I’ve been wanting to do this post for a while now! A trip to Iceland is amazing in itself but seeing the Northern Lights is truly the perfect cherry on that cake! But more on that later on in this post….
Now, long before arriving in Iceland I was already looking forward to visiting Hotel Laki – this was for several reasons (including the promise of seeing the Northern Lights from the convenience of your room) but perhaps the biggest of all was the 5 course Icelandic meal we had planned with ingredients sourced from the local park. If it’s got anything to do with food, you know I’m in but this was so much more than that. It was a chance to indulge in something truly Icelandic and so after leaving Dyrhólaey we headed straight for Hotel Laki!
But not before taking a few roadside selfies of course…
I think I’m starting to get a bit better at this “roadside-jumping-photos” thing!
Eventually, we hit the road and made our way to Hotel Laki…
Now Hotel Laki is one of those hotels in Iceland that is set almost in the middle of nowhere and with so much land and free space that you can see for miles… This of course makes it perfect for viewing the Northern Lights as there is no light pollution here whatsoever. Even better still, there’s a rooftop space to see the Northern Lights from and even a tea, coffee and hot chocolate machine to keep you warm and hydrated as you wait to see the natural wonders that are the Northern Lights. It’s also a family run business as well which I love as you get to hear the full story of how the hotel came about and meet the faces behind the hotel!
When we arrived, we had a little gander around the hotel grounds…
See what I mean about being able to see for miles?
Everyone was clicking away at their cameras almost immediately!
Before we then went to our rooms to drop all our stuff in…
The view from the rooms was also fantastic – nothing but countryside, mountains and glaciers in the distance…
Finally we headed to the restaurant for dinner. Now dinner is not the 5 course meal I mentioned earlier – that happens much later on… Dinner was still amazing though!
We started off with some soup to warm us up! To be perfectly honest, the hotel was actually really lovely and toasty so the soup was more for nourishment than anything else! 🙂
Then we all had Icelandic lamb for our main. It was delicious! I don’t think I’ve had anything but great lamb in Iceland – this is why it’s my go-to meal all the time!
Finally, we headed to the rooftop to set up our cameras in the hope that we would see the Northern Lights. We’d tried for a couple of days at this point and nothing had happened (it was so cloudy on both days) but tonight, the forecast for seeing them was hight and because of where Hotel Laki is located, the cloud cover was meant to be much better.
I used the University of Alaska Northern Lights forecast along with the official Icelandic Met Office Aurora forecast to inform me of the expected cloud cover and strength/showing of the Northern Lights. It turns out, the best time from my estimate was around 4/5am. We were armed with bottle of prosecco to help keep us awake but we soon realised that we’d probably need to nap around midnight and then get up at 4 or 5 am to see if they were up!
I fell asleep quite easily after that but woke up in the middle of the night (turns out it was around 2.30am) to use the bathroom – I know this is probably too much information but I find that if I have to catch an early flight or wake up in the middle of the night, drinking water before bed helps me wake up because I’d need to go for a pee.
I tried going back to bed but just couldn’t sleep. I kept looking our of the window – thankfully, from the warm of my room I could see the skies quite clearly and monitor the potential Northern Lights and on my 3rd attempt – there it was! The skies had cleared and aurora borealis was out in full force!
And boy was it magnificent!
As you can imagine, I went a bit trigger happy here and took lots of photos to share with you! I also found out later that the hotel had actually called the room to wake us up to see the Northern Lights just in case we’d slept in (a service that comes in handy as you don’t need to worry about missing them then). I thought that was such a thoughtful personal touch as well and I was quite impressed that they kept an eye out for us!
We stayed out for hours, just watching the Northern Lights! They were definitely putting on a show and making up for the disappointment of not seeing them the previous nights before! Even when we went to bed, they were still out (the sun was actually starting to show signs of coming up over the horizon but boy was it worth it!
Now do you see why I said that Hotel Laki is the best place to see the Northern Lights in Iceland? 🙂