Due to Iceland’s ideal location just below the Arctic Circle and with easy flight access for both travellers from Europe and the United States, Iceland is undoubtedly the number one location for viewing the northern lights this winter.
The northern lights, otherwise known as Aurora Borealis, are undeniably one of the most breathtakingly beautiful natural phenomenons in the world. These natural light displays in the sky occur in the Polar Regions most frequently in a 2500 km radius centered on the geomagnetic pole. The auroral zone extends over Iceland, northern Scandinavia, and Greenland, continuing over northern Canada, Alaska and Siberia.
The number of sunspots on the surface of the Sun is the main cause for the appearance of the auroras. The amount of sunspots follows an 11-year cycle, which will reach its peak in 2011-2012. The general aurora strength, closely connected to their visibility, is based on the number of occurring sunspots, for example, the more sunspots, the better chance of the auroras appearing. As the cycle gets close to its maximum peak, scientists agree that the general conditions for viewing the northern lights in 2010 in Iceland are exceedingly good, although their visibility is always subject to clear sky and calm weather.
Due to Iceland’s modern infrastructure and excellent location, midway between Europe and the United States and with direct flight routes from both continents, the country proves to be an ideal destination for travelers seeking the northern lights. Other destinations in the auroral zone are generally lacking the infrastructure and accessibility that Iceland has to offer, with sightings of the northern lights only a short 20 minute drive from the capital city Reykjavík.
The website, icelandtotal.com, is one of the largest online booking sites in Iceland, offering various northern lights tours and northern lights packages operated by Iceland Travel, which is the longest serving tour operator in Iceland. A combo package is another option for travelers interested in combining the northern lights tours with a Reykjavik city break.