Here’s Why You Shouldn’t Miss Northern Lights as a Solo Female Traveller
Would you consider a trip to Iceland fulfilling without catching a glimpse of the Northern lights in the winter? I would not!
The best part about this is that this gift of nature is free! Unlike the other parts of the trip where you have to pay for an attraction, this will take your breath away without you having to spend a penny.
To see the aurora borealis dance in the night sky is one of the most blissful moments that you will witness in your life. The only flip side that I have to make you aware of is that the Northern lights are unpredictable! So pray with all your heart that the weather favours you and you can see the lights on your solo trip!
There is nothing in the world that I would skip this for! Make sure you have your eyes on the Aurora forecast during your trip. However, with the ever-changing weather conditions in Iceland, this trick may not be completely reliable.
While you can go hunting for the Northern lights on your own, you can also choose a reliable service to see the lights from an exclusive location outside the capital city of Reykjavik! If you are just planning to go around randomly, you may end up missing the lights, and you would not want that. So keep a bigger window for viewing the lights!
It may also be difficult for you to negotiate the snow if you are self-driving. So perhaps best to leave it to a professional.
Now that we have established that seeing the Northern lights is a must let me tell you in a little more detail why so!
1. They are nature’s miracle
Have you wondered why Northern lights appear? In a nutshell, they are nature’s way of saying miracles exist. If we go by science, the lights are visible because solar particles enter the earth’s magnetic field! Did you know that the intensity of the Northern lights is dependent on the activities of the sun?
There is no reason why you should miss this absolutely fascinating geographical marvel! The moment is straight out of the Discovery channel. It is important that you are on your toes to ensure that you do not miss this experience.
2. Hue of colours will leave you spellbound
The dancing lights come in varying colours. The hue of green will leave you spellbound. Though the Northern lights usually appear green, if you are lucky enough, you can even catch them in the non-traditional colours of purple, red, pink, orange, and blue. Do lookout for the beautiful hue of white-gray!
Fun fact: did you know that the colours depend on the ionisation of elements? Also, if there is no solar activity, you may not be able to see the lights!
3. You can enjoy this while on a boat tour
A unique way to enjoy this incredible sight of the aurora borealis is by watching them while on a boat tour or a cruise. You can take the boat from the ports of Akureyri and Reykjavik!
Away from the cacophony, you can enjoy the tours while on a boat ride as you head out to Eyjafjordur Fjord or Faxafloi Bay.
If you set out for the Northern lights on a boat, you get to witness the best of both worlds—catching a glimpse of the dance in the night sky while riding along with the glaciers. Imagine the sky reflections playing out on the milky white glaciers!
4. You come back with a treasure trove of photographs
I am sure you are already going through the top 50 tips on how to get the right photographs of the Northern lights! If you can capture them right on the lens, you can safely be called a professional photographer.
I will not deny that photographing the Northern lights can be a little tricky.
Get the right lens, the right exposure, and go hunt for the auroras! Make sure you keep the camera ready—the dancing lights may go off as quickly as they come.
Also, did you know that earth is not the only place that experiences the Northern lights? Jupiter, Uranus, Neptune, and Saturn experience them as well! All the more reason for you to go photograph away to glory!
Imagine the moment when you show the photographs to your friends and family! I would suggest you can even hold a mini-exhibition of your trip at your home for your closest people! Do not miss shooting a video either! It would be cool to have your own short film on the Northern lights on YouTube!
5. The mystical stories around the auroras
Science is great, but nothing beats the fascinating mythological stories around the auroras! I loved to read about the different mystical versions of why the Northern lights happen. Do ask the locals about it. The endless versions will keep you captivated.
One version goes like this—the name aurora borealis comes from the ancient Roman goddess of the dawn and the Greek name for the north wind. Aurora was considered a goddess by the Greeks, and she would ride a chariot across the sky.
The Viking legends believe the lights are reflections from the shields of the Valkyrie—the female helping spirits of the god Odin. Meanwhile, the Chinese feel the lights appeared during otherworldly battles between good and evil dragons who blew fire across the sky!
In fact, you will be surprised to know that it was not until the 19th century that there was a scientific explanation for this!
6. It is a free attraction
All of life’s good things definitely do not come free, but the Northern lights do! I know it sounds like a strange point to make. But I realised during my solo trips that there were very few attractions which came free! And this once-in-a-lifetime moment does come free!
If you do not want to take the stress of hunting down the Northern lights on your own, then it is best that you book a well-guided tour! This can be a bus tour that you hop on to or an exclusive cab tour. But if you want to not spend money, then you have to do a little more homework and chasing on your own. And trust me on one thing—it will all be worth it!
To begin with, you should do ample research on which are the best viewing spots for the Northern lights. Secondly, be your own weather person for the next few days. You can check the Iceland page for the Northern Lights Forecast to check the intensity and location. This will show the prediction 24 hours ahead of time and also the cloud cover over the country.
Sometimes the Northern lights come in the middle of the night. I would suggest you can keep an eye on Facebook alert groups. Northern Lights Alert, Aurora Hunters Iceland, and Northern Lights Watch – Icelandic are to name a few. You can be active there to be 100 percent certain that you do not miss the auroras.
7. Off-beat accommodation comes as a bonus
Making the Northern lights the highlight of your trip also ensures that you get to stay in the most off-beat accommodations! I do not know about you, but I absolutely love non-traditional places to stay!
Do keep in mind that the best places to see the auroras are flat areas. There should be no buildings or high mountains around! So remote countryside works wonders for catching a glimpse of this beauty. The lack of street lights is also essential for you to get a good view.
One of the most amazing stays for Northern lights is the farmhouses in the outskirts of Iceland. I am not denying that staying around downtown is great and gives a feel of the local culture. But staying outside Reykjavik in a farmhouse will soak you in the authentic Icelandic experience. The farmhouses are usually located in an area where there is a lot of open space, and they also happen to be one of the great spots for viewing the Northern lights.
The other option that you can consider if you are not on a budget trip is staying at the Bubble Hotel. Gazing at the shooting stars while staying inside a transparent pod will be one of the gorgeous experiences of your life. They even have a tree bubble. This hanging bubble will definitely transport you to a magical kingdom! The plus is you do not have to brave the icy wind to see the northern lights! Watch them from the comforts of your bed.
The peace around will leave you overwhelmed with nature’s beauty!
8. Flexibility on schedule will allow more time for the auroras
Spontaneity is the key element of a solo trip. When in a group, you may feel obligated to check off each item from your sightseeing bucket list!
On the other hand, you are your own boss if you are travelling alone! You can be flexible with your itinerary and allow more room for the Northern lights. I already mentioned how you might not be lucky to catch a glimpse of the lights on the day you have scheduled it for! The unpredictable weather may add to your woes.
If you are unable to catch a glimpse on day one, try it again on the next possible day! I would suggest that you plan your trip in a way that you have a few days in a row dedicated to seeing these magical lights.
9. Romance coming alive
The closer I get to nature, the more I feel drenched in romance! The Northern lights were the perfect opportunity for me to connect with my inner self—one of the reasons why I go on solo trips in the first place.
Chasing the lights gives you a break from the materialistic pleasures we seek on our trips! Just lose yourself in the wilderness of nature, and regain the romance in you!
10. Helps you bond with other fellow travellers
Have you ever experienced the beauty of sharing a common bond with strangers about something beautiful you witness together?
If you haven’t, the auroras are the perfect opportunity to bond over nature’s beauty! Viewing the lights together is euphoric, to say the least!
11. Great for self-drive tours
Some of us love to do self-driven tours on solo trips! So stopping for the auroras or driving to the outskirts alone to spot them is a perfect to-do thing as a solo female traveller. With Iceland being a safe place for women, you do not need to be constantly on your guard!
Do carry some midnight snacks and power banks for this self-drive tour.
12. You can pair it with other activities
The best part about this attraction is that you can relax watching this after a hard day’s activity! You can pair it with any day activity that you want—whale watching, snorkelling, or sightseeing.
In fact, it does not matter even if you are planning an intense day of activities—you can go hiking volcanoes, glaciers during the day and unwind later, gazing at the night sky!
I have also assumed that you are going to go in the winters as you are not going to give the auroras a miss. Iceland slips into sub-zero temperatures. So if you are not going to watch the lights from the comforts of your blanket, do dress up accordingly. Wear a wind-proof jacket, warm thermals, and scarves while you go for viewing the lights.
Do you need any more reasons to be lured into watching the Northern lights on your solo trip? I am sure I went slightly overboard, and you must have been convinced from the start about the auroras being the most beautiful attractions!
Happy aurora watching you bold solo traveller!
An introverted blogger who is looking to make unforgettable solo travel memories with one short life.