Day 1 - Reykjavik
Hallo! Welcome to Iceland. The world's northernmost capital of Reykjavik lies just below the Arctic Circle. The city sees around four hours of sunlight a day in winter and 22 hours or more in summer. Surrounded by volcanic peaks and crystalline ocean, and boasting a vibrant arts and nightlife scene, Reykjavik's contrasts are utterly beguiling. Your adventure begins with a Welcome Meeting at 6pm today – see reception for more details. If you can't arrange a flight that will arrive in time, you may wish to arrive a day early. We'll be happy to book additional accommodation for you (subject to availability). If you're going to be late, please inform the hotel reception. We'll be collecting your insurance details and next of kin information at this meeting, so please have these on hand. You can check in at the joining point hotel anytime after 2pm. While early check-in is not guaranteed, feel free to store your luggage until needed. Please note that the guest rooms may be spread across a number of buildings all situated along a quiet street in central Reykjavik, a 5-minute walk from each other. Why not arrive early and head to the National Museum, which depicts the history of Iceland from the 9th century, when the first Vikings from mainland Scandinavia arrived and settled, to the present day, or join locals who gossip and chatter in the Laugardalslaug Geothermal Pool.
Day 2 - Reykjavik / Golden Circle / Hvolsvollur Area
This morning take a short guided walk of Reykjavik, and visit the old harbour, the city center, the famous Hallgrimskirkja church and the Pearl monument. Following the route of the 'Golden Circle', visit Þingvellir National Park, the site of Iceland's first parliament, founded in 930, and a geological wonder where the American and Eurasian tectonic plates are pulling apart. Next, head to Iceland's Geysir geothermal area, where you'll see the Strokkur geyser shoot water 30 metres into the air. Be spellbound by the immense beauty and sheer power of the Gullfoss Waterfall, also know as Golden Falls, before continuing on to the Hvolsvollur Valley, where you'll spend the night in an Icelandic farm hotel. The Northern Lights (also known as the Aurora Borealis) are a natural display of coloured lights in the night sky that are often visible in the high northern hemisphere. Colours of the Northern Lights vary from person to person, with most people seeing them as pearly-grey with hints of greens and reds. Far away from the city lights, the hotel is an ideal Northern Lights base. If the skies are clear tonight, the group will head out to search for the dancing green lights. Remember to pack warm clothes, as temperatures can drop to below -5°C. Please note that while there is a good chance of seeing the lights of the aurora this far north, there is no guarantee, as they are a natural phenomenon.
Notes: Total driving distance approximately 100 kilometres.
Day 3 - South Coast / Jokulsarlon Lagoon
Start the day with a trip to the eerily beautiful Skógafoss waterfall, one of the biggest waterfalls in Iceland. Skógafoss is a giant of a waterfall, 25 metres wide and also dropping down 60 metres. You can get up close and feel its power, and also climb a (long) windy set of stairs up to a stunning viewpoint. On a sunny day you should be able to spot a rainbow or two in the spray. Continue along Iceland's South Shore to take in more of the country’s renowned natural wonders. From the stepping-stone rock formations of Reynisdrangar, the promontory of Dyrhólaey, and the night black sand beach of Reynisfjara, this is one of the country's most scenic regions. En route you will pass the lava of the Laki eruption of 1782 to 1783. In the afternoon, you will visit the famous Jokulsarlon Glacier Lagoon, a stunning sea of floating icebergs whose blue contrast with the charcoal coloured sand of the beach. Stop for the night at a farm stay on the South Coast. Weather permitting, there will be another opportunity to witness the natural wonders of the Northern Lights tonight.
Notes: Total driving distance approximately 300 kilometres.
Day 4 - Skaftafell National Park / Vik
Today drive to Skaftafell National Park, where you'll have the option take a walk on Europe's biggest ice cap – Vatnajokull – which has around 30 glaciers flowing out from it. No experience is necessary to partake in the hike. Alternatively just embark on a hike to the glacier's tongue. It’s sobering to think that the glacier is retreating due to rising world temperatures, and in some years the glacier may be gone. Later on today, journey on to the black sand seaside town of Vik for lunch and some free time to explore. With the sea on one side and high cliffs on the other, this dramatically positioned quaint little village is Iceland's most southerly mainland settlement.
Notes: Total driving distance approximately 200 kilometres.
Day 5 - Vik - Reykjavik
This morning we make our way back to Reykavik. Iceland's capital has an eclectic arts and music scene, an abundance of quirky cafes and a laid-back vibe. Perhaps browse some of the city's great art galleries. If you feel like something more active, you can take a ride on an Icelandic horse, see killer whales just off-shore on a whale watching expedition, or pull on a dry suit to snorkel between two tectonic plates in the Silfra Fissure, a unique experience that you can't find anywhere else in the world. Alternatively, while away the hours with a soak in the geothermal waters of the famous Blue Lagoon, or if you haven't had enough of the Northern Lights yet, you could head out of town to chase them again this evening. Whatever you choose, tonight perhaps gather together your fellow Icelandic adventurers and celebrate the end of this Northern Lights Escape.
Note: The Blue Lagoon has limited availability, and during peak times tickets sell out far in advance. We recommend you book your time slot online in advance if you would like to be sure of a certain time/date for your visit: http://www.bluelagoon.com.
Day 6 - Reykjavik
Today is departure day and time to say 'sjaumst'. As there are no activities planned, you are able to depart the hotel at any time. Check out time is at midday. If you are departing later, you can arrange to store your luggage at the hotel.
Accommodation, Food (as stated), Transport, Selected Activities
Flights, Travel Insurance, Visa, Vaccinations or Personal Spending Money