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Northern Lights Discovery

15 days
14 nights

Rates

Dates

Rates:

Per person in USD:

$ 7,225.00 (double occupancy)
$ 8,485.00 (single occupancy)

*Triple room on request

 

Dates:

Oct 03, 2017 - Oct 17, 2017 
Oct 17, 2017 - Oct 31, 2017 
Oct 31, 2017 - Nov 14, 2017 
Nov 14, 2017 - Nov 28, 2017 
Jan 30, 2018 - Feb 13, 2018 
Feb 06, 2018 - Feb 20, 2018 
Feb 13, 2018 - Feb 27, 2018 
Feb 20, 2018 - Mar 06, 2018 
Feb 27, 2018 - Mar 13, 2018 
Mar 06, 2018 - Mar 20, 2018 
Mar 13, 2018 - Mar 27, 2018 
Mar 20, 2018 - Apr 03, 2018 

Hotels:

Accommodation is at simple tourist-class hotels as below (subject to change):
Day 1: Fosshótel Lind, Reykjavík 
Day 2+3: Fosshótel Reykholt, West Iceland
Day 4: Hotel Hekla or Hotel Eldhestar, South Iceland
Day 5+6: Hotel Laki near Kirkjubæjarklaustur, Vatnajökull region
Day 7+8: Fosshótel Lind, Reykjavík 
Day 9: Hotel Kea (4 star) in Akureyri, North Iceland
Day 10+11+12: Hotel Kea Gigur at lake Mývatn (rather small rooms)
Day 13: Hotel Kea (4 star) in Akureyri, North Iceland
Day 14: Kea Hotel Björk or Hotel Reykjavik Lights or similar Reykjavik

Included:

  • Arrival & departure airport transfer by FLYBUS Plus shuttle (no guide)
  • Fully escorted 12-day bus tour with an English-speaking guide as per program
  • 14-nights accommodation as listed below including breakfast
  • 3x light lunch, 4x dinner, and 8x midnight refreshments
  • Fjord Cruise on Breiðafjörður fjord and lunch in Stykkishólmur
  • 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
  • Visit to natural history & seal museum
  • Visit to herring museum and local micro beer brewery
  • Hot steam baked bread tasting in North Iceland
  • Entrance with towel at Mývatn Nature Baths
  • Snowshoe hike (or hike if no snow) in lava labyrinth
  • Visit to Mývatn bird museum
  • Visit to Christmas house & garden near Akureyri
  • Visit to Víðimýri turf church, Glaumbær folk museum & turf farm and tannery in Skagafjörður
  • Horse show, coffee & cake at local horse farm
  • Northern Lights fjord cruise from Reykjavik (in case of cancellation, tour is replaced by a dinner at Kopar Restaurant in Reykjavík)
  • Northern Lights program during 12 evenings with a combination of lectures, presentations, film and guided searches for the Northern Lights
  • Use of winter & Northern Lights Explorer equipment: simple non-slip snow & ice grippers spikes for shoes and a flashlight that is helpful when walking in the dark and operating your photo camera at night

Highlights & Experience:

NORTHERN LIGHTS:
This program includes during 12 evenings a combination of presentations, lectures, film and guided evening walks or excursions at spots that are likely to offer a glimpse of the Aurora Borealis – the Northern Lights. All hotels outside Reykjavík and Akureyri offer a Northern Lights  wake up call for guests that register for that special service at the hotel reception. 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 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 will make you comfortable while you patiently await this truly outstanding light show. For the best photos we recommend using a tripod.  

Itinerary:

 

This trip to Iceland combines two popular winter programs: the Northern Lights Exploration and the North Iceland Aurora Challenge  witth a Northern Lights Fjord cruise in Reykjavik.

During the first 7 days, the Northern Lights Exploration brings you to the best nature sites of West and South Iceland. You explore Reykjavik, the capital of Iceland, the Snæfellsnes peninsula, and the Borgarfjörður Saga valley in West Iceland, the Golden Circle route, and the South coast. You will travel to the Vatnajökull National Park with Europe's largest glacier and a fascinating glacial lagoon with floating icebergs. Last but not least you will get to relax at the famous Blue Lagoon on the Reykjanes peninsula.


The North Iceland Aurora Challenge takes you for 6 days a bit off-the-beaten-paths while discovering Northwest Iceland, known for seals, horses, Icelandic sagas, turf built farms and churches, mountains, and fjords. You will stay in Akureyri, the capital of North Iceland and at lake Mývatn, known for its geological wonders and abundant bird life. We travel all the way to Iceland's northernmost town where you can almost touch the Arctic circle.

This tour program includes a lot of cultural experiences such as a visit to a shark farmer, a herring museum, a geothermal greenhouse, a tannery, a micro beer brewery, horse stables, folk museums, the Eyjafjallajökull Information Center, a turf farm, turf churches, a seal and natural history museum, the Christmas house and garden, but also a Brennivin schnapps and hot spring baked bread tasting. The Northern Lights Discovery is an Icelandic winter adventure that includes several activities such as a fjord cruise in West Iceland, a snowshoe hike in a lava labyrinth, and bathing in both the geothermal Mývatn Nature Baths, and the amazing Blue Lagoon.

During 12 evenings we offer a combination of lectures, presentations, films, and guided Northern Lights searches to maximize the chances of seeing the elusive Northern Lights. The beautiful thing is that Northern Lights are always different. Sometimes they come in spirals and at other times as ribbons or bands, always varying in speed, color, and intensity. Seeing the Northern Lights is simply a wonderful experience and one that will stay with you for a lifetime while you can discover the best of nature and culture in the West, South, and North Iceland.

Day 1  : WELCOME TO ICELAND (50 km/31 mls)

Welcome! Your tour of Iceland starts today. Individual transfers will take place by a Flybus shuttle from Keflavik Airport to your accommodation in Reykjavík where you will spend the night. We will provide you with some ideas on how to explore Iceland's capital on your own. 

Day 2  : REYKJAVIK CITY TOUR & BORGARFJÖRÐUR SAGA VALLEY (152 mi)

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 (155 mi)

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 conditions, 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 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.

Day 4  : GOLDEN CIRCLE, GEOTHERMAL TASTE & ICELANDIC HORSES (136 mi)

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 travelers 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. Our first stop is at the Eyjafjallajökull Information Center where you 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 typical of Iceland’s past, as well as 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 will take a stroll on the black lava beach and along bird cliffs at Reynisfjara beach in South Iceland. We will spend 2 nights near Kirkjubæjarklaustur in the Vatnajökull National Park region, located in complete darkness and ideal for a 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 glacial lagoon filled with floating icebergs. We explore this extraordinary site and perhaps see some 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. The Vatnajökull National Park is about 12,000 square kilometers, and the largest National Park in Europe. In this area we find Iceland’s highest mountains, an alpine environment, and Europe's largest glacier. Tonight you can enjoy a movie presentation about Northern Lights as a 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 on one more chance to see the Northern Lights shimmering and dancing across the night sky. 

Day 7  : SOUTH SHORE, REYKJAVÍK & BLUE LAGOON (370 km/230 mls)

From Kirkjubæjarklaustur, we will head across the Laki 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 over the mountain. There‘s a trail that goes behind the fall which is interesting... If you're prepared to get wet! In the afternoon you will return to Reykjavik where you will get about 2 hours of leisure time to explore Iceland's capital on your own, visit museums, do some shopping, or simply rest after all this touring. In the evening you get to soak in the famous Blue Lagoon, followed by a traditional 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 where you will stay for 2 nights.

Day 8  : REYKJAVIK LEISURE DAY & NORTHERN LIGHTS FJORD CRUISE

Enjoy a leisure day today for exploring Iceland's capital, visiting museums, doing some shopping, enjoying spa treatments, or going on an optional whale watching tour. On schedule for tonight is a complimentary Northern Lights hunt by boat to escape from the city lights. A Northern Lights tour on the sea is an amazing experience. We sail away from the coastline of Reykjavik and look out for the aurora borealis on the North-Atlantic ocean by having beautiful mountains and the city lights in the background which is something you won't forget. The tour takes 2.5 - 3 hours, departing from Reykjavik's old harbour by viewing the beautiful coastline of Iceland's capital on the way out to search for the Northern Lights. Please note that if the tour is cancelled due to weather conditions, no refund is available but you can use the tour voucher for dinner at Kopar Restaurant at the harbour.

Day 9  : VOLCANO CRATER, SEALS, FJORDS & MOUNTAINS (400 km/248 mls)

At 9:00am, you will meet your second tour guide and travel west, passing the town of Borgarnes and climbing the Grábrók volcano crater. In the afternoon we will visit a natural history & seal museum in a small fishing village and stroll around the local harbour. Further north we stop at the turf church of Víðimýri which has been extensively restored to its original form and is widely considered one of the purest and most beautiful examples of traditional architecture. The timbers of the church were selected from the driftwood coming ashore along the Skagafjörður peninsula. The churchyard gate with its bells is situated exactly where it was originally built – which is said to have been since Christianity was adopted in Iceland, around the year 1000. Then we travel along a scenic fjord landscape and over several challenging mountain passes until we reach Akureyri, the capital of North Iceland. This charming town of 17,000 inhabitants offers many nice options for dinner which is on your own. In the evening, if conditions look good, we take a little walk into town to search for the Northern Lights.

Day 10  : ICELAND'S NORTHERNMOST TOWN (255 km/158 mls)

Today we drive along Eyjafjörður, Iceland's longest fjord which offers an amazing mountain panorama. The Tröllaskagi peninsula is named after the giant trolls, who according to Icelandic folktales, each spring ran into the peninsula's towering glaciers, deep valleys, and alpine mountains to hide from the ever present arctic sun. These spectacular fjord landscapes take you past several small and friendly fishing villages. Along the way, we stop at a deserted fjord valley that even most Icelanders have not seen yet. Our goal for today is Siglufjörður, Iceland’s northernmost town, known as the herring capital of the North Atlantic. In Siglufjörður we visit the herring museum that is the largest seafaring and industrial museum in the country. The museum is located in three buildings and tells the tale of hunting and processing these “silver darlings.” At the boathouse, ships and boats lie by the pier, as they did in the 1950s. In the museum the story of herring meal processing is told – this being known as the first heavy industry in Iceland. After we leave Siglufjörður, we go back to route 1 and head to lake Mývatn where we will stay for the next three nights. Along the way we stop at a local brewery and taste one of Iceland's many micro-beers. Lake Mývatn is known as a winter wonderland with Northern Lights. Join an evening lecture about Northern Lights and after dinner, don't miss the chance to step outside the hotel to search for the magical auroras. 

Day 11  : SEARCH FOR THE TROLLS & SNOW ADVENTURES (30 km/19 mls)

This morning we go for a snowshoe trip in a lava labyrinth (or a hike if there is no snow) through the lava formations of Dimmuborgir “the dark castles,” hoping to get a glimpse of the trolls who are said to live there. Good hiking boots, winter clothing, a hat, and gloves are required. Guidance, snowshoes and poles are included! Back at the hotel, enjoy some warm soup after your outdoor adventure. The afternoon is free at leisure to explore the many pseudo craters or walk along the lake shores. Or just relax and enjoy the wonderful light of a northern winter afternoon. 

In the afternoon you might join an optional tour on cross-country skis. The trail depends on the snow conditions and number of participants. Whether you are a beginner or experienced skier we find the right place to enjoy a true adventure in the winter wonderland by lake Mývatn. Winter clothing, a hat, and gloves are required. *Guidance, skis, shoes and poles are included! 

In the evening we take a relaxing soak at Mývatn Nature Baths that contains a unique blend of minerals, silicates and geothermal micro-organisms and whose warm soothing waters benefit both skin and spirit alike. This will get us revived to be ready to chase the elusive Northern Lights. 

Day 12  : EXPLORE LAKE MÝVATN (50 km/31 mls)

Lake Mývatn is known for its geological wonders and active bird life, but also for having Iceland's coldest temperatures. There is a busy day planned, and we take in as much around as weather and road conditions allow us - it's a winter adventure after all. In the morning we take an easy walk through the bizarre lava formations and landscape at Kálfaströnd followed by a walk around the Höfði peninsula. There you can enjoy a great view of the lake, bird life, and trees. A 2-course lunch is included today. In the afternoon we travel to the hot spring area of Námaskarð with bubbling mud pools and steaming solfataras. We have some time to take pictures and see the Mývatn Nature Baths where we taste traditional dark bread baked underground in the geothermal heat. In the evening enjoy a video presentation about Northern Lights as a part of the Northern Lights educational program. After a delicious dinner, join for a hot drink around an open fire and under the stars on the hotel terrace. Don't forget to keep an eye out for the Northern Lights. 

Day 13  : BIRDS, CHRISTMAS GARDEN & THE CAPITAL OF NORTH ICELAND (120 km/75 mls)

We start the day with a visit to the Mývatn bird museum, where the original owner, Mr. Sigurgeir had a passionate interest in Icelandic birds and today his museum has over 80 species, all in a well organized exhibit causing interest to people of all ages. Afterwards, we travel to an important spot in Iceland's history, Goðafoss, the waterfalls of the Gods. Next stop is the Christmas Garden, a small museum and shop where you find countless items connected to the festive season from all parts of the world. Of course, Icelandic Christmas traditions are given priority, such as legs of smoked lamb hanging from a beam and the decorative “leaf bread” in many patterns, as well as the Yuletide Lads and their parents, who play such an important role in the Icelandic Christmas celebrations. Quality handwork, crafted by many artists from all parts of the country deck the shelves, making this a place which appeals to all the family. We reach Akureyri around noon time. The afternoon is free at leisure to explore the capital of North Iceland on your own. There are some excellent local museums and a great geothermal swimming pool. Dinner on your own. Depending on the weather, there will be a short excursion into the darkness to hunt the Aurora Borealis. 

Day 14  : HISTORY, DESIGN & HORSES IN SKAGAFJÖRÐUR (420 km/261 mls)

We travel back west over the mountains to Skagafjörður, known as the valley of horses, and home to many ancient farms. We visit the folk museum and turf farm at Glaumbær. The buildings of the farm date from slightly different periods in the 18th & 19th centuries. This style of the turf construction was universal in rural areas of Iceland until about 1900, when it was gradually replaced mainly by reinforced concrete, which is typical in most contemporary Icelandic construction today. Extensive turf construction evolved in Iceland owing to the acute shortage of large trees. A turf building, in districts of moderate rainfall, can last up to a century. After the lunch break you will experience leather and tanning in Sauðárkrókur, in the only tannery in Europe which makes fish leather. Enjoy a guided tour of the actual tannery, where fish-skin is expertly processed to make high-quality leather and where the tannery’s products by outstanding designers and craftspeople are offered for sale. Fish leather from Atlantic Leather has caught the imagination of internationally-known fashion houses and brands such as Prada, Dior, and Nike. Later on we travel south and stop for coffee and cake at a horse farm, where we can also learn about the history and special gaits of the Icelandic horse. We will reach Reykjavík depending on weather and road conditions between 6:00pm and 8:00pm where you will stay one night in Iceland's capital.  

Day 15  : DEPARTURE HOME (50 km/31 mls)

Your amazing tour of Iceland ends here. Individual transfers by Flybus airport shuttle will bring you from your accommodation in Reykjavík to the Keflavík Airport. We hope you've enjoyed your time in Iceland!

Notes:

ALL DEPARTURES ARE GUARANTEED!
Arrival in Iceland on Fridays and guided bus tour starts on Saturdays at 09:00 
LANGUAGES:
English only
MEALS:
14x breakfast, 3x light lunch (day 3, 11 & 12) and 4x dinner (day 7, 10, 11 & 12)
GROUP SIZE:
Maximum group size: 16 persons
Important:
he Northern Lights Discovery Tour is a combination of two popular one-week holidays. During the first week you travel with the Northern Lights Exploration group with a maximum of 45 persons and on the second week you travel with the North Iceland Aurora Challenge group with a maximum of 30 persons. Most likely there is a different guide each week.
Daily driving:
Total mileage without airport transfer is about 2.925 km / 1.814 miles which is an average of 244 km (151miles) per day, about 3,5 hours per day will be spent on the bus. On some days the driving might be longer than on some other days.
Change of program:
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 the tour operatorwill try to find reasonable alternatives where and when ever possible, however no refund will be given.

EXTRA COSTS FOR DINNERS TO BE PAID AT THE HOTELS:
During the first week:
Fixed 2-course dinners with fish, meat or vegetarian main courses are available at the hotels starting at ISK 6.000 (about EUR 42) 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.
During the second week:
In Reykjavik, Siglufjörður and Akureyri, the dinner is on your own. The stay at Lake Mývatn includes 3x 3-course dinner and 2x 2-course lunch. If you have any special diet requests or allergies, please let us know at the moment of your booking. Lunch stops are made at small country restaurants or petrol station diners.