Study trips

The tours are self-driving, self-guided and self-catering regarding breakfast and dinner (unless otherwise requested). Note that some trips can be combined in a day tour. Programs can be custom made, please contact us for further information.

Examples of student trips:

Day tours – geology – nature experience – landscape – history

The south coast – a full day tour along the south coast where students be exposed to geology on site, viewing waterfalls, mountains, glaciers, beaches and various landscape shaped over time by ocean and glaciers. Along the way there are different museums that can be visited and there are options of different hikes.  

The south coast – a 2 day tour along the south coast, similar to the day tour, where students will spend longer time exploring and travelling further east giving them a chance to visit Vatnajökull National Park and the glacier lagoon. There are many different hikes available in this area. This trip can be extended to a 3 day stay if wanted.

Westman Islands – a full day tour to the home of the puffin. The Islands are are a 30 mins boat trip away. Students can spend the day there visiting the natural museum and the aquarium, taking the boat trip around the Island or hiking on Eldfell, the mountain that erupted in the 70’s drowning the town of the Westman Islands in ash. The swimming pool is said to be the best in Europe.

Snæfellsnes peninsula – a 3 day tour that will take the students on different sites both cultural and geological. A visit to the settlement museum and the volcano museum and get a lecture and a guided tour. This trip can be combined with a boat trip on Breiðafjörður, a visit to Snæfellsnes National Park, where Snæfellsjökull (the center of the earth according to Jules Verne). Students can walk around lava fields and white sandy beaches, and possible stops for whale watching from the shore.

Golden circle – Experience the forces of nature at these 3 unique nature sites.  Þingvellir national park a Unesco world heritage site where the two tectonic plates meet and are slowly drifting apart. The old Viking parliament was founded at Þingvellir. Students will get a guided tour around the site and learn about its history and natural and cultural heritage.Gullfoss is a spectacular waterfall and at Geysir area students can experience the eruption of Strokkur every 4-8 minutes up to 20 m high in the air. The group will stop for lunch at a family owned restaurant built in an old barn overlooking the stable. They serve local food and make their own ice-cream.

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Renewable energy tours – a shorter tour that can be combined with other tours

Hydro dams – Students will visit the dams of the National Power Company and get a guided tour where they will learn about energy generation from renewable energy resources.

Wind power – Self-drive trip can be taken into the highlands where windmills and more dams can be viewed.

Geothermal energy – Students will visit a geothermal power plant and get a guided tour around the plants exhibitions. They will gain an understanding of how the energy is harvested and what it is used for.

Blue lagoon – the perfect end to a visit to Iceland is a trip to the Blue lagoon. The students can start by visiting the geothermal power plant that formed the Blue Lagoon. A guided tour will give the students an understanding of how a power plant works and the possibilities that lie in renewable energy. The tour ends in the Blue Lagoon where they can soak in the silica mud water, a byproduct of the power plants production.

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Reclaiming the land tours

The Soil Conversation Service of Iceland – Erosion of vegetation is Iceland’s largest environmental problem. Students will get a guided tour around the Soil Conversation Service of Iceland new exhibition and a lecture on its work.

Hekla forests – Students can also participate in a unique project, “Hekla forests”, set in heavily eroded areas below Mt. Hekla. The project aims to reclaim old woodlands of native birch and willow that will reduce the wind erosion and prevent volcanic ash from blowing over nearby areas, and over time restore the native flora and fauna. Students would get a lecture on the project and participate in either planting trees or spreading seeds over the area.

Sheepherding – The month of September is a busy month for the sheep farmers of Iceland. The sheep and lambs are out grazing in the high country for the summer and are rounded up for the winter beginning in September. Once in a large pen, identifying and separating what sheep belongs to what farmer is the next task at hand. You have the opportunity to help in organizing the great flock into manageable enclosures. It is an amazing experience to witness and interact with the sheep and sheep farmers.

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Sustainability tours – eco – building

Build a turf house – Visit the Old Icelandic turf house and participate a workshop that intends to explore traditions and appropriation of ideas of sustainability, heritage and energy with leading thinkers and experts. Students will get hands on experience with basic natural building material, turf, stone, clay, wind and water, in the context of critical theory.

Eco farm – Student will visit a small farm where the residents use permaculture to grow their own crops, fruit and vegetables. They keep livestock and make their own dairy products and generally live a very sustainable lifestyle. The students will get a guided tour around the village and will be exposed to what it takes to truly limit their CO2 footprint.

Local farmers – trips to local farmers can be arranged. The students can meet with farmers that use the land and livestock as a livelihood. They can learn about people keep sheep, horses and cattle and tend to the land that they rely on. A visit to a local farm in Iceland can be an unforgettable experience.

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Hikes

Mountain hike – Sólheimar have access to experienced mountain guides that can guide the students around the areas of their liking. There is a choice of day hikes or longer hikes throughout the interior of Iceland.

Þórsmörk – The area is one of the most beautiful in Iceland, surrounded by rugged and majestic mountains, glaciers and glacial rivers, decorated with small birch woods and silver lined with humming streams. Þórsmörk is popular amongst hikers and there are many different hikes available in the area.

Highland Hike – Landmannalaugar to Þórsmörk – Hiking the Icelandic interior with these two trained guides exposes you to some of the world’s most extreme landscapes. This four day hike traverses roughly 50 km and a multitude of landforms connected by modern backcountry shelters. The hike begins at the hot springs in Landmannalaugar and crosses volcanic mountains, glaciers, rivers, and meadows ending in the majestic valley of Þórsmörk; named in honor of Thor himself. This hike no doubt gives you a better understanding and appreciation for the Icelandic country and culture.

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Reykjavík tours – students can visit institutions, individuals, companies in Reykjavík that are interesting regarding sustainability, renewable energy, activism, green living and lowering CO2 footprint. Each visit takes 1-3 hours:

  • The recycling center – learn about how waste is recycled in Iceland. The challenges and gains.
  • The Icelandic power company – geothermal power plant. Learn about how geothermal power is harvested in Iceland.
  • The University of Iceland – institute for sustainable studies. A lecture on their work and how they catalyze, facilitate and coordinate research to promote sustainable development in Iceland.
  • The power company of Reykjavík – The student will get a lecture from the staff of the environmental department of the company that stands for building and running most hydro dams in the highlands of Iceland. 
  • Kristín Vala Ragnarsdóttir a professor at faculty of earth sciences at the University of Iceland. A great public speaker and a specialist in sustainability, sustainable development, environmental resources, climate change, water management etc.
  • Different natural and historical museums can be visited. Learn about the settlement, the Viking era, the scripts and the lives of Icelanders in the past. Guided tours available.
  • Andri Snær Magnason a writer, a poet, a public speaker and an activist is the author of Dreamland, the book that changed people’s perspective towards energy harvesting in Iceland. Andri has been active in the fight against the destruction of the Icelandic Highlands and speaks openly to students about the matter.
  • Birgitta Jónsdóttir is an activist that participated in demonstration against the government in the financial crash of Iceland and ended up a member of parliament. She is now representing the Pirate Party. She has worked with groups such as WikiLeaks and Saving Iceland. She is a very interesting public speaker and speaks very freely to students about current affairs in media and press freedom.
  • More visits can be arranged upon request.

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Sólheimar sjálfbært samfélag | 801 selfoss | Iceland | Sími: 422 6000 | solheimar@solheimar.is