Catch the aurora AGAIN - 12D11N Iceland + Norway itinerary

Updated on 2nd May 2015

My October 2015 holiday itinerary is finally done. I'm not going to visit Switzerland and will spend more time in Norway instead. The trip is also shortened from 15D13N to 13D11N.


Day 1
Depart from Singapore to Iceland capital Reykjavik (via Helsinki) at midnight 

Day 2

Upon arrival Finland Helsinki in the morning 6:30, head straight to Helsinki city. 
Visit Lutheran Cathedral / Senate square / Old market hall (Vanha Kauppahalli) 
Depart from Helsinki to Iceland and arrive Reykjavik at 4pm. Collect rental car. 
Visit Blue lagoon
Stay overnight at airbnb private home stay at Reykjavik
Read my trip report here


Day 3
Visit Golden Circle route, Thingvellir National Park / Strokkur Geyser / Gullfoss waterfall / Kerio Crater

Stay overnight at airbnb private home stay
Read my trip report here

Day 4
Visit Lómagnúpur / Skeiðarársandur / Skaftafell / Svartifoss / Ice-cave / Glacier lagoon
Stay overnight at airbnb private home stay
Read my trip report here


Day 5
Drive back to Reykjavik.
Visit Vík / Reynisdrangar / Dyrholaey / Skógafoss waterfall / Seljalandsfoss waterfall on the way to capital. In Reykjavik, visit church Hallgrímskirkja (9am – 5pm adult kr. 700) / visit church Domkirkjan (weekday 10am – 430pm) / Shopping Laugavegur shopping street and Skólavörðustígur street / Sun Voyager sculpture
Stay overnight at airbnb private home stay  
Read my trip report here


Day 6
Early morning depart from Iceland to Norway capital Oslo.
Visit Akershus Fortress & Castle / Resistance Museum (WWII - At Akershus)
Stay overnight at Comfort Hotel Xpress Tripadvisor hotel review

Day 7
Depart from Oslo to Harstad/Narvik, Evenes airport
4 hours self drive to Lofoten Island
Stay overnight at Eliassen Rorbuer Tripadvisor hotel review
Read my trip report here



Day 8
Explore Lofoten Island
Stay overnight at Nyvågar Rorbuhotell Tripadvisor hotel review
Read my trip report here


Day 9
4 hours drive from Lofoten Island and depart from Evenes to Bergen (via Oslo) 
Visit Bryggen Hanseatic Wharf / Mount Floyen and the Funicular (Floibanen)
Read my trip report here




Day 10
Visit Bergen town
Read my trip report here



Day 11
Depart from Bergen to Oslo
Stay overnight at Comfort Hotel Xpress Tripadvisor hotel review

Day 12
Oslo city tour
Depart from Oslo to Singapore (via Helsinki)

You may want to download word version (with more details) of my itinerary here.






Original post on 11th Jan 2015

I visited Finland in December 2014 and I only manage to see very faint aurora. I feel so sad as I flew all the way from Singapore and spent a lot of money but this is what I saw.

Click here to read my last aurora trip (December 2014) report day 1day 2day 4day 5day 6 and day 7 report and itinerary.

2 weeks after I came back from Finland, I decided to plan another aurora trip. And this time, I will not just spend 3 nights but 7 nights instead in northern Europe.

I plan to visit these places early October. Why would I choose October? First, I do not want to experience winter again. I had enough in Japan and Finland. Second reason, I want to see northern lights, so option to visit in summer is out and autumn seems to be the best season. Daytime length and night is also pretty balance (12 hours) during autumn (end September, early October).

My initial planning was to go there end September which fall on Hari Raya Haji (24th September 2015) that week, so I could save 1 day annual leave. However, I found out that it's gonna be a super full moon (see moon calendar here) on 28th September 2015 which is also the Chinese Mid Autumn Festival. I believe Iceland and Lofoten Island will look beautiful in a super full moon night, but my purpose is northern lights, moonlight can kill off the northern lights. Therefore, I made the trip in first 2 weeks in October instead.

From Tromso to Lofoten

Tromso is one of the best place in the world to see aurora. I wanted to include Tromso into the itinerary but because of my tight itinerary and transportation problem between Tromso and Lofoten, I can only visit one of them.

Norway is known for their expenses, nothing is cheap. 1 way air ticket (Wideroe, 35 mins journey) from Tromso to Evenes (then 4 hours drive to Lofoten from Evenes airport) cost SGD150. If you don't wish to drive 4 hours journey, you can choose to fly from Tromso to Leknes airport in Lofoten. This route requires transit at Oslo and/or Bodo and 1 way air ticket cost SGD253 (10 hours long transit time) or SGD340 (1 hour short transit).

Tromso and Lofoten Island is quite a distance, 487km from Tromso to Leknes, probably 7 hours journey by car. If you want, you can rent a car and drive to there, but it will be a full day driving and it's gonna be another full day driving when I return from Lofoten.



Singapore – Helsinki (transit) - Iceland – Norway Oslo – Norway Lofoten Island – Switzerland Zurich - Switzerland Lucerne 

Highlights

  • Helsinki city tour
  • Blue Lagoon Geothermal spa in Iceland
  • visit to beautiful glacier in Iceland
  • 2 nights stay in charming rorbur (fishermen cabin)  
  • visit to picturesque Reine fishing village in Lofoten Island
  • Viewing of northern lights in Iceland and Lofoten Island
Accommodation
  • 4 nights airbnb private home stay in Iceland
  • 3 nights in fishing village cabin in Lofoten Island
  • 2 nights in Oslo city hotel
  • 2 nights airbnb private home stay or city hotel in Zurich
  • 2 nights airbnb private home stay or city hotel in Lucerne

Day 1
Depart from Singapore to Iceland capital Reykjavik (via Helsinki) at midnight 

Day 2

Upon arrival Finland Helsinki in the morning, head straight to Helsinki city tour 
Depart from Helsinki to Iceland and arrive Reykjavik at 4pm
Blue lagoon
Stay overnight at airbnb private home stay at Reykjavik

Day 3
Leave bulky luggage in private home and self drive to south Iceland

Golden circle
Stay overnight at airbnb private home stay

Day 4
Self drive to explore south Iceland
Glacier, waterfall, blue lagoon
Stay overnight at airbnb private home stay

Day 5
Drive back to Reykjavik
Stay overnight at airbnb private home stay  

Day 6
Depart from Iceland to Norway capital Oslo
Oslo city tour
Stay overnight at Comfort Hotel Xpress Tripadvisor hotel review

Day 7
Leave bulky luggage in Oslo city hotel
Depart from Oslo to Harstad/Narvik, Evenes airport
4 hours self drive to Lofoten Island
Stay overnight at Henningsvaer Bryggehotell Tripadvisor hotel review

Day 8
Self drive to explore Lofoten Island
Stay overnight at Eliassen Rorbuer Tripadvisor hotel review

Day 9
Self drive to explore Lofoten Island
Stay overnight at Reine Rorbuer Tripadvisor hotel review

Day 10
4 hours drive from Lofoten Island and depart from Evenes to Oslo 
Oslo city tour
Stay overnight at Comfort Hotel Xpress Tripadvisor hotel review

Day 11
Depart from Oslo to Switzerland capital Zurich
Zurich city tour
Stay overnight at airbnb private home stay

Day 12
Zurich
Stay overnight at airbnb private home stay

Day 13
Take train from Zurich to Lucerne
Stay overnight at airbnb private home stay

Day 14
Lucerne
Stay overnight at airbnb private home stay

Day 15
Take train from Lucerne to Zurich
Depart from Zurich airport 7pm to Singapore (via Helsinki)

Day 16
Arrive Singapore at 5pm

Budget/pax (in SGD)
Air ticket 2010
Accommodation 1297
Car rental 550
Petrol 250
Meals 1000
Other transport 100
Misc 300
Total SGD5507 

Average SGD393 (USD302)/day/pax

This is just preliminary planning, all suggestions are welcomed!





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25 comments

  1. Hi, nice entry about aurora, eventho it's faint, but still looks beautiful. (may i know what camera did u used?). Try to read this guy experience about aurora, http://zahariz.com/ , he travelled a lot, he witnessed lots of aurora too.. you may learn more info for your next trip. Best of Luck!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. That's a very nice blog. Thank you for sharing!

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  2. Have you booked air tics? Lufthansa on sale till tomorrow. I'm gg iceland and tromso next year. If you plan to go tromso instead. You can consider chasing lights.co the reviews on TA seems so awesome!

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    Replies
    1. Hi Lor, I''' visit Iceland, Lofoten, Oslo, Bergen and Helsinki (short stop over). I bought air ticket with Finnair instead. SG - Helsinki - Iceland then Oslo - Helsinki - SG, all in 1 ticket at SGD$1600 inclusive premium economy seat selection. How much is Lufthansa?

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  3. Another great planning blog... I'm trying to see if I could kill 2 birds with one stone, i.e. going to Finand and Iceland on the same trip! Thanks for sharing.

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  4. Hi Ivan Wen, have a great trip on your coming holidays! Looking forward for your post when you are back.

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  5. hello! im planning to catch northern lights in 2016. May I know when you catch northern lights, do you engage guided tours?
    I'm planning to do a solo trip. Just wondering would that be feasible for a female to travel alone in northern europe?

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    Replies
    1. Hi Melongeve, I did not engage any guided tour to chase aurora. What I did is just staying somewhere away from city light, aurora just appeared in front of the cabin I stayed. I have friend visited there alone, it should not be a problem for solo lady traveling in Scandinavia.

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  6. Hello! Did you feel 13D/11N was an adequate time for Norway and Iceland? I am looking to do a combined trip but don't want to leave feeling like I was too rushed. Any suggestions on this? Thanks!

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    1. Hi Annie, to me 13D/11N to explore Norway and Iceland is more than enough. Actually it depends where you want to visit, I just visited a few cities in Norway, so if you plan to visit a few more places then of course 13D is not enough.

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  7. Hi did you manage to use a Singaporean credit card at gas stations and grocery stores? Like a OCBC visa credit card for example

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    Replies
    1. Hi Pakata, I had no problem to use DBS MasterCard and Citibank Visa card in Iceland and Norway. I couldn't use self service gas kiosk as I didn't have the PIN number for my credit card. I told the cashier I didn't have the pin and they let me to sign on my bill. I would strongly recommend you to get ready the PIN number. Gas station with cashier can only be found in major town, it's quite risky in the middle of nowhere when u do road trip in Iceland and there's only self service gas station available.

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  8. I gotta confirm that you are referring to a credit card yes? And you did shop in a grocery store and petrol station in Lofoten? If so, Good to hear that a sg credit card works in Norway. I've seen online articles saying foreign credit cards don't work at supermarkets/grocery stores and petrol stations. But I guess you may have proved it wrong. Or maybe Singapore'a credit card is somehow recognized. I have a 6 digit pin and do you know of that will work over there? I heard that it's only a 4 digit pin system in lofoten/Norway

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Yeah I'm referring to credit card. I had no problem using credit card issued by Singapore bank in supermarket, petrol station and restaurant in Lofoten. I understand that there is one mega mart chain in Norway doesn't accept foreign card, Coop obs - https://coop.no/obs/

      It's mostly cashless system in Norway and most places accept foreign card. You can ask before you do anything. It's 4 digit pin system in Norway but I signed on my bill I did not use our 6 digit pin.

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  9. No problem with Singapore credit cards in Norway. I too just signed the credit card payment every time.

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  10. Hi. So you have been to both Iceland and Finland. My girlfriend and I are now at a crossroad where we need to decide should it be Iceland or Finland. This trip seems to cover both but Helsinki seems to be purely a transit point. Is there a reason why you don't fly to Iceland via other transit point?

    chuplin.blogspot

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    1. Finnair air fare was the cheapest at the time when I made booking so I choose to fly to iceland via Helsinki. Also I did not manage to do much thing in Helsinki during the 1st visit to Finland, and the transit in Helsinki took 8 hours so why don't I spend that 8 hours to explore Helsinki city? I understand that we can also travel to iceland via London. You can check iceland KEF international airport website to find out which airline fly to there.

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  11. Hi, May I know much did you paid for Pall for the 2D1N South Coast Tour? Coz I don't see any 2D1N tour from his website.

    How about the rental car that you drove from Reykjavik to Kirkjubaejarklaistur? From your Day 3 & Day 4 itinerary, i assumed Pall fetch you from Kirkjubaejarklaistur and send you to Reykjavik on the 4th day? So where did you return your rental car?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi, Pall charged us by per day, you can still ask him about it though it's not stated in his site. He met us at Kiirkjubaejarklaistur and from there we travelled to south Iceland and back to Kirkjubaejarklaistur again at night. He stayed with us at night.

      I collected and returned rental car from Reykjavik international airport. I just left the car at the cabin I stayed in Kirkjubaejarklaistur when I went out with Pall. It's kind of wasting money but I couldn't find any car rental company which I could collect from airport then return at somewhere near Kirkjubaejarklaistur then pick up again.

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  12. Hi, I'd like to enquire if I would need to apply for an International Driving Permit or is a Singapore driving license valid for Norway?

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    Replies
    1. Hi Charmaine, I had no problem to drive in Norway with Singapore driving license

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  13. Hi there, my husband and I are planning a trip to see northern light. Would you recommend iceland or norway?

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    Replies
    1. Hi visit both countries if possible! Both are great places to visit, not only northern lights.

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    2. I had shared some tips on catching northern lights in Iceland and Norway. Check out this post - https://whenshetravelstheworld.blogspot.sg/2016/10/catch-aurora-how-to-plan-trip-to-see.html

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