Traveling to Iceland is one of the best things you could plan for yourself. This Land of Fire and Ice is known for its breathtaking and enthralling attractions. You can experience some of the best moments of your life by spending them amid stunning natural surroundings in Iceland. Iceland embraces gigantic mountains, dramatic volcanoes, majestic waterfalls, incredible geothermal spas, adventurous hiking trails, and drool-worthy cuisine. This place is truly a heaven on earth that delivers the best of mother nature to humanity.
The European country is known for its unpredictable weather, the midnight sun, welcoming natives, relishing street art, and glorious Vikings history. The one thing that makes Iceland different from every winter land is the stunning Northern lights. The natural phenomenon is one of the greatest thing you could experience in Iceland. You need to be lucky enough to catch a glimpse of the magical scene. The bright lights and unusual solar activity make the scene iconic and thrilling. There are many ways through which you can experience the northern lights. To maximize your chances of seeing the lights dance above the skies is to book the best tours that can help you catch a glimpse of the most incredible activity on this planet.
Let’s Begin with the Basics, what are the Northern Lights
Aurora Borealis or Dawn of the North or Northern lights is an aesthetic appealing light show presented by nature. The unusual solar activities in the environment’s atmospheric layer give birth to this gorgeous natural phenomenon at high altitudes. The Northern lights or Aurora Borealis are best witnessed from mid-August to early April when the nights are darker and have a clear sky. As winter in Iceland is darker, the chances of catching a sight of the enchanting Northern lights are higher. These auroras occur high above the level of the earth in the sky when the atmospheric layer gets thin at a relatively high altitude. You get to experience a rainbow of bright and shiny lights in different shades of colors, including violet, red, blue, yellow, and green. Some associate these lights with science, whereas some with mythology; what matters the most is how beautifully it has become part of Iceland’s identity and pride.
The Perfect Time to Experience the Aurora Borealis
The ideal time to witness the natural light show would be around mid-August to early April, due to high solar activity and thin atmospheric layer. This period marks the beginning of colder and darker nights in Iceland, and Northern lights are best seen during this time. The darker nights promise a clear view of the bright and colorful lights that occurs at a high altitude. Winter is a preferred season for catching a glimpse of the lights as it witnesses less light pollution, chaos, and people. Another reason is the longer nights as they increase the chances of the natural phenomenon to occur. From August till April, each month witnesses a different kind of weather that adds to the increased chances of experiencing the dawn of the north. The perfect time occurs around December and January, with the darkness lasts for more than 20 hours, encouraging the solar activity to collide with the gaseous particles to create the magical scene up in the sky. The colorful lights add to the incredible show and offer an awe-inspiring sight.
The Best and Most-Promising Northern Lights Tours
Looking for the auroras is the trickiest task in Iceland; it cannot be found easily. There are certain places that are best known for witnessing the Northern lights, and the conditions need to be perfect so you will be able to witness this magical evening. And, to reach those blessed spaces, you need reliable, and adventurous tours with professional northern lights guides. The northern lights guides will spend the days checking out the forecasts and aurora activity and find the best spot to see the northern lights for each night. Some of the best northern lights tours are:
Boat and Cruise Ship Tour
Experiencing the Northern lights from a cruise ship or boat is a great experience you should try. You can go far north away from city noise and light pollution, where chances of witnessing the auroras are higher. This voyage promises a heavy dose of fun and excitement as you get a chance to experience the stunning Northern lights surrounded by some visually-enchanting treats of nature. The cold winter water, the shiny sky, and twinkling stars will make your moment more memorable. Northern lights usually occur in winter, which means having fewer people on the cruise or boat, which will make you enjoy every bit of the stunning site without being around too many people. It is recommended to pre-book everything because the spots on each tour is limited. Many people think that this experience is much more expensive than the other options, but it actually is not. These tours come at a great price. You can even find a northern lights tour on a luxury yacht for one of the best prices in Iceland. The experience you will have on the boat is worth the trip.
Booking a bus tour to the Northern lights is practical as they are less expensive and can fit easily to your budget. You can take a bus tour from the capital city, Reykjavik, which includes pick-up and drop-off services. Enjoy roaming through the countryside to treat your eyes with natural surroundings. The dancing lights will look more bliss when peeking through gigantic mountains and dramatic landscapes. The ribbon of natural lights will add to your road journey with its warmth and beautiful appeal. You need warm clothes and a cozy space throughout the journey as the temperature will rise as you move far north of your trip.
If you have comfort in your mind and money in your pocket, you can book a private tour to the Northern lights in Iceland. You can book any vehicle from comfort class to business class to luxury classes, including a Skoda or Mercedes. You will be accompanied by a local guide with great road sense to take you to the best place to witness the natural dancing lights. This tour might also be very convenient if you are traveling with a group. The price comes per vehicle so if you are traveling in a group, the price will split for each person and sometimes these tours will become even cheaper than the bus tours.
Super Jeep Tour
This is another very exciting and adventurous way to go hunting for the hypnotizing aurora borealis. You can travel through the Icelandic countryside in a comfortable jeep along with your family and friends, checking out Iceland’s stunning natural surroundings. These tours are operated in small groups and you will have very personal service from your northern lights guide. Since you are traveling on a Super Jeep you will be able to go to some places that the buses can’t go to and therefor you have more chances of seeing the northern lights. You will have an experienced guide that will take to the best place to catch a glimpse of the auroras. You will also get a chance to click photographs as you can stop the jeep anytime as per your convenience.
Booking a minibus tour will make you travel with a smaller group of people than when you book a northern lights bus tour. These tours often include free refreshments; you will be entertained by the magical natural attractions and warming people traveling with you throughout the journey.
Ultimate Reykjvaik Night; Beer & Food Tasting and the Northern Lights
This is a well-though itinerary that includes hunting for the Northern lights and being part of other fun and exciting activities. The best part about this tour is that you can re-book the Northern lights hunting tour individually after an unsuccessful hunt. You can stay relax as you don’t have to take care of your food or drinks, as everything is included in this combined tour package. Besides gazing at the Northern lights, the tour consists of roaming around Reykjavik city, tasting different beers and Icelandic food, learning about astronomy and star map learning to know what lies above the pretty sky. You can customize the tour based on your budget and the attractions you want to explore.
If you’re looking at ways to add more adventure to your journey, then hunting for the Northern lights on a snowmobile is a thing made for you. The thrilling and high-end adventurous experience will make you discover hidden spaces and take your exploration to a whole new different tangent. Admiring the auroras will become more exciting while riding a snowmobile high up on different glaciers like Langjokull.
Adding to the adventure quotient, booking ATV tours is one of the most exciting and thrilling experience you can take back home. The ATVs will let you be the master of your Northern lights hunting journey that guarantees an unforgettable experience. Riding the ATVs at night under a clear blue sky will make you offer you a great aesthetically appealing vibe.
Tour with Golden Circle
The ultimate combination of the Northern lights and Golden Circle makes this tour more adventurous and incredible. You will get to experience the best of both worlds by visiting the magical Golden Circle during the day and hunting for the Northern lights at night. You will travel across the most visited routes of Iceland and get a chance to see some of the best attractions of Iceland throughout the memorable journey.
Tour with Blue Lagoon
What’s better than starting your Northern lights hunt by spending your day in comforting and relaxing hot springs? The Blue Lagoon is known for its healing mineral water and mystical beauty, which is great for preparing yourself for the chilly night that’s coming ahead. Combining both these surreal things in a tour will keep your hands full with some of the best moments of your journey. The tour normally starts from the Reykjavik Terminal or the decided pick-up destination by the tour operators.
Tour with Crystal Ice Caves
Crystal Ice Caves are among some of the unexplored attractions of Iceland that promise adventure, thrill, and a visually-appealing treat to the eyes. This tour lasts for about 14 to 16 hours, in which you will be visiting sparkling and mystical crystal ice caves. The journey will take you to some breath-taking sites, including Jokulsarlon glacier lagoon and Diamond beach. Getting a chance to witness both crystal ice caves and Northern lights is truly a blessed experience.
Tour along the South Coast
As per the popular notion, traveling up north increases the chances of witnessing the Northern lights. But this is partially untrue as the south coast holds the best view and places to catch a glimpse of the natural phenomenon. In this tour, you will come across eye-captivating attractions that include witnessing majestic glaciers, dramatic volcanoes, magical waterfalls, and rhythmic beaches. Your tour ends with a wow moment as you experience the gorgeous aurora borealis.
Tour with Snæfellsnes Peninsula
Snæfellsnes Peninsula or ‘Iceland in a nutshell’ as it is often called, make your journey just perfect by adding the tinge of adventure and aesthetic appeal. Spend your entire day exploring the dramatic Snæfellsnes Peninsula and end that ideal day by gazing at the most beautiful and enchanting Northern lights.
Few Things to Keep in Mind
Before booking any of the above tours, it is important to research everything briefly. Consider every factor before finalizing anything to avoid last-minute hassles. Tours like snowmobile and ATV require special permission and documents as they involve more responsible actions, way above the excitement and fun it promises. Ensure to read all the conditions and rules beforehand to avoid any hitches. Northern lights are a phenomenon that is the best witness in cold winter nights that are extreme and sometimes worst, which means you need to come prepared to face any and every situation that comes your way. While traveling in a minibus, boat, or super jeep, make sure to carry along or wear layers of warm clothes to keep yourself cozy and warm. Also, if you’re planning to hit the grounds alone or self-driving, then take a look at the weather forecast, as one cannot predict the weather of Iceland. You can increase your chances of experiencing the natural light show by looking for the weather forecast on Iceland’s official websites. The website can also help you know briefly about the clouds’ positioning and atmospheric conditions. The roads are sloppy and risky during winter, so travelers and experts often advise to hire a guide that is familiar with the weather and road conditions. Remember, the auroras are natural occurrences that one cannot predict; you have to be patient and lucky to witness that. It is not guaranteed that you will witness them, so be prepared to experience heartbreak. But you can always visit again or re-book the tours not to miss the chance of catching the magical show. Most of the northern lights tours have the policy that you can rebook your tour free of charge if you don’t see the northern lights on your tour. The northern lights experts that will take you on these tours will keep a good eye on the forecast for each night to see where the northern lights are most likely to show up, and if they are going to show up at all. It is not fun for anyone to travel to the countryside to watch the northern lights that will never show up. Therefor the tours always get cancelled if the forecast is not good. You should keep a good eye on your phone and email on the day of your tour to see if the tour is on schedule. If the tour gets cancelled you can rebook the tour for the next available departure or get a full refund. Because of this, it is often recommended that you book your northern lights tour on your first nights in Iceland. This means that if the northern lights do not show up, you still have some days left in the country to be able to go on another northern lights tour.
Iceland is known for its unnatural attractions that grab the attention of tourists, travelers, explorers, and adventure enthusiasts from around the globe. Northern lights or Aurora Borealis is something that is not seen very often but witnessing them can make your journey to this winter wonderland a worthy affair. The Land of Fire and Ice embraces a lethal and unmatchable beauty that makes it one of the most beautiful places to visit on this planet. At last, don’t spend too much time chasing the incredible Northern lights as you may miss other eye-captivating sites in the whole process. Also, try to be flexible with your trip to increase your chances of witnessing the natural lights dancing in the sky.