EDUCATIONAL SCHOOL & COLLEGE/UNIVERSITY GROUPS
At Midgard we plan, organize and operate genuinely educational tours that allow your school & college/university students to truly feel the magical “pull and tug” of Iceland’s very special landscapes.
Midgard’s deep expertise allows the creation of tailored, curriculum-linked itineraries for your group’s particular aims and needs. A Midgard educational tour enables students to not only gain knowledge and understanding of topics covered in the classroom but also encourages the development of personal skills and aspects of the broader curriculum.
As every educational group has different needs, we offer bespoke, custom-made and comprehensive tours that include airport transfers, full tour itineraries, learning activities, accommodation (in our own Midgard Base Camp) and meals (on full/half board basis, as wished).
A sample “to get you started” itinerary can be viewed in the next tab, above (Itineraries).
Midgard’s Mighty Strengths
Midgard lies in the centre of South Iceland (in Hvolsvöllur) and educational exploration opportunities are right on our doorstep, literally, and all around us, quite definitely. Our location is superb. We are situated within the Katla UNESCO Global Geopark in a small town in the heart of south Iceland. We are close to all the main attractions. Click here for more information about our location.
Midgard is a locally owned and operated family business offering a unique “combo”; Midgard Adventure is our tour operator & travel agency operation and Midgard Base Camp is our own accommodation centre.
Thus Midgard can comprehensively offer everything needed for the development and operation of your school & college/university group’s tour. Midgard is your ideal base, the perfect base camp, a true “home from home” with a unique ambience and very cosy and warmly snug feel.
At Midgard we are one big family. Most of us grew up in the small and well-situated town of Hvolsvöllur or in the surrounding farms. We just love our neighbourhood and we really love showing our travellers the many beautiful places and adventures that lie in our backyard.
All Midgard Guides that can lead your group have strong ties to the local community and have deep Icelandic knowledge. Many of the guides are Icelandic First Responders as well as being members of the local Rescue Team. You could not be in safer or more interesting hands.
The accommodation at Midgard Base Camp is ideal for educational groups. Midgard Base Camp is modern and has its own unique style and with flexible rooming to cater for groups of all sizes (up to 48 persons) and compositions (including a ground floor, bespoke, less-abled room). There is also a restaurant, café bistro and a little supplies shop on site. Not to mention the hot tub and sauna! Located on the roof, and overlooking the famous Eyjafjallajökull volcano, this is a delight that possibly the teachers might insist on checking out, regularly!
Peace of mind
Planning educational group travel is a big responsibility. Midgard will assist you in every way and thus make sure that you have a peace of mind. As Midgard is both a travel agency and tour operator we are hands-on, meaning that we ourselves book and organize nearly all elements of all tours. Thus, should there be any issues arising, then we can sort it, very quickly, and without you having to go through a third-party.
Tours and Activities
Midgard makes sure to include tour itineraries and activities that are in line with the aims and objectives of your particular curriculum. Simply tell us which learning outcomes you seek and we will suggest locations and activities that assist in achieving this. At Midgard we want students to be thoroughly engaged in the learning process, combining education with safe adventure and cross-cultural interaction.
Here are few examples of activities we can offer to include in your personalised itineraries, either as part of the day out in-the-field or as an evening activity.
- Knot-tying (and untying!)
- A Mountain Survival Techniques Talk from a local Rescue Team member (Q/A encouraged)
- Take an easy “leave no trace” hike (how to respect the environment)
- A “beyond your comfort zone” activity to aid personal development
- Take a visit to LAVA, a volcano/earthquake exhibition (only a 10 min walk from Midgard Base Camp)
- Talk from the local Rescue Team about their work and lives (Q/A encouraged)
- Enjoy a Yoga/Mindfulness class, ideal relaxation option either before or after a day in-the-field
- Take an Ice-walk at Sólheimajökull (only 30 minutes away from Midgard Base Camp)
- Take a Super Jeep Tour to discover the Iceland “that lies beyond”
Midgard has been organizing educational group travel since 2010. We have organized both one-off trips for individual schools and colleges/universities as well as collaborating with our own ongoing educational programs such as The GREEN Program which creates short-term, experiential education for our world’s most pressing issues in sustainable development; we operate 8-10 groups per year from The GREEN Program. We have also worked with Expedition Medicine, the leading provider of specialist expedition, wilderness and remote medicine training courses.
Geography Study Tour Support Materials
Midgard is very pleased to work in partnership with GT Travel, a long established and greatly respected Coach Operator. GT Travel has successively achieved the “Strongest in Iceland” Annual Award as being one a of very small percentage of Icelandic companies that gain this government given accolade. GT Travel is a very strong and reliable company with whom we are very proud to work.
GT Travel has created a Geo-Site Study Guide that covers the main sites that our school groups visit and experience. Written by a highly regarded UK Geographer, Ian K Hardie, this booklet resource has gained recommendation from the Scottish Association of Geography Teachers.
The booklet is written to provide background information and context to the sites visited as well as setting some questions for students to consider. The Geo-Site Study Guide adds great focus to a tour, reinforces learning from the classroom and further encourages connection and understanding of the many geographical topics and issues present in Iceland.
Sample pages taken from the Geo-Site Study Booklet are seen here – click to open.
Safety is imperative in all our operations. We are certified by Vakinn, the official quality and environmental system within Icelandic tourism. A School Travel Forum Audit has been completed to ensure compliance with the needs of all school groups.
Get in touch
Want to get to know Midgard Adventure better? Click here.
DEVELOPING YOUR ITINERARY
Here below is an example of a 4 day itinerary where emphasis is put on experiences within Katla and Reykjanes UNESCO Global Geoparks and Þingvellir National Park together with a strong connection to Icelanders, the countryside and its local culture.
This itinerary can be used as it is or used as base for further development. We have also included suggestions for additional days. Please make contact and we can discuss options in details.
DAY 1 – REYKJANES UNESCO GLOBAL GEOPARK
- Your Midgard English speaking guide most of whom are Icelandic born and bred will be welcoming the group at the airport. We spend the day exploring Reykjanes UNESCO Global Geopark to give you a feel for what Iceland is all about, the landscape and the geothermal power underneath.
- Possible sites: visit the Bridge Between the Continents, the coast at Reykjanes Viti, Krysuvík Steam Area and either a visit to Austvadsholt Horse Farm to see and learn about the Icelandic Horse or a visit to Keldur, an abandoned, conserved, traditional farm. Another option is a visit to Thingvellir National Park and World Heritage Site.
- This day’s itinerary will be adjusted to arrival time.
- Enjoy an Icelandic dinner in your accommodation at Midgard Base Camp
- Evening activities depend on the season. Winter: If there is a clear sky and the Northern Lights forecast is promising we head on searching for the Lights. This applies for all the nights. Summer: We head out for an evening hike around town to enjoy the midnight sun.
- Another option is to enjoy the evening in the rooftop hot tub and sauna
- Accommodation at Midgard Base Camp
DAY 2 – KATLA UNESCO GLOBAL GEOPARK
- After a nutritious breakfast buffet at Midgard Base Camp we spend the day within Katla UNESCO global geopark
- We will explore the volcano and glacier Eyjafjallajökull and its surroundings; understanding living with hazardous environments, both fluvial and volcanic. Then to Stóri Dímon (178m) to appreciate river processes and glacial floods. Visit the old and the present bridge of the ring road which both play a very much part of the Eyjafjallajökull eruption story. Visit a farm to hear the family’s stories of the 2010 eruption on Eyjafjallajökull. Travel towards Thórsmörk Valley to explore Merkurker and to Nauthusagil to explore an underground river and a hidden waterfall.
- On this day we will also visit LAVA centre’s interactive volcano and earthquake exhibition to discover the colossal and complex natural forces that shape the Earth and began to create Iceland tens of millions of years ago. The centre is only 10 minutes from your accommodation.
- When back at Midgard Base Camp in the afternoon we recommend visiting the geothermal local swimming pool that is only a 5 minutes walk from your accommodation. Sitting in the pool after an active day is very rewarding. The pool area consists of an outdoor pool filled with warm water, hot tubs and a sauna.
- Dinner at Midgard Base Camp
- Evening activities depend on the group’s wishes. Examples: Talks from the Icelandic staff on many topics/aspects of Iceland; Demonstrations by a rescue team members and a visit to the local Rescue Team; Knot tying instruction; Introduction to orientation; Forest BBQ with traditional music and singing; Video presentations of Midgard super jeep journeys; Storytelling; “Leave No Trace” Environmental Talk. All these options can be discussed in advance as we assemble your itinerary.
- Accommodation at Midgard Base Camp
DAY 3 – SOUTH COAST THRILLS
- Enjoy a delicious breakfast buffet at Midgard Base Camp
- Today we will explore the beautiful south coast including black sand beaches and Skógafoss and Seljalandsfoss waterfalls
- We will also visit the Sólheimajökull outlet glacier to witness the ongoing changes on the glaciers. To give you an even better introduction of the glacier world we fasten our crampons and take on a short hike on the glacier.
- If time allows and if road conditions are good we might head all the way to Vik but we will adjust to daylight and weather.
- Dinner at Midgard Base Camp
- Some of the above mentioned evening activties
- Accommodation at Midgard Base Camp
DAY 4 – DEPARTURE
If it is a morning flight then direct coach transfer to Keflavík.
If it is an afternoon flight, an option is to visit Thingvellir National Park and World Heritage Site before transferring to Keflavík.
Here below are various suggestions for additional days.
LANDMANNALAUGAR GEOTHERMAL AREA
Time of year: summer/early autumn months only
To experience “real wilderness” in Iceland you have to enter the interior of the country. Landmannalaugar is a region behind the icecaps and Hekla that certainly will take your students to an awesome, remote and very beautiful place. Experiencing wilderness, and coming to appreciate the enormous value of such places, places almost untouched by human activity/actions, is a huge and positive learning experience for everyone.
Only easily accessible in the summer months – usually from June till late September, depending when the winter snows disappear/arrive – the journey in passes through extensive lava fields, passes Mount Hekla and enters a colorful landscape of orange, blue, red, yellow, cream mountains and scree slopes.
To take an easy walk around the Laugarhraun, still with active (and smelly!) fumaroles, is terrific, strolling in a volcanic landscape, right on top of the Mid Atlantic Ridge. Glossy, jet black, sharp edged obsidian rocks are encountered as are green outcrops of olivine rich rocks in Graenagil.
To round off the day in the nature, a bathe in the natural hot bathing pool is a must before heading back to civilization.
WESTMANN ISLANDS: HEIMAEY
Time of year: spring through autumn
The Westmann Islands are almost a kingdom to themselves; it is a remarkable place to visit. Heimaey, the home island (and the only inhabited island of the archipelago), was big news in 1973 when a major eruption took everyone by surprise. After very speedy evacuation, over 5 months, a new volcano, Eldfell was formed. As well as hundreds of properties being lost under ash and lava, of major concern was the possible loss of their fishing harbor, a major source of wealth of the island as well as for Iceland.
Served by a newly commissioned ferry vessel, the ferry terminal is just 25 minutes from Midgard and the crossing itself takes only 30 minutes. A day on Heimaey allows to walk over the new lava flows, see evidence of buried buildings and to ascent to the crater of Eldfell. Suddenly “living in hazardous environments” becomes very real (if, hopefully, not alive!).
Eldheimar is a modern new Exhibition on Heimaey. It wonderfully well, with interactive exhibits, describes and explains the events of the 1973 eruption; it even incorporates one of the houses engulfed by the ash fall, now excavated to reveal a “frozen moment in time”. On the upper floor there is an excellent exhibition on Surtsey, the island that appeared in 1963 “from nowhere”. Again interactive and hands-on displays encourage engagement.
A special treat, after the exertions of the day, is to take a swim in the outdoor, heated (of course) modern swimming pool on the island. There are hot pots and flumes to exhaust even the most lively of students!
THINGVELLIR NATIONAL PARK & REYKJAVÍK
Time of year: all year
Thingvellir: Iceland lies astride the Mid Atlantic Ridge and a visit to Thingvellir National Park and World Heritage Site reveals much evidence of the theory of plate tectonics and continental drift.
The Mid Atlantic Ridge is a divergent plate boundary where the North American Plate and the Eurasian Plate are moving apart. The 5-8 km wide rift valley of the Thingvellir area is evidence of this tectonic movement as are the many fissures that riddle this area, all evidence of the tension lying below Iceland’s crustal rocks.
Taking an easy walk on a section of the Mid Atlantic Ridge brings home natures’ power. As well as the minor fissures, to walk through Almannagjá, with its a massive, towering fissure wall, is to walk through Icelandic history; it was here, and for many centuries, that the chiefs of Iceland met to discuss law and order and to pass new legislation in the growing democracy.
Plate tectonics have and continue to shape the world; there is no better place to so clearly understand the processes involved and to see their results.
Reykjavík: Reykjavík, the world’s most northerly capital city at 64 degrees N, is an excellent addition to this day. Having spent time in Iceland’s natural environment in the morning, seeing the built environment comes as an inspiring contrast. Just as Iceland’s nature is very special, so too is the feel and vibe of this city. Cool is more than just a description of the weather often experienced here! There are iconic buildings to be seen e.g. Hallgrimskirkja (with its impressive bell-tower, its form inspired by the columnar basalt outcrops of the countryside), Harpa (Iceland’s major Concert Hall), the Hofdi Hús (where Reagan an Gorbachev met in the 1980’s to commence the ending of the Cold War) and City Hall, sitting over the central lake (where a truly gigantic 3D model map of Iceland can often be seen). Coffee shops abound and, of course, there are the shops known by the locals as “The Puffin Shops” – the many gift and souvenir stores that abound downtown!
ICELAND’S GOLDEN CIRCLE
Time of year: All year
Thingvellir National Park > Geysir > Gullfoss
This well travelled circuit contains some of Iceland’s scenic gems. But whilst all visitors thoroughly enjoy the sights of the “Golden Circle”, there are many opportunities for educational groups to also engage and understand the processes that have created the landforms seen.
Thingvellir: Thingvellir National Park and World Heritage Site reveals much evidence of the theory of plate tectonics and continental drift. The 5-8 km wide rift valley of the Thingvellir area is evidence of tectonic movement as are the many fissures. The Mid Atlantic Ridge is a divergent plate boundary where the North American Plate and the Eurasian Plate are moving apart. Plate tectonics have and continue to shape the world; there is no better place to so clearly understand the processes involved and to see their results.
Geysir: Geysir is a geo-thermally active area. Here there are many hot springs as well as Strokkur geyser, a “regularly” shooting waterspout. It can reach a height of 15 to 18m. The area is very colorful, a result of the deposition of many minerals left behind as the hot water and steam evaporates from the ground. Great Geysir, after which all other geysers in the world have been named, once rose 50 to 80 m in height but today it is long dormant (but still an impressive sight). All features are reminders that you are in a volcanic landscape and that the mantle rocks are not so far below your feet.
Gullfoss: Of the hundreds, possibly thousands, of waterfalls in Iceland, some are simply gigantic. Gullfoss is definitely a huge one! Gullfoss is actually a double waterfall, its waters tumbling over two rock lips with a total drop of around 32m. Downstream from the present day waterfall is a long and very straight 2.5 km gorge. On sunny days, rainbows can arch across the fall; in wintertime, the frozen spray makes beautiful ice sculptures.
For geography students, additionally, Gullfoss illustrates some very good river processes. The river itself, the Hvitá (the White river), is cloudy, full of glacial flour from melting glaciers. Waterfall development and erosion headwards can be clearly seen too; the undercut rock lip is evidence (as is the long gorge section downstream from the present waterfall lip).
SUPER JEEP ADVENTURE
Time of year: All year
First travel to our local black beach of Iceland’s southern shore. Have super jeep fun in the extensive coastal sands before heading into Thórsmörk valley. Thórsmörk is located in between three glaciers and made in eruptions underneath the glaciers. The modified super jeeps allow us to explore rough terrain and cross unbridged rivers.
On the way we visit the much changed Gigjökull glacier and its staggering snout, right below the crater of Eyjafjallajökull. Proceed further into Iceland’s interior, to Thórsmörk and its many hanging glaciers. We walk from Húsadalur through Langidalur, ascend Valahnúkur and explore Stakkholtsgjá.
|ACCOMMODATION||Midgard Base Camp: Superb, modern, accommodation, with unique style and flexible rooming to cater for groups of all sizes (up to 48 persons) and compositions (including a ground floor, bespoke less-abled room)|
Popular times for school groups to travel are:
|DURATION||This example is a 4 day itinerary but a shorter/longer itineraries are also available.|
|WEAR||Comfortable clothing, hiking shoes and warm clothes according to this area’s weather forecast! Check out our packing lists on our FAQ page to make sure you have everything you need in your backpack. The group will receive a more customised packing list before arrival.|
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Want to get to know Midgard Adventure better? Click here.
Highschool team – the International School of Iceland.