We head from Reykjavik to the Cave Arnarker in Leitahraun lava field which is an easily reachable and fantastic lava tube only about one hour drive from Reykjavik. From the road there is a short path to the cave’s entrance. The cave is a hollow pit which reaches down vertically about 16 metres and measures well over 516 metres in length.
The ceiling of the cave probably broke a few thousand years ago and it is amazing that it actually broke considering the depth of the cave itself.
The pit is the only entrance into the cave and we climb down into the cave using a sturdy ladder. From the opening, the cave reaches about 100 metres to the south but over 400 metres to the north.
We go into the tube which is quite spacious, both in width and in height, although the cave’s northern tunnel has more or less collapsed. A breakdown covers the whole floor, except for the first 100 metres, which is mostly covered by a crust of ice and we always take extra care in this part.
During the late season of winter, the ice constructs the amazing and beautiful formations of ice castles, some of these rise to well over 3 metres in height.
On this tour we spend about one to two hours underground, then we go back to the car and drive to a nearby restaurant to have a delicious dinner, giving us the energy for the latter part of this trip: The northern lights hunt.
The insight of our guide, the weather report and aurora forecast will all combine to decide the direction we will head in.
The northern lights are created by the sun’s magnetic activity, caused when large numbers of electrons which stream towards the earth along a magnetic field collide with air particles in the sky. The air then lights up in a way which is rather similar to what happens in a fluorescent light tube – and we see the northern lights which are also called the aurora borealis.
The resulting colours of the northern lights reflect the gases present high above us. The charged particles originate from the sun, and weather conditions around the sun and on earth decide whether or not we will see this phenomenon. It is most common to see shades of green in the northern lights, red northern lights are rather rare.
We get back to Reykjavik at 1:00 – 2:00, depending on how lucky we have been with the northern lights hunting. You are dropped off at your hotel.