This tour is designed to maximise the chances of seeing the Northern Lights. 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 Nature's most powerful and striking creations.
Day 1 - Arrival
1120 Depart Gatwick Airport. WOW Air flight W23202.
1425 Arrive Keflavik Airport.
Take the airport bus (Flybus) to your city centre hotel (approx. 45 mins). You then have the rest of the afternoon and evening to explore this small yet strikingly quirky capital city.
1 night REYKJAVIK - Fosshotel Lind or Fosshotel Baron (BB)
Day 2 - Reykajvik City tour & Borgarfjörður Saga Valley
Meet with your tour guide for Reykjavik city tour. Then head west 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. Short climb up the Grábrók crater (173 m a.s.l.) – don't worry it's not a difficult and the view is fantastic! From there, head to Deildartunguhver, Europe’s most powerful hot spring, then go to nearby Hraunfossar, a series of waterfalls pouring from beneath a 1 km wide lava field.
The afternoon includes a lecture about Northern Lights. After dinner, there is a guided walk in Reykholt in search of the Northern Lights followed by a hot cup of chocolate or tea.
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 westernmost point. You‘ll travel to the charming fishing town of Stykkisholmur for a lunch cruise in the Breiðafjörður fjord. Afterwards you have time to explore the sheltered harbour and town with its many old wooden houses. A uniquely Icelandic ‘treat’ awaits you at Bjarnarhöfn where you can try Hakarl - 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. Your guide will be on hand to offer tips on how to photograph the Aurora.
Day 4 - The Golden Circle, Geothermal Taste & Icelandic Horses
Today you‘ll travel along the scenic shores of the Hvalfjörður fjord before turning inland to Thingvellir National Park, which is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Then you will continue to 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 or Hotel Eldhestar or Arhus Cottages (BB)
Day 5 - Natural Wonders of South Iceland & EyjafjallajÅkull Volcano
Head along the south coast to Eyjafjallajökull Information Centre and 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 KIRKJUBEJARKLAUSTUR – Hotel Laki (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 head across the Laki Lava field to the village of Vik and 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 are prepared to get wet! In the afternoon you return to Reykjavik where you get about 2 hour 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 for one last night.
1 night REYKJAVIK - Fosshotel Lind or Fosshotel Baron (BB)
Day 8 - Departure
Transfer by airport bus to Keflavik Airport for your return flight home.
1525 Depart Keflavik Airport. WOW Air flight W23205.
1940 Arrive Gatwick Airport.
Departure Days: Sundays, Tuesdays or Fridays from London Gatwick Airport. (Alternative departure airports are available, please ask a member of our reservations team for schedules and prices.)
Departure Dates: Download a complete list of all departures dates and availability for 2014/2015
Northern Lights Exploration, departure dates.
Duration: 7 nights
£1190 per person based on two people travelling together and sharing a double/twin room with shower and WC (maximum 45 people per tour). Single supplement £170.
£1740 per person based on two people travelling together as above but with a maximum of 14 passengers per trip with each person have a double seat to themselves on the coach. Single supplement £170.
Return flight in Economy class (lowest available fare) with WOW Air from Gatwick to Keflavik including taxes (alternative departures are available with Icelandair from Heathrow, Manchester and Glasgow). Please ask a member of our reservations team for schedules and prices).
Arrival & departure airport transfer by FLYBUS (no guide).
Fully escorted 6-day bus tour with an English speaking guide.
7-nights accommodation in simple 3-star tourist-class hotels including breakfast.
Fjord 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 and geothermal greenhouse.
Visit to multi media presentation at Eyjafjallajökull Volcano Information Centre.
Entrance fee to Skógar folk museum and turf houses.
Entrance with towel at Blue Lagoon.
Traditional Icelandic dinner at Northern Light Inn Hotel.
Northern Lights Academy program during 6 evenings with a combination of lectures, presentations, film, guided Northern Lights searches and midnight refreshments.
Use of winter and Northern Lights explorer equipment: simple non-slip snow & ice grippers spikes for shoes and a flash light that is helpful when walking in the dark and operating your photo camera at night.
Dinner at the hotels (see Info+ for further information).
Personal Travel Insurance (see Info+ for further information).
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.
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!
Fosshotel Baron is a clean and friendly hotel standing right in the heart of Reykjavík, near the seafront, within walking distance of shops and attractions. The hotel offers both hotel rooms and apartments, perfect for families or small groups travelling together. Enjoy a scenic walk by the seaside, visit Harpa Concert Hall and try some of Reykjavík’s great restaurants and cafés, all just a stone’s throw away.
Breakfast is included in your stay and you will also have the option to eat at the hotel's restaurant and enjoy drinks in the bar. All rooms are en suite and include free Wi-Fi.
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.