Here is our trip report for our small group tour to Iceland and the Northern Lights:
Thursday, March 3: Our group arrived early in the morning in Iceland's Keflavik airport. After a 45-minute drive along the ocean and lava fields we arrived at our perfectly located Holt Hotel in Reykjavik. The hotel was gracious enough to let us all check in early (about 8 a.m.) to get some rest. We like the Holt because the location is within walking distance to everything in Reykjavik, it has a great lounge area, the staff is terrific, and the serve a generous breakfast with the best coffee in Iceland. That afternoon The Professor gave an informal walking tour of the city. The weather was overcast but in the 30's but we stopped for a traditional Icelandic soup lunch. We did an afternoon walk of about 2 hours getting familiar with the city including the Harpa Opera House, the cathedral, the Parliament building, the harbor, museums, and other places of interest. At night we enjoyed a dinner at Snaps Bistro. When we go out to dinner on our trips, we like to break our groups up into tables of 4 or 5 diners. It lends to good conversation, better service, and a relaxed dining experience. It seems that whenever we have a large table of 12 or 13 diners, service is slower. With the smaller tables, everyone gets the opportunity to chat with each other over the course of a trip.
Friday, March 4: Our professional licensed guide, Stefan, picked us up for what is called the "Golden Circle" tour of Iceland. We were comfortable in the 18-passenger 4WD Sprinter van with fast wi-fi. Our first visit was to the Þingvellir National Park. Splitting the park in two is a fissure that divides North America and Europe. It was kind of fun to walk in the middle of the chasm in "no-mans-land" between the two continents. The National Park is also the historic location of the first government of Iceland, formed in 930 AD. We then traveled to the Gullfoss waterfall. It is one of the most majestic and powerful waterfalls in Iceland, and there are many waterfalls in Iceland. Next we stopped at the geothermal geysirs and got some great shots of them spouting water and steam into the air. We would have to say the highlight of the day was lunch at Friðheimar for a hearty tomato soup and freshly baked bread lunch. Here, all the tomatoes (and basil) are grown inside greenhouses. We had a wonderful 15-minute presentation on how this was done and then enjoyed our lunch Afterwards, we were able to visit those famed Icelandic horses. Tonight was not the night to see the Northern Lights, as Mother Nature cast cloudy skies over Iceland. However, we enjoyed a nice Italian meal at Rossopomodoro.
Saturday, March 5: On "off" day to explore Reykjavik was in the plans. It was on the rainy side, so our guide offered to take us all over Reykjavik to places where tourists rarely get to go. We went to the industrial harbor, the lighthouse outside of town, and through the university section of town. Of course we went to where all the "rich" people in Iceland live. At about 4 pm that day, we got the good word: tonight was the night we were going out for the hunt for the Northern Lights. After a casual Fish & Chips dinner, we boarded the van for a one hour ride outside of town, away from all light pollution. On our first stop, we had a decent sighting of Northern Lights. They looked like bright clouds in the sky. But is was on our second stop that we saw one of the most incredible sights one can see: full-blown Northern Lights. They filled the sky, from as far left as one could see to as far right as one could see, The green lights danced and waved with columns and bars of light pulsating in the night sky. The word "WOW" is an understatement. It was truly a jaw-dropping experience. And after about 20 minutes, they were gone. But oh! What a night it was.
Sunday, March 6: A long day as we headed out to the rugged South Coast of Iceland. It was a day packed with lava fields, scenic ocean views, volcanoes, glaciers, black sand beaches, mystical vistas, waves crashing along the cliffs. A marvelous day with great weather. It's nice to travel with a small group of 12 travelers. We go to places those big bus tours simply cannot get to. We decide how much time to spend at places we visit. Because we got back late, we just stepped out for pizza that night and talked about the great day we had.
Monday, March 7: A restful day and another opportunity to visit Reykjavik. We also needed to budget some time for travelers to get their COVID tests for their return to North America. Some travelers went on a food tour, others went to museums, libraries, concert halls, or shopped. Later in the day we had a special treat. The Holt Hotel has the largest private art collection in Iceland. The owner of the hotel was kind enough to give us a personal, 45-minute tour. All in all, It was a great relaxing day after all of the excitement of the previous days.
Tuesday, March 8: Thankfully, no one tested positive for COVID. At about 11 am we checked out of the hotel and boarded our van on a wickedly windy and rainy day - the best type of weather to go to the Blue Lagoon geothermal baths. Our VIP status got us in right away and was it relaxing to bathe in the warm waters, Iceland-style. Everyone MUST experience the famed Blue Lagoon on a trip to Iceland. After that we took off to the airport, everyone refreshed and relaxed. It was a perfect tour.
Here are some traveler photos of our trip: https://photos.app.goo.gl/R9Kx35M7kiqVY67V8
Join us in September 2022 on a small group tour to Iceland and the Northern Lights: https://travelingprofessor.com/Tours/Iceland-and-the-Northern-Lights