Experience the thrill of riding an all-terrain-vehicle (ATV) up to the top of Mt. Hafrafell and enjoy a spectacular view over Reykjavik before embarking on an exciting hunt for the Northern Lights.
Imagine riding an all-terrain-vehicle up a mountainside, breathless with excitement, adrenaline, and a spectacular view. Combine that with an exciting hunt for the mesmerizing Northern Lights and some serious solar particle-gazing, and you are in for an unforgettable experience.
The ATV adventure begins soon after sunset when the land is swathed in darkness, and excitement fills the air. Our trusted partners ‘Safari Quads’ take care of part one, ensuring that participants are properly instructed at Base camp for an experience that is as safe as it is fun.
After getting to grips with the ATV vehicles, the ATV convoy heads out on the trails for a full hour of fun and excitement. Riding across the beautiful and rugged Icelandic landscape, the course is set for the summit of Mt. Hafrafjall, where the group will enjoy the views over Reykjavik before embarking on an exciting Northern Lights tour.
Northern Lights Tour
The next stop is the Gray Line Bus Terminal, where the Northern Lights tour bus is boarded, and the hunt for the Aurora begins. Leaving the light pollution of Reykjavik, city, our expert Northern Lights tour guides lead the way to "secret" viewing spots where you can watch the magical Northern Lights weaving their way across the night skies.
As operators of Northern Lights tours in Iceland for more than ten years, Gray Line Iceland knows a thing or two about this elusive and startling beautiful phenomenon. We are experts in deciding when and where to go to maximize the chances of finding and viewing the Aurora.
It’s not a short tour – pick-up for the quad-bike safari commence at 17:00, and the hunt for the Aurora can often last until midnight – but the memories are guaranteed to last even longer.
1. How much does a trip to see the Northern Lights cost?
It doesn’t cost anything to see the northern lights. However, knowing the best spots to see the aurora borealis when they are visible takes knowledge of Iceland, which our expert guides have acquired over time. Additionally, tours like our Northern Lights Mystery tour, allows you to focus on capturing the best photo of the northern lights. At the same time, we do all of the driving and share the science behind the mysterious lights that appear in the sky.
2. Where can I see Northern Lights in 2020?
Northern lights season in Iceland is from late August until late April. The darker and brighter the skies, the better for seeing the aurora borealis. With that in mind, February, March, October, and November 2020 are your best bet to see northern lights in Iceland this winter.
3. Do the Northern Lights happen every night?
You need to have a clear dark night to see the aurora borealis, and so, it’s not guaranteed you will see them every night.
4. Where are the Northern Lights located?
You can see the northern lights in Iceland, Alaska, Canada, Norway, and other places in the world. It is important to keep in mind that the polar latitudes have the best view of the northern lights. Anywhere above or north of the magnetic 55º with low light pollution is a good place to catch the lights. The 55th parallel north runs through northern parts of Europe, Asia, and North America.
5. How long do the Northern Lights last?
Northern lights season (the time when they are most likely to be visible) lasts from late August to late April in Iceland. As for how long they last, when they appear in the night sky can vary significantly from just a few minutes up to hours at a time. During those few minutes to hours, the lights can also vary in intensity.
6. Where is the best chance to see Northern Lights?
Outside of the city lights, with a bright dark sky.
7. Do Northern Lights look white?
The aurora borealis can appear in white-gray color even the most common color is green.
8. How do I plan a trip to the Northern Lights?
You can easily book a Northern Lights tour with us, where we take you to the best spot out of Reykjavík to watch the aurora borealis.
9. What is the best month to see Northern Lights in Iceland?
The best months are February, March, October, and November, but the northern lights last from late August until April.
10. How do I take pictures of the Northern Lights with my mobile phone?
You’ll need two things to make sure you capture the northern lights perfectly: a camera (even your smartphone will do) and a tripod. Neither your camera nor your tripod need be top of the line. You need to know how to get the most out of them. If you’re using your smartphone, these tips will help you get a great shot of the lights. If you’re using a regular camera you’ll need to keep these things in mind:
Make sure your camera has a manual setting. Set both your camera and lens to manual mode so that you can manually change the aperture and focus.
A wide-angle lens is preferable but not necessary. Having a wide-angle lens is a plus as it will allow you to capture the full scope and grandeur of the lights.
Turn OFF your flash.
Turn off image stabilization.
Use a remote, self-timer, or an app to release the shutter remotely. Because you will be using a long exposure, even the slight movement caused by pressing the shutter can blur your image.
And then use these simple settings to get started photographing the northern lights:
Set the lens’ focus to infinity. Because the lights are so far away, you’ll want the camera to be focused on the furthest possible point. This can be a challenge in the dark, so it’s best to do this before it gets dark out.
Using the manual mode on your lens, focus to infinity. If need be, use tape or a marker (brightly colored to show up in the dark) to mark the setting. If you end up having to do this at night, pick the furthest light source around (you can use a flashlight for this too) and focus on it.
Be careful not to change the focus setting while waiting for the lights.
As for metering, different cameras work best using different modes. For Nikon, you’ll want to set it to a matrix or center-weighted average metering, and for Canons use evaluative metering.
Using manual mode, set the lens aperture or f-stop as wide as possible, that is the lowest f-number that your lens can go.
Set your exposure according to the movement of the lights. For particularly active lights, 5-10 seconds will do, but for more subtle and/or slow-moving lights, you can try 20-25 seconds.
Your ISO setting will depend on the intensity of the lights. If the lights are quite bright, start with ISO 800 and go up from there should the lights be dimmer or begin at ISO 1600 if they are dim and go down from there.
In order to capture the colors of the lights as accurately as possible, custom set your white balance to Kelvin 3,000 or so and adjust accordingly.
11. Why do the Northern Lights happen?
The Northern Lights, also known as aurora borealis, are caused by solar activity, including solar wind, solar flares, and coronal mass ejections (CME). These are all forms of electrically charged particles ejected by the sun. It takes a solar flare about 8 minutes to travel from the sun to the Earth and collide with gaseous particles in the Earth’s atmosphere. Due to variations in the Earth’s magnetic field and the dark winters at the north and south poles, the lights are more visible near the poles than anywhere else in the world.
Find more FAQ about the Northern Lights here.
Part of this tour is operated by our partners
Restrooms available at most of the tour stops
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Please present your electronic travel voucher / ticket at the time of tour departure.
Tour departure point
The Gray Line Sales office at Hafnarstræti 20 / Bus stop 6 is the central departure point for our tours.
Pick up and drop off
Pick up from hotels, guesthouses and designated bus stops starts 30 minutes before the tour departure time stated on your voucher.
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