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See the Awe Inspiring Northern Lights in Iceland

By Ripleydaniels @mikesobol

Iceland at a Glance

When you think of Iceland, what comes to mind? Most likely hot springs, Northern Lights, and glacier hikes. Increasingly, Iceland is becoming a popular tourist destination for travelers from both North America and Europe.

Situated only 4-5 hours from the East Coast of the United States and Canada, and less than 3 from most places in Western Europe, it is the perfect spot for a short term vacation.

What makes Iceland so special is it's unique terrain and geology. That is really what brings visitors in, and certainly is what makes them fall in love with the land.

Although Iceland is really billed as a true nature lovers paradise, there are plenty of great things to do and enjoy in the capital city of Reykjavik, home to around 120,000 people (and over 100 bars and pubs), it has all the sights and sounds of a typical small city in the US or Europe.

Travel Tours of any Length

By far one of the most highly recommended things to do when you are on vacation in Iceland is to do a travel tour. This way, you will be able to see some of the most incredible sights without having to worry about navigating around the island yourself.

As Iceland really only has one main road around the island, called the Ring Road, it can be difficult to get where you want to go unless you know where you are headed exactly. This is especially true during the winter months, when certain portions of the road that are just gravel will be determined to be impassible.

But, there are plenty of tours offered in Iceland, from multiple day tours that cover the entire island, to day tours which can be taken right from Reykjavik, perfect for a trip out into nature on a stay. You will be able to find tours for hot springs, hiking on glaciers, and much more. But, one of the most sought after tours on Iceland has to be seeing the Northern Lights, and it's easy to understand why!

Seeing the Northern Lights

Some of the most incredible sighs anywhere in the world are the Northern Lights. This magical nature show blasts ribbons of colors through the air in pinks, greens and blues. Iceland is one of the prime places on the planet to view the Northern Lights. Because of the relative lack of lights emanating from the land, and it's northern climate, you can get into a perfectly dark area for a front row view.

One of the main reasons why this makes for such a great tour is that it can be done in just a day trip from the capital city. So, if you are part of a group that isn't particularly nature orientated, it makes for a memorable event that still doesn't require any strenuous hiking or trekking.

A round trip tour out to see the Northern Lights will take anywhere between 4 and 6 hours depending on the final destination. Most of the professionally operated tours will also include a stop that has food as well. Some will stop in a local cafe so tour participants can sneak indoors to warm up from time to time. While others will include full lobster dinners, or barbecues for a delicious treat.

If you have your heart set on seeing the Northern Lights and heading out on a tour during a vacation to Iceland, then make sure that you plan accordingly. Generally, tours will operate from early September through the middle of April, and depart from Reykjavik in the early evening, so be prepared for a potentially late night by the time you return to the hotel!

When setting up your tour the most important thing to take into consideration is the weather. Seeing the Northern Lights are by no means guaranteed, and even if they have been spotted in the prior few days, a fog rolling in could ruin your chances. That being said, there are three major factors to pay attention to when looking for the optimal conditions for viewing Northern lights: clear skies, no ambient light, and no moon.

Once you do manage to witness the Northern Lights in their full beauty, it is certainly something that you will not soon forget anytime soon!

Simon Helguson is a tour guide and Social Media Coordinator at Icelandic Mountain Guides, a leading Iceland Tours company specializing in bus tours, Iceland glacier tours, Iceland group travel, Iceland super jeep tours and more.

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