This holiday is packed full of experiences. There is lots of tasting (most of it pleasant!), plenty of Icelandic culture (past and present), and lots and lots about the Northern Lights.
Designed to maximise your chances of seeing the Northern Lights, hotels are specifically chosen for their remote location away from light pollution and proximity to Iceland’s weird and wonderful natural landscapes.
Day 1 - Arrival
Fly from UK to Keflavik. Take airport bus to your hotel, and have the rest of the day to explore Iceland’s quirky capital.
1 night REYKJAVIK - Centrehotel Plaza (BB)
Day 2 - Reykajvik City tour & Borgarfjörður Saga Valley
Meet 0900 with your tour guide for a Reykjavik city tour, before travelling northwest to Borgarfjörður, known as the Saga valley because of its many important historical events. Then a chance to climb the Grábrók volcano crater - don’t worry it’s not difficult and the view is fantastic! Now head to Hraunfossar, a series of waterfalls pouring from beneath a wide lava field, and Deildartunguhver, Europe’s most powerful hot spring with a flow rate of 180 litres per second of 97ºC water. The afternoon includes a lecture about Northern Lights. After dinner, step into the hotel garden in search of the Northern Lights.
2 nights BORGARNES - Icelandair Hotel Hamar (BB)
Day 3 - Snaefellsnes Peninsula & Fjord Cruise
Explore the Snæfellsnes Peninsula, a rugged mountain chain jutting out into the Atlantic Ocean. Travel to the charming fishing town of Stykkishólmur for a cruise on the Breiðafjörður fjord. A uniquely Icelandic ‘treat’ awaits you at Bjarnarhöfn - Hákarl, fermented shark! On the way back to Borgarnes your guide provides practical tips on how to photograph the Aurora and you can hopefully put this into practise during the evening by the outdoor hot tubs!
Day 4 - The Golden Circle, Geothermal Taste & Icelandic Horses
Travel along scenic shores before arriving at Thingvellir National Park, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, then continue to Geysir geothermal field, where a variety of hot springs and bubbling pools await. The original geyser is now dormant but has been replaced by Strokkur ‘the Churn’ which erupts at 5-10 minute intervals. Onwards travel to Gullfoss, a formidable double waterfall tumbling 34 metres into the Hvítá River. In the evening search for the elusive Northern Lights.
1 night near SELFOSS - Fosshotel Hekla (BB)
Day 5 - Natural Wonders of South Iceland & EyjafjallajÅkull Volcano
Travel along the South coast to Eyjafjallajökull Information Centre and learn about living next to an active volcano. Continue to Skógafoss, an impressive 60 metres high waterfall, and in the afternoon stroll along the black lava beach at Reynisfjara in South Iceland, before making your way to Vatnajökull National Park, located in complete darkness and ideal for Northern Lights search.
2 nights KIRKJUBÆJARKLAUSTUR - Hotel Laki (BB)
Day 6 - Skaftafell National Park & Vatnajökull Glacier
Visit the extraordinary Jökulsárlón glacier lagoon filled with floating icebergs and the occasional seal might be spotted playing and swimming. During the evening enjoy a film presentation about the Northern Lights and another opportunity to see the Northern Lights shimmering across the night sky.
Day 7 - South Shore, Lava Beaches, Coastal Villages & the Blue Lagoon
Heading west past Laki lava field to the charming village of Vik, Iceland’s southernmost village and famous for the Reynisdrangar sea stacks, 66 metres high. Return to Reykjavik during the afternoon via Seljalandsfoss waterfall for a few hours before heading to the Blue Lagoon for a relaxing soak, followed by a traditional Icelandic dinner at the Northern Light Inn. Embark on one last Northern Lights tour!
1 night REYKJAVIK - Centrehotel Plaza (BB)
Day 8 - Departure
Transfer by airport bus to Keflavik Airport for your return flight home.
Departure Days: Tuesday from London Gatwick Airport. (Alternative departure airports are available, please ask a member of our reservations team for schedules and prices.)
Departure Dates: 6 Oct 2015 - 29 Mar 2016
6 & 20 Oct 2015
3 & 17 Nov 2015
1 Dec 2015
19 Jan 2016
2 & 16 Feb 2016
1, 15 & 29 Mar 2016
Duration: 7 nights
Dinner at the hotels (see Info+ for further information).
Personal Travel Insurance (see Info+ for further information).
The 180 well-appointed bedrooms are newly renovated and boast a bright modern décor with contemporary oak furnishings. Each room has its own free high speed internet connection, TV, shower, hairdryer, tea & coffee making facilities and much more. Centerhotel Plaza provides the comfort and the location to enjoy Iceland's capital city to the fullest. Situated in the city center of Reykjavik the Plaza creates the perfect setting for your stay.
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.
What is the size of the group?
This is an intimate small-group tour of up to 14 persons.
Who is this holiday suitable for?
Pretty much anyone. There is no particular minimum level of fitness required, although some walking is involved, but most people have personal likes and dislikes and areas that particularly interest them and we suggest you check the content of the itinerary carefully to ensure it appeals to you.
What are the daily driving distances?
The total mileage for this tour, without airport transfer, is about 1.650 km / 1023 miles which is an average of 275 km (171 miles) 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.
Dinner is not included so where will we eat and how much will it cost?
A fixed 2-course dinner with fish, meat or vegetarian main courses are available at the hotels starting at ISK 5.000 (about EUR 34) per person per night. It is important to note that the country hotels do not offer a la carte meals and there are no other restaurants nearby. For this tour paying for a 2-course dinner directly at the hotel is less expensive than to have it included in the tour package and that is why we have not included it.
Will there be any changes to the itinerary?
In rare cases a change of itinerary might be necessary should snow, road and weather conditions not allow the scheduled itinerary to be followed. In this case certain outdoor activities may also need to be cancelled. In this case no refund will be given, but GJ Travel will try to find reasonable alternatives where and whenever possible.
What sort of clothing will I need?
You will need clothes for cold/cooler outdoor weather: warm trousers, a woollen pullover or fleece sweater, a warm wind and waterproof jacket and rain pants, woollen socks and an insulated bottom layer, like thermal underwear. A hat, scarf and gloves that are made from material that will dry overnight are great protection in Iceland’s winter weather and strong winds. Sturdy comfortable (hiking) boots are necessary for walking and when there is snow and icy terrain.
Buildings are often very warm, so bring light indoor clothes – t-shirts, lighter shirts and blouses. Bathing suits are essential, as a lot of the natural hot water is used to fill swimming pools, which are all over the country. This tour includes a visit to the Blue Lagoon. Towels can be rented at most swimming pools.
Do I need to bring any sort of equipment with me?
We would recommend the following:
Would you recommend I buy Duty-Free items?
If you like a drink every now and then, consider stopping at the duty-free store on arrival at Keflavik Airport because alcoholic beverages are very expensive in Iceland. The same applies to tobacco. Travellers are allowed to bring 1 litre of strong liquor as well as 1 litre of wine or similar drinks into the country, and 1 carton of cigarettes.