Footsteps of Vikings & Gaels: Scotland, Faroe Islands & Iceland

Loading...
Leisurely
Learn more
Trip code: 
PLD
Activity:
Polar
Max group size:
146
Min age:
18

Natural wonders, superb wildlife, unique culture & fascinating history

Follow in the footsteps of Vikings and Gaels and explore the stunning islands of the North Atlantic. Explore the dramatic coastlines of Scotland, Iceland and the Faroe Islands and immerse yourself in the regions ancient history.

Our voyage begins in Scotland, known for its rich tapestry of history, culture and rugged, natural beauty. Harsh lands are fringed by a dramatic coastline, broken up by the occasional fishing village and quaint seaside town. Passing through the Outer Hebrides, the UK’s most remote islands, our voyage continues to the unique landscape of the Faroe Islands. An archipelago in the middle of the North Atlantic, the Faroe Islands are some of the most remote, inhabited islands in the world. Famous for their natural beauty, rolling green hills and grass covered roofs, the country is dominated by steep mountains, sheep, and the largest colony of Storm petrels in the world. The weather is volatile, but this doesn’t seem to bother the millions of seabirds that settle here.

Our last stop on our North Atlantic adventure takes us to Iceland, home to ice covered volcanoes, immense glaciers and geothermal lagoons. A stark, volcanic land with a warm heart, Iceland’s shallow fjords are a haven for whales, dolphins and seals alike and there is a surprising array of wildlife. This superb voyage links three of the gems of the North Atlantic. Each day we explore off the ship in the company of expert guides, cruising in the zodiacs and enjoying walks on shore.

Highlights

  • Explore the stunning coast lines of some of the most remote islands in Europe
  • Visit some of the world’s rarest bird colonies alongside expert ornithologists
  • Immerse yourself in the ancient Nordic culture and Gaelic history
  • Enjoy long hours of daylight, perfect for wildlife and landscape photography
  • Travel on a small expedition vessel
  • Accompanied by extremely qualified Expedition Staff

Key information

  • 11 nights on the ship
  • Expedition cruising in comfortable conditions
  • Countries visited: Arctic, Iceland

What's included

  • All meals while on the ship
  • All accommodation
  • All transport and listed activities
  • Tour leader throughout and qualified Expedition Staff
  • We can include flights from the UK.  Please contact us for a quote.

What's not included

  • Travel insurance
  • Single accommodation (available on request)
  • Visas or vaccinations
Call for general departures:
020 8772 3859
Call for tailor made trips:
020 8772 3874
Trip Notes

Click on the button below for detailed Trip Notes containing all the particulars about this trip, including kit lists and practical information.

Note: these can vary by departure; you can check out the specific Trip Notes for your chosen adventure on the dates & prices page.

At Exodus we believe in the power of Responsible Travel.

Every time we travel, we are part of a global movement that creates jobs, builds more sustainable societies, encourages cultural understanding and safeguards common natural and cultural heritage. To learn more about what Responsible Travel means to Exodus click here… 

Itinerary

  • Day 1

    Start Edinburgh, transfer to Leith and embark

    Your voyage begins in Edinburgh, Scotland’s picturesque capital city. We recommend spending a few days prior to your voyage departure exploring this historic city, enjoying a stroll along the ‘royal mile’, visiting Edinburgh’s famous castle or taking in views of the city with a hike up to ‘Arthur’s Seat’. This afternoon, we transfer to nearby Leith to board our home for the next 11 nights – RCGS Resolute. Once onboard you will meet the Expedition team and set sail. Following welcome drinks and dinner, we depart north, skirting the Scottish coastline.

    Meals included: Dinner
  • Day 2

    Aberdeen, Scotland

    We wake up cruising the stunning east coast of Scotland ready for our first historical destination, Aberdeen, also known as ‘The Granite City’ due to the locally quarried stone that built it. Old Aberdeen, just north of the city centre, has been an important political, ecclesiastical and cultural centre since the end of the Middle Ages. For many, a visit to Dunnottar Castle is a must. The medieval fortress located upon a rocky headland is steeped in history - once besieged by Vikings and captured by William Wallace. For those wanting to stretch their legs, a stunning and undulating coastal path will take you 3km north to the town of Stonehaven. Here you will see a working harbour, busy with sailing yachts, home to the Stonehaven Tolbooth museum, a notable building on the quayside with a fascinating history.

    Meals included: Breakfast Lunch Dinner
  • Day 3

    Orkney Islands, Scotland

    Today we reach the Orkney Islands. Many are uninhabited, allowing us to truly enjoy the local wildlife, including seals, and prolific birdlife. Orkney is considered to be the best place in the UK for viewing seabirds. It is a land of breathtaking beauty and famous for its unique archaeological sites, such as the well-preserved Neolithic settlement of Skara Brae, a Neolithic tomb with Viking graffiti. Stromness lies in the West of the Orkney Islands and has a strong maritime influence. Spend the day experiencing the unique culture, heritage and traditions by visiting one of its many museums, galleries, craft workshops, and independent retailers.

    Meals included: Breakfast Lunch Dinner
  • Day 4

    Stornoway, Hebrides, Scotland

    The Scottish Western Isles of the Outer Hebrides are a diverse chain of inter-connected islands with their own unique way of life. The dramatic cliffs and large windy beaches are ideal to stroll along, breathing in the fresh Atlantic air. A highlight of our visit will be a trip to the 5000-year old Standing Stones at Callanish. History buffs will also enjoy the Gearrannan Blackhouse Village. Others may choose to spend the day strolling along the quay at Stornoway Harbour and listen to the shouts of the fishermen, as the traditional fleet land the catch of the day.

    Meals included: Breakfast Lunch Dinner
  • Day 5

    Unst. Shetland Islands

    A unique place of peace, pure air and wide-open spaces, visitors to Unst in the Shetlands savour the wildlife, the birdlife and the warm community spirit. Known as ‘the ultimate destination for those with adventure in their soul’, Unst is the northernmost of the inhabited British Isles and boasts scenic beauty, rich history, heritage and traditions. Rugged coast line and golden, empty beaches will give us the perfect playground to explore by Zodiac, kayak or on foot. Keen birders will rejoice with close-up views of tens of thousands of breeding gannets, guillemots, puffins, razorbills, kittiwakes and fulmars. Hikers of all levels will have plenty of routes to choose from, with the combination of spectacular coastal scenery, quiet inland lochs and gentle heather hills.

    Meals included: Breakfast Lunch Dinner
  • Day 6

    Torshavn, Faroe Islands

    By morning we have arrived in the Faroe Islands - a group of eighteen rocky, volcanic islands situated between Iceland and Norway. Visitors are drawn to the islands’ mountains, valleys, grassy heathland and steep coastal cliffs. We begin our time exploring in Tórshavn, on Streymoy Island, the tiny capital of the Faroe Islands. Nearby Tinganes, home of the famous wooden turf-roofed houses is a bustling harbour and plenty of local boutiques. It will be a joy to take in the narrow sounds and deep grottoes in the shadow of the 1500 feet high cliffs where thousands of seabirds nest.

    Meals included: Breakfast Lunch Dinner
  • Day 7

    Miovagur/Mykines, Faroe Islands

    Our second day of exploration in the Faroe Islands will take us to two of the Islands’ most stunning waterfalls. First stop - Sørvágsvatn, the largest lake on the islands. Dubbed “the lake over the ocean” due to an optical illusion, the lake appears to hover in mid-air. At the end of the lake is the impressive Bøsdalafossur waterfall – which provides a great hiking excursion. Next we cruise towards the tiny village of Gasadular. Surrounded by high mountains, this photogenic village is home to the second waterfall of the day; Mulafossur Waterfall. This stunning natural wonder is best viewed by sea. We visit Mykines island which provides some of the best bird watching in the Faroe Islands. Here we find colonies of cormorants, while the cliffs make perfect nesting ledges for guillemots and razorbills. On the grassy slopes above the bird cliffs, thousands of colourful puffins can be observed at close proximity.

    Meals included: Breakfast Lunch Dinner
  • Day 8

    Seydisfjordur,Iceland

    Defined by its dramatic landscape of glaciers, waterfalls, volcanoes, geysers, hot springs and lava fields, Iceland will give us plenty to explore over the next 5 days! We start our Icelandic saga in Seydisfjordur. A place of singing waterfalls and interesting characters, Seydisfjordur is a welcoming town with a rich history. Experience the flourishing art scene, enjoy local cuisine or experience the delightful hiking trails. One of the highlights will surely be a pleasant hike down ‘Waterfall lane’, winding though forests to many waterfalls rich in Icelandic vegetation. A slightly longer hike brings us to a lookout with glorious views. The Skaftfell Centre for Visual Arts provides us with a great alternative to the outdoors, allowing visitors to immerse themselves in Icelandic culture.

    Meals included: Breakfast Lunch Dinner
  • Day 9

    Djupivogur, Iceland

    Our next stop will take us to the small fishing village of Djupivogur located on the Bulandsnes Peninsula. The scenic landscape immediately draws your eye up to Búlandstindur, a pyramid-shaped mountain towering over the town. Thought to be one of the most beautiful mountains in Iceland, it also has a tie to local folklore and the belief it can grant wishes during the summer solstice. In the village, you will find remnants of an origin in trading dating back to the 16th century. The oldest storehouse, Langabúð, built in 1790 stands strong after a full restoration that has turned it into an outstanding cultural centre. A unique attraction to take in while visiting is a display of outdoor sculptures named Eggin in Gleðivík, by famous artist Sigurður Guðmundsson. The collection of 34 large granite eggs reflect the bird species that nest in the local area and offer a lovely walk along the coast to view them.

    Meals included: Breakfast Lunch Dinner
  • Day 10

    Reynisdrangar, Iceland

    We continue our journey around Iceland’s stunning south coast heading towards Vik. Just east of the outskirts of the village lies one of Europe's biggest Arctic tern breeding grounds. A short hike within the close vicinity of Vik is sure to satisfy all serious nature lovers and bird watchers. To the south of Reynisfjall mountain a spectacular set of rock columns, called Reynisdrangar, rise majestically out of the Atlantic Ocean. These towering, spiky rock formations jut out from the ocean 66 metres (217 ft) into the air. Teeming with nesting Arctic terns, fulmars and puffins. A folk legend says there were two trolls pulling a three-mast ship to the shore, but were caught by the sunlight at dawn and turned into stone (as happens to trolls when they stay out until dawn). Our approach by sea will give a unique perspective and the chance to view this spectacular landmark in small groups, perfect for bird viewing and exploring through your lens. With close to 20 hours of daylight, opportunities are endless to learn hints and tips from our photographer-in-residence.

    Meals included: Breakfast Lunch Dinner
  • Day 11

    Heimaey, Westmann Islands

    Leaving the shores of the mainland, we journey into the North Atlantic to the tiny, but beautiful, Westman Islands. Rich in volcanic history and known as a ‘modern Nordic Pompeii’, Heimaey’s once-solitary volcano, Helgafell (or “Holy Mountain”) created the island in an eruption 7,000 years ago. In 1973 it erupted again and fortunately, Heimaey’s entire fishing fleet was moored in the harbour for the night and carried everyone to safety. The force of Helgafell’s eruption added a new volcano to Heimaey’s skyline - Eldfell, (or the “mountain of fire”.) Learn more about this unique destination with a visit to one of the town’s fascinating museums. The seabird life in the Westman Islands is abundant and we are on the lookout for whales and seals. This evening we celebrate this exceptional journey at a special dinner attended by the Captain of the ship.

    Meals included: Breakfast Lunch Dinner
  • Day 12

    Disembark and end in Reykjavik, Iceland

    Our expedition concludes in the world’s most northerly capital - the colourful and quirky city of Reykjavik. Why not stay a few days to explore the city and surroundings? A transfer is provided to a downtown location or to the airport for your onward journey.

    Meals included: Breakfast
Trip Notes

Click on the button below for detailed Trip Notes containing all the particulars about this trip, including kit lists and practical information.

Note: these can vary by departure; you can check out the specific Trip Notes for your chosen adventure on the dates & prices page.

Essential Info

Group Information

The RCGS Resolute takes a maximum capacity of 146 passengers. The Exodus group forms part of the ship’s complement, enjoying the relaxed, intimate and informal atmosphere, which breaks into smaller groups to facilitate the frequent excursions. We offer these cruises in conjunction with One Ocean Expeditions, and Exodus participants will join an international group, not all of whom have booked through Exodus. Occasionally some of these may be younger than 18 years old, the Exodus' stated minimum age for this trip.

Visas

Arctic

No visa required for British passport holders.

Iceland

No visa required for British passport holders.

Vaccinations

Arctic

There are no specific health risks.

Iceland

There are no specific health risks.

Eating and Drinking

All meals while on the ship included.

Typical Meals

The ships galley offers good quality service and cuisine throughout, with excellent chefs preparing international menus including vegetarian dishes, accompanied by a wide variety of drinks from around the world on sale.

Breakfast: Buffet style – unlimited tea and coffee, a selection of fruit juices, hot options including bacon and eggs or omelettes, a selection of bread and toast and jam/honey/marmalade, fruit and cereal.

Lunch: Three course set meal or buffet, or the occasional BBQ.

Dinner: Three or four courses with a starter of soup and/or salad, a choice of mains with at least one vegetarian option and a dessert, with tea and coffee.

Is this trip for you?

Travelling Conditions

The voyages are designed to be as flexible as possible, taking advantage of circumstances and events as they occur, as well as passengers’ wishes and particular interests wherever possible. The atmosphere onboard is relaxed and friendly with expedition staff, including naturalists and polar experts, on hand and the opportunity to mingle with people from all over the world. The ship is kept warm, clean and comfortable with a wet / mud room in which to hang gear and store boots ready for the next adventure.

On the Zodiac cruises you are sitting still for most of the time with the potential for some sea spray and a cold headwind - if you are not dressed appropriately you will get cold. On the shore excursions, the majority of landings are ‘wet’ which means that the Zodiacs beach and you are helped to slide into the ankle deep shore break before walking up onto dry land (wellington boots are issued to all passengers).

There are, of course, no paths, so be prepared for slippery, rough terrain and sometimes fairly deep snow. Back on board the cosy ship after each adventure, you can have a sauna and/or a hot shower and then relax with a tea, coffee, hot chocolate or something stronger from the bar.

Optional activities

On some occasions, space is limited on the optional activities and needs to be booked in advance. Please ask our Polar Sales team for more information if you are interested in one of the options below.

Sea kayaking option

On many of our voyages there is the chance for some members of the party to take regular sea kayak excursions in place of the Zodiac excursions. There are a limited number of kayaks on each ship, and you must book and pay for this option in advance. All kayak trips are guided, and are subject to suitable locations and weather conditions. Should the kayaking not be possible, a place on a Zodiac is always available.

Basic kayak competence is required. You will need to complete a special questionnaire outlining your previous kayaking experience – please ask for a copy of this document if you are interested in joining the sea kayaking program.

Polar Itineraries

All Polar itineraries should be treated as a guide only - it is possible that, amongst other things, the capricious nature of wind, visibility and ice, intelligence from previous sailings, changes in local landing regulations or the expert opinion of the crew onboard may lead to adjustments to the route published.

Following a review of all our trips we have categorised this trip as generally not suitable for persons of reduced mobility. However if you are a regular traveller on such trips, please contact customer services to discuss the trip and your personal condition.

Call for general departures:
020 8772 3859
Call for tailor made trips:
020 8772 3874
Trip Notes

Click on the button below for detailed Trip Notes containing all the particulars about this trip, including kit lists and practical information.

Note: these can vary by departure; you can check out the specific Trip Notes for your chosen adventure on the dates & prices page.

Accommodation

RCGS Resolute

The Footsteps of Vikings & Gaels: Scotland, Faroe Islands & Iceland voyage is offered on the RCGS Resolute which is a Polar Adventure Ship.  Designed for comfort, RCGS Resolute is modern, well appointed, safe and ice-strengthened. From small group sessions to briefings for all passengers, she has public spaces onboard the ship ideally suited for each and every need. Two separate bar and lounge areas featuring 180-degree views and a wonderfully stocked library provide ideal places to relax or catch up on some reading. The sumptuous meals prepared for you by our culinary team are enjoyed in either of our two dining rooms, one of which features our popular bistro menu offering quick and easy meals for those prioritizing time out on deck. Both dining rooms have ample and open seating paired with modern furnishings and large picture windows with 180-degree views. Other facilities include our theatre-style presentation room, gift-shop, gymnasium, wellness centre, hot water spa, sauna and steam room and salt water pool.

Polar Adventure Ships

These are small ice rated vessels well qualified for Polar waters. Intimate adventures are always more enjoyable with like-minded passengers and staff, so these voyages are for people who like flexible itineraries and plenty to keep them busy. Activities include frequent Zodiac excursions, trekking and many hours on deck in areas that other ships only dream about accessing. Food and staff are superb and every guest benefits from the technical advances of this superb fleet. Rest assured our Polar Adventure Ships enable any traveller to maximize their experience sensitively in the Poles.

Call for general departures:
020 8772 3859
Call for tailor made trips:
020 8772 3874
Trip Notes

Click on the button below for detailed Trip Notes containing all the particulars about this trip, including kit lists and practical information.

Note: these can vary by departure; you can check out the specific Trip Notes for your chosen adventure on the dates & prices page.

Expert Blog Entries

Be the first to post your review! If you have recently returned from an Exodus adventure and want to help other travellers with your feedback then simply use the link below to post your holiday review.

Dates & Prices

An overview of flight options

Exodus is committed to making joining our tours as easy as possible, wherever you live. We generally only block book seats from London, but this certainly does not mean that you need to fly from there. Depending on the route and airlines available, there will usually be various options available for those who want to fly from their local airport.

This page aims to provide a useful overview of the options available to our clients. However, the best flight arrangements should be tailored to your personal requirements, so please contact our Sales team for expert advice.

 

What kind of options do I have ?

1. We can book for you: Flights from anywhere in the world - not via London  

Depending on the route, this may be direct or via an overseas hub like Amsterdam, the Middle East or elsewhere. On short haul routes there may be direct flights with low cost airlines, charter flights or scheduled airlines. Exodus can book most, but not all, of these for you. The most appropriate airline may be different to that which we use for the group flight from London, but many people now travel on different airlines and meet up with their fellow passengers at the destination.

Pros Cons
  • May be the most direct route
  • Often the extra fare compared to the London flight is minimal.
  • As you will be in the hands a single airline for your entire journey, the airline will be responsible for your bags and your connections.
  • You may not be able to join the group transfers. However, we can usually arrange private transfers, or book your flights to try and coincide with the group transfers. See notes on transfer arrangements below.

 

2. We can book for you: Connecting flights from your local airport to London

Exodus can book connecting flights to London so you can join the group flight there. Connecting times will be followed according to airline advice, or as requested by clients. There are two types of fares we can use for this option: a 'through-fare' or a 'published fare'.
 
a) A 'through-fare' is where you will be in the main airline's care throughout. You change planes, but your bags are checked all the way through to your final destination. 

b) A 'published fare' ticket is completely seperate from your onward ticket from London. It is usually cheaper than a through-fare but will need to be paid for and issued as soon as it is booked. This can be a problem if your tour has not yet reached minimum numbers. On 'published fares' neither airline is aware that you have connecting flights, so Exodus is responsible for timing your connection, not the airlines involved. The tickets are also usually non changeable and non refundable.

Pros Cons
  • Depending on the fare type, Exodus or the airline is responsible for flight connections.
  • Through fare tickets can be expensive.
  • On a published fare, tickets must be issued immediately; tickets on published fares can be very difficult to change if onward flight times change; bags are not checked though to your final destination.
  • Published fares are non-refundable.

 

3. Booking some or all of the flights yourself

You can also book connecting air travel yourself, either to London, or all the way to the start point. There may be certain airlines or routes we don't have access to, so this is always an option. However, if you make your own travel arrangements you become liable for any delays, cancellations or missed connections, and Exodus is not required to offer refunds if you have trouble reaching the start of your trip.

Pros Cons
  • You might find cheaper fares, or routes not available to Exodus.
  • You are responsible for any delays or missed connections, and the cost of the tour is not protected should you miss your flight be cancelled.

 

 Notes on transfer arrangements

Sometimes it is possible to travel on a different airline to the group flight from London. Where this is the case, we need to think about ensuring you meet up with the group with minimum extra cost and hassle.

  • On certain trips, it is easy to arrive on a different flight and still meet the group at the hotel with time in hand. We can usually arrange private transfers (at extra cost) or offer advice on taking a taxi to the start hotel.
  • On other trips (especially in Europe), the transfer meets the group flight and then travels some distance to the first night's accommodation. Where this is the case, our Sales team will try to arrange flights that arrive before (and depart after) the group. However, we do have to make it clear in your final documentation that if your flights are delayed, the transfer cannot wait for you. While Exodus or our local operators will do what we can to help you reach the start point of the tour, any additional costs must be paid by the client. 

 

Next steps? 

Call our Sales team on: 0203 733 0698

Email your query: [email protected]

 

Please contact our specialist Polar sales team on 020 8003 9957 or at [email protected] for further dates and prices

Polar Ships: For information regarding ship specifications, visit the Polar Fleet page.

 

Trips you might also like