Northern Lights Tour – Combine Iceland Holidays With Snowmobiling Adventure!
Head out into one of the pitch-black Icelandic winter nights and enjoy the silence in the remote nature while taking a look at the breathtaking Aurora Borealis – now that daylight is becoming less and less up here in the far north, Northern Lights tour season has arrived. And as a bonus, this winter, there are even better chances of catching a glimpse of this fascinating phenomenon: NASA scientists predict the brightest Northern Lights display for 50 years thanks to the Solar Maximum – a period where the sun´s magnetic field on the solar equator rotates at a slightly faster pace than at the solar poles. The cycle between Solar Maximums takes an average of 11 years, and NASA forecasted that 2013 will bring the greatest scene since 1958. So take your chance and head for a Northern Lights tour!
The are numerous companies offering the most extensive Northern Lights tour options, such as day tours from Reykjavík and Akureyri in North Iceland and even some overnight tours to remote mountain huts. Usually a Northern Lights tour is enjoyed in the comfort of super jeeps with 4-12 clients in each jeep along with a specially trained, expert guide to tell you all about the legendary Aurora Borealis.
Using these specially modified super jeeps, you will get a chance to move away from the crowds and off the beaten track, where silence and serenity will keep you company as you hunt for the magical light show. Combined in these tours is snowmobile activities, but please note that any of the Northern Lights Iceland tour is heavily dependent on weather and conditions, and tour companies will evaluate the likelyhood of seeing the lights every time when planning a departure, giving you our estimation of whether it is reasonable to expect to see the Aurora Borealis.
Every year, countless tourists flock to the Northern countries with the hopes of seeing the lights and experience some of the best organized tours in the world. No small number take advantage of their summer holidays, head up North for a week.
Northern Lights Snowmobile Tour Options
When Icelanders want to treat themselves they climb on board a Super Jeep and head for a Northern Lights tour during wintertime. On a journey of unforeseen adventures and constant challenges, they take on the unpredictable highlands and face new experiences during every tour. There are no disappointments, no failures. Everything that happens is part of the journey. It is all about embracing the moment. For them, nothing beats the beauty of testing their own driving or snowmobiling skills and resourcefulness against the natural forces and being rewarded with nature’s stunning beauty, starlit skies perfected by the dance of the Northern Lights.
The following is a sneak preview of Northern Lights tour companies and sample itineraries to give you a perspective of how tourists get to spend their Iceland holidays every winter:
Golden Circle Glacier Ride – Super Jeep & Snowmobile Combo Tour by Arctic Adventures
This is a combo that includes Super Jeep, Golden Circle Sightseeing & 1 Hour Snowmobile Tour on Langjökull Glacier. The one day tour is available directly from Reykjavík city.
What to expect from this itinerary:
The Golden Circle tour allows visitors to get in touch with some of Iceland’s most famous and exciting natural phenomena. The first stop is at the Þingvellir National Park 40 min due east of the city. Þingvellir is one of Iceland’s most historic sites as it was here that Iceland’s first parliament was founded in the year 930 AD. From Þingvellir you will head along gravel tracks toward the world-renowned geothermal area around the Geysir hot spring. This is the one spouting hot spring that all such phenomena on Earth are named after. From there you will continue on to Gullfoss (“the Golden waterfall”) where your proximity to its edge is so close you can feel the spray of the glacial water on your face. Next we kick the action into higher gear to get even closer to Iceland’s nature and go for a snowmobiling tour on Langjökull, Iceland’s second largest glacier.
Arctic Adventure’s super jeeps seat between 5 – 12 persons, their Safaris are always a small group experience! Depending on the area the tour guides will take you, if lucky enough this can turn out to be a Northern Lights tour….if the spots visited provide views to the great polar lights everyone wants to see!
Northern Lights Tour by Extreme Iceland
Extend your day tour to include a hunt for northern lights, if conditions allow. A typical Northern Lights tour usually begin in the afternoon, and could therefore be prolonged until 1 AM if the auroras show up. These tours could include snowmobiling, caving, volcano hiking, relaxing in a warm nature bath and far more…
The Golden Circle and a Northern lights tour on snowmobiles on Langjökull glacier by Northern Lights Iceland
This guided super jeep tour is a unique experience. It includes the famous Golden Circle in the daytime and Langjökull glacier in the evening. You´ll get to know the darkness the Icelanders know so well and all the stories and magic around it. This tour starts in the afternoon and takes 9-10 hours.
- The National Park, Thingvellir. An historic place.
- The Golden Waterfall, Gullfoss, a magnificent and powerful glacial waterfall.
- The Geysir area, where Strokkur erupts regularly.
- Snowmobiling on Langjökull for 1 hour, Iceland´s second largest glacier.
- The Northern lights tour, if odds are in our favor.
- Amazing nature
- Darkness surrounded by the stars.
- Refreshments at Langjökull glacier.
The tour company will pick you up from your hotel/hostel in Reykjavik and head to Thingvellir National Park. It plays a big part in Iceland´s history and it´s where the two continental tectonic plates are visible. Your next stop is the Geysir area where the old Geysir can be seen. The hot spring Strokkur erupts regularly so you´ll be able to experience an hot spring in action. The beautiful waterfall Gullfoss, or the Golden Waterfall, will be our next stop where you´ll get a chance to walk up to the waterfall.
At dusk, we´ll head to Langjökull glacier. At the base camp all tourists will get all necessary equipment and instructions before continuing with the journey on snowmobiles. The darkness has its charm and here the snowmobile lights will give you a new perspective of an evening tour. If weather conditions are in our favor, you will be able to see the bright stars above and the Northern lights dancing in the sky. It´s a magical experience and unique Northern Lights tour that is hard to put into words. To visit Langjökull glacier in the darkness is a lifetime experience you will never forget. After a 1 hour tour on the glacier, we drive straight back to Reykjavík.
Questions To Answer Prior Any Northern Lights Tour
What are the Northern Lights? – Iceland’s Northern Lights are naturally occurring phenomena which happen as a result of gas produced by solar activity on the surface of the sun. When this gas hits earth it reacts with the earth’s magnetic field causing the frissons of colour which we call the Aurora Borealis.
When is the best time to see Iceland’s Northern Lights? – If you thinking of taking a Northern Lights tour in Iceland, then the best time to see these natural phenomena is during the colder periods of September through to March. Iceland’s long daylight hours make it almost impossible to view the Aurora during the summer months.
Time-wise, the best time to see Iceland’s Aurora Borealis is around midnight when Iceland’s Aurora Oval is said to pass over the observer.
Where is the best place to take a Northern Lights holiday? – To be in with the best chance of viewing Iceland’s Northern Lights you need to ensure that you are staying in an area free from any light pollution. Therefore, you need to venture out of large cities and towns into Iceland’s natural wilderness. A popular location with both locals and tourists alike is the 4* Hotel Ranga, which is located just over an hour’s drive from the centre of Reykjavik.
Hotel Ranga is a popular stop-off point for guests on their Northern Lights tour as it is located in a prime location for spotting the aurora. Although catching a glimpse of the dazzling aurora is never guaranteed, the chances of viewing the display at this hotel are amongst the highest in the world, which is why tour operators throughout the country include it in every Northern Lights tour. This could be due to the fact that the location of the Hotel Ranga is fairly secluded, with no external lighting. The hotel controls all the outdoor lighting around the area and this can be modified to create the optimum conditions for viewing the Northern Lights.
Standing around waiting to view the aurora can be a chilly experience; however at the Hotel Ranga you have the option of watching the Northern Lights in a fully heated hot tub. As some other Northern lights tours just take you to a large expanse of snow in the middle of nowhere, driving from Reykjavik to the Hotel Ranga to sit in a hot tub and wait for a glimpse of the lights is, for many, a lot more appealing.
As the hotel is used by tour operators as part of their Northern Lights tours, it is possible to book a stay of several days, to give you greater opportunity to spot the lights. The knowledgeable staff will make your quest for the Aurora Borealis even more enjoyable due to the immense knowledge that they have on the subject.
There isn’t a question that they can’t answer on the Aurora; from what causes them, to the best lunar conditions during which to spot them. The hotel even boasts a gallery, showcasing some of the best pictures that guests and staff members have taken of the lights during their stay.
Should you choose to stay at the hotel then it’s likely that the majority of your evenings will be spent searching for the Northern Lights. However, during the day the hotel boasts plenty of facilities to make your stay more enjoyable. Hotel Ranga is the only 4* hotel located in Southern Iceland and boasts its own acclaimed gourmet restaurant, which specialises in the local cuisine of the area. As the restaurant is located on the banks of the famous Eystri Ranga River, you can expect to be served delicious fresh salmon and trout dishes.
The hotel is in an excellent location for taking part in some of the best activities in the area. Many guests enjoy riding the famous Icelandic horses through the region, a breed which has been around since the Viking times. As the Ranga is located alongside the stunning backdrop of the Mount Hekla Volcano, guests are certain to enjoy the scenic ride. Near to the hotel, there is also the opportunity to participate in some unique sports such as blowkarting and husky dog sledding.
The Hotel Ranga is also the headquarters for ‘The Age of Aurora’ which gives you even more of a reason to visit as part of your Northern Lights tours.
How long do displays last? – Typically Iceland’s Aurora Borealis displays last for just a couple of minutes and occur a few times a night. However, large displays that last up to three hours have also been observed, although they are far less frequent. The amount of energy that is produced during these larger displays is said to be the equivalent of a small nuclear explosion.
Are there any myths or folklore surrounding Iceland’s Aurora Borealis? – There are plenty and your guide will almost certainly regale you with many of them during your Northern lights tour. The Aurora feature prominently in Inuit and Norse mythology and are even mentioned in the Old Testament. In Iceland it was also once believed that if pregnant women gazed at the Aurora then their children would be born cross-eyed.
What colours are Iceland’s Aurora Borealis? – The colour of the aurora borealis depends upon how high up in the atmosphere the reactions take place. You can expect to see green shapes in the sky on a Northern Lights tour, but other colours occur, too. If the event occurs lower down, such as a mere 60 miles up or less, and nitrogen is involved, then the aurora can appear blue. A nitrogen reaction higher up can result in a purple or violet light show. The more common green light shows involve oxygen up to a height of about 150 miles; if the reaction is even higher, then the lights may even appear red.
There is nothing unusual about oxygen and nitrogen: together they constitute the majority of the earth’s atmosphere, the same air you will be breathing while watching the sky during Northern Lights tours. But when charged particles collide with the earth’s upper atmosphere, these ordinary gases behave like a neon light. So where do these magically charged particles come from?
In conclusion, you can boost your Iceland holidays this year by taking Northern Lights tour that packs all kinds of adventures from snowmobiling, hiking and super jeeps….it is a great way to experience mother nature, especially in a part of the world most people will only dream about to visit in their whole life. Enjoy snowmobiling and your whole vacation to Iceland!
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