Many travellers dream of their chance to see what is probably the most well-known natural phenomenon in the world: the Aurora Borealis or the Northern Lights. And for good reason. I too had seen the images online of these grand green flashes and flowing shapes filling up the sky. I too had doubted the reality behind it. I too had doubted I’d ever actually even get the chance to see them.
What I can say after a week spent in Iceland last winter, is that they are worth all the hype and then more!
Getting a chance to see the Northern Lights will always be a roll of the dice, and the odds will be against you if you only spend a couple of nights in Iceland. As with any natural phenomenon, it can’t be forced, rushed, and just because you are there doesn’t mean they will appear. Though I think this is exactly what makes them so special. Think about it as seeing a lion in a zoo vs spending days on safari trying to spot one in the wild. The experience is one you’ll remember for a lifetime, in large part thanks to the effort involved. That’s why the Iceland trip I’ve put together for next February has 4 full evenings of opportunities – putting those odds in your favour!
(All photos were taken by the Eco Companion team last winter)
But Iceland is so much more than the Northern Lights! Don’t believe me? Here are 3 other reasons why I’d encourage you to stop the excuses and head out to see this very special country for yourself…
1) Witness inspiringly-epic landscapes
Within 10 minutes of landing, on our drive from the airport, we had our first taste of just how special our time in Iceland was going to be. Iceland takes the mundane of driving cross country and turns it into an experience of its own. Snow-capped mountain ranges silhouette, a never-ending sunset and sunrise as the sun stays low in the winter months offering a perpetual ‘golden hour’. It’s hard to describe just how magical it all looks.
2) Experience the natural raw power of our planet
The country is well known for its dramatic natural wonders, and let me tell you – the Northern Lights aren’t the only ones who know how to put on a show. Skógafoss waterfall rises high above you with a constant rumbling flow that you can feel from a distance. On our February trip to Iceland, we’ll head deeper into the valleys inaccessible by most to see the Eyjafjallajökull volcano and the huge canyon connected to it where rocks the size of double-decker buses were thrown around like ping pong balls in the 2010 eruption.
3) Meet some of the friendliest Vikings of your life
Iceland is a cold place full of Vikings. Very friendly ones though! I’ve had a chance to visit Iceland three times now, and each time I’ve made new friends and became closer and closer with the residents there. They left just as big of a mark on me as the volcanoes, waterfalls or even Northern Lights. It’s a progressive, well-developed country, so the standards of service are as high as they come which is, of course, reassuring to hear. But it was meeting Iceland’s tallest man after arriving in the 3rd bar for the evening in Reykjavik that I’ll be remembering for years to come!
If a hot tub view of the northern lights, alongside some fellow eco travellers (and perhaps a Viking or two!) sounds appealing, then take a look at the trip I’ll personally be leading alongside Margarita Samsanova and Tom Grond in February next year. Read more about it here.