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 North Iceland Aurora Challenge - 8d/7n All year round


North Iceland Aurora Challenge

8 days / 7 nights

Experience the Arctic North! This tour takes you on an exploration of West and North Iceland, known for its winter adventures in a veritable nature paradise. Enjoy a relaxing visit to the Mývatn Nature Baths, join a snowshoe walk in a lava labyrinth, climb a volcano crater, travel along scenic fjord routes where you can almost touch the Arctic Circle. Do you want to go to places where most people do not go in the winter time? Are you looking for some very unique but not arduous outdoor activities and a chance to search for the Northern Lights that appear in high latitudes when the skies are clear? Well, perhaps you are ready to take the North Iceland Aurora Challenge!

Highlights and Experiences:

  • Visit places where most other tour groups do not go in the winter time
  • A lot of museums, special visits and culinary experiences included
  • Snow shoe hike (or hike if no snow) in a lava labyrinth
  • Soak in the mineral rich waters of the Mývatn Nature Baths
  • Spend two nights in Reykjavik and 5 nights in North Iceland
  • Stay at Iceland's northernmost town, almost at the Arctic Circle
  • 5 evenings of lectures, presentations, film and guided searches for Northern Lights

=         Stay one night in the new Hotel Siglufjörður, almost at the Arctic Circle

=         New for winter 2016/2017: Small group travel with maximum 16 persons

Included:

  • Arrival & departure airport transfer by airport shuttle
  • Fully escorted 6-day bus tour with an English-speaking guide as per program
  • 7-nights accommodation as listed below including breakfast
  • 2x light lunch, 3x 3-course dinner and 3x midnight refreshments
  • Visit to natural history & seal museum
  • Horse show, coffee & cake at local horse farm
  • Visit to herring museum and local micro beer brewery
  • Hot steam baked bread tasting
  • Entrance with towel at Mývatn Nature Baths
  • Snow shoe hike (or hike if no snow) in lava labyrinth
  • Visit to Mývatn bird museum
  • Visit to Christmas house & garden near Akureyri
  • Visit to Víðimýri turf church, Glaumbær folk museum & turf farm and tannery in Skagafjörður
  • Northern Lights program during 5 evenings with a combination of lectures, presentations, film and guided searches for the Northern Lights
  • Use of winter & Northern Lights explorer equipment: simple non-slip snow & ice grippers spikes for shoes and a flash light that is helpful when walking in the dark and operating your photo camera at night

Prices for winter 2016-2017:

Groups max 16 persons:

=         Single room: EUR 2690 per person

=         Double/twin/triple: EUR 2360 per person

Weekly departures October 2016 - March 2017 on Tuesdays

Itinerary

 

Day 1, FRI: WELCOME to ICELAND (50 km/31 mls)
The Flybus shuttle brings travelers from Keflavík International Airport to the accommodation in Reykjavík where you spend the night. We provide you with ideas how to explore Iceland's capital on your own, dinner suggestions too! Food lovers will be pleased and perhaps even impressed by the number of diverse restaurants in Reykjavík. Many award winning chefs create delicious Icelandic cuisine that is characterized by an imaginative use of local ingredients such as fresh seafood, organic lamb and wild game; but be sure to try the fabulous Icelandic hot dog and pizza too!

 

Day 2, SAT: VOLCANO CRATER, SEALS, FJORDS & MOUNTAINS (400 km/248 mls)
At 09:00 meet your tour guide and travel west, passing the town of Borgarnes and climb the Grábrók volcano crater. We visit a natural history & seal museum and further north we stop at the turf church of Víðimýri. We travel along scenic fjords and over several challenging mountain passes until we reach Siglufjörður, Iceland's northernmost town. We overnight at the new and beautifully located Hotel Siglo which offers spectacular geothermal hot tubs built into the local fjord. In the evening, if weather permits, we take a little walk or drive to search for the Northern Lights.

 

Day 3, SUN: ICELAND'S NORTHERNMOST TOWN (170 km/106 mls)
In the morning we explore Siglufjörður, Iceland's northernmost town, known as the herring capital of the North Atlantic. In Siglufjörður we visit the herring museum, the largest seafaring and industrial museum in the country. In the afternoon we drive along Eyjafjörður, Iceland's longest fjord which offers an amazing mountain panorama and explore Tröllaskagi Peninsula. Along the way, we stop at a deserted fjord valley that even most Icelanders have not yet seen. Later we stop at a local brewery and taste one of Iceland's micro-beers. We continue to Lake Mývatn, a winter wonderland, where we stay for 3 nights. Join an evening lecture about Northern Lights and don't miss the chance to search for the magical auroras after dinner.

 

Day 4, MON: SEARCH FOR THE TROLLS & SNOW ADVENTURES (30 km/19 mls)
This morning we go for a snowshoe trip (or a normal hike if there is no snow) through the lava formations of Dimmuborgir "the dark castles", hoping to get a glimpse of the trolls who are said to live there. The afternoon is free at leisure to explore the many pseudo craters or walk along the lake shores. Also available is an optional tour on cross-country skis or snow-mobiles. The trail depends on the snow conditions and number of participants. Winter clothing, hat and gloves are required. In the evening we take a relaxing soak at Lake Mývatn Nature Baths and get ready to chase the elusive Northern Lights.

 

Day 5, TUE: EXPLORE LAKE MÝVATN (50 km/31 mls)
Lake Mývatn is known for its geological wonders and active bird life, but also for having Iceland's coldest temperatures. We take an easy walk through the bizarre lava formations and landscape with great views to the lake, bird life and trees. Later we explore the hot spring area of Námaskarð with bubbling mud pools and steaming solfataras. We taste traditional dark bread baked underground in the geothermal heat. In the evening enjoy a video presentation about Northern Lights as a part of the Northern Lights educational program. After a delicious dinner, don't forget to keep an eye out for the Northern Lights.

 

Day 6, WED: BIRDS, CHRISTMAS GARDEN & THE CAPITAL OF NORTH ICELAND (120 km/75 mls)
We visit the Lake Mývatn bird museum and travel to Goðafoss, the waterfalls of the Gods. Next stop is the Christmas Garden, a small museum and shop where you find countless items connected to Icelandic Christmas traditions. The afternoon is free at leisure to explore Akureyri, the capital of North Iceland on your own. There are some excellent local museums and a great geothermal swimming pool. Depending on weather there is a short excursion into the darkness to hunt the Aurora Borealis.

 

Day 7, THU: HISTORY, DESIGN & HORSES IN SKAGAFJÖRÐUR (420 km/261 mls)
We travel back west over the mountains to Skagafjörður, the valley of horses and home of many ancient farms. We visit the folk museum and turf farm at Glaumbær. Enjoy a guided tour through the only tannery in Europe which makes fish leather. Later we stop for coffee & cake at a horse farm, where we learn about the history and the special gaits of Icelandic horses. We reach Reykjavík depending on weather and road conditions between 18:00-20:00 where you stay one night in Iceland's capital.

 

Day 8, FRI: DEPARTURE HOME (50 km/31 mls)
Individual transfer by airport shuttle from your accommodation in Reykjavík to Keflavík Airport.

 

NOTE: Subject to your flight schedule there is little time to see and explore Reykjavik. If you are interested to see Iceland's capital, the famous Blue Lagoon and Golden Circle Route, we recommend adding extra nights in Reykjavík.

 

DAILY DRIVING: Total mileage without airport transfer is 1.190 km (738 miles) which is an average of 200 km (124 miles) per day. You spend about 3 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, such as day 2 and day 7.

CHANGE OF PROGRAM: In rare cases, a change of itinerary might be necessary during winter programs in Iceland, should snow, road and weather conditions not allow to follow the scheduled itinerary, and certain outdoor activities might be cancelled. In this case no refund will be given, but the operator will try to find reasonable alternatives where and whenever possible.


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