IcelandExploration in the Land of the Midnight Sun

Travel to Iceland this summer and witness the extreme powers of the Earth, exploring and learning about geological wonders from massive glaciers to bubbling geysers. With experienced trip leaders and a National Geographic Explorer, dive into issues of climate and geology and develop skills in photography as you explore Reykjavik, Snæfellsnes, the iconic Golden Circle, and the southern coast. Photograph rushing waterfalls and craggy lava fields, witness volcanism in action, and delve into Icelandic folklore and the island’s rich mythological history.


June 29–July 10, 2024
12 days
$ 8,290 + airfare
Departs from New York
14–16 students, 2 leaders


  • Photograph Icelandic horses and puffins on the Snæfellsnes Peninsula
  • Walk between two tectonic plates at Thingvellir National Park
  • Trek across a glacier with expert guides to learn about climate science
  • Hear riveting sagas of Icelandic folklore, and see the icy lair of a legendary giant

Meet the Expert

Erika Larsen, Photographer

Erika Larsen is a photographer and multidisciplinary storyteller known for her essays, which document cultures that maintain close ties with nature. Larsen has shot multiple stories for National Geographic magazine—from following Sàmi reindeer herders across the Scandinavian Arctic to exploring the significance of the horse in Native American culture. Erika was also part of the team that produced the magazine’s 2016 single topic Yellowstone Issue, and she contributed to Yellowstone: A Journey Through America’s Wild Heart, published by National Geographic Books. Larsen has been a Fulbright Fellow for her study of the North Sàmi language, resulting in her first monograph, “Sàmi, Walking With Reindeer,” released in 2013. Currently, she is a National Geographic Society Fellow exploring the landscape of the Americas in relation to the animals and natural resources which are interpreting of our current environment. Her images are represented by Nat Geo Creative, and her work has been shown in the Smithsonian National Portrait Gallery in Washington, D.C., the Fotografiska Museum in Sweden, and the Reggio Calabria National Archaeological Museum in Italy, as well as at Visa pour l’Image in Perpignan, France. Erika is also one of the featured photographers in Women of Vision: National Geographic Photographers on Assignment, which profiles the lives and work of important photojournalists and goes behind the lens of their individual assignments.


This itinerary represents our best projection of the group’s schedule. However, we may implement changes designed to improve the quality of the program.

  • Departure
  • Travel Day

Meet your fellow middle school student travelers and one or more of your leaders in New York, and fly together to ReykjavĂ­k, Iceland.

  • ReykjavĂ­k
  • 2 days

Begin your journey with a dip in Iceland’s most famous geothermal pool, the Blue Lagoon, followed by an orientation walk through Reykjavík, Iceland’s capital and home to nearly one quarter of the country’s population. Learn photography techniques, and begin practicing your new skills by taking photos of the futuristic, glass-walled Harpa concert hall and the colorful houses that line the city streets. Experience interactive science exhibits at the Perlan or explore the ruins of a Viking household excavated beneath the city streets at the Settlement Exhibition.

  • Snæfellsnes Peninsula
  • 3 days

Travel north of the city, and hike through a wild canyon to a stunning viewpoint of one of Iceland’s highest waterfalls. Visit a dairy farm and try traditional ice cream made from skyr, a thick and creamy Icelandic yogurt, before continuing on to our base on the Snæfellsnes Peninsula. This rugged peninsula holds many of the incredible geological features found throughout the rest of the country, including lava fields and black-sand beaches, and a glacial ice cap that crowns a volcano. Over the next several days, explore the wonders of Snæfellsnes. Ride an Icelandic horse at the base of the Snæfellsjökull glacier, visit the picturesque harbor at Stykkishólmur, and join a local storyteller for a hike among cairns—or stacked stone formations—which mark the routes of ancient Viking paths.

  • The Golden Circle
  • 2 days

Discover the iconic Golden Circle and use your camera to create a time-lapse film of the thundering Gullfoss waterfall, walk between two tectonic plates at Thingvellir National Park, and witness boiling water shooting more than 200 feet in the air at the Geysir geothermal field. Visit a modern geothermal plant that provides much of Reykjavík’s energy and see firsthand why Iceland is a renewable energy leader, then soak in some of the area’s natural hot-spring pools.

  • VĂ­k & the Southern Coast
  • 2 days

Continue to the southern coast to hike behind the stunning falls at Seljalandsfoss, and listen to local legends of Viking gold buried beneath the thundering cascades of Skógafoss. Our home base here is Vík, a small coastal town and our jumping-off point for a trek atop the Sólheimajökull glacier. Don crampons, wield ice picks, and learn how glacial morphology has molded the landscape of the region. Witness the impacts of climate change firsthand while examining evidence of the glacier’s recession alongside experienced local guides.

  • ReykjavĂ­k
  • 1 day

Return to ReykjavĂ­k for the final night of your journey, and celebrate your adventure with your new friends before flying home.

  • Return
  • Travel Day

Fly from ReykjavĂ­k, Iceland, to New York with your group and a leader, then continue on to your final destination.

A Day in the Life: VĂ­k

Due to the traveling nature of this student program abroad, each day is different. Here is a snapshot of a day in Vik.

  •  Enjoy a traditional breakfast at our accommodations
  •  Join professional glacier guides and trek across the ice of SĂłlheimajökull
  •  Enjoy a picnic spread with your group on the edge of the glacier
  •  Stroll along Vik’s seafront and photograph sweeping oceans views
  •  Journal, read, or play a pickup game of frisbee
  • Cook dinner with your group or eat out at a local cafĂ©
  • Group meeting to discuss the day’s highlights and plan for tomorrow

What to Expect

  • Program Themes

Explore both of these themes over the course of the program.

Photography: Practice new photography skills—from framing landscapes to taking portraits—and tell the story of your expedition through your pictures. Photograph volcanoes and rushing waterfalls, and capture shots of your friends riding Icelandic horses or trekking across a glacier.

Climate & Geology: Witness the impacts of climate change firsthand as you trek across the Sólheimajökull glacier. Learn about Iceland’s tectonic activity at a volcanology museum, and hear how local people are harnessing the power of the energy produced by the country’s geothermal landscapes.

  • Physical Activity

This is a physically active summer travel program that includes hiking and glacier trekking. Life in Iceland is best experienced outdoors, and you will be moving about often throughout the program—there’s so much to see! You do not need to have previous outdoor experience to participate, but it is important that you have a desire to be physically active, and that you are interested in trying all activities.

  • Lodging

We stay in comfortable family-run guesthouses, hostels, and small hotels throughout our time in Iceland.

  • Meals

The group mixes picnics with dining out in Icelandic restaurants, along with traditional family-style dinners taken at our accommodations.

Please call our office with any questions about the physical nature of this program or to discuss specific accessibility and accommodation questions.

Explore the Destination

Watch Program Webinar

Next Steps

If you have questions or would like to talk further about this program, please get in touch!

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