This new tour is designed to maximise the chances of seeing the Northern Lights which, according to NASA, will be at their peak in 2012/13 with the best displays for nearly 50 years. Iceland is situated under the Auroral Zone, commonly known as the Northern Lights belt which makes it one of the best locations for you to view these ethereal displays.
But this tour doesn't just stop at the Northern Lights, in fact they're just one facet of a myriad of incredible encounters you'll experience. From relaxing in the Blue Lagoon to climbing a volcano crater, and from tasting local cuisine to walking between tectonic plates - this holiday explores Mother Nature's most powerful and striking creations.
Day 1 - Arrival
Arrive Keflavik Airport. Airport bus to hotel (approx. 45 mins).
1 night REYKJAVIK - Fosshotel Lind (BB)
Day 2 - Reykajvik City tour & BorgarfjÅrÅur Saga Valley
Meet with your tour guide for Reykjavik city tour. Then northwards to an Icelandic wool outlet store before heading to the Borgarfjörður valley known as the Saga valley due to its many important historical events which took place there. Then a chance to climb the Grábrók crater (173 m a.s.l.) – not difficult. Then to Deildartunguhver, Europe’s most powerful hot spring which produces 180 litres per second at a temperature of 97°C. Then to nearby Hraunfossar, a series of waterfalls pouring from beneath a 1 km wide lava field. Barnafoss (‘children’s falls’) is nearby with its own tragic tale.
2 nights REYKHOLT – Fosshotel Reykholt (BB)
Day 3 - Snaefellsnes Peninsula & Fjord Cruise
The Snæfellsnes Peninsula is a rugged mountain chain that juts out into the Atlantic with the magnificent Snæfellsjökull glacier at its westermost point. You‘ll travel to the charming fishing town of Stykkisholmur for a lunch cruise in the Breiðafjörður with time to explore the sheltered harbour and town with its many old wooden houses. Then a uniquely Icelandic ‘treat’ awaits you at the little shark museum at Bjarnarhöfn where you can try the fermented shark! As you head back to Reykholt you’ll travel through lava fields and along the ocean where there are photo opportunities. En route there’ll be a stop at Borgarnes where you can either visit the excellent Settlement Centre Museum or bathe in the towns geothermal swimming pool. Once darkness falls you’ll be out and about chasing the Northern Lights and soaking in the hotel’s outdoor hot tubs.
Day 4 - The Golden Circle, Geothermal Taste & Icelandic Horses
Today you‘ll travel along the scenic shores of the Whale Fjord before turning inland to Thingvellir National Park (UNESCO) which was selected as the location of the country’s first parliament in 930 AD and, as such, is the oldest in the world. The rift between the European and North American tectonic plates, upon which Iceland sits, is clearly visible here – an ever widening chasm as the plates slowly pull apart about 2.5 cm per year. Then to magnificent Gullfoss, the queen of Iceland's waterfalls which is just 10 km from the world-famous Geysir geothermal area where hot springs are in abundance and Strokkur geyser (‘the Churn’) erupts to a height of around 20m about every 5-10 mins. The walking paths also lead past steaming vents ('fumaroles') and colourful, mineral-rich mud formations. At Geysir, the chef of the Restaurant Geysir will take you to the geothermal areas where you can 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. In the afternoon, you‘ll learn about the Icelandic horse and its history and special qualities, and also visit a geothermal greenhouse, before reaching your accommodation in South Iceland. Tonight step into the darkness and search for the elusive Northern Lights, best enjoyed from a comfortable hot tub in the garden of the hotel amidst the peace and stillness of rural Iceland.
1 night near SELFOSS - Hotel Hekla (BB)
Day 5 - Natural Wonders of South Iceland & EyjafjallajÅkull Volcano
Today you’ll head along the south coast where you’ll stop at the high but narrow Seljalandsfoss waterfall which plunges over the mountain. There’s also a path that goes behind the falls if you are prepared to get wet! Further east you‘ll stop at the Eyjafjallajökull Information Centre to learn about living next to a glacier and active volcano. Then to Skógafoss waterfall , 60 m high and one of Iceland’s most impressive. This is near one of Iceland's finest folk museums which contains an outstanding collection of farm and domestic artifacts typical of Iceland’s past, as well turf-built houses. Then spend two nights in Vatnajökull National Park, next to Europe’s largest glacier. Evening bus tour to Jökulsárlón glacial lagoon. If the Northern Lights are visible it will be picture perfect!
2 nights FREYSNES – Fosshotel Skaftafell (BB)
Day 6 - Skaftafell National Park & Vatnajökull Glacier
Today’s program is about glaciers, ice and icebergs. You‘ll visit the tiny turf church at Hof and continue to amazing Jökulsárlón glacial lagoon filled with floating icebergs. Plenty of free time to enjoy and explore the extraordinary sights, perhaps see seals swimming in the arctic waters. You can also walk on the black sandy beach where large icebergs become stranded. You‘ll have the afternoon at the park, which has Iceland’s highest mountains, an alpine environment, and Europe's largest glacier. The Vatnajökull National Park is about 12,000 square kilometers and the largest National Park in Europe. Tonight enjoy a video 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 miss out one more chance of seeing the Northern Lights shimmer and dance across the night sky.
Day 7 - South Shore, Lava Beaches, Coastal Villages & the Blue Lagoon
As you head back west, you‘ll stop at Kirkjubæjarklaustur to see basalt columns known as the Kirkjugólf (church floor). These are the tops of basalt columns and look like a tiled floor- similar to the Giant’s Causeway in Ireland. Next stop is at the pretty Systrafoss waterfall before continuing to the black sand beaches near Vík where even in winter birds nest in the high cliffs. You‘ll visit the coastal villages in South Iceland many with old wooden houses and fascinating coastal scenery. You’ll return to Reykjavik for one last night. In the evening you‘ll get to soak in the famous Blue Lagoon followed by a traditional Icelandic dinner at the Northern Light Inn and followed by one last nocturnal tour to seek more Northern Lights.
1 night REYKJAVIK - Fosshotel Lind (BB)
Day 8 - Departure
Airport bus from hotel for return flight to U.K.
Departure Days: Weekly departures Sunday to Sunday or Friday to Friday from London Heathrow Airport
Departure Dates: 29 September 2013 to 6 April 2014
Duration: 7 nights
03 November 2013 = On Request
10 November 2013 = Fully Booked
15 November 2013 = Fully Booked
24 November 2013 = On Request
29 November 2013 = On Request
20 January 2014 = Fully Booked
23 February 2014 - Fully booked
28 February 2014 = Fully Booked
N.B. Call for alternative airports available for departure.
Conveniently situated, this friendly hotel is less than a minutes walk from the city's main shopping street and one of its main bus stations, and only a short stroll from the Reykjavik Municipal Art Museum. All rooms have shower/wc, wireless internet available, flat screen TV with an inbuilt DVD player, radio and phone. Ensure you take advantage of the free continental breakfast before you embark upon the day's activities!
This hotel is situated beautifully in the mountains. All rooms are ensuite and equipped with cable television, wireless and all rooms have lovely views which overlook the garden or mountains. For extra indulgence additional amenities include spa services, a library, restaurant and a bar and lounge area whch provide the perfect arena to unwind after a day of exploring Iceland's magnificent natural views and heritage. For the best way to kick start your day ensure you take advantage of the complimentary breakfast!
The profile of this hotel is boosted by it's outstanding location which is opposite no other than Mt. Helka - one of Iceland's most active Volcanoes. Hotel Hekla provides everything you could wish for in a hotel; comfortable rooms equipped with all amenities, including a shower and wireless internet, and the cosy fireplace in the lobby is the perfect place to unwind over a few drinks. Alternatively why not take a dip inside one of the hotel's outdoor hot tubs? If you're fortunate, you might be lucky enough to relax in the hot tub while the Northern Lights send ripples in the nightsky above.
Hotel Skaftafell ***
This family owned and run hotel is situated in front of Svinafellsjökull, one of Iceland´s most impressive glaciers. In front, a vast glacial outwash plain stretches to the sea 20 kms away. All 53 rooms have sh/wc, TV and telephone. Full licensed restaurant, and ensure you don't miss the complimentary breakfast before you embark upon your day of exploration!