Ask the Experts: Northern Lights

Happy Friday, everyone! Here at STA Travel Towers, there’s nothing we enjoy more than a good travel question to get a Friday off to a flying start. That’s why we have Ask the Experts, the blog post that sees some of our finest Travel Experts answering your questions!

Got a question of your own? Email us, and the Experts will answer it soon right here on the blog.

A new Expert joins in the panel today – say hello to Amy Pearson from our store up in Leeds Vicar Lane! She joins Claire Whittington from our Brighton store to tackle whatever travel question is thrown at them this week.

Speaking of this week’s question – let’s hear it! It comes courtesy of blog reader Richard, who wants to know where he can experience one of nature’s most spectacular phenomenons…

Me and two mates have our hearts set on chasing the Northern Lights this November, but realise there is no guarantee we will see them. So we want to go somewhere with lots of other activities like husky sledging and climbing glaciers that will soften the blow if we are unsuccessful! Where would you recommend? Richard

Brilliant question there from Richard. There’d be nothing worse than missing out on the Northern Lights and having nothing to do to fill your time! Let’s see whether Claire and Amy can come up with an adventure that ticks all the boxes.

Claire Whittington from STA Travel Brighton says…

Those in the know reckon that 2012 is the best year to see the Northern Lights, Richard, so if you’re going in November you have a really good chance of spotting this colourful phenomenon.

Iceland is a great option. Reykjavik is only a 3 hour flight away and offers plenty of other activities. We have a great package which includes airport transfer and your accommodation plus another “must-do” activity when in Iceland – going to geothermal spa!

On the second day of your trip you’ll be taken to a unique geothermal spa situated on the youngest lava field in west Iceland – the Blue Lagoon.

Visiting the Blue Lagoon is a must | Image courtesy of JTang

Whether you choose to walk around the spectacular surroundings, bath in the milky blue-green water, relax in a geothermal steam bath or release your stress under a Blue Lagoon waterfall you can guarantee you will be ready for your night time Aurora Borealis spotting!

On the third day your adventure really starts. You’ll have a free day to do what you want, but make sure you’re ready for your 5.30pm pick up by an enormous super-jeep with an expert guide at the wheel. The search for the Aurora Borealis starts NOW! You’ll start by exploring the hidden world in and under the lava field in the Blue Mountains, only 25 minutes drive from Reykjavik. Walking down into the caves and exploring the marvels that volcanic activity has created is a trip that everyone must see.

Once you’ve finished exploring the caves you’ll then go on to visit one of Iceland’s most renowned seafood restaurants which is famous for its lobster dinner. After dinner it is time to step outside and keep an eye out for the Northern Lights; a sight to remember forever.

Amy Pearson from STA Travel Leeds Vicar Lane says…

I’m with Claire, Richard – Iceland is a great place to head to for some Northern Lights action. Not only does this country have the most spectacular views of the Northern Lights, but there’s also a wide selection of amazing natural wonders to explore, just in case you aren’t successful with your chase. You can combine trekking through glaciers, camping in National Parks and relaxing in hots prings with some serious shopping, eating and culture in Reykjavik, the country’s stylish capital.

Getting there is also pretty easy as well; there are direct flights from London Heathrow to Reykjavik every day, and indirect from regional airports with prices ranging from £320. The best viewing months for the Northern Lights are September through to November, when the weather is still quite mild and there is alot of light, so you have picked a fantastic time to head out there. But remember the nights get quite cold, so pack some warm clothes!

The Northern Lights = amazeballs | Image courtesy of corepics

I’d recommend flying out there and spending a couple of days exploring the city before hitting the winter outdoor activities. We have a a great selection of accommodation, from budget to stylish, depending on how much you want to spend. For example the Park Inn Island, a 3 star hotel within walking distance of all the main attractions is available from £177 for a triple room for two nights. Reykjavik has some really incredible art galleries and museums to feed the culture vulture in you, so get stuck in.

After taking in the city and immersing yourself in Icelandic culture, I’d recommend getting in on the action packed package that Claire talks about above. Or, if you want to do something on a smaller scale, we also offer a one day trip chasing the lights in the comfort of a chauffeur driven jeep for just £98 per person. The best thing is, if the weather is a bit rubbish and you don’t get to see anything, they offer the whole thing again for free on anther day! So you can’t really fail to miss the Northern lights.

Hope that’s given you plenty of options to really make this a trip of a lifetime!


Fancy taking a trip to see the Northern Lights yourself? Come and see our Travel Experts and they’ll sort it out for you! If you enjoyed this week’s blog post, why not subscribe to the blog and make sure you’re the first to hear our Expert’s weekly advice.