“Iceland is a magical place, but to get the best experience – to see, hear, visit, explore and learn it all – you need Understand Iceland” *
Understand Iceland specializes in planning and implementing educational tours to Iceland for groups from the United States, as well as women’s-only trips and experiences for nature enthusiasts. We serve groups that seek varied experiences and wish to explore Iceland, as well as interact with locals and pursue their own passions.
We organize field trips around Iceland focusing on extreme landscapes and active geology.
We lead tours of Iceland’s most stunning scenery — its volcanoes, lava fields, black sand beaches and glaciers.
We create connections with academic departments and research institutes to allow students to interact with local experts and partake in trips, lectures and field excursions.
We are passionate about every tour we create and proud of our personalized service.
*marzandme on Tripadvisor.
Founder and owner
Herdís is born and raised in Iceland. She studied natural sciences at the University of Iceland before moving to Norway to finish a degree in forestry. She then moved to Denmark where she finished a MSc in forestry. She worked within the forestry sector in Iceland and participated in different afforestation and soil conservation projects. After finishing a MSc in Project management at the University of Reykjavík she started working at an environmental center in an eco village in South Iceland. There she started teaching students on study abroad programs Icelandic language, history and culture. She also planned their stay and took care of all logistics. Over time her interest towards study abroad in Iceland and educational tourism grew.
She established Understand Iceland and is now a certified tourguide with a bus drivers licence. She has many years’ of experience working with short- and long-term study abroad programs. Herdís is passionate about providing tours around Iceland where people get to know the real Iceland and truly get in connection with the countries culture.
Herdís speaks 5 languages and has traveled to 25 countries and almost all continents in the world. She worked as a volunteer in Zambia, Africa and participated in a study abroad program on Maylaysian Borneo. She holds a B.Sc in Forestry and an M.Sc in Land Use in Developing Countries from the University of Copenhagen. She also has an M.Sc in Project Management from the University of Reykjavík.
Sara McMahon is our main writer. She has over nine years of experience as a journalist and writes blogs and articles for websites and magazines.
Sara holds degrees in literature and business management. She currently attends the University of Iceland, where she focuses on Women’s Studies.
Sara is half Irish and speaks four languages. She loves to travel and spends her free time reading fine literature.
Veronica Spann does some of our photography work (though not all of the photos on this site are hers!) She is a professional photographer based in the United States, but comes back to Iceland as often as she can.
Veronica photographs her global travels, weddings, and events. Her work can be found on her website at www.veronicaspann.com or her instagram @vspann.