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Thread: Iceland - tips and advice needed.

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    Default Iceland - tips and advice needed.

    Planning to go to Iceland between 27Oct to 04Nov to catch the northern lights. Have only booked the flight to and from Iceland. Any recommendation on how to plan for the trip? Self drive or organized tours? Any advice will be much appreciated.

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    Default Re: Iceland - tips and advice needed.

    Will arrive on 27Oct and driving around till 4Nov. If any CS members are around during that time, we could meet up to share/ compare notes.
    Staying at Reykjavik from 27-29 then on the road. Cheers.

  3. #3

    Default Re: Iceland - tips and advice needed.

    Was just there earlier this year.

    I would prefer self drive (I joined tours) but it depends on how many people you're traveling with.

    There are a few northern lights excursion trips you can join at night.

  4. #4
    Senior Member giantcanopy's Avatar
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    I would second self drive. Who could forebear the urge to stop the car midway once or several times, while taking in the beautiful landscapes.

    For a trip of about a week, you would probably not want to drive out the entire ring road. ( 1300km plus for 7 days, I think is an itinerary of self inflicted pain )

    You could work around Reykjavik and neighbouring areas, but to see aurora yourself you might need to drive alittle further away from Reykjavik's brighter city skies. There are several aurora tour operators for a chunk of fee. If you have the time (days) you could visit snaefellsness which I find immeasurably charming.

    Unless you are going on the F roads/ central parts of iceland/westfjords (with gravel roads zealously pothole ridden and richochetting pebbles ) where a higher ground clearance vehicle is a blessing, renting a usual sedan would suffice.

    Aurora can be a hit or miss affair, and sometimes shrouded by clouds. Irregardless, visiting iceland is well the worth on its own right.

    Ryan

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    Default Re: Iceland - tips and advice needed.

    Thanks Guys for the advice. Just returned yesterday. Wonderful holiday and lots to share. You guys were absolutely right for suggesting to make base in Reykjavik (which I did). Every drive out is a minimum of 1-2 hours drive. Although to cover the golden circle could be done in a day, I would suggest to break up the trip into 2 Days instead of one. You can then enjoy the scenery and sip in the magnificent sights. Self drive is definitely recommended and don't forget to opt for snow tires as most of the roads are already iced up.

    When I was at Gulfoss, the wind speed was 54 km/h and with a temperature of 1degree Celsius, the chill factor was -8 degrees Celsius. Could not even hold the camera steady. Driving to the east coast is risky as the volcanic sand can strip the paint off the car in a storm. (This is explained clearly when you rent a car, and additional insurance has to be purchased to cover that condition - something like 13 euros a day). All in all, it was a marvelous trip and I had a combination of grayline tour and self drive. Grayline tour when I decided to go and see the Glacier at Jukulsarlon which was on the east coast and a 6 hour drive!

    Managed to catch the Aurora Bourelis on 4 separate occasions. One of the best place to shoot the northern lights is at Seltjarnarnes, there, on a clear night you will see Pros with all kinds of equipment to 'Tarn Chiak', so highly recommended. Will try and post pics of it. (Cant seem to post the last time I tried to post pictures when selling a lens. Will try again.) Thanks again guys.
    Last edited by Hlkwee; 9th November 2013 at 08:12 PM.

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    Default Re: Iceland - tips and advice needed.

    Testing....


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    Default Re: Iceland - tips and advice needed.

    and more....... Activity level @ 4.0






    Last edited by Hlkwee; 12th November 2013 at 12:15 PM.

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    Default Re: Iceland - tips and advice needed.

    Hi there,

    Glad to hear it was a good trip! I just wanna find out how long a period of time you had to be at each location before catching the NL? When you recommended Saltjarnarnes, do you mean to stay there for a night or just do a day trip? I am headed there in Dec 2013.

    Thanks for the advise.
    Thanks

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    Default Re: Iceland - tips and advice needed.

    Hi Dropshot
    Driving to most attraction would take at least 1-2 hrs. I had tried driving in the direction of Selfoss (East) and after about 1-1/2 hrs out of the city lights, stopped at a field to capture the NL. Believe me, its creepy as you are the only one there (Just me and my wife). After about 15mins, I decided to turn back. If you are taking three or four guys with you, then perhaps its okay. The reason why I recommended Seltjarnarnes is because its just 15 mins drive from the city, and just about 70 meters down the road, there is some chalets. Seltjarnarnes is by the coast and features a lighthouse. On a clear night, lots of locals will proceed there to capture the Northern Lights as would self drive tourist. So lots of activities and company. Its pitch dark with only the headlights from the cars moving in and out. If you dare to venture, you could walk to the coast to be away from the interruptions. Your best guide for the cloud conditions would be the 'Aurora forecast - Icelandic Meteorological Office' there you could chart whether its going to be clear over Reykjavik, extremely accurate and heavily relied on . There is also an apps for Iphone to check the activity levels. If you pm me your number, I could share with you more on the phone. Hope this helps.

  10. #10

    Default Re: Iceland - tips and advice needed.

    Glad you had fun, I aim to go in Sept 2014.
    Any info will be nice..
    Cheers

    When is the best time to see Iceland's Northern Lights?
    The aurora borealis, the northern polar lights, or the polar auroras, is only visible in the sky from the Northern Hemisphere. The aurora borealis most often occurs from September to October throughout March to April.
    It is most visible closer to the poles due to the longer periods of darkness and the magnetic field. In these far northern latitudes you can see the Auroral activity on a average 100 nights a year and the best time to see Iceland's Aurora Borealis is around midnight when Iceland's Aurora Oval is said to pass over the observer.
    Nikon D750; FM2; FG; 55mm Micro Nikkor; 28-300 VR; 70-200 VR; Nikon V1 + 10-30mm

  11. #11

    Default Re: Iceland - tips and advice needed.

    Sigh.. plans set to be in Iceland in about 2 weeks, but there is a volcano eruption there right now... anyone headed up soon?
    Nikon D750; FM2; FG; 55mm Micro Nikkor; 28-300 VR; 70-200 VR; Nikon V1 + 10-30mm

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    Remember to change back to euro whatever balance money you got. Over here in Singapore, you will have problem converting them back. Even if there is any money changer willing to accept, the exchange rate is almost half only.

  13. #13

    Default Re: Iceland - tips and advice needed.

    We got lucky with the Aurora...

    My trusty D90 came into use :

    Last edited by petetherock; 17th September 2014 at 09:16 AM.
    Nikon D750; FM2; FG; 55mm Micro Nikkor; 28-300 VR; 70-200 VR; Nikon V1 + 10-30mm

  14. #14

    Default Re: Iceland - tips and advice needed.

    Northern light tours

    You can choose from self drive or guided tours.

    Self drive gives you freedom, so you can go and leave whenever, bring lots of creature comforts and if you already have a car in daytime this works well.

    However one needs to be familiar with night driving and navigation. Furthermore you will need to have an idea of where are the places to view the lights.

    It is also tiring especially if one has already driven in the daytime.

    That means probably not planning too much the following day.

    Guided tours can be by bus or in a boat out to the waters outside of Reykjavik.

    In a bus you can try different spots but there is traveling time. It is warmer in a bus though.
    Some companies will offer another ride if you don't see the lights the first time so check first.

    The nice thing about a boat is you can also take pics of the city at night.

  15. #15

    Default Re: Iceland - tips and advice needed.


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