New Years Eve in Iceland

New Years Eve in Iceland

We have done a lot of traveling over the years and Reykjavik is our favorite place to be when the bells of the New Year ring.  Every year in Iceland the Search and Rescue teams sell fireworks to raise money to support their work.  They sell 600 tons of fireworks, no exaggeration, and it takes about a week for everyone to light every piece for the year.  If you love fireworks, it truly is impressive.  Besides the fireworks, there are huge bonfires to visit and most every year we have seen the northern lights. In between all this we manage to go birding and visit great museums during the day.   

Printable Bird List
(This is a checklist of the birds that we have seen on this trip)

  • Travel Dates: December 29 - January 5, every year, dates don't change
  • Group Size:  8 Travelers plus guides, spaces left for 2019 = 8
  • Trip Length: 8 days
  • Rates: Rate per person = $3,250 (based on double occupancy)
  • Rates include: Domestic transfers, lodging, breakfast, lunch, dinner, scheduled group tours, entrance fees & Allianz travel medical insurance.
  • Not included:  International airfare, customs & immigration fees and visas, alcohol, trip cancellation insurance. 

Weather in December is a combination of sunshine changing back and forth to clouds and snow, in the winter that is pretty much how it goes in the Iceland. The island gets a lot of snow and December is a snowy month.   The average high temperatures are in the mid 30'and the average lows are in the upper 20's.  On winter solstice, the sun rises at about 11:00am and sets at 4:00pm.  There is about 6 hours of light, some of which is a beautiful twilight during midday.  Reykjavik harbor is a good to place to look for winter birds.  There is also a small lake at the edge of the downtown area where birds congregate. 

Basic Itinerary

December 29: Fly to Iceland
Flights are usually overnight with arrival on day two.

December 30: Arrive in Reykjavik 
Flights usually arrive in the early morning. We will be flying into the international airport at Keflavik. It is a 45-minute shuttle ride to Reykjavik from the airport. We will be staying at one of our favorite B&B in town. A city walking tour is available to visit the Hallgrímskirkja which offers a panoramic view of the city from atop the church tower.  After dinner we will be visiting the Harpa Performing Arts Center for a 1-hour comedy show where you will learn everything you need to know for the upcoming week.

December 31: Reykjavik 
New Year's Eve!  Reykjavik is the capital of Iceland and is rich in maritime history and close to numerous geological wonders.  We will visit three museums today:  Saga Museum and Aurora Borealis Center where you will learn about Icelandic history and the northern lights and also the Maritime Museum where you will tour a coast guard ship. In the late afternoon we will be taking a boat cruise to see the John Lennon and Yoko Ono Imagine Peace Tower on Viðey Island.  After dinner it will be fireworks, bonfires and fun to ring in the New Year!

January 1: Hveragerði
In the afternoon it is a 1-hour drive to the geothermal village of Hveragerði; here the land steams and boils.  We will be staying in this small village for two nights.  This is an excellent location to see the northern lights. 

January 2: Hveragerði
Today will be a full day of Icelandic adventures. Hveragerði is located at the base of an area call Reykjadalur, also known as the "Hot River".  This is an area where the cold glacial melt meets the boiling hot water flowing from the ground.  It is possible to swim in the river if you choose. Afterwards, a visit to the local geo-thermal pool for a swim and a soak.  In the evening, a walk to look for the northern lights. 

January 3: Reykjavík
In the morning you will have several options; birding, horseback riding or a morning hike. In the afternoon, we will be travelling back to Reykjavik with a stop at the Hengill geo-thermal power plant to witness geo-thermal energy at work. 

January 4: Reykjavik 
In the morning we will be visiting the wonderful and amazing thermal pool and spa called the Blue Lagoon.  In the afternoon you will have the option to stay at the spa for the day or return to Reykjavik for a city walking tour to visit the harbor, look for birds and visit the Höfði, which is the building where Reagan and Gorbachev met to end the cold war. 

January 5: Fly Home
Flights usually leave in the late afternoon and due to the time change, you will arrive at your home airport “just a few hours later”.  There will be free time in the morning for visiting the Reykjavik lighthouse, looking for birds, shopping or whatever you like.

Please note: The lodging described in this itinerary is always our first choice based on availability. If we must book with our second choice, the lodging type and style is comparable.