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northern lights in late Feb

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northern lights in late Feb

my girlfriend is turning 30 next february, and as a birthday present i want to take her to see the northern lights. i have read that between september and april they can be seen, so figure late feb wont be a problem.

what i wanted to find out was, that we may only be able to go for 4-5 days, so wanted to maximise our chances of seeing anything.

any particular destinations, or any kind of info would be amazing!

also, im sure there are more things in iceland to do than just see the lights! if anyone has any other recommendations then im all ears (or eyes)

thanks a lot :)

2 replies to this topic
Gardabaer, Iceland
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1. Re: northern lights in late Feb

Best advice: Place the NL as a "travel bonus" rather than main agenda.

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Second best advice Stay in rural hotels / guesthouses / B&B's and as much away from Reykjavík as possible.

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Third advice: Last night sort of "has to" be in either Reykjavík or Keflavík (Reykjanes peninsula) as you don't want to be at the wrong end of a closed mountain road if bad weather comes in. Icelandic pilots fly off in most weathers, roads close much sooner than flights get cancelled.

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Consider tours or multi day tours. Many multi day tours have a NL hunt after a day of activity if there are fair chances of seeing any.

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As you don't mention your location I can only suggest you seriously your options of transport. People try all sorts of travel methods. It always comes down to being properly set for it. Drivers that have never seen or experienced snow and ice on the road are f.e. getting into accidents, icelandreview.com/news/2017/01/04/number-ser… or even causing fatal accidents, icelandreview.com/news/2016/03/04/tourist-ch… , or they need to be rescued... …visir.is/article/search-and-rescue-units-ro… . Most of the time people who are familiar with icy conditions are ok, but there come days where driving is simply not recommended, and *then* it's vital to stay put and heed warnings

With an immensely long road system, and very few people using it, the Road Adiministration services only a handfull of road sections 24 hours a day.

Most of Iceland's main roads receive daily or bi-daily services. And plowing is suspended no later than 22:00 (10pm) in general near towns. The last plow of the day far away from towns can be gone hours before that - even long before dinnertime.

Conditions in winter can easily change fast and unknowing travelers, who aren't timely at (or near) their final location for the night, are left to deal with (potentially worsening) conditions on their own - in the dark.

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This is one of the reasons why it is *so* important to make realistic plans, ask for information from locals, heed advice, make sensible decissions, be vigilant about weather forecast and road conditions every day, have a good margin of error, and last but not least, have a well charged mobile phone.

Simple. A summer based travel plan will never work out well in wintertime.

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Still, all road clearing is suspended in severe weather conditions, and soon after that some road section do close for the time being until the weather (or general conditions) improve.

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To put our road system into perspective it is about 13000 km long (8700 miles).

The Autobahn system in Germany is about the same size.

The UK Motorways and Trunk Highways (Major Highways) are 7600 miles in total, 1000 miles less than the Icelandic road system.

I can't find a state in the US that has their interstate system remotely close to these numbers.

Useful links:

http://www.road.is/

http://vegasja.vegagerdin.is/eng/

http://en.vedur.is/alerts

en.vedur.is/weather/forecasts/elements/

http://safetravel.is/

http://safetravel.is/conditions/

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2. Re: northern lights in late Feb

Plan a NL tour for your first night from Reykjavík, because you will get a free second attempt if you don't get to see them.

Then plan a 2-3 day tour to Jökulsárlón glacier lagoon. Since you'll be staying in the countryside you can just step out at night and wait for however long it takes (and you want to) if conditions are good.

Keep in mind that seeing the NL is down to luck, though (and patience and persistence), so there is no guarantee you will get to see them during a short visit.

Once you get back to the city and if you have't seen them, you can take advantage of your free second attempt for a tour on your last night.

I would not recommend self-driving, since conditions can be dangerous in winter, even for experienced drivers in Arctic winter conditions andespecially if you plan to hunt the NL at night.

Edited: 12 June 2018, 14:21
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