Long lists of travel destinations and the obvious attractions litter the internet: The Eiffel Tower, the Colosseum, the Sydney Opera house. These attractions are universally recognizable and extremely popular locations for travelers — and for good reason. Those locations often hold huge historical significance or stand as testaments to humanity’s achievements. But there are natural wonders that can dwarf the impact of even the most staggering feat of engineering.
One such example is the Northern Lights, as seen in Iceland. The Northern Lights, or Aurora Borealis, is an atmospheric phenomenon that occurs in northern latitudes, and materializes typically as swirling green light in the night’s sky. The natural light display has fascinated humans for millennia, and there is no better place to witness the spectacular event than in Iceland’s capital city, Reykjavík.
Over the last decade or so, Iceland’s tourism industry has grown tremendously. In 2004, around 360,000 people visited Iceland, compared to 3.7 million in 2012. Reykjavík is a big part of that growth. The city has been heralded as very tourist-friendly, with many interesting sites and sounds to experience. There is much more to see, though, outside of the urban space. The natural beauty of Iceland is other-worldly. With a rich and diverse landscape, Iceland is a site to behold. From the frozen crevasses, to the quiet caverns, to the misty lakes, Iceland’s physical and natural features are numerous. None, though, is as enchanting as the Northern Lights.
Similar to viewing the Grand Canyon or Niagara Falls, the Northern Lights are the type of spectacle that demands quiet appreciation. The shifting swirl of impossibly green light begs introspection and highlights the scale and mystery of our earth. The Northern Lights are unlike any thing in the world.
The Geophysical Institute of the University of Alaska Fairbanks has an Aurora forecast on their website that predicts the likelihood of witnessing the Northern Lights in a given location. This tool, coupled with a negotiable schedule, will help make sure you are able to witness the Northern Lights during your trip to Iceland.