Iceland Aurora Chase
Winter 2023 - 2024
Iceland Aurora Chase
Trip Dates: Varies, throughout winter 2023-24
Trip Length: 2.5 days / 2 or 3 nights
Trip Level: 3 - Moderate (click for details)
Trip Type: Adventure (click for details)
View the incredible northern lights with experienced aurora chasers
See the top Icelandic sights
All meals, lodging, and transport included
Quick, last-minute trip means only 72 hours away from home and work
Picture this: It's 1 o'clock in the morning and 20 degrees. The wind is howling, yet you're lying in the snow, wrapped up warmly. You're watching one of the greatest natural spectacles on Earth: the Aurora Borealis, or northern lights. They stretch from horizon to horizon against a backdrop of a million stars: curtains of green, pink, and purple twisting, dancing in a cosmic dance. A thick green line drops, stretches, expands in all directions. It spreads into the vertical, the upper reaches changing from green to pink to purple. The dark, black landscape is transformed: the brightness of the aurora lights up even distant mountains; every patch of ice and snow glows eerily green. The silence is absolute; nothing could be heard but the melancholy wail of the wind and your own breath.
Have you always wanted to experience this for yourself, but don't know where to begin? Can't get away from home and work for a week, only to find that the weather and the aurora aren't cooperating? Then have we got the trip for you!
This unique trip is designed to do one thing, and one thing only: allow you to experience one of the greatest wonders in the natural world without needing to worry about logistics, solar forecasts, and - most importantly - exactly when and where to go and see the lights. Here at Kosher Horizons we have been chasing the Northern Lights for years, and have the knowledge and experience to give you your best shot of finally experiencing them yourself. This trip is purposely built to be last-minute, so as to take advantage of accurate solar and weather forecasts. It is short and sweet, in order to be away from home and work for as short a time as possible.
Here's how it works:
This trip will take place throughout the winter aurora season, which is October through April. Every time conditions are right, we'll head out for a quick, last-minute trip. Whenever:
the solar and aurora forecasts are high,
the weather forecast for specific areas in Iceland is favorable, and
round-trip fares from the U.S. to Iceland are reasonable,
a special email alert will be sent out to everyone who's signed up for this trip. As soon as we have the minimum number of commitments, we book flights and leave the next day (or even the same day, in certain cases). 72 hours later you're back home - with memories for a lifetime.
You don't have to worry about a thing - all meals, lodging, transport, and details are taken care of. Just pack a few warm layers and a camera, grab your passport, and come tick the aurora off your bucket list.
When signing up for this trip, you will be sent a welcome packet with important information, such as a packing list of cold-weather gear, which cameras and accessories we recommend if you want to photograph the aurora, and so on. The more prepared you are, the more likely it is you will be able to jump aboard a trip when it actually happens.
When The Conditions Are Right:
Whenever the aurora, weather, and logistical conditions are lined up, you will receive an email announcing that a departure is imminent. Depending on the time of day and the exact forecast, this will be anywhere from around 10 to 30 hours before the flight time.
There are an extremely limited number of spots available per trip; spots are on a first come, first serve basis. Once we have the minimum number of confirmed participants, we will all book our flights.
It's time to go!
We head to the airport for our direct Icelandair flight to Reykjavik. This year for the first time we have two flight options out of New York: 11:20am or 7:30pm. Which one we choose will depend on the flight costs, group preferences, etc.
After a quick five-and-a-half-hour flight, we arrive in Iceland.
If we took the early flight, we’ll land that same night and head directly to our hotel. Depending on the weather we might jump directly into our first aurora chase.
If we chose the night flight, we’ll land early morning. After picking up the car and stopping for Shachris, breakfast, and some groceries, it's time to hit the road.
We will be heading far from the city lights of Reykjavik, which make seeing the aurora difficult. Our final destination will be based on the forecast for the best chance of seeing the aurora.
We’ll take the way nice and slow and stop along the way at countless incredible sights. We’ll see stunning mountain vistas, gigantic waterfalls, steaming geothermal cliffs, towering headlands, sea stacks, and black-sand beaches.
Main points of interest are Seljalandsfoss waterfall, seeing the Eyjafjallajökull volcano, climbing to the top of the Skógafoss waterfall, Reynisfjara beach and sea stacks, and the cliffs of Dyrhólaey. Sure - our main goal is seeing the
aurora; but when you're in a place like Iceland, you make sure to see some of its spectacular sights!
After a few hours on the road, we will reach our accommodations. We’ll have dinner and a short rest to prepare for the main event: aurora chasing.
Soon we’re on the road once again, on the hunt for clear skies and amazing nighttime landscapes. With up-to-the-minute cloud cover forecasts we’ll head towards some spectacular locations to look for the lights. The conditions will dictate how long we're out for, but it can easily be most of the night. We'll move around the whole area, looking for the best displays.
Along the way we'll see a different view of Iceland: massive snow-covered mountains beneath a sky carpeted with stars, icebergs floating eerily in the moonlit lagoon, or, if the moon cooperates, a delicate moonbow shimmering over a waterfall.
Finally, exhausted but exhilarated, we'll make our way back to the lodging for a few hours of much-needed shut-eye.
After a well-deserved rest and a late start to our morning, we'll daven Shachris and have breakfast before hitting the road once more. During some parts of the year, the sun in Iceland doesn't rise until nearly 11am - in that case we'd be able to enjoy watching the sunrise even if we choose to sleep in.
Snæfellsjökull National Park, Vatnajökull National Park, and Iceland's crown jewel - Jokulsarlon's glacial lagoon and Diamond Beach - are all on our radar. We’ll try to cover a lot of ground so we can see as much as possible in our limited time.
Once again we try to grab a nap before dinner and yet another night of chasing the aurora. Having two nights of hunting available allows us to cover greater distances in the search for the perfect display, or to spend more time per location. We can explore different areas, try our luck again if there were weather issues last night, or just enjoy the life-changing spectacle once more. The aurora never looks the same twice; even if we had a wonderful display yesterday, tonight's is guaranteed to look different.
After another late morning, we finally retrace our steps back towards Reykjavik.
We'll stop along the way to see the some sights we didn't cover on the way out, and arrive back at the airport at 3pm for our 5 o'clock flight back home.
With two and a half days in Iceland, we'll have covered a significant amount of ground and seen some lovely sights - and if all goes well, not one, but two or even three incredible aurora shows.
Trip cost: $2300-2900 per person (depending on final group size)
Pricing is per-person, based on double occupancy. Single supplement may be available.
This trip requires a minimum amount of 2 participants, and is capped at 5.
For a complete list of what is and what isn't included in the trip cost, see the Important Info section below.
Full trip amount is due to confirm your participation, once a trip is announced by email. Your spot is only held once paid in full.
Due to the last-minute nature of this trip, there may be some unanticipated cost increases. Should this be necessary, it will be clearly communicated in the announcement email before any commitments are made by the travelers.
Cancellation policy: Due to the last-minute nature of this trip, payments are non-refundable unless the trip sells out and your spot is taken by someone else. Kosher Horizons is not responsible for any other expenses incurred, including but not limited to non-refundable airline tickets. Kosher Horizons strongly recommends that all travelers obtain comprehensive travel insurance.
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About the Aurora:
There are two important details to remember when dealing with the aurora, and understanding them is critical to setting proper expectations.
1: The aurora is a natural phenomenon subject to a complicated interplay between solar weather (sunspots, coronal mass ejections, and the solar wind), the interplanetary magnetic field (IMF), and the Earth's magnetic field. On top of that, local weather (primarily cloud cover) is a critical component as well (after all, if the sky is covered in clouds, it is impossible to see any aurora that might be taking place above them).
In short, it takes many things falling into place for an amazing display to occur. Here at Kosher Horizons we have years of experience in reading and understanding the appropriate forecasts, planning appropriately, and choosing the right spot at the right time. We also have the intimate familiarity with both the aurora's behavior and the locations in Iceland to be able to change plans instantly and appropriately when conditions call for it.
All that being said, the aurora is still a natural phenomenon and thus sometimes simply does not show up. There could be a sudden change in solar or magnetic conditions, unforecasted clouds can appear, and so on. On this trip, we are positioning ourselves to have the greatest chance in seeing them - by waiting until the very last minute for the most accurate forecasts and by knowing exactly when and where to go - but ultimately, seeing the aurora is never guaranteed.
2: The aurora varies greatly in intensity, and quite often pictures of them look brighter and more colorful than they do real life. Additionally, their location can vary as well, from a full overhead display to one shimmering on the horizon.
This trip is designed to only take place when the forecast calls for fantastic conditions, so the likelihood of you seeing the display of your dreams are very high. But as with the first point, nothing can in good conscience be guaranteed.
We have taken care to ensure that all pictures in this brochure are representative of what we actually saw with the naked eye. They were all taken in Iceland, and under similar conditions that this trip will take place.
All meals are included in the cost of your trip.
Breakfasts will consist of things like rolls, wraps, spreads, eggs, cheeses, coffee, hot cereals, hot cocoa, and more, along with Icelandic smoked lox and marmalades.
Lunch will typically be while on the road. We'll have roadtrip-friendly sandwiches or wraps with deli meats, grilled chicken, schnitzel, tuna, and so on.
Our dinners will be will be hearty and delicious to prepare us for a night of aurora hunting. Due to the last-minute nature of this trip our dinners will be pre-frozen by our caterer ahead of time and double wrapped for kashrus.
During the night we'll also have hot tea and soup available to keep us toasty while watching the aurora.
Special requests: If you have any dietary restrictions, let us know and we'll try to accommodate you. Certain requests may be difficult due to the time constraints, but we will try our best.
Snacks: Don’t count on finding any kosher snacks available in Iceland, so we recommend that you bring your own snacks from home.
All lodging (double occupancy; single supplement may be available)
Fantastic food throughout
Hot tea and instant soup during the night drives
All guiding, entrance fees, photography instruction, and tolls
What's Not Included:
Airfare to or from Iceland
Items of a personal nature (snacks, souvenirs, etc.)
Kosher Horizons strongly recommends that all travelers obtain comprehensive travel insurance. Such insurance may provide coverage for losses suffered in the event of trip cancellation and interruption, travel delay, loss of baggage and travel documents, baggage delay, medical emergencies and the like.
Kosher Horizons shall take no responsibility or liability for any other expenses incurred, including but not limited to non-refundable airline tickets, personal, or property damage before, during, or after the duration of this trip. A signed limit of liability form may be required to attend the trip.
The above itinerary is intended as a guide only and may change based on weather, group preferences, or other reasons.
Sign Up Now!
To join this trip and get alerted when one is ready to book, simply fill out the form below. You will be added to the mailing list, and receive an informational email to help you prepare for the trip.