Ireland, Scotland and Iceland Vacation

September 16th - 30th

14 days, 13 nights - $3,695

 

Due to popular demand and a huge wait-list from this trip this last September, we will be repeating this trip in 2017. This trip went off without a hitch and was so good that we didn't want to wait another year to go back. The only change this time around will be one extra day in Ireland where we will go on a road trip to visit the west side of the country and take in the Cliffs of Moher as well as other sites. We will take one day away from Iceland where our group felt 4-nights with 3-days of tours was enough. This 2-week trip will have us in Ireland for 5-nights, Scotland for 4-nights and finally Iceland for 4-nights. We've got great group air that helped make this trip affordable, excellent hotels and some very exciting tours to look forward to.

We fly from LAX to Dublin via JFK. In the wake of a remarkable economic boom, Dublin's landscape has changed immeasurably over the past decade. These days Dublin ranks among the top tourist destinations in Europe, and this vibrant city hums with a palpable sense that it is creating a new cultural heritage. The city's burst of prosperity gave it a new confident sheen, but what remains special is the spirit of the people who ensure that, despite whirlwind changes, Dublin remains one of Europe's most down-to-earth, friendly and accessible cities. Voted by Frommers Guide readers in 2011 as their favourite holiday destination in the world, it’s now your turn to uncover the mystique and charm of the Emerald Isle. A bustling metropolis alive with entertaining cultural pursuits, fine museums, beautiful architecture and lively pubs, Dublin offers something for everyone. Castles, galleries, cathedrals, parks, shopping, fine dining – Dublin has it covered.

ITINERARY:
These are the optional tours that we offered on our last trip. They have a separate cost to cover the bus and guide and to give our travelers the freedom of opting only for the tours they are most interested in.

WICKLOW AND GLENDALOUGH
Monday, September 18th

Today we'll enjoy a wonderful scenic day starting with our drive from Dublin into the heart of Wicklow's stunning countryside

The stops on our tour will include the Powerscourt Estate where we will explore the gardens of the estate including the Italian gardens, Japanese gardens and pet cemetery. This is one of the most visited tourist destinations in Ireland. We will also visit Powerscourt Waterfall, the highest waterfall in Ireland.

We'll visit the pretty Wicklow village of Avoca (where the famous TV show, Ballykissangel was filmed). Leisure time at Avoca (60 minute stop) where you can drop into Fitzgerald's pub for a pint of Guinness. Visit the famous Handweaver's craft shop, considered the oldest weaving mill in Ireland

From there we'll visit the 6th century monastic settlement in Glendalough (105 minute stop). Enjoy a guided tour of this mystical site. See the famous 10th century Round Tower and St Kevin's Kitchen. Enjoy the fresh country air of the Wicklow Mountains Glendalough is famed for its beautiful scenery and historic monuments, but has also been a centre for pilgrims and visitors from the time of St. Kevin, (from whom the bus service took its name).

KILKENNY
Tuesday, September 19th

Once the capital of Ireland in the middle-ages, Kilkenny is renowned for its magnificent Norman Castle dating back to 12th century. With its narrow street and colorful shops and buildings, Kilkenny is unique as a city and a mecca for those who choose to visit. You will have plenty of time to enjoy a pint of Kilkenny in Kilkenny. Kilkenny's rich medieval heritage is evident in the city's treasure trove of historical buildings and landmarks, exemplified by the magnificent Kilkenny Castle.

Kilkenny is arguably the pre-eminent medieval city in Ireland, with the current layout of the city clearly grounded in the city's medieval roots.
However, the city's origins predate the medieval landmarks existing today. Saint Canice founded a monastic settlement in Kilkenny in the sixth century, unfortunately the sole remaining landmark from this settlement is the round tower positioned alongside the cathedral.

We will depart Dublin and at the end of this tour bring the group to our next destination on the west coast, the town of Lisdoonvarna where we will spend the next 2 nights.

MATCH MAKING FESTIVAL
We will be spending the next 2-nights on Ireland's west coast and staying in the town of Lisdoonvarna to put us in a good position to visit the Cliffs of Moher as well as other sights on the west coast. This town happens to be featuring their annual Match-Making Festival which sounded like a real hoot, especially for our group from Singles in Paradise! This festival has a long history and the event gets huge turnouts! So when we get to the town and after our tour the next day we expect the town to be hopping with fun evening activity and dances.

 

 

 

CLIFFS OF MOHER
Wednesday, September 20th

Today we will offer a bus tour to visit The Cliffs of Moher, Ireland’s most visited natural attraction with a magical vista that captures the hearts of up to one million visitors every year. Standing 214m (702 feet) at their highest point they stretch for 8 kilometres (5 miles) along the Atlantic coast of County Clare in the west of Ireland. From the Cliffs of Moher on a clear day one can see the Aran Islands and Galway Bay, as well as the Twelve Pins and the Maum Turk mountains in Connemara, Loop Head to the south and the Dingle Peninsula and Blasket Islands in Kerry. O’Brien’s Tower stands near the highest point and has served as a viewing point for visitors for hundreds of years. We will be working on today's itinerary but basically we will be viewing the cliffs and surroundings from the 3 different platforms - read more.

We'll also fit in a tour of Limerick where we'll see Bunratty Castle, walk through the charming Folk Park, admire the Burren and drive along Galway Bay.

 

BELFAST
Thursday, September 21st

Today we will be moving on to Belfast in the north. This great city blossomed from very humble beginnings… It started out as a small hamlet with fertile land along the mouth of the Lagan. Soon, marauders and pirates realised our lough was deep and our shores were safe from the north Atlantic storms. The perfect haven for repairing sea ravaged ships. From these early stages the industrious locals developed a boat building trade. And the rest is our history.

So what’s Belfast like today? Well, it’s packed with history, culture, exciting events, great food, super shopping… you might even spot a ship or two. You’ll also find some of the friendliest people you’ll ever meet. One of the more interesting tours that we will offer is the Titanic Visitor Experience. Only in Belfast can you trace the Titanic story to its source, discover the passion and pride of those who designed and built her and relive the excitement of the Titanic era when the city was at the height of its powers. This is the world’s largest Titanic visitor experience, Titanic Belfast. Come and share the moment with us! Read more.

BELFAST TO EDINBURGH
Friday, September 22nd

Today we will take a luxury and very stable ferry from Belfast across the North Channel to Scotland where we will be met by our motorcoach for our trip to Edinburgh where we will spend the next 4-nights. At our hotel we are giving everyone their own room due to a lack of rooms with separate beds. If you are able to share a room you and your roommate will deduct $90 per person.

Scotland is home to a relatively diverse terrain, complete with tall mountains, several islands, sea-side cliffs, and lush forests. Possessing vibrant and modern cities such as Edinburgh and Glasgow, it manages to successfully combine these two contrasting sides. It holds a rural backdrop of awe inspiring scenery, villages and towns of unique local history and culture all the while possessing a modern and young urban landscape with cities of the calibre of Edinburgh, Glasgow and Aberdeen that can rival the best in Europe. There's plenty of adventure, whether you want to bash downhill on a mountain bike, hurl yourself off a bungee or take on the Atlantic surf in a kayak Scotland is one of the world’s top adventure playgrounds. It's got wildlife with huge eagles and stately stags on land and basking sharks, dolphins and even killer whales at sea. Scotland’s seven cities – Glasgow, Edinburgh, Aberdeen, Dundee, Inverness, Stirling and new city Perth- all have their own charms and each is worth a trip on its own. Scotland is also home to an impressive five UNESCO World Heritage sites – Edinburgh’s Old and New Town, Orkney’s Prehistoric Sites, Hadrian’s Wall, St. Kilda and New Lanark.

EDINBURGH CASTLE
Saturday, September 23rd
Our hotel is an easy 15 minute walk to this iconic castle which is a must see. We will not need a bus or a guide. I have set up a reservation for our entire group for this morning. The afternoon is free and all the other interesting sights are an easy walk. The city itself is like a museum so enjoy your free time.

ST ANDREWS AND THE HIGHLANDS
Sunday, September 24th

Today we will visit Highlands, featuring Scotland's most characteristic and romantic scenery. Visit the university town of St Andrews on this private trip. Famous for being the 'home of golf,' St Andrews is known for attractions like the Old Course and Swilcan Bridge, part of St Andrews' prestigious golf legacy and not to be missed. which you'll see on this tour with a private guide. Walk around town and enjoy time to buy lunch and shop a bit, if you like.

We are setting up options to play a round on the Putting Club Course, probably better known to visitors from around the world as The Himalayas which is an apt description for this unique facility found in St Andrews, the home of golf. We are also setting up a 50 minute guided walk of the Old Course There is the option to have your photo taken on the Swilcan Bridge. You can also visit the British Golf Museum or the Castle ruins and Cathedral (own expense). Before stopping at the Old Course you will be given a short driven tour around St Andrews to get your bearings. For those not interested in Old Course there is an option to stay in town and shop.

From there we will venture further into the highlands with a visit to Glaimis Castle. Glamis has been the family home of the Earls of Strathmore since 1372 when SirJohn Lyon was granted the thaneage by King Robert II. In 1376 Sir John married the King's daughter and since then Glamis has been visited and lived in by many members of the Scottish and British Royal Families. The present owner is Simon Patrick Bowes Lyon, 19th Earl of Strathmore and Kinghorne who succeeded his late father on the 27th of February 2016. The castle is famed as being the childhood home of Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth The Queen Mother, birthplace of HRH The Princess Margaret and the setting for Shakespeare's 'Macbeth'. It is situated in the fertile valley of Strathmore, only 5 miles from Forfar and 12 miles from Dundee.

SCOTTISH BORDERS
Monday, September 25th

Journey through the majestic Scottish Lowlands on this 7.5-hour tour that will include Melrose, Abbotsford House, Traquair House.and Roslyn Chapel. Take a scenic route along Scotland's border to Melrose Abbey - believed to be the burial site of King Robert the Bruce's heart - and enjoy lunch at your leisure. Admire panoramic views over the Scottish countryside and the Tweed River from Scott's View

The triple peaks of the Eildon Hills are the most distinctive single landmark in the Scottish Borders. At their feet in the valley of the Tweed lies Melrose. From the rolling hills and moorland in the west to the gentle valleys and picturesque Berwickshire coastline in the east, it is easy to see why Sir Walter Scott was so enamored with this peaceful region that he chose to build his beloved house, Abbotsford here which we will visit. Here at Abbotsford he worked tirelessly, writing book after book in his wood-panelled study. Scott looked far and wide across Scotland for decorative elements to embellish his house; he rescued architectural fragments from houses, and took casts from existing houses to create copies that reflected Scotland's architectural heritage. The result was a very 'Scottish' building, inspired by Scotland's heritage and containing pieces from a variety of dwellings across the country. This very nationalistic pride in Scottish heritage was typical of Scott and his work. The result was almost universally popular, and Abbotsford became a very popular place for sightseers almost immediately.

On our way back to Edinburgh we will make a stop at Roslyn Chapel. One of Scotland's most remarkable buildings, Rosslyn Chapel has been in the ownership of our family since its foundation in 1446 and is still used today as a place of worship.

FLY TO ICELAND
Tuesday, September 26th

Today we will journey to Iceland. Your trip includes our short flight to the capital of Rekyjavik where we will spend the next 4-nights.

Iceland, a country rich with roaring volcanoes, monolithic glaciers, icy mountains and deep fjords, has become a mecca for photographers looking to capture the raw, mystical power of its natural northern beauty. The ruggedness of and stark contrasts present in Iceland’s landscapes makes them irresistible to photographers. Glacial floodplains, waterfalls, towering mountains, fjords and even deserts of volcanic ash can all be found in relative proximity to each other. Its small population (of roughly 325,000) also means that the majority of its natural wonder remains nearly or completely untouched. We will be spending most of our time here exploring the outdoors and natural beauty.

THE BLUE LAGOON & RAYKJANES PENINSULA
Wednesday, September 27th

This is a half-day tour that we'll start at 12 pm. On our way to the famous Blue Lagoon we will visit the Raykjanes Peninsula. There you can see beautiful small fishing town, a lighthouse, old stone built church, Gunnuhver (Geyser), Krýsuvík, Kleifarvatn and of course the Blue Lagoon. Here you can find more about Reykjanes.
Then, we'll head to Iceland's famous Blue Lagoon for an otherworldly dip in its geothermal waters.

This spa is based around the unique properties of the geothermal seawater in the lagoon and they claim to be in the 25 natural wonders of the world. The Blue Lagoon was formed in 1976 during operation at the nearby geothermal power plant. In the years that followed, people began to bathe in the unique water and apply the silica mud to their skin. Those with psoriasis noticed an incredible improvement in their condition. Over the years, Blue Lagoon has been innovative in harnessing this gift of nature to develop different spa services and products. Today, Blue Lagoon is recognized as one of the wonders of the world.

The geothermal water originates 2,000 meters below the surface, where freshwater and seawater combine at extreme temperatures. It is then harnessed via drilling holes at a nearby geothermal power plant, Svartsengi, to create electricity and hot water for nearby communities. On its way to the surface, the water picks up silica and minerals, before emerging at a soothing 38°C (100°F). Perfect for a relaxing and re-energizing bathe.

GOLDEN CIRCLE TOUR
Thursday, September 28th

The Golden Circle is a must-do day tour out of Reykjavik. It offers you the opportunity to discover some of the highlights of south-west Iceland. It also provides you with a general insight into the Icelandic history, geology, its people and it rich cultural heritage.

We start the tour by driving to Iceland's first national park, the Thingvellir National Park. This is the birth place of a nation as well as of the first Icelandic democracy, when the Viking chieftains decided to establish their first parliament (Althingi) or "general assembly" in 930 AD. Many events took place in the area, including the introduction of Christianity in the year 1000 AD, the declaration of independence from the Danish kings on June 17, 1944. Besides its historical and cultural importance, the park displays a unique geology and natural landscapes. There, one can learn and understand the tectonic activity or the so-called the continental drift, the boundary between North American and Eurasian plate tectonics. Thingvellir is one of the only sites on Earth where the effects of two major tectonic plates drifting apart can be observed. Notorious for its outstanding natural beauty, Thingvellir National Park served as one the main filming locations of Game of Thrones in Iceland. There, you can experience the site the same way encountered or seen by the cast of the White Walkers and the trail of the Wildlings from North of the Wall.

After a short walk through the area, we continue towards the Geyser geothermal area. There, you have enough time to discover Strokkur, one of the most active geysers in the world. It spouts hot water and steam at a height of 20 - 25 meters every 5 - 8 minutes.

After lunch break in the area, we head towards Gullfoss "Golden Waterfall", Europe's second most powerful waterfall. It is located on the Hvítár "White River", one of Iceland's major glacier rivers. The gorgeous waterfall is one of the most popular attractions in the country. Located in the canyon, which forms three step terraces, river Hvítá plunges creating a powerful stream and Gullfoss. There are no rails - just a natural surroundings.

SOUTH SHORE TOUR
Friday, September 29th

In this tour we will take in the scenery of the South Coast and go as far as Vík. Vík is Iceland's most southerly village and one of the most popular tourist sites in Iceland. Although this community of about 450 inhabitants faces the open Atlantic, Vík is the only seaside settlement in Iceland left without a harbour due to natural circumstances. We will see The Black Sand Beach, (Reynisfjara) a beautiful basalt-lava rock formations and sea-made caves. The historical palagonite mountains of Pétursey, Hjörleifshöfði and Hafursey stand towering over the surrounding black expanse., Dyrhólaey, where the unique rock arch is found, is a 120-m-high promontory in the western part of the Mýrdalur district. Dyrhólaey is Iceland's most southerly tip. Skogafoss Waterfall, which rivals Gullfoss as Iceland's most famous waterfall. Seljalandsfoss Waterfall one of the best known waterfalls in Iceland. It's possible to walk behind the waterfall so bring a raincoat as you will get wet from the drizzle. It's awesome especially on a sunny day when one can catch a rainbow. And of course the beautiful town of Vík. On the way there they will see The Eyjafallajökull eruption museum, Mýrdalsjökull glacier, Skogar waterfall and much more. It is a great tour.

 

 

NORTHERN LIGHTS
Any evening in Iceland
The Norhtern Lights become a real possiblity to see any time after September 15th which is one of the reasons for our visit at the end of September. Our last trip there ended on September 10th so we just missed them. If the Northern Lights appear the town of Reykavik will often times turn off the city lights to make the viewing better. We may also organize a bus tour to get outside of the city.

 

 

 

 

 

Temperature The month of September is characterized by falling daily high temperatures, with daily highs decreasing from 54°F to 48°F over the course of the month, exceeding 58°F or dropping below 42°F only one day in ten. Daily low temperatures range from 39°F to 45°F, falling below 32°F or exceeding 50°F only one day in ten.

Extra light! The sun will set about 8:30 pm during our stay.

DEPOSIT TO SIGN UP - $200

OUR AIR: Deduct $825 with your own air and you will not pay the departure tax. We will include the air from Scotland to Iceland

INTERNATIONAL:

Flight: Delta Air Lines 474 Departure:Los Angeles 16SEP/1125A Arrival:New York Kennedy 16SEP/755P

Flight:Delta Air Lines 44 Departure: New York Kennedy 16SEP/1018P Arrival:Dublin 17SEP/950A

Flight: Delta Air Lines 246 Departure:Reykjavik 30SEP/830A Arrival:New York Kennedy 30SEP/1040A

Flight: Delta Air Lines 447 Departure:New York Kennedy 30SEP/330P Arrival:Los Angeles 30SEP/710P

FROM SCOTLAND TO ICELAND:

Flight: Icelandair 431 Departure:Glasgow 26SEP/205P Arrival:Reykjavik 26SEP/325P

FROM JFK:

If you would like to meet the group in JFK we have a limited number of seats. You would deduct $450 from the price of the trip

Flight:Delta Air Lines 44 Departure: New York Kennedy 16SEP/1018P Arrival:Dublin 17SEP/950A

Flight: Delta Air Lines 246 Departure:Reykjavik 30SEP/830A Arrival:New York Kennedy 30SEP/1040A

INCLUDES:

  • Round trip international air from LAX (other gateways available but could be slightly more)
  • 13-nights accommodations (double occ.)
  • All ground transportation
  • Ferry from Ireland to Scotland
  • Daily Breakfast
  • Flight from Scotland to Iceland

 DOES NOT INCLUDE:

 

HOTELS:

IRELAND

The Morgan - 4-star
Website - Reviews - 30 out of 150 hotels in Dublin

Tired of traditional, boring hotels? Looking for a quirky Temple Bar hotel? Then immerse yourself in our design hotel on Fleet Street in Dublin City Centre. The Morgan Boutique Hotel Dublin is located in the very heart of Temple Bar.Check-in to your uber stylish room and go explore Dublin, you will be minutes away from all of the city’s hot spots including, Grafton Street and O’Connell Street, shops, museums, restaurants, bars and famous sites including, Trinity College, The Guinness Storehouse, Old Jameson Distillery, as well as some of Dublin’s newest entertainment venues including, the Convention Centre Dublin, The Bord Gais Energy Theatre and The 3Arena (formerly o2) to name just a few.Risqué design that is provocative, contemporary and unique holds host to chic guestrooms, a funky cocktail bar, crazy outdoor spaces, cool meeting rooms and an amazing Penthouse with rooftop garden. This luxury deluxe, boutique Dublin hotel in Temple Bar is an experience.

 

Lisdoonvarna
Website - Reviews


The Imperial Hotel is located in Lisdoonvarna, just a 10-minute drive from the Cliffs of Moher. It offers en-suite bedrooms, a restaurant and a bar with live music. Bedrooms at the Imperial feature satellite TVs, hairdryers and telephones. Tea and coffee making facilities are also available and there is free Wi-Fi in public areas of the hotel.

The restaurant offers international cuisine and traditional Irish breakfasts are served daily. There is a large lobby area which is adjoined by a conservatory.

Burren National Park is a 15-minute drive and there are several golf courses in the area.

BELFAST
Premier Inn - 3-star
Website - Reviews #4 of 43 hotels!

Welcome to the city that inspired Gulliver's Travels. A stay at Premier Inn Hotel Belfast Alfred Street puts you just a small step away from some big attractions, not to mention all the delights of a twenty-first century shopping centre. And if you're here on business, we'll make sure your stay is a pleasant one. Track down the Titanic story to its source. Or make tracks to some of the biggest names on the high street - don't miss the continental market if you're here over Christmas. There's nightlife that'll make your day, and everything from an interactive science museum to a candy factory. Don't fill up on too many sweets though, there's good food waiting for you at our restaurant, and comfy beds in every room.

In our rooms you’ll find:

A luxury kingsize** Hypnos bed
A lightweight yet toasty duvet
A choice of firm and soft pillows
A powerful shower, with baths at most hotels
Freeview TV with 80 channels

Free Wi-Fi* and a handy desk and chair
Tea and coffee making facilities
Cocooning blackout curtains
Free Wi-Fi throughout your stay

We’re happy to offer free unlimited Wi-Fi*. It means you can browse the web for as long as you like, anywhere in the hotel.

 

SCOTLAND

MOTEL ONE, EDINBURGH - 3-star
Website - Reviews 35 out of 150 hotels in Edinburgh


Located in Old Town, this hotel is steps from Edinburgh Dungeon, St. Giles' Cathedral, and Real Mary King's Close. National Gallery of Scotland and Scott Monument are also within 5 minutes.

This smoke-free hotel features a bar/lounge, coffee/tea in a common area, and a 24-hour front desk. WiFi in public areas is free. Additionally, express check-out, tour/ticket assistance, and multilingual staff are onsite.

All rooms are soundproofed and offer free WiFi and hair dryers. For a bit of entertainment, guests will find flat-screen TVs with satellite channels, and other amenities include Egyptian cotton sheets and rainfall showerheads.

NOTE: Everyone will get their own room here for the next 4 days due to the lack of twin rooms with separate beds. If you are able to share a room without separate beds you and your roommate can deduct $90 from the cost of the trip.

 

 

 

ICELAND

Fosshotel Reykjavík - 4-star -
Website
- Tripadvisor reviews

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Fosshotel Reykjavík is the largest hotel in Iceland. It is located in Reykjavík's business district, a short walking distance from Laugavegur, the main shopping street. Immerse yourself in Reykjavík's magnificent architecture, captivating history, vibrant markets and rich culture. Fosshotel Reykjavík is located in the heart of the city so it's ideal for those who want to experience everything the city has to offer. The hotel has 16 floors with many rooms offering magnificent views of the city and the bay area. The top floor features seven suites, four of which can be used as meeting rooms. Fosshotel Reykjavík will feature first class conference facilities on the second floor. Unwind with Icelandic draught beer at the Beergarden or enjoy dining at Fosshotel Reykjavík's restaurant, Haust.

    • 320 rooms
    • Breakfast included
    • Bjórgarđurinn / Beer Garden Haust restaurant
    • Gym access for all hotel guests
    • Tour desk
    • Free WiFi

 

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