Aurora Hunting in Iceland (In Photos)

The very first thing I ever wrote on my bucket list – long before it made it onto the internet – was “see the northern lights”. And when I visited Iceland in 2012, that was my goal. It didn’t happen on that trip, but I still fell in love with Iceland’s incredible icebergs, volcanoes and waterfalls (read about it here).

So when it came time to plan my Thanksgiving trip, I couldn’t get past the idea of making good on my original goal, and I returned to Iceland. Here’s the story, in photos…

Seljalandsfoss Waterfall, which used to tumble off the side of the country until an eruption extended the coastline
Halfway up Skogafoss Waterfall
From the top of Skogafoss
The black sand beach at Reynisfjara, with rock formations reminiscent of the Giants Causeway in Northern Ireland
On our first night, there was no cloud cover and conditions were clear. It began with a faint line the north west
Then grew until it was unmistakeably the aurora, though it was less impressive to the naked eye
When the rare shades of purple appeared, I finally felt like I could tick “see the northern lights” off my bucket list
In the Icelandic winter, sunrise lasts for hours because the sun never rises very far past the horizon
The highlight of day two was meant to be an ice cave, but unfortunately recent rainfall had turned the main cave into a river, so we had to make do with this small – but still enchanting – archway
Jökulsárlón Glacial Lagoon
This is where the Breiðamerkurjökull glacier begins to reach water
The ice caps of Vatnajökull are visible in the distance
It’s always sunrise
Less than a kilometre away, the tide washes the escaped ice back up onto a black sand beach
It felt like standing on another planet
It’s uncanny watching the waves splash up over the smaller icebergs

The twisted remains of a steel bridge in Skeiðarársandur that was destroyed during a glacial flood following a volcanic eruption in 1996
Most of the south coast landscape resembles a moonscape
Back in Reykjavik, walking to the bus station, it was sunset