Friday, June 30
5:00PM: Welcome Reception at Harbor 101
Join your fellow PLES alumni for a welcome reception at Harbor 101, located in the historic Reykjavík Harbor.
7:00PM: Dinner at the Whale Watching
Following the Welcome Reception, the group will walk to Reykjavík Sailors, board Gullfoss, and head to the Faxafloi Bay. The boat ride will take 3-3.5 hours in total and will give us an amazing view of Reykjavík. Hopefully we will see dolphins and whales playing in the bay! There will be finger food served on board, and mid-tour the sailors will catch fresh fish from the ocean for us to taste. Reykjavík Sailors is approximately a ten minute walk from the Hotel Borg.
Saturday, July 1
8:30AM–11:30AM: Guided Tour of Reykjavík. Sites include:
- Reykjavík city centre, also known as “the old town,”where the City Hall, Parliament, and other landmark buildings are located. We will tour the Alþingi (Parliament).
- Höfði House - The location for the 1986 Reykjavík Summit meeting of presidents Ronald Reagan of the United States and Mikhail Gorbachev of the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics. On the way to Höfði House, we will travel through Laugardalur Valley (Hot Spring Valley), a major centre for sports and recreation in the capital. The area is home to the city’s largest outdoor thermal swimming pool, a beautiful botanical garden, and a small zoo featuring Icelandic animals, both wild and domesticated.
- Bessastadir - Just across the Skerjafjordur Fjord, the Bessastadir is the official residence of the President of Iceland and was first mentioned in the Islendinga Saga (Saga of the Icelanders), when the great writer Snorri Sturluson farmed here in the 13th century.
- Perlan - Built on top of Oskjuhlid Hill, the Perlan is a glass dome that sits atop the city’s reservoirs in six huge tanks, each with the capacity to hold over 4 million litres of geothermal hot water. Inside the dome, a 360-degree viewing platform provides some of the best places for sightseeing in Reykjavík.
- Hallgrímskirkja Church - One of Iceland’s most recognisable landmarks, whose design was inspired by basalt lava columns, a common volcanic rock formation in Icelandic nature.
11:30AM–1:00PM: Lunch at Nauthóll Restaurant
After the tour of Iceland’s capital city, we will have lunch at Nauthóll Restaurant, the Icelandic restaurant to receive the Swan environmental certification.
1:00–4:30PM: Academic Session
7:00PM: Gala Dinner at the Hotel Borg
As per annual tradition, please join us for our Gala Dinner at Hotel Borg. During the Gala, Penn Law Dean Theodore Ruger will provide an update on the Law School. *Business attire or black tie.*
Sunday, July 2
9:00AM: Sightseeing Tour outside of Reykjavík (7–8 hours). Sites include:
Thingvellir National Park - Situated on the northern shore of Lake Thingvallavatn, Iceland’s largest lake, Thingvellir is one of the most popular locations in Iceland due to its history, unique geology, and magnificent landscape. Thingvellir is a rift valley formed by the continental drift between the North American and Eurasian Plates. Popular features include the Almannagjá gorge, a canyon formed between two tectonic plates; the fissure Silfra, famous for its clear waters where divers can swim between continents; and the popular Gjabakkahellir, one of many lava caves in the park.
Thingvellir is a key location in Icelandic and world history, as the oldest existing parliament in the world first assembled there in 930 AD. Today, the park is a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
Geysir Geothermal Area - The highly active Geysir Hot Spring Area features boiling mud pits, exploding geysers, and the lively Strokkur which spouts water 30 meters (100 feet) into the air every few minutes. The area has been active for more than 1,000 years and comprises more than a dozen hot water blow holes. Geysir, sometimes known as the Great Geysir, was the first geyser described in a printed source and the first known to modern Europeans. The English word geyser derives from Geysir.
Gullfoss, often referred to as the Golden Waterfall due to the color of its glacier water, is a powerful waterfall that plummets down 32 meter in two steps into a canyon.
We will stop for lunch at Fridheimar, a family-run greenhouse that specialises in cultivating tomatoes. Tomatoes are grown all year round at Fridheimar (despite Iceland’s long, harsh winters!) using the latest environmentally friendly technology, such as green energy, pure water, and organic pest controls. Lunch will be served among the tomato plants for a unique dining experience!
*Optional Extension Programme*
Monday, July 3 - Wednesday, July 5
Monday, July 3: Exploring West Iceland (10–11 hours) Sites include:
- Borgarnes, a town known for its history, including the famous Viking-Poet Egill Skallagrímsson. We will visit the Settlement Centre, which houses exhibits on the Saga of the Settlement of Iceland and Egill’s Saga.
- Reykholt, another of Iceland’s notable historical sites, most famous for being the home of Iceland’s best-known author Snorri Sturluson from 1206 to 1241. An ancient geothermally-heated pool, Snorralaug, is named after him. It is one of the few things preserved whole from Iceland’s medieval period and has been used by locals since the 12th century.
- The picturesque Hraunfossar Lava Waterfalls, a series of waterfalls formed by rivulets streaming out of a lava field.
- The last stop before lunch will be Deildatunguhver hot spring. Deildatunguhver is a powerful hot spring with the highest flow rate in Europe.
- After lunch, enjoy a guided tour of the ice cave in Langjökull Glacier, one of Iceland’s largest glaciers.
Tuesday, July 4: Waterfalls and Ferries
We will begin our trip along Iceland’s South Coast on the narrow strip of lush farmland that cuts between mountains, glaciers, and the vast Atlantic Ocean. The drive will be about 5–6 hours with a stop at Seljalandsfoss waterfall (Iceland’s most famous waterfall).
We will drive to the pier at Bakkafjara and will board a ferry that will take us to the Vestmannaeyjar (or the Westman Islands) in 30 minutes! Overnight stay in the islands.
Wednesday, July 5: Full Day Tour in Vestmannaeyjar (12–14 hours)
Vestmannaeyjar, or the Westman Islands, are truly a wonder of nature. The youngest island of the Vestmannaeyjar celebrated its 50th anniversary in 2013, and the oldest one is close to 40,000 years old.
We will join a bus tour around Heimaey Island. We will visit the puffin nesting area in Storhofdi (known as the windiest place in Europe!), walk to the crater of the Eldfell volcano (known as Iceland’s Pompeii –– it last erupted in 1973!) and explore the flora of the new lava field.
We will take a ferry back to the mainland and a bus back to Reykjavík. The length of this trip is 12––14 hours.
**While the conference program advertised on this webpage has been produced in good faith, the conference and all activities advertised as forming part of the conference are subject to change at any time.**