LivingTravelIceland's 7 Best Northern Lights Tours of 2019

Iceland's 7 Best Northern Lights Tours of 2019

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One of the most spectacular wonders of nature is the Northern Lights (Northern Lights), and those who visit Iceland between the months of September and April have the unique opportunity to see the impressive light show as green and purple dancing shadows. Across the sky Keep in mind that seeing the lights, even in the coldest winter months, takes some luck and you will have to get away from light pollution in the city. Local tour guides know some of the best spots to hunt for lights, so booking a tour can increase your chances. There are plenty of options, from basic bus trips, jeep and off-road jeeps, boat cruises, snowmobile rides, and combo tours that often include stops at top Golden Circle attractions.

While most tours depart from the capital city of Reykjavik (in southern Iceland), keep in mind that the further north you go (to places like Akureyri or Husavik), the better your chances of seeing the lights. Many tours that are dedicated to searching for the lights will offer travelers a second chance to return for free if the lights are not displayed the first time, while combo tours that include additional attractions or activities generally do not provide the same opportunity. Here are the best Northern Lights Tours to book before you go to Iceland, so you can start your adventure early.

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Best budget: Northern Lights tour from Reykjavik

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If you are visiting Iceland on a budget but still want to experience the Northern Lights, consider the Northern Lights tour from Reykjavik. The basic tour includes round-trip transportation on a large bus to the Reykjavik countryside, away from the city lights, but you will share the experience with many other travelers. While en route, the guide will provide travelers with information about the Northern Lights and how it is made up of electrically charged particles in Earth’s atmosphere. The guides can also provide pointers to capture the lights with your camera. The tour lasts between three and five hours before returning to hotels in Reykjavik. If the conditions are not suitable to see the lights, you can return to spend a different night free of charge.

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Best Small Group Tour: Northern Lights Small Group Tour

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For a chance to enter more rugged terrain outside of Reykjavik with a smaller group size, the Northern Lights Small Group Tour is a great option. Super jeeps have huge tires (38 inches tall), allowing commuters to go off-road into hidden areas with clear skies that large tour buses cannot, increasing the chances of seeing the lights. The four-hour, small-group tour picks up and drops off from hotels in Reykjavik and includes commentary from a Northern Lights expert, as well as hot chocolate and cookies to snack on. The guides will help travelers set up their cameras to capture the best possible images. Be sure to wear warm clothing and walking shoes, as there may be a certain amount of walking.

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Best Combo Tour: Reykjavik Secret Lagoon and Northern Lights Tour

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If you prefer a more low-key day (and night) trip, the Reykjavik Secret Lagoon and Northern Lights tour is the perfect combination of relaxing, dining, and watching the beautiful light show. The six-hour tour includes round-trip transportation from the hotel in a comfortable bus, and the first stop is a relaxing, less-visited lagoon for a dip in the natural hot springs (so be sure to bring your towel and swimwear bath) . Next up is a buffet dinner of traditional and Icelandic dishes in a country restaurant, followed by a search for the Northern Lights. The bus drives away from the light pollution to various locations while the driver helps to search for the lights.

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Best of North Iceland: Northern Lights from Akureyri on a 4 × 4 Jeep Tour

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Travelers who like to get away from the big city to see less-visited areas and the countryside should consider a trip to North Iceland, where the chances of seeing the lights are greater than in Reykjavik. Akureyri is the unofficial capital of Northern Iceland with a population of less than 20,000 people and opportunities to explore the remote areas that are ideal for viewing the Northern Lights. At the Northern Lights from Akureyri on a 4 × 4 Jeep Tour, you will head to the countryside in a jeep after being picked up from a local hotel. Icelandic and hot chocolate donuts are served, and if the lights are out, you can join the next tour for free. The tour has a maximum of eight people.

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Best Full Day: Golden Circle Afternoon & Northern Lights Tour

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If you’re only short on time in Iceland, the Golden Circle Afternoon and Northern Lights Tour includes some of the highlights near Reykjavik with a view of Northern Lights on a 10-hour tour, giving you a taste of it all. Begin with hotel pickup in a large jeep to the UNESCO-listed Thingvellir National Park, followed by a visit to Geysir, a geothermal field of hot springs and steam vents. Along the way, guides talk about Iceland’s geography and history, and provide information about the Northern Lights. The tour also stops at the impressive Gullfoss Waterfall before night falls, and then the search for the lights begins with stops at various quiet spots. Bring warm clothes and a lunch or snacks, only hot drinks are provided.

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Best Boat Trip: Northern Lights Cruise from Reykjavik

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The northern lights are spectacular on land, but looking at the lights from the water adds an exciting element that can enhance the experience. The two-hour Northern Lights Cruise departs from Reykjavik to escape the shoreline and city lights. The ship has an outdoor observation deck in addition to a warmer indoor area where you can buy drinks such as soft drinks, hot chocolate, alcohol, and snacks. The crew provides a set of coveralls to help keep guests warm, but you still need to bundle up. If there are no sightings, travelers can reschedule the trip for another time (up to two years) for a second chance to see them.

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Best Adventure Tour: Northern Lights Snowmobile Experience

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If you are an active adventure seeker, combine the stunning northern lights with a fun snowmobiling adventure. Tick off two bucket list items (Glacier Snowmobiling and Northern Lights) with the Langjökull Glacier Northern Lights Snowmobile Experience from Reykjavik Tour. The 10-hour experience departs from Reykjavik with bus transportation from your hotel to the Langjökull Glacier, with information from your guide along the way. Then it’s time to board snowmobiles for a thrilling ride under the starlit sky to the observation base, where travelers can warm up and wait for the lights to appear. Light snacks are provided, but you’ll want to bring some snacks while you wait for the lights.

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