Photography in Iceland

January 4 – 14, 2020
Price: from $6,945 – Single + $1,542

Tour Details


Travel with elite, professional Northern Lights specialist John Chumack.  Learn from the Master.  Benefit from his vast experience – 9 successful Northern Lights tours to Alaska. Iceland is a photographer’s dream – its spectacular nature is unique!

  • The Northern Lights
  • Icelandic Nature – Waterfalls – Hot Springs – Volcanos – Glaciers
  • Icelandic Horses
  • The Westman Islands
  • The City of Reykjavik 

John Chumack is respected for his profound dedication to excellence. He will accept the absolute maximum of 12 students on this tour, so each student can look to a meaningful participation in his workshops. There will be as many as 20 persons on the tour; John Chumack, Jan Mayer, 12 students and up to 5 spouses or persons who will not participate in the workshops.

The main theme of this tour project is photography and the Northern Lights in Iceland. The object is to learn photography of this phenomenon from an expert photographer at a location that is recognized worldwide for that very purpose. It is possible, under adverse weather conditions, that the Aurora Borealis will not appear. This is one good reason why this tour is complete with other exciting photographic subjects, to fill each day. This includes the magnificent Icelandic waterfalls, the photogenic horses and the many other attractions that make Iceland unique.



Join us on a photography tour to Iceland for the Northern Lights and other spectacular natural  phenomena in this beautiful country.  The tour is under leadership of world renowned astro-photographer John Chumack and expert tour manager Jan Mayer.  John has led many such tours before – to Alaska, where photo enthusiasts have learned from “the master” – in the field and at workshops.  A tour to Iceland is the natural next step in this quest for excellence.

Iceland is known as one of the best places in the world to see the Northern Lights. Each year thousands travel to this popular destination to experience the northern lights. They also visit some of the world’s most spectacular waterfalls, multitudes of bubbling hot springs and to enjoy views of volcanos and glaciers.   A visit in the lively and modern capital Reykjavik is particularly popular.

This tour spends 4 days in the Westman Islands, a little-known cluster of islands south of Iceland, the perfect place for spectacular photography –  awesome cliffs, volcanos, lava fields as  well as  the  Northern Lights.

John Chumack was mesmerized by the stars from childhood on. He built his own telescopes and was soon recognized for his quality level photography of galactic images. His work was sought by high level magazines such as National Geographic and Time. John’s work for NASA, exposure on TV programs, in countless science books and magazines, as well as his participation in fine art shows around the country has brought him fame and recognition. John has 9 successful tours to Alaska under his belt, teaching photography of the Northern Lights.

There will be 12 fortunate students, who will have John Chumack as their mentor during this tour to Iceland. In the peaceful and quiet Westman Islands, where the sky is clear and Aurora Borealis performs her lively and colorful dance, then John Chumack will be in his element – to make sure that you will capture it all, – the best pictures of your life.

tour manager


 Jan Mayer is a certified tour director from the International Tour Management Institute and is comfortable leading tours to any corner of planet earth.

He has taken groups to such sundry places as Costa Rica, Panama, El Salvador, Nicaragua, Mainland Mexico and Baja California, France and Yellowstone Park, New England, Philadelphia, Washington, D.C. among many other areas on the globe.

Jan loves the outdoors and activities such as camping, hiking and canoeing. Ecology and Conservation are his favorite subject matters.   

Rest assured Jan will handle your group professionally and with a good measure of enthusiasm and passion.



  • Tour members travel to one of the twenty U.S. ICELANDAIR gateways to Iceland and check in for their flight.
  • Late afternoon/evening departure for Iceland. All flights are non-stop.
  • You will be flying on a Boeing 727-200 aircraft
  • Flying time from the US to Iceland is between 6 and 7 hours depending on your dep airport.

It is an overnight flight. You will arrive in Iceland early the following morning.



  • Tour members arrive at Keflavík Airport in the early morning on several flights.
  • The group is met and assembled on arrival bylocal tour guide Birgir Blöndal.
  • Your “Monster” transportation – an all-terrain vehicle is ready at the curb.
  • Breakfast at Viking World Museum; the 1stchance to get acquainted and meet tour leaders John Chumack, Jan Mayer and Birgir
  • Proceed to nearby famous Blue Lagoon for a 2-hour relaxing visit.
  • Lunch break.
  • Check in at Hótel Berg, a cozy boutique hotel in a quiet location above the small Keflavík marina. The hotel features a big fireplace, a lobby bar and a rooftop pool.
  • An afternoon of rest.

Dinner at nearby Restaurant Duus. Your tour will include the Parliament Building, the National Theater and the main seat of government. Visit the harbor area, where older buildings have been retrofitted as boutiques and restaurants. Depart Reykjavik for the fertile regions of southern Iceland, arrive at Thingborg, the Wool Center, one of the best sources of the genuine Icelandic woolen products. Another short ride takes us to Hella and Hroarslaekur.

Check in at the cozy Hotel Laekur, a refashioned barn. Here you will have breathtaking views of volcano Hekla as well as glacier Eyjafjallajokull. This is our base of operations and exciting excursions for the next 3 days.



  • Depart from Keflavík after breakfast.
  • Drive east along the main road through southern Iceland to Landeyjahöfn (about 2 ½ hrs), the ferry harbor, where ferry Herjólfur sails to Heimaey in the Westman Islands.
  • The ferry crossing takes about 45 minutes.
  • Arrive on Heimaey and check in at 3-star Hótel Vestmannaeyjar, the best hotel in town for a 4-night stay.
  • Afternoon excursion of the island with Kári Bjarnason, director of the local library and Páll Zophoniasson a prior Mayor of Vestmannaeyjar at the time of the Eldfell volcanic eruption in 1973, the two best authorities of Westman Island’s history, nature and attractions.

Visit Eldfell, the volcano that caused the destruction of much of the town and the new Beluga Whale & Puffin Sanctuary.

  • Meet & Mix at the hotel. John Chumack lays out the plans for the days to come.
  • “Welcome to Iceland” dinner at Einsi Kaldi.



Morning visit to the spectacular Volcano Museum for a perspective on Westman Island’s recent history. Heimaey had to be evacuated and half of the town was buried in lava and ash. About 400 houses were destroyed. Heimaey has been called “The Pompeii of the North” ever since.

  • Lunch at Tanginn Restaurant by the harbor (suggested).
  • Afternoon photography.
  • Dinner at Einsi Kaldi in the hotel – an introduction to the Icelandic cuisine. Learn about Hangikjöt (smoked lamb), Svið(Sheep´s Head), Blóðmör og Lifrapylsa(Blood and Liver Sausage), Hákarl (fermented shark), Harðfiskur (dried fish), whale meat and sour ram´s testicles – all to be washed down with a measure of Brennivín, commonly named Black Death

Iceland offers such an abundance of fresh  seafood that you’re sure to enjoy the best fish and lobster dishes of your life.

  • Scout for the Northern Lights. Go for the most spectacular photography of your life.
  • If and when the Northern Lights do appear we will jump into our faithful tour vehicle and head for the best vantage points on the island.
  • Sundown is already around 4pm in Iceland at this time of the year. This makes it convenient to photograph the Northern Lights in the late afternoon and evening.



  • Full day of photography.
  • Drive to Lyngfell Horse Farm, to photograph the Icelandic horses, who will be dressed for the occasion, in their finest winter garb. You can photograph and pet the horses and you can also take a short ride, if you like. 
  • Lunch at Canton Restaurant. Vestmannaeyjar is the home to a surprising selection of great restaurants in all categories. Some of these offer the finest international cuisine. Canton takes advantage of the fresh seafood available in the islands at all times. Some of the dishes, served buffet style – are Lobster with Garlic and Chile, Kung Pow Chicken, Sweet and Sour Corral Fish and Duck on a bed of vegetables.
  • Walk to 900 Grillhús, where your dinner will be served. The entrée, a leg of lamb, is considered a delicacy in Iceland. Iceland claims to be the home of the world´s best lamb. This may be correct, considering the healthy diet of the Icelandic sheep, who thrive on fresh green grass as they roam free in the highlands.
  • Again, – be ready for the Northern Lights!



  • Full day of photography.
  • The Westman Islands is the best kept secret in Iceland for tourists and photographers alike. Towering cliffs, spectacular volcanos, crashing ocean waves are all part and parcel of nature on the islands within easy reach.
  • The latest Westman Island Attraction

Two Beluga Whales will be moving from an amusement park in Shanghai to the world’s first open water whale sanctuary in Iceland. The two female Belugas, named Little White and Little Grey will move to Klettsvík Bay on Heimaey in the spring of 2019 – at the very time when this tour is being planned.

  • Today you‘re on your own for lunch and dinner.
  • As daylight fades look for Northern Lights.




  • Leave Westman Islands by the morning ferry.
  • Visit two of Iceland’s most beautiful waterfalls; Skógafoss and Seljalandsfoss.
  • Proceed to the wilds of Iceland in Þórsmörk, a valley hidden between three glaciers – an adventure expediton.
  • Check in at beautiful Hótel Rángá.




  • Depart on an excursion to include some of the major natural attractions in Iceland.
  • Drive north to Gullfoss, the majestic waterfall that spans the Hvítá River and sprays mist on those who come near to marvel at its beauty.
  • A short drive to the west takes us to the Geysir geothermal area, where a number of boiling, bubbling and spouting hot springs are seen in an eerie moonlike landscape. VisitGeysir, which all geysers are named after. Though it rarely erupts, nearby Strokkurkeeps the show alive, erupting every 4-8 minutes.
  • Drive on to Friðheimar Farm, an amazing greenhouse & horse-breeding complex. Gain an insight to the uses of geothermal heating in Iceland. Savor a unique food experience, – tomato soup and fresh baked bread, with tomatoes growing all around you. After lunch, enjoy a horse show that provides an under- standing of the remarkable Icelandic horse breed. The display is followed by a “Meeting with the Horses” in their stables.
  • Visit the Njáls Saga Tapestry an ongoing project at Hvolsvöllur, where the goal is to sew Njáls Saga in a tapestry form, using the Bayeux stitch thawas used in the Viking age.
  • Return to Hótel Rángá.



  • Drive to Reykjavík, the colorful and lively capital of Iceland (56 miles).
  • Enjoy a 2-hour City Tour of Reykjavík with a local tour guide. First visit Hallgrímskirkja, the tallest and largest church in Iceland and a prominent landmark. It is Sunday morning and the Church will be filled with light and music. The church is of distinctive Icelandic design, dedicated to the most revered, sacred poet of Iceland, Hallgrímur Pétursson.

A statue of Leif (Leifur) Eriksson is aligned directly in front of the church. It was a gift from the U.S. to commemorate the 1000th anniversary of the foundation of the Icelandic parliament., a tacit acknowledgement that Leif beat Christopher Columbus to North America by almost500 years

You will enjoy the view of the city from the top of the water tanks that feed the city with hot water. You will drive by the University of Iceland, the Parliament, National Theater and Harpa, the new Concert Hall. Drive through residential areas and the harbor where older buildings have been retrofitted as boutiques and restaurants.

  • Check in at Hótel Plaza, located on Íngólfstorg, the main square in the heart of the “old city,” with restaurants, shopping and nightlife on your doorstep.
  • “Farewell to Iceland” dinner is served at Íslenzki Barinn.

DAY 10


  • Free day in Reykjavík.
  • Lunch and dinner on your own,
  • Suggested optional features:

Morning: Visit the Whale Museum followed by a 5-hour Whale Watching Excursion. Cruise Faxaflói Bay on a comfortable boat. The most common species in the winter is the White-Beaked Dolphin, the Harbor Porpoise as well as Minke and Humpback Whale. The winter cruises also offer opportunities to see many seabirds that call Iceland home, such as guillemots, gannets, cormorants &  eider ducks. $140

Lunch: Visit one of the downtown hot dog stands for eina með öllu (one with everything). You will be right back for more. The Icelandic hotdogs are delicious; contain a secret mix of pork, beef and lamb.

Afternoon: A 3-hour excursion to Þingvellir, the national shrine of Iceland, – the site of the ancient Icelandic Parliament, and a meeting point of the continental plates, a geological phenomenon. Þing-vellir is a designated UNESCO Heritage Site.      $60

Evening: Enjoy a musical performance at Harpa, the new and magnificent culture center. Program information will be available in the fall of 2019.

DAY 11

Depart REYKJAVIK for home

  • Last day in Iceland, – free without a program.
  • Afternoon transfer to Keflavík
  • Departure by ICELANDAIR for the US.


January 4 – 14, 2020
Price: from $6,945 – Single + $1,542