Anyone who has been watching Stargazing Live on BBC2 cannot fail to have been amazed by the incredible views of the Aurora Borealis above Northern Norway over the last couple of nights. Scientists are excited that the impact of a vast solar storm earlier this week may be felt on earth in the form of a particulaly spectacular Aurora which could even be seen as far south as Gloucestershire! Visitors to Iceland this winter will have a better than usual chance of seeing the Aurora Borealis. The Northern Lights are expected to be some of the brightest in decades due to a peak in the solar cycle, so now is a great time to visit. The Aurora Borealis are a spectacular natural phenomenon, often seen as waves of brilliantly coloured light dancing across the Arctic sky. Excursions to viewing points outside the city centre can be booked when in Reykajvik – and when good weather and atmospheric conditions are predicted.
Reykjavik is better connected to the UK than ever before, with direct flights now operating from London Heathrow, Gatwick and Luton and also Edinburgh, Manchester and Bristol to KeflavikInternational Airport, approximately 1 hour’s drive from the centre of Reykjavik by airport shuttle coach. (There is a small airport within the city of Reykjavik but this is only used for internal flights).
Reykjavik is a charming and interesting city, with plenty of sights to amuse the visitor for a couple of days. However, anyone taking a Reykjavik city break should not miss the opportunity to get better acquainted with Iceland’s geography and geology and visit some of the breathtaking sights which are within easy reach of the capital city.
In the summer months tourists can take a number of excursions from Reykjavik into the surrounding countryside. The full day excursion known as the “Golden Circle” is one of the most popular. The tour includes a visit to the beautiful waterfall of Gullfoss along with the incredible area of bubbling hot springs which includes the famous geyser “Strokkur”. Before returning to Reykjavik you visit Thingvellir, where the Icelandic parliament Althingi was founded in 930, making it the oldest functioning parliament in the world. It is here in a landscape that is both imposing and bleak that the tectonic plates of America and Europe are slowly diverging.
No-one should visit Reykjavik without taking a trip to the Blue Lagoon. This outdoor geothermal spa is located about 45 minutes’ drive from Reykjavik. The fluorescent blue pool is warm all year – which makes the Blue Lagoon a popular destination in the cold Icelandic winters. The steaming mineral-rich waters of the Lagoon are surrounded by dramatic black lava rocks making an hour spent bobbing around in this giant bathtub a real other-worldly experience.
Another trip which takes in some of Iceland’s dramatic scenery is an excursion to the Snaefellsnes peninsula in western Iceland. Tourists can ride a snow mobile or giant snow cat to the top of the Snaefellsjokull, one of Iceland’s most famous glaciers. The view from the top is spectacular!
Quite simply, Iceland never ceases to amaze and a city break to Rekyjavik will open the door to some unforgettable experiences in this remarkable country.