-What's Aurora Borealis?
An aurora is a natural light display in the sky particularly
in the high latitude (Arctic and Antarctic) regions,
caused by the collision of energetic charged particles
with atoms in the high altitude atmosphere (thermosphere)
- What are the condition necessary to see Aurora?
To see Aurora you need two conditions:
- enough solar wind intensity
-it must be above you - no cloudiness
both such condition can be checked on the website (Aurora
- How I can see the northern lights?
You can see Aurora in the night (from 22.00 to 2.00am):
so or you rent a car and drive by yourself or you join
an organised tour (you tried both the options)
If you rent a car you need to check the above mentioned
conditions by yourself, while if you join and organised
tour they will manage everything.
-How the organised tours work?
There are few different organised tours and you can
have the list in the REYKJAVIK TOURIST INFORMATION OFFICE.
Organised tours leave in the evening (when they deem
conditions good enough and they decide everyday after
17.00). You can check if they leave calling them. You
can also book a pick up (for free) from your accommodation
to the place where buses leave. Buses leave at 21.00
and they literally go hunting for Aurora. Prices are
around 5400 IKR (32€) (https://www.re.is/day-tours/northern-lights-tour
(price are almost the same, apart some of the tours
offering something to drink or eating)
If you have a baby they will have a babyseat for the
bus. When we got the tour we wandered by bus till 2.00am
but without seeing any real Aurora. Anyhow in such case
you can join again the tour the following evening for
free till see it. What we did was to take the tour the
first time and the second (since the first we didn't
see anything) go by our car
- Isn't better if I choose an accommodation in the countryside
to see Aurora?
There are few hotel in countryside claiming to be Northern
lights hotel (Ranga Hotel, www.hotelranga.com) ; unless
you don't want to have an experience in the countryside
or you won't stay there 1 month, I don't recommend it
if you are interested just to Aurora. It will be quite
hard to have the right Aurora intensity and no cloud
exactly above you in the days you'll be stay there.
It's better you stay in Reykjavik hunting for Aurora
in the evening.
- How frequent is Aurora?
In wintertime Aurora happens very frequently (at least
every second day), the point is to understand if it
happens above you, if there's a intensity enough to
see something, and if the sky is clear. Just as thumb
rule at least once/ twice per week if you aren't particularly
unlucky you should see something . OF course if you
plan to stay in the capital one weekend your chances
are small. Don't really hope to see Aurora in Summertime,
even if statistically it may happen
- At what time is it?
The phenomenom can takes even the whole night; usually
from 10.00pm to 3.00am
- Can I take a picture?
Don't think to get good pictures snapping pics with
your cellphone, you don't need a professional camera,
have been taken by a Canon handy camera.
The most important setting you need is the lens aperture,
I used at least 15 secs. The last but not the least
is to carry a triple
RENTING A CAR
- Do we need a 4wd drive?
Unless you don't plan off road you don't need. Beside
take into consideration that standard insurances will
not cover you so you need a special one If you want
to try the all roadring a 4WD might be very useful.
- How can I drive in winter if the roads are iced?
In winter all the cars by default have winter tyres
that will make driving on the ice feasible. Take into
consideration I had no experience I had managed without
- How I can monitor the situation of the roads? What
about if there's too much snow?
The situation of the roads can be monitored in the website
, and if there's too much snow the road will
- Which is the higher risk during wintertime?
The wind, since it happens when you open the doors having
a tailwind, doors breaking the hinges
- In winter can I drive along the whole roadring?
Generally no, but depends on how much the winter is
harsh. The 2013-14 has been quite a mild winter so it
was feasible but still the north eastern part was assessed
as 'difficult to be done'. If you really want to try
a 4WD is a must.