To celebrate our anniversary & my birthday, my Husband & I decided to visit the magical country of Iceland (which was the best trip we have ever had) you can read all about our trip here!
Seeing the Northern lights i feel must be on everyones bucket list. However you need a lot of patience, luck & good weather along with an excellent guide to make it all magical!
Luckily for us we found the best guides with happyworld! The reason why we selected them was that they had all the things we wanted for the viewing:
- Super Jeep to take us into the interiors
- A small group tour that made it intimate
- Amazing reviews
- The best hot chocolate we have ever had
- Stargazing as a bonus
- Free Photos (which is so important as you need the right kind of camera to capture the lights)
- Unlimited Retries (incase of reschedule and no visibility)
If you are going to Iceland and experiencing the Northern lights is a part of your list of things to do, you have to do it with Happyworld!
Scheduling your Northern Lights Tour
Please do remember that the weather in Iceland is extremely volatile and forever changing, therefore you should ideally plan your northern lights tour in the beginning of your trip. As this gives you an opportunity to reschedule or retry to see the lights in case of cancellation due to unfavourable weather change or lack of visibility!
Happyworld is amazing about the GO/NO GO decisions. They are very diligent in their weather assessment and only use official and reliable data sources when making GO / NO GO decisions. They really understand their customers and try to help you have the best experience.
We had planned to go for this tour originally on the 2nd day of our 6 day trip to Iceland however, due to cancellations and rescheduling because of the weather we went for the tour on the second last of our trip and were out till 2am searching for the lights but they didn’t come. Below are pictures from the kind of viewing we had on that day
The Aurora Activity Scale
How the tour works is that around 6pm the guide informs you if the weather is good and if the visibility rating of the lights is above a 2.
The aurora activity scale forecast is greatly misunderstood by many people. This is NOT a probability scale. Rarely does the forecast go over 3, very rarely over 5 and almost never does it go to 8 or 9. In fact, high activity is not needed for the best visual lights. Activity of 2 most often produces very beautiful displays due to the location of Iceland under the aurora oval. Which was true for our viewing on our last night in Iceland.
You have to layer up for the Northern lights, It gets really really cold as you go to the outskirts of the city (as the city lights hamper the visibility) you are sometimes in open fields for the viewing and with Iceland being the most windiest country in the world a temperature of -5 or -6 degrees can feel like -15 or -20 degrees. Always remember when it comes to clothing, more is less.
Exploring the nightsky through telescope with Þröstur (The Northern Lights Whisperer), and his trusty sidekick, Reynir we saw the Andromeda Galaxy, Seven Sisters (Pleiades), Orion Nebula, Mizar & Alkor (the horse and rider) double star in the Big Dipper. They ever entertain & keep people’s spirits up by sharing stories of myths and legends of the nightsky as well as different Icelandic dark tales. Oh, and then there was the now famous ‘Haunted House tour’ which had some run screaming for the door!
Finally the Lights
Well on the last night of our trip we finally saw the lights and they were magical. I felt like i was dreaming and we were lucky enough that they danced for us!
Experiencing the Northern lights has to be part of your things to do in Iceland in winter. They are not a hype, they are worth the wait and they are worth seeing.
It makes you appreciate nature and makes you fall in love with Iceland even more!
Do share your experience with us!