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The Northern Lights are a truly magnificent gift of nature. Observing their extraordinary colors dancing across the arctic sky is an unforgettable experience â€” and Iceland is one of the best places in the world to see them.
Our adventure begins as we set out away from the city in search of clear night skies and dancing lights. Our destination is the small fishing town of Stokkseyri, where we are welcomed with a seafood feast. The following day we are introduced to Icelandic culture, with a tasting tour of Reykjavik. From the captivating Harpa Concert Hall, to art galleries in colorful neighborhoods and fishing boats on the harbor, this is the perfect introduction to this creative and pulsating city.
We spend the rest of our adventure immersed in mother nature’s elements as we explore the beautiful countryside of Iceland. Testaments to the constantly evolving earth are everywhere â€” hot rivers, snowy peaks, and majestic waterfalls dominate our views. We traverse glaciers on foot and by snowmobile and ford rivers in a super jeep. As the winter sun retreats each day, we seek out the spectacular Northern Lights, as they paint dramatic shapes, colors, and patterns on the night sky. Rejuvenating soaks in thermal baths and charming accommodations round out this exciting adventure.
Lobster dinner & Northern Lights
Early this evening, we meet our guide and begin our quest in search of the Northern Lights. We depart for the south coast, away from the lights of the city, to one of Iceland's most renowned seafood restaurants for an unforgettable lobster feast. Afterwards, we return to our deluxe accommodations in the capital city.
Alda HotelReykjavik, Iceland
Standing over the harbor, Hotel Egilsen is set in a newly converted historic house in the heart of Stykkisholmur. This boutique 10-room hotel preserves its classic heritage while enhancing it with the best of modern design. Providing intimate lodging, healthy food, a small library, and creative bar menu, rooms are small but bright and stylish.
Reykjavik & the Highlands
Today, we learn about Icelandic art and culture with a walking and tasting tour of the city of Reykjavik. Stops will include the impressive Harpa Concert Hall, the Parliament building, City Hall, and the artfully designed HallgrÃmskirkja Church.
As we stroll through the city, we are introduced to a cuisine shaped by isolation and the extreme forces of nature. While strongly rooted in customs and traditions, Icelandic chefs are also innovative, creating exciting menus using fresh ingredients harvested from the sea and family-run farms.
After lunch, we depart for BorgafjÃ¶rÃ°ur, the region where most of the Icelandic sagas take place. The area's landscape, nature and culture reflect the heritage and bring history to life. We drive for about an hour to our first stop, the Settlement Center in Borgarnes for an introduction to the Saga of The Settlement of Iceland and IcelandÂ´s most famous Viking and first poet, Egill Skallagrimsson. From there, it is a short ride to the trailhead for today's hike in the remote Icelandic Highlands.
On this 2-hour excursion, we enjoy a relaxed walk among natural wonders including the spectacular two-tiered Langifoss waterfall, an icy stream of glacial meltwater, and the former site of OkjÃ¶kull, Iceland's first glacier claimed by climate change.
The highlight of our hike is a serene soak in the new HÃºsafell Canyon Baths, a surreal hot spring paradise that has to be seen to be believed. We enjoy 30 minutes of relaxing, recharging, and breathing in the pure Icelandic air before heading to our hotel for the evening for a second chance at viewing the Northern Lights.
Hotel HúsafellHúsafell, Iceland
Named by National Geographic as one of them "Unique Lodges of the World" and by Forbes as one of the best places to see the Northern Lights, Hotel Húsafell will not disappoint. Each room features paintings by a renowned local artist, heated floors, and bath products made from Icelandic herbs. Designed to be in harmony with the environment, this hotel offers breathtaking views of the surrounding nature.
The Western Interior
Our day is filled with natural wonders, first at two waterfalls, Barnafossar and Hraunfossar, the latter described as a collection of countless creeks and cascades streaming out of lava rock over a distance of about 3,000 feet. We then head into Cave VÃÃ°gemlir, Iceland's largest lava cave and an experience not to be missed. Having recently opened to the public after almost a half-century, the cave features amazing colors and lava formations that lurk in the depths of the earth. Elevated walkways make this an easy and enjoyable underground tour.
We enjoy a locally-sourced lunch at the BrÃºarÃ¡s Geo Center before making our way to our glacier experience. En route, we make a short stop in Reykholt. This tiny village is locally famous as the home of Iceland's best-known author, Snorri Sturluson, who lived in the early 1200s. Here, the geothermally heated pool, Snorralaug (named after him), is one of the best-preserved medieval sites in the country.
Arriving at LangjÃ¶kull Glacier, we head into the new man-made ice tunnel in Iceland's second largest glacier to explore the inner-workings of this "river of ice." Today, this once-in-a-lifetime opportunity allows us to see a glacier from the inside, while in two days' time we will be hiking on the surface of one.
We return to our hotel for dinner, where our guide will check the aurora forecast for the evening.
The Golden Circle
We begin by driving through the countryside to Thingvellir, a remarkable geological and historical site. It was here that the world's oldest democratic parliament was founded in 930 by the Vikings. Now a national park and UNESCO World Heritage Site, the beautiful canyon running through the park is actually the meeting point of two of Earth's tectonic plates. The area's combination of natural phenomena and historical significance make it inseparable from the fabric of Icelandic national life.
For lunch, we visit the FriÃ°heimar greenhouses for an insight into the processes of greenhouse horticulture followed by a delicious lunch among the tomato plants. By creating year-round Mediterranean conditions using geothermal energy, it is possible to grow vegetables in Iceland's cold climate.
Our exploration of Iceland's magnificent landscape continues with a visit to the impressive Gullfoss Waterfall, a spectacular sight in winter surrounded by snow and hanging sheets of ice. The sheer power of the earth emanates from the cascading water. Only a few minutes away is one of the most active geysers in the area, Strokkur, which shoots up almost 100 feet into the air every few minutes.
At day's end, we return to the comforts of our hotel and another fine meal as we await the possible display of dancing lights in the sky.
Geysir HotelHaukadalur, Iceland
This new family-run hotel, located on the doorstep of the geothermal area of Geysir and Strokkur in the historic Haukadalur Valley, harmoniously blends with the surrounding environment through the use of materials that reflect the landscape in the architectural design of the building. The hotel’s rooms and suites are bright and light and all have views of stunning scenery.
The South Coast
Today, we discover South Iceland with a short drive to the EyjafjallajÃ¶kull massif. From the eastern face, the SÃ³lheimajÃ¶kull Glacier tongue extends down from its parent glacier, MÃ½rdalsjÃ¶kull, Iceland's fourth largest. Here, we meet our Icelandic mountain guide, who equips us with the proper tools (crampons and ice axes) for an adventure on an active glacier. After instruction on the proper use of our equipment, we traverse the glacier onto an ice field, where a wonderland of ice sculptures, ridges, and deep crevasses await our discovery. This adventure is like no other and only available in a few parts of the world.
We enjoy lunch in the small village of Vik, where we visit a woolen goods store and explore the black-pebble Reynisfjara Beach with its unique basalt columns. From here, we continue to the immense SkÃ³gafoss Waterfall, one of the biggest and most beautiful of Iceland's many waterfalls with an astounding width of 82 feet and a drop of 196 feet. It's so impressive, it has been a filming location for Thor: The Dark World and The Secret Life of Walter Mitty.
This evening, we dine and relax at our luxury hotel and await a showing of the Northern Lights.
Skálakot HotelHvolsvöllur, Iceland
The Skálakot Hotel is a brand-new, 14-room boutique hotel on a horse farm in a remote area of southern Iceland. Surrounded by beautiful countryside, Skálakot offers optional horseback rides, spacious yet cozy common areas, and family-style dining.
LAVA Center & Snowmobiling
This morning, we set out to see the breathtakingly beautiful Seljalandsfoss Waterfall, part of the SeljandsÃ¡ river, which has its origins in EyjafjallajÃ¶kull Glacier. We continue through a secret passage to find the Gljufrabui Waterfall, known as the "hidden waterfall of the south."
For lunch, we stop at the Lava Center, which features an interactive display of the natural forces that shape our planet and the unique geology of Iceland.
Perhaps the highlight of our day is snowmobiling on top of EyjafjallajÃ¶kull Glacier, the same glacier that feeds Seljalandsfoss, which we saw earlier. This tour is designed for first-time riders as a fun, scenic way to experience Iceland's winter wilderness and breathtaking views over South Iceland.
We drive up EyjafjallajÃ¶kull's slopes and on to the glacier base where we have a short briefing to go over safety procedures. We dress in a snow suit and helmet and head out for an unforgettable snowmobile ride on the glacier.
This evening, we celebrate our adventures with our final group dinner and one more opportunity to view the celestial Northern Lights.
Krisuvik Thermal Area & Blue Lagoon
On our way to the airport, we stop to stretch our legs in the lunar landscape of the Krisuvik thermal area and Lake Kleifarvatn, where we can walk along a boardwalk over mud pools and steam vents.
Our final stop is the Blue Lagoon, where the warm waters beckon us for a soak. A fitting tribute to our stay in the land of fire and ice. From here, the Keflavik International Airport is only 15 minutes, and we will drive you there in time for your late-afternoon flight.
Please note that this is a typical itinerary, and actual activities may vary due to weather conditions, local events, and to allow serendipity to play a hand in your experience. Accommodations are as outlined in the itinerary, although we reserve the right to change these or the order visited should the need arise.
Feb 8-14, 2021
Nov 7-13, 2021
Take over a date for your group! See "Make It Private" on Dates & Prices tab.
From $5,995 Per Person
First two reserved:$400
See single supplement policy below.
9+ Guests: $5,995 per person
4 to 8 Guests: $6,395 per person
Make it Private price is based on Land Cost only, and a guarantee of the specified number of guests in double occupancy. For groups smaller than the numbers shown, or those requiring single occupancy, we reserve the right to adjust the per person price. Additionally, some trips have minimum group sizes. Please call 1-800-941-8010 for details.
Accommodations (hotels, tents, cruise cabins) are based on double occupancy. A single supplement is paid by participants who specifically request single accommodations, subject to availability. If you reserve at least 120 days prior to departure, you may be eligible for a reduced or free single supplement.* This is generally limited to the first one or two solo travelers to reserve, and the reduction is outlined in the pricing for each trip. Please note, free or reduced single supplements are not combinable with other offers or promotions.
If you are traveling alone and wish to share accommodations, we will try to match you with a roommate of the same gender. If you reserve at least 120 days ahead and a roommate is not available, you will only be charged a “forced” single supplement in the amount of 50% of the standard single supplement* (unless otherwise noted in the detailed itinerary). Single accommodations are limited so you are encouraged to reserve early!
*This may not apply to certain trips with unique accommodation arrangements. Please see specific trip information for more details.
Boundless Journeys' trips are designed for energetic and flexible individuals who like to be active and have a spirit of adventure and a positive attitude. Iceland: Northern Lights Adventure is rated 2, easy to moderate, on a scale of 1-5 (with 5 being the most strenuous). The terrain we cover is incredibly varied. We'll enjoy some gentle hikes, glacier hiking, and snowmobiling. Please be aware that hikes and/or activities may have to be changed last-minute due to weather conditions, which are highly unpredictable in Iceland.
Downtown Reykjavik or Keflavik International Airport, Iceland
Most Convenient Airport: Keflavik International Airport, Keflavik, Iceland (airport code KEF)
Meeting Time and Place: Your guide(s) will meet you at 5 p.m. on Day 1 of your trip in the lobby of the Alda Hotel in downtown Reykjavik.
Departure Time and Place: Your guides will provide a drop-off at the KeflavÃk International Airport by 2:30 p.m. on the last day of the trip. Please plan departing flights accordingly, taking into account the required check-in time for international flights. If you do not wish to depart on the final day, you can ride with the other guests from the Blue Lagoon, to the airport, and then back to Reykjavik, or you may wish to depart the Blue Lagoon at your leisure and return to Reykjavik independently by taxi or the Flybus.
A half-day glacier walk is included, weather permitting. All necessary equipment is provided, including crampons and ice axes. Boots are available for rental, although your hiking boots should suffice. The Icelandic mountain guides we will hike with are experienced mountaineers with a great deal of knowledge about glaciers and safety procedures. After being fitted with gear and a safety briefing, we head onto the ice itself for a unique perspective on the importance and beauty of glaciers. If the weather makes this adventure unsafe, a traditional hike will be offered instead.
With thousands of acres of year-round snow, Iceland is well suited for snowmobiling. On Day 6, we will embark on a snowmobile adventure. Please note that the snowmobiling activity is priced for double use. If you prefer a single snowmobile, the additional fee is $95. Please let us know in advance if you prefer this option. Helmets, waterproof coveralls, balaclavas, gloves, and boot covers are available for use.
It is important to see the Northern Lights as just one of many thrills of a winter trip to Iceland. Immense glaciers, snowy peaks, majestic waterfalls, relaxing thermal baths, fewer crowds, and the vibrant city of Reykjavik, are reasons enough to go. With luck you will also see the sky ablaze with dancing lights, but this can never be guaranteed. The Northern Lights are only visible when the sky is clear and free of clouds. And, like many natural wonders, the Northern Lights are ephemeral - they may appear for a bit, and then be gone.
The unique colors of the Northern Lights are created by the Earth's spectra of gases and the height in the atmosphere where the collision of particles from the sun and the Earth's gases takes place. Our naked eye can most easily see the green-yellow part of the spectrum where the sun emits most of its light. Green is the most common color observed but the Northern Lights can also appear white-gray.
Please be prepared to wait outside while looking for aurora. It is best to dress warmly, in layers, with good footwear, gloves, hats and whatever else will make you comfortable while you patiently await this truly outstanding light show.
Thanks to warming Gulf Stream winds, Iceland enjoys a much warmer climate than it should given its northerly location (and its name). Though the interior is covered with ice all year round, the coastal areas, like Reykjavik enjoy a relatively mild climate. The hours of daylight greatly increase over the course of the month to about 12 hours per day. Sunrise is generally around 7 a.m. and the sun sets again by about 7 p.m.
Weather in Iceland can change quite suddenly, so it is a good idea to always dress in layers.
The best season to see the northern lights in Iceland is from September to mid-April, as these are the months where there are full dark nights. Cold, clear, cloudless nights present the best chance of a sighting.
Menus in Iceland generally feature a choice of meat (often lamb) and fresh fish (many varieties of both fresh and saltwater fish are available, the most common being salmon and trout). Some menus are more extensive. Icelandic cuisine has come a long way, and many chefs train in mainland Europe before bringing their skills home to create innovative dishes using native ingredients. It is common even for small hotels to offer meals buffet-style, as this allows travelers to try traditional local dishes alongside more familiar fare. Please inform us of any specific dietary restrictions and we will do our best to accommodate you. Please call our office with any questions or concerns about our ability to meet your needs.
Snorri was born and raised in Reykjavik, where he studied classical singing. He graduated with a diploma as an opera singer from the Vienna Conservatory. Upon completion of his studies, he worked for several years as an opera singer, primarily in Germany and Austria. Snorri returned to Iceland and began working as a guide in 2010. He is certified to guide group tours, hiking adventures, and glacier explorations. He enjoys every opportunity to take guests into the mountains and to remote, off-the-beaten-path areas of Iceland where they can experience the beautiful landscapes together.
Klara was born on the Western Islands off the south coast of Iceland, where she spent much of her childhood. She has traveled to many countries in the world, worked as a ski instructor in the Austrian alps, studied in Germany, and cycled in the Andes in South America. Klara also completed a teaching degree at the University of Iceland and taught high school mathematics for over a decade. For the past 20 years, she has been sharing her love of the outdoors and her country as a certified Icelandic hiking guide. First during school vacations, and now full time. Her favorite tours are in the countryside, where she can spend time in nature enjoying life’s simple pleasures, fresh air, and beautiful scenery. Klara speaks fluent Icelandic, English, German, and Pinzgauerisch (an Austrian dialect).
With a Boundless Journeys guide, your experience is that of friend and local adventurer. We believe strongly in working with local guides, experts in the areas to which we travel, and they hold the keys to unlocking the hidden delights of your chosen destination. Although you will never know they are at work—the mark of a truly great leader—our guides make magical things happen and add a dimension to your trip that you could not experience on your own. Over the years we have forged bonds with some of the best guides in the world, and we typically work with a small team of guides in each region. You will be informed of the guide for your trip one month prior to your departure.
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Easy walking and hiking for 1-5 hours per day, 1/2-day glacier walk, an afternoon snowmobile tour, thermal bath visits and nighttime Northern Lights viewing.
This trip can be your own adventure by taking over one of our scheduled dates, or we can request a fresh one.
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