Sky and Telescope Iceland Trip – October 19th, 2014 -
Day 1: Arrival to Iceland - Reykjanes Peninsula - Reykjavik
We will be met this morning by our tour guide and taken on a private coach of the Reykjanes Peninsula including a stop for the delicious breakfast buffet at Restaurant Vitinn in Keflavik. The dramatic volcanic peninsula of Reykjanes is home to several dormant volcanoes and extensive lava fields as well as many "hidden people”, we’re sure! We will visit Krýsuvík geothermal area and the Bridge between Continents, where you can stand on the bridge that connects the European and North American tectonic plates. We will then be driven to Reykjavik for check-in at our centrally located, boutique hotel, the cozy Reykjavik Hotel Centrum. 4 night stay.
Day 2: Reykjavik
Morning: Reykjavik City Sightseeing
Reykjavík is the world's most northerly capital, where more than one third of Iceland's population resides. Today Reykjavík is a modern city with a variety of restaurants, museums, galleries and theaters. On our tour we cover the city from one end to the other. We will see the old town centre, the Parliament, the Cathedral, the harbour, the National Museum, the Pearl and Höfði house, the summit site of 1986. We drive past the city's salmon river which is an outstanding proof that Reykjavík is a pollution free capital and the Árbæjarsafn outdoor folk museum, which offers an interesting contrast to the modern buildings of the most recent part of Reykjavík. Drive continues past Reykjavik's largest outdoor swimming pool in Laugardalur which is heated with water from natural hot springs under the city, the Ásmundur Sveinsson Sculpture museum and Hallgrímskirkja Church (whose steeple is a Reykjavík landmark). The tour ends at our hotel or with a drop off in the city center, on request.
Duration: 3 hours
Evening: This evening after dinner we will be hosted at a reception and astronomy lecture at the beautiful Reykjavik Art Museum, including desserts and tea/coffee.
Immediately following the lecture we will head out on an evening Northern Lights Hunt tour. The Northern Lights, also known as the Aurora Borealis are a spectacular natural phenomenon, often seen dancing around in fantastic colours across the Arctic sky. Northern Lights can be seen when certain weather conditions are fulfilled, usually during crispy cold and very still evenings. This tour is subject to the correct weather conditions. Sightings cannot be guaranteed during tour.
Duration: approx. 2.5 – 3 hrs
Day 3: Golden Circle
Following breakfast we depart from our hotel this morning and head over Hellisheiði plateau, passing Hveragerði village. A short stop will be made at the Kerið volcanic crater before we continue to Gullfoss, the Golden Waterfall which is one of the most impressive waterfalls in Europe. Here we will see thousands of tons of icy water thunder majestically down in double falls into a deep canyon. Only a few minutes drive from Gullfoss is the famous Great Geysir which has given name to hot spring all over the world where we will see one of the most active geysers in the area, Strokkur, spouting up to 30 meters. Lunch will be buffet style at Hotel Geysir. Onwards to Þingvellir, a remarkable geological site and the most historic site on the island. Þingvellir is the site of the world's oldest democratic parliament founded in 930. Þingvellir, located by Lake Þingvallavatn, the largest lake on the island, is now a national park. The beautiful canyon running through the park is actually the meeting point of two of the earth’s tectonic plates, and the area’s combination of natural phenomena and historical significance make it inseparable from the fabric of Icelandic national life. From Þingvellir we travel over Mosfellsheiði plateau to Reykjavík.
Duration: 8 hours
Evening Northern Lights Hunt (New Moon)
The Northern Lights, also known as the Aurora Borealis are a spectacular natural phenomenon, often seen dancing around in fantastic colours across the Arctic sky. Northern Lights can be seen when certain weather conditions are fulfilled, usually during crispy cold and very still evenings. This tour is subject to the correct weather conditions. Sightings cannot be guaranteed during tour.
Duration: approx. 2.5 – 3 hrs
Day 4: Reykjavik - Day free for optional tours
Northern Lights cruise
Walk to the Old Harbor (approx. 5-10 minute walk from Reykjavik Hotel Centrum) or from wherever you had dinner. There are many restaurants and cafes in the nearby areas. Sail out from Reykjavik Harbour and see the Aurora Borealis dancing above the city lights. Experience the Northern Lights from a completely different point of view! (subject to weather conditions)
Duration: 2-3 hours
Day 5: South Coast - Kirkjubaejarklaustur
We drive from Reykjavik over the mountain pass Hellisheiði, which offers a magnificent view of the wide plains formed by glacial rivers, now fertile farmland in South-Iceland. Proceeding east through small villages and farmlands to the majestic mountains towering over the coast we will have frequent views of mountains, including snow shrouded Hekla volcano, and the towering, ice capped strato volcano Eyjafjallajökull, probably the most famous Icelandic volcano today. We continue through the region where one of the best known of the Icelandic classical sagas, Njál’s Saga is set. A stop at the spectacular waterfall Seljalandsfoss before passing Dyrhólaey, a magnificent rocky headland with sheer cliffs, with a huge wave cut gap in its ocean facing tip to the beautiful sited village of Vík where you will have lunch. Head down to the sea shore before continuing to Kirkujubæjarklaustur for dinner and overnight at Hotel Klaustur. 1 night stay.
Day 6: Kirkjubæjarklaustur – Eyrarbakki – Blue Lagoon area
Today we head to the Skaftafell National Park for a morning of exploration before heading back towards Reykjavik. Lunch will be served in the Kirkjubæjarklaustur area before stopping by the picturesque waterfall Skogarfoss. We then drive along the coast where we will enjoy an Icelandic lobster feast at one of the local lobster restaurants. We will then continue along the coast back to the Reykjanes Peninsula and to the Blue Lagoon area, where we will check-in to the Northern Light Inn, dramatically set in the middle of a massive lava field. 1 night stay.
Day 7: Blue Lagoon-Keflavik
This morning enjoy a visit to the famous Blue Lagoon. The Lagoon is a unique wonder of nature; a lagoon with pleasantly warm mineral-rich geothermal water in a middle of a black lava field. The high natural levels of silica and minerals give the Lagoon its rich blue colour. A visit to the Blue Lagoon is both invigorating and exiting whether one bathes there surrounded by snow in the middle of the winter or in the long summer daylight. We stop there for approximately 2 hours before enjoying a farewell lunch buffet. A short transfer takes you to the airport in plenty of time to check-in for your flight with some spare time to do some last minute Duty Free shopping before saying "Farewell” to this fascinating country.
Included in price:
- A private coach and local guide for the above itinerary
- 4 nights including breakfast at Reykjavik Hotel Centrum
- 1 night including breakfast at Icelandair Hotel Klaustur
- 1 night including breakfast at Northern Light Inn
- Breakfast buffet on day of arrival
- Entrance fee to National Museum of Iceland
- Icelandic Art Museum private room with coffee/tea and desserts on day 2
- 4x lunch (days 3,5,6 & 7)
- Northern lights cruise
- 2x dinner including 1 drink per person (days 5 & 6)
- Entrance fee & towel at Blue Lagoon
- Transfers to and from Keflavik International Airport if arriving and departing during group arrival times
- International airfare
- Passport fees
- Travel insurance (highly recommended)
- Airport transfers if not arriving or departing with group bulk air
- Additional beverages with meals
- Anything else not mentioned under "included in price”
- Room outside of normal check-in/check-out times
- Optional excursions or pre and post trips
- Tips and gratuities
- Personal expenses and anything not listed in the included list