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Hurtigruten Expeditions Iceland and beyond: Reykjavik to Hamburg via Scotland's Northern Isles

Hurtigruten Expeditions Iceland and beyond: Reykjavik to Hamburg via Scotland’s Northern Isles

Call free 0800 707 6229 for Extra Savings on Hurtigruten Expeditions Iceland and beyond: Reykjavik to Hamburg via the Scottish Northern Isles.

  • Experience Iceland, the Shetland Islands and Orkney on this exciting expedition cruise from Reykjavik to Hamburg
  • Marvel at geological wonders as you prepare to half-circumnavigate the land of ice and fire, including volcanoes, glaciers and hot springs
  • Go whale watching, marvel at vast ice caps and soaring volcanoes, discover Iron Age sites, and explore towns where Viking influences can still be seen

15-day itinerary

Day 1: Discover Iceland’s modern capital city, Reykjavik

Located in southwestern Iceland, Reykjavik will be the first destination on your captivating expedition cruise.  A city which boasts a rich variety of cultural, historical, and artistic context, Reykjavik is a place worth immersing yourself in.

Take a scenic walk along Laugavegur wits its charming boutiques and outdoor shops, or drop in at the fascinating Reykjavik Art Museum – before boarding the MS Spitsbergen located in the city’s harbour. Upon your expedition cruise ship, take time to familiarise yourself with the excellent onboard facilities, and settle into one of the ship’s comfortable cabins.

Depending on how much time you have, there are pre-programme packages available to travellers who wish to experience the highlights of Reykjavik in greater depth.

Day 2: Heimaey’s explosive past

Being the only inhabited town in the Westman Islands, located off the south coast of Iceland, the town of Heimaey has a captivating historical significance, with this small Island still bearing the scars of a volcanic eruption which almost destroyed the entire landscape.

Be sure to visit Eldheimar, a museum featuring an excavated home frozen in time, and learn more about the aftermath of the devastating volcanic eruption. You’ll also have the opportunity to climb Mount Eldfell, with there being incredible views of the town below at the volcano’s summit.

Day 3: Gorgeous Grundarfjorour

The striking Kirkjufell mountain is certainly a must-see landmark while on your expedition, with this being one of the most recognisable attractions in Iceland. Rising two miles west of the small harbour of Grudarfjorour, a charming fishing town in Breiðafjörður bay, the mountain is home to panoramic views and unmissable sights.

Nearby lies Snæfellsnes Peninsula National Park, with the striking, ice-capped Snæfellsjökull volcano at the peninsula’s western tip. It’s nicknamed ‘Little Iceland’ for the array of landscapes.

Visit the unique black sand beach of Djúpalónssandur, or take a guided tour along the a titanic lava tube, marvelling in the enticing beauty of the region’s landscape.

Day 4: Scenic Isafjörður

Experience Westfjords’ stunning harbourside town as you continue your expedition. Surrounded by looming mountains on all sides, Isafjorour’s idyllic landscape provides an excellent gateway to the WestFjords’ region. There is a so much to see in this quaint town – take in the stunning architecture, purchase some of the local handicrafts, and even visit some of the oldest houses in Iceland.

You can learn more about the extensive maritime history of this intriguing port city in the Westfjord history museum, which was established all the way back in the 18th century. Alternatively, take in some more of the stunning views Iceland has to offer and take a steep hike up the Naustahvilft, regarded by the locals as ‘The Troll’s Throne’.

Day 5: Explore Djupavik’s eerie factory

Djupavik, a small remote village which landscape contrasts the stunning rural setting against the enormous abandoned herring factory, is the next destination on your journey. As part of your holiday package, take a guided tour of this mysterious factory, home to the deserted desks and machines of the workers which remain stranded.

On the other hand, explore the unmissable surroundings and take a short walk to the waterfall located just above the factory. See if you can spot an historic rusting ship when looking down onto the shore – Djupavik is truly a place of rich variety.

Day 6: Akureyri and Goðafoss

Marvel at snowcapped peaks as your cruise journey’s on towards Iceland’s longest fjord – Eyjafjörður.  Along with the nearby Skjálfandi bay, this is one of Europe’s best areas to spot whales.

Referred to by some as Iceland’s ‘Northern Capital’, Akureyri is home to a modern oasis of a botanical garden as well as local restaurants and museums.

Looking further afield, experience the remarkable Godafoss waterfall, where sky-blue waves crash against the black rocks.  Being one of the few places to see the Mid-Atlantic ridge up close, Lake Mývatn’s active volcanic area is another place where travellers will get to witness geology burst into life.

Day 7: Crossing the Arctic Circle and visiting Husavik

Known for its whale-spotting opportunities, Husavik is charming, small town which will be the next stop on your cruise. Looking out over the Skjálfandi bay, passengers will be able to experience the utopia of captivating wildlife in the region. Scan for humpback and minke whales, white-beaked dolphins, harbour porpoises and even the occasional blue whale. Learn more about these rare creatures in the Husavik Whale Museum.

Regarded as the gateway to the north, experience Jökulsárgljúfur National Park, the waterfall of Dettiffos, and the horseshoe-shaped valley of Ásbyrgi, which according to Icelandic myth, was made by the eight-legged horse of Odin.

After this, you will be sailig along the coast of Grimsey Island, passing across the Arctic Circle and on towards the following destination.

Day 8: Explore Bakkagerði, a place beloved of puffins and elves

Having experienced the wonders of Husavik, your journey will now continue to Bakkagerdi, a small coastal hamlet located in Eastern Iceland. Inhabited by a large number of huldufolk (local elves and land spirits) according to popular local folklore, Bakkagerdi is a mysterious yet intriguing place for any traveller. Take time to explore the emerald, green valleys and blissful scenery among colourful rhyolite rocks, with the coastal cliffs being home to a wide array of fulmars, puffins and eiders when in season.

Day 9: Witness the second largest ice cap in Europe

Depending on the right conditions, your expedition cruise will be departing the land of fire and ice towards Vatnajökull, the second-largest ice cap in Europe.

Second largest by volume and area, the ice cap is located in Vatnajökull’s National Park, being declared a UNESCO Heritage Site in 2019 due to its stunningly natural characteristics.

Upon exploring, the onboard expedition team will continually be on hand to explain the ramifications and effects climate change is having on Iceland’s glaciers and beyond, providing a stark reminder that this natural beauty must be protected before it is lost.

Day 10: At sea

Take this opportunity to relax and reflect as the cruise journey’s on towards Lerwick in the Shetland Islands.

While on deck, keep a lookout for the elusive marine life on offer, whilst taking advantage of the onboard hot-tubs. Alternatively, find out more about what lies ahead in the British Isles, dropping into one of the interesting lectures held by the Expedition Team.

Day 11: Lerwick’s past and present

On this day you’ll be docking alongside Lerwick, the capital of the Shetland Islands. Set against a backdrop of eye-catching scenery, spend the day exploring this endearing, Victorian-influenced town.

Near the old-waterfront, you will be able to immerse yourself in area’s rich history at the Shetland Museum. Discover local shops selling whiskies, fudge, and woollen sweaters, whilst taking in the view of the nearby Fort Charlotte and the Town Hall.

Learn about the lives of local crofters as you traverse the wider island – home to the historic Iron Age villages and the Shetland Croft house Museum.

Day 12: Far-flung Fair Isle

Continue on to the secluded Fair Isle, known for its birds and knitwear.

Home to wide variety of bird species, 27 in total, the Isle is often an magnet for birders and wildlife photographers, with the red sandstone cliffs, green fields and moors drawing in migrating seabirds.

Both the Captain and Expedition Team will continually monitor conditions to ensure they are safe for landing, with the team taking passengers on a clifftop hike to a spectacular lighthouse. Gain historical accounts and fascinating insights into the history of the small community in the local museum, or support the local economy by purchasing Fair Isle knitwear from local makers.

If the conditions aren’t suitable for a landing then fear not! The scenic cruising around the Isle is just as breathtaking.

Day 13: Orkney’s highlights

On day 13 you will be cruising towards to the Orkney Islands’ largest town, Kirkwall. This colourful town still holds on to many of its Viking influences, with the landscape being condense enough for cruisers to explore on foot.

Visit the outstanding St Magnus Cathedral, crafted by using the distinct local red sandstone, as well as the accompanying Earl’s Palace to see the ruins of this formerly Renaissance building.

Orkney Distillery produces gin made from local Orcadian botanicals, for any gin aficionados. If you’re looking for something different, why not visit the Kirkwall’s Highland Park and Scapa Distilleries for their sumptuous selections of whiskey.

Day 14: Heading to Hamburg on your final day at sea

Enjoy your final day at sea as you cruise from Scotland to Germany.

Make the most of the onboard facilities – exercise in the fitness rooms, enjoy the panoramic sauna, or simply visit the explorer lounge and bar area where you can swap memories of your timeless experiences over a relaxing drink.

Day 15: Germany’s second city

Your expedition cruise unfortunately concludes at this stage as you arrive in Hamburg, Germany’s Hanseatic treasure.

There’s so much to see and do in one of Europe’s greenest urban areas. Visit the Aldstadt district which includes attractions such as the St Nikolai memorial and the historic street of Deichstrasse.

If you have enough time, there are also plenty of UNESCO recognised Heritage Sites while in Hamburg. Be sure to visit Chilehaus, the world’s largest historic warehouse complex in Speicherstadt, along with Kunsthalle, the nation’s prominent art museum.

Expedition Cruise

  • A stay in a cabin of your choice
  • Daily breakfast, lunch and dinner
  • Wine, beer and spirits available at meals and throughout the day and evening (subject to licensing laws, excludes premium drinks)
  • All day coffee, tea and soft drinks
  • A complimentary water bottle to refill on board and take home
  • A polar expedition jacket, a backpack, or another piece of HX kit
  • Professional photos from your trip taken by our onboard photographer
  • Complimentary Wi-Fi. Please note, streaming is not supported
  • Use of sauna, hot tubs, fitness room, lounges and more
  • Gratuities included. Fantastic service is standard at HX – though if you’d like to leave something extra, it’s always appreciated
  • Range of included activities

Onboard Activities

  • In-depth lectures and discussions hosted by experts on the Expedition Team
  • Full access to the ship’s Science Centre
  • Citizen Science Programme allows guests to assist with ongoing scientific research
  • Professional onboard photographer gives tips and tricks for the best landscape and wildlife photos
  • Informal gatherings with the crew for daily briefings

Landing Activities

  • Escorted landings with small expedition boats
  • Loan of boots, trekking poles and all equipment for activities
  • Expedition photographers on hand to assist you


  • All planned activities are subject to weather and ice conditions
  • Excursions and activities are subject to change
  • Please make sure you meet all entry and boarding requirements
  • Depending on your flight times, an additional overnight might be needed (not included)

What’s not included

  • International flights
  • Additional overnight(s) if required due to international flight timings
  • Travel insurance
  • Luggage handling
  • Optional shore excursions with our local partners
  • Optional small-group activities with our Expedition Team





Please call us free on 0800 707 6229 for pricing and availability

Useful Info


Board Basis

All inclusive


15 days

Holiday Type

Cruise expedition holiday

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Provided By

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