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Iceland: New Year’s Eve in Reykjavik

Program Number: 18898RJ
Start and End Dates:
12/28/2014 - 1/2/2015; 12/28/2016 - 1/2/2017; 12/29/2016 - 1/3/2017;
Duration: 5 nights
Location: Iceland
Price starting at: $2,199.00 - Price may vary based on date, departure city
Program Type: Holidays
Meals: 11; 5 Breakfasts, 3 Lunches, 3 Dinners    
Meal Options: Low Fat; Low Salt; Vegetarian; Gluten Free    

Participate in one of the world’s most unique celebrations of the New Year in Reykjavik, Iceland, where ancient traditions and modern technology combine in spectacular fashion. First appreciate the stillness and beauty of the Icelandic countryside at the waterfall Gulfoss and along the scenic southern coast. Discover Thingvellir National Park, where Vikings met and formed the world’s oldest parliament. Then, join Icelandic families around their celebratory New Year’s Eve bonfires, enjoy a gala dinner and watch the amazing fireworks display.


• From a VIP vantage point, view one of the most spectacular displays of fireworks in the world.
• Learn about Icelandic folk culture as you explore the turf homes, schoolhouse and artifact collections of the Skogar Museum.
• Soak in the mineral-rich, geothermally heated waters of the famous Blue Lagoon.

Activity Particulars

Walking up to two miles per day; some uneven and potentially slippery terrain. May be outdoors for up to one hour in winter conditions.

Due to the nature of this program, listening devices are not available.

Date Specific Information

12-28-2014, 12-28-2016, 12-29-2016

Enjoy the latest in hearing technology — listening devices — on this date.

Itinerary Summary

Arrival Reykjavik, 4 nights; departure.

Overnight flight from the U.S.A.
1 night
Arrival Reykjavik
4 nights

Trace the development of Iceland through the centuries on an expert-led visit to the newly renovated Museum of Iceland. Gain insights into everyday life as you view the collection of turf houses and household and farm implements at the Skogar Folk Museum. Experience an incredible natural treasure during a soak in the mineral-rich, geothermally heated waters of the Blue Lagoon. Appreciate the stillness and beauty of the wintry countryside at the frozen waterfall Gulfoss and sites along the scenic southern coast. Visit Thingvellir National Park, site of the world’s oldest parliament, established in 930. Then, the night you’ve been waiting for: join Icelandic families around their celebratory New Year’s Eve bonfires, enjoy a gala dinner and watch the fireworks from a superb vantage point.


This island nation near the Arctic Circle comprises icy glaciers, active volcanoes and an abundance of bubbling, steaming geothermal pools that provide a unique and steady source of heat and energy. Viking history and 13th-century sagas pair with Iceland’s modern citizenry and abundant natural resources to create a vibrant country for the 21st century.

Centrally located hotel.
Meals and Lodgings
   Hotel Reykjavik Centrum
  Reykjavik, Iceland 4 nights
 Hotel Reykjavik Centrum
Type: Four-Star Hotel
  Description: Hotel Reykjavik Centrum is a first-class hotel in the heart of Reykjavik. It is located on one of Reykjavik's oldest streets, Adalstraeti, in a newly renovated building, the oldest part of which was built in 1764. During renovations, the remains of a Viking longhouse from the Settlement Period were found. In 2006, an attractive exhibition center opened under the hotel, where the longhouse's remains are on display together with related exhibits. Among the finds excavated were Iceland's oldest human remains, dating from approximately 870 AD.
  Contact info: Adalstraeti 16
Reykjavik,  101 Iceland
phone: +354 514 6000
  Room amenities: Each room has a satellite television, telephone, high speed wireless Internet access, mini-bar, radio, iron and board, hair dryer, safe box, and tea & coffee set.
  Facility amenities: The hotel offers a restaurant, lounge with cafe and bar, wireless Internet access, laundry service, fax machine and pay phone.
  Smoking allowed: No
  Elevators available: Yes
  Additional nights prior: N/A Please contact Road Scholar Travel Services if you would like assistance making hotel reservations for additional non-program nights. (800) 241-1404
  Check in time: 2:00 PM
  Additional nights after: N/A Please contact Road Scholar Travel Services if you would like assistance making hotel reservations for additional non-program nights. (800) 241-1404
  Check out time: 12:00 PM

Travel Details
  Start of Program:
Reykjavik, Iceland. 7:00 AM at Keflavik Airport. You will be staying at Hotel Reykjavik Centrum that night.
  End of Program:
Reykjavik, Iceland. Program ends after lunch on the last day. You will be staying at Hotel Reykjavik Centrum the night before.
  Required documents:
The Participant Information Form is required.
  Parking availability:
Transportation (For Independent Travelers)
To Start of Program
  Location:  Reykjavik
  Nearest city or town:  Reykjavik
  Nearest highway: Ringroad #1
  Nearest airport:  Reykjavik/Keflavik International airport
  Transportation to site: Take the Flybus from Keflavik Airport to the hotel (approx. 1 hr, 60 km). The Flybus service departs from Keflavik airport and travels to the BSI bus terminal in the city center, where guests can take a shuttle to the Hotel Reykjavik Centrum. This will cost approx. 2500 ISK.
  From End of Program
  Location: Reykjavik
  Transportation from site: Take the Flybus from the hotel to Keflavik Airport (approx. 1 hr, 60 km). There is a free pick up service available from Hotel Reykjavik Centrum to the Flybus terminal. The terminal is located at BSI bus terminal. Reservations are made at the hotel reception desk. The Flybus schedule is based on departures from the terminal and passengers are picked up approx. ½ hour prior at the hotel. There are departures in connection with all departing flights. This will cost approx. 2500 ISK.
    (Additional transportation information same as above)
The prices listed for commercial services and facilities that are not included in the program cost, such as airport shuttles or extra nights lodging, are subject to change without notice. Since Road Scholar cannot guarantee the accuracy of these prices, we strongly suggest contacting the companies directly for the most up-to-date information.

Daily Schedule

Day 1:
(Sunday, December 28)
 In Transit: Depart on overnight flights from the USA.

Day 2: Welcome to Iceland
(Monday, December 29)

Note: Please make sure to pack your bathing suit in your carry-on luggage, as we are visiting the Blue Lagoon on this arrival morning.

 Breakfast: Meet your Group Leader outside of the baggage claim at Keflavik International Airport (KEF). Depart the airport for a hearty buffet breakfast at the Northern Light Inn.
 Morning: After breakfast, drive to the Blue Lagoon. Begin your Icelandic experience with a relaxing soak in the mineral-rich, geothermally-heated waters of the Blue Lagoon. (Entrance and towels included.) Fully refreshed, continue to the city of Reykjavik and check in at the hotel.
 Lunch: Explore local fare on your own.
 Afternoon: Free time to relax or explore a little in downtown Reykjavik.
 Dinner: Welcome dinner and introduction: experience traditional Icelandic cuisine at Lækjarbrekka, one of Reykjavik's most historic restaurants, located in a charming old building of Reykjavík.
 Evening: At leisure.
Accommodations: Hotel Reykjavik Centrum
Meals Included: Breakfast, Dinner

Day 3: The Golden Circle of Landscape and History
(Tuesday, December 30)
 Breakfast: Hotel dining room.
 Morning: As the morning light brightens, depart to the golden waterfall — Gullfoss. Experience the stillness and beauty of the wintry countryside and the frozen waterfall. Continue to Geysir, where the active Strokkur Geyser bursts forth every few minutes in a cloud of steam. Discuss how geothermal energy is used to provide hot water, heat and grow vegetables.
 Lunch: At the Geysir visitor center.
 Afternoon: Return via Thingvellir National Park, the site of the original Parliament and the most sacred place in Iceland because of its geological and historical significance. The Althing, or General Assembly, was established in 930 CE and is the world’s oldest existing parliament. Not only historically significant, the site is located on the meeting point of the American and European continental plates.
 Dinner: Explore local fare on your own.
 Evening: At leisure.
Accommodations: Hotel Reykjavik Centrum
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch

Day 4: New Year's Eve in Iceland: Bonfires and Fireworks
(Wednesday, December 31)

Note: Participants are encouraged to bring warm shoes, a scarf and hat for the bonfire.

 Breakfast: Hotel dining room.
 Morning: Discover Europe's northernmost capital on a guided visit of Reykjavik with your Group Leader, a National Guide of Iceland.
 Lunch: Explore local fare on your own.
 Afternoon: Free time. You may wish to visit the Reykjavik Art Museum, The Culture House, or the Volcano House. Another option is to take a walk around Lake Tjornin in the center of Reykjavik or up to the Church of Hallgrimur for a great view of the city. Your Group Leader will provide directions and advice as needed.
 Dinner: We begin your New Year’s Eve celebration with a festive dinner at The Perlan, situated on a hilltop overlooking all of Reykjavik.
 Evening: Set out to experience the bonfires that kick off the evening’s celebration in each community surrounding Reykjavik. Mingle with locals, as no one misses the annual bonfire! Each town vies for the reputation of having the best. Return to The Pearl for coffee and dessert. From your vantage point, watch as the entire sky, as far as the eye can see, fills with fireworks as midnight approaches, building to an endless explosion of light and color that are of a beauty and magnitude like nowhere else on earth.
Accommodations: Hotel Reykjavik Centrum
Meals Included: Breakfast, Dinner

Day 5: New Year's Day along the South Coast
(Thursday, January 1)
 Breakfast: Hotel dining room.
 Morning: Depart Reykjavik in the late morning to journey along the scenic south coast. The white snow and black lava contrast starkly in the peaceful winter landscape.
 Lunch: At a local restaurant.
 Afternoon: Visit Seljalands waterfall and the Skogar Museum of folk history. Return to Reykjavik in the late afternoon.
 Dinner: Enjoy a festive dinner at a local restaurant.
 Evening: At leisure.
Accommodations: Hotel Reykjavik Centrum
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 6: Departures
(Friday, January 2)
 Breakfast: Hotel dining room.
 Morning: Check out of the hotel. View the recent archaeological discovery of the city’s origins during a guided visit of the Reykjavik Settlement Exhibition, then depart to the National Museum. After a guided introduction, view the exhibits independently.
 Lunch: A light lunch in a local restaurant.
 Afternoon: Depart to Keflavik International Airport (KEF).
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch

Free Time Opportunities
  Reykjavik Laugardalslaug
Go swimming at Laugardalslaug, one of Reykjavik’s geothermally heated outdoor swimming pools. The swimming pool can be reached by bus #14 leaving from Lækjartorg square – only 2-3 min. walk from the hotel. Bus fare and entrance fee for swimming pool will be approximately ISK 650 or $5.)
  Church of Hallgrímur
Take a walk to the Church of Hallgrímur. The church is 74 meters (244 ft) high and is the largest church in Iceland. You may take an elevator to the Church’s viewing deck in its tower and observe Reykjavik and the mountains that surround it.
  Lake Tjörnin
Take a walk around Lake Tjörnin in the center of Reykjavik and explore the birdlife and the old houses by the lake.
Important information about your itinerary: Every effort has been made to ensure the accuracy and completeness of the information featured on this website. Itineraries are based on our best information at this time. Circumstances beyond our control may require us to adjust itineraries or other details. We regret any inconvenience this may cause and appreciate your understanding. Information will be sent to you from your Program Provider approximately three weeks prior to the program start date. The prices listed for commercial services and facilities that are not included in the program cost, such as airport shuttles or extra nights lodging, are subject to change without notice. Since Road Scholar cannot guarantee the accuracy of these prices, we strongly suggest contacting the companies directly for the most up-to-date information.

Suggested Reading List

A Naturalist's Guide to the Arctic

Author: E.C. Pielou

Description: Our best-selling book on the Arctic, this guide covers the geography and climate, plants, birds and wildlife of the circumpolar north.

Birds of Europe

Author: Lars Svensson

Description: Featuring 3,500 glorious paintings by Killian Mullarney and Dan Zetterstrom, the second edition of this exquisite guide has been updated with revised text and maps.

Frost on My Moustache, The Arctic Exploits of a Lord and a Loafer

Author: Tim Moore

Description: In this inspired folly, a British comic heads to Iceland, Spitsbergen and other northern locales in pursuit of a fictitious Arctic hero.

Iceland Adventure Map

Author: National Geographic Society

Description: A detailed, double-sided traveler's map at a scale of 1:465,000 by National Geographic.

Insight Guide Iceland

Author: Insight Guides

Description: With wonderful photographs, maps and essays.

Jar City

Author: Arnaldur Indridason

Description: Indridason's first moody police procedural finds Reykjavik detective Erlendur Sveinsson investigating the brutal murder of a lonely pensioner and the man's connection to the deaths of a number of young women. Made into a darkly superb film.

Last Places, A Journey in the North

Author: Lawrence Millman, Paul Theroux (Introduction)

Description: Millman explores the culture and history of the Faroes, Iceland and Greenland in this often-hilarious account of his travels in the wake of the ancient Vikings.

Lonely Planet Iceland

Author: Deanna Swaney

Description: This concise guide to Iceland includes short essays on history, culture and attractions and plenty of practical travel information.

Penguin Historical Atlas of the Vikings

Author: John Haywood

Description: The history of the Vikings told through a series of innovative maps and excellent photographs. This book traces the routes of the 9th-century Viking merchants and explorers throughout Europe and onto the New World.

Pocket Guide to the Birds of Britain and North-West Europe

Author: Chris Kightley

Description: A compact field-friendly guide to the birds found in the British Isles and the Faroes, Scandinavia and Northwest Europe.

Ring of Seasons, Iceland, Its Culture and History

Author: Terry G. Lacy

Description: A longtime resident of Reykjavik, Lacy weaves tales of family life, anecdote, lore and history into this illuminating personal portrait of Iceland.

The Control of Nature

Author: John McPhee

Description: In the classic McPhee tradition, these sparkling essays explore our generally feeble attempts to combat all-powerful nature, including valient efforts by Icelanders to control the flow of a volcano across the harbor at Heimaey in the Westman Islands.

The History of Iceland

Author: Gunnar Karlsson

Description: A history of Iceland from the Viking era through colonization, independence and the 20th century. Karlsson draws on the sagas and rich literature of Iceland in presenting this comprehensive history.

The Sagas of Icelanders

Author: Jane Smiley (Introduction), Robert Kellog (Illustrator)

Description: Nine sagas and six tales composed between the years 1000 and 1500, including an account of Leif Eriksson's voyage to North America, all newly translated. With an introduction by Jane Smiley.

The Vikings, Lords of the Seas

Author: Yves Cohat

Description: An indispensable reference that fits in your pocket, this slim volume is packed with maps, archival photographs and illustrations.

Under the Glacier

Author: Halldor Laxness, Magnus Magnusson (Translator)

Description: Laxness brings the full range of his wit, humor, humanity and imagination to this strange, rather slight, and amusing book, in which a Church of Iceland envoy travels inland to investigate the strange goings-on in a remote parish.

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