Hunting Northern Lights by Snowcat on Múlakolla Mountain
Plow your way to the top of Múlakolla mountain in northern Iceland, which provides great views of the surrounding area as well as a particularly stunning vantage point for the Northern Lights.
You’ll make your way to the top of one of the tallest mountains in the Eyjafjordur area in a powerful snowcat to clear the path. The mountain stands 984 m (3228 ft) high. From here, you will have a view of almost the entire fjord, and across the Atlantic Ocean as well.
You’ll admire the twinkling lights of the houses of the nearby towns such as Ólafsfjörður, and the small settlements on Hrísey and Grimsey islands, out in the fjord itself. Away from these intrusive lights, you’ll be wrapped in the chill darkness of Icelandic winter as you cast your eyes to the sky.
The Northern Lights are one of the most enchanting parts of Iceland in winter, and locals, as well as visitors, hope to see these splashes of purple, pink, green and white splashed across the heavens; in fact, some tourists book their tours a year in advance in hopes of seeing them in person.
The Northern Lights are notoriously fickle. Depending on atmospheric conditions and weather, they can be difficult to see. But on a clear night, when solar winds are high and the atmosphere is full of charged particles reacting to the magnetic pole, it is a dazzling sight.
Throughout history, other cultures have tried to explain these mysterious lights in the sky. Certain Native American tribes believed that the lights were the spirits of the dearly departed, and when they shone brightly, it meant their loved ones were very happy.
Northern tribes in Finland believed the lights were sparks of static electricity caused by a spirit Arctic fox, whose fur rubbed against the mountains as he played.
Scholars of Norse mythology have suggested that the lights may be blows struck against the armour of the Valkyrie, whose armor sheds a “strange flickering light.” No matter how they appear to you, you will want to take photos to capture the moment.
Don’t miss your chance to see the famous Northern Lights of Iceland! Check the booking availability above by pressing "Choose a date."
- Available: Jan. - Apr.
- Duration: 3 hours
- Activities: Northern lights hunting
- Difficulty: Easy
- Languages: English, Icelandic
- Highlights: Grimsey,
Grímsey Island, roughly 5 kilometres in size, can be located off the north coast of Iceland, nestled just by the arctic circle. It is part of the Akureyri municipality, with a population of approximately 100 people living in the one settlement of Sandvík.
Grímsey’s economy has always been inherently linked to commercial fishing. The island boasts a recently renovated harbour and plentiful fishing grounds. Recently, the economy has diversified, with the advent of tourism to the island. Today, visitors will find Grímsey well equipped with modern amenities. The island enjoys an excellent school, guesthouses, cafes and a connection to Akureyri airport.
The island biggest attraction is the enormous flock of birdlife who make Grímsey their home. Their numbers are so prevalent here for a number of reasons. First, the fisheries around the island are prospering, meaning the birds have plenty to eat. Hunting and the collecting of eggs have also been minimised in the last half century. Finally, there are no mice or rats, meaning the eggs can lay safely in the low grass. Birdwatchers here will be privy to a wide range of species, including Black-Legged Kittiwakes, Atlantic Puffins, Auks, Razorbills, Thick-Billed Murre, Northern Fulmar. The list goes on. The best season for birdwatchers to visit Grimsey is between April to August. Afterwards, the birds beginning migrating for warmer climates.
There is a small, wooden church on Grimsey (albeit, within the parish of Akureyri) that is of significant historical interest. An older church had once been constructed in the 11th century by the Icelandic Catholic bishop, Jón Ögmundsson. The newer church was built in 1867 from driftwood that had washed ashore. The church was renovated in 1932 and displays a local, century-old imitation of a Leonardo Da Vinci painting.
There are a number of ways to visit Grímsey Island. Flights run from Akureyri, and there are ferry services to the island three times a week.Eyjafjörður,
Eyjafjordur is a fjord in North Iceland, over 70 km in length from the mouth to the bottom of the fjord. There are high mountains on both sides, the highest being Kerling (1538 m). The capital of the North, Akureyri (ca. 18,000 inhabitants) lies at the bottom of the fjord.
Five smaller fishing villages are scattered on the shore and the agriculture in the countryside is lively. Big fishing companies are located in Akureyri and there is a university there. Higher education, tourism and services have become among the fastest growing sectors of the Akureyri's economy in recent years. Akureyri has a strong cultural scene and we particularly recommend strolling through the old part of the town and visiting its many interesting museums, such as Nonni Museum and Davidshus. If you like skiing or snowboarding one of the country's best skiing sites is located at Hlidarfjall by Akureyri.
The islands Hrisey and Grimsey, known as the 'Pearl of Eyjafjordur' and 'The Pearl on the Artic Circle' both belong to the municipality of Akureyri. These beautiful and peaceful islands should not be missed by those traveling to the North.
One of Iceland's most beloved poets, Jonas Hallgrimsson, was born in Eyjafjordur, at Hraun in Oxnadalur. The knife-edged peaks over Hraun, formed by glaciers and frosty weather, are highly impressive sight. The best known of these is Hraundrangi ('Steeple Rock'), as one of Jonas's most famous poems, the love poem Ferdalok ('Journey's End') refers to the clouded love star over the peak.
The star of love
over Steeple Rock
is cloaked in clouds of night.
It laughed, once, from heaven
on the lad grieving
deep in the dark valley.
The poem ends on a more hopeful note, however:
The heavens part
the high planets,
blade parts back and edge;
not even eternity can part
souls that are sealed in love
Translation by Dick Ringler. Shared with kind permission.Hrísey,
In Eyjafordur in North Iceland there lies an island of around 200 people, called Hrisey, widely hailed as 'The Pearl of Eyjafjordur'. The beauty and tranquility of Hrisey, along with its interesting history and culture, the hospitality of the locals, rich birdlife and a fantastic view of the fjord and its mountains have made the island an essential stop for travelers.
History & Culture
Hrisey has been inhabited since the age of settlement and is mentioned as early as in Landnamabok and the Saga of Viga-Glumur. From early on there‘d be fishing and trade from the island and in the 19th century Norwegians and Swedes set up a herring salting factory there. The locals soon followed suit and developed their own herring industry, reaching its greatest hights between 1930 and 1950.
Overfishing in Icelandic waters led to a steep decline in the fishing industry in the 1960s, and the last fish freezing plant on Hrisey, owned by the Eyjafjordur Co-operative Society, closed in 1999. Today the locals mainly make their living through fishing and tourism.
Among the many beautiful houses in Hrisey is the house of Shark-Jorundur, built in 1885-6, which features an exhibition on shark hunting in Iceland, which reached its peak in the 19th century. This was an industry that was extremely hazardous and claimed many lives but could be highly profitable, as shark liver oil was used for street lighting until petrol took over.
At the house of Alda Halldorsdottir, built in 1913, locals are setting up a regional museum. An old fishing station has been turned into a handworks gallery, Galleri Perla, showcasing women‘s handwork, such as knitting products, handmade candles, paintings, artefacts made from seashells, souvenirs and more. Nature lovers should also check out the birdhouse and the lighthouse, which offers a fantastic view of the area.
The island itself is around 7 km long and 2,5 km wide. It is rather flat, 110 meters above sea level at its highest. The island is comprised of basalt and its upper lair of moraine (unconslidated glacier debris, soil and rock) and it is well vegitated. Among the many plants found on the island are wooly willow, tea-leaved willow, common juniper and dwarf birch.
There‘s geothermal heat and hot water supply on the island as well and at the seashore there‘s a pool with a heat of 60°C. It becomes submeged with sea water during flood.
As noted, the island is a haven for birds and more than 40 species may be found here. Most abundant are ptarmigans, but Hrisey also has the largest breeding colony of arctic terns in Europe and many types of moorland birds are prominent on the island as well.
Transport & Services
To reach the island, you‘ll need to take the ferry Saevar from the village Arskogssandur, on the west coast in Eyjafjordur. The ferry goes hourly in summertime and the journey takes around 20 minutes. A bus goes from Akureyri to the village. The drive takes around 30 minutes.
Hrisey offers good services, and along with the museums, gallery and lighthouse it has a bank, a restaurant, a shop and a post office, along with the aforrmentioned natural hot spring pool, ideal for a cozy bath. Good accommodation can be had at Hotel Brekka. Last but not least is the easy access to the stunning nature, ample opportunites for birdwatching and great walking trails around the island, where you can enjoy the peace and beauty of the Pearl of Eyjafjordur.
According to legend, it was here in the 18th century that the sorcerer Thorgeir Stefansson, 'Galdra-Geiri' conjured one of the most horrible and monstrous ghost in Iceland, Thorgeirsboli. It‘s said that the ghost was created by flaying a calf so it dragged its hide by its tail, and was given the elements of man, cat, dog, air, bird, mouse and two sea creatures, the monster was thus being able to take on all these forms. Other accounts claim that the monster came to be as the sorcerer placed a dog‘s leg inside the head of a flayed calf and recited evil poetry over it. The ghost was first conjured to haunt a woman who had spurned the sorcerer in love. It would then grow ever stronger and harder to contain and is said to have followed its creator‘s family for long after, not necessarily in their best interest either. Some believe Thorgeirsboli may still be out there somewhere, dragging his bloody hide behind him and giving out an earth-shattering and hellish moo...Ólafsfjörður,
Credit: Wikimedia, Creative Commons. Photo by Michal Gorski.
Ólafsfjörður is a town in North Iceland with a population of approximately 785 people.
The town is located in a fjord of the same name. Together with the town of Siglufjörður, Ólafsfjörður forms the larger municipality of Fjallabyggð.
Ólafsfjörður started to form at the end of the 19th Century, before growing around its harbour during the golden days of bountiful herring fishing in the area in the 1940s and 1950s. Today, the herring is gone, but fishing still makes up the town’s main industry, along with services related to tourism.
The town boasts numerous sporting groups, respectively dedicated to golfing, horse riding, skiing, shooting and snowmobiling. Skiers can make their way to Tindaöxl, where there is a lift that can take you up the slopes of the mountain above the town. Within Ólafsfjörður, there is also a geothermal swimming pool that is open all year round.Tröllaskági
Tröllaskági is a dramatic peninsula in north Iceland, renowned for its enormous mountains and high population of Icelandic horses.
It lies to the west of Eyjafjorður, the fjord in which the ‘capital of the North’, Akureyri, is nestled, and to the east of Skagafjörður. The most popular towns on it for visitors are Hofsós, which is home to the serene Infinity Pool, and Siglufjörður, which is home to the award-winning Herring Era Museum.
Outside of the Highlands, Tröllaskagi has the tallest mountains in Iceland, many exceeding 1,000 metres (3281 ft) in height. The tallest here is Mount Kerling, which is over 1,500 metres (4921 ft) tall.
Photo from Wikimedia, Creative Commons, by Jakob Gleby
Departure time : 22:30
Snowcat tour of Múlakolla mountain
Transportation to the Múlakolla / Ólafsfjörður starting point
What to bring:
Warm clothing and outerwear suited to rainy or chilly weather (waterproof recommended)
Sturdy shoes for walking/hiking
Hat & gloves
Good to know:
Operation of the tour and choice/availability of activities are dependent on weather conditions. If the tour is cancelled due to weather, you will receive a full refund.
The Northern Lights are dependent on weather and other atmospheric conditions. There is no guarantee when or where they may be seen. If the weather and aurora forecast and if it is favorable, the tour will proceed. If the tour is cancelled due to weather, you will receive full refund. If you do not see the Northern Lights on your tour, you can book the tour on another day for free in order to try again!