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Northern Lights, North
Spring Northern Lights in North Iceland
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Vacation Style Holiday TypeDiscovery, Family, Guided Tours, Short Breaks, Trekking
Activity Level Moderate
Group Size Small Group
The northern lights are one of the most elusive and unpredictable attractions of Iceland, and this trip is all about trying to find them. Although it would be great to easily pinpoint how to see northern lights, there are a lot of variables to consider for seeing them: season, weather, length of stay, location and luck. Statistically, the best time to see the Aurora is near the equinox, when the air is cold and clear. Therefore, we chose March for this dedicated trip. We bring extreme cold weather gear to spend the evenings outside, make warm drinks and stay up all hours of the night. We sleep in, eat good food and visit a few spectacular vistas along the way. This trip explores the northern side of the island of Iceland, an area known for whales, dogsledding and black sand beaches.
- All breakfasts, lunches and dinners & dining
- All accommodation
- All transportation once in Iceland including internal
- Expert tour and trekking guides for entire journey
- Travel insurance and other emergencies
- Visa fees and entry clearing fees
- Liquors, beers and alcoholic beverages
- Flights to Iceland
Arrival in Iceland
Typically, flights into Iceland arrive early in the morning. We will arrange transportation for you to get from the airport to the hotel in Reykjavik after you land. You will be able to leave your bags at the desk while you explore Reykjavik until check-in time. Our first meet-up of the Big Chill Adventure team will be in the hotel lobby that evening, and then we head out for dinner at our favorite restaurant in Reykjavik. After dinner everyone is free to explore the town on your own or rest up in your room before we meet first thing in the morning for breakfast! If you are interested in arriving a day or two early and being on your own, resting up or exploring, we can help you find accommodations and transport into town.
Flight to Akureyri
In order to have the best possibility of Northern Lights, we will set out for the country side: low light pollution, open skies and beautiful landscapes. Our destination: Akureyri, the second largest city in Iceland and the gateway to the North.
We will board a morning flight and the 45 minutes in the air will take us to the beautiful fjords of the north. After a gourmet lunch in town, we will head toward Lake Myvatn.
On the way we will stop at the Goðafoss waterfall. This particular waterfall is connected with one of the most important events in Icelandic History, the conversion to Christianity in 1000 A.D. That year, Þorgeir Þorkelsson, Lawspeaker of the Icelandic Parliament, lived a short distance from the waterfall. During this time period Parliament was deciding whether Iceland should practice Paganism or Christianity. After a night and day meditating under a fur blanket, Mr. Thorkelsson, who was a pagan priest, decided in favor of Christianity, converted to Christianity himself, and as a symbolic act of his conversion threw his heathen god idols into the waterfall. As a result, Goðafoss (Waterfall of the Gods) was named. It is worth noting that at that time, even with Christianity now the official religion, Paganism could still be practiced privately, which Mr. Thorkelsson did!
Our second day in the Lake Myvatn-Icelandic highlands, will be visiting the active bubbling and frothing geothermal pools and geologic formations of a recent lava flow.
The unmistakeable odor of sulphur greets visitors as the road climbs up and over Námafjall. Temperatures in bore-holes here have been recorded as high as 608 degrees F! We are going exploring in the geothermal field of Hverir. There are walkways and paths running across the multi-colored clay, with steaming vents, hissing chimneys and bubbling hot pots of mud.
Next we head four miles north of Hverir, where the volcanic fields are known by the name of Krafla. This series of volcanoes last erupted in the 1980’s and are formed by the pulling apart of two oceanic tectonic plates beneath Iceland. It will be a glimpse of freshly formed primeval earth. Krafla is also an active geothermal power plant, whose pipes form a metal entrance-way to the magma reservoir.
Our second night in Lake Myvatn will be a choice between hot spring soak and then dinner or dinner then hot spring! As for every evening, we will continue to monitor the northern lights activity and wake you up for the cosmic display.
Day three brings us to the north coast of Iceland by way of some incredible geologic landforms. Our morning Icelandic traverse will be to the most powerful waterfall in Iceland: Dettifoss. This waterfall produces so much mist that we see a rainbow almost every time we visit! If all goes to plan, before lunch we will also walk over to take a look at the sister waterfall to Dettifoss, beautiful Selfoss! This journey will be by super jeep, the iconic, off-road adventure of Iceland. If
instead you prefer to explore the area by unmotorized transport, we can take a trip by dogsledding! The dog teams are a combination of Greenlandic, Siberian Husky and Malamute and they all love to have their tummies rubbed!
After breakfast, if the weather permits, we will set out on a snowmobiling adventure. The snowmobiles will take us high into the mountains overlooking Husavik, and if we are lucky we can explore some beautiful snow caves that are naturally formed through the winter by the wind. After lunch in Husavik, we will continue on our leisurely Iceland adventure to the town of Varmahlid, where we will soak in some hot pots, spend the night….hoping to see some Northern Lights!
After a late breakfast we will explore traditional turf farmhouses, thought to have first been built on this site in 900 A.D. during the Age of Settlements. The buildings that we will visit were constructed between 1750 and 1879 of turf, stones and timber. These 13 buildings were inhabited until 1947, and after the people had gone an English benefactor donated money for renovation and preservation!
After lunch we will head to the trolls around Hop, the largest saltwater lagoon in Iceland. We will investigate black sand beaches covered in rare alpine and arctic plants, as birds and horses vie for our attention.
Hvítserkur arch, believed to be a troll turned to stone by the sun will be one of the highlights.
We will end the day near the waterfalls of Husafell…..
Our last full day together, we will explore the Hraunfossar and Barnafoss waterfalls…. and then an “epic” exploration of a volcanic lava tube. This largest lava tube cave in Iceland, Viðgelmir, is filled with sparkling ice formations and features left by the liquid, dripping lava. Our trip is coming to a close now as we drive back into Reykjavik. Some of you may have night time flights back home, after 7 pm, and, if so, we will arrange transport for you to the airport in Keflavik. For those of you who fly the next day, or who simply want to stay longer, we can help you with finding accommodations in Reykjavik or closer to the airport, arrange an optional add-on trip to the Blue Lagoon, and/or help with arranging transportation to the airport when needed.
- Download full itinerary pdf available
Warm beds and hot showers at every stop along the way.
Bring a couple of options!
Waterproof, winter boots and slippers (for the hotel).
You are welcome to pick up items from duty free on your way into the country.
The Far Traveler: Voyages of a Viking Woman
88 Stories Around Iceland by Armann Reynisson (not available by regular printing in the US, but you can sometimes find a used version on Amazon); this is about Icelandic as you can get and you will immediately be dropped into how Iceland is today
Any of the Inspector Erlendur Icelandic murder mysteries (by Arnaldur Inridason)