Iceland Northern Lights

5 days
from
$3,595 NZD
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Traveller ratings
4.8 / 5 from 42 reviews >
Trip code: 
CZT
Ways to Travel:
Guided Group, Short Breaks
Activity:
Winter
Min age:
16
Group size:
6–16

See Iceland's best sights in one weekend

The Northern Lights can be dramatic, eruptive, fleeting and enigmatic. Never guaranteed, sightings rely on minimal light pollution, solar activity and clear skies. They 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 to help you discover his home, 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.

We have a bus at our disposal for Northern Lights excursions on some nights, as well as a number of meals, activities and visits such as glacier walking and an ice cave visit, making this an excellent value way to discover what makes Iceland so unforgettable. 

 

Highlights

  • Search for the Northern Lights in amazing landscapes
  • Bathe in the Blue Lagoon and visit lava caves
  • Complete the Golden Triangle of Gullfoss Waterfall, Geysir and Thingvellir N.P

Key information

  • 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

What's included

  • All breakfasts, 3 lunches and 2 dinners
  • All accommodation (see accommodation section)
  • All transport and listed activities
  • Tour leader throughout
  • Flights from London (if booking incl. flights)

What's not included

  • Travel insurance
  • Single accommodation (available on request)
  • Visas or vaccinations
Call for general departures:
0800 643 997
Call for tailormade trips:
+44 (0)20 8772 3874
Trip Notes

Click on the button below for detailed Trip Notes containing all the particulars about this trip, including kit lists and practical information.

Note: these can vary by departure; you can check out the specific Trip Notes for your chosen adventure on the dates & prices page.

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… 

Itinerary

Reykjavik
to
Reykjavik
  • 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; evening Northern Lights excursion (available on two nights).

    Today we leave Reykjavik driving east along the scenic southern highway. Our first stop is Seljalandsfoss, a 60 metre high waterfall, offering visitors the memorable experience of being able walk behind the cascade. We continue on through starkly beautiful countryside to an area badly affected by the 2010 eruption of the Eyjafjallajökull volcano. We have short stop here at the visitor centre set up by a local family and watch a film featuring fantastic footage of the eruption and its aftermath and how local farmers and their families coped.

    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. In the nearby Skóga Museum, we’ll learn how Icelanders of centuries past survived in this harsh environment with a short tour. 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 Lunch Dinner
  • 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. Our first stop is the visitor centre at Skaftafell, part of the Vatnajokull NP, which covers about 10% of Iceland. From here 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, leave 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 Lunch Dinner
  • 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. Our first stop is 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.

    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.

    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 Lunch
  • Day 5

    Morning visit to Leidarendi lava tube cave and the Blue Lagoon; afternoon fly to London.

    The Leidarendi Lava Cave, located on the Reykjavik Peninsula is a fine example of a cave system formed by subterranean lava flows. Fascinating rock formations of stalagmites and stalactites combine with the ice to form a mesmerising underground world.The caves are easily navigated and perfectly safe for visitors, even those unfamiliar with caving. The access road to the cave is not as well maintained as regular Icelandic highways and is sometimes impassable due to snow and ice therefore this visit is very much dependent on conditions.

    Back out in the open air we stop at the world famous Blue Lagoon, Iceland’s most popular thermal bath. This large complex offers a large outdoor pool of hot milky white water, as well as steam rooms and saunas indoors. The lagoon gives us time to relax and reflect on our journey before having lunch and heading to the airport.

    Alternatively you may wish to extend you stay and learn more about this incredible country. Please ask our sales team about pre and post tours.

    Meals included: Breakfast
Trip Notes

Click on the button below for detailed Trip Notes containing all the particulars about this trip, including kit lists and practical information.

Note: these can vary by departure; you can check out the specific Trip Notes for your chosen adventure on the dates & prices page.

Essential Info

Visas

Iceland

No visa required for British passport holders.

Vaccinations

Iceland

There are no specific health risks.

Eating and Drinking

All breakfasts, 3 lunches and 2 dinners are included. One is in a café near the Skogafoss Waterfall, one at the geothermal greenhouses at Friðheimar and one is a packed lunch near the glacier. Our two dinners at the Hotel Laki can be buffet style or a set menu depending on the amount of guests in the hotel.
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.

Weather

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.

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 evening excursions may be successful. .
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.

Call for general departures:
0800 643 997
Call for tailormade trips:
+44 (0)20 8772 3874
Trip Notes

Click on the button below for detailed Trip Notes containing all the particulars about this trip, including kit lists and practical information.

Note: these can vary by departure; you can check out the specific Trip Notes for your chosen adventure on the dates & prices page.

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.

Call for general departures:
0800 643 997
Call for tailormade trips:
+44 (0)20 8772 3874
Trip Notes

Click on the button below for detailed Trip Notes containing all the particulars about this trip, including kit lists and practical information.

Note: these can vary by departure; you can check out the specific Trip Notes for your chosen adventure on the dates & prices page.

Experts

Contact a member of staff who has done this trip

Call for general departures:
0800 643 997
Call for tailormade trips:
+44 (0)20 8772 3874
Trip Notes

Click on the button below for detailed Trip Notes containing all the particulars about this trip, including kit lists and practical information.

Note: these can vary by departure; you can check out the specific Trip Notes for your chosen adventure on the dates & prices page.

Expert Blog Entries

  • Reviewed March 2017
    Nigel Bradshaw

    Wet & wild!

    This is an extraordinary trip even if the Northern Lights are not visible, there is nowhere else so accessible that has such a fascinating and diverse landscape. The people are lovely and the food top quality. It is an expensive country however, additional food and drink and souvenirs are pricey.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    Walking on the glacier in crampons, ice axe and helmet and descending into its crevasses among 2000 year old ice was an amazing experience. The final morning was very well planned, starting out below ground in a lava tube then being taken straight to the Blue Lagoon prior to catching the flight home. Don't be put off by thinking that the Blue Lagoon is a tacky tourist trap - it's not, it's an amazing and relaxing end to the trip.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Orri was an exceptional leader, friendly, helpful and approachable, nothing was too much trouble for him. He kept us entertained with his stories of Icelandic history and folklore during the longer road sections.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    Take plentry of layers and good quality warm and waterproof clothing, The weather is going to be both cold and wet and can change rapidly, if you are prepared for that then you will enjoy the trip all the more.

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    The northern lights may not make an appearance whilst there and some activities may be cancelled at short notice and another substituted due to the raw nature of the place, that is part of its appeal for me, keep an open mind and enjoy the experience.
  • Reviewed March 2017
    Rebecca Cope

    Fantastic trip to Iceland

    We had a fantastic trip to Iceland. A lot was fit into the few days that we were there but the itinerary was just right. There was quite a lot of driving but it was worth it to see all of the sights that we did and our group leader entertained us with tales of Iceland throughout the journey. I am already planning my next trip to Iceland to explore the country further!

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    The glacier hike and the caving were my highlights. I'd also heard mixed reviews about the blue lagoon but I also loved this as it is so unique to Iceland.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Orri was a fantastic leader. Very warm and friendly and kept us entertained throughout. We couldn't fault him and he helped to make it a memorable trip.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    Take plenty of layers! I'd also recommend spending at least one additional night in Reykjavik. It's a great place to spend time and is small enough to see plenty in one or two days. There isn't much spare time in the itinerary if you don't book additional nights.

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    The weather was very mixed whilst we were there from bright sunshine to snow. We only got to see the Northern lights very faintly on one of the evenings though due to lack of activity and cloud cover but it didn't matter. I would highly recommend.
  • Reviewed February 2017
    Robert Butler

    Iceland and it's rugged nature

    Yet again Exodus has given us a wonderful tour of a part of this great planet. Iceland has a great deal to offer for those that want to see a raw part of the world; from Glaciers to bathing in hot springs, to volcanoes and lava tubes. It is an easy trip to do if you have a low level of fitness but still want to cave or walk a glacier. As always, the choice of guide could not be faulted, he was fun and entertaining but went about everything in a professional way. Sadly we did not see the northern lights but nature is not always on demand, however this did not detract from a wonderful tour of the sights and sounds of Iceland. Well done Exodus.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    The Gullfoss falls absolutely fantastic sight.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Orri Sigurjonsson was outstanding as our leader and guide. He expertly explained the safety of walking on glaciers with crampons, and the wearing of caving equipment. Also when the van broke down with a puncture he organised a replacement coach to get us back to our hotel and in the night went back to fix the van with a mechanic, appearing bright and cheerful in the morning to continue our tour. Whilst travelling he told wonder stories of Trolls and Elves who live in the rocks of Iceland. Well done Orri.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    This is a trip where you will see and hear about Iceland and it's history and it's wonderful rugged beauty of various landscapes.
  • Reviewed February 2017
    Anthony Forrester

    Fantastic Iceland Break

    Although we were unable to see the Northern Lights due to the overcast conditions this did not detract from the fact that this was a real Icelandic experience that we thoroughly enjoyed. Excellent program of things do and see let by Orri our very enthusiastic, knowledgeable and friendly guide. His knowledge of Icelandic history and Icelandic tales added to the enjoyment of the trip. The variety of the program and timings meant that we had lots to do and see avoiding more busy times of the popular locations. The hotel Laki which we stayed in for two nights was especially nice and well located.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    The day that we did the glacier walk.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Orri was excellent and just made the trip all the more enjoyable. As above his knowledge and how he put that across was both entertaining and informative. He also kept a close eye on everyone to make sure that they were comfortable with the activities and enjoying themselves.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    Don't worry too much about seeing the Northern Lights as there is so much more to see and do on this trip. They are just a bonus. Both the glacier walk and the cave walk provide experiences that you will not be likely to try again.

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    It was nice that we were in a small group of sixteen and that everyone got on well. Obviously there will always be differences on how much time people feel should be spent on each of the visits / activities.
  • Reviewed February 2017
    Lesley Butler

    A wonderful trip

    Although we weren't lucky enough to see the Northern Lights, we saw so many great things that it didn't really matter.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    The glacier walk was amazing; once I got over the thought that I wasn't going to slip on the ice (the crampons keep you on your feet), it was wonderful. Not to be missed.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Orri Sigurjonsson was a wonderful guide. He drove the minibus, guided us round southern Iceland, told us about the culture, history and people of the country with great knowledge, told us fairy tales of the trolls and dragons as well as feeding us chocolate, biscuits and crisps. He was funny and informative at the same time, an all-time good guy and he really made the trip special.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    Don't worry that you'll feel disappointed if you don't see the lights, I'm sure you won't, there is so much else to see and do, especially if you've got a good guide with you.

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    I always say that it's a sign of a good guide and company if something goes wrong (in our case the minibus had a problem with one of the wheels) and it's sorted out quickly and efficiently. It was on our way back at the end of the day, thankfully, that the problem occurred. Orri not only arranged for another bus to take us back to the hotel, but while we were waiting kept us regaled with stories of trolls, which kept us amused and happy. He arrived back, smiling as usual, several hours later, having got the minibus fixed ready for the next day.
  • Reviewed January 2017
    Ian Jones

    Iceland Northern Lights

    We only had very limited views of the northern lights and the weather was not kind with much wet weather and grey skies. There was a lot of travelling as described in the trip notes. Waterfalls and other scenery was impressive.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    The Blue Lagoon was much better than expected. Another highlight was the museum at Eyjatjallajokull explaining the 2010 volcanic eruption. Gullfoss was very impressive as was the Jokulsarton glacial lagoon and the associated ice on the beach.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Kristian was a very enthusiastic leader who did all he could to find northern lights and explain the history and culture of Iceland. His enthusiasm for his country was clear.He made sure we were safe at all times.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    Take plenty of warm clothes and waterproofs
  • Reviewed October 2016
    Chris Ronaldson

    Iceland - Northern Lights

    An excellent trip with great activities and a full schedule. From start to finish you hardly stop, that being said you see some amazing sights and really geta a feel for Iceland and its culture.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    The northern lights - they looked simply amazing!

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Our group leader was great, he interacted with us and shared his knowledge and experaince in a proffesional manner. He had a great sense of humour which really helped make the trip experiance so great.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    Pack lots of layers and good quality water proofs! Also a good pair of walking boots are a must for some of the locations!

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    A great trip, well organised and carried out. Wel done Exodus!!
  • Reviewed June 2016
    Linda Dodd

    Amazing Iceland in an amazing trip!

    A lot was packed into 4 fun-filled days taking in stunning scenery. Travelling on a comfortable bus, our brilliant guide Ibi made sure we got to take in Iceland and its history through our many stops.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    There were so many fantastic moments in this trip, though walking through the divide at Thingvellir National Park and taking in the view was spectacular. The Blue Lagoon was the perfect way to end the trip with new found friends.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Ibi really helped to make this trip with an informative and friendly style. I felt complete safe under her guidance at all times.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    Be prepared to take lots of photographs and bring one will a long exposure and a tripod if you hope to shoot the northern lights. Alongside that, thermals are recommended as the wind can be icy. Good waterproofs including over-trousers are essential, especially at the falls if the weather is bad. Also try and take a walk into Reykjavik at some point so you don't miss out.

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    This was an amazing trip. I'd wanted to see dramatic Iceland and we got to see so many aspects of it packed into such a short trip.
  • Reviewed April 2016
    Karen Walker

    Iceland Northern Lights

    Excellent trip - great group (aged 37-60, 50:50 male:female) and excellent guide

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    The icebergs floating on the lake and the sea, with the clear blue sky behind. White Russian Cocktails in Bar Lebowski's, Reykjavik. I was surprised at how barren then landscape is - it's worth seeing. We did see the Northern lights (not the best but they were there). At Hotel Laki you can book a wake-up call if they appear!

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Ingibjorg (Ibi) was excellent. She is also a Ranger at the national park so very knowledgeable and she led us on the Glacier and in the Caves. She even provided hot flasks of drinks and snacks in the bus to help with the biting cold wind!

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    Be prepared for the biting wind - take warm layers - thermal leggings, a balaclava, ski gloves. Waterproofs (jacket & trousers) are a must to keep out the wind and also you walk behind one of the waterfalls. Take walking boots for the crampons on the Glacier and also to keep out the cold. Book an extra day to see Reykjavik - there are free local walking tours - it's easy to get around and not very big but worth the effort.

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    Compared to some other travel companies this trip may look expensive, but everything except 2 dinners is included. Admission to places and food is very expensive (c£20-£25 for a main meal), so when comparing make sure you add in everything.
  • Reviewed April 2016
    Margaret Newland

    iceland 4 nighttrip

    good varied program

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    seeing the northern lights on a beautiful clear night and then viewing a photo of same to really see the colours.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Ibi was excellent. Nothing was too much trouble

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    make sure you have warm, windproof clothes

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    I had expected better accommodation for the price of the holiday. Hotel Laki was very basic. Our group had the worst rooms. Should have had 3 course meals included in the price

Dates & Prices

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Call us on 0800 643 997