Iceland is famous for its gorgeous mountain scenery, glaciers and waterfalls, and for its similarly unique political landscape. We look at lessons this island has for us all, from the banking crisis to global warming where the effects are visible. And we get to experience Icelanders unique hospitality.


DATESSaturday, 18th August 2018 – Sunday, 26th Aug 2018

Reykjavik, Sólheimajökull Glacier

Led by Urður Gunnarsdóttir

DURATION8 nights
All AccommodationMost Meals
Local TransportationExpert Guide
COSTCost: £4000.00
Single supplement: £500.00

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Iceland was one of the countries worst affected by the crash, but strong growth in the number of tourists visiting the country (up by 22% between 2015 and 2016), and a highly developed green energy sector are helping the economy to bounce back. The tour includes a visit to a glacier in the south of the island, possible home stays and a look at a thermal power-plant.

Our tour looks at how allowing banks to fail after the crash – including prosecuting and imprisoning some bankers – has affected the political order, with some surprising results – and how a rugged and remote nation has put itself centre stage in the debate on climate change.

Urdur Gunnarsdottir, former journalist and Icelandic Foreign Ministry spokeswoman, is a keynote speaker.

As with all of our expert-led tours, we ensure that our groups remain small and intimate, and will not exceed 14 people.

As with all of our tours the itinerary focuses on current affairs, and owing to the dynamic nature of politics means that local conditions may lead us adjust the final schedule.

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Day 1

Saturday, 18th August

An introduction to contemporary Iceland and the week ahead, with Urdur Gunnarsdottir, over dinner at 7p.m. Overnight, Reykjavik
Day 2

Sunday, 19th August

We are introduced to Iceland’s pocket-sized capital, Reykjavik, with a local expert on a walk around the city centre. We’ll see the blooming colourful art and culture scene, and the imposing Hallgrímskirkja church. The island was a relatively sleepy backwater with an innovative domestic agriculture and strong fisheries sectors. But in the 1990s it undertook an experiment that made it a fast growing financial hub. We get an introduction to the gamble that ultimately left the country incredibly exposed. Overnight Rejkjavik
Day 3

Monday, 20th August

Significantly, Iceland’s parliament – the Althing – that was founded in 930, remains the oldest surviving parliament in the world. When the crash unfolded it affected the whole Icelandic system, ultimately resulting in a constitutional crisis. We speak with the prosecutors charged with digging into the process, and ultimately imprisoning some of the country’s leading bankers. Later we look at a different experiment. Iceland’s small population and genealogy has made it a global centre for genetic research. We meet the creator of deCODE Genetics, the company behind the island’s genetic decoding project. Overnight Rejkjavik
Day 4

Tuesday, 21st August

We leave Reykjavik behind and head east along Iceland’s south coast to visit the Sólheimajökull Glacier. Global warming is taking place at a rapid rate in Iceland and the island has already experienced temperature increases that the rest of Europe will only see at the end of the century. A meteorological expert and environmentalist explain the immediate impact of global warming on a visit to the glacier. We stay overnight at a local farm, that creates its own energy – all from a waterfall in the back- garden. Overnight near Sólheimajökull
Day 5

Wednesday, 22nd August

In the morning we take a hike across the glacier and see how it is rapidly changing (this is a safe optional walk, and does not involve climbing or any technical experience – participants need to be fit enough to walk for 2 hours). After lunch we look at how the flora and fauna of Iceland are changing. Icelandic farmer are now growing new crops, an upside of global warming. Iceland’s geysers and hotwater springs also permit scientists to understand how a much hotter climate could affect nature. Overnight near Sólheimajökull
Day 6

Thursday, 23rd August

We head back towards Reykjavik and stop en route at Hellisheidi Geothermal Power Station and learn about the remarkable success story of renewable energy production in Iceland. Almost all electricity and heating is powered by renewable energies. We tour the power station and learn about plans to export the cheap and carbon free electricity from hydro and geothermal to the UK. There are contradictions though to Iceland’s green credentials. Its transport sector also relies heavily on aviation and the car. Back in the capital we learn about a new kind of politics gripping the state – most notoriously in the form of the Pirate Party – a direct democracy movement co-founded by Birgitta Jonsdottir. Overnight Rejkjavik
Day 7

Friday, 24th August

What next for Iceland? Iceland is repeatedly named the most peaceful and gender equal in the world. The only war in the last 8 centuries is the cod war it fought with the UK in the 1970’s. Half of its parliament are women. But is all this too good to be true. Experts look at how much Icelandic society has recovered from the crisis. There are scars still left and the economic recovery also has its downside. With tourism overwhelmingly at the forefront, 1.7 million visitors in 2016, there are questions about its impact – upsetting a small housing market. Overnight Rejkjavik
Day 8

Saturday, 25th August

Our last full day is an opportunity to put questions to the people at the top. We visit a national newspaper to get their view and meet members of the government and opposition. After lunch there is free-time to wander Reykjavik before our farewell dinner and look back over the week. Overnight Rejkjavik
Day 9

Sunday, 26th August

Tour ends


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What’s Included

All of your accommodation and meals with water are included, as well as local transport (except during your free time). Flights are not included in the price and need to be arranged by customers themselves or with an agent. We can advise you on reservations if you need any help.

Following the News

Like all our tours the itinerary is focused on current affairs. Events on the ground may change and the final schedule may be adjusted accordingly.

This tour starts and ends in Reykjavik.

Group size

As on all our expert-led tours the groups are deliberately small and will not exceed 14 people. Limited spaces are available.


Four star centrally located hotels.


UK passport holders do not need a visa. Other passport holders may require a visa. It is always good to check with the embassy in your country for latest advice regarding visa requirements.

FCO Website – Travel Advice

The Foreign and Commonwealth Office publishes regularly updated travel information on its website which you are recommended to consult before booking and in good time before departure. Where it considers it appropriate to do so, the FCO may advise against all travel or all but essential travel to particular countries or parts of particular countries. Similarly, the FCO may withdraw any such previously given advice. Where the FCO issues such advice, we may as a result cancel your tour or make changes so as to avoid the area concerned (see clause 10 or our conditions). Alternatively, we may ask you to sign a form confirming you wish to proceed with the tour notwithstanding the FCO advice. It is in the nature of the itineraries we offer that the FCO may have issued such advice in relation to the country or parts of the country we are intending to visit prior to confirmation of your booking. In this case, you will be asked to sign the above form before we confirm your booking.

Medical Requirements

Advice on health requirements may be obtained from your GP, or alternatively from the Department of Health Leaflet Advice on Health for Travelers, or the Department of Health in the UK. For further information on vaccination requirements, health outbreaks and general disease protection and prevention you should visit


Local currency is Icelandic króna.


The average daytime temperature around the coast during May to September is 10-12°C (50-55°F). A warm summer day would have temperatures around 20°C. Average daily sunshine in August is 5-6 hours and during the summer months the nights are bright.

What to Wear

Dress is generally casual and comfortable, comfortable walking shoes are essential. We also have a range of meeting with politicians or senior officials where we are expected to be more formally dressed.  For these men will need a jacket (and tie) and women the female equivalent.

Electricity and Plugs

European plug/Schuko-Plug (CEE types), which has two round prongs: 220v.

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Quotes from previous customers

Iceland is a new tour for 2018, but please see feedback from previous customers on other tours.

“PT can take me to tricky places I’d like to know more about – with a small group of like minded people.And they can do that impeccably.” CF, September 2017

“Tour experts were excellent! They all had their own perspective/point of view, but that´s good. We had many speakers in addition to them, so onesidedness was not a problem at all.” Israel & Palestine, September 2017 (CM)

“Political Tours is the only offer I am aware about for people who are seriously interested in politics.” September 2017 (CM)

“Political Tours introduced me to some interesting people (including fellow travelers); it took me to places and to people I would have never accessed as an ordinary tourist.” September 2017(MS)

“It was the first time that I had been part of any tour group – it was very well run and the group members and leaders were great.” Israel & Palestine, September 2017

“As a rule, I don’t do group tours. But I make an exception for PT given the value I’ve experienced every time – and the Baltics was my 6th PT ” August 2017

“What convinced me that Political Tours would suit me was a recommendation from like minded people, as well as the locations PT explore.  Plus the size of the group:  Max 14 tour size also sounded manageable.” Israel & Palestine, Sept 2017

“Quite the most comprehensive way of finding out what makes a country and the individuals in it tick.    PT arrange access to all sorts of different people and experiences that would be impossible to access on one’s own and the organisation is excellent.     The tours aren’t cheap, but, when you consider all that is on offer, they are very good value for money.” Russia, May 2016

“We also thoroughly enjoy travelling with you both because you are deadly serious except when you are deadly fun.” Lebanon, 2016

“A must for anyone with an interest in politics and current affairs who want to meet like minded people. I would recommend Political Tours for the detailed organisation, visits to places not usually open to the general public and for the more adventurous, the exciting countries you visit.”  CB, US Elections, 2016

“I would recommend the tours to anyone interested in current political events because the experience offered the sort of access that experienced journalists have, minus the pressure to report back of course. Also the guarantee of the company of people with similar interests.” VH, US Elections, 2016

“As usual on PT trips the speakers were of high quality and interesting . They were just the right length of time as well . Not too long so I was able to absorb a lot of information and not get overloaded . As I have already mentioned to you.” Lebanon, March 2016

“I have been on a few tours before, but not one of them compared with this one. This was by far the best. Of course, the material content, and the time and place of its setting had a lot to do with it, but there were other factors. The size and mix of each group was about right, and having both yourself, and a local expert with us was a big advantage, able to sort out en route problems too, and help set the tone and atmosphere. The tour itinerary was very detailed, and could hardly have been more so.” US Elections 2016

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