to the displacement of local people. The small number also allows us to stay in unique, family-run hotels that cannot benefit from coach tours and other mass tourism due to their limited sizes.
Accommodation and meals:
On this trip, we spend four nights in comfortable hotels, we try to avoid larger chain hotels where there are suitable alternatives, but in certain regions this isn’t always possible. We’ll stay at Fosshotel Baron, in the heart of Reykjavik near the seafront. When meals are not included, we visit downtown restaurants and support smaller businesses such as Bastard brew & Food, that has their own beer, brewed off site. By dining at local eateries, we are directly giving back to the places we visit, since usually most of the money generated is reinvested into the area. Another family business that will benefit from our tourism is Olverk Pizzeria and Brewery, recognised for its production of craft beer and wood fire pizzas.