North Iceland Aurora Challenge

**Escorted group tour**

This small, locally escorted, group tour (maximise 16 people) enables you to visit destinations not often on bigger group tour agenda’s in the winter and maximises your chances of seeing the northern lights. Embark on this adventure with like-minded travellers and enjoy museum visits, culinary experiences, a stay in Iceland’s northernmost town, even a snow shoe hike in a lava labrynth and 5 evenings of lectures, presentations and guided searches for the northern lights. The raw nature of Iceland is truly revealed on this trip.

DAY 1 Reykjavik
Fly from a choice of regional airports direct to Keflavik International airport, Reykjavik. Take the airport shuttle bus service to your hotel. The remainder of the day is at your leisure. Your hotel is located near the city-centre and it is an easy walk into the old town, where there is a wide range of restaurants, bars and café’s, for you to enjoy as you familiarise yourself with this fun city.

DAY 2 Siglufjordur
After breakfast, check-out and at 09.00 meet your guide and fellow travellers for the journey up to the north. It’s a 400km drive today, but there remains ample time to climb the Grabrok volcano crater, visit a natural history and seal  museum and stop at the turf church of Vidimyri. All the while, the weather and the scenery will create an ever-changing backdrop to the trip, especially as you drive through several mountain passes and along the scenic fjord shores. Overnight accommodation is in Siglufjordur, one of Iceland’s prettiest towns and certainly the most northern. Wedged between towering mountains, it almost touches the Arctic Circle. The newly opened Hotel Siglo, is situated on the water’s edge and offers some spectacular hot tubs built into the local fjord. There is a choice of dining options (pay locally), including the Sunna restaurant within the hotel, or Hannes Boy and Kaffi Raudka, both of which offer more casual dining.

DAY 3 Explore Siglufjordur and head for Lake Myvatn
Enjoy a morning exploring this delightful harbour town, which until 1967 was only approachable by boat. It was the undisputed capital of herring fishing, and you will visit the museum which charts the resulting rise and fall of the regions fortunes. Later, the drive follows Eyjafjörður, Iceland’s longest fjord with an amazing mountain panorama and explore Tröllaskagi Peninsula. Stop at a deserted fjord valley that even most Icelanders have not yet seen, followed by a taste of beer from one of Iceland’s micro-brewery‘s. Finally, continue to Lake Mývatn, and the Sel Hotel, home for the next 3 nights and the chance to join an evening lecture about the aurora borealis, enjoy a 3-course dinner and the chance to search for the magical northern lights after.

DAY 4 Trolls & Snow adventures in Lake Myvatn
The highlights today are a walk through the lava formations ofDimmuborgir (if there is snow, then it will be a snow-shoe walk). It is rumoured the area is inhabited by trolls. Return to the hotel for a light lunch. The afternoon is at leisure and it is an ideal opportunity to visit the pseudo craters located across the road from the hotel or walk along the lake shores of Lake Myvatn.  After dinner this evening, it is time for a relaxing soak at Lake Mývatn Nature Baths and a northern lights hunt in this northern lights hotspot.

DAY 5 Exploring Lake Myvatn
Today’s activities include an easy guided walk around Lake Mývatn which is renowned for its bizarre lava formations and active bird life, a visit to the hot spring area of Námaskarð with its bubbling mud pools and steaming solfataras and taste traditional dark bread baked underground in the geothermal heat. After dinner, enjoy an educational evening enjoy a video presentation about the northern lights and do keep an eye out for the aurora whilst enjoying another delicious dinner.

DAY 6 Akureyri
Myvatn has still more to offer and before saying good-bye, visit the bird museum and travel to Goðafoss, the waterfall of the Gods. Next stop is a little retail therapy at the Christmas Garden, a small museum and shop where there are 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. Dine at leisure (pay locally) and depending on the conditions, there is a short excursion into the darkness to hunt the Aurora Borealis.

DAY 7 Return to Reykjavik
The return to Reykjavik follows a western route over the mountains to Skagafjörður, home to many ancient farms. Visit the folk museum and turf farm at Glaumbær. Enjoy a guided tour through the only tannery in Europe which makes fish leather. Later, stop for coffee & cake to learn about the Icelandic horse and its contribution to the island’s history.  On reaching Reykajvik, check-in to the Keahotel Skuggi for a final night in the capital. Dine at leisure (pay locally) and reflect on the fantastic insight to Iceland you have just experienced.

Enjoy a leisurely breakfast and perhaps some free time before taking the shuttle bus back to the airport in time for your flight home. We can arrange for you to visit the Blue Lagoon for a final Icelandic experience at this UNESCO world heritage site (supplement applies).