Northern Lights and whale watching holiday in Iceland

“Every year, herring swarm into this long fjord - and the hungry orca follow. This holiday combines this magnificent spectacle with sightings of the Northern Lights for a magical Arctic adventure.”

Highlights

Seeing orca in the fjord chasing the herring (five trips) | Witnessing the orca passing under the bridge at the entrance to the fjord | Sightings of dolphins, while tailed eagles and diving gannets | Northern Lights | Optional: walking tours around volcanic landscapes and waterfalls, glacier tour by Snow Cat, bird watching, hot springs, Blue Lagoon, extra nights in Reykjavik

Description of Northern Lights and whale watching holiday in Iceland

Iceland’s Snaefellsnes Peninsula is one of the best places on earth to see wild orca – also known as killer whales – in their natural habitat. We have created a special orca watching and Northern Lights holiday with an expert UK guide for a truly magical Arctic adventure.

Why the Snaefellsnes Peninsula?

The sheltered fjords around the Snaefellsnes Peninsula in Iceland have attracted great shoals of herring over the last few years, as they can escape the stronger ocean currents. These in turn attract orcas – who come to feast in great numbers. This means that Snaefellsnes is a phenomenal place for orca watching holidays in Iceland, as the orca can often be seen very close to the boats, with surface displays and the sound of them blowing air. A bridge spans the entrance to the inner fjord, and this holiday includes a trip to the bridge to witness the orca passing beneath it. The boat company practices responsible whale watching behaviour and the orca are rarely disturbed; their feeding schedule is not always predictable however, so we may need to spend time waiting in the boats for them to appear.

The boats & the orca

This six day tour includes five boat trips to the fjord to observe the orca. We depart from a small harbor flanked by glistening, snow capped mountains. During the three-hour boat trips we hope to encounter the orca within around 20 minutes, giving us plenty of time to enjoy being in their presence as they feed and frolic. It can get cold as we watch the orca, especially when the wind picks up, so we give our guests thermal suits and serve up tasty hot chocolate and cake to keep the chill at bay! Keep your camera to hand though as our boats have a great vantage point; the orca are particularly lively when hunting, with plenty of activity on the surface and interactions with each other. The scenes are made more dramatic by the incredible Icelandic backdrop – you can expect to go home with some very impressive photos. As well as the orca, we may also encounter dolphin pods, flocks of diving gannets and the occasional white-tailed eagle hovering above.

Aurora Borealis: the Northern Lights

Early spring is one of the best times for northern Lights watching in Iceland, and the Snaefellsnes Peninsula has particularly low light pollution meaning the lights appear far brighter. We keep track of the cloud cover so that we can travel to the clearest spots on the nights when high activity is forecast; these “Northern Lights Hunting Tours” give us the best chances of seeing the Aurora Borealis, and are known as “Chasing the Lights”.

Why we run this trip in late March

The period around the March equinox experiences far longer days than the preceding winter months – and the Aurora can be witnessed here until mid April. This gives us plenty of time to watch orca in Iceland as well as taking land tours to a glacier. This has also proved to be one of the best times for seeing the orca in the fjord. In the unlikely event that they are not there, we will travel to another part of the Snaefellsnes Peninsula where we are likely to see minke, humpback and fin whales as well as dolphins.

Other activities in the area

These orca watching and northern lights holidays in Iceland have an astonishing backdrop of volcanoes, waterfalls and Arctic flora as well as other wildlife. You can book additional tours locally to explore this area of outstanding natural beauty, with walking tours, outdoor activities, bird watching and hot springs, as well as a glacier tour by Snow Cat (around £77).
Extend your holiday with extra nights in Reykjavik – a perfect base for extra whale watching trips, enjoying the Blue Lagoon’s geothermal waters, exploring desolate lava fields and strange rock formations. In this chilly climate, it will come as no surprise that hot tubs are popular – the nearby swimming pool has two hot tubs available with idyllic mountain views.

What’s included in the price

Prices vary depending on your chosen accommodation, starting with a double or twin en suite room in a self catering gust lodge (based on two people sharing) to an en suite hotel room with all meals served in the restaurant and facilities including a sauna, steam room and hot tub. Single room supplements are available; prices are reduced if more than two people are sharing a room.

Also included in the price:

- Five boat tours lasting three hours. Thermal suits and light refreshments are provided.
- Six nights accommodation in a guest lodge (self catering) or hotel (full board).
- Expert UK guide and local team throughout the trip.
- Excursion to The Bridge to see the orca swimming into the fjord.
- Northern Lights viewing trips.
- Audiovisual presentations.
- Transfers to and from Reykjavik’s Keflavik airport.
- A £75 donation per person to the World Cetacean Alliance.

Day-by-day itinerary

Day 1:Transfer from the airport to Snaefellsnes Peninsula. Arrive in time for dinner and to meet your guide.
Day 2:Three-hour boat trip in the morning. In the afternoon, you might choose to book an offroad tour to the Snaefellsjokull glacier in a Snow Cat. There is an in depth presentation in the evening, followed by seeing the Northern Lights if conditions permit.
Day 3:Three-hour boat trip in the morning. We’ll visit The Bridge this afternoon to see the orca swimming beneath it to the inland fjord. A nature walk in the surrounding area may reveal seals, dolphins, porpoises and birds such as sea eagles.
Day 4:Three-hour boat trip in the morning. In the afternoon, there is an optional tour around some of the volcanic landscapes of the peninsula with hot springs and lava formations – a guide will be able to share information on these. The tour costs around £30-£40 and lasts three to four hours.
Day 5:Three-hour boat trip in the morning. Afterwards, there will be a final meeting and a social event as you say goodbye to the group.
Day 6:Transfer to Reykjavik airport – or to the city if you have planned to spend extra nights here.

Hello. If you'd like to chat about this holiday or need help finding one we're very happy to help. Rosy & team.

01273 823 700

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Check dates

2017: 18 Mar
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Responsible tourism

Responsible tourism: Northern Lights and whale watching holiday in Iceland

Environment

As a World Cetacean Alliance (WCA) Partner, we are proud to announce that a donation of £75 per person for each person booked on our Iceland “Orca & Aurora” Tour will be made to help fund the WCAs critical work.

Our certified whale watching boat operators in Iceland belong to the WCA and promote responsible whale watching, supporting research on whales around Iceland and creating sanctuaries for whales around whale watching areas as a safe haven from whaling. Their aim is to bring customers as close to the whales as possible, without impacting negatively on their natural environment.

Our boat operators promote and are actively involved in the "Meet us don't eat us" campaign against commercial whaling in Iceland backed by The International Fund for Animal Welfare (IFAW) and the Association of Icelandic Whale Watchers. Surveys show whale meat consumption by tourists has halved since the start of this project in 2010 which they aim to reduce even further. IFAW point out that the biggest proof that whale watching and whaling cannot successfully co-exist is the fact that the whale watching operators (including our boat company) say so and work closely with IFAW to help end whaling.

Community

As mentioned above, we partner an organisation in Iceland who supports “Meet Us Don´t Eat Us,” a joint project between IFAW (International Fund for Animal Welfare) and IceWhale (the Association of Icelandic Whale Watchers). We inform and educate our guests about whale meat consumption in Iceland, provide information about whale friendly restaurants and aim to get the support of our guests to help protect whales by ending commercial whaling

Twenty five percent of all tourists who visit Iceland go there to whale watch. Our operators belong to a nationwide conservation organization that assess the most effective methods of helping the industry continue to grow to expand domestic employment opportunities while simultaneously contribute to the conservation of whales. We also provide geological and wildlife tours run by locally employed professional guides who have an in-depth knowledge of the area and work to raise the profile of local conservation issues.

In 2008, the collapse of the banking sector, which was very large relative to Iceland’s economy, together with rapid depreciation of the Icelandic krona, brought about an unprecedented economic and financial crisis. Since then, the economy has steadily been recovering and income from tourism is identified as an important growth sector of the current Icelandic economy, therefore our trip there helps to support many local businesses and communities. The country has abundant natural resources, extraordinary nature, unique culture and authentically warm-hearted people who will benefit significantly from the gradual, controlled and environmentally respectful expansion of tourism to the region.

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