Northern Lights Private Tour Guide in Iceland – How, Where and When to See

Experiencing the Northern Lights or the Aurora Borealis in Iceland is one of the most exhilarating traveling experiences that you can have in your life. Aurora is the name for the Roman Goddess of dawn, and Boreas is the Greek term for the north wind.

What actually are the Northern Lights?

They are the result of activities of solar activities in both the south and the northern hemispheres. The sun’s activity is the principal determinant of their intensity. They appear when the charged particles from the sun’s surface hit the magnetic fields of the earth. Customs tours in Iceland give you an opportunity to witness these luminous green streaks on the lucid skyline of Iceland.

The best time when you can witness the Northern Lights

The time bracket between September and mid-April is the best time when you can see the Northern Lights. The weather conditions are unpredictable during this period. A manager of a Private Tour Iceland would preferably suggest you choose the November – January period for watching Aurora Borealis.

Where to witness the Northern Lights?

There are numerous tour operators who conduct itineraries for the viewing of the disco Northern Lights during night time in winter months. A populated area should be avoided and a clear sky, preferably in the countryside on the outskirts of Reykjavik is always a fine choice.

The optimal conditions for watching

You must consider a few points pertaining to some natural phenomena for an unperturbed observation of the Northern Lights.

Aurora activity – The Aurora activity during the winter months of a specific year should be considerable enough to make the Northern Lights appear.

Darkness – Darkness is a typical factor that enhances the thrills of the experience. You must go to the rugged nature for witnessing the enigmatic beauty of the Aurora Borealis.

Clear skies – Clear skies with an intrinsic poetic lucidity create an ideal condition for viewing. The Icelandic skies usually remain clear when the air temperature is sub-zero.

How to see?

Walking – If you are lucky with all the optimal weather conditions, you may watch the marvelous display simply on a short walking trip during the night.

Self-drive tour – You may also witness the lights when you are on a self-drive tour. Driving the jeep to a specific spot may help you to view the lights more coherently.

On a boat – You can also experience the magnificence of the Northern Lights while sailing on a boat on one of the placid lakes of Iceland.

Photographing the Northern Lights

You may bring a tripod and a camera with a self-timer shutter at the spot for framing the experience.

What to bring on the sight-seeing spot

Besides the camera and the tripod, you need to bring warm clothes, potable water, snacks, and a good pair of shoes.

Read on the phenomenon before visiting

Read a few articles about the beauty of witnessing Northern Lights before you plan to visit. It will instill more excitement for the trip.

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Celebrate your Christmas in great fun with private tours in Iceland

When Christmas is around the corner, it would be a strikingly intelligent decision to visit Iceland to explore its ravishing wintery landscape. It can be thoroughly guaranteed that Christmas in Iceland has a singular shade – glittering white. You would be roaming in a fairyland, mesmerized in the spotless beauty of this peaceful, friendly country.

The Christmas vibes of Reykjavík

Most of the Iceland Tours include Reykjavík in their itineraries, providing you ample opportunities to explore the various tourist spots of the city. Ice skating in Tjornin, the Reykjavik city pond is an interesting activity to get engaged. You may also go for an unforgettable whale-watching tour. You can also go to the Open Air Museum at Árbæjarsafn,

Having modified super jeep on a glacier is a great experience

What to do and where shall you visit

Make it a priority to visit the exquisitely wonderful South Coast during Christmas in winter self-drive tours. You have the provision to explore an ice cave. Top-rated travel companies also conduct tours for the world-famous Golden Circle in Iceland.  The Golden Circle Tours let you hire a robust jeep or a luxury van, and drive through the wonderfully mystic terrains and sinuous roads of the country. Christmas is the time when you can merrily snowmobile through the snow-clad valleys in Iceland. You would also witness the almost frozen Gullfoss Falls in the Golden Circle area. Experiencing the emphatic geothermal activity around the placid Laugarvatn Lake in the Private Tours in Iceland is a memorable experience, too. You can also drive to the magnificent Snaefellsnes peninsula where you will have an opportunity to admire the marvellous Mount Kirkjufell.

 

The Icelandic Yule Lads come to town 13 days before Christmas

The 13 Yule Lads

Christmas lasts for 26 days in Iceland, from December 11 to January 6. The lovely country has not one, not two, but 13 Santa Clauses, who are also known as Yule Lads. The festive season begins when the first Yule Lad merrily arrives in the town 13 days prior to Christmas Eve.

Where shall you stay?

You can stack some delicious food from a local grocery and book a secluded cabin from some trusted websites to add a romantic angle to your stay. If you wish, then you can have a hot tub facility and a fireplace to make your stay more remarkable.

The Icelandic Christmas tradition and food

The biscuit based and chocolate cream-filled sweet named ‘Sara’, named after the famous French actress Sarah Bernhardt, is a popular dish during this time. Try to witness an Icelandic Christmas custom where construct a heath with fir tree branches, pine cones, etc and place 4 candles on it. You light the first candle on the first Sunday in Advent and continue doing so in for other candles in following Sundays.

The Icelandic Christmas dinner

Hangjikot, commonly known as the Hung Meat, is a mouth-watering dish prepared with smoked lamb. It is usually served with a potato-based sauce called uppstufur, and a non-alcoholic drink called jolaol.

Christmas in is a great destination to spend the Christmas

Plan and celebrate

There is no harm in consulting with a reliable tour operator over the phone, or via e-mail. Discuss the various travel packages before you decide to make your Christmas celebration a gala Icelandic event.

The Golden Circle of Iceland in winter – Private Tours

It would be an ethereal experience to go for a private tour in the Golden Circle when you visit Iceland.

The Principle sights

  • Þingvellir National Park – The Thingvellir National Park is a World Heritage site, declared by the UNESCO. The Golden Circle Tours Iceland mandatorily includes the park in its itinerary to make you experienced the pristine natural beauty of the Icelandic countryside.
  • Gullfoss waterfall – You must also not miss the captivating Gullfoss Waterfall. Its cascading brilliance will make you awestruck, especially when it partially freezes during the winter months.
  • Geysir Geothermal region – The biggest geyser in the area is Geysir. Here, you would particularly like the Strokkur area that puts up a wonderful show of throwing up water every 5 to 7 minutes.

Time to drive

A common question can crop in your mind about the hours it will take for driving in Golden Circle Tours Iceland. The drive, with practical estimates, is approximately 230 km. It would take you around 3.5 hours from Reykjavik to drive. You need at least 6 to 7 hours for a detailed tour of the area.

What type of car do you need?

It is advisable not to hire a small car for your travel because of its less capacity. Hiring a 4 X 4 super jeep might be helpful due to its robustness in snowy terrains. Make it a priority to rent from a reputable company to get reliable services.

Popular tours and exciting activities

  • Snorkelling at Silfra – Start your journey with some snorkelling activities to save a good chunk of the day for other activities and exploration.
  • Snowmobiling in Langjokull – You can opt for a thrilling snowmobiling tour in the Langjokull glacier regions, and then drive to the Gullfoss waterfall.
  • The volcano tour – If you have a strong heart, then the tour gives you a spine-chilling experience of suspending you from a rope into a dormant volcano.
  • Horse-riding tour – Riding a horse is a relaxing way to imbibe the beauty of nature on the Golden Circle.
Nissan Patrol Superjeep at Fimmvorduhals Volcano. Eruption in 2010

Where to eat?

  • Fridheimar Farm – It is a farm specializing in fresh tomatoes and cucumbers. You can have a bread-based buffet here.
  • Olverk – It is a standard pizzeria and brewery in the region of Hveragerdi serving delicious wood-fire pizza and exquisite local beer.
  • Matkrain – It is a relatively new restaurant in Hveragerdi, offering a range of open-faced sandwiches. You can also taste roasted pork belly with exotic Scandinavian condiments.
Strokkur hot spring erupting in Iceland

A beautiful extension of the journey

You can make the day trip at The Golden Circle more interesting by driving through an off-beat path in the reverse journey, starting from the Gullfoss area to Thingvellir National Park.

Including the Blue Lagoon

If you can manage to extract a few hours from your trip, then it is suggested to visit the enticing Blue Lagoon, adding more value to your itinerary.

To enjoy the Blue Lagoon and soak into the hot water is great experience.

Plan anytime during the year

The Golden Circle is open for the tourists all through the year. You can plan anytime to visit and have a memorable travelling experience.

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How to make Northern Lights

1. Get some Supersonic Solar Wind

In 1962 it was proved that empty space is awash with constant solar wind, blowing at 300 – 800 km per second.

From the Sun’s equator a constant stream of particles evaporates into space. Occasionally, violent gusts break free of the Sun’s gravitational and magnetic forces. These are flares and coronal mass ejections.

How does solar wind affect the other planets?

These electrically charged hurricanes are ferocious and relentless, and the planets line in their firing line. Mercury, the closest planet to the sun, bears the full brunt of the solar wind. Any atmosphere that this moon-like world may once have had has long been blown away, leaving its surface bathed in deadly radiation.

Mars is larger than Mercury and 4 times further from the sun. And yet even here it is thought that the solar wind has stripped away up to a third of its original atmosphere, leaving a veil one hundred times thinner than our own.

Venus, our nearest neighbor, has an atmosphere one hundred times thicker than ours. Modern space probes discovered a comet-like tail that stretches back to the orbit of the Earth. The clouds on Venus are also being eroded by the solar wind.

The Earth’s Moon has no atmosphere or intrinsic magnetic field, and consequently its surface is bombarded with the full solar wind.

2. Get a very good Magnetic Field

What about our own atmosphere? Alone among the inner worlds, the Earth has a magnetic field that stretches far out into space. This field deflects the solar wind and protects our atmosphere from erosion. It’s a force field fighting a constant battle with the sun.

Magnetic Field vs. Solar Wind – The Battle

The solar wind and the Earth’s magnetic field are steadily battling against each other. The magnetic field is being compressed by the solar wind. As this pressure increases and sends the particles along the magnetic fields and down to the polar areas of the Earth, then we see the northern lights or aurora, in the upper atmosphere.

3. Get Solar Plasma – Ask SOHO for that…

The light radiates outward from the chore of the Sun. In the outer layers, the heat moves to the surface in huge eddies called ‘convection cells’. These electrical currents of charged gas create magnetic fields inside the Sun. In some places strong magnetic fields push their way through the surface. They slow down the eddies of hot gas. The surface cools and darker sunspots appear. The electrically charged gas is called ‘plasma’.

The very stuff of life is built inside the Sun. The chore of a star is the ultimate fusion reactor. By complex nuclear reactions it changes material, it produces new particles that leave the sun.

The Solar Observatory SOHO can view the Sun in X-rays, ultraviolet and visible light. But SOHO doesn’t just look. It listens!

The Sun’s surface ripples like a pond. It’s heaving. Every 6 minutes the entire star “breathes” in and out. Its gaseous ocean swells and dips, and a complex pattern of ripples shimmer across its surface, giving clues to the structure within. You can’t see inside the sun because it’s opaque. But you can hear inside the sun and learn its structure. It’s just like the tones of a musical instrument.

SOHO has already started to strip away the outer layers of the Sun. Beneath its surface it has discovered rivers of plasma, super heated gases that circle its poles.

Looking like the jet stream on Earth, it seems the Sun has weather too. But deep in the chore is that remarkable chemical factory. It generates stuff, all the matter that you and I are made of, from hydrogen and helium.

Do animals watch the northern lights?

Regrettably not. Well, we all knew of course that cows and horses are not interested in sunsets and other celestial phenomena. But that could be explained because a sunset is not a very active event.

The writer of these lines used to have a very beautiful and intelligent lady cat (smile) and decided to make a little experiment one night that there was a galvanizing display of northern lights. It was a really fast-paced and bright display. And cats can see very well in the dark, can’t they? So I made my cat look up toward the sky. Since felines are attracted to anything that moves fast, I thought that maybe she’d be captivated by this activity in the sky. But no… Zero interest, no matter what…

Does it follow, I wonder, that the more mesmerized we feel about auroras and sunsets and stars, that we’re therefore very human? And if we don’t get impressed by these marvels… are we therefore more “animal”? I wonder just how old a child we were, when we first begun to feel touched by beauty? Well, that’s just some thoughts!

The Experience

Some folks have said that they can hardly muster words sufficient to convey how profound an experience it was to watch a display of northern lights. A man said:

“I felt as though an angel – no hominine entity but the manifestation of a phenomenal universal force – was descending to Earth, its wings unfurling slowly, powerfully, ever so powerfully with grace, with ease but with unfathomable energy capable of creation, capable of destruction.

And slowly, powerfully, it waved its wings above us and then it began to dance. The awe lingers in me still.”

Wow!