Iceland Aurora Chase
October 2019 - April 2020
Iceland Aurora Chase
Trip Dates: Various, throughout winter 2019-2020
Trip Length: 1- or 2-night options
Trip Level: 3 - Moderate (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 48 or 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.
How it works:
This trip will take place throughout the winter aurora season, which is October through March. 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 flights from the U.S. to Iceland are under $500 (or thereabouts),
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). 48 or 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.
This trip comes in two flavors: 1- and 2-nights. The 1-night option means less time away from work and family, and a lower trip cost. On the other hand, the 2-night version gives us the opportunity to travel a bit further afield to hunt for the perfect conditions, and - more importantly - gives us a valuable buffer in case of a sudden unfavorable change in weather. The decision to go 1- or 2-nights will be on a trip-by-trip basis, depending on weather and aurora forecasts, day of the week, and final group preferences, among others.
When signing up for this trip, you will be sent an email 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:
Once the conditions all line up, you will receive another email advising you that a departure is imminent, and whether this will be a 1-night or 2-night trip. 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 amount of spots available per trip; spots are on a first come, first serve basis. Once we have the minimum amount of confirmed participants (3 for the 1-night option, 2 for the 2-night), we will all book our flights.
It's time to go!
We head to the airport for the direct overnight flight to Reykjavik. Icelandair is the only airline flying direct in the winter, and all their North American flights depart around 7:30pm. JFK, EWR, BOS, YYZ, and others all depart and arrive within a few minutes of each other.
After a quick five-and-a half hour flight, we arrive in Iceland. After picking up the car and stopping for Shachris, some groceries and drinks, and breakfast, 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. Likely bases for our explorations are the towns of Vik, Grundarfjörður, or other similar towns a few hours away from Reykjavik.
Along the way we will stop at some of Iceland's most amazing and beautiful spots, such as Seljalandsfoss, Skogafoss, and more. 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 lodgings. This will be a hotel, guesthouse, or Airbnb as appropriate for our group size and based on availability. There aren't really any 5-star hotels outside of Reykjavik, but wherever we'll stay will be nice, clean, and convenient.
Considering that we didn't sleep much during the short flight last night, we'll head for a short nap to prepare for the main event: aurora chasing!
Right after dinner we'll hit the road once again, on the hunt for clear skies and amazing nighttime landscapes. With up-to-the-minute cloud cover forecasts we 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 mountains, snow covered 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.
If photography is your thing, there will be plenty of opportunity to capture unique images. And if you'd love to take pictures of the aurora but don't know how, you'll be in good hands. We will guide you from beginning to end - from gear selection, to how to use it, and how to create the perfect aurora image.
Finally, exhausted but exhilarated, we'll make our way back to the lodging for a few hours of much-needed shut-eye.
Day 2 (1-night trip option):
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.
Today we'll be heading back in the direction of Reykjavik, once more stopping along the way to see the sights - waterfalls, the infamous Eyjafjallajökull volcano, and more. We arrive at the airport around 3pm for our 5 o'clock flight back home.
It's been just about 36 hours on the ground, but we'll have
seen a significant portion of Iceland's most beautiful sights, and more importantly - the wonderful Aurora Borealis.
Day 2 (2-night trip option):
Our day begins the same as it does on the 1-night option, but instead of heading back to the airport we head in the
opposite direction to explore places further away.
Snæfellsjökull National Park, Vatnajökull National Park, and Iceland's crown jewel - Jokulsarlon's glacial lagoon and ice beach - are all on our radar.
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.
Day 3 (2-night trip option):
After another late morning, we finally retrace our tracks back towards Reykjavik.
We'll stop along the way to see the 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 incredible aurora shows.
1-Night Option: $995
2-Night Option: $1495
Pricing is per-person, based on double occupancy. Single supplement is $150/nt and subject to availability.
The decision to go 1- or 2-nights will be on a trip-by-trip basis, depending on weather and aurora forecasts, day of the week, and final group preferences, among others.
The 1-night option needs a minimum of 3 participants to be confirmed; the 2-night option needs 2. Both trips are limited to 5 participants.
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.
For reference, the aurora pictures at the top of this page all appeared like that to 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 and will adhere to the highest standards of Kashrus - Cholov Yisroel, Pas Yisroel, Glatt, and Chassidishe Shechita.
Breakfasts will consist of things like rolls, wraps, spreads, cheeses, coffee, hot cereals, hot cocoa, and more.
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. During the last day of the trip we will also pack sandwiches for the return flight, as Icelandair does not offer kosher meals.
Our dinners will be catered under the Hashgacha of the Badatz of New Square, and will be hearty and delicious to prepare us for a night of aurora hunting. Note that due to the last-minute nature of this trip our dinners will be pre-frozen by the caterer ahead of time and double wrapped for kashrus.
During the night we'll also have hot tea and instant 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: There are very few kosher snacks available in Iceland, so we recommend that you bring your own snacks from home.
All lodging (double occupancy; single supplement available)
Breakfast, lunch, and dinner on Day 1, and Day 2 of the 2-night itinerary.
Breakfast, lunch, and sandwiches for the return flight on Day 2 (or Day 3 of the 2-night itinerary)
Hot tea and instant soup during the night drives
All guiding, photography instruction, tolls, and fees.
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.
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.