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The magnificent Northern Lights is definitely something travellers should try to see during a trip to the fascinating land of Iceland Thursday, 6 June 2019

By Reykjavik Excursions

The magnificent Northern Lights is definitely something travellers should try to see during a trip to the fascinating land of Iceland. The natural phenomenon tops the bucket list for many and Iceland is one of the best places in the world to see the incredible Aurora Borealis

Reykjavik Excursions is one of Iceland's oldest tourism companies and is celebrating its 50th anniversary this year. The company offers Northern Lights tours for those hungry to see this awe-inspiring sight between the end of August and mid-April every year. 

THE NORTHERN LIGHTS TOUR

The standard Northern Lights tour is a four-hour trip that takes guests to the best possible places to see the lights. Most of these viewings spots are located just outside of Iceland's capital, Reykjavík.

The Reykjavík capital region is special in that there's no need to go far outside the city to get away from its pollution. There are various areas just outside the capital that are prime spots for seeing the Northern Lights, so no two trips are the same. The Northern Lights — also known as the Aurora Borealis — is a natural phenomenon caused by charged particles from solar storms hitting the Earth's atmosphere. The lights vary in colour and intensity, depending on the strength of the solar storms and exactly where the particles enter into the atmosphere. 

Auroras are produced when the magnetosphere is sufficiently disturbed by the solar wind that the trajectories of charged particles in both solar wind and magnetospheric plasma, mainly in the form of electrons and protons, precipitate them into the upper atmosphere (thermosphere/exosphere) due to Earth's magnetic field, where their energy is lost. The resulting ionisation and excitation of atmospheric constituents emits light of varying colour and complexity.

WARM BATHS AND COOL LIGHTS

For those who want a little bit more, Reykjavik Excursions offers the Warm Baths & Cool Lights tour. The tour begins with a drive to Laugarvatn Fontana by Laugarvatn lake in South Iceland. On offer is a local buffet and having filled up on delicacies, travellers can soak in the warm geothermal baths. Laugarvatn Fontana has three different pools and hot tubs to bathe in. They vary in size and temperature, so everyone should be able to find something to their liking. Additionally, there is a Finnish style sauna and a steam bath, which uses steam directly from the geothermal hot springs underneath the spa.

Those who are extra adventurous can take a dip in Laugarvatn lake itself. It isn't warm, even through there are hot springs by the lake. Afterwards, en route to Reykjavík, travellers will possibly get a chance to see the Northern Lights in all their glory.

NORTHERN LIGHTS BY BOAT

It's also possible to go on a Northern Lights tour by boat. Sailing from the Old Harbour in downtown Reykjavík, the two- to three-hour long tour will let travellers see the beautiful skyline of Reykjavík from a different perspective. It only takes about 20 to 30 minutes to get to a prime location to see the Northern Lights. Knowledgeable guides will accompany guests on the tour, where they share everything they know about the Northern Lights as well as related superstition and folklore. If it gets chilly on the boat, warm overalls are on hand. There is an inside seating area, and it's possible to buy warm beverages and Icelandic treats onboard. 

THE GOLDEN CIRCLE & NORTHERN LIGHTS COMBO TOUR

The full-day combo tour complies some of the best things Iceland has to offer. The Golden Circle includes three of Iceland's most famous sites: Þingvellir National Park, Gullfoss waterfall and Geysir geothermal area. After a full-day excursion around South Iceland, travellers take a break to have dinner before joining Reykjavik Excursions again for a Northern Lights tour. 

Þingvellir National Park is one of Iceland's most important historical and geological sites. It's where the world's oldest parliament was founded, and you can see the North American and Eurasian tectonic plates above ground (Iceland is the only place in the world where you ca see that).

Gullfoss waterfall is a spectacular two-step waterfall in the glacial river Hvítá. The continuous spray from the waterfall inevitably creates a small, but beautiful rainbow. 

Geysir geothermal area is one of Iceland's most precious hot spring areas. The iconic, now mostly-dormant Geysir is there — all other geysers in the world take their name from it. However, there are other geysers in the region that are active; the smaller but striking Strokkur is nearby and erupts every few minutes about 40ft into the air.

After an informative day of sightseeing, it's time to head back to Reykjavík to get ready for the night's Northern Lights tour.

It's important to note that because the Northern Lights is a natural phenomenon, Reykjavik Excursions can't guarantee sightings on any of the trips. However, if no lights are seen during a tour, it's possible to rebook any of the Northern Lights tours for free.

DON'T MISS

Trying to capture the Northern Lights on your camera — photographs often show the Aurora in incredible clarity

NEED TO KNOW

KEY FACILITIES

• Northern Lights tours
• Ice cave tours
• Wildlife viewing
• Spa trips
• Whale watching
• Birdwatching

GET IN TOUCH

re.is

T: +354 580 5400

E: main@re.is

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