-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
- 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
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
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€)
(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
- 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
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
- 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 important issue.
- 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 road
, and if there's too much snow the road
will be closed.
- 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.