Explore Iceland's pristine beauty and experience the aurora borealis from one of the world's prime viewing spots.

Starting at: $6,595 Make a Reservation Ask Us A Question or Call 855-330-1542
 View of the Northern Lights in Iceland  The Northern Lights as seen from the ION Hotel. Credit: The ION Hotel  The Northern Lights as viewed from Hotel Ranga.  Credit: Darryl Wilson  The Northern Lights  The Northern Lights as seen from the ION Hotel. Credit: The ION Hotel  ION’s Silfra Restaurant and Northern Lights Bar. Credit: The ION Hotel  ION Hotel  Rainbow over Gullfoss Waterfall  Church on Thingvellir Lake  Skógafoss Waterfall  Thorsmork mountains and canyon  Icelandic horses  Langjokull Glacier  The colorful capital of Reykjavik  Fridheimar Greenhouse  The famous Blue Lagoon.  Credit: Meggan R.

Northern Lights of Iceland

7 days from $6,595

Explore Iceland's pristine beauty and experience the aurora borealis from one of the world's prime viewing spots.

or Call 855-330-1542


One of nature’s great displays is the aurora borealis—a mysterious multicolored show that lights up the night sky. Learn about the science behind the Northern Lights as you experience its captivating shapes and colors during our unique tour in Iceland, one of the most ideal view- ing locations. In addition to looking up toward the skies, you’ll also discover Iceland’s pristine beauty and explore its fascinating geologic features, including lava fields, geysers, and spectacular thundering waterfalls. 

Highlights Include

  • The Night Sky: Enjoy opportunities to look for and watch the Northern Lights* amid the pristine landscape outside your hotel as your expert provides insight. At the Hotel Rangá, use telescopes to view the evening stars and in Reykjavik learn more at the Northern Lights Center.
  • Geologic Wonders: Visit Iceland’s most famous water- fall—Gullfoss, a magnificent double waterfall that is one of the largest in Europe—and explore geothermal pools at nearby Geysir. Discover Langjokull Glacier; Kerid, a volcanic crater lake located within an intact caldera; and the Secret Lagoon, one of Iceland’s oldest natural hot springs. Plus, explore either Thorsmork (Valley of the Gods) or Skogafoss, a dramatic waterfall that cascades hundreds of feet over volcanic cliffs. ​
  • Icelandic Traditions: Spend time at Thingvellir National Park, the rift valley celebrated as the home of the Althing, the world’s first democratic assembly and now a World Heritage site. Savor a private lunch at Fridheimar Greenhouse, and in Reykjavik, visit the excellent National Museum and enjoy a soak at the nearby Blue Lagoon Geothermal Spa Resort. ​
  • Ideal Accommodations: Your hotel stays feature two of Iceland’s top properties for viewing the Northern Lights. The remote and stunning ION Hotel is an upscale luxury property featuring floor-to-ceiling windows and a geothermal spa. The Hotel Rangá evokes the ambiance of a traditional lodge complemented by gourmet cuisine, heated pools, and the facilities of an observatory for viewing the night sky.

*Note: Viewing conditions are dependent on weather and not guaranteed. Limited to 30 Smithsonian Journeys guests. 

The tour exceeded my expectations for a learning experience.

- Gladys V.

To see itinerary, please click on an option below.


Day 1 — Depart the U.S.

Depart on a nonstop flight to Keflavik, Iceland—just six hours from the East Coast.

Day 2 — Keflavik, Thingvellir, Iceland

Upon arrival this morning, meet our guide and drive to Hellisheidi Geothermal Power Plant—the clean, green source of energy for Icelanders. After a tour and refreshments, continue to the ION Hotel, dramatically set against a backdrop of lava fields. The afternoon is at leisure to relax and explore the lovely trails overlooking Thingvellir Lake, Iceland’s largest. Gather for a first lecture and welcome dinner at the hotel—featuring a fresh, farm-to-table approach to modern Nordic cuisine. We have the first chance to see the Northern Lights tonight. With floor-to-ceiling windows and a geothermal spa, there’s no bad place at the hotel to take in the evening sky! (L,D)

Day 3 — Thingvellir National Park

Spend the day exploring Thingvellir National Park, the rift valley celebrated as the home of the Althing, the world’s first democratic assembly. Explore the geothermal pools and geysers of this UNESCO-designated site. After lunch, continue to Gullfoss, a magnificent double waterfall that is one of the largest in Europe. Return to the hotel, with time to relax before dinner, and hopes tonight of encountering the Northern Lights. (B,L,D)

Day 4 — Thingvellir, South Coast

This morning drive into the interior to experience the Iceland West Volcanic Zone, where we admire Kerid, a volcanic crater lake at the bottom of a perfectly intact caldera, and see Langjokull Glacier, Iceland’s second largest, flowing around imposing shield volcanoes. On the way to the south coast, visit the Secret Lagoon in Fludir for lunch, and perhaps a dip. These natural geothermal pools, in a beautiful setting, are among Iceland’s oldest. We continue to Hotel Ranga for dinner and a two-night stay. This is a terrific place to view the Northern Lights. (B,L,D)

Day 5 — Thorsmork or Skogafoss

Choose today a full-day inland adventure to Thorsmork (Valley of the Gods), where we cross braided streams and glacial rivers in special 4 x 4 vehicles to reach the remote, birch-clad and green interior landscape. Stop to enjoy a leisurely lunch. Alternatively, join an excursion along the south coast to Skogafoss, most dramatic of the many waterfalls that tumble hundreds of feet over volcanic cliffs onto the coastal plain. After lunch, continue to the nearby Skogar Museum, browse handicrafts, and learn how Icelanders of centuries ago kept their cultural alive with such limited resources. Dinner and the evening are at leisure to relax at the resort hotel, known for its heated pools and other amenities. Of course, we will be awakened, no matter the hour, should the Northern Lights manifest! (B,L,D)

Day 6 — South Coast, Reykjavik

En route to Reykjavik, stop for a morning tour and a private lunch at Fridheimar Greenhouse, which grows its famously tasty tomatoes in illuminated buildings heated by geothermal energy. Spend time too with the friendly Icelandic horse, the ancient breed brought over with the first settlers around 900 AD. Continuing to Reykjavik, the world’s northernmost capital, we check in at the 1919 Hotel in the historic center. Explore the city and discover the Northern Lights Center, before a farewell dinner at one of Reykjavik’s many fine restaurants. (B,L,D)

Day 7 — Reykjavik, U.S.

Following a morning visit to the excellent National Museum, depart for the Blue Lagoon Geothermal Spa Resort, a “must” for all visitors. Relax over lunch and enjoy a chance to soak in these splendid heated pools. Continue to the airport for the evening flight home. (B,L)

Please note: The aurora borealis is usually most active in early Spring and Fall. Our hope is guests will have multiple opportunities to view the Northern Lights, a phenomena that can last for just a few minutes to several hours. Please keep in mind that viewing the lights is also weather dependent. Limited to 30 Smithsonian Journeys guests.

Included meals are denoted as follows: Breakfast (B), Lunch (L), Reception (R), Dinner (D)