Best of Iceland in Winter
Best of Iceland in Winter
Escorted Tour-Land Only
8 Days/ 7 Nights
2018/2019 Winter Departures:
September 14, 16, 18*, 21, 23, 25* 28 and 30
October:2*, 5, 7, 9*, 12, 14, 16*, 19, 21, 23*, 26 ,28 and 30*
November: 2, 4,6*, 9, 11, 13*, 16, 18, 20*, 23, 25, 27* and 30
December:2, 4* and 9
January :4, 6, 8*, 11, 13, 15*, 18, 20, 22*, 25, 27 and 29*
February: 1, 3, 5*, 8, 10, 12*, 15, 17, 19*, 22, 24 and 26*
March: 1, 3,5*, 8, 10, 12*, 15, 17, 19*, 22, 24, 26*, 29 and 31
April 2*, 5 and 7
*small group departures-maximum 16 passengers. Other tours maximum 45 passengers
Experience the best of Iceland's winter! This tour is designed to include a lot of Iceland and aim to maximize the chances of seeing the elusive Northern Lights. In addition to 7 nights of accommodations with breakfast, the program includes the special six night Northern Lights Academy with 6 evenings of presentations, lectures and guided tours at spots that are likely to offer a glimpse of the Aurora Borealis, the Northern Lights. This is a fully escorted coach tour with guaranteed departures from September to April which can help you experience the winter at its most Icelandic. Both during the day and after dark, as you head to the countryside in West and Southeast Iceland, you will explore the regions from the Snaefellsnes peninsula to the Vatnajokull glacier to search for the Aurora Borealis away from the big city lights.
Price per Person:In a double room $2199
Single supplement $599
Small group departures:
In a double room: $3099
Single supplement: $599
Package Includes:7 nights accommodation in tourist class hotels and country guesthouses all with private facilities
Arrival & departure airport transfer by FLYBUS-no guide
Breakfast each morning
Fully escorted 6 day coach tour with English speaking guide
Fjord Cruise on Breioafjorour fjord including light lunch-drinks not included
Visit to a traditional shark curing farm
Hot spring Tasting with geothermally cooked bread and eggs
Visit to an Icelandic horse stables & geothermal greenhouse
Visit with multi media presentation at the Lava and Volcano Information Center
Entrance fee to the Skogar Folk Museum and Turf Houses
Entrance with towel to the Blue Lagoon
Traditional Icelandic dinner at a local restaurant-drinks not included
Northern Lights Academy program with 6 evenings of lectures, presentations, guided searches and midnight refreshments.
Use of winter & Northern Lights equipment: simple non-slip snow & ice grippers spikes for shoes and a flashlight that is helpful when walking in the dark and operating your photo camera at night
Hotel taxes and service charges
Day 1 Reykjavik
Individual transfer by Flybus shuttle bus from Keflavik airport to your accommodation in Reykjavik where you'll spend the night. Remainder of the day is at leisure. Overnight Centerhotel Plaza Reykjavik or Hotel Fosshotel Raudara or Fosshotel Lind.
Day 2 Reykjavik-Reykholt
After breakfast at 9am meet your tour guide who shows you the highlights of Iceland's exciting capital. After the tour continue west. Borgarfjordur is known as the Saga valley because of its many important historical events. Get a chance to climb the Grabrok volcano crater and get warmed at Deildartunguhver, Europe's most powerful hot spring which produces 180 liters per second of water that is nearly boiling - 97 degree Celsius. Hraunfossar is a series of waterfalls pouring from beneath a wide lava field. Barnafoss, the Children's falls, is nearby with its own tragic tale. Spend two nights in Borgarnes, West Iceland. The afternoon includes a lecture about Northern Lights. In the evening step into the hotel's garden in search of the Northern Lights followed by a hot cup of chocolate or tea. Overnight Hotel Hamar
Day 3 Reykholt-Snaefellsnes Peninsula-Reykholt
The Snaefellsnes Peninsula "the peninsula of the snowy mountain" juts out from Iceland's west coast, like a long arm with a clenched fist at its tip, and is in many ways a microcosm of the whole island. A rugged mountain chain runs its length. Travel to the charming fishing town of Stykkisholmur for a cruise on the Breioafjorour fjord. After a light lunch a uniquely Icelandic "treat" awaits you at Bjarnarhofn, where they make Hakarl, fermented shark. Depending on road and weather conditions, visit the fishing village of Grundarfjorour, a place with an impressive coastline and mountains, lakes and waterfalls behind the village. Jutting out into the bay rises one of the most photographed mountains in Iceland, Mt. Kirkjufell. On the way back to Borgarnes the guide gives you some practical tips on how to photograph the Auroras as part of the Northern Lights Academy program. Naturally, once darkness falls, you are out in the hotel garden to chase the Northern Lights and to soak in the hotel's outdoor hot tubs. Overnight Hotel Hamar.
Day 4 Reykholt-Golden Circle-Helka
Today travel along the Hvalfjorour fjord. The first stop is at an Icelandic wool outlet store, just to see what they do with all those sheep! Continue inland to the Pingvellir National Park, a UNESCO World Heritage site. Travel the Golden Circle route and see steam rising from the Geysir geothermal fields as you arrive. There is a variety of hot springs and bubbling pools. The original geyser is now dormant but has been replaced by Strokkur "the Churn" which erupts at 5-10 minute intervals. The chef of the Restaurant Geysir invites you to 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. Continue to Gullfoss, a double waterfall that tumbles 34 meters into the Hvita river and attracts tourists and travelers in summer and winter. In the afternoon, you learn about the Icelandic horse, its special qualities and history and visit a geothermal greenhouse, before you reach your accommodation in South Iceland. Tonight, step into the darkness and search for the elusive Northern Lights, while best enjoyed from a comfortable hot tub in the garden of the hotel, amidst the peace and stillness of rural Iceland. Overnight Hotel Helka.
Day 5 Helka-South Coast
Today, travel along the South coast. Your first stop is at the Volcano and Lava Information Center where you learn about living next to a glacier and an active volcano. Further east visit one of Iceland's finest folk museums. This museum contains an outstanding collection of farm and domestic artifacts typical of Iceland's past, as well turf-built houses. Nearby is Skogafoss waterfall which is 60 meters high and one of the most impressive waterfalls in the country. In the afternoon take a stroll on the black lava beach and along bird cliffs at Reynisfjara beach in South Iceland. Spend 2 nights near Kirkjubaejarklaustur in the Vatnajokull National Park region, located in complete darkness and ideal for Northern Lights search. Overnight Hotel Nupar near Kirkjubaejarklaustur.
Day 6 South Coast
Today's program is all about glaciers, ice and icebergs. Travel to Jokulsarlon glacial lagoon filled with floating icebergs. 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. The Vatnajokull National Park is about 12,000 square kilometers, and the largest National Park in Europe. In this area find Iceland's highest mountains, an alpine environment, and Europe's largest glacier. You can enjoy an optional Ice Cave Tour. Experience a spectacular crystal ice cave in Europe's largest glacier, Vatnajokull. It is like standing under a frozen blue ocean or in a frozen cathedral surrounded by millions of shades of blue. Deep under Iceland's massive Vatnajokull Glacier, beautiful caves of ice are formed by rivers of melt water during the summer time. Too dangerous to visit in the spring and summer due to a threat of collapse, cold winter temperatures strengthen the ice and make exploration possible and safe to visit between November 15th and March 15th (subject to change). The tour takes about 2.5 hours in total - about a 30 minute drive by 4x4 vehicle from the Jokulsarlon Glacier Lagoon and a 5-15 minute hike (one-way). You spend about one hour inside the ice cave. You need good hiking boots, warm clothing that keeps you dry from the dripping water in the ice cave. Minimum age is 10 years old. The ice cave tour can only be booked on day 2 of your tour. You will have to fill in and sign an order form, once done cancellation is not possible. Ice cave bookings have to be finalized with the guide by dinner time on day 2 of the tour. Bookings afterwards cannot be accommodated due to limited space. The price is ISK 23,000 (about USD 215) per person; subject to change. Payment is due with the ice cave tour operator on day 6 in Icelandic Krona cash only. The ice cave explorers meet their local guide at the glacier lagoon at 2pm and will be brought back to the hotel after the ice cave tour, while the rest of the group continues the official tour program. The ice cave explorers will miss out on some of the official tour programs, as there is no time for everything, but the stop and visit at the Jokulsarlon Glacier Lagoon are included for all group members. Tonight you can enjoy a movie 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 just miss out one more chance of seeing the Northern Lights shimmering and dancing across the night sky. Overnight Hotel Nupar near Kirkjubaejarklaustur.
Day 7 South Coast-Reykjavik
From Kirkjubaejarklaustur head across the Laki lava field to the village of Vik, where you make a photo stop. The black lava beach with high bird cliffs and pounding waves is very impressive. Further west 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 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 a local restaurant and followed by one last nocturnal tour to seek more Northern Lights. Around midnight reach Reykjavik for one last night. Overnight Centerhotel Plaza Reykjavik or Hotel Fosshotel Raudara or Fosshotel Lind.
Day 8 Reykjavik-End of Tour
After breakfast self transfer by Flybus airport shuttle from your accommodation in Reykjavik to Keflavik airport. You can extend your stay in charming Reykjavik or continue to Greenland or Scandinavia.
Additional nights in Reykjavik available.
This program includes the special six night Northern Lights Academy with 6 evenings of presentations, lectures and guided tours at spots likely to offer a glimpse of the Aurora Borealis, the Northern Lights. The Northern Lights Exploration series are designed to spend 6 evenings in the countryside to maximize the chances of seeing the elusive Northern Lights, still the tour is dependent on weather and therefore sightings are not guaranteed. The Northern Lights are in the northern sky from September through April but are only visible when the sky is clear and free of clouds. Like many of natures wonders, it's ephemeral, they may be visible, they may appear for a bit and then be gone (it is not a TV show that you can just turn on and off). But it's worth the patience required. Because they're a winter event, you need to be prepared to wait outside, while looking for them. It's best to dress very warmly, in layers, with good footwear, gloves, hats and whatever else will make you comfortable while you await this truly outstanding event outdoors. For the best photos we recommend using a tripod.
There is a possibility that some of the nature attractions around Iceland might charge an entrance fee during the trip. These entrance fees are not included in the tour price and need to be paid by all tour members additionally on the spot, when entering any of these nature sites. Locations, amount of entrance fee, form of payment and other details are not known at the present time and are subject to change.
Daily driving: Total mileage without airport transfer is about 1,585 km (983 miles) which is an average of 265 km (164 miles) per day. You spend about 3.5 hours per day on the bus, depending on road conditions, traffic and daily distances. On some days the driving might be longer than on some other days.