Skies alive over the northern town of Akureyri. The further north you go the better the chances of catching a glimpse of this stunning show. Pic -RobW-

Ever since the first person discovered the immense attraction of the Northern Lights, Aurora Borealis, there have been persons willing to use that knowledge for their own benefit. So it is today, where ad after ad and pamphlet after pamphlet promises guided tours to the best places possible whenever anyone wants.

It thus seems easy as 1,2,3 to get a good look at this magnificent show in the skies when in fact the majority of peoples taking those kinds of trips see little but their wallets emptying fast.

Iceland is a good place to witness this remarkable show of lights but circumstances have to be perfect. You need unusual solar activity for the Northern Lights are only the sun´s particles colliding with oxygen. Although the most usual color to be seen is the greenish streak so often captured on film the Northern Lights can also be red and blue. This depends on altitude and the layers of gases in the ionosphere. The most common green is produced between 100 and 300 kilometers from earth.

In theory the Northern Lights can be seen all year. But in reality the very best chances are in November, December, January and February. Conditions have to be clear and you will need as much darkness as possible. All light sources will dampen the experience and thus it is not a good idea to stay in cities or towns.

In Iceland it is more common to witness the Northern Lights in the north of the country and there are tour operators offering these kinds of trips from most places. But the keyword regarding all hopes of seeing the sky light up with unbelievable shapes and streaks is to be patient. The Northern Lights can never be promised.

If staying in Reykjavik area over the winter months the thing to do is either take a organized tour or simply rent a car and drive until you reach a place far away from any lights. Then just park and wait. Two decent places would be Hvalfjordur and Hellisheidi (see map). But do be careful.

The Total Iceland team is ready and willing to assist should you need more tips or help. Do not hesitate to contact.

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