22 Jan Northern Lights Exploration – Iceland – 7 Nights
Day 1: Welcome to Iceland (50 km/31 mls)
Transfer from Keflavik Airport to your accommodation in Reykjavík where you spend the night. Free at leisure to explore Iceland’s capital on your own.
Day 2: Reykjavik City Tour & Borgarfjörður Saga Valley (245 km/152 mls)
After breakfast meet your tour guide who will show your 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 known as “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 mountains 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. We move on 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: Natural Wonders of 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, Reykjavik & 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 with one last nocturnal tour to seek more Northern Lights. Around midnight we reach Reykjavík for one last night.
Day 8: Depart Home (50 km/31 mls)
Individual transfer from your accommodation in Reykjavík to Keflavík Airport.
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 other days.