6 days self drive idea to Myvatn Nature Baths

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6 days self drive idea to Myvatn

A 6 days self-drive idea including Hofsos, Myvatn and northern lights hunt close to the Arctic Circle

This idea is for people wanting to combine bathing in Myvatn Nature Baths in North Iceland and do some self driving close to the Arctic Circle, including the well known Hofsos swimmingpool.

Myvatn

THE 6 DAYS ITINERARY

Day 1 - Arrival in Keflavik, Iceland

Arrival at Keflavik airport. Pick up your rental car at Thrifty. The first stop is Blue Lagoon. It is refreshing to jump into the Blue Lagoon just after your flight. It takes some 15 min to drive to Blue Lagoon from Keflavik Airport. From Blue Lagoon it should take some 30 min to get to Reykjavik. We recommend Center hotel Thingholt - a great hotel to stay at in Reykjavik. Very central and close to everything - shopping streets, nightlife or restaurants. In the evening we recommend you to do a guided northern lights tour with e.g. Arctic Adventures.

Day 2 - Hvalfjörður, Ferstikla, Borgarnes, Snæfellsnes

You start your travel in Reykjavik, drive through the small town Mosfellsbær - just continue until you reach the fjord Hvalfjörður. When you reach Hvalfjörður turn righ onto road no. 47 because we are going to drive through the beautiful Hvalfjörður - not through the tunnel as most people do. It is a very picturesque fjord and the main beauty if how quite area it is. It is around 30 km long. You can see a former whale station in the fjord but it was closed around 1992 - it is however used couple of days each year for some research fishing of whales. Driving further you will soon find the service station Ferstikla and it has a great photo exhibition about a submarine station situation in Hvalfjördur during the World War II. After you have looked at the photo exhibition at Ferstikla you turn right onto road nr 520. You will now drive all the way to Hotel Budir located on the Snæfellsnes peninsula. A great location to see exceptional nature in Iceland - both great beaches, mountains and a glacier. We suggest you to stay at Hotel Budir overnight and go out in the evening for a hike and search for the northern lights.

Day 3 - Drive to Myvatn and enjoy its nature baths and surrounding

Today you will first drive to Hofsos swimming pool - a great location with view over Skagafjördur. A place not to miss. Then you will head all the way to Myvatn. We recommend you to stay at Sel-Hotel Myvatn. A nice hotel with good service. The rest of they day you will enjoy the great nature bath they have, have some dinner at the hotel and then go out in the night searching for the northern lights. It is best to wait until 10pm and then simply go out for a walk - however ask the people in the reception about the likelihood of seeing the northern lights before you head out for a search.

Day 4 - Akureyri - capital of the north and Dalvik

Today you will drive in the morning to Akureyri from Myvatn. We recommend Icelandair Hotel Akureyri. When you have checked in we suggest you drive out to Dalvik a small fishing village north of Akureyri. A small village in a beautiful fjord. It is a option but you could go for a whale watching with a local tour. Drive back to Akureyri and enjoy staying in Akureyri with some great restaurants. In the evening go for the northern light hunt, but drive out of the city so you dont have any light pollution.

Day 5 - Driving back to Reykjavik

It will take you some 6-8 hours to drive back to Reykjavik from Akureyri, so we recommend you to go early in the morning so you will have some time to spend in Reykjavik in the evening. We would recommend Sjavargrillid as nice fish restaurant in the evening. In case you have been very unlucky and never seen the northern lights in the last 4 days we recommend a guided northern lights tour with e.g. Arctic Adventures.

Day 6 - Departure

Head out to the Keflavik airport and if you have some extra time go for the Blue Lagoon again as it is very relaxing before going into a long flight.

Photo credit: Flickr - big-ashb, Ophelia, Julien Carnot, JasonParis, Andrea Schaffer, Olafur Larsen
JasonParis


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4 days self drive idea : Golden Circle & more

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Golden Circle & Snæfellsjökull glacier

4 days self-drive idea including Golden Circle, Snæfellsjökul glacier and northern lights hunt in the evening

This idea is for people wanting to combine a classic tour to Geysir and Gullfoss with a one day trip to Snaefellsjokull glacier - and a northern lights hunt in the evenings. You will need to rent a car in day two for driving the Golden Circle and then the day after to Snæfellsjökull glacier.

Iceland self drive tours

THE 4 DAYS ITINERARY

Day 1 - Arrival in Keflavik, Iceland

Arrival at Keflavik airport. Simply pick up the next Flybus and get over to Reykjavik. It is around 45 min ride on the bus and they normally drive you all the way to the hotel you stay at. We recommend Kex hostel if you want to stay cheap, but Hotel 101 if you want more class. In between Centrum Hotel might be a good choose. In the evening you could e.g. pick up this northern light tour in the evening with Arctic Adventure.

Day 2 - Golden Circle trip

Begin your day with picking up your car rental. You can do that at BSI. Today is a day for the Golden Circle tour. Visiting Thingvellir National Park and then head to Lyngdalsheidi on our way to Geyser hot spring area. See all the hot spring, photograph Strokkur and check out Fullsterkur - some interesting stones to lift close to Strokkur. Go to the Geysir shop and shop some Icelandic knit "lopapeysur". Drive to Haukadalur - a small forrest close by and check out the small country style church. Great area. Drive to Gullfoss waterfall now. Get close to the waterfall and experience the spray from the waterfall in your face. Shoot some photographs and head up to the restaurant next the waterfall. The Icelandic meatsoup is the best choice on the menu. Head back to Reykjavik now - but stop at Kerið on our way home. Kerið is a dormant volcano close to Selfoss. Arrive in Reykjavik close to 19:00 should be possible. Go for some nice restaurant in the evening e.g. Sjavargrillid before driving out of Reykjavik around 9pm to hunt for the northern lights. It depends on weather condition where to head and best to ask the hotel personnel for direction.

Day 3 - Snæfellsjokull glacier and Hotel Budir

Driving to Snæfellsjokull today with some stop-over at Landsnamssetrið (The Settlement Centre). It is in the village of Borgarnes just one hour drive from Reykjavik on road no 1 towards the north (and Snæfellsnesjokull). In the centre we recommend The Egils Saga Exhibition. We head now towards Snæfellsjokull with some stop at Lysuholl swimmingpool. After hiking a bit around Snæfellsjokull glacier we head to Hotel Budir that is a nice country style hotel at Snæfellsnes. We stay here for one night. Great place for hiking and seeing the nature in Iceland. Especially hunting for the northern lights in the evening.

Day 4 - Departure day

Today is your departure day so just wake up, pack your things and drive to Keflavik airport. This is of course only possible if your flight leaves late in the day - and if time allows, go to the Blue Lagoon and relax before you fly back home.

Photo credit: Flickr - AlexKr, Arian Zwegers, Ophelia, Matito, Jeremy Vandel, Yellow book




What Are The Northern Lights?

Great video from NASA on the northern lights and what they are about

Before we dive into understanding “what are the northern lights” it is important to point out a couple of facts about the space surrounding our Earth. These are mainly things we can´t see with our eyes. One of these things are the air we breath. It is in fact a mixture of several gases – mainly nitrogen and oxygen, but with some traces of hydrogen, helium and some other minor compounds.

What are the northern lights?: The earth as a field of magnet

Another thing we can´t see is the magnetic field that surrounds the Earth. In similar manner as if you have played with a bar magnet and iron filing you have seen how it forms the curved patterns in the magnetic field. The magnet is actually deep in the core of the Earth. As we cant see the magnetic field we normally represent it by drawing lines. Lines that go into and out of the Earth where the poles are. When the lines area closer the field is stronger.

The particles

One more thing that is invisible is the charged particles called plasma. It is in fact a space around the Earth. These particles move in a special way – and are in fact guided by the field as if they were wires. They are the “ammunition” of an aurora.

Powered by the sun

The very quick answer to how the northern lights happen is that electrically charges particles move along the field lines, all the way up to the upper atmosphere, where they collide with gas atoms – and this causes them to give off some light. This all is powered by what is called solar wind, coming from the sun.