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18898
Iceland

New Year’s Eve in Reykjavik

Celebrate New Year’s beneath a multi-layered sky of fireworks and perhaps Aurora Borealis, learning local traditions and reveling in natural beauty as you unlock the secrets of Iceland.
Rating (5)
Program No. 18898RJ
Length
6 days
Starts at
2,999
Flights start at
650
Iceland

New Year’s Eve in Reykjavik

Celebrate New Year’s beneath a multi-layered sky of fireworks and perhaps Aurora Borealis, learning local traditions and reveling in natural beauty as you unlock the secrets of Iceland.
Length
6 days
Starts at
2,999
Flights start at
650
Program No. 18898 RJ
Prefer to enroll or inquire by phone? 800-454-5768
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DATES & starting prices
PRICES
Dec 28 - Jan 2, 2022
Starting at
2,999
Dec 29 - Jan 3, 2022
Starting at
2,999
Dec 28 - Jan 2, 2023
Starting at
2,999
DATES & starting prices
PRICES
Dec 28 - Jan 2, 2022
Starting at
3,299
Dec 29 - Jan 3, 2022
Starting at
3,299
Dec 28 - Jan 2, 2023
Starting at
3,299

At a Glance

Participate in one of the world’s most distinctive 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 Gullfoss 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.
Activity Level
On Your Feet
Walking up to two miles per day; some uneven and potentially slippery terrain. May be outdoors for up to one hour in winter conditions.
Small Group
Small Group
Love to learn and explore in a small-group setting? These adventures offer small, personal experiences with groups of 10 to 24 participants.

Best of all, you’ll…

  • 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.
Visit the Road Scholar Bookshop
You can find many of the books we recommend at the Road Scholar store on bookshop.org, a website that supports local bookstores.
Jar City
by Arnaldur Indridason
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.
Insight Guide Iceland
by Insight Guides
This guide emphasizes culture and history, with wonderful photographs, maps and essays from experts.
The Almost Nearly Perfect People, Behind the Myth of the Scandinavian Utopia
by Michael Booth
Guardian journalist Booth writes with laugh-out-loud humor and brutal candor about the Scandinavians, mixing history and his own experiences in Nordic regions in this searing cultural portrait.
Ring of Seasons, Iceland, Its Culture and History
by Terry G. Lacy
A longtime resident of Reykjavik, Lacy weaves tales of family life, anecdote, lore and history into this illuminating personal portrait of Iceland.
North: The New Nordic Cuisine of Iceland
by Evan Sung (Photographer), Jody Eddy, Gunnar Gislason
Catering to a rising interest in Nordic cuisine, this cookbook celebrates Iceland’s food alongside its haunting landscapes, portrayed in starkly beautiful, full-color photos.
Under the Glacier
by Halldor Laxness, Magnus Magnusson (Translator)
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.
A Naturalist's Guide to the Arctic
by E.C. Pielou
A primer on Arctic climate, geography, plants, birds, mammals and insects in a single nicely written book. It's a highly recommended, enthusiastic guide to natural history throughout the Circumpolar North.
The History of Iceland
by Gunnar Karlsson
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.
Iceland, Land of the Sagas
by Jon Krakauer (Photographer), David Roberts
Krakauer and colleague Roberts hike and climb around Iceland in this classic travel narrative, reissued as a paperback and featuring Krakauer's color photographs. The book interweaves the natural and cultural history of the island with the authors' own adventures.
The Vikings, Lords of the Seas
by Yves Cohat
An indispensable reference that fits in your pocket, this slim volume is packed with maps, archival photographs and illustrations.
Penguin Historical Atlas of the Vikings
by John Haywood
This history of the Vikings tells their story through a series of innovative maps and excellent photographs. It traces the routes of 9th-century Viking merchants and explorers throughout Europe and the New World.
Iceland Adventure Map
by National Geographic
A detailed map at a scale of 1:465,000, printed on handy tear- and water-resistant paper.
Frost on My Moustache, The Arctic Exploits of a Lord and a Loafer
by Tim Moore
In this inspired folly, a British comic heads to Iceland, Spitsbergen and other northern locales in pursuit of a fictitious Arctic hero.
The Sagas of Icelanders
by Jane Smiley (Editor), Robert Kellog (Introduction)
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.
Letters from Iceland
by W.H. Auden
Written with fellow poet Louis MacNiece, this quirky, under-appreciated masterpiece captures the spirit of Iceland, its people and landscapes.
Independent People, An Epic
by Halldor Laxness
Rich in local color, this great mock-epic by the Icelandic Nobel Prize-winner features the indelible Bjartur of Summerhouses, a hard-headed, independent-minded sheep farmer.
Birds of Europe
by Lars Svensson
Featuring 3,500 glorious paintings by Killian Mullarney and Dan Zetterstrom, the second edition of this exquisite guide features updated text and maps.
Last Places, A Journey in the North
by Lawrence Millman, Paul Theroux (Introduction)
Millman explores the culture and history of the Faroes, Iceland and Greenland in this hilarious account of his travels in the wake of the ancient Vikings.
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6 days
5 nights
11 meals
5 B 3 L 3 D
DAY
1
In Transit to Program
In Flight
DAY
2
Welcome to Iceland
Reykjavik
B,L,D
Icelandair Hotel Reykjavik Marina

Activity note: Walking from the airport terminal with luggage to the coach for 10 minute drive to Viking World. Getting on/off motorcoach; driving about 15 miles to Blue Lagoon, approximately 1/2 hour; about 35 miles to hotel, approximately 1 hour. If you wish to swim in the Blue Lagoon, please remember to pack your bathing suit in your carry-on luggage. Towels will be provided. Slippers, bathrobes and spa treatments are available at an additional cost.

Breakfast: At Viking World. Upon arrival, you will be met with a transfer to the small museum, located a short distance from the airport. The breakfast buffet offers choices such as cold cuts, cheeses, cereals, yogurt, fruit, breads, juice, milk, coffee, tea, water. If arriving independently, please arrive to the Viking World Museum no later than 10:00 a.m. to avoid missing any program content.

Morning: After meeting our group at Viking World, we will depart via motorcoach at approximately 11 a.m. to the Bridge Between Continents to see where Europe and North America meet.

Lunch: At a local restaurant, we'll enjoy a two-course plated and served meal with coffee, tea, water included; other beverages available for purchase.

Afternoon: We will board a motorcoach and continue our Icelandic adventure with a soak in the mineral-rich, geothermally heated waters of the Blue Lagoon. (Entrance fee and towels included at Blue Lagoon; slippers and bathrobes available at additional cost.) There are other “blue lagoons” but this one is truly unique. The stark volcanic terrain that surrounds it creates an otherworldly feeling. The lava field is surely natural, but in fact the lagoon owes its existence to a geothermal power station built in 1975. Superheated water from a nearby lava flow feeds into the power plant system and finally flows into the lagoon, where the temperature stays between 98°-104°F (36°-40° C). Minerals from the underground geological layers account for the coloration. Not only is lounging in the waters delightfully comfortable, the minerals and white silica mud are reputed to provide benefits for skin conditions. After, we'll continue our transfer to the Icelandair Marina for check-in. Program Introduction will be at dinner. Your Group Leader will greet everyone and lead introductions. We will review the program theme, the up-to-date Daily Schedule and any changes, discuss safety guidelines, emergency procedures, roles and responsibilities, and answer any questions you may have. Indicated times are approximate. Program activities, schedules, and personnel may need to change due to local circumstances. In the event of changes, we will alert you as quickly as possible. Thank you for your understanding.

Dinner: Welcome dinner and introduction at a local restaurant.

Evening: Orientation: The Group Leader will greet everyone and lead introductions. We will review the up-to-date program schedule, discuss roles and responsibilities, logistics, safety guidelines, emergency procedures, and answer questions. European-style breakfast buffets will offer choices such as cold cuts, cheeses, cereals, yogurt, fruit, breads, juice, milk, coffee, tea, water. Unless otherwise noted, dinners will typically be 3-course plated meals. Water is included with all meals. Periods in the schedule designated as “Free time” and “At leisure” offer opportunities to do what you like and make your experience even more meaningful and memorable according to your personal preferences. The Group Leader will be happy to offer suggestions. Program activities, schedules, personnel, and indicated distances or times may change due to local circumstances/conditions. In the event of changes, we will alert you as quickly as possible. Thank you for your understanding. The remainder of the evening is free to continue getting to know your fellow Road Scholars. Then settle in and get a good night’s rest for the day ahead.

DAY
3
Along the South Coast
Reykjavik
B,L
Icelandair Hotel Reykjavik Marina

Activity note: Getting on/off a motorcoach; driving about 250 miles, approximately 6 hours. Walking up to 2 miles; uneven, hilly terrain. May be snowy or icy.

Breakfast: Hotel dining room.

Morning: Boarding our motorcoach, we’ll set out for a field trip along the scenic south coast of Iceland. As we ride, we will see white snow and black lava contrast starkly in the peaceful winter landscape. On the way, we will stop at the Hellisheiði geothermal power plant. The largest in Iceland, it’s the second largest in the world, situated in the Hengill volcano area. We’ll learn about this renewable resource and how geothermal energy is used in Iceland before driving on to Reykjavik. We will then continue riding along the coast, stopping by the impressive Skógafoss Waterfall, one of the largest in Iceland that drops 200 feet (60 meters) and is nearly 50 feet (15 meters) wide. On sunny days, there is a good chance of catching a rainbow thanks to the spray. The Skógá River and its waterfalls play a central role in local folk stories of magic and hidden treasure, about which we’ll learn more.

Lunch: At a local restaurant.

Afternoon: En route to the Skógar Museum, we'll stop at Reynisfjara, home to a multitude of nesting seabirds. Local folklore holds that the hexagonal basalt column formations of Reynisfjara’s cliffs, reminiscent of Northern Ireland’s Giant’s Causeway, are marauding trolls turned to stone when daylight struck them at dawn. The Skógar Museum focuses on three areas of Icelandic history and culture. The folk museum displays a large collection of artifacts representing aspects of agriculture, fishing, and natural history — some dating back to the Viking age. There is also a technical area that traces the country’s development in the 19th and 20th centuries, and an open-air museum with rebuilt turf houses representing how Icelanders lived centuries ago. We won't return to the hotel until early evening.

Dinner: On your own to explore Reykjavik.

Evening: At leisure.

DAY
4
New Year's Eve in Iceland: Bonfires and Fireworks
Reykjavik
B,D
Icelandair Hotel Reykjavik Marina

Activity note: Participants are encouraged to bring warm shoes, a scarf, a hat, warm mittens and perhaps hand warmers for the bonfire.

Breakfast: Hotel dining room.

Morning: Discover Europe's northernmost capital on an expert-led visit of Reykjavik with your Group Leader. We’ll also have a field trip to the National Museum of Iceland. In addition to a permanent exhibition on the making of a nation, there are special exhibits on a variety of history and culture topics.

Lunch: Explore local fare on your own.

Afternoon: Free time to rest up for the evening's festivities or explore Reykjavik. 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: New Year’s Eve celebration with a festive 5-course gala dinner at the Grand Hotel Reykjavik. There will be entertainment and live music.

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 hotel 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.

DAY
5
The Golden Circle of Landscape and History
Reykjavik
B,L,D
Icelandair Hotel Reykjavik Marina

Activity note: Getting on/off a motorcoach; driving about 185 miles, approximately 4-5 hours aboard motorcoach. Walking distances up to 2 miles; uneven, hilly terrain. May be snowy or icy.

Breakfast: Hotel dining room.

Morning: After a leisurely morning, board a motorcoach for a field trip around the Golden Circle. Our field trip will begin with a visit to the UNESCO-listed Thingvellir National Park, site of the original parliament, which is known as the most sacred place in Iceland due to its geological and historical significance. The Althing, or General Assembly, was established here 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. Discuss how geothermal energy is used to provide hot water, heat and grow vegetables.

Lunch: At a local restaurant we’ll have a light lunch with coffee, tea, water included; other beverages available for purchase.

Afternoon: Moving on, we’ll reach Gullfoss — golden falls — the most famous waterfall in Iceland. Water from the Langjökull glacier flows into the Hvítá (White) River. When it reaches the great Gullfossgjúfur canyon, it falls in two stages more than 100 feet (32 meters). We’ll experience the stillness and beauty of the wintry countryside and the frozen waterfall. We’ll then continue our ride to Geysir, where the active Strokkur geyser bursts forth every few minutes in a cloud of steam, before arriving at our hotel for check-in.

Dinner: At the hotel we'll enjoy a special 3-course plated meal with beverage choices of a glass of wine or beer, coffee, tea, water; other beverages available for purchase. Share favorite experiences with new Road Scholar friends during our farewell dinner.

Evening: At leisure.

DAY
6
Departures
Reykjavik
B

Breakfast: Hotel dining room.

Morning: Staggered transfers to Keflavík International Airport based on final flight times. This concludes our program. If you are returning home, safe travels. If you are staying on independently, have a wonderful time. If you are transferring to another Road Scholar program, detailed instructions are included in your Information Packet for that program. We hope you enjoy Road Scholar learning adventures and look forward to having you on rewarding programs in the future. Don’t forget to join our Facebook page and follow us on Instagram. Best wishes for all your journeys!






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