Guðmundur, the founder of Guðmundur Jónasson Travel, was not content with Iceland’s limited number of roads in the 1930’s, so he pioneered his own. His travels in the highlands and on Iceland’s glaciers are legendary and today’s travelers are his beneficiaries. When NASA chose Iceland as their training ground for the first moon landing because of the lunar style landscape, they chose Guðmundur to show the way. He teamed up with Sir Edmund Hillary, guiding him when he visited Iceland after his ascent of Mt. Everest. Those who travel with us today travel in his footsteps and we hope they share his love for this Land of Ice and Fire called Iceland.
For more than 85 years, our company has hosted travelers from all corners of the world. Through Guðmundur Jónasson Travel, also called GJ Travel, many have returned time and time again together with their families and friends, to experience Iceland’s unique, beautiful nature and historical traditions. Our dedicated team never loose sight of the ‘personal touch,’ and work hard to ensure that the varied and interesting itineraries offered by GJ Travel provide plenty for the needs of today’s travelers.
Our company was formed in 1929 when our founder Guðmundur Jónasson obtained his first driving license. Fascinated by the seldom explored interior, he ventured out to the highlands and even onto the glaciers, opening a whole new world to the 20th-century traveler. Since his death in 1985, his family has continued to share his love and enthusiasm for Iceland and are committed to introducing even more interesting tours and adventures for everyone to enjoy. We also own a fleet of modern, comfortable buses which range in size from 16 seats to 69 seats and in addition have a number of 4-wheel drive and high clearance buses which are specifically adapted for Highland travel.
All buses offer free Wi-Fi. We also feature tours requiring 4-wheel drive Super Jeep and provide these with driver/guide to suit either individuals, families or groups. These vehicles are ideal for Icelandic travel throughout the year and are capable of crossing rivers and traversing glaciers.
Iceland was experiencing the biggest changes to its society since its settlement in the 900s. One young man with a dream, a vision and a thirst for adventure had just got his driving license to drive one of the new motorized vehicles that were starting to appear. Roads were slowly being built, though most were just gravel tracks, and some rivers were being bridged, opening up whole regions of the country to visitors. Most people still travelled by horseback on narrow paths through difficult terrain. The first steamships were making the 3-day trip from Leith, in Scotland, bringing goods from Europe and the first modern tourists were staying in the first hotels that were just being built in the capital.
The year was 1929. The young man was Guðmundur Jónasson. Guðmundur loved to go to the highlands, the glaciers and the seldom-visited interior of the country. His dream was to share the beauties of his country with the world. During the summer months, he took his little bus, laden with wide-eyed travellers, on tours out to the countryside. Many Icelanders had not even ventured out of the capital area – only one-tenth the size of today’s capital, so this was a revolutionary experience that changed their lives and understanding of the country. His dependability quickly won the respect of travellers and people knew they could trust him to provide a reliable service. As his reputation grew, so did his fleet of buses and coaches.
Today’s fleet is a far cry from his first bus, made up of a wide range of Mercedes Benz vehicles for different driving conditions. There are modern coaches for larger groups, Sprinter buses for smaller groups and special 4-wheel drive, high clearance buses, specially adapted to conquer the challenges of highland travel, with its rugged conditions and often fast-flowing rivers.
In today’s connected world, visitors are able to immediately share what they are enjoying with family and friends on the other side of the world as the vehicles have free Wi-Fi connections. As many visitors return year after year, often bringing their families and friends to experience more of the country with GJ Travel, the number of tours has also grown.
Today, the company specializes in group tours for international visitors, with guides who speak fluent English, German, French, Norwegian, Finish, Swedish, Danish, Dutch, Spanish, Italian, Japanese, Mandarin, Cantonese and many more languages, to give them the opportunity to experience the best the country has to offer and see sights that few of their fellow countrymen will ever have the chance to enjoy.
GJ Travel is the oldest tour operator in Iceland. Today, the second and third generations of Guðmundur’s family run the company, continuing to uphold the reputation of trust and reliability built by its founder. The company offers both scheduled tours for individual travellers and tailor-made tours, customizable for your group’s needs, taking care of all the details of accommodation and itinerary so visitors can get the most out of their time in Iceland.
If you have a group with a special interest, they will build a tour around it that will surpass your expectations, as their wealth of experience and knowledge of the country and its features enables them to craft tours to include the finest the country can offer in that field. Whether a government delegation exploring the use of geothermal energy or group enjoying a European holiday, every visitor is made to feel special and treated with respect.
GJ Travel recognizes the need that visitors must take time shopping for gifts and souvenirs as well as have the choice of cuisine – whether Icelandic, international or their native cooking, and this is always factored into the itinerary’s schedule. Reykjavik’s shopping streets are known for their diversity of arts, crafts, clothing and design, not to mention the number and diversity of different restaurants.
The spirit of adventure still permeates the company, who have expanded the boundaries of their tours to pioneer new areas and even new countries, such as Greenland and the Faroe Islands. If you share that dream to get off the beaten paths and explore some new region, then this is the company that not only shares that vision but can be trusted to fulfill it.
This has earned them the respect of the travel industry and, while many try to copy them, their pioneering spirit takes them to the forefront of the tourist organizations.
Another example of that pioneering spirit is shown in GJ Travel’s winter program. Iceland is completely different in winter. The long hours of daylight are replaced with darkness from late afternoon – and frequently, a snow-covered landscape. Not content with just heading a few miles outside the capital, GJ Travel’s tours go deep into the countryside, taking the experience of the Northern Lights to a new level. What draws visitors at this time of year is this spectacle of the Northern Lights. GJ Travel has numerous tours that take visitors to different parts of the country to enjoy this ethereal experience in addition to experiencing Iceland as few will ever see it. Many activities are best enjoyed during this season and there are day trips and tours for as long as 1 or 2 weeks available. One thing you can be sure of, though, is that you could stay a month and still only scratch the surface of all there is to see and do in this multi-faceted country. Their longer tours take visitors to all parts of the country, to get a totally different perspective of the land, the nature and animal life in their winter garb with possibilities to take amazing photographs, impossible to catch at any other time of year, due to the special light of the sun, low on the horizon. Winter is not a hindrance to enjoying Iceland – it’s an enhancement and provides the opportunity to enjoy winter sports. Winter temperatures are usually mild, around 0 to 6°C, courtesy of the Gulf Stream – unlike other parts of America or Europe where it’s bitterly cold or where the damp penetrates through to your bones!
Whether you want to bathe in the warm waters of the Blue Lagoon or take a Golden Circle tour, whether you want to see the natural wonders of the glacial lagoon and the black sands in the south or climb to the top of one of the glaciers, watch the Northern Lights sweeping over the night sky or watch the eruption of a geyser in a hot spring area, Guðmundur Jónasson’s family company can make it happen for you and your friends so that you will return home with the glow of having experienced something unique and life-changing.
This is Iceland. Welcome!