Iceland Day 4: Northern Lights Sighting!

This is a continuation of the Iceland trip report, you can read more here:
Center Hotel Plaza Review
Iceland Day 1: 871 Settlement Exhibition and Northern Lights Tour
Iceland Day 2: South Shore Tour
Iceland Day 3: Reykjavik and that time I kind of saw the Northern Lights
Iceland Day 4: Golden Circle Tour

This was our final night in Iceland, and our last hope for really seeing the Northern Lights. We had technically “seen” them but it was a faint, faint glow and barely there. Again, our boat tour was cancelled due to rough seas and rain and the best chance of seeing them being on land. We headed by bus to the same site we were at the first tour. Only this time we explored a little.

The first day we arrived it snowed, so we stayed near the building by a picnic table. I didn’t want to haul a big tripod to Iceland, but wanted to attempt to get good pictures of the Northern Lights – which requires a camera stability. I bought a small gorilla pod, which was only like a foot long. So I was happy there was a table to set the pod on so I didn’t have to sit in the snow to mess with the camera!

On the evening we returned the snow had melted a little bit. We wandered around the building and found out we were by a black sand beach and had no idea! We hung out there for a little bit, until someone hurriedly called everyone to the front of the building for a sighting.

The lights were much better this evening, visible with the human eye. I had researched possible camera settings and was able to get a few pictures. Since this was our third attempt, I was able to figure out some camera settings and actually capture them. I am by no means good with my camera so I was thrilled to get anything. Surprisingly it seemed a lot of people had trouble. I wound up sending my pictures to several people with much nicer cameras!

My first "real" Northern Lights Sighting!

My first “real” Northern Lights Sighting!

We got back on the bus at the end of the tour and were psyched. I remember high-fiving my friend because we actually got to see them. But we didn’t know the tour wasn’t over yet!

After driving for 10 minutes the bus randomly pulls over and the guide says “the Lights are getting a little brighter, anyone who would like to step off the bus is welcome to.” So we did and the display was even better! We took a few quick pictures then got back on the bus. At this point we were ecstatic. We came to Iceland in February hoping to see the Northern Lights but knowing there was no guarantee.

Brighter Northern Lights on the side of the road on the way back to Reykjavik

Brighter Northern Lights on the side of the road on the way back to Reykjavik

After driving five more minutes, the bus stopped again! The guide said “this one has to be a really quick stop but they’re even better. Anyone who would like to look be quick!” I lost a glove in the mad rush to get off the bus so I took pictures standing on the side of the road in the snow absolutely freezing. Entirely worth it! The display was even brighter. It wasn’t the “dancing” amazing display you hear about, but even at a faint glow it was still gorgeous and amazing to see. I managed to snap this picture when we got off and made a lot of new friends who wanted me to send it to them when we got back on the bus.

Northern Lights outside of Reykjavik

Northern Lights outside of Reykjavik

Seeing the Northern Lights was incredible, and entirely worth freezing in the cold. I had a lot of people tell me I was crazy for going to Iceland in February but I would do it again in a heartbeat!

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About Rebecca

I'm an engineer who is new to the points game. Hoping to share my discoveries as I collect points to travel the world.

4 responses to “Iceland Day 4: Northern Lights Sighting!”

  1. Richard says :

    I grew up in Northern Minnesota and I used to watch the Northern lights. I never realized how lucky I was!

    Aren’t miles great!? We get to fly all around the world to see amazing things! I just got back from London in July and now next April I already have my Italy trip planned 🙂

    • Rebecca says :

      Very neat! I want to see them again someday!

      Where are you planning on going in Italy? Looking into a trip there next year.

      • Richard says :

        We’re staying in Italy for 2 weeks. We’re flying into Rome, then we’re visiting Florence, Venice, and Milan. We fly out of Milan back to MSP. We did it all on miles and flying Business/First class through Air Berlin and American Airlines!

        I’ve been to Rome before, but none of the other cities.

      • akismet-62f908cc4683875c1799b87ee49d0abf says :

        Oh, we leave in April of next year!

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