See the northern lights tonight !

See the northern lights tonight at Grundarfjordur, Iceland. Short but beautiful shot of the northern lights in Iceland.


Breathtaking show of borealis and beautiful scenery in Iceland

Breathtaking show of borealis and beautiful scenery in Iceland. Amazing photographs in this video. Not only northern lights but also more nature scenery from Iceland.


Auroras Borealis in Iceland

Beautiful Auroras Borealis shots in Iceland. Shot close to Hotel Ranga, near Hella in south Iceland.


Northern lights holidays in Iceland

Amazing northern lights holidays in Iceland. It is a real Aurora borealis feast of time lapse photography.


Northern lights in iceland

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Northern lights in Iceland, Westfjords

Enjoy a wide range of outdoor activities while you wait for the northern lights in Iceland in a stunning setting in the Westfjords, with Icelandic Farm Holidays.

This fantastic 5-day tour with Icelandic Farm Holidays is for travellers who want to escape from a busy city life to relax and enjoy nature at its best. The tour is based at Heydalur, a country hotel in a beautiful valley inside Mjóifjörður fjord in northwest Iceland.

The tour includes return transfer from Reykjavik to Heydalur, 4 night‘s accommodation at Heydalur, a guided fishing tour by snowmobile or jeep, an excursion around the beautiful Heydalur Valley and a choice between an excursion to Ísafjörður town or activities such as kayaking and horse riding. In the evenings you can enjoy freshly prepared local food in the converted barn and afterwards bathe in a natural hot spring pool and wait for the magical northern lights to appear.

View more information about Heydalur including photos and video here

Northern lights in Iceland
Northern lights tours Iceland Iceland northern lights tour Northern lights in Iceland Hotel Ranga

What is unique about this tour?

Because of the impossibility to know exactly when the northern lights in Iceland will show up, it is a good idea to plan your trip to a place where many other activities are on offer. At Heydalur there is so much you can do and the remote location far up north maximises your chances of seeing the northern lights. The Westfjords are the most rugged part of Iceland, offering breathtaking scenery including steep fjords, mountains, bird cliffs, waterfalls, beaches and natural hot springs perfect for bathing.



Tour to the Arctic Circle

Northern lights on the Arctic Circle

Stay at a Icelandic farm, Bjarnargil, far in the north Iceland & enjoy hiking to nearby mountains, try out the amazing out-door swimming pool at Hofsos and so much more

Staying at Bjarnargil - a farm accomodation offered by Farm Holidays - is a great selection if you want to experience the northern part of Iceland and the infamous Skagafjörður with beautiful mountain surrounding while you wait for the Iceland northern lights to show up. Close to Bjarnargil in Fljótum we have the out-door swimming pool in Hofsos a well known for its amazing view. See here.

Iceland northern lights

What is great with this location for your northern lights tour?

Staying outside of the main cities e.g. Reykjavik while waiting for the northern lights to show up is wise because you dont need to worry about any light pollution. In Bjarnargil, Fljotum, you dont need to worry about any light pollution at all and you can easily walk up to some of the mountains to have a better view. In case they don´t show up for some days then you have many activities in Skagafjordur to enjoy, from horse riding, laying in the swimming pool at Hofsos, take a quick tour to the closest fishing villages - just to name few activities you could do. Below you see some photos from Bjarnargil and surrounding.


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Efstidalur - farmhouse accomodation

Efstidalur - farmhouse accomodation

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Great farmhouse on the Golden Circle route, close by Geyser hot spring area, Gullfoss waterfall and Laugarvatn geothermal baths

Efstidalur is a farmhouse hotel only 15 minutes´ drive from the popular Gullfoss Waterfall and Geyser hot springs and 10 minutes from Fontana geothermal baths at Laugarvatni. It offers horse riding, lovely and comforable surroundings and geothermal outdoor hot tub. You can choose rooms with shared or private bathroom. In the area you will find rivers and streams, cows, chickens, birdsong, cows and all the other country side attractions.

Nearby attractions to watch the aurora

We talked to the farmer to discover some hidden gems

You want to be in a great location when you are waiting for the northern lights, not only is it fun to discover hidden local attractions, but more importantly you want to have great backdrop for your once in a lifetime aurora photos. We have contacted the local people to find out what they recommend.

Brúarfoss waterfall - get your once in a lifetime aurora photo

Brúarfoss is a waterfall close to Efstadalur and is well known all over the internet. You can see photos everywhere (see Flickr here and Pinterest here) but few know where it is located. It is in the river Brúará and only 45-60 min hiking from Efstidalur. Head down the road in direction to Geyser and Gullfoss. You will go over a small bridge after 1 km or so. Turn left and walk along the river for 10-15 min until you see the waterfall. You can see a great blogpost about a short journey to Bruarfoss here.

Fontana geothermal baths - soak in a hot tub while you wait

Fontana is a geothermal bath located in a small village Laugarvatn. You can see Flickr photos here. It is a great place to soak in the warm geothermal water and enjoy some natural steam bath. Also great to go into the cold lake inbetween. However contact them in +354 486 1400 to be sure they are open before you go.


5 Days Self Drive to East Iceland

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5 Days Self Drive to East Iceland

Enjoy the east of Iceland by taking this 5-day self drive that is both relaxing and enjoyable.

This self-drive idea is for those who want to enjoy and relax the east of Iceland without getting too tired or too stressed on the vacation. From Keflavik International Airport, drive to Egilsstaðir using the rental car from Thrifty so you can explore the small yet interesting town. Afterwards, you will drive to the interesting towns of Seydisfjordur and Eskifjordur and explore their places of interest. And of course, before leaving Iceland, you will rejuvenate and be energized thanks to the services of Blue Lagoon.

Westfjords

THE 5 DAYS ITINERARY

Day 1 – Arrive in Keflavik International Airport

You arrive in Iceland via Keflevik International Airport at around late afternoon and pick up the rental car in Thrifty to drive to the city of Reykjavik. When you get here, check in at any accommodation such as the Hotel Reykjavik as you will have an overnight stay here before the long drive to Egilsstaðir tomorrow morning. Once checked in, you can walk around and explore Reykjavik.
seljafjordur snæfellsnes

Source: Bryan Pocius

For dinner, you can try the Fish Market or Restaurant Reykjavik that serve various delicious meals that will leave you full. Afterwards, you can just walk around a bit, lounge in the hotel bar or get ready for your drive tomorrow. Here is the map of Day 1

Here is the map for Day 1:


Day 2 - Leave Reykjavik and drive to Egilsstaðir

You can have breakfast in Hotel Reykjavik before leaving to drive to Egilsstaðir, which is an 8-hour drive. With this, you can have stopovers in various towns or places such as Borgarbygoo, Hunavatnshreppur, and Akureyri. When you arrive in Egilsstaðir, you check in at Hotel Egilsstaðir and have dinner in their restaurant and hotel. Then rest to get ready for your tour of the town the next day.
seljafjordur snæfellsnes

Source: r h

Here is the map for Day 2:

Day 3 - Tour Egilsstaðir

Have breakfast in Hotel Egilsstaðir and then start exploring the town already. It is the largest town of east Iceland and is known to be a transportation and administration center. You can start with a relaxing place like the Skriduklaustur, which is the center of culture and history in the town. It has monastic ruins, exhibitions and art gallery in which you can explore so that you can be educated about Egilsstaðir. And since you will be arriving around lunch, you might as well eat at the local food restaurant located in this museum.
seljafjordur snæfellsnes

Source: silkeybeto

The next places you can go to are the Lagarfljót river, the Hallormsstadur Forestry Reserve, and the Hengifoss. The Lagarfljót river is the third largest river in Iceland and it is said that a Lagarfljót worm lives underneath this river (similar to the Loch Ness monster in Scotland). You can explore the surroundings as well as be at awe with the river.

The next that you can go to is the Hallormsstadur Forestry Reserve, the biggest forest in Iceland. This forest has lots of trees, which is a great sight to see while taking a walk in the woods. It is actually a perfect place for nature lovers who want to appreciate the environment more and see its wonders without getting too tired.
seljafjordur snæfellsnes

Source: Maradentro_

The last place that you can go to is Hengifoss, which is one of the tallest waterfalls in the country. Savor its beauty as the water smoothly cascades down from the top and drops down to a small pool. It is just one of the beautiful waterfalls in Iceland that you should never miss.


Day 4 – Tour Seydisfjordur and Eskifjordur

Have breakfast in Hotel Egilsstaðir and drive to the small town of Seydisfjordur. This place is surrounded by mountains on all sides with Mt. Bjólfur to the West and Strandartindur to the East as the most prominent and visible ones. Here, you can tour 1-3 toursit attractions that will interest you.

seljafjordur snæfellsnes

Source: Shadowgate

The first place you can visit is The Blue Church, one of the towns's main tourist sights. The interiors has a very simple yet attractive look that helps in drawing tourists. And if you are lucky, you might be able to hear free concerts performed by various singers, an organist and a violinist.

seljafjordur snæfellsnes

Source: Shadowgate

Seydisfjordur is known to have several waterfalls since it is surrounded by mountains. Just by walking around town, you will be able to see 3-6 waterfalls. And then you can also hike towards this waterfalls that starts at the town center. You can always ask the Tourist Information Center of the town about the hike to the waterfalls.
seljafjordur snæfellsnes

Source: Shadowgate

seljafjordur snæfellsnes

Source: Shadowgate

You can explore 2-3 toursit attractions and then have lunch in Bistro Skaftfell, which is one of the popular restaurants in town. It has a great ambiance with great music playing and dimmed lights that make it relaxing and peaceful. The restaurant serves various meals, with a fresh and steaming lamb stew as one of them.

seljafjordur snæfellsnes

Source: khunter

Once lunch is done, you can drive to to another small town called Eskifjordur. It has a large fishing industry. You can look at 2-3 attractions here that will say more about the town. One of the places of interest you can go to is the Maritime East Eskifjordur, which is an old store house that shows relics of fisheries and provides information on the progress of East Iceland.

seljafjordur snæfellsnes

Source: JustinPoulsen

If you want some sort of adventure in this trip, you can have a hiking tour or trip towards the Holmatindur, a mountain that overlooks the fjord's opposite directions. You can ask the Tourist Information Office of the town about the hike. It is not an climb/walk to the top but it is worth it once you are there as you will be able to see a stunning view of the towns and the east of Iceland.

seljafjordur snæfellsnes

Source: SindriB

Other places that you can go to are the Holmanes, memorial to the drowned sailors, various museums, and the white witch.

seljafjordur snæfellsnes

Source: abtmeelea

Return to Hotel Egilsstaðir and have dinner in the restaurant and bar. Get ready for your flight back to Reykjavik tomorrow. Here is the map of Day 4:

Day 5 – Departure from Egilsstaðir and Iceland

You have breakfast in Hotel Egilsstaðir and leave early to drive to Blue Lagoon to rejuvenate and relax.

Source: Stephen_AU

Then you bring back the rental car to Thrifty and go to Keflavik International Airport to depart from Iceland. Here is the map for Day 5:




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What to see on the south coast?

What to see on the south coast?

The south coast is a very popular place to visit as it is a beautiful part of the country with many beautiful sites. You need at least two days to explore the south coast if you want to enjoy its beauty to the fullest so we recommend you stay a night or two in one of many lovely accommodation on the south shore. But what are the main sites to visit? Here we will give you a few ideas.

 

Seljalandsfoss

Seljalandsfoss waterfall is one of Iceland´s most famous waterfalls. It is unique for the fact that it is possible to walk the waterfall. The waterfall is high as it drops 60 meters (200 ft) over the cliffs. If you decide to walk behind the waterfall, you can expect to get wet so wear a rain coat and also wear good hiking boots as the ground can be slippery and wet. Don´t forget to bring your camera to take picture of the unique moment of standing behind a waterfall.

 

Skógafoss

Skógafoss waterfall is not far from Seljalandsfoss. It is a beautiful waterfall at the cliffs of the former coastline and is one of the biggest waterfalls in Iceland. It is 25 meters (82 feet) wide and a drop 60 meters (200 ft). On sunny days you can often see a single or a double rainbow by the waterfall. You can walk up to the top of the waterfall as there is a staircase next to the waterfall. At the top is a small viewing site where you can enjoy a view over the waterfall and on a clear day the panoramic view of the south coast is stunning.

 

Reynisfjara beach

Reynisfjara beach is a black sand beach not far from the village Vík. The spectacularly shaped basalt sea stacks Reynisdrangar are out in the sea and it is a true joy to see them. The bird life in the area is very rich and in summer you can spot birds like puffins and guillemots. Please though be careful if you decide to walk down to the beach as the ocean and the waves can be very strong and high!

 

Kirkjubæjarkaustur

Kirkjubæjarklaustur is one of many villages on the south coast worth visiting. One of many attractions close to the village is Kirkjugólf (Church Floor) which is a natural pavement of basalt. Kirkjubæjarklaustur is one of many nice choices to spend the night on your tour of the south coast.

 

Skógar museum

Skógar folk museum is a nice place to visit if you want to get to know the Icelandic society and how the Icelandic people used to live and work. You will be amazed to find out how Icelanders lived less than 100 years ago and how much has changed in a short period of time! /span>

 

Dyrhólaey

The small peninsula, Dyrhólaey, is located not far from the village Vík. On a clear day the view from up there is stunning. You can see Mýrdalsjökull glacier to the north, the black lava columns of Reynisdrangar to the east and the whole coastline towards Selfoss to the west. In summer the bird life is in bloom and you can spot birds such as puffins.

 

Jökulsárlón

The Jökulsarlón glacial lagoon is a large glacial lake, on the edge of Vatnajökull national park. In summer you can go on a boat ride on the lagoon and in winter it is a beautiful place to hunt for the northern lights. You can either drive the south coast on your own or do a two day tour and visit all the places mentioned above. Please note in winter, if you plan on self-drive, the roads are icy and slippery and only stick to the ring road!

 


3 Days Self Drive Tour To Snaefellsnes

3 Days Self Drive Tour To Snaefellsnes

This self drive tour itinerary is for people who want to spend 3 days relaxing in the western part of Iceland. For this itinerary we recommend you book an inexpensive yet luxurious stay at Hotel Brú. Have a relaxing and peaceful time in Iceland by going to the western Peninsula of Snaefellsnes and enjoying the sceneries of Stykkisholmur.

Day 1: Arrival into Keflavik Airport and head to the Blue Lagoon, stay at Hotel Bru

Arriving into Iceland at the Keflavik International Airport, you can make your way to your rental car company. Since you will be tired from your flight, this day is about relaxing and enjoying the beauty of Iceland so our first stop is the Blue Lagoon.

The Blue Lagoon is a 15 minutes drive from the airport and there is a large car park by the entrance. Please book in advance as tickets get snapped up fast. We recommend you try the package with both the Silica and Algae Masks and drink at the swim-up bar. The water massage treatment and beauty treatments here are amazing and will leave you feeling energised and ready for the next few days.

Next, you can drive to Hotel Bru where you can settle for the night. This hotel is one hour and thirty minutes drive from the Blue Lagoon. You will drive through Reykjavik on the way so feel free to stop and take in some sites.

At Hotel Brú try their deliciously mouth watering food at the hotels restaurant known for offering genuine Icelandic cuisine such as lobster soup and Trout. The first night and your first chance to view the Northern Lights, one of the best tourist attractions of Iceland. The hotel offers a wake up call if the lights show up in the middle of the night.

Below is the map for Day 1 for your reference.

Day 2: Snaefellsnes Peninsula

After a good breakfast you hit the road and drive to the Snaefellsnes Peninsula. Head towards the town of Stykkisholmur in the north of Snaefellsnes, a two hour drive from Reykjavík.

Stykkisholmur is the centre of services and commerce in the area with fishing and tourism as their main income. You’ll find great fish restaurants here to taste their unique and delicious menus. Try Fimm Fiskar, a popular fish restaurants serving Icelandic catfish, puffin, guillemot, seafoods and homemade pasta dishes.

After your meal, drive the circular route around Snaefellsnes. There are a number of attractions which are ideal for photo opportunities. We suggest visiting the Snaefellsjökull National Park at the end of the peninsula. Here you can get a very scenic view of the glacier. You can continue towards Arnarstapi, a small fishing village on the southern coast of Snaelfellsnes. Here you will get to marvel at the authentic and charming Icelandic houses, ragged cliffs and ocean views. The beach area here is also home to large colonies of arctic tern.

Make sure to check out Kirkjufellsfoss Waterfall, located a short walk away from the equally beautiful Kirkjufell mountain, Iceland’s most photographed mountain. You will recognise it by it’s unique cone-shape. Kirkjufell is known as ‘Church Mountain’ as it resembles a church steeple and has acted as a landmark for seafarers and travellers over the centuries. This area is very photogenic, you might also recognise this location from Game of Thrones.

Djupalonssandur Black Sand Beach was once a bustling fishing village, when Snaefellsnes Peninsula functioned as one of Iceland’s most active trading ports. Walking down towards Djúpalónssandura Black Sand Beach you will notice four large stones of varying sizes weighing between 23kg (50lbs) and 155kg (342lbs), used as lifting stones to test the strength of fishermen. The stones are named Amlodi (useless), Halfdreattingur (weakling), Halfsterkur (half-strong) and Fullsterkur (full-strong). If you walk around the beach you may discover rusty iron remnants of the 1948 shipwrecked scattered along the beach.

Heading back towards Borganes and Hotel Brú to relax and have another chance to glimpse the Northern Lights.

Day 3: Driving Back to Keflavik Airport

Check out and head back towards Reykjavik. Take a few hours to wander the back streets, taking in the local architecture and street art. Visit Harpa and Hallgrimskirkja, and have lunch or a coffee and cake in one of the many cafes.

Head toward Keflavik to return your rental car before checking in for your flight from Keflavik Airport.


3 days self-drive idea to West and North

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3 days self-drive tour to West and North

Enjoy the west and north of Iceland with this 4 days self drive idea that has a combination of adventure, exloring and relaxation.

This self-drive ideas is for those who want to experience adventure and relaxation in the west and part of north of Iceland. You will go to Akranes and Borgarnes in the west and Blonduos, Skagafjörður and Siglufjordur in the northern part where you can do many things and stay in great accommodations. This is one self-drive idea that will tell you the beauty of Iceland.

Westfjords

THE 3 DAYS ITINERARY

Day 1 – Arrival in Keflavik Airport; Drive to Akranes

You arrive in Keflavik Airport at around late morning and do the necessary things needed for your 3-day vacation. The first thing to do is get your rental car in Thrifty and do the 1 hour and 30-minute drive your first destination, Akranes. Akranes is a beautiful town where you can just relax and enjoy the awesome sights since you just arrived in Iceland. No need to go on an adventure first, so this town is the perfect first stop. You can go to the Langisandurinn (The Long Sand), which is one of the best tourist attractions with its attractive bathing beaches where you can swim and just relax with family or friends. You can also visit the Museum Area in Gardar that tells the stories of the town. And from the town, you can get a great view of Mt. Akrafjall that is breathtaking. Afterwards, you can pick a great restaurant such as the Galito for a lunch full of great meals.
seljafjordur snæfellsnes

Source: Atli Harðarson

After lunch, you can go to the small town of Borgarnes that is located on a peninsula at the shore of Borgarfjörður.

One of the places of interest that you should go is the Church of Borgarnes. This famous tourist attraction is known for its great architecture and how it is visible throughout the town. Afterwards, you can go to various trourist attractions in the city such as Puppet Museum of Bruduheimar and a museum in The Settlement Centre. While the town is small, you can be assured you will see a lot of attractions here.

seljafjordur snæfellsnes

Source: yashima

Afterwards, you can go straight to Hotel Bru for dinner and check in. And if you are lucky, you will be able to see the Northern Lights. And you don't have to worry because the hotel staff will give you a wake up call when the lights appear. Here is the map for Day 1:


Day 2 - Exploring the North: Blönduós and Skagafjörður

Have breakfast in Hotel Bru and check out. From there, you can do the almost 3-hour drive to Blönduós, a small seaside town in the north of Iceland. The first place of interest that you can go is the Blönduós Church, which is famous for its unusual architecture. The church was designed based on its surrounding mountains and landscape and has good acoustics, which make the sound carry well and beautifully for singing.
seljafjordur snæfellsnes

Source: JasonParis

Another place that you can go to is the 9-hold golf course, especially if you are a golfer and want to get our more in your 3-day vacation in Iceland. The golf course is located just north of the town and you can inquire their golfing activities there. Afterwards, you can either fo bird watching, hiking (like in the Húnaflói area) and bird watching. Another famous activity that you can do is salmon fishing in Blanda River. You will never run out of things to do here in Blönduós. Before leaving Blönduós, have lunch in Potturinn Restaurant that offers a wide variety of delicious food at reasonable prices that includes Italian, Indian, Icelandic and vegetarian.
seljafjordur snæfellsnes

Source: eskimo_jo

The next place you go is the municipality of Skagafjörður.
seljafjordur snæfellsnes

Source: Gúnna

One of the things you can do is river rafting to continue the adventurous streak on this day. Skagafjörður is known as the capital of whitewater rafting in Iceland, where there are powerful and wild glacial rivers in remoteness of the municipality. The water is always on high levels, which adds more adrenaline when doing this extreme sport. You can ask tour companies such as Nordic Travel and Arctic Adventures regarding river rafting in this municipality.
seljafjordur snæfellsnes

Source: Stig Nygaard

Afterwards, you can relax and rejuvenate in one of the seven pools of the municipality. You can try the hot springs and pools of Sauðárkrókur where you sit in a traditional hot tub and bond with your family and friends as the hot water relaxes your body. Then you can have dinner and check in Hótel Varmahlíð. Below is the map of Day 2:


Day 3 - Siglufjörður; Departure from Iceland

Check out of Hótel Varmahlíð and proceed to the small town of Siglufjörður, in which you can spend the whole morning exploring. it is surrounded by towering mountains and have the fishing industry as their source of income. If you just want to look around town and relax before your depart the North, this is the perfect place for a last stop.

seljafjordur snæfellsnes

Source: Julien Carnot

The first place you can visit is The Herring Era Museum. It has a big collection of stories of the town, the fishing industry of Iceland and other stories concerning the development of the country. It also has interactive presentations and has various displays of boats and various artifacts. Afterwards, you can do bird watching, walk around town, join in the Herring Festivals if given the chance, and eat your lunch befoe departing to

seljafjordur snæfellsnes

Source: Julien Carnot

seljafjordur snæfellsnes

Source: sela-v

You depart from Siglufjörður at around after lunch, do the five-hour drive towards Blue Lagoon for rejuvenation and re-energizing. You can have have some 1-2 stopovers in between the drive to rest. After Blue Lagoon, you can drop off your rental car in Thrifty then proceed to Keflavik Airport for your departure.

seljafjordur snæfellsnes

Source: Sarah_Ackerman

Hope you had a wonderful time in Iceland. Here is the map of Day 3:




Thrifty - 4x4 car rental

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Thrifty.is - 4x4 rental cars in Iceland

4x4 jeeps from Thrifty can be picked up from four rental locations: Akureyri airport, Reykjavik, Down Town Akureyri and Keflavik Airport. The company has a ISO 9001 certification and offers free shuttle bus service. Everything will be done so you can easily change or cancel your reservation whenever you need - no questions asked.

car rental iceland

Golden Circle and Langjokull glacier

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Great offer

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Galtafell guesthouse

Galtafell Guesthouse

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Downtown guesthouse build by the famous Icelandic artist, Muggur

Beautiful & historic guesthouse in downtown Reykjavik with apartment suites, single and double/twin rooms available. You will enjoy free on-street parking and free WiFi internet access in every room. The guesthouse is in walking distance to popular cafés, restaurants, shops and museums.
The apartment suites are bright and non-smoking, comfortably furnished and all have private entrance. They consist of bedroom, bathroom, living room, fully equipped kitchen corner and can comfortably room up to four persons. The building has laundry facilities. Bed linen and towels are provided. They also offer double rooms and single rooms. All the rooms have TV, DVD, internet access, hairdryer and an iron. There are possibility of an extra bed. Children are welcome. Free parking outside of the building.

Location & Directions

Below you can see routes to best places to watch the northern lights

Below you can see the location of the guesthouse and couple of routes to popular places for viewing the northern lights. Before you go be sure to check out the northern lights forecast and see in real time if the location you plan to go to has much of clouds here on the northern lights webcam page.
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Drive to Grindavik and visit the light house. Dramatic location with the sound of the ocean and great places to shot nice photos with the light house in the background. Do wear warm clothes as it can be very cold in a open area like this.

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Drive to Grindavik and visit the light house. Dramatic location with the sound of the ocean and great places to shot nice photos with the light house in the background. Do wear warm clothes as it can be very cold in a open area like this.

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The amazing aurora in Iceland

The amazing aurora in Iceland

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Iceland is a beautiful country with many beautiful and magical sites to see and adore. This stark island-nation straddles the North Atlantic and Arctic ocean. It is one of the five Nordic Countries that forms the roof of Europe. Although Iceland shares continental plates with both North America and Europe, it is still classified as European for its culture, politics and historical background.
Iceland is sparsely populated by a hardy breed of 320,000 people. It is home to many wild, natural and unpolluted places to marvel at. Chief of these are the northern lights. The capital, Reykjavik, may be filled with extravagant city lights, but it is unable to hide the beautiful Northern Lights. Just a few kilometers outside the city and you have a spectacular view of this magical spectacle.

What are the Northern Lights?

2045648290_d420530048_z“Aurora borealis” is another name for the Northern Lights. Aurora is Latin for the Roman goddess of sunrise, Dawn. In the high northern latitudes, the Aurora is a stunning display of curtains of colored lights in the sky, chiefly visible at the beginning and end of winter.
This marvelous display is caused by the collision of charged energetic particles with atoms in the thermosphere, the boundary between the earth’s atmosphere and outer space. The charged particles come from the magnetosphere and also from the solar wind which are both directed towards, among others, the Earth’s magnetic field and atmosphere.
The product of the collision of these charged particles with an oxygen molecule leads to green or brownish-red lights. The produced light depends on the amount of energy absorbed by the collision of particles. The more intense the bombardment, the brighter the display. Nitrogen emissions cause a display of blue or red lights to seemingly hover above the Earth’s atmosphere. The Northern Lights turn blue if charged air particles regain an electron immediately after being ionized. And if it returns to its surface state immediately after an excited state, it will release red lights.

When to Look for Northern Lights in Iceland

7088449099_61d52408af_zNorthern lights in Iceland are visible for nearly 8 months in a year. This gives tourists a long window to marvel at the marvelous sight without having to travel to Alaska or northern Scandinavia. You don´t have to drive far from the capital to see them either. If it is too bothersome to leave the comforts of Reykjavik, you can see these beautiful lights from downtown. From the city center, the aurora may not so bright but still a marvelous natural phenomenon. Each night, there is a Northern lights forecast, which you can take note of to maximize your viewing pleasure.
As early as the start of fall, in August, this heavenly spectacle begins to manifest. The moment the northern heavens darken for the long winter twilights, the Aurora Borealis become visible. Of course, it is also important that weather conditions are favorable for sightseeing. Even halfway through spring, as late as the month of April, these marvelous lights can still be seen. The Northern lights can be viewed at any time, between dusk to dawn. All you need is a clear dark sky. And yet, the most beautiful spectacle that you can ever behold is when you see the Northern lights as the sun is rising, or as it sets. It is the most enchanting sight that you shall ever see in your lifetime.

Where to Find the Northern lights in Iceland

From Keflavik International Airport you can look out your airplane’s window and see the Northern lights dancing in the sky if it is dark outside. Once you land, you take the road to Reykjavik through an empty, moon-like landscape. This 45-minute drive is a perfect place to spot your first Aurora borealis. 
One can visit the Blue Lagoon where you can sit in the steamy pools and watch the Northern lights as long as you want without getting cold. Hiking or camping in the highlands is another picture-perfect place to see the Northern lights. Traveling far from the city allows solitude, peace, and serenity as you gaze upon the Northern lights away from the city noise and lights. The geothermal area of Landmannalaugar is a popular destination to view the lights. However it would be better if the travel is planned in advance, because the area is not open the whole year round, and only 4x4 vehicles can access this area.

Plan Your Own Northern Lights Hunting Trip

Since the nights are longer in the North and Westfjords, it is better to seek out the Northern lights there. One of the most magical places to take in a northern light show is on a sandy beach in the South Coast near Vík. Here, you can also enjoy the lapping waves creating the perfect background music for a perfect Northern lights experience. Sitting on a rocking dock somewhere in an old harbor is also cozy spot to take in the view. Borgarnes has a dock that you can drive your car onto and sit and wait inside while little fishing boats float beside you - a good trick if it’s cold or stormy outside.

Guesthouse Hestheimar

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Guesthouse at Hestheimar

Guesthouse at Hestheimar is an outstanding Bed & Breakfast provider in a lovely country side town

A bed and breakfast provider in Hella, Guesthouse at Hestheimar is a gem in the middle of a very quiet and peaceful town. This guesthouse includes a main house and some separate cottages that provide not the basic needs of the guests, but also the comfort and relaxation one would like to have after roaming around the busy streets of Reykjavik and other popular Icelandic cities and towns.

Guesthouse Hestheimar

Our review for Guesthouse Hestheimar

The guests loved how the staff of Guesthouse at Hestheimar politely let them choose the place where they wanted to stay – either in the main building or in one of the cottages. All rooms and apartments/ cottages were spotless and very comfortable. Some cottages were several kilometres away from the main building, which presented an advantage and a disadvantage for the guests. The long distance from the main building provided more privacy and peacefulness, but also meant being too far from the services of the staff in the main building. Other things that customers thought were great about Guesthouse at Hestheimar is that the bathrooms are spotless clean and larger than the typical size of bathrooms in other hotels in Iceland. However, what makes the stay in Guesthouse at Hestheimar worthwhile is the warm welcome and friendly service of the hosts and staff.

Just like other BBs in Hella, Guesthouse at Hestheimar satisfied their guests with the wide variety of hot and cold breakfast, including delicious pancakes, cereals, cakes, breads and more.

Although the guests noticed how some of the staff of this BB were somehow reserved when serving their guests, they appreciated how the staff became very engaging and enthusiastic in their services as they get along with their customers.


Hotel Vestmannaeyjar

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Hotel Vestmannaeyjar

Hotel Vestmannaeyjar is a lovely hotel in a small quiet town.

Hotel Vestmannaeyjar is a small but exquisite hotel offering 19 guest rooms. From the hotel, you can easily access the best restaurants and tourist attractions in the island. Some rooms offer a great view of the Icelandic waters, while others don’t. Each guest room has a comfortable bed but the beddings are not of premium quality. The toilet and shower are separated by an enclosure, and the bathroom amenities are very basic but still useful. The hotel also features free access to high-speed Internet via WiFi and free parking.

Hotel vestmannaeyjar

Our review for Hotel Vestmannaeyjar

Guests found the location of Hotel Vestmannaeyjar to be very accessible to and from the island’s prime destinations such as the volcano, the island golf course, the cliffs and other attractions. Upon entering the hotel, customers were delighted with the friendly welcome given to them by the staff assigned at the front desk.

In terms of the accommodations, previous customers said that the guest rooms were spotless clean but could use some improvements in their interior design to show more character and spice up the rooms a bit. The guests were able to use the fast and strong WiFi connection in their rooms, as well as the flat screen TV with several channels that feature local and international news. Some guests were able to enjoy the relaxing Jacuzzi in the large rooms.

The guests described the breakfast as typically Icelandic and nothing special. The breakfast was comprised of milk, cereals and some cold cuts. The coffee, however, was one of the best ones they’ve tasted in the country.

The owners and staff of the hotel were very friendly and professional. The guests commended them for making tour arrangements upon request plus giving out some good advices on what to do while touring the small but beautiful island.


Self drive idea - 3 days Long Weekend in Iceland

Long Weekend in Iceland

3 days self-drive idea including northern lights hunt, Blue Lagoon, glaciers, Jokulsarlon, Seljalandsfoss waterfall & Golden Circle

A long weekend in Iceland where you will rent a car from Thrifty, drive to the famous Geysir geothermal area and the Gullfoss waterfall, hunt for northern lights in the evening at Hotel Ranga, drive in day 2 all the way to Jokulsarlon, see some of the famous watfalls on the way back and in the last day stay in Reykjavik, and enjoy Blue Lagoon on your way back to the airport.

Iceland self drive tours

THE 3 DAYS ITINERARY

Day 1 - Arrival in Keflavik, Iceland

After arrival at Keflavik Airport, you can either pick up your rental car at the airport or simply take the Flybus to Reykvik for day one. This might save you one day of rental car charges, but it all depends on when you arrive if this is feasible or not. In Reykjavik we recommend Centrum Hotel for your first day. If you arrive early in the day just use the day to walk around downtown Reykjavik, check out some museums, go to the public swimming pools (that is were you find the locals soaking in hot tubs - often very lively discussions!!), have some hot dog at Bæjarins Bestu in downtown or simply go and shop from some of the local fashion stores e.g. Akmo at the end of Laugavegur. Check out e.g. this northern lights tour northern light tour with Arctic Adventure if you want to increase your chances to see the northern lights while you are visiting Iceland for only 3 days.

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


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Rescue work in north Iceland

13. Sept. 2012 - Farmers in northern Iceland did not expect a snowstorm end-of-summer


Thrifty.is - full size car rental

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Thrifty.is - full size rental cars in Iceland

Rental cars from Thrifty can be found on 4 rental locations: Keflavik Airport, Reykjavik, Down Town Akureyri and Akureyri airport. It is a rental car company with ISO 9001 certified, offers great shuttle bus service and everything is done so you can easily change or cancel your booking whenever you need - no questions asked.

car rental iceland

The Red House, Eyrarbakka, Iceland

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The Red House

Take a trip back in time for a meal in a romantic and relaxing atmosphere by the southcoast

We recommend the Red House as they have the greatest seafood courses (especially the lobster soup) you can find in Iceland. Located in a fishing village, Eyrarbakki, on the south coast it is known for serving local food directly from the farmers. It is a very cosy restaurant with a Icelandic fishing village atmosphere.

Red House

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The Seafood grill, Reykjavik, Iceland

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The Seafood grill

The restaurant ranked #1 on Tripadvisors of all the 201 restaurants in Iceland. Do we need to say more?

We recommend the Seafood grill as they are probably the best seafood restaurant in Iceland. It has been known for fantastic food from the start when the founder / master chef was awarded the title "CHEF OF THE YEAR 2010" in Iceland.

Seafood grill

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The Tapashouse

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Tapashouse

A great tapas house. A fusion of food and frolic. Well known for exciting taste combination of Spanish-Icelandic food

We recommend the Tapashouse as they serve some of the best tapas food in Iceland. The Tapashouse is not only about food, they also take fun seriously, making sure you get the most out of the night. Located at the old harbor in the famous Sólfell house - delivering a unique atmosphere.

Steak House in Iceland

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The Steak House, Reykjavik, Iceland

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The Steak House

Great Argentinean Steak House at the Old Harbor in Reykjavik. Known for its good atmosphere, great service and of course the best steaks in town

We recommend the Steak House as they serve some of the best steaks in Iceland. They are at a great trendy location next to the old harbor in downtown Reykjavik. People recommend especially the spectacular lamb grill feast. The atmosphere is very relaxing and romantic. It is also known for being a local favorite.

Steak House in Iceland

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See a whale breaching in Iceland

See a whale breaching in Iceland

It is unique experience to watch these lovely animal breach in the ocean

This idea is not only for animal lovers, it is for anyone visiting Iceland. Whales are such a wonderful creatures and you need to see it breach in the ocean at least once in your lifetime. The video is shot close to Reykjavik on a Android phone by the author of this Pinterest account. See the itinerary below how to get to our preferred whale watching tour company - Specialtours

Whale breaching in Iceland

The itinerary


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