Chas­ing the North­ern Lights, Ice­land

CLEO (Singapore) - - BEAUTY -

Also known as the Aurora Bo­re­alis, the North­ern Lights are a be­guil­ing nat­u­ral light dis­play that oc­curs when storms on the sun hurl charged so­lar par­ti­cles into space. When th­ese col­lide with the earth’s at­mos­phere, they un­leash a re­ac­tion, emit­ting streaks of bright light. They’ll ei­ther ap­pear twirling gen­tly in shades of milky green, or as pul­sat­ing multi-coloured streaks in the sky.

To make the most out of the trip, check out the fa­mous Blue La­goon, Gull­foss Wa­ter­fall and Hall­grím­skirkja, a na­turein­spired church in the heart of Reyk­javík.

Air tick­ets: $1,000 - $1,500

Nordic coun­tries are home to this sea­sonal spec­ta­cle, but Reyk­javík, Ice­land is still the most af­ford­able and ac­ces­si­ble place to see them. Book a flight to Ke­flavík In­ter­na­tional Air­port and then travel to the main city via Fly­bus, Air­port Ex­press bus or by car. The best time to catch the lights is from Oc­to­ber to March. A week would be the op­ti­mal du­ra­tion for a trip as the lights tend to be ac­tive for two to three nights, and then lie low for four to five nights.

Trans­port: $30 - $100

Ice­land doesn’t have a pub­lic rail­way sys­tem, but they do have pub­lic buses that you can take. How­ever, Reyk­javík is a small and walk­a­ble city, so go on foot if you want to ex­plore the city it­self.

Guided bus tour: $50 - $100/day

For check­ing out the North­ern Lights, guided tours have the ad­van­tage of be­ing led by ex­pert guides and driv­ers who are fa­mil­iar with the road con­di­tions. Some tours also of­fer to take you out for another night for free if you fail to see the lights on the first.

Car rental: $80 - $100/day

If you want to ex­plore be­yond the city, rent a car. It’s by far the cheap­est and most con­ve­nient way to get around Ice­land.

Ac­com­mo­da­tion: $60 - $300/night

Ho­tels in Ice­land are ex­pen­sive, so con­sider book­ing an Airbnb or a guest­house to save money. Most trav­ellers make Reyk­javík their base and go on day trips to see the North­ern Lights. If you want to stay nearer to them, there are ho­tels avail­able out of the city, but they’re on the pricey side.

Food: $40 - $80/day

Food is rel­a­tively ex­pen­sive in Ice­land and a sim­ple meal can cost you up to $30. If you’re on a bud­get, it’s best to stay away from restau­rants and visit a gro­cery store to stock up on food.

To­tal: $2,000+

Tip: The ce­les­tial dis­play is largely af­fected by the weather, clouds, tim­ing and light pol­lu­tion, so make sure to check the lo­cal weather and Aurora Fore­cast first.

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