Awesome Northern Lights
Enjoy the Heavenly Light with Reykjavik Excursions
As it gets darker earlier in the evenings, the Northern Lights become visible – at least to those away from city lights. As darkness descends, you’ll see coaches leaving the BSÍ bus terminal and, believe me, you will want to be on one. Out in the countryside, far from man-made lighting, the sky can be ablaze with constantly dancing swirls of light for hours at a time.
You take the Highlands...
A coach takes you up through Þingvellir National Park, crossing the continental divide, where you can choose to dine at a cosy farm restaurant to fortify you for the night watch. A modified vehicle then handles the work of travelling the rugged highlands around Langjökull glacier. The panoramic windows mean you won’t miss a moment as the aurora bathes the area around the glacier in a mystical light. With snacks and warm drinks available, photo opportunities abound in this unusual view of the highlands.
With a specially low price, the ‘Warm Baths and Cool Lights tour’ takes you to Laugarvatn, where the open air steam baths at Laugarvatn Fontana provide a luxurious view of the skies and the surrounding lake and hillsides. All the water is warm and you’ll never notice the cold – even, surprisingly, when you get out. It’s like watching a show while you luxuriate in this recently rebuilt spa complex on the lakeside.
Leaving Reykjavik’s BSÍ bus station at 6pm, the ‘Horse Theatre and Northern Lights tour’ takes you first over the mountains to Hveragerði, past the billowing columns of steam rising up over the plateau from the geothermal power station that brings both electricity and hot water to the capital. Coming off the mountain, more plumes of steam can be seen on the side of the valley as Hveragerði is one of Iceland’s hot spots. On the outskirts of the little town is the horse theatre.
Here there is fun for all the family – old and young alike – as you become enthralled in the ‘Legends of Sleipnir’. This multimedia show brings to life the history of the relationship that the special Icelandic horses have had for hundreds of years with men, women and children across the land. It’s a musical tapestry of mythology, history, theatre and music, woven together in a drama you won’t forget.
Following the 50min show, the coach, with an English-speaking guide whose commentary alone is worth the trip, continues into the countryside for the best possible opportunities to see the Northern Lights.
The original Northern Lights tour now has 3 different departure times, including an earlier 7:30pm tour. You could call these the ‘magical mystery tours’ as their destinations vary with the expectation of where the best sightings will be found at the time. The organisers are very experienced and attuned to the conditions and the 7:30, 9pm and 10pm tours offer times to suit everyone. They return at 10:30pm, midnight and 1am respectively.
Naturally, they are like the will ‘o the wisp and they appear and disappear seemingly at their own will. My experiences have been memorable, sometimes watching them for hours sweeping across the sky in a seemingly never-ending dance of swirling designs. Other times, I’ve had to wait and watch beautiful shows of fleeting streams. You simply never know what will come. If the weather is unsuitable for seeing the Lights, the company will notify you. It’s good to book your tour early in your stay, so you will have an opportunity to really enjoy this amazing sight.
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