Aurora Iceland – Northern Lights in Iceland

Everything you need to know about Aurora ICELAND – Northern lights in Iceland

 

1. What are the Northern Lights ?

Definition: Aurora Borealis is the commonly used term for Northern Lights. Aurora or auroras, aurorae, in some cases described as northern lights (aurora borealis), polar lights or southern lights (aurora australis), is a natural green light that appears in the dark sky of the Earth. It can usually be seen in the Polar Circle regions and in Antarctica.

aurora iceland northern lights from above
northern lights from above

The Northern lights in Iceland are caused by the collision of particles from the sun’s solar energy with the earth’s upper atmosphere near the area of the North Pole. This reaction creates this wonderful green light effect, known as the Aurora Borealis. They can also be pink, yellow and purple even blue sometimes.

 

2. When do Northern Lights appear in Iceland?

Northern Lights start making a presence on the Iceland sky in September around the equinox and they can be seen until late March, sometimes even in early April, depending on the solar activity and weather conditions. Very rarely they can be also seen during late August if there is an intense solar explosion or activity during that period. If you want to be sure that you will see the Northern Light in Iceland, my advice is to consider visiting Iceland late September or early October, as you have the highest chance of seeing the Aurora Borealis, because the solar activity is the highest around the Equinox.

 

3. What are the optimal conditions to see northern lights in Iceland

If you wish to observe aurora borealis in Iceland you have to be patient, lucky and the optimal conditions to see the lights should be met:

  • Plan to visit from September to March (April and August are months with lower chances of spotting it, even if they are visible the sunlight make them very fain)
  • Night skies should be as dark as possible (full moon can diminish the aurora)
  • Low light pollution is ideal, the darker it is the better you will see the northern lights
  • Clear skies or as little cloud cover as possible
  • High solar activity and intensity (aurora forecast above 3)

The last 2 conditions are essential and you can research them prior to planning to go and see the lights, by searching the cloud cover forecast and the aurora forecast. The bad thing with the forecasts is that they can only be made for a few days in the future. The aurora forecast is scaled from 0 to 9, and anything above 2 means you have a chance of seeing the northern lights. Check the cloudcover here: http://en.vedur.is/weather/forecasts/cloudcover/ Check the aurora iceland forecast here:  http://en.vedur.is/weather/forecasts/aurora/

 

4. Which part of Iceland is best for Northern Lights?

Perhaps the part of Iceland that is best for Northern Lights is the Northern part followed by the South-western part of Iceland, followed by the South. On the Northern part of Iceland the best places are around Akureyri and the Eyafjordur (Eyjafjörður). On the South western part of Iceland the best places to see the northern ligts in Iceland are Vik, Jokulsarlon, Thingvellir National Park, Reykjavik.

best places for Northern Lights
best places for Northern Lights

As you can probably imagine, the Northern Lights start appearing from the north part of Iceland, and as the intensity increases, you can also see them in the south. This is why everybody says the best places to see the Northern Lights in Iceland are the ones facing North, mountains, waterfalls, beaches or any other location that is facing North.

Iceland Northern Lights KP map
Iceland Northern Lights KP map

Also, the KP required to see North Lights in Iceland is slightly lower in North compared to the Southern part, as you can see in the picture below, the KP map of Aurora Borealis in Iceland.

KP Index Map of Northern Lights in Iceland
KP Index Map of Northern Lights Aurora Iceland

As it is shown in the photo above, the Northern Lights are visible all over Iceland from a KP 3. However in Northern Iceland, you could easily see the Northern Lights if the KP is above 2. All you need is dark sky without clouds and you have to be away from any light sources and have little to non light pollution. The higher the KP index the more visible the lights will be on the clear dark sky. See also: The best 5 places to see northern-lights in Iceland

 

5. Where are the best places to see the Northern Lights in Iceland?

Iceland is a big island and because of this there are many beautiful places where you can see Northern Light in Iceland. Over time, some spots even gained the fame of being the best places to see North Lights in Iceland. I will present each of them in detail for you below.

 

5.1 Best places to see North Lights in Iceland

Before we analyze each of the spots in detail, here is my list of favourite top 9 locations for Aurora Borealis:

  • VIK: is the most southern village in Iceland
  • KIRKJUFELL: is the best mountain to see Aurora Borealis in Iceland
  • SKOGAFOSS: is the most beautiful waterfall to see the North Lights in Iceland.
  • DC PLANE WRECK: The abandoned plane crash on the sólheimasandur volcanic beach is one of the great places to shoot Northern Light in Iceland
  • HVOLSVOLLUR: This beautiful church is the perfect place to see the Northern Light away from the cities, in total darkness.
  • STOKKSNES: This wild beach offers unique photo compositions and stunning place to view the Northern Light in Iceland.
  • GROTTA: perfect spot for Northern Light in Iceland close to Reykjavik
  • THINGVELLIR NATIONAL PARK: Silfra drift is the perfect location to see North Lights in Iceland
  • JOKULSARLON: the glacier lagoon offers the best view of the Northern Light in Iceland

If you really wish to view the Northern Lights in Iceland, finding the best place to view them is only half of the job, the other half has to be to find the best place to stay in Iceland for the Northern Lights. Having a good accomodation highly increases your chances of seeing the green dancing lights on the dark Icelandic sky. Find out Where is the best place to stay in Iceland for Northern Lights?

Our list of top locations for Aurora Borealis is built based on our own experience and based on other people’s reviews, and here are the details for each of the 9 places from this list:

VIK is the best place to see Northern Lights in Iceland Vik is the most southern village in Iceland, it is a good place to spot the green lights. Being located on the Ring Road makes it is very easily accessible by car, and also easy to include in your Iceland travel Itinerary.

7 best places to see Northern Lights in Iceland
Vik Aurora Iceland Northern Lights

Close to Vik, a few kilometers away from the Ring Road is the Reynisfjara beach. It is the ideal place to take incredible photos with the Northern Lights! Black sand beaches and the ocean waves will make your photos even more beautiful! The sound of the ocean amplifies the magic of the event and you will spend unique and magical moments there watching the Aurora playing on the sky!

KIRKJUFELL is the best place to see Northern Lights in Iceland Nord Coast Located on the nord coast of Iceland in the Snaefellsnes Peninsula, Kirkjufell is at 2 hours drive from Reykjavik. In winter-time 2 hours drive might seem more than 2 hours because of the winter weather conditions like snow and ice on the road. Spend a few days here to relax and enjoy the view and the Aurora lights.

High mountains everywhere around you and those breathtaking waterfalls, covered in white snow is how Kirkjufell looks in winter-time. This fairy tale land is the ideal spot for Aurora Borealis. The lights of Aurora look amplified because of the snow reflection. Dress warm and bring your tripod outside, find your perfect frame and start photographing, your photos of Northern Lights will look amazing.

SKOGAFOSS: is the most beautiful waterfall to see the North Lights in Iceland The waterfall is facing south so if you take photos of the aurora above it, the green lights will reflect in the water, this is just one of the iconic shots you can take there. What travellers that are searching to photograph the northern lights in Iceland appreciate about this landmark is that it is situated away from the cities, in a dark area without any light pollution.

There are many photographers around because it is a very accessible location, sometimes the car headlights or the camera flashes might make it harder to see the aurora borealis. When the place is not so crowded, you can really take some beautiful shots of the Green Lady reflecting in the waterfall water.

DC PLANE WRECK: The abandoned plane crash site on the sólheimasandur volcanic beach is one of the great places to shoot North Lights in Iceland. After the crash of 1973, when a US Navy DC plane ran out of fuel and crashed on this black sand beach in the Southern Iceland Coas, at Solheimasandur, this place became one of the best locations to see the Northern Lights in Iceland.

Iceland Northern Lights 2020
Iceland Northern Lights 2020

Everyone on the plane was very lucky, as they all survived, after the crash everyone found out that the pilot mistakenly switched off the wrong fuel tank. There are many Iceland tours you can take to Solheimasandur DC plane wreck.

The plane wreck in South Iceland is such a great place that it is worth visiting even in summer when you cannot see the Northern Lights.

HVOLSVOLLUR: This place has one of the most beautiful churches, being the best place to see the North Lights in Iceland, away from the cities, in pitch black darkness. If you are doing the South Coast of Iceland, you should definitely consider visiting this church as it is very close to Hvolsvollur and the amazing views of the hillside.

STOKKSNES – a stunning beautiful beach to view the Northern Lights in Iceland Also known as Vestrahorn it is one of the most beautiful places of Iceland to view the northern lights. The isolated mountains have something particular that combined with the black sand make this place so unique and wonderful. It just feels like an authentic representation of that nordic rough cold landscape.

The best part is that no matter the weather conditions, you can still take very beautiful photographs of the northern lights in this landscape, because it simply looks amazing.

GROTTA – Best location for Northern Light in Iceland close to Reykjavik Gotta is the perfect location for the Northern Lights in Iceland if you are looking for a good place that is close to Reykjavik. Grotta Lighthouse is the perfect spot! From here Aurora has something unique! I don’t know what! It might be greener, more intense, it sure is more beautiful! The landscape and the geographical position makes this place one of the best places to see North Lights in Iceland. All Aurora hunters know about this place, as it is very accessible from Reykjavik, being only 5 minute drive from the capital of Iceland.

THINGVELLIR NATIONAL PARK – Perfect place for Northern Lights in Iceland Thingvellir National Park is one of the most beautiful places of Iceland and one of the best places to view North Lights in Iceland. Silfra drift is located inside this National Park, it is the place where Eurasian and North American tectonic plates meet. From the info center you have to drive approx 10 more minutes and you will find a place from where you have a clear you over the Park, one of the best places to see Northern Lights in Iceland.

When the sky is clear and the solar activity is intense, the Green Lady appears on the dark sky, lighting the entire area, turning the landscape into something magical. The light show is spectacular here!

JOKULSARLON – Best place for Northern Lights Photography in Iceland Jokulsarlon is known to be the most famous glacier lagoons in Iceland, located in the southeast, right near Vatnajokull National Park. Jokulsarlon is the wildest part of Iceland! Tumbling waterfalls, geothermal vents, volcanoes covered with dry lava and snow are part of the local picture! This incredible landscape is the ideal place to spot Northern Lights!

The green lights dancing in the sky above the glacier lagoon is something you will never forget! The reflection of the lights in the icy water lagoon, the reflection from the floating icebergs is just too hard to explain in words, you have to go and see for yourself and photograph it with your camera. Here is a more detailed article about the best 5 places to see northern lights in Iceland.

 

5.2 Best places to see Northern Lights in Northern Iceland

  • KIRKJUFELL: is the best mountain to see Aurora Borealis in Iceland
  • AKUREYRI: Northern lights can often be seen in the surrounding areas of Akureyri from September through April on nights with clear sky
  • HUSAVIK: Sail the Skjalfandi Bay and watch the northern lights above you. It will sure be a very memorable experience you can do once in your lifetime.
  • MYVATN: It is also called Northern Light capital of Iceland and for a good reason. Myvatn is generally a clear sky area, having higher chances of seeing the aurora borealis.

 

5.3 Best places to see Northern Lights in Southern Iceland

  • VIK: known to be the most southern village of Iceland, this place has many beautiful spots to see the green light.
  • SKOGAFOSS: is the most beautiful waterfall to see the Northern Lights in Iceland.
  • DC PLANE WRECK: The abandoned plane crash on the sólheimasandur volcanic beach is one of the great places to shoot North Lights in Iceland
  • HVOLSVOLLUR: This beautiful church is the perfect place to see the North Lights away from the cities, in total darkness.
  • STOKKSNES: This wild beach offers unique photo compositions and stunning place to view the Northern Light in Iceland.
  • GROTTA: perfect spot for North Lights in Iceland close to Reykjavik
  • THINGVELLIR NATIONAL PARK: Silfra drift is the perfect location to see Northern-Lights in Iceland
  • JOKULSARLON: the glacier lagoon offers the best view of the Northern Lights in Iceland

 

6. Where can you see the Northern Lights in Reykjavik

The best spot close to the capital is the north-western part of Reykjavik, where there is little light pollution. Oskjuhlid forest is a great place to spot the northern lights close to Reykjavik. The forest surrounding Perlan, the popular landmark and restaurant is very dark, which makes it a good place to go and hunt for the aurora borealis, choose one of the clearings and enjoy the show.

northern lights from space
northern lights from space

An alternative to watching the lights from within Reykjavik can be one of the capital’s parks, such as Klambratun or Laugardalur Park. Though seeing the lights from Reykjavik might be the most comfortable, my advice is to go on the outskirts just outside of Reykjavik, because there is almost no light pollution which makes it easier to see the dancing lights. Akureyri on the other hand is also a good place to see the lights if you go on the outskirts of the city and find a dark vantage point to set your camera.

 

7. What is the best time to see Northern Lights in Iceland?

Best time for seeing north lights in Iceland is during mid September and mid March as these months are the ones the 2 equinoxes take place. October and November are also very good months to see the Aurora Borealis because there is more darkness due to winter time. “Best time” is hard to define simply because it can mean many different things depending on different factors. Some months are good because they have more hours of darkness meaning a higher chance of seeing the Aurora Borealis.

Best time for northern lights in Iceland is from mid September and mid March as these are the 2 equinoxes months.

Some months are best because the temperatures are more friendly (not so cold). Some months are good because they have less crowds translating into more perfect photos. Some months are great because they have friendlier weather conditions and are easily accessible for taking photos of the Northern Lights.

 

8. Which are the best months to see Northern Lights in Iceland?

Everything depends on your goal of seeing the Aurora Borealis and the weather conditions that you prefer and can endure. In my opinion these are the best months to see the northern light in Iceland:

  • July (almost impossible): Seeing the northern light in July is very improbable because there is not enough darkness. You have to be higly lucky to have a very high solar activity at the darkest hour of the night to see the green shades on the night sky.
  • August (possible): Travel at the end of August and you increase your chances of seeing the Aurora lights in Iceland in late summer. Check the solar activity and the aurora forecast on vedur.is.
  • September (high chance): September nights are longer, it is not that cold outside and you experience generally higher solar activity at the equinox. September is one of the best months to see Iceland northern lights, especially because of weather conditions and less cloudiness and higher solar activity.
  • October (very high chance): First 2 weeks of October have a higher solar activity and the first snow falls take place in most of the island. It is less cold than in winter months so October is a good month to see the northern lights in Iceland.
  • November (high chance): Snow and Ice start the winter season in Iceland. Weather is more unstable, but you get an increased number of hours of darkness so you have a higher chance to see the Green Lady in November.
  • December (high chance): Enjoy many hours of darkness, fewer tourists in most places, higher solar activity, so December is the best month to see the North Lights in Iceland.
  • January (high chance): If your goal is to take photos of the Aurora Borealis with the snowy winter wonderland scenery, then January is one of the best months to see northern lights in Iceland. Dress warm and have your camera ready, the whole island is already in Arctic winter.
  • February (high chance): More tourist comes in February, though snow and cold are still present and constant. Many small waterfalls are still frozen so February might be the perfect time to photograph the North Lights in Iceland.
  • March (highest chance): End of March comes with warmer temperatures, it is the end of winter and the spring equinox which means higher solar activity. More and more tourists visit Iceland as March is one of the best months to photograph the Northern Lights in Iceland.
  • April (possible): Spring is here, so the number of hours lights increases, and the scenery of Iceland changes with the thaw. You have a chance to see the Aurora Borealis in April but only during the first two weeks. Chances decrease drastically as you approach the end of April.
  • May (very low chance): May is close to summer so the long days, and lesser hours of dark translate into very very low chances, which means May is not the best month to see Aurora Borealis in Iceland.

In conclusion, the season for North Lights in Iceland starts in September and ends in March, sometimes at the beginning of April. The occasion of seeing it at the end of August and beginning of May are very rare. We still consider the best Northern Lights season in Iceland to be during autumn and early winter, that is from September to November.

 

9. What is the best month to see Northern Lights in Iceland?

In my opinion October is the best month to see North Lights in Iceland, simply because you have more darkness, it is close to the autumnal equinox that takes place in September when the solar activity is higher than other periods of the year.

Aurora Borealis Northern Lights in Iceland
Aurora Borealis Northern Lights of Iceland

 

10. Hunting the Northern Lights on a Guided Tour in Iceland

One of the most typical ways to hunt for the aurora borealis is by taking a tour guide into Icelandic nature. These excursions run on a regular basis from September to April whenever the lights are anticipated, and if they are terminated or not successful, you will obtain one more opportunity to see them for free. The benefits of such an excursion are manyfold.

You will certainly be under the care of an expert on the Northern Lights, where to find them, as well as exactly how to photo them; you will certainly be mobile sufficient to relocate to where the projection is greatest as well as cloud cover goes to its minimal, and you won’t require to bother with driving on your own on Iceland’s winter roads so you can forget about all driving problems.

Certainly, such scenic tours may also subject you to landscapes you might not otherwise see. Those on a budget plan will certainly appreciate sensibly cheap bus tours, which take you to one of the most encouraging areas without breaking the financial institution. You can reserve such trips from Reykjavík, from Akureyri as well as from East Iceland.

Those less stressed with their expenses or just very eager for a much more individual, immersive and personal experience can choose to take a super-jeep tour from Reykjavík. On such an excursion, you will certainly have a much smaller sized group, indicating you have a lot more opportunities to talk with your guide as well as fewer individuals crowding around you when you are seeing the lights.

You will additionally have the optprtunity to get to places where larger buses cannot go for the most remote seeing locations of aurora borealis, by traversing rivers as well as down rough tracks. It is possible to integrate a guided northern lights trip with various other adventures and tours, such as taking in the sights around the Golden Circle, or a cultural experience, like a lobster dinner.

There are few negative aspects to taking a guided tour into the Iceland nature to see the lights. Possibly the only reasons, besides your budget, to name another option is if you would certainly choose the originality of enjoying the auroras from the surface area of the ocean, or if you feel highly confident in your driving skills and drive to them on your own.

 

11. Best guided tours for seeing the Northern Lights in Iceland

We would recommend you consider getting a guided tour and stay on the safer side, since you will have a more pleasant and less stressful experience and you will come back from it with more beautiful memories on your mind and on your camera. We picked the tours we had to choose from when we were in Iceland, and the choice was not easy as all of the guided tours offer a great experience, knowledgeable guide and they have the highest positive reviews. We highly recommend taking any of the tours below as we’ve carefully selected them based on the experience, high review rate from tourists and we know they are reliable and professional.

Iceland Northern Lights Bus Tour from Reykjavik

Experience one of the world’s most beautiful natural phenomenon on a 4-hour evening bus tour in Iceland. Depart the bright lighting area of Reykjavik to search for the Northern Lights (Aurora Borealis).

  • Duration 4 hours
  • Instant confirmation
  • Live tour guide English
  • Pickup optional
  • Free cancellation up to 24 hours before activity starts
Aurora Borealis Northern Lights Tour from Reykjavik

Northern Lights are a spectacular natural light phenomenon, often seen dancing around in green, pink, purple colors across the Icelandic Arctic sky. You can spot them for yourself on this 3-hour tour from Reykjavik.

  • Duration 3 hours
  • Instant confirmation
  • Live tour guide English
  • Pickup optional
  • Free cancellation up to 24 hours before activity starts
Iceland Northern Lights Bus Tour

Head out to search for the elusive northern lights in a comfortable bus with a qualified and knowledgeable guide. A hot cocoa cup will keep you warm while your guide tells you interesting stories about Iceland on your way!

  • Duration 4 hours
  • Instant confirmation
  • Live tour guide English
  • Pickup included
  • Free cancellation up to 24 hours before activity starts

 

11.1 Iceland: Northern Lights Bus Tour from Reykjavik

Iceland Northern Lights Bus Tour from Reykjavik
Northern Lights Bus Tour from Reykjavik

Experience one of the world’s most beautiful natural phenomenon on a 4-hour evening bus tour in Iceland. Depart the bright lights of Reykjavik to search for the Northern Lights (Aurora Borealis). About this activity

  • Duration 4 hoursCheck availability to see starting times.
  • Printed or mobile voucher accepted
  • Instant confirmation
  • Live tour guideEnglish
  • Pickup optionalPick-up is between 8.30 pm and 9.00 pm if you have booked the tour at 8.30.
  • Pick-up is between 9.30 pm and 10.00 pm if you have booked the tour at 9.30 pm. Pick-up is included at selected hotels and guesthouses as well as authorized bus stops in central Reykjavik
  • Free cancellation up to 24 hours before activity starts

Depart the bright lights of Icelandic Capital city center to see the dancing lights of the Aurora Borealis on the dark skies of Iceland. Also known as the “Northern Lights,” it is one of the most spectacular shows during the winter months. Head for wherever meteorologists have predicted the lights will be at their best. To get stunning views of the sky you will aim for areas with no artificial light and more darkness. Hear explanations of how the Aurora Borealis is caused as a result of the charged particles released from the sun’s atmosphere colliding with the gas particles in the earth’s atmosphere

 

11.2 Aurora Borealis: Northern Lights Tour from Reykjavik

Aurora Borealis Northern Lights Tour from Reykjavik
Northern Lights Tour from Reykjavik

The Northern Lights are a spectacular natural light phenomenon, often seen dancing around in fantastic green, pink, purple colors across the Icelandic Arctic sky. You can spot them for yourself on this 3-hour tour from Reykjavik. About this activity:

  • Duration 3 hoursCheck availability to see starting times.
  • Printed or mobile voucher accepted
  • Instant confirmation
  • Live tour guideEnglish
  • Free cancellation up to 24 hours before activity starts

The Northern lights are caused by the interaction of particles from the sun’s solar energy with the upper atmosphere of the earth near the area of the North Pole. This reaction creates this wonderful light effect of colors dancing on the sky, often named Aurora Borealis. You can glimpse this sublime light display for yourself during this tour. Glimpsing the Northern Lights are on the top of many people’s lists when visiting Reykjavik, therefore this tour is organized in such a way as to increase your chances of seeing the Green Lady. The locations visited change every tour, because you will travel to wherever it is most probable for you to see them. This tour is unable to guarantee sightings, as the Northern Lights are very unpredictable, but they will do their best to hunt them for you. If you do not see any of the lights the first time round, you are more than welcome to join the tour again free of charge.

 

11.3 Iceland: Northern Lights Bus Tour

Iceland Northern Lights Bus Tour
Northern Lights Bus Tour

Head out to search for the elusive northern lights in a comfortable bus with a qualified and knowledgeable tour guide. A cup of hot cocoa will keep you warm while your guide will tell you some interesting stories about Iceland on your way! About this activity:

  • Duration 4 hours Starting time 9:00 PM
  • Printed or mobile voucher accepted
  • Instant confirmation
  • Live tour guideEnglish
  • Pickup includedYour accommodation, or a designated bus stop in Reykjavik city center.
  • Free cancellation up to 24 hours before activity starts

Experience a winter night in Iceland as you travel in a comfortable bus in search of a dark spot and clear skies to see the northern lights in Iceland. Retreat from the light pollution of the city to increase the opportunity of seeing the lights. You’ll admire the stars above while awaiting nature to brighten the sky in a swirling dance of green and purple lights. The size of the trip varies yet is usually from 3-5 hours. You’ll need to wear warm clothing in layers and you’ll get some hot cocoa to maintain you warm while you wait for the lights to show up. Your guide will discuss this natural phenomenon and also have tales in wealth about mysterious animals, folklore, ghost and elves. A word of advice is to book the Northern Lights Bus Tour when you arrive in Iceland, just in case weather conditions are not the best. Keep in mind that if you do take the tour and you will not see the lights, then you will have another possibility to go free of charge. You’ll need to re-book for the next evening early as the scenic tour sells out pretty fast.

 

12. Hunting the Northern Lights by car – Driving yourself in Iceland

If you have a driver’s license valid in Iceland, written with english characters, you can hire a car in Iceland and start hunting the Northern Lights by yourself. This means that you will be by yourself without any crowds or other group members interfering between you and the northern lights on your tour. No limit for how long can you stay waiting for the northern lights and you are the one choosing the place where you go hunting for the aurora borealis.

Get the best price for your car rental today

Before you decide on choosing this option, it is important to know about the restrictions in Iceland. Even if in September, October and in March and April the roads are mostly clear of ice, they can be hard to navigate and very dangerous from November to March. Iceland authorities can decide to close a road from one hour to another, and you have to be prepared to take another longer route if available or spend some extra days and wait for weather conditions to improve. See also: 3 Reasons why rent a car to chase Northern Lights in Iceland

If you have little or no experience of driving on snow and ice roads, narrow, dark or rural roads, the best thing you should do is to look at alternative ways of hunting for the northern lights. If on the other hand you do feel comfortable driving a car rental in Iceland, it is essential to hire a 4×4 car for the icy roads. To be safer and feel more secure when you rent a car the best thing you could do which gets you out of trouble is to buy an extra insurance.

Usually, the insurances offered by the rental companies does not have full coverage. So, to protect your wallet and to be prepared if something unpredictable would happen, buy extra insurance.

Do you like to travel without any worry that an incident might ruin your holiday? Stay on the safe side and buy extra insurance!

Don’t forget! Even if you have extra insurance bought, it is imperative to always check the weather forecast on vedur.is and to check what roads are open and closed on road.is before you leave your accommodation and start your own driving journey. Be sure that roads are open and that your destination point is accessible. Vedur.is is a very useful online tool that will help you get the best results when hunting for aurora borealis. You can find all the information about the aurora forecast scaled from 1 to 9, any forecast above 3 is worth driving out to see it.

You also get information about the cloud cover all around the island, so you can see where you can find clear skies. Don’t get fooled like us by vedur.is, the green colour does not mean there is aurora activity (we thought so when we entered the website first), it shows up where “low and mid level clouds” are, so green means a no-no for seeing the northern lights, white spots are the ones you should be looking for when aurora forecast (on the right side) is above 3.

Driving yourself for the northern lights give you freedom and privacy, but this option is not perfect and has its own disadvantages. One thing you will miss is the useful information a knowledgeable guide will give you during a guided tour. They not only know the Northern Lights spots and weather well but they also know the most common places to watch Aurora Borealis.

A second unpleasant thing is the stress of driving in Iceland in winter on the narrow icy roads, which can be an important inconvenient for those tourists seeking for a relaxed holiday, a travel to unwind and just forget about the daily stress and problems. Anyway, renting a car in Iceland and hunting for the Northern Lights is still a good option for the adventurous travellers that are not holding back from any obstacles on their way and always find a way to do what they have set themselves to do. See also: The Ultimate Guide for Iceland Car Rental

 

13. Hunting the Northern Lights by boat in Iceland

A final means to appreciate the incredible phenomenon of the green lights is by viewing them on a scenic boat tour. Boat tours for northern lights can be taken from both ports at Reykjavik and Akureyri, these excursions take you out on the sea, far from any light pollution, where you have an increased chance of seeing the lights. These excursions are extremely hassle-free, heading right out right into Eyjafjörður Fjord or Faxafloí Bay from downtown harbours of those particular towns. It does not take long from either location to be far away from the city lights to begin looking to the skies with hope that the Green lady will show up. While you do not quite have the freedom to move that can be found on a normal bus tour or on a jeep scenic tour, you definitely have far more than if you are trying to spot the lights from within the town. The main benefit of this experience, nonetheless, is not so much the ‘quest’ for the lights, as it is appreciating being out on the sea, bordered by beautiful landscapes with a canopy of stars everywhere above you. Despite this, you will still obtain a 2nd chance should your be unsuccessful or cancelled. In both Faxafloí as well as Eyjafjörður, a North Lights cruise might happen at the same time with an unintended whale-watching; after all, both bodies of water are residence for white-beaked dolphins and also harbour porpoises. Minke Whales are frequently viewed from Reykjavík, while Humpback Whales are regular site visitors for the north Iceland waters, but these are typically only located in summertime.

 

14. Where is the best place to stay in Iceland for Northern Lights?

There are many great places to go and see the Iceland aurora. Below you can find our top 3 places to see northern lights of Iceland:

 

14.1 Northern Lights Near Höfn

Not far from Hofn if you drive towards southwest you will get to Jokulsarlon glacier lagoon, where icebergs that break from the Breidamerkurjokull glacier float on the lagoon before drifting out to sea. It is a classic place to take photographs of the northern lights over the glacier lagoon, as it is to shoot them on the Icy beach nearby were big parts of the broken icebergs are pushed by the sea back on the black sand beach shore.

Book your overnight stay Near Hofn:

 

14.2 Northern Lights Near Skógar

The big attraction near Skogar small town is the Skogafoss waterfall. The waterfall is facing south so if you take photos of the aurora above it, the green lights will reflect in the water, this is just one of the iconic shots you can take there. If you are visiting the place while there is a full moon, my advice is to take advantage of it and shoot the famous rainbow (made by the moon light) that is produced by the moon in the waterfall’s spray. The stronger the moon light the better you will see the moon-bow but northern lights will be less visible.

Book your overnight stay at skogafoss Waterfall:

 

14.3 Northern Lights Near Snaefellsnes

Drive a few hours north of Reykjavik and you will get to Snaefellsnes peninsula. This is a no light pollution wild area and also it is the best wilderness accommodation. Our top choices for this area were Budir Hotel that is close to Budakikja, an iconic black church. Not far is the other nice accommodation Guesthouse Hof that has a great value and nice position. Both are excellent places to stay in and just wait for the aurora borealis to show up:

Book your overnight stay in Snaefellsnes:

 

15. Best accomodation for Northern Lights in Iceland

I have selected for you top accommodations from each area so you can easier book your accommodation for your personal travel itinerary in Iceland: Iceland Regions:

 

Book your overnight stay in Capital Region:
  • Close to Reykjavik main attractions
  • has parking place for the car
  • Northern Lights wake up call services
  • Close to Reykjavik main attractions
  • very modern rooms and great breakfast
  • assist in preparing an unforgetable Northern Lights tour
  • Close to Reykjavik main attractions
  • tasty breakfast
  • pick up and drop off from the hotel for Northern Lights tours

 

Book your overnight stay in Southern Peninsula:
  • close to Blue Lagoon
  • far from light polution
  • overlooking the lava fields near Reykjavik
  • close to Blue Lagoon
  • sea view
  • inside the Blue Lagoon
  • far from Light polution
  • great rooms and tasty breakfast

 

Book your overnight stay in western region:
  • remote location
  • far from light pollution
  • overlooking the glacier
  • remote location
  • close to snowmobile base
  • with nice rooms overlooking the beautiful landscape
  • located close to the mountains
  • overlooking the sea
  • the rooms at Dis Cottages offer comfortable beds and very clean bathrooms

 

Book your overnight stay in Westfjords:
  • panoramic views of the fjord and surrounding mountains
  • rent a car from the hotel reception to chase Northern Lights
  • set on a farm
  • far from any light pollution source
  • in a river valley with cozy rooms and great breakfast
  • modern hotel
  • located half distrance between Reykjavik and Akureyri
  • convenient location to start your Northern Lights hunt

 

Book your overnight stay in Northwestern Region:
  • car hire at the reception
  • hot spring bath
  • hot tub and sauna
  • view over the harbour
  • individual cottages with nice view over the surroundings
  • remote area outside Varmahlíd village
  • remote area
  • view over the sea
  • far from any light pollution
  • with nice rooms and a fully equiped kitchen

 

Book your overnight stay in Northeast Region:
  • individual cottages far from any light pollution
  • close to Myvatn Natural Pools
  • great breakfast and cozy rooms
  • located in Akureyri
  • the capital of the North
  • with nice rooms and great breakfast
  • staff very helpful will give you good tips for chasing Northern Lights
  • remote location
  • 13 km away from Husavik
  • offer nice rooms overlooking the beautiful scenery
  • each room have a terrace from where you can see the Northern Lights

 

Book your overnight stay in Eastern Region:
  • remote location
  • 6 km away from Egilsstadir
  • with hot tubs overlooking Lake Lagarfljót
  • far from any light pollution
  • beautiful scenery
  • most room offer views of Vatnajökull glacier
  • free use of bicycles
  • superb accommodation in a magnificent area
  • close to glacier lagoon
  • close to the diamond beach.
  • The rooms have wonderful views over the mountains or the ocean.

 

Book your overnight stay in Southern Region:
  • right near the Ring Road
  • far from any light pollution
  • cozy rooms and great breakfast
  • each room have a terrace from where you can see the northern lights
  • modern rooms with Nordic design
  • far from any light pollution
  • Views of the lava-fields
  • black sand river and even Vatnajäkull Glacier
  • next to Keflavik marina
  • Blue Lagoon is 20 minutes drive
  • good place after a long night of chasing Northern lights

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