In the world of natural phenomena, few spectacles can match the ethereal beauty of the Northern Lights, or Aurora Borealis. The dance of green, pink, and purple lights across the sky is an experience that sits atop many a bucket list. In Iceland, one of the most favoured routes to chase this celestial spectacle is the Golden Circle. According to the Icelandic Meteorological Office, this circuit Golden Circle Tours in Iceland provides some of the most reliable sightings of the Northern Lights, with approximately 80% visibility during peak season.
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Guide to Help you Plan Your Adventure of Golden Circle Tours in Iceland
If you’re planning to combine the historical and geological delights of the Golden Circle in Iceland with the magic of the Northern Lights, here’s a guide to help you plan your adventure.
Timing is Key: When to Visit
The Northern Lights are a winter phenomenon, typically visible in Iceland from late September to March. This period aligns with the darkest nights and the least amount of light pollution. Your chances of viewing the Northern Lights also depend on solar activity. Websites like the Icelandic Meteorological Office provide forecasts that can help you plan your nightly Aurora hunting.
The Golden Route: Key Stops on the Golden Circle
The Golden Circle encompasses three major attractions: Thingvellir National Park, the Geysir Geothermal Area, and Gullfoss Waterfall. Each of these sites presents an opportunity for a unique Northern Lights experience. Imagine the lights dancing over the rift valley in Thingvellir or reflecting in the waters of the mighty Gullfoss. Less light pollution in these areas also improves your chances of a clear sighting.
Guided vs. Self-Drive Tours: Pros and Cons
A guided tour provides the benefit of experienced guides who know the best viewing spots and can offer insights into the science and folklore behind the Northern Lights. Many tour operators also provide photography tips to help you capture the perfect shot of the Aurora.
On the other hand, a self-drive tour offers flexibility. You can linger at your favourite spots and chase the lights at your own pace.
Equip Yourself: What to Bring
Warm clothing is a must as nights can be freezing. Dress in layers, with thermal clothing, a waterproof and windproof outer layer, warm socks, hats, and gloves. A thermos with a warm drink can make the wait for the lights more comfortable. If you plan to photograph the lights, a tripod and a camera with manual settings are essential.
Sustainable Tourism: Respect and Protect
As you set out to experience this magical spectacle, remember the principles of sustainable tourism. Stay on marked roads and paths, respect private property, and avoid shining lights towards the sky as it can disrupt others’ viewing experience.
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Chasing the Northern Lights along the Golden Circle route in Iceland is an adventure that combines the best of Iceland’s natural beauty – from geysers and waterfalls to the captivating dance of the Aurora Borealis. With thoughtful planning, respect for the environment, and a dash of patience, you’re in for an unforgettable celestial show.