In a little village next to where the Artic Ocean meets the Atlantic Ocean, on the western edge of Europe we have a little house we call the Northern Lights Casa.
This house is uniquely placed to observe the Northern Lights because it has no houses in front and no houses behind. From the living room you can observe in two directions thru big windows without any houses blocking the view.
This observation room is furnished with huge very comfortable sofas on which you can sit facing any direction.
Book on WhatsApp +41786177300 or by email firstname.lastname@example.org Prices from Euro 20 per person per night via our volunteer community program.
Iceland is the best place to observe the Northern Lights
It also happens to be the safest country on earth with pristine nature
Why do I need a special place to observe the Northern Lights?
You could stay in town or city, but you are less likely to spot the Northern Lights and if you do you would probably like to see them better without the light pollution emitted from the town or city. In that case you could head out of town but you might miss out on the Northern Light activity as the Northern Lights come and go.
Another possibility is for you to head out, out of town without out knowing if the Northern Lights will show up that night or not. You could take your own car or a so called Northern Lights tour bus. That is a hit and miss affair. The Northern Lights do not show up every night.
Standing out in the cold waiting for the Northern Lights to appear or to intensify may not be so pleasant. You could also take a walk, but you must be very careful not to loose your way in the dark. If you are standing somewhere looking up in the sky take care of yourself, whoever may be with you and your car so that you are not hit by someone driving.
If you really want to see the Northern Lights it is much smarter to stay at the Northern Lights Casa, relax in the living room which can also be booked as a group sleeping area and wait inside for the Northern Lights to appear. Once the Northern Lights do appear you can continue to watch from inside, step out on the veranda or take a short walk or drive to some nice spot such as to a local waterfall. Even if you have just one night you, your chances are greater of seeing the Northern Lights than the limited time you would want to stand outside or huddled up in your car. But there is no guarantee that you will see the Northern Lights on any given night, so staying longer is recommended. You could use the time well and do very nice day tours. On a cloudy night you could visit the local bar and event center just a few hundred meters away.
There are other places with windows facing the nature but you would be hard-pressed to find another place with such big windows facing two directions of pure nature where neither direction is obscured by a deep hillside.
What is the best place to observe the Northern Lights?
The ideal location to observe the Northern Lights is determined by the Geomagnetic North Pole. In an oval that is between 2000 km and 2500 km from the Geomagnetic North Pole. Our place is 2250 km south east from the Geomagnetic North Pole. The Northern Lights Casa is away from city lights, away from steep hillsides and features big sky views. There are faraway mountains, fjords and the Mt Fuji lookalike volcano that give your photos some reference.
What are the preconditions to see the Northern Lights clearly?
Right geographical location.
Cloudless or enough clear sky.
Darkness. Ideally also darkness in the Ionosphere; When the sun is just below the horizon it is still bright up there.
To be away from light pollution, such as towns and cities.
Enough solar eruptions. Two to 6 days earlier.
How does the frequency and intensity of the Northern Lights at the Northern Light Casa compare to being a bit further North or South ?
The Northern Lights Oval contracts and expands based on the intensity of the Solar Storms. The Northern Lights Casa is well placed for frequency and intensity. A bit more north you might see the Northern Lights a bit more often but with lesser intensity. A bit further south you can expect to see the Northern Lights not as frequently but possibly a bit more intense, but if you factor in the light pollution from Reykjavik, probably not.
How easy is it to book the Northern Light Casa?
It is very easy to book. In the summer it is a Bird Watchers and Midnight Sun Paradise and bookings often need to be made well in advance. It is only recently that we realized that uniqueness of the place when it comes to the Northern Lights and therefore it is possible to book even at short notice. In the winter months we tend to have long term guests, in which case it is not possible to book the whole house to yourself. But right now it would be possible. We have four small rooms available and the large living room for groups. We strongly recommend booking longer periods, this will make it more likely that you will experience the Northern Lights at their best. On the Snaefellsnes peninsula you discover a micro verse of Iceland. An ideal place to visit Iceland, not least in the winter.
Join our volunteer community and get to stay for less in potentially shared accommodation. You can stay for one night to months. You could even work alongside at the local fish processing firms or do some remote work from your new home. Reserve your first nights through airbnb. Easily accessable by car, but you could also get there by local bus or hitch hike. Plan on staying at least one night in the greater Reykjavik area on your way to and from Keflavik airport. Similar program also available at our location in Switzerland. See The Outdoor Retreat
Can you tell more about the Northern Light Casa?
The living room has these huge comfortable low sofas placed on top of a tatami floor, Japanese style. The Mt Fuji lookalike mountain that can be seen clearly from the house weather permitting ads to the Japanese feeling. This is just an ordinary house, that happens to be at the perfect location, with perfectly placed windows to observe the Northern Lights. We have done our best to make the place as comfortable as possible, with a fully equipped kitchen and high thread count linen, etc. We are a charity that campaigns against aggression, for biodiversity, against human right abuses and extreme COVID-19 measures. By staying with us you are at the same time supporting our causes.
Is it possible to get to the Northern Lights Casa by public Bus or do I need a car?
A public bus stops right in our street. So it is possible to get from Reykjavik and even Keflavik via a public bus. You would probably need to stay one night in the capital after arriving in the country and one night before departure.
Once you are there you can use the free school bus to get to the next village and town or walk.
It may also be possible for you to hitch hike.
There is a landing strip if you would like to arrive by a private plane and paved roads all the way from Reykjavik (200 km away). People often take some mountain passes but there is no need to take a mountain pass, so you are not really hindered in case there is bad winter weather, but always good to check the weather forecast.
IF you arrive by your OWN OR a RENTED CAR
It takes about 3 hours to drive from Reykjavik. You can choose between two different mountain passes without a time penalty. One way is to take route 54 all the way to and continue on route 574. Another way is to take an earlier pass route 56 and continue on route 54 on the Northern side of the Peninsula. The last part is always route 574. The third choice is to continue on route 574 on the south side of the peninsula which bypasses mountain passes and takes you through the National Park. This route is a bit longer. We recommend route 56 mountain pass depending on road conditions.
RENTAL CAR ONE WAY. Some of the car rentals offer a service where they can bring the car to our place or you can return it at our place for a fixed extra charge.
BUS SERVICES FROM REYKJAVIK OR OTHER PLACES
You can use the Icelandic bus system to get to our street in Rif. The bus system called straeto.is was originally the Reykjavik City bus system that was extended into the country. You need to change the bus twice but do not worry the buses wait for each other.
LANDING STRIP FOR A PRIVATE PLANE
There is an official landing strip within walking distance. So if you have a private plane or you hire a plane it is one more choice of how to get to the Washitsu.Casa if you have the resources
Superb FREE PARKING also for larger vehicles
There is plenty of free parking on both side of the street. You can park your car, SUV, Caravan, Mini-bus, Bus or Long Vehicle for free.
DRIVING THROUGH A BIRD SANCTUARY
In summer from May to August. There are a lot of birds on the local road. Just drive carefully and enjoy this unique experience.
GETTING AROUND LOCALLY:
FREE local buses
The school bus is free and available for all if space allows many times a day. It stops just a few meters away at the bus shelters.
You can use it to get to Hellisandur and Olafsvik. Where you can shop groceries, go swimming (Olafsvik), go to Restaurants and Cafes (note that not all of them are open in Winter)
The BUS system that takes you to Reykjavik and other far away places can also take you to other places not so far away such as Grundarfjordur and Stykkisholmur. At least you could use that in one direction and ....
It is a nice way to get around and to get to know new people. Depending on the distance you would like to cover you might want to start early so that you are not traveling to late when less cars are around
Is it possible to see the Northern Lights in daytime?
It is possible but you would hardly notice them. They look like strangely moving white clouds. If you do notice the Northern Lights when it is still daytime then it might be a good idea to wait until dusk and eventual darkness and you will start to be able to discern color and be rewarded with a magnificent Northern Light show.
Is it possible to see the Northern Lights in the summer?
During high summer the same applies, as to the daytime question. It is possible to see the Northern Lights while it is daylight outside, but you would hardly notice them. They look like strangely moving white clouds. As long as it gets really dark you have a chance of seeing them clearly. In Iceland it is possible to see them from August until early May. September to mid April would be recommended.
Does it need to be cold and high-winter to see the Northern Lights?
The appearance of the Northern Lights is not directly related to the temperature. However the less cloud cover one has the better. Cloud cover reduces heat emitted from the earth surface from escaping into space and therefore there is a tendency for it to be colder on a Northern Lights observable night. Being in Iceland it will be less cold then other known Northern Lights observation posts, but be aware it is often windy in all of those places which can make it feel really cold. Because of the Gulf current Iceland does not get as cold as other places equally far north. Iceland is rather cool all year round. It gets a bit colder during the darkest months but because it does not have a continental climate, high-winter is shorter.
It does not make all the difference whether you come in September, January or April when it comes to the weather. You are more likely to experience a snow storm in January and it could happen in April but rather unlikely in September. In other Northern Lights observation places on earth you are much more likely to experience snow storms.
It is a myth that it needs to be high winter. All that is required is that it gets really dark. Obviously in high winter you have more hours of darkness but you are hardly going to be staying up all night so it is enough to have some period of darkness. So September and early April are good choices.
If you want to visit in the summer it would NOT be for the Northern Lights but for the Midnight Sun; for the period where you have 24 hour daylight. August and early May are also good to visit Iceland as you have long days and yet a slight chance of seeing the Northern Lights. Visiting outside the peak travel season of July and August will save you money on accommodation and car rental and will enable you to experience even more tranquility.
What is the advantage of Iceland compared to other places in the world to observe the Northern Lights?
Iceland is warmed up by the Gulf current. It is the warmest place of all the places underneath the Northern Lights Oval. The winter temperature is a few degrees warmer than Tromsö, Norway. Considerably warmer than Narsarsuaq, Greenland. A whopping 25 degrees warmer than mid to north Alaska.
Iceland is the only place where you can observe the Northern Lights without nearly always having snow and ice, especially in the west and south.
Unless you want to only stare at the Northern Light the whole day, in high winter, it is nice to get to see the sun in between. In Iceland, unless you are next to a steep mountain you do see the sun but in Tromso you don't. You still have twilight hours in Tromso but in Iceland you have about about 2 hours more.
On average there is less cloud cover. A lot less than the average is for Alaska.
The varied beauty of the country.
What is the difference between the Geomagnetic North Pole, the Magnetic North Pole and the Geographic North Pole, the Rotational North Pole, the hardest to reach North Pole and the flagged North Pole?
Why is the difference significant when it is about seeing the Northern Lights?
The Geographic North Pole forms the end of the axis that the earth spins around historically.
The Rotational North Pole or Astronomical North pole forms the end of the axis that the earth actually spins around today. I guess these Geographic North Pole and the Rotational North Pole are rather close just cm or meters apart, e.g. 12 meters apart.
It seems that the words for these poles mentioned above are used interchangeably so I am not sure of the exact terminology.
From time to time a flag is relocated on the Geographical North Pole but because the pack ice drifts it moves out of place.
The hardest to reach North Pole is the point towards the middle of the Northern hemisphere that is furthest away from all land.
The magnetic North Pole is pole to which the compass needle points to.
The Geomagnetic North Pole is the North Pole that takes into account the entire magnetic field of the Earth stretching from the center and into outer space. Its location can move about 50km in a single day but the average location is moving slowly towards the Rotational North Pole.
The magnetic North Pole is also moving towards the Rotational North Pole. But what if the reverse happened or has happened. That the rotational North Pole would move the 1000 km to the Geomagnetic North Pole or to some location such as in the middle of Greenland 2000 km south. Well that would cause an Ice Age in Europe and North America. There are certainly other explanations of why Ice Ages occur, such as volcanic activity, meteor impacts, tipping effects in the earths atmosphere but we think that Lance Weaver's theory is a plausible one.
There is also a town called the North Pole.
Having tried to explain all the different terminology of the North Poles it is important to realize that it is the Geomagnetic North Pole that is the significant one when it comes to the Northern Lights.
Where are the photos taken?
In Iceland, many of which are taken on the Snaefellsnes peninsula it self. The peninsula where the Northern Lights Casa is located. Almost all of the scenery settings captured can be replicated within a short driving distance. There are waterfalls, plains, lavas, rock formations, churches, light houses, beaches, cliffs, lakes, magnificent mountains and fjords within a short driving distance of the Northern Light Casa. We are located in Rif, next to the Snaefellsnes Glacier National Park.