Iceland Northern Lights Trip Notes

Ways to Travel:
Guided Group, Short Breaks
Destinations:
Iceland
Programmes:
Winter
Trip Code:
CZT
Activity Rating - Leisurely/Moderate
Leisurely / Moderate

You are reasonably fit, enjoy the outdoors and are looking for some exercise. Some previous experience is preferable for activity based trips.

5 Days Flight Inclusive
5 Days Land only
Min age: 16

Trip Overview

The Northern Lights can be dramatic, eruptive, fleeting and enigmatic. Never guaranteed, sightings rely on minimal light pollution, solar activity and clear skies. The 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 keen to show you 'their' Iceland, 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.


 

At a Glance

  • 4 nights comfortable en suite hotels
  • Flybus transfer to meet any flight
  • Travel by airconditioned minibus
  • Group normally 6 to 16, plus leader. Min age 16 yrs
  • Countries visited: Iceland

Trip Highlights

  • A chance to see the Northern Lights in amazing landscapes
  • Complete the Golden Triangle of Gullfoss Waterfall, Geysir and Thingvellir N.P
  • Glacier walking and the amazing Glacial Lagoon

Is This Trip for You?

This short stay includes three and a half days sightseeing, with visits to and exploration of areas of natural beauty. We will attempt to see the Northern Lights, choosing location and times based on the latest information to give us the best chance of seeing them. We will not go out every night, instead we monitor conditions and reports to see where and when excursions may be successful. Our accommodation in the east is fairly remote, so is well placed should skies be clear. Whilst staying here it is likely we would simply take advantage of the viewing terrace should the lights be visible.
It is important to remember that the Northern Lights are a natural phenomenon and are never guaranteed. We are however pleased to say that the majority of our groups have managed to see the Aurora in some form.

We also venture out onto a glacier equipped with helmet, ice axe and crampons however we stick to only flat sections of the ice; this experience is very accessible and designed for all abilities. To make the most of this holiday you do not need previous experience but a reasonable level of fitness is recommended.
Understandably for its location Icelandic weather is unpredictable, please come prepared for cold, wet and windy conditions. As this trip runs from October to March, hours of daylight will vary depending on departure date from around 5 hours in January to 10 hours in March. Outside of daylight there are hours of twilight, particularly before sunrise, when there is enough light to see by. Naturally, the Aurora will not be visible during daylight.
We cover a lot of ground and as such have a few long drives. We make frequent photo stops during these drives to allow us to appreciate the different and spectacular landscapes.
Iceland has become hugely popular in recent years, and you may find some of the main sites rather busy at certain times. 

Please note on occasion severe weather can affect our ability to undertake some of the outdoor activities and visits and we cannot rule out changes to the itinerary for these reasons. Any such decisions would always be taken with the safety of the group in mind. We will always endeavour to provide suitable alternatives in this instance.

Following a review of all our trips we have categorised this trip as generally not suitable for persons of reduced mobility. However if you are a regular traveller on such trips, please contact customer services to discuss the trip and your personal condition.

Adult min age:
16
Min group size:
6
Max group size:
16

Itinerary

Land Only

Start City:
Reykjavik
End City:
Reykjavik

Flight Inclusive

Start City:
London
End City:
London

Land Only Itinerary

  • Day 1

    Start Reyjavik.

    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.

  • Day 2

    Drive along the south coast stopping at Seljalandsfoss and Skogafoss waterfalls and Reynisfjara volcanic beach

    Today we leave Reykjavik driving east along the scenic southern highway. Our first stop is Seljalandsfoss, a 60-metre high waterfall. Here we have the chance to walk behind the cascade providing conditions are not too icy. Suitable footwear is a must, however the leader also carries a selection of ice grips that can be put over standard walking boots to increase grip in slippery conditions. We continue on through starkly beautiful countryside to an area badly affected by the 2010 eruption of the Eyjafjallajökull volcano. 

    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. There may also be time to visit the nearby Skóga Museum (entrance payable locally) and see how Icelanders of centuries past survived in this harsh environment. 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.

    Meals included:
    Breakfast
  • Day 3

    Drive across Skeidararsandur floodplains to Skaftafell for stop and visit; on to Svinafellsjokull outlet glacier for easy glacier walk. Drive to Jokulsarlon Glacial Lagoon.

    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. 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, leaving 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.

    Meals included:
    Breakfast
  • Day 4

    Drive along the south coast passing Eyjafjallajokull Volcano; visit Gullfoss Waterfall, spouts at Geysir and explore the rift valley at Thingvellir N.P.; on to Reykjavik.

    We make our way back along the south coast, travelling inland from Selfoss. 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. 

    From here we head on to visit 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. 

    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.

    Meals included:
    Breakfast
  • Day 5

    End Reykjavik

    Our trip ends with a Flybus transfer to Keflavik Airport. Your leader will not accompany you on the Flybus, however you will be provided with a number to call for assistance should it be needed.
    Should you have time you may wish to spend time exploring Reykjavik, visiting one of the local thermal pools or the Blue Lagoon (see extra expenses section for details).

    Alternatively you may wish to extend your stay and learn more about this incredible country. Please ask our sales team about pre and post tour nights.Our trip ends today. Depending on flight times, you may wish to spend time exploring Reykjavik, visiting one of the local thermal pools or one of the many sights available in the city or indeed extend your stay beyond this trip. Please ask our sales team about pre and post tour accommodation.





    Meals included:
    Breakfast

Accommodation

Hotels Klettur or Cabin & Laki

During our time in Reykjavik, we usually stay in the Hotel Klettur. The property is located approximately 15 mins walk from the main shopping street, Laugavegur, so it’s easy to enjoy the cafés, bars and restaurants of Iceland’s capital. Rooms are a good size with private facilities. Alternatively we may stay in the Hotel Cabin, which offers the same standard of accommodation and facilities, but is approximately 800m further out from the city centre.

Along the south coast we stay at the Hotel Laki, situated in a perfect location to see Iceland’s rugged landscape, with pseudo craters dotting the view. All accommodation has private facilities.

Where a single supplement is available, paying for a single only guarantees a room for single use. It does not always mean a twin or double room will be provided for sole occupancy.

Single supplement from 355,60 €

Food & Transport

Eating & Drinking

All breakfasts are included. There are a number of different lunch stops, which we believe fit well with the itinerary such as the café near the Skogafoss Waterfall, and the geothermal greenhouses at Friðheimar which serves a menu based on its own produce, including the famous Friðheimar Tomato Soup!
Whilst in the east of Iceland we will stop at local restaurants for dinner.
In Reykjavik there are plenty of restaurants to choose from catering for all tastes and budgets. Traditional Icelandic dishes consist of salmon, cod, lamb and puffin. Cafés in the old town are particularly cosy, packed with comfy chairs, and antique furniture, with wonderful selections of coffees, cakes and treats.

There will be vegetarian and vegan options available though in the east of Iceland these may be more limited than in Reykjavik.

Transportation

A comfortable, heated minibus, well adapted to the changing terrain will be used for all transport on this tour. Airport transfers are on the Flybus Service.

Weather & Seasonality

Weather Information

The country has a notoriously fickle climate, and on any day of the winter you may experience periods of sunshine alternating with short or long showers of snow, sleet or even rain. Away from the coast, in most winters, there is good snow cover for much of the season. Average daytime temperatures in Reykjavik are between 0º and -5º Celsius. In the interior it can be several degrees colder, and in windy weather, which is common, the wind-chill factor can be significant.

Weather Charts

Joining Instructions

Travelling flight inclusive from London: 8 days

The group flight from London is a daytime flight departing on Day 1 of the itinerary.

Flights from London

We normally use the scheduled services of Iceland air (depending on availability). As flight timings and schedules change regularly we recommend you call one of our specialist sales staff or your agent to confirm up‐to‐date timings. Please note timings may change at a later date and cannot be confirmed until approximately two weeks before departure.

 

Travelling land only: 5 days starting and ending in Reykjavik

We offer a transfer to meet any international flight arriving into Keflavik Airport. All clients will receive a voucher for a Flybus transfer to the start hotel. Flybus offer coach transfers to meet every flight and makes stops at various city hotels including our start hotel. You will receive further details in your Final Joining Instructions.

Regional Flights

The Flight Inclusive price is based on a London departure, but we are happy to tailor this to your local or regional airport. Please ask about flights from local or regional airports.

If booking regional flights other than with Exodus, you must allow a minimum connecting time (in addition to the international check-in time) of 1 hour at Gatwick, and 1.5 hours at Heathrow; this is longer than the official minimum, but baggage handling is known to be subject to delays.

Full joining instructions including local emergency numbers will be sent to you as part of our Final Joining Instructions. If you do not receive these at least a week before departure, or require them earlier please contact our office or your travel agent.

Transfers Details

Airport transfers are on the Flybus service, please see below for further details. 

Location start:
Reykjavik
Location end:
Reykjavik

What to Take

Essential Equipment

Walking boots: 3 or 3-4 season waterproof walking boots with semi-rigid soles, and good ankle support.

Outdoor / winter clothing as follows:
Good quality waterproof jacket
Warm fleece, warm hat and gloves. 
Waterproof trousers are very useful.
Thermal underwear, top and bottom, is recommended.
Balaclava or scarf and extra thick gloves

Warm hat that covers your ears
Water bottle and/or thermos flask
Trainers/comfortable shoes for the evenings


For thermal pools: towel, swimsuit.
Torch, preferably a head torch.

A tripod is highly recommended if trying to photograph the Northern Lights, as is the ability to take long exposures.

Practical Information

Passport

Iceland

All nationalities require a full passport that must be valid beyond the intended length of stay. It is your responsibility to have the correct personal documents and to obtain your own visa, if one is necessary, in accordance with the regulations of the country you are to visit. The information below is primarily for UK passport holders, and other nationalities should check with their travel agent or the relevant embassies. We are not responsible for the actions of local immigration and customs officials, whether at points of entry or otherwise, and any subsequent effects.

Visa

Iceland

No visa required for British passport holders.

Visa regulations can change without notice: please check the current regulations in good time to obtain a visa if one is required.

There are no specific health risks on this trip.

Vaccination

Iceland

There are no specific health risks.

Travel health can often be something people forget about before going away, but a little preparation and knowledge can go a long way to help you stay fit and healthy while abroad.

The above information can change at short notice; as we are not qualified to answer all your questions about travel health we strongly recommend you contact your Medical Professional or a Travel Health Clinic at least 8 weeks prior to departure for up-to-date information. Please note: vaccinations that are routinely recommended to residents of the UK, North America or Australasia are not considered to form part of the travel health advice, and you should ensure these are kept up to date where necessary.

For additional information please visit: https://travelhealthpro.org.uk/countries

Insurance - are you adequately covered?

It is a condition of joining any of our holidays that you must be fully insured against medical and personal accident risks (to include repatriation costs and air ambulance or helicopter rescue services where appropriate). On arrival in destination for your trip, you will be asked to present details to your leader or local representative of your policy.

If you are resident in the UK we strongly recommend the Exodus travel insurance policy, this is specifically designed to cover all activities on your trip. If arranging your own policy please ensure that you are covered for all activities that are part of the trip, optional activities that you intend to take part in and/or on high altitude itineraries, that you are covered up to the maximum altitude of the trip.

Local Time

Iceland's Timezone:
Atlantic/Reykjavik GMT (GMT +00:00)

Electricity

Iceland's Electricity:

230 Volts. Plug types C & F; establishments often take two round pin plugs.

Standard European adaptor required

Money

Iceland's Currency

The national currency of Iceland is the Iceland Krona (ISK), with an exchange rate at the time of publication (January 2019) of approximately 156 to the GBP,  121 to the USD, 91 to the CAD, 138 to the EUR, 87 to the AUD and 82 to the NZD.

ATM Availability

ATMs are everywhere in Iceland, from town centres to petrol stations but check with your bank as you may be charged to use them. Icelanders tend to prefer paying by card even for the smallest of payments.

Travellers cheques are not recommended.

Extra Expenses & Spending Money

Though there is not much free time on this itinerary, your leader can offer advice on optional activities. 
The Blue Lagoon is a popular excursion and can be booked for your last day, if your return flight is late enough.
Companies offer a Flybus transfer to the Blue Lagoon, entrance, then from the Blue Lagoon to the airport. 
This can be booked through a number of excursion companies including but not restricted to  Reykjavik Excursion - www.re.is and www.grayline.is . Prices start from 12600 Icelandic Krona.
We recommend you book this tour early as availability can be limited.

Please note that the price of this trip includes a return Flybus transfer to the airport. Should you book a Blue Lagoon transfer for your final day, please inform your leader during the trip and you will be refunded the cost of one of your Flybus transfers. 

For the meals not included, guide prices are as follows:-

Lunch - 2000ISK to 3000ISK
Evening meal in Reykjavik - 3000 to 8000ISK (approx £25 - £60), not including drinks. Prices may be slightly lower outside of Reykjavik however this is not always the case. 


Drinks - beer approx 900- 1500 ISK (approx £8-£12), soft drinks 400ISK (approx £3), wine approx 3500ISK a bottle (approx £25), 1800ISK a glass

Tipping

Tipping is not a big part of Icelandic culture. However should you wish to leave a tip, we recommend approximately £15 per person. This is a guide and entirely at your discretion.

Responsible Tourism

At Exodus we believe in the power of Responsible Travel.

Every time we travel, we are part of a global movement that creates jobs, builds more sustainable societies, encourages cultural understanding and safeguards common natural and cultural heritage. To learn more about what Responsible Travel means to Exodus click here… 

Exodus Community

Join the Exodus online community

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In the Community Travel Forum you'll find the Departure Lounge where you can discuss your trip with fellow travellers before you depart. When you get back from your holiday remember to upload your images to the relevant trip page on our website. This helps other people see what our holidays are really like and you'll be entered automatically into our monthly photo competition.

To make full use of the Community you'll need to join My Exodus. It's free, registration is simple and easy, so what are you waiting for?

Important Information

On all guided trips

Although our leaders are well trained to deal with different capabilities, if they have any concerns about someone’s ability to safely partake in an activity, or their impact on other people’s enjoyment, we authorise them to take necessary action which, in some circumstances, may involve asking someone to miss that activity.

Although rarely enforced, by booking this trip you agree to section 16 of our Booking Conditions which clearly states that our leaders have the authority to do this. In these circumstances we will ensure anyone sitting out is safely provided for and offered alternative options where possible. Refunds will not be provided for activities missed and customers may be liable for additional costs incurred.

On all trips

In booking this trip you should be confident in your ability to participate in all activities described in these Trip Notes. If you have any doubt about your suitability you should call the Exodus office and ask to speak to one of the experts on this itinerary.

In an emergency, please contact our 24 hour out of hours service on +44 (0) 844 326 7041.

Every time that you travel abroad you should take the time to read the warnings in the essential information in the brochure.

Full joining instructions including local emergency numbers, and details of how to reach the start point, will be sent to you approximately 2 to 3 weeks prior to departure. If you do not receive these at least a week before departure, or require them earlier please contact our office or your travel agent.

The information in these Trip Notes is given in good faith. Where differences exist between the Trip Notes and our current brochure or website, the Trip Notes supersede the brochure and website. All holidays can be subject to unexpected changes; in order to enjoy them you should be prepared to be flexible where necessary. Occasionally, as stated in our brochure, it may not be possible to follow the itinerary as planned. This may be for a variety of reasons - climatic, political, physical or other. In these circumstances we will make the best possible alternative arrangements that maintain the integrity of the original itinerary.

As fuel prices, airport taxes and exchange rates fluctuate, and airlines manage their rates to match demand, it is proving harder than ever to guarantee our Flight Inclusive prices. Although we endeavour to keep our website as accurate as possible, daily fluctuations mean that our Flight Inclusive price may be out of date. For accurate prices we recommend that you contact one of our Travel Experts, or your Travel Agent.

TRAVEL AWARE –STAY SAFE & HEALTHY ABROAD

 

The Foreign & Commonwealth Office and the NHS have up-to-date advice on staying safe and healthy abroad. For more on security, local laws, plus passport and visa information, see https://travelaware.campaign.gov.uk/

Keep informed of current travel health news by visiting https://travelhealthpro.org.uk/

Advice can change so check regularly for updates.

For all latest travel information about your holiday, please visit our Travel Safety Advice page.

How to Book

1. Check availability

Go online to check availability, or contact us by phone or email.

2. Secure your place

You can provisionally hold a place on this trip, usually for between three and seven days.

3. Complete your booking and payment

When you're ready to book, go to www.exodus.co.uk for online booking, book over the phone or you can complete a booking form (available online or on request by calling us). We accept all major credit and debit cards, or you can pay be cheque. Book with confidence: Exodus is fully licensed and bonded as a tour operator. We hold Air Traffic Organisers Licence (ATOL) number 2582 issued and bonded with the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA). We are also bonded to the International Air Transport Association (IATA) and we are members of the Federation of Tour Operators (FTO) and ABTA ‐ The Travel Association. This means you can book your Exodus holiday with confidence, as all monies paid to us for your trip are fully protected.

TRIP NOTE VALIDITY

These Trip Notes are valid from the "Current as" date on page one. They will occasionally be updated post booking and pre-departure; if there are any updates that significantly impact the inclusions or itinerary bookers will be written to separately. All customers will also receive a link to the most up-to-date version of the Trip Notes with their Final Joining Instructions pre-travel.