You’ll never forget the first time you see the ethereal magic of the Northern Lights. If you’ve always wanted to chase the aurora, there’s never been a better time to go. Scientists at NASA claim 2012-2013 will offer the most intense displays of aurora in 50 years as we head towards the peak of a solar-maximum cycle. The colour, strength, frequency and movement of each display differs on the conditions and gases in the atmosphere – even so, this winter is expected to be a show like no other. Although no sightings of this incredible natural phenomenon are guaranteed, Iceland provides some of the best Northern Lights viewing conditions in the world, from late August through to April.
Whether you’re looking for a quick city break, a romantic getaway, or just something a little different, Iceland is the ideal place for a Northern Lights trip. Just a short flight from the UK, the country is more affordable than you might think, especially with Icelandair’s range of Northern Lights trips.
For the ultimate aurora experience, go north. Icelandair’s Northern Lights in Akureyri (5 days from £564) is perfect for romantics and anyone who loves to get off the beaten track. Chances of spotting the Northern Lights are even greater up near the Arctic Circle because of the cool, clear weather. The charming town of Akureyri is the perfect base to explore from, and is only a 45 minute flight from Reykavik. As well as searching for the aurora, go cross country skiing, snowmobiling, and horse trekking; chill out at the Soley Natura Spa; or book a day trip to see the volcanic landscapes around Lake Myvatn.
If you’re an independent soul, Icelandair's Northern Lights Self Drive (4 days from £414) is the trip for you. Search for the Northern Lights and explore the waterfalls, glaciers, and geothermal areas of the Golden Circle and Reykjanes peninsula at your own pace. Your car (or 4x4) comes with a GPS device pre-programmed with interesting sites, and a folder packed full with information on the region. Park up, sit back and enjoy.
The Northern Lights City Break (3 nights from £299) is perfect if you’re short on time or money. Reykjavik Excursions will take you by coach to the best possible place to see the Northern Lights on your evening’s quest; it might be just outside the city or maybe in a lava field out in the countryside – every night is unique. During daylight hours you can customise your trip – soak up the cool Nordic culture of the capital, relax in the geothermal Blue Lagoon, explore nearby glaciers on snowmobiles or snorkel a fissure between tectonic plates.
Icelandair flies to Reykjavik from London Heathrow, Gatwick, Manchester and Glasgow.