What the aurora borealis is, we probably don’t need to tell you. Our dream was to see it, and a trip to Iceland brought us closer than ever to fulfilling that dream.
As you already know from the summary of 2015, we finally managed to see it, and almost by a toss, because only last night…. Because how else could you, be in Iceland and not see the aurora borealis? :)
Iceland’s aurora borealis
From the beginning of the trip, we dreamed of seeing the aurora borealis in Iceland. Already during our first night’s stay, we asked our hostess when and where to expect and look out for her.
She pointed us to a website where you can keep up to date on the chances of the aurora appearing. Needless to say, we checked the forecast every day. In addition, there were two apps running non-stop on my phone, which informed me about the activity of particles ejected by the sun and the degree of cloud cover.
Unfortunately, there were only a few occasions when activity was at the right level throughout, but then it was always cloudy in the part of the country where we were, so there was no chance to see anything.
Hope emerged on the last day, when we spent the night in Keflavik.
The aurora borealis was forecast for 2 a.m., so we were in for a long night. Fortunately, we had a fantastic house with large windows in the living room, so we could sit in the dark, in the warmth and watch the sky. Unfortunately, it was impossible to even read the book when every now and then you turn your eyes looking to see if by any chance you can already see something in the sky.
Out of boredom, we started looking for some forums or groups on fb where discussions about the aurora could take place, and it was a hit. On a Facebook group, we read that someone had seen the aurora in the area Reykjavík and the post was from 5 minutes ago.
We immediately dashed for the exit (of course, cameras and clothes were at the ready) and stood in front of the house for a while looking at the sky and were unable to see anything. We already wanted to go back, when a very gentle green glow appeared over the water.
At first we weren’t sure if it was an aurora or not because it looked decidedly different on the “internet,” but within minutes it began to grow larger and move. It was only 10 p.m. and the sun had still not fully set, but it was getting darker by the minute and the aurora was becoming more visible.
We quickly jumped into the car to drive away from the city. We stopped at some wild parking lot towards the Blue Lagoon and found ourselves seemingly right under the aurora – no, it wasn’t the best place to admire it. The sky at one point, it was as if all lit up in green, and only somewhere farther away could it be seen in its full glory.
We were there for about half an hour until the phenomenon completely stopped. However, we had the best view from the city and on the way to the parking lot, where even though it was bright you could totally see the aurora.
It was a fantastic and unforgettable phenomenon! So long awaited and looked forward to by us, but it was worth it. Even more gratifying is the fact that we were able to see her literally on our last night in Iceland – the country could not have bid us a better farewell.
Unfortunately, the photos do not fully reflect what we saw in person :) At least there is an opportunity to brush up a bit on night photography and return to this area (or the Arctic Circle area in general) once again :)
Where and when to look for the aurora borealis?
As we wrote at the beginning, aurora sighting was facilitated by one website provided by the first hostess we asked about it. In the meantime, we also discovered a second site ourselves, which contains a little less readable information, but more useful. You can follow the aurora on these pages:
Not sure how to read these forecasts? Be sure to read our
A guide on how to read the aurora borealis forecast
We wish you perseverance in hunting for the aurora, because even forecasts cannot predict exactly when it will appear. If we had gone to bed and set our alarm clocks for 2 a.m. we would have surely missed the whole show.
See also our practical summary of a trip to Iceland.