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Chasing The Northern Lights In Iceland


northern lights Iceland

I’ve always wanted to see the northern lights and have had a few friends have positive reviews about Iceland and November being a good time to catch them, I decided to hop a plane and headed to Iceland to chase them. My flight was a red-eye and the route flew us over Greenland. I woke up ~3 AM and took a peek outside. This was my first glimpse of the auroras. At first, I thought they were clouds just moving fast, but once my eyes adjusted, I got to witness beautiful green dance, bouncing across the sky for a good 10 minutes. This was my first time seeing them and honestly, it was better than what I saw on land, I’m jealous of the pilots that get to witness them this time of year!


BLUE LAGOON


Many flights that fly into Iceland land early morning. Mine landed at 6 AM. The Blue Lagoon is ~20 minutes from the airport and opens at 7 AM so I bought my ticket early and headed straight there. I bought the VIP band which gets you free mud masks, 2 free drinks, a locker and lunch reservation. I also booked an in-water massage that was pretty epic. There wasn’t a crowd when I got there and honestly only expected to spend a couple of hours there, but I winded up being in the water for FOUR hours! Along with my 90-minute massage, I also partook in the mud mask and found a quiet spot to hang out and relax. As touristy as it is, I highly recommend going early morning if you have a red-eye flight in. As I was leaving at lunch (~1 PM) there were busloads of people coming in.


NORTHERN LIGHTS


I booked a small jeep tour to chase the lights. I brought my LUMIX 7-14mm F/4 wide-angle lens and bought a new Manfrotto carbon fiber tripod to bring for the occasion. The Jeep picked me up at the hotel ~10 PM and we took an hour ride outside the city to find them. Unfortunately, they weren’t that active. We did see them, but it wasn’t the fairytale photos you see on National Geographic or Travel Leisure. The guides were great in letting us know when they started to show, which was great because my naked eye saw a lot less than what my camera picked up. I would not have known they were there if they didn’t tell me.


COST OF FOOD IN ICELAND


I was told that food was expensive and indeed it was. I spent $10 for a hot dog and $25 for the local fish stew. Everything is imported or grown hydroponically so that’s why the expensive prices. With that said my boutique hotel that included breakfast was only $60 a night, so you can stay cheap, it’s just the food you need to be mindful of and budget for.


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