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See The Northern Lights with an Iceland Self-Drive

Polarlicht-northerlights
Eyjafjallajökull_crater
Iceland
Reykjavík

See The Northern Lights with an Iceland Self-Drive

story by: Anna Sarjeant

Ideal Length: 7 days

Best for: Scenery seekers. These vistas are so dramatic they steal you of breath and the ability to speak. 

Go in winter and start in Reykjavik – the world’s northernmost capital. With a stunning backdrop of snow-capped mountainside, in colder months it’ll be particularly frosty. To warm up, head out of the centre to Nauthólsvík geothermal beach. The locals risk the sub-zero ocean temperatures, but there are also free geothermal springs for more cowardly types. 

As one of nature’s greatest displays, the Northern Lights are as good a reason as any to visit Iceland, especially in winter. By no means guaranteed, the Icelandic auroras are unpredictable at best, but the Snæfellsnes Peninsula is a preferred region for successful aurora hunting.

The Golden Circle is a circuit that includes the Gullfoss waterfalls, Geysir geothermal area and Thingvellir National Park. Geysers abound in Geysir while Thingvellir sits on a fascinating table of tectonic plates. From here, swap fault lines for volcanoes and drive to Eyjafjallajokull, also home to the Skogarfoss and Seljalandsfoss waterfalls. Stand beneath either and you’ll feel insignificant in their presence; as loud as they are huge, you’ll be a mere ant amongst giants. 

HOT tip: Due to the icy terrain and thick snowfall, drivers must be familiar with winter driving conditions.

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