Northern Lights Exploration: Regular Group Touring

Touring + nightly Northern Lights activities
8 days
Oct - Apr
Itinerary
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Experience the best of Iceland’s winter! This tour heads into the countryside of west and southeast Iceland, to explore the regions from Snæfellsnes Peninsula to Vatnajökull Glacier, as you search for the Aurora Borealis away from the big city lights. This great tour maximises your chances of seeing the fabled lights, with a special Northern Lights programme of 6 evenings of presentations, lectures and guided searches.  

Day 1 Welcome To Iceland
Transfer by coach from Keflavik airport to your accommodation in Reykjavík, where you'll spend the night. Free time to explore Iceland's capital at your own pace. 
The city centre is a small area characterised by eclectic and colourful houses, good shopping and also dining. As it has recently established itself as a haven for food lovers, there are numerous restaurants taking advantage of the abundance of local seafood, meat and game.

Reykjavik has many museums including the National Museum displaying artefacts from the first settlement to the modern age, giving an excellent overview of Iceland’s history and culture, the Reykjavik 871+2 Settlement Museum, an archaeological museum based around a 10thC Viking longhouse unearthed in 2001, the Reykjavik Art Museum and the National Gallery.

Day 2: Reykjavik City Tour, Borgarfjörður Saga Valley and Hraunfossar & Barnafoss Waterfalls
Meet your tour guide and fellow travellers at 09:00hrs and start with a Reykjavík city tour, to see some of the capital's highlights. Then the tour heads west. The Borgarfjörður valley is known as the Saga valley of west Iceland, because many important historical events took place there. You'll have the chance to climb Grábrók volcano crater, then take the chill off at Deildartunguhver, Europe's most powerful hot springs, which produce 180 litres per second of nearly-boiling water, at 97°C.
Nearby is Hraunfossar, a series of waterfalls pouring from beneath a 1 kilometer wide lava field, forming countless creeks and cascades, small and big streaming, out of the lava.  From here, a track leads upstream to Barnafoss (the 'Children’s Falls'), with a footbridge you can cross for great views of the water, churning violently as it channels through the ravine below.

You'll spend two nights in Borganes, West Iceland. The afternoon includes a Northern Lights lecture and after dinner, step out into the hotel's gardens in search of the Aurora Borealis, followed by a hot chocolate or tea.

Day 3: Snæfellsnes Peninsula & Fjord Cruise
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. You'll travel to the charming fishing town of Stykkishólmur for a cruise on the Breiðafjörður fjord. 


After a light lunch a uniquely Icelandic 'treat' awaits you at Bjarnarhöfn, where they make Hákarl (fermented shark). Then, depending on weather conditions, we hope to visit Grundafjordur fishing village, 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. During the return to Borganes, your guide has some helpful hints about how to best photograph the Aurora. Once darkness falls, perhaps enjoy soaking in the hotel's outdoor hot tubs, while you gaze up at the arctic night skies.

Day 4: Golden Circle, Geothermal Taste & Icelandic Horses
Travel along the scenic shores of Hvalfjörður fjord, then i
nland to Thingvellir National Park and UNESCO World Heritage Site. As we take the 'Golden Circle' route, see steam rising from Geysir geothermal fields with its various hot springs and bubbling pools. The area includes the original geyser, now dormant, but replaced by Strokkur (The 'Churn'), which erupts regularly at 5-10 minute intervals.

Upon arrival, the chef of Restaurant Geysir takes us to the geothermal area, to taste freshly-baked hot spring bread, served with Icelandic butter, geothermally-boiled eggs and herring. This meal is best enjoyed served with a small glass of very cold Geysir Schnapps! Continue to Gullfoss (the 'Golden Falls'), a double waterfall that tumbles 34 metres into the Hvítá River. In the afternoon, you'll visit some stables to learn about the history and special qualities of the Icelandic horse, then on to a geothermal greenhouse- Iceland relies heavily on geothermal energy, and a huge amount of food is grown in large heated greenhouses- before reaching your accommodation in South Iceland. Tonight, step into the darkness and search for the elusive Northern Lights, amidst the peace and stillness of rural Iceland.

Day 5: Natural Wonders Of South Iceland & Eyjafjallajökull Volcano
Travel further along the south coast, and stop at Eyjafjallajökull Information Centre, to learn about living next to a glacier and active volcano. Further east, we visit one of Iceland's finest folk musuems, with an outstanding collection of farm and domestic artefacts typical of Iceland’s past, along with several turf-roofed houses. Nearby is Skógafoss waterfall, at 60 metres high one of the country's most impressive waterfalls. In the afternoon, we take a stroll along the bird cliffs at Reynisfjara in south Iceland. Spend two nights near Kirkjubaejarklaustur in Vatnajökull National Park, next to Europe’s largest glacier. If the Aurora is visible, it will be picture perfect!

Day 6: Skaftafell National Park & Vatnajökull Glacier and Optional Ice Cave Tour
Today's itinerary is all glaciers, ice and icebergs. Travel to Jokulsarlon, a glacial lagoon filled with icebergs. There is plenty of free time to explore the extraordinary sights. You may even see seals swimming in arctic waters and you can walk on the black sandy beach where large icebergs get stranded. Afternoon visit to the tiny turf church at Hof and time at Europe's largest National Park, Vatnajökull. With Iceland's highest mountains and Europe's largest glacier, it has an area of 12,000 square kilometres. 

Or, this afternoon, you can instead take a optional Ice Cave tour, offered between November 15th and March 15th only. 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. The tour takes about 2.5 hours in total - about a 30 minute drive by 4WD vehicle from the Jökulsárlón glacier lagoon, then a 5-15 minutes hike, each way. You spend about one hour inside the ice cave before the return hike and drive. The ice cave tour can only be booked via your tour guide, who will discuss this with your group on Day 2; the cost is around  ISK 23 000 which is payable directly to the glacier hike company on Day 6 in Icelandic Krona - cash only. The ice cave explorers meet the local guide at the glacier lagoon at 14:00 for the ice cave tour, and then return to the hotel afterwards, whilst the remainder of the group continue the itinerary above.  Tonight enjoy a Northern Lights film presentation before your last chances to perhaps see the Northern Lights shimmer and dance across the night sky.

Day 7:  South Shore, Lava Beaches, Coastal Villages & Blue Lagoon
Today we cross Eldhraun lava fields to Vik's impressive black lava beaches, high bird cliffs and pounding waves. Further west, we reach the high and narrow Seljalandsfoss waterfall, plunging from the mountain. There is a trail that goes behind the falling water and offers some interesting views - provided you don't mind getting a bit wet!  Afternoon arrival in Reykjavik, where you will have free time to explore the capital at your own pace. In the evening, travel over lava fileds to the famous Blue Lagoon, where you can enjoy a saok in the warm, aquamarine waters. Then enjoy a traditional Icelandic farewell dinner in a local restaurant in Grindavik or
Sandgerði with one last nocturnal tour to seek the Aurora Borealis. We return to Reykjavik at around midnight.

Day 8: Departure 
Coach transfer from your accommodation in Reykjavík to Keflavík airport.

Regular Group Size departures 2017: 
October 01, 06 (on request), 13 (on request),15 (on request), 20 (on request), 27 and 29
November 03, 10, 12, 17, 24 and 26
December 01 and 03

Regular Group Size departures 2018: 
January 05, 07, 12, 19, 21 and 26
February 02, 04, 09, 16, 18 and 23
March 02, 04, 09, 16, 18, 23 and 30
April 01, 06 and 08

Group size maximum 45 persons

Also offered as a Small Group tour with slightly different departure dates and pricing -  see Northern Lights Exploration Small Group Touring

Includes: Arrival & departure airport coach transfers; fully escorted 6 day coach tour with English-speaking guide;7 nights' accommodation in 3-star hotels and country guesthouses including daily breakfast; cruise on Breiðafjörður fjord including lunch; visit to traditional shark curing farm; hot spring tasting with geothermally-cooked bread and eggs; visit to Icelandic horse stables & geothermal greenhouse; visit with multimedia presentation at Eyjafjallajökull Volcano Information Center; entrance fee to Skógar Folk Museum and Turf Houses; entrance with towel and bathing at Blue Lagoon; traditional Icelandic dinner in a local restaurant in Grindavik or Sandgerði; Northern Lights programme with 6 evenings of lectures, presentations, guided searches and midnight refreshments.

Accommodation is in a mixture of guesthouses, small hotels and farmstays with private facilities at the following hotels (or similar): Reykjavik: Centerhotel Plaza for first and last night, West Iceland: Icelandair Hotel Hamar (2 nights), south Iceland: Fosshotel Hekla (1 night), Vatnajökull Region: Fosshotel Nupar (2 nights)

Excludes: optional meal package whilst at the countryside hotels (purchased locally only), optional ice cave tour (purchased locally only)

                     Nordic Travel is 100% Australian owned & operated

Price per person FROM:
Double AUD$ 3011.00
Single AUD$ 3814.00

Includes: Arrival & departure airport coach transfers; fully escorted 6 day coach tour with English-speaking guide;7 nights' accommodation in 3-star hotels and country guesthouses including daily breakfast; cruise on Breiðafjörður fjord including lunch; visit to traditional shark curing farm; hot spring tasting with geothermally-cooked bread and eggs; visit to Icelandic horse stables & geothermal greenhouse; visit with multimedia presentation at Eyjafjallajökull Volcano Information Center; entrance fee to Skógar Folk Museum and Turf Houses; entrance with towel and bathing at Blue Lagoon; traditional Icelandic dinner at Northern Light Inn; Northern Lights programme with 6 evenings of lectures, presentations, guided searches and midnight refreshments.

The prices shown are for the regular group size- please enquire for the prices for the small group size. Please note the price may vary according to your dates of travel.

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