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Icelandic Interlude: Reykjavik & the Northern Lights

Icelandic Interlude: Reykjavik & the Northern Lights

January 26 - 30, 2017

Due to popular demand, this trip is SOLD OUT!  We are taking names for a wait list, please call Michelle Miller at 216.368.8745 to add your name to the list.

Glenn Starkmanwith Glenn Starkman

Professor of Physics and of Astronomy, CWRU
Director of the Institute for the Science of Origins
Director of the Center for Education and Research in Cosmology and Astrophysics

Northern Lights

Join Glenn Starkman, professor of physics and astronomy as well as the director for Center for Education and Research in Cosmology and Astrophysics at Case Western Reserve University, and fellow CWRU alumni, family and friends for a long weekend escape to exotic Iceland. From steamy hot springs to top-notch spas, magnificent malls to art museums, this unique land is the perfect place to relax, recharge, and explore. Reykjavik has a population of 170,000 and offers a unique mix of culture and local village roots. Where else can you explore the impressive Great Geysir, glaciers, magnificent waterfalls and icecaps, as well as a program of familiar city joys? The combination of remarkable natural features with art museums, theaters, an opera house, and a symphony orchestra offers a rejuvenating experience for all tastes and interests.

Legends say that the ancient gods themselves guided Iceland’s first settler, Ingolfur Arnarson, to make his home in Reykjavik (“Smoky Bay”), named after the geothermal steam he saw. Today this geothermal energy heats homes and outdoor swimming pools throughout the city – a pollution-free energy source that leaves the air outstandingly fresh, clean and clear. Dine on Icelandic specialties, including delicious seafood, ocean-fresh from the morning’s catch; highland lamb; and unusual varieties of game. It’s purely natural food imaginatively served to delight the most discerning of diners. Reykjavik is also renowned as one of Europe’s hottest nightspots, where the action on the friendly pub and nightlife scene lasts right through the long winter nights.

But perhaps the greatest draw is the Aurora Borealis – the Northern Lights. This is the best time of year to see them because it has to be totally dark to get the best effect – and this is a country where the sun never sets in the summer! On our arrival day, local expert Svanur Thorkelsson will give us a presentation on the aurora and then that evening we’ll head out to try and see the real thing (weather permitting). If we don’t succeed we’ll try again the next night and the next.

Download Northern Lights Travel Brochure (PDF)


Cost and Program Inclusions:

The cost* of this itinerary, per person, double occupancy, is:

Boston, Newark or New York departure: $2,480

Single supplement: $400

*2.5% convenience fee will be charged for credit card payments

Prices are available from many other departure cities. Please call for details.



Airfare: Round trip airfare from Boston, Newark or New York, including all customs fees and airport taxes

Hotels: 3 nights’ accommodation in a first-class hotel. All hotel taxes and service charges included

Transportation: All ground transportation as detailed in the itinerary

Meals: 4 breakfasts and 2 dinners

Guides: Services of a local tour guide throughout the tour

Entrances:  Entrance fees to all sites as detailed in the itinerary

Case Western Reserve Host throughout the program**

**Based on a minimum number of travelers


For more information or to register contact Michelle Miller at 216.368.8745 or


Itinerary Outline


Day 1: Depart U.S.              

Evening departure from Boston or New York, where we board our direct Iceland Air service to Iceland


Day 2: Reykjavik

Early morning arrival in Iceland; we will be met at the airport and escorted to our hotel in Reykjavik, where a sumptuous breakfast buffet awaits us.  This morning we tour Reykjavik for a wonderful introduction to Europe’s smallest capital city! The tour covers the Old Town, the shopping districts, the Parliament, Hofdi House, Hallgrim’s church and much more! Most hotels know that Americans arrive early and will do everything possible to help us check in upon arrival.  However, this may not always be possible and if the rooms are not ready, we will store our luggage and go off on our city tour. When we return after lunch, you will be able to go to your rooms and take a short nap before we gather for our talk on the Northern Lights. Dinner will be at a restaurant near the hotel and this evening we will embark upon our first attempt to view the Northern Lights.  (B, D)


Day 3: Golden Circle

Today we capture the essence of Iceland - the Golden Circle tour. Our first stop is Þingvellir National Park, site of the world’s first parliament. Here we will walk from America to Europe! We continue on to see the majestic dual-folding Gullfoss waterfall and gaze upon Geysers, which spout steam with amazing force. We’ll pass close by the Eyjafjallajokull Volcano, which recently caused so much chaos with European air traffic, and stop to peer into the icy depths of Keri volcanic crater. This evening we’ll enjoy a traditional Icelandic lobster feast at a local restaurant on our way back to the hotel.  (B, D)


Day 4: Free Day in Reykjavik

A free day. Explore the galleries and museums of the city, enjoy the tax-free shopping or pamper yourself in one of the many local spas. There will also be a variety of optional activities available; from taking a snowmobile safari to the top of a glacier, to riding an Icelandic pony or going in search of Puffins and Whales. (B)


Day 5: Blue Lagoon

Today we take a brief tour of the exotic, moonlike Reykjanes peninsula, first stopping at Bessastadir, the official estate for Iceland’s President. Then we bathe in the renowned Blue Lagoon, an azure pool of mineral-rich warm water amid a lava field. There are wonderful facilities to shower and change at the site before we continue to the airport for our return flights to Boston or New York. (B)