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The Northern Lights aurora viewed across a mountain range

10 Reasons Why Northern Lights Should Be On Your Bucket List

The northern lights, or aurora borealis, is a spectacle of nature that has fascinated generations of tourists who have witnessed this entrancing, dramatic, magical display. The dancing aurora is certainly one of the unique wonders of the world.

If you have not seen this wonder of nature first hand, here are 10 good reasons why the Northern Lights should be on your bucket list of sights to see.

A once in a lifetime experience

Metaphors used to describe the Northern Lights are endless; Magical, Spiritual, Beautiful, Moving, Mystical, Breathtaking, Transfixing, and Unique are but a few. No display of the Northern Lights is ever the same, every night a different atomic collision reaction dances above with slightly different colours, intensities and shapes than the night before. For the best dates and times to witness this spectacle, BusTravel Iceland offers a selection of guided Northern Lights Tours departing from Reykjavik.

A variety of Aurora displays

Different forms of aurora lights displays

The aurora display takes on six different forms, from a Mild Glow, near the horizon, to Patches that look like clouds, Arcs that curve across the sky, Rays of light and dark stripes across arcs, Coronas that cover much of the sky, and Curtains enhanced by folds within the arcs. Curtains are also known as discrete auroras, which, at times, are bright enough to read a newspaper by at night.

Iceland is the leading Northern-Light destination

The Northern Lights are only visible in arctic regions and Iceland is perfectly situated at the edge of this circle. The Science behind the aurora require low temperatures, minimal cloud cover and low light pollution. Iceland offers all of these three allowing for travellers to see the lights in all of their glory.

Iceland’s breathtaking nature & landscapes make sightings of the Northern Lights even more excessive & powerful

The Northern Lights viewed from across a field of grassland

From glaciers to waterfalls, from geothermal hotspots to black sand beaches – Iceland has got the natural wonders box well and truly ticked. The magic of witnessing the aurora with a waterfall backdrop or dancing upon a glacial landform is something you do not get to do every day. 

Iceland offers the longest Aurora viewing season

Fun fact, the Aurora Borealis actually dances in the skies all year round, however, daylight hours in the spring/summer time mean that the lights are not visible to the human eye. The good news, though, is that the official Northern Lights season runs from late August to mid-April every year. That’s plenty of time to find a weekend to tick this beauty off your bucket list, right? 

The further north you go, the better the show

Reykjavik is the northernmost capital in the world. Sounds cool, right? There’s no other capital city in the world where you can you enjoy the beauty of the Northern Lights whilst enjoying the city comforts that Reykjaviík boasts. 

Light Pollution isn’t a problem

The Northern Lights viewed from across a lake in Iceland

You’ll be surrounded by unspoilt nature, zero light pollution and endless auroras to marvel at. Light pollution is the single biggest obstacle in our human ability to see the Northern Lights. Iceland offers endless areas to view the Aurora with not a light in sight, apart from lady Aurora of course!

Iceland is easier and cheaper to get to than any other Northern Lights destination

Iceland is the perfect stopover destination for those travelling between Europe and the USA. It’s cheaper to get to than any other Northern Lights destination in the world. Thousands travel every year through and to Iceland from Europe and worldwide making it easy to witness the magic of the Arctic circle. 

Iceland offers Northern Lights with endless adventure options

Travellers coming to Iceland to tick the Northern Lights off their bucket list can also experience many other adventures. Some of the most famous areas are; The Golden Circle – home to Geysir, the spouting geothermal hotspot, Gullfoss (A.k.a, Golden Waterfall) and of course Þingvellir, the national park which is situated in a rift valley caused by the separation of the Eurasian and North-American tectonic plates. Another popular region is the South Coast of Iceland, home to Seljalandsfoss, Skógarfoss, Reynisfjara black sand beach, Sólheimajökull and finally Jökulsárlón (Glacier Lagoon). Some of these famed sites you may have actually seen before on your TV screen as they have been filming locations to some pretty big names, such as; Game Of Thrones, Star Wars Saga, Interstellar, Tomb Raider, and Batman Begins – to name but a few. 

Aurora tours depart from Reykjavik every night when conditions are right

It is important to have the guidance of an experienced local when heading out for a night of Northern Lights viewing. Luckily, Iceland has that well covered. With many local companies offering guided evening tours scheduled every day. Of course, as the Northern Lights are dependant on weather, temperature, precipitation and cloud cover, tours will only operate when the activity and conditions are favourable. With many of the local operators, the weather is respected and travellers are offered the option to reschedule their ticket for as many times as they like until the weather conditions are favourable. This versatile and reasonable offer ensures that most travellers leave with their bucket list ticked. 

If the cold weather and Northern Lights are not for you then you might be interested in the warm Southern African sun. Have a look at these African Safari packages and come and explore South Africa.

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