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Northern Lights

Golden Circle and Northern Lights Tour

Small Group Tour in Iceland - Example 8 Day Tour
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Join a fantastic tour that will take you to all of Iceland's top attractions. On this 8-day guided tour leaving Reykjavik, put your trekking boots on as we traverse glaciers, hike stunning volcanoes, and tour the Golden Circle. We take you out to sea to observe whales, search for the aurora borealis, and engage in some sea angling. Experience all that the nation's varied landscapes have to offer, you'll see waterfalls, hot springs, extinct volcanoes, and more. You'll spend the night in a rural lodging every night while traveling in the hopes of catching a glimpse of the elusive Northern Lights! 
Seljalandsfoss WaterfallGeysir Hot springsDettifoss WaterfallBarnafoss WaterfallNorthern Lights
Highlights
  • Hike on Europe's largest glacier, the Vatnajokull glacier
  • Enjoy the majestic humpback, minke, white-beaked, and blue whales
  • Visit to Ingvellir National Park, a UNESCO World Heritage Site
  • Wander along Diamond Beach's coal-black sands and sparkling icebergs
Places Visited
Activity Level: Relaxed
Involves minimal physical effort and is typically associated with leisurely activities. Activities are low-intensity or last less than a few hours each day.
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Full Itinerary

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Day 1: Free Day in Reykjavik | Northern Lights Boat Tour

Your journey starts in Reykjavik, the vibrant capital. The best museums, galleries, retail districts, dining establishments, and historic sites are all conveniently close to your hotel since it is centrally located. Take a stroll down Laugavegur, one of the city's oldest retail avenues. Visit one of the city's top-notch museums, such as the National Museum, the Reykjavik Museum of Photography, or the Culture House, to satisfy your desire for culture. Visit the Phallological Museum for a more bizarre cultural experience. What started as a collector's strange hobby has grown into the only museum dedicated to the subject worldwide. From the landmark Hallgrmskirkja church, which was modeled after Skaftafell's Svartifoss Waterfall, you can get a bird's-eye perspective of Reykjavik. Enter the capital's thriving nightlife once the sun goes down. But before that, make sure to take a boat journey to Iceland to look for the enchanted Northern Lights! Set your route towards a completely dark sky, the ideal environment for the emerald light display. You learn all you could ever want to know about the lights from a knowledgeable aurora guide.
 

Day 2: Golden Circle | South Coast

  • 1 Breakfast
On day two, we'll pick you up from your hotel and take you directly to some of Iceland's most well-known sights. We begin at the Þingvellir National Park, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, and take in its geological, historical, and cultural significance. The ancient Icelandic Parliament, known as Aling, was established here in the year 930 CE. The oldest democratic parliament still in existence today is this one. The tectonic plate boundary between the Eurasian and North American continents, Þingvellir , is directly traversed by the Mid-Atlantic Ridge. 

The adventure picks up as we approach the Geysir Geothermal Area. Strokkur, the region's most active geyser, is a sight to behold. This is the location of the renowned Great Geysir, the hot spring that provided us with the word "geyser" in the English language. Every five to ten minutes, Strokkur releases spurts of scalding water. The Gullfoss Waterfall, also known as "the golden falls," is the last stop on the Golden Circle. Look at the golden mist that surrounds the waterfall and the turbulent Hvtá river that roars below. We'll make stops at Seljalandsfoss and Skógafoss on the route to your hotel in the vicinity of Kirkjubaejarklaustur. Although they are each 196 feet (60 meters) tall, each fall has its own unique characteristics. Peacefully gushing from what were once sea cliffs is Skógafoss. A hidden trail behind Seljalandsfoss provides adventurers with a unique opportunity to view nature.

 

Day 3: Vik | Skaftafell | Glacier Lagoon | Hofn

We continue along the South Coast route to the famous Reynisfjara black sand beach. Just offshore, catch a peek of the majestic Reynisdrangar peaks that shoot out of the sea. We then leave the beach behind and head for icy glaciers. Embark on a three-hour hike glacier hike at Skaftafell in Vatnajökull National Park. Discover Europe’s biggest glacier, Vatnajökull, which covers 8% of Iceland’s landmass. We continue traveling southward until we reach the renowned Reynisfjara black sand beach. Catch a glimpse of the magnificent Reynisdrangar peaks that rise out of the water just offshore.

Then, we leave the shore and make our way to freezing glaciers. Begin a three-hour glacier hike in Skaftafell in Vatnajökull National Park. Discover Vatnajökull, the largest glacier in Europe, which makes up 8% of Iceland's land area. From October to April, we offer a magnificent adventure into the Crystal Ice Cave in place of the glacier hike.

Experience the breathtaking Mrdalsjökull Glacier, which is home to the infamous Katla Volcano, along the journey. There are several spitfire mountains nearby besides Mt. Katla. You will also view Eyjafjalljökull, her notorious neighbor. 

The world's most well-known ice lagoon, Jökulsárlón Glacier Lagoon, is where we leave the fire and return to the ice. Watch as ice floes that are a brilliant blue meander through the lagoon. We'll then proceed to Diamond Beach on foot. This beach, which has coal-black sands as well, is littered with glistening blue and white icebergs that have been brought in by the tide. The small village of Höfn, also known as Iceland's lobster capital, will be your home base for the evening.
 

Day 4: East Fjords | Djupivogur | Egilsstadir

We're traveling to the stunning East Fjords today. We'll pass the varied beauty of Lón, the Vottárskriur landslides, and the lftafjarar Fjord as we travel through the eastern countryside. The lovely fishing hamlet of Djpivogur is where we make our first stop. This classic neighborhood has a solid reputation for being kind and environmentally conscientious. Even though Djpivogur is a small town, it has interesting cultural attractions. Discover sculptures, parks, and museums. Be sure to view the well-known Eggin Gleivk (The Eggs of Merry Bay), a 34-piece outdoor sculpture honoring the local avian population.

After that, put on your hiking boots and embark on a three-hour journey to Hengifoss, Iceland's second-highest waterfall (128 m). We'll pass the Litlanesfoss Waterfall on the walk, a scenic attraction buried away between basalt pillars. We'll also pass through a colorful gorge. These rock formations are even more distinctive since ash layers from a previous volcanic outburst are still discernible.
We eventually arrive in Egilsstair, where you will spend the night in a rural hotel.

 

Day 5: Dettifoss | Myvatn | Godafoss | Akureyri

The peaceful landscapes and iconic nature of North Iceland are the focus of day 5. We journey from Egilsstair across untamed terrain to Mörudalur, Iceland's highest inhabited farm at 469 meters (1,539 feet) above sea level. The tallest coffee shop in the nation is located on this farm. The most potent waterfall in Europe, Dettifoss Waterfall, is our first natural stop. The strong, raging waters will astound you as yet another illustration of Iceland's fierce beauty.

We then travel to the ethereal Lake Mvatn. We'll stray a little distance from the lake to Námaskar, a fantasy of bubbling craters and hot oases. We take you to the Dimmuborgir lava formations, popularly known as the Dark Castles, for even more fiery sights. Then, at the Mvatn Nature Baths, or Jarböin in Icelandic, we'll let off some steam. Blue waters that are rich in minerals emerge directly from the earth. Spend some time in the warm, alkaline water (between 36 and 40 C) for a moment of pure peace. When you book your tour, you can choose to include a trip to the Nature Baths. Goafoss is the penultimate stop on our journey before arriving in Eyjafjörur. It is a storied waterfall. You'll spend the night in Akureyri in a rural hotel.

Day 6: Whale Watching in Dalvik | Siglufjordur

On day six, you visit Dalvik, a renowned fishing community. The village features an active harbor and breathtaking views of Hrsey Island and Eyjafjörur.
Your three-hour whale-watching cruise from Dalvik port is the highlight of your adventure. Admire the spectacular white-beaked dolphins, humpback whales, minke whales, and occasionally blue whales. The success rate of Dalvik whale-watching excursions is 98%.

We then travel to Siglufjörur, a charming fishing community with a lengthy past. Life in the little, remote town erupted in the early 20th century when it was dubbed the Atlantic's herring fishing capital. As you go along the Tröllaskagi (the Troll Peninsula), you'll see stunning mountain and ocean views. Visit Siglufjörur to get an inside peek at what it's like to live in one of Iceland's small, remote settlements. Laugarbakki will be where you spend the night.

 

Day 7: Borgarfjörður | Reykholt | Hraunfossar | Hvalfjordur | Reykjavík | Magical Auroras

The breathtaking sights of West Iceland are on display on the last day before we head back to Reykjavik. This area continues to be a top choice among travelers even though Lonely Planet named it one of the greatest places to visit in 2016. Your first stop is Grábrók, a lava-encrusted, ancient volcanic crater created by a fissure eruption. You hike with your guide to get a birds-eye perspective of the crater and surroundings. You'll also visit the spectacular Hraunfossar cascade, a huge water curtain made up of small rivulets that careen out of a lava field. After that, we'll halt at Barnafoss waterfall, also known as "the children's falls," which got its name from a tragic folktale. The most potent hot spring in all of Europe, Deildartunguhver, is the next interesting location.

In Reykholt, the hometown of the renowned poet and author of Icelandic sagas, Snorri Sturluson, history, literature, and nature converge. Look into Snorralaug's natural pool, where Snorri is reputed to have taken a bath. We pass through the beautiful Hvalfjörur (also known as the "whale fjord") on the way back to Reykjavik. At about 5 or 6 p.m., we return to the city. Drop-off takes place at the Reykjavik Lights Hotel. Leave the flashing lights behind and go in search of the Northern Lights once you are back in the city. For the best aurora viewing, our minibus excursion takes you far into the forest. Our knowledgeable guides check the aurora forecast to determine the ideal location to take in this amazing light show.
 

Day 8: Final Day in Reykjavik

  • 1 Breakfast
Once more, we visit Reykjavik to take advantage of the opportunity to discover this dynamic city. Explore new routes by foot or by bicycle. Have you had enough of Iceland's pristine landscapes? Both the peninsulas with mountain views, Seltjarnarnes and Mosfellsbaer, may be reached from Reykjavik by bus.
For a glimpse of Iceland's biodiversity, visit the Reykjavik Botanical Gardens. Learn about the hot springs where Reykjavik women once did their laundry. The largest swimming pool in Iceland, Laugardalslaug, is surrounded by these magnificent gardens. It's up to you whether you want to explore more of the outdoors, go shopping, unwind at coffee shops or restaurants, visit another museum, or do one last-day trip.

Accommodations

Iceland - Campsites

Iceland - Hotels

Reykjavik - Hotels

Hofn - Hotels

Egilsstaðir - Hotels

Akureyri - Hotels

Dates & Prices

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Per person starting at
$2,174

Notes

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Rates may vary based on current exchange rate.

Included
  • 7 Breakfasts
  • 7 Nights Accommodations
  • Accommodations as listed
  • Ground transportation as listed
  • Activities as listed
  • Meals as listed
  • Access to a 24-7 Emergency line while traveling
Excluded
  • Gratuities
  • Travel Insurance
  • Personal Expenses
  • Flight costs (please request a quote)
  • Additional excursions during free time
  • Fuel and transportation surcharges (when applicable)
  • Arrival Transfer
  • Departure Transfer

Map

When to Go

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Dec
Good to ideal period to travel, and many people choose to visit at this time.
Typically not offered during this period because of weather conditions.

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The trip might have been the absolute best of our lifetime (thus far). We particularly want to commend our guide Peter in the Guilin area-he was so incredibly attentive, energetic, enthusiastic-and absolutely dedicated to ensuring that our meals were 100% vegetarian.
Jack Charney
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