Antarctica & Arctic
The Northern Lights can be dramatic, eruptive, fleeting and enigmatic. Never guaranteed, sightings rely on minimal light pollution, solar activity and clear skies.
a Destinations d > Iceland > Iceland Northern Lights & Golden Circle
Five nights accommodation, local transportation, selected sightseeing and services of a G Adventures tour leader.
Selected Dates, 13 Oct '19 - 08 Apr '20
They key to any Aurora trip is enjoying the whole experience, regardless of what happens in the night sky. This is where Iceland comes into its own. Roaring waterfalls, icebergs littered on black volcanic sand and mighty volcanoes dotting the horizon. With a local guide on hand to help you discover his home, and alert to the prevailing conditions and the likelihood of a light show you will be well placed both literally and metaphorically, to see all that Iceland has to offer.
Back to Iceland Tours
Search for the Northern Lights in amazing landscapes
Bathe in the Blue Lagoon and visit lava caves
Complete the Golden Triangle of Gullfoss Waterfall, Geysir and Thingvellir N.P
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Our tour begins at our hotel in Reykjavik in the late afternoon. Iceland’s compact capital city is well worth exploring, and we strongly recommend a couple of extra days before or after your tour. Two of the most striking attractions are the Hallgrímskirkja Church; a fine example of expansionist architecture with great views from the tower, and the beautiful Harpa Concert Hall. The nearby old harbour is a great starting point to explore the narrow streets of the old town.
Our trip begins with an evening briefing.This will usually be around 1830.
Today we leave Reykjavik driving east along the scenic southern highway. Our first stop is Seljalandsfoss, a 60 metre high waterfall, offering visitors the memorable experience of being able walk behind the cascade. We continue on through starkly beautiful countryside to an area badly affected by the 2010 eruption of the Eyjafjallajökull volcano. We have short stop here at the visitor centre set up by a local family and watch a film featuring fantastic footage of the eruption and its aftermath and how local farmers and their families coped.
We continue on along the coast visiting the Skógafoss Waterfall, that falls in a 25 metre wide sheet in a single drop of 60 metres. In the nearby Skóga Museum, we’ll learn how Icelanders of centuries past survived in this harsh environment with a short tour. After lunch our next stop is the black volcanic beach at Reynisfjara, with its salt caves and towering columnar basalts. The final part of our journey takes us across the black expanse of the Myrdalssandur floodplains, created by the river which formed after the eruption of a volcano under the Mýrdalsjökull Glacier.
Our hotel for the night is the Laki, located just outside the small village of Kirkjubaejarklaustur. (B)(L)(D)
We set out today across the massive Skeidararsandur floodplains, created in a similar fashion to those at Mydalssandur. These floods however only occurred in 1996, and there is still little vegetation. Our first stop is the visitor centre at Skaftafell, part of the Vatnajokull NP, which covers about 10% of Iceland. From here we head to Svinafellsjokull, an outlet of the glacier where we go for a short walk. We will be using crampons and ice axes however the terrain is not challenging and even those with no similar experience should pick it up quickly. The glacier offers some fantastic photo opportunities, with its walls of brilliant blue ice, thousands of years in the making. Please note under certain circumstances it may be necessary to use Solhimajokull glacier in the south. This is an equally enthralling experience.
We travel onwards to the beautiful Jokulsarlon Glacier Lagoon, created in the 1950’s as the glacier retreated from the coastline, leave a 300m deep, 20sq km lake littered with icebergs. On the beach we can walk amongst the large chunks of ice washed up on the black volcanic sand, creating some beautiful shapes and formations.
The drive back to the hotel is approximately 90 minutes (125km), plenty of time to reflect on the day's adventures. (B)(L)(D)
We make our way back along the south coast, travelling inland from Selfoss. Our first stop is the mighty Gulfoss Waterfall; one of Europe’s most powerful. Hundreds of cubic tonnes of water a second pass over the edge of the falls into the canyon below. We also visit Geysir, home to the inimitable hot spouts. The most reliable eruption comes from Strokkur and occurs every 5-10 minutes, firing jets of hot water and steam 30 metres into the air, a spectacle not to be missed.
We stop for lunch at the restaurant in the Fridhheimar greenhouses. Here a local family have set up a successful tomato producing farm harnessing the geothermal power so abundantly available.
Our final stop before returning to Reykjavik is Thingvellir National Park, where the world’s first democratic parliament sat in 930AD; It was not until 1798, that it moved to the capital. Thingvellir is also the site of the rift valley marking the Mid Atlantic Ridge, where the North American and Eurasian tectonic plates are pulling apart, causing an area of around 7km to literally sink into the earth. (B)(L)
The Leidarendi Lava Cave, located on the Reykjavik Peninsula is a fine example of a cave system formed by subterranean lava flows. Fascinating rock formations of stalagmites and stalactites combine with the ice to form a mesmerising underground world.The caves are easily navigated and perfectly safe for visitors, even those unfamiliar with caving. The access road to the cave is not as well maintained as regular Icelandic highways and is sometimes impassable due to snow and ice therefore this visit is very much dependent on conditions.
Back out in the open air we stop at the world famous Blue Lagoon, Iceland’s most popular thermal bath. This large complex offers a large outdoor pool of hot milky white water, as well as steam rooms and saunas indoors. The lagoon gives us time to relax and reflect on our journey before having lunch and heading to the airport. (B)
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