Date printed: 2 August 2014
Icelandic Northern Lights Adventure - Astronomy Kids
Iceland has everything that nature has to offer from volcanic landscapes to geothermal pools. There is something for everyone and you will never have time to get bored! Experience a super jeep ride across the snow and ice, take the plunge in the hot water of the blue lagoon and visit Europe's most famous volcano (and learn how to pronounce it!) Then view the Northern Lights by night. This trip will take your breath away.
Itinerary (Without Flights)
Arrive in Reykjavik
Check in at the hotel in Reykjavik where you will be based for the week. This evening our astronomy expert will give a short talk about the science behind the Northern Lights as well as talking about the sky at night. You will then head out by bus to a low light pollution where you may be able to see the northern lights. These naturally occuring phenomena are a true marvel of nature, and on a clear night you can see them light up the night sky in various shades of green, blue and red. Caused by the emmisions in the earth's atmosphere, the colours are determined by the change in oxygen and nitrogen atoms, and have been revered as mythical phenomenon by indiginous peoples all over the northern hemisphere.Please note- The Northern Lights can only be seen with clear skies. The evening tour will be moved to another night if there is bad weather. (Hotel 4 nights Bx4).
Reykjanes Peninsula, the Blue Lagoon and city tour
Today you can head out into the rugged wild south of Iceland. The Reykjanes peninsula is home to many active volcanoes and large lava fields, which ensures that little grows there. You can walk among the lava fields and soak in the dramatic landscape as the sea beats down on this barren shore in the morning, before heading to the world renowned blue lagoon.One of the most famous and instantly recognisable thermal springs in the world, the blue lagoon is a geothermal spa caused by silica and sulphur in the ground. Temperatures in the swimming area can reach as high as 40 degrees, so if you do decide that you want to take a dip, make sure you are prepared for the heat! The lagoon is known for having healing properties, so after a long soak here you may come out feeling renewed and invigorated.On your return to Reykjavik, you will be taken for a tour of the city. The world's most northerly capital is also the largest city in Iceland and is a fascinating cultural centre. The old town of Reykjavik is instantly recognisable from the brightly coloured buildings and is an enjoyable place to wander around. There are a number of interesting buildings and architecture that you can see as you take in the sights of the town.This evening you may be able to see the northern lights. These naturally occuring phemonena are a true marvel of nature. Our astronomy expert will talk you through the night sky and tell you about the Northern Lights.Please note- The Northern Lights can only be seen with clear skies. The evening tour will be moved to another night if there is bad weather.
Free day - Optional Activities
Today you will be free to explore the city of Reykjavik yourself or take part in one of our optional activities which include:Whale WatchingTake to the water today in Reykjavik bay as you voyage in search of whales, the largest mammals on Earth. In the harbour off the coast of the capital you can encounter minke or humpback whales. These majestic creatures are gentle giants, and their inquisitive nature can bring them close to the boats so you may well get to see them at close quarters.Glacier adventureOne of the most exciting parts of a visit to Iceland is surely a trip out on the frozen icy glaciers. And what better way to do this than by four wheel drive jeep? The super jeeps that are used in Iceland are specially designed so that they can get over the ice and around the frozen terrain with ease.Once you reach the ice, you change to a snowmobile to continue your drive over the icy landscape. Reaching speeds of up to 80 kilometres per hour, you will drive over the ground, hearing the whizz of your tracks in the snow, and marvelling as the world rushes by you.South ShoreIn April 2010, the eruption of Eyjafjallajokull caused planes to be grounded all over Europe. Today, you head down to the south shore of Iceland, where this now world famous volcano is among the many sights.You head down to the southern headland of Iceland , through small villages and farmlands with views to the majestic mountains towering over the coast . On the way, there are great views of snow shrouded Hekla volcano, and the towering, ice capped strato volcano Eyjafjallajökull This area is a paradise for geology, showing the forces of nature and creation of life very clearly.Continuing on your walk you pass spectacular waterfalls Seljalandsfoss and Skógarfoss, which tumble down over jagged rocks. Then its on to Dyrhólaey, a magnificent rocky headland with sheer cliffs, before heading for the shore for lunch. On the way back to Reykjavik, you can admire the towering cliffs above you. This evening you may be able to see the northern lights. Our astronomer will again be on hand to answer any questions you might have on the wonders of the universe. Please note- The Northern Lights can only be seen with clear skies. The evening tour will be moved to another night if there is bad weather.
The Golden Circle
Iceland is a geographical wonderland, home to some of the most varied natural landscapes in the world, from the barren volcanic landscapes in the south, to the frozen wildernesses further north. However, the geyser is something that defines Iceland so much that this name has become synonymous with this spectacular occurance.From the ancient Icelandic world 'geysa', meaning to gush, this is now the name that is given to a high pressure discharge of water from the land the world over. Today, in the Golden Circle, you will see the Great Geyser in the Haukadular Valley, where eruptions can force water 70 metres in the air. Within the Golden Circle there are several of these geysers which erupt with great frequency.
Today the tour ends at the hotel (B)
Warm/winter clothes are essential. There are a couple of day walks on this itinerary, over rough terrain, but without any ascents or descents. Adults will need a valid driving license for a snowmobile.
The decision to partake in any activity not listed as an optional activity is entirely at your own discretion and risk. If you do have any complaint about or problem with, any such optional activity your claim should be directed to the activity provider and not to The Adventure Company.
Witnessing the Northern Lights
As a natural phenomenon, a sighting of the Aurora Borealis cannot be guaranteed; it is principally dependent on the level of activity of the sun which has an 11 year cycle. Currently the solar activity is increasing and set to be high over the next few years. Naturally cloud cover is a factor but periods of cloud in Northern Iceland rarely last for too long so a four night stay at Lake Mývatn is very likely to yield some clear nights.Dates for these tours are selected around new moon to limit the interference of a bright moon.
Bring plenty of spare batteries for your camera; the cold temperatures mean that batteries run low on power much more quickly than usual. Remember to keep the flash turned off when photographing the Northern Lights - a tripod/fence post or anything steady will help to prevent your photos being blurry.Don't forget to wrap up warm - you are likely to get very cold when outside watching the Northern Lights in the evening. Thick socks are a must and a thermos flask containing something warm can double as a hot water bottle!
We offset the carbon emissions associated with the in-country travel on all of our trips by supporting a solar stove and clean energy project in Madagascar. However, it is your flight that will have the largest environmental impact on your holiday. We offer you the opportunity to offset your carbon dioxide emission with a donation to our solar stove and clean energy. The project is run by the non-profit organisation Blue Ventures Carbon Offset delivering measurable carbon reductions and wider sustainable development benefits for local people. We strongly encourage you to donate to our project, so if you would like to offset the carbon emissions generated by your flight, please visit www.bvco.org.uk.
Clothing, footwear and equipment
Below is a suggestion of what you might find useful to take on this trip. It is not an exhaustive packing list. Thermal outerwear is provided for outdoor activities. If you need further advice, please call us or consult your nearest specialist outdoor clothing and equipment store. Wind & waterproof jacket (ski jacket or equivalent) in breathable fabricWind & waterproof trousers (ski trousers or equivalent) in breathable fabricThermal mid layer (warm fleece) Thermal base layer (long-sleeved thermal vest) Thermal leggings (long-johns or fleece trousers)Warm hat that covers the ears - to prevent frostbiteWarm scarfWarm & waterproof gloves/mitts (ski gloves or equivalent) & thermal linersWarm socks & thermal liners Comfortable, well-broken-in, waterproof, walking bootsTrainers – to wear inside accommodationSwimming costume (for the geothermal pools)EquipmentSki goggles & sunglassesSunscreen and lipsalvePersonal First Aid kitVacuum flask
For your comfort we recommend you travel as light as possible; many airlines impose a maximum weight limit of 20kg – we advise you to take 10kg as you will be on the move a good deal! For domestic flights using light aircraft the usual weight limit is 15 kg.One main piece (a soft bag or rucksack, not a hard suitcase). A daypack (25-30 litres), large enough to carry what you need for the day including camera, water, etc.
Rooming at hotelsFamily of two - All family groupings of two will be putinto a twin room.Family of three - Wherever possible we will put you in a triple room.Please be aware that in some places triple rooms are in short supply.This means that, in practice, a triple room will often simply be a twinroom with a mattress on the floor or a further bed squashed in. Where itis impossible to provide a triple room, you will have to decide which ofyour party takes the single room.Family of four or more - Wherever possible we will put you in a quadruple room.For larger families, we will provide twin/or quadruple roomsas standard, with a triple room if there is an odd number.Whilst we will do our very best to ensure that families are roomed closetogether (in some cases, we can arrange adjoining rooms), we can’tguarantee this. Most family holidays occur during peak season and wesometimes have little to no control over where you will be put. Youneed to come prepared for this.Single AccommodationThere may be instances when you specifically want a single room.Perhaps Granny needs one or parents of a family of three or five want toensure they get a bit of space! You only need to pay for this if you wantto ensure a single room.
Transfers from and to the airport are included in Iceland if you have booked a flight inclusive tour from London. If you have booked land only, we are able to arrange airport transfers at an additional cost. All flights are economy unless you have chosen to upgrade and no meals are included on the flights.
Tour Leaders and Guides
Throughout your time in Iceland you will be accompanied by an guide. Dr John Mason will accompany the group for the Aurora watch at Lake Myvatn.
For most trips prices are based on sharing a twin room. Therefore, if you’re a solo traveller you’ll be paired with someone from the group of the same sex, unless you decide to pay a single room supplement. Details of this supplement can be found on the Extensions & Extras tab on our website. Occasionally we use multiple-share or dormitory accommodation – particularly when stating in remote places.
Rooming arrangements – Family trips
If you’re a family of 2 you’ll be accommodated in a twin room. If you’re a family of three you will usually be accommodated in a triple room. If you’re a family of four you’ll probably be accommodated in two twin rooms and we’ll do our best to ensure they’re as near as possible. We cannot always guarantee a triple room. If a triple room is not available, an adult from your family will automatically be roomed with a fellow adult member of the group of the same sex. If you prefer to have a room of your own we can sometimes offer a single room for the entire trip or on selected nights within a trip. However a single room supplement applies, look on the Extensions & Extras tab on our website or ask our Travel Consultants for details.
Currency - Iceland
Icelandic Krona. You should take sufficient cash to get you through at least the first few days. Owners of bankcards with the Cirrus logo can get cash from ATMs (cash point machines). Credit cards (MasterCard and Visa) are also widely accepted (even in taxis!). There are approximately 204 Krona to one British pound (as of January 13).
Visas & Permits - Iceland
Holders of UK, IRL and other EU passports do not require a visa. Passports must be valid for at least six months after the end date of the trip. Nationals of all other countries should contact their local embassy or consulate. Information can also be found on www.travcour.com. This information is given in good faith, but may be subject to change without warning. Please note that, where appropriate, obtaining a valid visa is ultimately your responsibility. Please consult a visa agency or the consular authorities 4-6 weeks before departure for the most up-to-date information.
Approximate costs in the local currency are given for guidance only, and may vary widely according to location and type of establishment. Please see below for a rough guide
Tea/ Coffee 450 ISK
Soft Drink 965 ISK
Bottled water 350 ISK
Bottle of beer 800 ISK
2 course meal 3000 - 5000 ISK
3 course meal 6000 - 8000 ISK
Glass of wine 800 ISK
Vaccinations - Iceland
The following are recommended:
† Tetanus †Polio
If you are a UK resident you should obtain an EHIC (European Health Insurance Certificate) which entitles you to free or reduced-cost emergency treatment. This replaces the E111 which is no longer valid. You can obtain an application form for an EHIC at post offices or applying online at www.ehic.org.uk. For detailed information and advice concerning vaccinations go to:www.fitfortravel.scot.nhs.uk. Vaccination requirements change periodically so we advise that you check with your nearest specialist travel clinic 4-6 weeks before departure to get up-to-date information.
International rules for carrying medicines vary. Some countries do not allow certain medicines to be imported, or require official documents, such as a doctor’s letter, to prove drugs have been prescribed by a doctor and obtained legally. It is sensible to contact the relevant embassy or high commission of your destination to check what their drug transportation rules are before you travel.
The Adventure Company,Cross & Pillory House,Cross & Pillory Lane, Alton Hampshire, GU34 1HL