In addition to the chance of seeing the Northern Lights, there’s plenty going on in Reykjavik during the winter
Reykjavik is popular destination for holidaymakers looking for something a little different. A small city with a relaxed atmosphere, Reykjavik possesses plenty of sights to keep most visitors happy for a few days but it is well worth taking at least one trip out of the city to witness some of Europe’s most spectacular scenery. Another popular trip for visitors is to search for the Northern Lights.
As I write this blog at the end of December we are in the middle of the main season for seeing the incredible phenomenon we call the Northern Lights or Aurora Borealis. The season runs from the onset of autumn through to mid spring. The Aurora Borealis are a spectacular natural phenomenon, often seen as waves of brilliantly coloured light dancing across the Arctic sky. These lights originate from the sun, where large explosions and electronic storms throw flares and solar particles deep into space. These clouds of solar particles are caught by the Earth’s magnetic field at the south and north poles. The particles collide with the gases of Earth’s atmosphere and cause them to glow.
Perhaps the easiest and the best way to search for the Northern Lights is to join an organised excursion. Far from the glow of the city lights, the excursion will leave Reykjavik at about 8pm and travel outside the city to hunt for the spectacular display of lights in the sky in the form of dramatic shapes, colours and patterns. There’s no guarantee that you’ll see the Northern Lights, but the hope and anticipation is half the fun! If weather conditions are poor the excursion will be postponed until the skies are clearer.
Tonight, New Year’s Eve, Reykjavík will explode with colour and light in one of the most impressive firework displays most people will ever see. The setting is spectacular, with the colours being reflected in the calm waters of the bay. The city will be a cauldron of light and sound, heaving with locals and visitors as they all set about welcoming in the New Year.
Winter days are short in Iceland but in Reykjavik there’s a full calendar of cultural events with festivities galore, concerts, plays and many seasonal exhibitions to keep the visitor entertained. Many will also take an excursion outside the city such as the Golden Circle tour. This tour visits the impressive waterfall Gullfoss, the spectacular Geysir geothermal area with its incredible geyser, Strokkur, which shoots a 30ft jet of water into the air approximately every 8 minutes, and ThingvellirNational Park where the American and Eurasian tectonic plates are pulling apart.
There is certainly plenty of interest in and around Reykjavik to make any winter visit a very special and exciting few days.