Northern Lights Exploration

Northern LightsIceland

BEST SELLER
From $2,260 USD
October 1, 2018 - April 7, 2019
8 Days / 7 Nights

Bestseller Northern Lights Exploration offers highlights of Iceland, countryside and glaciers, Northern Lights Academy, guided hunts for Northern Lights.

Overview

Experience the best of Iceland's winter! Our guided bestseller Northern Lights Exploration offers major highlights of Iceland and aims to maximize chances of seeing the magical Northern Lights. From the countryside in West and Southeast Iceland, we explore the regions from Snaefellsnes peninsula to Vatnajokull glacier. Enjoy our special Northern Lights Academy, with 6 evening presentations, lectures and guided tours in search of the Northern Lights.

Operation

October 1, 2018 - April 7, 2019

Departure

Standard groups with 45 persons maximum Sunday - Sunday, 2018-2019
2018
September 16, 23, 30
October 7, 14, 21, 28
November 4, 11, 18, 25
December 2, 9
2019
January 6, 13, 20, 27
February 3, 10, 17, 24
March 3, 10, 17, 24, 31
April 7
Standard groups with 45 persons maximum Friday to Friday, 2018-2019
2018
September 14, 21, 28
October 5, 11, 19, 26
November 2, 9, 16, 23, 30
2019
January 4, 11, 18, 25
February 1, 8, 15, 22
March 1, 8, 15, 22, 29
April 5
Small groups with 16 persons maximum Tuesday to Tuesday, 2018-2019 
2018
September 18, 25
October 2, 9, 16, 23, 30
November 6, 13, 20, 27
December 4
2019
January 8, 15, 22, 29
February 5, 12, 19, 26
March 5, 12, 19, 26
April 2

Price

  • Maximum group size 45 persons
  • from $2,260 per person in double room
  • from $2,850 single room
  • from $2,260 per person in triple room
  • Maximum group size 16 persons
  • from $3,210 per person in double room
  • from $3,800 single room
  • from $3,210 per person in triple room

* Early booking discount of 10% on departures:
September 2018 - April 2019
For new bookings only, subject to availability

Included

  • Arrival & departure airport transfer by Flybus Plus shuttle (no guide)
  • Fully escorted 6-day bus tour
  • English-speaking guide or driver-guide
  • 7-nights accommodation in comfort tourist-class hotels
  • Breakfast buffet daily
  • Fjord Cruise on Breidafjördur fjord
  • Light lunch (day 3)
  • 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 Lava Exhibition Center
  • Entrance fee to Skogar Folk Museum and turf houses
  • Entrance with towel at Blue Lagoon
  • Traditional Icelandic dinner at local restaurant (day 7)
  • Northern Lights Academy program during 6 evenings
  • Combination of lectures, presentations, film, guided Northern Lights searches
  • 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

Not Included

  • International airfare & airport taxes
  • Lunch other than mentioned (day 37)
  • Dinners other than mentioned (day 7)
  • Personal insurance / personal items
  • $25 Service fee

Please note

  • Guaranteed departures
  • Large groups with maximum 45 persons / Small groups with maximum 16 persons
  • Tour starts: Arrival in Iceland on Sundays, Tuesdays, Thursdays or Fridays.
  • Guided bus tour starts on Mondays, Wednesdays, Fridays or Saturdays at 09:00
  • Tour ends: Saturdays, Mondays, Wednesdays or Thursdays around midnight for a last overnight in Reykjavik
  • Departure from Iceland is on Sundays, Tuesdays, Thursdays or Fridays
  • Bestseller tour for the past 5 years!

Tour Options

  • Large (45 persons) or small group (16 persons) departures

Day 1 WELCOME TO ICELAND - REYKJAVIK

Sunday, Tuesday, Thursday or Friday
Individual transfer by Flybus shuttle bus from Keflavik Airport to a bus stop near your accommodation in Reykjavik where you spend the night. We provide you with ideas how to explore Iceland's capital on your own. (50 km/31 mi)

Centerhotel Plaza****

Day 2 REYKJAVIK - BORGARFJÖRDUR SAGA VALLEY (B)

Monday, Wednesday, Friday or Saturday
At 09:00 meet your tour guide who shows the group the highlights of Iceland's exciting capital. Then we head west. Borgarfjördur is known as the Saga Valley because of its many important historical events. We get a chance to climb the Grabrok volcano crater and visit 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.

After dinner, we step into the hotel garden in search of the Northern Lights followed by a hot cup of chocolate or tea. (245 km/152 mi)

Icelandair Hotel Hamar ****

Day 3 SNAEFELLSNES PENINSULA - FJORD CRUISE (B, L)

Tuesday, Thursday, Saturday or Sunday
The Snaefellsnes Peninsula, the "peninsula of the snowy mountain" just 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. Travel to the charming fishing town of Stykkisholmur for a cruise in the Breidafjördur fjord.

After a light lunch a uniquely Icelandic "treat" awaits us at Bjarnarhöfn, where they make Hakarl - the fermented shark. Depending on road and weather conditions, we visit the fishing village of Grundarfjördur, 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 on 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. (250 km/155 mi)

Icelandair Hotel Hamar ****

Day 4 GOLDEN CIRCLE - GEOTHERMAL AREA - ICELANDIC HORSES (B)

Wednesday, Friday, Sunday or Monday
Today we travel along the Hvalfjördur fjord. The first stop is at an Icelandic wool outlet store, just to see what they do with all those sheep!

Continue inland to Thingvellir 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 to Gullfoss, a double waterfall that tumbles 34 meters into the Hvita River, attracting 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. (220 km/136 mi)

Fosshotel Hekla****

Day 5 SOUTH ICELAND - EYJAFJALLAJÖKULL VOLCANO (B)

Thursday, Saturday, Monday or Tuesday
Today we travel along the South coast. At the Lava Exhibition Center we learn about geology and active volcanoes. Further east we visit one of Iceland's finest Folk Museums. The Skogar Museum contains an outstanding collection of farm and domestic artifacts from Iceland's past and several turf-built houses.

Nearby is Skogafoss 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 Kirkjubaejarklaustur in the Vatnajökull National Park region, located in complete darkness and ideal for Northern Lights search. (220 km/136 mi)

Fosshotel Nupar ***

Day 6 SKAFTAFELL NATIONAL PARK - VATNAJÖKULL GLACIER (B)

Friday, Sunday, Tuesday or Wednesday
Today's program is all about glaciers, ice and icebergs. We travel to Jökulsarlon, 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.(280 km/174 mi)

New: Optional Ice Cave Tour offered between November 15 and March 15

Experience a spectacular crystal ice cave in Europe's largest glacier, Vatnajökull. It is like standing under a frozen blue ocean or in a frozen cathedral surrounded by millions of shades of blue. Deep under Iceland's massive Vatnajökull glacier, beautiful caves of ice are formed by rivers of melt water during the summer time. Too dangerous to visit in the spring and summer due to a threat of collapse, cold winter temperatures strengthen the ice and make exploration possible and safe to visit between November 15th and March 15th (subject to change).

The tour takes about 2,5 hours in total - about 30 minute drive by 4x4 vehicle from the Jökulsarlon glacier lagoon and 5-15 minutes hike (one-way). You spend about one hour inside the ice cave. You need good hiking boots, warm clothing that keeps you dry from the dripping water in the ice cave. Minimum age is 10 years old. The ice cave tour can only be booked on day 2 of Northern Lights Exploration tour. You will have to fill in and sign an order form, once done a cancellation is not possible. Ice cave bookings have to be finalized with the guide by dinner time on day 2 of the tour. Bookings afterwards cannot be accommodated due to limited space.

The price is ISK 23.000 (about EUR 210) per person; subject to change. Payment is due with the ice cave tour operator on day 6 in Icelandic Krona – cash only! The ice cave explorers meet their local guide at the glacier lagoon at 14:00 and will be brought back to the hotel after the ice cave tour, while the rest of the group continues the official tour program. The ice cave explorers will miss out on some of the official tour program, as there is not time for everything, but the stop and visit at the Jökulsarlon glacier lagoon is included for all group members.

Fosshotel Nupar ***

Day 7 SOUTH SHORE - REYKJAVIK - BLUE LAGOON (B, D)

Saturday, Monday, Wednesday or Thursday
From Kirkjubaejarklaustur we head across the Eldhraun lava field to the village of Vik, 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 a local retaurant, we go on one last nocturnal tour to seek more Northern Lights. Around midnight we reach Reykjavik for one last night. (370 km/230 mi)

Centerhotel Plaza****

Day 8 DEPARTURE REYKJAVIK (B)

Sunday, Tuesday, Thursday or Friday
Individual transfer by Flybus airport shuttle from your accommodation in Reykjavik to Keflavik Airport. (50 km/31 mi)

Note that there is limited day light, about 5-6 hours, for departures mid November to End of January. The shortest day light in Iceland is on the 21st of December, about 4 hours.

Daily driving: Total mileage without airport transfer is about 1.585 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.

Accommodations:
Reykjavik: Centerhotel Plaza for first and last night for Sunday-Sunday and Tuesday-Tuesday tours
Reykjavik: Fosshotel Raudara for first and last night for Friday-Friday tours
Reykjavik: Fosshotel Lind for first and last night for Thursday-Thursday tours
West Iceland: Icelandair Hotel Hamar (2 nights)
South Iceland: Fosshotel Hekla (1 night)
Vatnajökull Region: Fosshotel Núpar near Kirkjubæjarklaustur (2 nights)

Note that the hotel list is subject to change!

Itineraries may be subject to change at short notice during severe weather conditions and certain outdoor activities/day trips may be cancelled during the winter season in Iceland. In these rare cases, where situations of force majeure apply, excursions/activities cannot be refunded but the local guides will try their best to find reasonable alternatives where and whenever possible.

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 maximise 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.

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