The Best Time and Where to stay in Iceland to See the Northern Lights

The Best TIme and Where to stay in Iceland to See the Northern Lights

What are the Northern Lights?

The Northern Lights or also called aurora borealis is the most beautiful astronomical phenomenon. The essence of its name comes from Aurora, goddess of dawn, and Boreas, which means north wind. This phenomenon is caused by solar energetic particles passing through a cloud of gas and appearing in the sky. When it starts it seems like colorful lights dance in the night sky. The lights show different forms like ribbons, bands, arcs, or gun rays that brighten up the sky. It displays a variety of colors, among them green, red, blue and pink are dominating. 

Iceland is the best place to see the Northern Lights

Northern Lights.
Northern Lights. Source Getty Images

Being located at the latitude of approximately 64° north, Iceland is one of the best parts in the world to look at these dancing lights. Tons of people have already chosen it as one of the best destinations to travel and have enjoyed this phenomenon. 

Everybody can assume that wintertime Iceland is a magic land for a vacation to see snow-covered waterfalls, to go skiing or snowboarding, to see ice caves. 

However, The Northern Lights are one of the main reasons people from all over the world visit Iceland. Looking at the Northern Lights would be an amazing adventure and an unmemorable event in anyone’s life. 

So, if you want to see this majestic view, plan a perfect vacation to Iceland. Do not certainly know when to go and where to stay? You are not alone. We have prepared a step by step guide to present the best times, best ways, and places to enjoy Aurora Borealis in Iceland. 

When is the best time to see the Northern Lights in Iceland?

Though there is no 100% guarantee of seeing the Northern Lights in a special time, the first precondition to hunting them is deep darkness. Once the sky becomes black Aurora Borealis can be already visible. In Iceland, Northern lights are usually seen almost eight months in the year. However, the best time for it is from late August to April. Particularly November to February has the longest and coldest nights that make it the perfect time to see the Northern Lights. Moreover, equinoxes in September and March are also ideal for seeing these twirling lights, as the Sun is above the Equator. Indeed, late spring and summer are bad times to look at the Northern Lights in Iceland, as the days become longer and the nights become shorter. 

What about the best time of the day to see the Northern lights? We can advise that midnight is the best time to see the Northern Lights, particularly from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. However as nights are longer in the wintertime Iceland, you can hunt the Northern Lights even at 7 o’clock in the morning or 9 o’clock at night. 

What are the best places to see the Northern Lights in Iceland?

Iceland along with Greenland are considered unique countries in the world that allow you to see the Northern Lights nearly from any spot. You can see The Northern Lights from almost any part of this country, including Reykjavik, the capital and largest city of Iceland. 

Thingvellir National Park

Thingvellir National Park
Thingvellir National Park. Source Getty Images

Drive about 30 miles outside Reykjavik and catch the aurora from Thingvellir National Park. Thingvellir National Park is located on the shores of Lake Thingvallavatn. This landscape is a good place to look at the Aurora Borealis. You can stay at The Aurora Bubble Hotel and spend the night under a beautiful view of the stars. 

Snaefellsjokull National Park

Snaefellsjokull National Park.
Snaefellsjokull National Park. Source Getty Images

The next spot for this purpose is Snaefellsjokull National Park located in the west of Iceland. It was the first national park in Iceland and is known as the best place for the Aurora Borealis hunting. 

Grótta Lighthouse

Grótta Lighthouse
Grótta Lighthouse. Source Getty Images

Grótta Lighthouse is a small lighthouse and another perfect place to hunt the Northern Lights in winter. It takes only a 10-minute drive from Reykjavik by taxi or bus to get to the darkest areas of Iceland’s capital.

Blue Lagoon 

Blue Lagoon
Blue Lagoon. Source Getty Images

Located on the rocky Reykjanes Peninsula there is an outdoor spa called Blue Lagoon. Besides being a unique geothermal spa that provides you relaxation and rejuvenation, it is also a great place to look at The Northern Lights. 


Vik. Source Getty Images

Not far from Reykjavik there is a seafront village with black sand beaches. If you are looking for a place in Iceland to stay in winter and autumn time, welcome to Vik. It is a great choice to see the Northern Lights. Be sure November is especially the best time to see The Northern Lights.


Kirkjufell. Source Getty Images

Kirkjufell is a 463-meter high mountain located on the North Coast. It is considered as one of the most photographed mountains in Iceland. Besides its waterfall and natural beauty, it is a good spot to see magic lights and take fantastic photos.

Here are the top 5 best ways to see the Northern Lights in Iceland

1. Northern Lights Boat tours

Looking at the Northern lights by taking a boat tour is a great choice. This two hours trip will take you to the sea to meet these magnificent dancing colors. Even if you fail to hunt these multicolored beauties it will become a unique experience for your whole life.

2. ​Rent a car

Another way to see the Northern Lights is to rent a car and hunt Aurora Borealis. It is a good opportunity to get freedom and mobility to go outside the city areas and find popular lights in the sky. Car assures you to take interesting pictures. ​

3. Whales and northern lights

It is just the case when you can see two wonders in one place. You can both go for whale watching in Faxafloi and the  Northern lights tours. You will enjoy this whale watching tour with minke whales, humpback whales, sei whales, fin whales, and blue whales and go on a northern lights cruise. 

4. Northern Lights Bus tours

These three hours or a bit longer bus tours are one of the most comfortable and cost-effective ways to see the Northern Lights. Experienced drivers will take you to the right viewing spots to enjoy dancing lights. Take free photos and keep the memory of this natural wonder!

5. Super jeep tours

Many visitors prefer special tours by jeep to see the best known Northern lights. So rely on professionals, leave the city behind and go deep into nature to increase the chance to hunt this majestic phenomenon. 

No words can better describe the beauty and energy of these colorful lights than your eyes. So plan a wonderful vacation today and go hunting these amazing auroras. Iceland waits for you to see the Northern Lights and relax. Be sure these moments will stay with you in your whole life. 


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