We noticed that you're using an unsupported browser. The TripAdvisor website may not display properly.
We support the following browsers:
Windows: Internet Explorer, Mozilla Firefox, Google Chrome. Mac: Safari.

“Big disappointment, non-existent Northern Lights” 2 of 5 stars
Review of Reykjavik Excursions

Reykjavik Excursions
BSI Bus Terminal | Vatnsmýrarvegi 10, Reykjavik 101, Iceland
+354 580 5400
Improve this listing
Ranked #113 of 258 Activities in Reykjavik
More attraction details
Attraction details
Owner description: Reykjavik Excursions is the leading organizer of coach and bus tours in Iceland. A fully licensed tour operator and travel agent that offers day trips and guided tours, travelling all over the country since 1968. Our buses offer free wireless internet allowing you to share your experience right away.
Useful Information: Activities for older children
St Albans
Senior Contributor
29 reviews 29 reviews
Reviews in 21 cities Reviews in 21 cities
25 helpful votes 25 helpful votes
“Big disappointment, non-existent Northern Lights”
2 of 5 stars Reviewed February 15, 2012

We had booked the Icelandair Northern Lights tour, being led to believe that we would see the lights, if not available one night then you just go the next. There are many days when the weather or auroral activity isn't up to it, yet the tours still run because Icelandair and Reykjavik Excursions have been paid and there is heavy pressure is on RE not to cancel tours.

So you are collected from your hotel, go round the other hotels for half an hour, end up at the RE terminal and transfer to another larger coach. A word of warning here - you will be out for about four hours, often standing in the cold for long periods, which you would expect, but there are no toilet facilities on the coaches, or anywhere during the tour that you could use. This is not for those who can't last over four hours!

We were told by the driver that the forecast for auroral activity was excellent that night. This did not correspond with the auroral forecast on the Web. We had several people who had been on the one last night and not seen a thing, so were coming again - for one this was her third night. However it was a warm night (for Iceland) and a very cloudy sky, so we were not too hopeful, despite the assurances.

After about an hour, the guide started stopping the coarch and disappearing outside to see if he could see anything. We had several of these stops. Eventually he decided he could see something and we should get off, which we did, at the side of the road, by a streetlight. We were near Keflavick airport, and could see the airport lights.

The driver set up his camera and tripod and excitedly pointed to a 'band'. There was nothing to see apart from parts of the sky where the cloud cover was slightly less dense. You would see the same on any cloudy night anywhere. He kept insisting that everyone look at the 'bands' and that he didn't want anyone going back saying they hadn't seen the northern lights. This was repeated at another spot. There was an atmosphere of the 'Emperor's new clothes' developing, with a couple of young girls in complete hysterics. He then came down the coach showing us the photos he had taken on his camera, supposedly of tonight's viewing, though he admitted to someone who asked that one shot was five years old! He asked for all our email addresses so that he could send us his report. I'm afraid some of the addresses written down were not exactly genuine!

You can tell by the atmosphere on a homeward bound coach whether the excursion was successful. We returned in total silence, everyone was bitterly disappointed. We had seen nothing other than a dark cloudy sky, and yet were led to believe this was all the northern lights amounted to - we had seen them. I've had several friends completely blown away by their experience of seeing the lights, this was not it.

I think Icelandair needs to stop booking Northern Lights tours, they cannot guarantee a viewing, and it puts heavy pressure on the tour companies to deliver when they cannot. The smaller companies have stopped taking bookings for these tours, you cannot book in advance. If you want a chance at seeing the Northern lights, check the aurora forecast http://www.gi.alaska.edu/AuroraForecast/Europe/2012/02/15 and the weather forecast. If the forecast is three or above and you have a cold, frosty clear night, then book a tour, you have a chance. But don't book it as part of a package, you will likely be very disappointed.

Iceland is a fabulous place, the glaciers, volcanoes, dog sledding, waterfalls, geysers are indeed breathtaking. Go for those, and if the conditions are right, book a northern lights tour a couple of hours before. But avoid the all in package, it mars what is otherwise a brilliant trip!

Visited February 2012
Was this review helpful? Yes 6
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Write a Review

708 reviews from our community

Visitor rating
Date | Rating
  • Danish first
  • Dutch first
  • English first
  • French first
  • German first
  • Italian first
  • Japanese first
  • Portuguese first
  • Russian first
  • Spanish first
  • Swedish first
  • Any
English first
Senior Reviewer
7 reviews 7 reviews
Reviews in 6 cities Reviews in 6 cities
1 helpful vote 1 helpful vote
“Northern Lights - Reykjavik Excursions.”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed February 11, 2012 via mobile

Had an amazing tour to see the northern lights with this company and would 100% recommend them. It is certainly some thing that they are passionate about and enthusiastic to ensure you can share in the spectacular of being able to see then. The hunt is well thought of and planned before you even step foot on the bus.
The staff are friendly and willing to help and if you manage to get bus driver number 3 (Rastolazo) you are even lucker as his photos are amazing he is even happy to take ones of individuals groups with the lights and share them with you.
This tour company certainy adds a personal friendly touch.

Was this review helpful? Yes
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
20 reviews 20 reviews
5 attraction reviews
Reviews in 13 cities Reviews in 13 cities
12 helpful votes 12 helpful votes
“They get you there but not as friendly as a smaller company”
3 of 5 stars Reviewed February 1, 2012

We booked a Blue Lagoon tour with RE and Golden Circle with another. RE has bigger coaches but they take you to their terminal where you have to change and get herded around with all the other tourists. Not as relaxing or personal as using a smaller co who picks you up in a smaller bus where you stay on for the duration of your trip. Drivers were not friendly and no information or guidance was provided. They don't tell you where to pay until you try to board the bus and they turn you away! Othe co.s let you pay on the bus. RE also overbooked and when we boarded found there were not enough seats. Again no communication they just herded us off to another bus without a word.

Visited January 2012
Was this review helpful? Yes 1
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Farmington, Connecticut
Top Contributor
198 reviews 198 reviews
96 attraction reviews
Reviews in 113 cities Reviews in 113 cities
120 helpful votes 120 helpful votes
“beautiful and wonderful experience but a little on the artificial side”
4 of 5 stars Reviewed February 1, 2012

you must visit the blue lagoon because you wouldn't visit iceland and miss the experience. but it is like its name... a bit commercial, a bit surreal and a bit artificial.
i love hot springs! i love to be immersed outdoors in very warm water... especially when the weather is frightful. you can sneer at the elements and this is the heart of the experience here!
soak, swim, chat, drink, float.
the downside, for me, is the price. again, you aren't going to iceland to let any of these things stand in your way of going to the blue lagoon! I'm sure it costs a ton to operate and maintain. they sell lots of their own products as well a all sorts of souvenirs of the place. (i wasn't tempted.)
admission was 40 euros and i was annoyed by the extra costs of 5 euros to rent a towel and 9 euros to rent a bathrobe and more if you want some cream for your face. i'd prefer to pay a 60 euro cover fee and have some of these things be included. you can forgo the robe but, hey! it's a pool, everybody needs a towel. i didn't order any drinks at the swim up bar but i can imagine they are also on the pricey side.
so, once i got over the price, i admired the lovely building, the immaculate facilities, the wonderful feel of the hot water and the "gestalt" of the entire place. you will, too.
i would recommend taking a swim cap just to keep your head warm and your hair out of the way if the weather is blowing. not to try to keep your hair dry but a cap or even a fleece headband offers some wind protection.

Visited January 2012
Was this review helpful? Yes 2
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
New York City, New York
Top Contributor
67 reviews 67 reviews
35 attraction reviews
Reviews in 16 cities Reviews in 16 cities
43 helpful votes 43 helpful votes
“Great weekend trip for the two of us and the two of you too!”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed February 1, 2012

seemed everyone travels as couples - but all ages and nationalities and Rekyjavic Excursions did an impressive job of booking and fulfilling - the guides and staff are super nice - we booked the Glacier trip through Iceland Air package so didn't think about the excursion till it was time to get the bus. We had a rental car and maps but booked additional trips with RE because they obviously knew their stuff and it was much more pleasurable to do the Golden Circle with them than driving it ourselves. a good value and definitely the go-to contractor for all Iceland trips. Nice buses, fair timing at attractions, flexible and thoughtful about weather, re routes when needed.... always the proper info give to prepare you - 'ok, we will be on the road for 1.5 hours, and then we will stop at 'wherever' where you will find a cafe, toilets and a gift shop' or not - the advance papers tell you what to where and what to expect so you can be comfortable and ready to enjoy this great country.

Visited January 2012
Was this review helpful? Yes
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

Travelers who viewed Reykjavik Excursions also viewed

Reykjavik, Capital Region
Reykjavik, Capital Region

Been to Reykjavik Excursions? Share your experiences!

Write a Review Add Photos & Videos

Owners: What's your side of the story?

If you own or manage Reykjavik Excursions, register now for free tools to enhance your listing, attract new reviews, and respond to reviewers.