Northern Lights Exploration - 8 days / 7 nights (0)
Northern Lights Exploration - 8 days / 7 nightsExperience the best of Iceland’s winter! Our Northern Lights Exploration series are designed to include the highlights of Iceland and aim to maximize the chances of seeing the elusive Northern Lights. In addition to a seven night stay with breakfast, this program includes our special six night Northern Lights Academy, a combination of evening presentations, lectures, film and guided searches for the Aurora Borealis – the Northern Lights. Experience Icelandic winter as good as it gets. Head to the countryside: from the regions of Snæfellsnes Peninsula in the west to the Vatnajökull glacier in the southeast. Profit to search for the Aurora Borealis away from the big city lights.
Highlights and Experiences:
- Climb a volcano crater and walk between two continental tectonic plates
- Visit a traditional shark farmer, turf farmsteads and churches
- Relax in the Blue Lagoon and learn about living next to Eyjafjallajökull volcano
- See Icelandic horses, taste freshly baked hot spring bread and enjoy a fjord cruise
- Six evenings Northern Lights Academy
- Program offered in two group sizes: maximum 16 or 45 persons
- Traditional Icelandic dinner at Northern Light Inn Hotel
- Northern Lights Academy program during 6 evenings with a combination of lectures, presentations, film, guided Northern Lights searches and midnight refreshments
- Use of winter & Northern Lights explorer equipment: simple non-slip snow & ice grippers spikes for shoes and a flash light that is helpful when walking in the dark and operating your photo camera at night
Prices for winter 2016-2017:
Small groups max 16 persons:
- Single room: EUR 2930 per person
- Double/twin/triple: EUR 2580 per person
Large groups max 45 persons:
- Single room: EUR 2050 per person
- Double/twin/triple: EUR 1700 per person
Extra costs for dinners to be paid at the hotels: Fixed 2-course dinners with fish, meat or vegetarian main courses are available at the hotels starting at ISK 6000 (about EUR 45) per person per night. Note, that the country hotels do not offer a la carte meals and there are no other restaurants nearby. Paying for a 2-course dinner directly at the hotel is less expensive than to have it included in the tour package.
Departures September 2016 - April 2017 on Sundays, Tuesdays, Thursdays and Fridays
Day 1: WELCOME to ICELAND (50 km/31 mls)
Individual transfer by airport shuttle bus from Keflavik Airport to your accommodation in Reykjavík where you spend the night. We provide you with some ideas how to explore Iceland's capital on your own.
Day 2: REYKJAVIK CITY TOUR & BORGARFJÖRÐUR SAGA VALLEY (245 km/152 mls)
At 09:00 meet your tour guide who shows the group the highlights of Iceland's exciting capital. Then we head west. Borgarfjörður is known as the Saga valley because of its many important historical events. We get a chance to climb the Grábrók volcano crater and get warmed at Deildartunguhver, Europe's most powerful hot spring which produces 180 liters per second of water that is nearly boiling - 97° Celsius. Hraunfossar is a series of waterfalls pouring from beneath a wide lava field. Barnafoss – the Children’s falls, is nearby with its own tragic tale. We spend two nights in Borgarnes, West Iceland. The afternoon includes a lecture about Northern Lights. After dinner, we step into the hotel garden in search of the Northern Lights followed by a hot cup of chocolate or tea.
Day 3: SNÆFELLSNES PENINSULA & FJORD CRUISE (250 km/155 mls)
The Snæfellsnes Peninsula “the peninsula of the snowy mountain“ juts out from Iceland’s west coast, like a long arm with a clenched fist at its tip, and is in many ways a microcosm of the whole island. A rugged mountain chain runs its length. We travel to the charming fishing town of Stykkishólmur for a cruise in the Breiðafjörður fjord. After a light lunch a uniquely Icelandic “treat“ awaits us at Bjarnarhöfn, where they make Hákarl - the fermented shark. Depending on road and weather condtions, we visit the fishing village of Grundarfjörður, a place with an impressive coastline and mountains, lakes and waterfalls behind the village. Jutting out into the bay rises one of the most photographed mountain in Iceland, Mt. Kirkjufell. On the way back to Borgarnes the guide gives you some practical tips of how to photograph the Auroras as part of the Northern Lights Academy program. Naturally, once darkness falls, we are out in the hotel garden to chase the Northern Lights and to soak in the hotel’s outdoor hot tubs.
Day 4: GOLDEN CIRCLE, GEOTHERMAL TASTE & ICELANDIC HORSES (220 km/136 mls)
Today we travel along the Hvalfjörður fjord. The first stop is at an Icelandic wool outlet store, just to see what they do with all those sheep! We continue inland to Þingvellir National Park, a UNESCO World Heritage site. We travel the Golden Circle route and see steam rising from the Geysir geothermal fields as we arrive. There is a variety of hot springs and bubbling pools. The original geyser is now dormant but has been replaced by Strokkur "the Churn" which erupts at 5-10 minute intervals. The chef of the Restaurant Geysir invites you to taste freshly baked hot spring bread served with Icelandic butter, geothermally boiled eggs and herring. It is best served with a small glass of Geysir Schnapps, very cold – nearly freezing. On we travel to Gullfoss, a double waterfall that tumbles 34 meters into the Hvítá river and attracts tourists and travellers in summer and winter. In the afternoon, you learn about the Icelandic horse, its special qualities and history and visit a geothermal greenhouse, before we reach the accommodation in South Iceland. Tonight, step into the darkness and search for the elusive Northern Lights, while best enjoyed from a comfortable hot tub in the garden of the hotel, amidst the peace and stillness of rural Iceland.
Day 5: SOUTH ICELAND & EYJAFJALLAJÖKULL VOLCANO (220 km/136 mls)
Today we travel along the South coast. At the Eyjafjallajökull Information Center we learn about living next to a glacier and an active volcano. Further east we visit one of Iceland's finest folk museums. This museum contains an outstanding collection of farm and domestic artifacts from Iceland's past and several turf-built houses. Nearby is Skógafoss waterfall which is 60 meters high and one of the most impressive waterfalls in the country. In the afternoon we take a stroll on the black lava beach and along bird cliffs at Reynisfjara in South Iceland. We spend 2 nights near Kirkjubæjarklaustur in the Vatnajökull National Park region, located in complete darkness and ideal for Northern Lights search.
Day 6: SKAFTAFELL NATIONAL PARK & VATNAJÖKULL GLACIER (280 km/174 mls)
Today’s program is all about glaciers, ice and icebergs. We travel to Jökulsárlón, a glacial lagoon filled with floating icebergs, and we explore the extraordinary site and might see seals swimming in arctic waters. You can walk on the black sandy beach where large icebergs get stranded. In the afternoon we visit the tiny turf church at Hof and spend time at Europe’s largest national park, which has Iceland’s highest mountains, an alpine environment, and Europe's largest glacier. In the evening enjoy a film presentation about the Northern Lights as part of the Northern Lights Academy program. Be careful not to go to bed too soon in this remote and quiet location or you may just miss out one more chance of seeing the Northern Lights shimmering and dancing across the night sky.
Day 7: SOUTH SHORE, REYKJAVÍK & BLUE LAGOON (370 km/230 mls)
From Kirkjubæjarklaustur we head across the Eldhraun lava field to the village of Vík, where we make a photo stop. The black lava beach with high bird cliffs and pounding waves is very impressive. Further west we reach the high but narrow Seljalandsfoss waterfall which plunges from the mountain. There is a trail that goes behind the falling water and offers interesting views, if you are prepared to get wet! In the afternoon we return to Reykjavik and have about 2 hour leisure time to explore Iceland's capital on our own, visit museums, do some shopping or simply rest after all this touring. In the evening we get to soak in the famous Blue Lagoon, followed by an Icelandic dinner at the Northern Light Inn Hotel and followed by one last nocturnal tour to seek more Northern Lights. Around midnight we reach Reykjavík for one last night.
Day 8: DEPARTURE HOME (50 km/31 mls)
Individual transfer by airport shuttle from your accommodation in Reykjavík to Keflavík Airport.
Total mileage without airport transfer is about 1585 0 km (983 miles) which is an average of 265 km (164 miles) per day. You spend about 3,5 hours per day on the bus, depending on road conditions, traffic and daily distances.On some days the driving might be longer than on some other days.
Note: In rare cases, change of itinerary might be necessary during winter programs in Iceland, should snow, road and weather conditions not allow to follow the scheduled itinerary, and certain outdoor activities might be cancelled. In this case no refund will be given, but the operator will try to find reasonable alternatives where and when ever possible.
NATURE FEES: There is a possibility that some of the nature attractions around Iceland might charge an entrance fee during the trip. These entrance fees are not included in the tour price and need to be paid by all tour members additionally on the spot, when entering any of these nature sites. Locations, amount of entrance fee, form of payment and other details are not known at the present time and are subject to change.
NORTHERN LIGHTS: This program includes a special six night Northern Lights Academy – which means that during 6 evenings there is a combination of presentations, lectures, a film and guided searches for the Aurora Borealis – the Northern Lights. All countryside hotels in this program offer a Northern Lights wake up call for guests that register for that special service at the hotel reception. The Northern Lights Exploration series are designed to spend 6 evenings in the countryside to maximize the chances of seeing the elusive Northern Lights, still the tour is dependent on weather and therefore sightings are not guaranteed. The Northern Lights are in the northern hemisphere from September through April but are only visible when the sky is clear and free of clouds. Like many of natural wonders, the Northern Lights are ephemeral – they may be visible, they may appear for a bit and then be gone (it is not a TV show that you can just turn on and off). But it is worth the patience which is much required. Because they are a winter event, you need to be prepared to wait outside while looking for them. It is best to dress very warmly, in layers, with good footwear, gloves, hats and whatever else makes you comfortable while you await patiently this truly outstanding event. For the best photos we recommend using a tripod.
- Arrival & departure airport transfer by shuttle
- Fully escorted 6-day bus tour with an English or German-speaking guide
- 7-nights accommodation in comfort tourist-class hotels including breakfast
- Fjord Cruise on Breiðafjörður fjord including light lunch
- Visit to traditional shark curing farm
- Hot spring Tasting with geothermally cooked bread and eggs
- Visit to Icelandic horse stables & geothermal greenhouse
- Visit to multimedia presentation at Eyjafjallajökull Volcano Information Center
- Entrance fee to Skógar folk museum and turf houses
- Entrance with towel at Blue Lagoon