Tour code: WT8
£5569 (double/twin/triple room), £6539 (single room)
We recommend a triple room for 2 adults travelling with a child
Prices are per person, excluding flights
This extended, small group tour (maximum 16 people) is a combination of two of our other itineraries – the Northern Lights Explorer and Aurora, Culture and Soft Adventure in North Iceland. To maximise the chances of seeing the Northern Lights, it thus covers West, South and North Iceland and, in addition, includes an evening cruise in(weather permitting). Please note: there may be a different guide for each week of the tour.
DAY 1 (Tue): ARRIVAL
On arrival at Keflavík Airport, transfer by Flybus shuttle to a Centerhotel in. We can provide you with some ideas on how to explore Iceland’s capital on your own.
At 09:00, meet your guide for a tour ofbefore heading west to the Borgarfjörður, or “Saga Valley”, where many significant historical events took place. Here, you can climb a volcanic crater and warm yourself at Europe’s most powerful hot spring, which produces 180 litres of water per second at a temperature of 97°C. Stop at a series of waterfalls before arriving at the Hotel Hamar in Borgarnes, where you will stay for two nights. The afternoon includes an introductory talk about the Northern Lights and, after dinner, you step outside to search for them.
DAY 3 (Thu): SNÆFELLSNES PENINSULA & FJORD CRUISE (250 km)
The Snæfellsnes (“peninsula of the snowy mountain”) juts out from Iceland’s west coast and is, in many ways, a microcosm of the whole island. A rugged mountain chain runs along its length. Arriving in Stykkishólmur, you take a lunch cruise in the Breiðafjörður fjord, after which there’s time to explore this charming fishing town with its old wooden houses and sheltered harbour. A uniquely Icelandic “treat” awaits you at Bjarnarhöfn, where you can sample hákarl or fermented shark! Today, the guide will give you some practical tips on how to photograph the Aurora. Once darkness falls, and if conditions allow, you can head outside to view the Lights which may also be encountered while soaking in the hotel’s outdoor hot tubs.
Today, you travel along the scenic shores of the Hvalfjörður fjord before turning inland to visit Thingvellir National Park, a UNESCO World Heritage site and location of the world’s first parliament. Continuing along theroute, you reach the Geysir geothermal field with its hot springs and bubbling pools. The original geyser is now dormant but, nearby, is Strokkur (“the Churn”) which erupts every few minutes. Here you will be offered bread, freshly baked in the hot ground, with Icelandic butter, geothermally-boiled eggs, and herring – best served with a small glass of ice-cold schnapps. Then it’s on to Gullfoss (“Golden Falls”), a double waterfall that tumbles 34m. In the afternoon, you will learn about the unique breed of Icelandic horse and visit a geothermal greenhouse before reaching Hotel Hekla in south Iceland and heading out in search of the elusive Northern Lights.
DAY 5 (Sat): NATURAL WONDERS OF SOUTH ICELAND & EYJAFJALLAJÖKULL (220 km)
Travelling eastwards along the south coast, today’s first stop is at the Eyjafjallajökull Information Centre to learn about life beside a glacier and the active volcano whose eruption in 2010 caused much disruption to international air travel. Next, you visit one of Iceland’s finest folk museums which contains an outstanding collection of farm and domestic artefacts as well as some turf-built houses. Nearby is Skógafoss which, at 60 meters high, is one of the most impressive waterfalls in the country. In the afternoon you can take a stroll on the black lava beach and along the bird cliffs at Reynisfjara. The next two nights are spent at Foss Hotel Nupar in the Vatnajökull National Park (the largest in Europe), where there is minimal light pollution, ideal for Northern Lights hunting.
DAY 6 (Sun): SKAFTAFELL NATIONAL PARK & VATNAJÖKULL GLACIER (280 km)
Today is all about glaciers, ice and icebergs. You travel to Jökulsárlón glacial lagoon, which is filled with floating icebergs, to explore this extraordinary site and perhaps see some seals swimming in Arctic waters. You can walk on the black, sandy beach where large icebergs get stranded. In the afternoon, visit the tiny turf church at Hof. In this area are situated Iceland’s highest mountains, an alpine environment, and Europe’s largest glacier. Tonight, you can enjoy a film about the Northern Lights. Don’t go to bed too early in this remote and quiet location, or you may miss another chance to see the Northern Lights shimmering across the night sky.
From Kirkjubæjarklaustur, cross the Eldhraun lava field for a photo stop in the village of Vík with its impressive black lava beach, high bird cliffs and pounding waves. Heading west, you arrive at the high but narrow Seljalandsfoss where, if you don’t mind getting wet, you can take the trail that goes behind the waterfall. In the afternoon, return tofor a couple of hours’ free time to do some more sight-seeing, shopping or simply to relax. In the evening, there’s the chance to soak in the famous Blue Lagoon, followed by a traditional Icelandic dinner in Grindavik or Sandgerdi and a tour to encounter the Aurora before reaching around midnight for a 2 night stay at Centerhotel Arnarhvoll.
DAY 8 (Tue): REYKJAVIK LEISURE DAY & NORTHERN LIGHTS CRUISE
Enjoy a free day for exploring Iceland’s capital at your own pace, doing some shopping, going for spa treatments or taking an optional whale watching tour. Included is an evening Northern Lights hunt by boat to escape the city lights. Please note, that if the tour is cancelled due to weather conditions, no refund is available, but you can exchange the tour for dinner at Kopar restaurant.
DAY 9 (Wed): VOLCANIC CRATER, SEALS, FJORDS & MOUNTAINS (400 km)
At 09:00 meet your tour guide and travel west, past the town of Borgarnes. After a stop to climb the Grábrók volcanic crater, you will visit a natural history and seal museum and, further north, the turf church of Víðimýri. Travelling along scenic fjords and over several challenging mountain passes, you arrive at Siglufjörður, Iceland’s northernmost town. Tonight is spent at the new and beautifully-located Hotel Siglo, which offers spectacular geothermal hot tubs built into the local fjord. In the evening, if conditions are favourable, you can take a walk or a drive to search for the Northern Lights.
DAY 10 (Thu): ICELAND’S NORTHERNMOST TOWN (170 km)
This morning you explore Siglufjörður, the herring capital of the North and home to the largest seafaring and industrial museum in the country. In the afternoon, drive along Eyjafjörður, Iceland’s longest fjord which offers an amazing panorama, and explore the Tröllaskagi Peninsula. Along the way, stop at a deserted fjord valley – rarely visited even by Icelanders – and at a local brewery to taste one of Iceland’s growing collection of micro-beers. You then continue to the Hotel Sel-Mývatn at the winter wonderland of Lake Mývatn for a three-night stay. Join an evening talk about the Northern Lights and don’t miss the chance to search for the magical Aurora after dinner.
DAY 11 (Fri): IN SEARCH OF TROLLS & SNOW ADVENTURES (30 km)
This morning, there’s the chance to take a snowshoe trek (or a normal hike if there is no snow) through the lava formations of Dimmuborgir (the “Dark Castles”), hoping to get a glimpse of the trolls who are said to live there! In the afternoon, you are free to explore the many pseudo craters or walk along the lake shores. Also available is an optional tour on cross-country skis or by snow-mobile. The trail depends on snow conditions and the number of participants. Warm clothing – including a hat and gloves – is required. In the evening, take a relaxing soak at Lake Mývatn Nature Baths and there’s a further opportunity to chase the elusive Northern Lights.
DAY 12 (Sat): EXPLORE LAKE MÝVATN (50 km)
Lake Mývatn is known for its geological wonders, varied bird life – and for experiencing Iceland’s coldest temperatures. This morning, you take an easy walk through the bizarre lava formations and landscape and then explore the hot spring area of Námaskarð, with its bubbling mud pools and steaming solfataras. There’s also the chance to taste traditional dark bread baked underground in the geothermal heat. In the evening, enjoy a video presentation about Northern Lights.
DAY 13 (Sun): BIRDS, CHRISTMAS GARDEN & THE CAPITAL OF NORTH ICELAND (120 km)
Today, you visit the Lake Mývatn bird museum and travel to Goðafos (the “waterfall of the Gods”). Next stop is at the Christmas Garden, a small museum and shop where you will find a large and varied election of items connected to Icelandic Christmas traditions. Arriving in Akureyri and the Hotel Kea (or similar), the afternoon is free to explore the capital of North Iceland on your own. There are some excellent local museums and a great geothermal swimming pool. If conditions are favourable, there will be a short excursion into the darkness to hunt the Aurora
Heading back west over the mountains to Skagafjörður, the valley of the horses and home of many ancient farms, you visit the folk museum and turf farm at Glaumbær. Enjoy a guided tour through the only tannery in Europe which makes fish leather. Later, there’s a stop for coffee and cake at a horse farm, where you will learn about the history and the special gaits of the unique breed of Icelandic horse. Depending on weather and road conditions, you should reachbetween 18:00 and 20:00 for a final night’s stay in Iceland’s capital.
DAY 15 (Tue): DEPARTURE DAY (50 km)
Transfer by Flybus shuttle from your accommodation to Keflavík Airport.
- Arrival and departure airport transfers by Flybus shuttle
- Fully escorted, 12-day coach tour with an English-speaking guide
- 14 nights accommodation with breakfast
- 3x light lunches, 4x dinners and 3x midnight refreshments
- Fjord Cruise on Breiðafjörður fjord including lunch; visit to traditional shark curing farm; tasting of geothermally-cooked bread and eggs; visit to Icelandic horse stables and geothermal greenhouse; visit to multi-media presentation at Eyjafjallajökull Volcano Information Centre; Skógar Folk Museum and turf houses
- Entrance (with towel) to the Blue Lagoon
- Visit to natural history & seal museum
- Horse show, coffee & cake at horse farm
- Visit to herring museum and micro beer brewery
- Hot steam-baked bread tasting
- Entrance (with towel) at Mývatn Nature Baths
- Snow shoe trek (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 cruise from (in case of cancellation, tour is replaced by dinner)
- A programme of talks, presentations, a film show and guided searches for the Northern Lights
- Use of non-slip snow & ice grippers and a torch
Nature fees: It is possible that some of the natural sites visited on this tour may charge a small entrance fee. These are not included in the price and must be paid locally on the day.
Please note: In rare cases, a change of programme may be necessary should road and weather conditions make it impossible to follow the scheduled itinerary, and certain outdoor activities may be
- 3, 17, 31 October 2017
- 14 November 2017
- No December departures
- 30 January 2018
- 6, 13, 20, 27 February 2018
- 6, 13, 20 March 2018
To book, or to check availability, please contact us here