North Iceland and the Aurora

Experience the Arctic North of Iceland.
8 days
Oct, Nov, Feb & Mar
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This tour takes you on an exploration of west and north Iceland, known for its winter landscapes and beautiful, natural treasures. Highlights include visits to Siglufjordur, Akureyri, and Lake Myvatn;  enjoy a relaxing visit to the Mývatn Nature Baths, a snowshoe walk in a lava labyrinth, climbing a volcano crater, and travelling along scenic fjord routes, where feel you can almost touch the Arctic Circle. Each evening search for the Northern Lights - presentations, lectures, film and guided evening walks at locations that are likely to offer a glimpse of the Northern Lights are all included.

Day 1  Welcome to Iceland: Reykjavik
Transfer by coach from Keflavik Airport to your accommodation in Reykjavík, where you spend the night. The city centre is a small area characterised by eclectic and colourful houses, good shopping, dining and drinking. Reykjavík has recently established itself as a haven for food lovers.  Many award winning chefs create delicious Icelandic cuisine that is characterized by an imaginative use of local ingredients such as fresh seafood, organic lamb and wild game.

Reykjavik has many wonderful 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 10th-century Viking longhouse unearthed in 2001, the Reykjavik Art Museum and the National Gallery.

Day 2 Reykjavik - Akureyri: Volcano Crater, Seals, Fjords & Mountains
At 09:00 meet your guide and fellow travellers, then depart Reykjavik and travel west, passing the town of Borgarnes, with a stop to climb the perfectly shaped and well preserved, Grábrók volcano crater, walking up to the rim. 

In the afternoon we 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 Icelandic architecture. The timbers of the church were selected from the driftwood coming ashore along the Skagafjörður peninsula, and the churchyard gate with its bells is said to have been here since Christianity was adopted in Iceland, around the year 1000. Then we travel past scenic fjord landscapes and over several challenging mountain passes, until we reach Akureyri, the capital of North Iceland. In the evening, if conditions are favourable, we take a short walk to search for the Northern Lights. Overnight in Akureyri.

Day 3 Akureyri - Lake Myvatn: Northern Capital, Christmas Garden and Godafoss Waterfall
Akureyri sits on the north coast under snowcapped peaks at the head of Iceland’s longest fjord, where signs of the earth’s power – glaciers, volcanoes, lava fields and stacks of basalt – are all around. This relaxed, small city is an easy-going place. Perhaps visit the Botanic Gardens, the Akureyri Museum with its well designed exhibitions, beautiful museum garden and 19th century church, or stroll Kaupvangsstræti, also known as 'Arts Alley', which curves through the middle of Akureyri and is the city's centre of cultural life.

This afternoon, we stop at the Christmas Garden, a small museum and shop where there are countless items connected to the festive season from all parts of the world. Then on to Goðafoss, the waterfalls of the Gods,. and then to Lake Myvatn where we will spend the next 3 nights. Tonight enjoy an evening lecture about the Aurora, and then step outside to start your search for them, in the dark arctic night skies!

Day 4 Explore Lake Myvatn and Myvatn Nature Baths
Lake Mývatn is known for its geological wonders and active bird life, and for recording Iceland's coldest winter temperatures - ideal Aurora Borealis conditions. This morning, we start by taking an easy walk through the bizarre lava formations and landscapes of this unique region, to enjoy great views of the lake, birdlife and trees. 

In the afternoon, we travel to the hot springs area of Námaskarð, with bubbling mud pools and steaming solfataras, then enjoy a taste of traditional Icelandic dark bread, baked underground using geothermal heat. After an early dinner, take a dip in the warm waters of the Mývatn Nature Baths. Don't forget to keep an eye out for the Northern Lights - you won't believe how wonderful the sensation of lying back in warm water whilst gazing up to scan the skies can be! 2nd overnight at Lake Myvatn.

Day 5  Lava Formations of Dimmuborgir, Search For The Trolls & Snow Adventures
This morning we go for a fun snowshoe trip (or a hike if there is not enough snow) through the lava formations of Dimmuborgir, the 'dark castles', twisted towers of coagulated rock which have breached the earth’s surface to form a field of giant pillars and arches. These dramatic structures are not known to exist anywhere else in the world on dry land, and you might get a glimpse of the trolls who are said to live here...... 

The afternoon is free - explore the many pseudo craters or walk along the lake shores, or  just relax and enjoy the wonderful light of a northern winter afternoon. Or you can join an optional cross-country ski or snowmobile excursion (weather permitting). In the evening, enjoy a video presentation about the Northern Lights, and after dinner don't forget to once more keep an eye out for the fabled Aurora. 3rd overnight at Lake Myvatn

Day 6 Myvatn - Siglufjordur: Iceland's longest fjord and Northernmost Town
We start the day with a visit to the Mývatn bird museum.  A well renowned destination for bird watchers, Lake Mývatn has breeding populations of some rare birds, including Barrow´s Goldeneye and at the museum you can see the displays of varied birdlife, and learn about the different species. Then we travel from Akureyri to Dalvik and make a stop at a local brewery to taste one of Iceland's fantastic micro beers. 

Then 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 run into the peninsula's towering glaciers, deep valleys and alpine mountains to hide from the ever present midnight sun! These spectacular fjord landscapes take you past several small and charming fishing villages. Along the way, we stop at a deserted fjord valley that even most Icelanders have not seen. In the afternoon, we reach Siglufjordur, the herring capital of the North Atlantic, and visit the renowned Herring Era Museum. Herring fishing was one of the main forces shaping modern Icelandic society, and the museum cleverly showcases the history and impact of fishing, and life in the north. Overnight in Siglufjordur.

Day 7 Siglufjordur - Reykjavik: History, Design & Horses In Skagafjörður
We travel back west over the mountains today to Skagafjörður, known as the valley of horses, and home to many ancient farms. Enjoy a guided tour through the only tannery in Europe which makes fish leather, a fine, delicate leather that is highly prized. In the afternoon we visit the folk museum and turf farm at Glaumbær; here the buildings of the farm date from different periods in the 18th and 19th centuries, when turf construction was widely used due to a shortage of timber. We then continue south, with a stop for coffee & cake at a horse stables, where we will learn about the history and special gaits of the Icelandic horse and meet these charming creatures. Then we continue back to Reykjavík to arrive in the evening. Overnight in Reykjavik.

Day 8  Reykjavik Departure 
Transfer by coach from your hotel to Keflavík Airport and end of arrangements.

Departures 2018: 06, 13, 20, 27 February;  06, 13, 20, 27 March; 09 and 23 October; 06 and 20 November

Departures 2019: 12 and 26 February; 12 and 26 March

Includes: Arrival & departure airport/hotel coach transfers; 7 nights 3 star hotel accommodation in standard rooms all with private facilities; daily breakfast; 2 light lunches; 3 dinners; visit to natural history & seal museum; stables visit with coffee & cake; visit to local micro beer brewery; hot steam baked bread tasting; entry to 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;  Northern Lights programme with a combination of lectures, presentations, film and guided searches for the Northern Lights in the countryside. 

Excludes: Optional cross country ski or snowmobile tour Day 5, purchased locally only.

Group size: maximum 16 persons.

Accommodation is in comfortable tourist-class hotels, in rooms with private shower and toilet in the following hotels (or similar): Reykjavík Keahotel Reykjavik Lights (first and last night); Siglufjörður New Hotel Siglo (1 night); Mývatn Hotel Sel-Mývatn (3 nights); Akureyri Hotel Kea (1 night).

Nordic Travel is 100% Australian owned and operated

Price per person FROM:
Double AUD$ 5440.00
Single AUD$ 6361.00
 
Includes: Arrival & departure airport/hotel coach transfers; 7 nights 3 star hotel accommodation in standard rooms all with private facilities; daily breakfast; 2 light lunches; 3 dinners; visit to natural history & seal museum; stables visit with coffee & cake; visit to local micro beer brewery; hot steam baked bread tasting; entry to 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; Northern Lights programme with a combination of lectures, presentations, film and guided searches for the Northern Lights in the countryside. 
 
The prices shown here are for winter October 2017 - April 2018.

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