How to See and Where to See Northern Lights in Iceland

The Northern Lights, also known as Aurora Borealis, is one of the natural wonders in the world. Iceland is the perfect place to see Aurora Borealis, especially places like Reykjavik, Skogar, Hella or Hafin.  Northern lights in Iceland are stunning natural light displays that can be seen in the Earth’s Polar Regions.

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In Iceland, the Northern Lights are a popular attraction due to the country’s perfect position near the Arctic Circle. It is 65° N on the southern edge of the Arctic Circle, where you can see auroras almost every night. It is a mesmerizing phenomenon that occurs when charged particles from the sun collide with gases in the Earth’s atmosphere, creating a beautiful dance of colors in the night sky.

Never miss to see one of the phenomenal natural wonder once in your lifetime while visiting to Iceland. According to a recent survey many backpackers are visiting Iceland and its cities just to catch a glimpse of this breath taking spectacle, making it a must-see experience.

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What are Northern Lights?

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Northern Lights occurring by the electrically charged particles from the sun smashing into Earth’s magnetic fields. It is a “Solar Wind” which is put down to magnetic poles of the northern and southern hemispheres. These hemispheres are creating green, red, and blue swaths that rotate and shape over the Arctic Circle. Aurora is occurring almost every time, but we need darkness and cloud free skies to see.


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

Normally northern lights in Iceland are visible throughout the year, but not much more visible than the months of late September to mid-April. During these months nights are long, approximately 19 hours, especially its darkness and winter solstice. If you are not comfortable visiting during these months, you can also visit in the months of October, February, and March. Typically these months are more visible and time of clear skies to explore the lights.

Iceland Aurora Borealis Northern - Free photo on Pixabay - Pixabay

There are Equinoxes (one of the year two) in the middle of November to March. Equinoxes means “equal night”, when you can see 12 hours of daylight and 12 hours of darkness. The reason behind this is, the magnetic field of the solar wind from the sun faces at the optimal angle relative to Earth. Which will lead to brighter and stronger displays. Aurora activities reach peak level during the solar maximum, when the sun reaches its most active point in the 11 year cycle.

If you plan to visit Iceland to see the Northern Lights, it is always better to check the local weather forecast and aurora activity levels to maximize the chances of your seeing the Northern Lights. Remember, staying away from light pollution in remote and dark areas will improve your viewing and visible experiences. Keep in mind that the Aurora Borealis is a natural phenomenon, so sightings are never guaranteed.

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Best places to see the Explore Northern Lights in Iceland


1. Reykjavik

1,000+ Reykjavik Northern Lights Stock Photos, Pictures & Royalty-Free Images - iStock | Rio de janeiro, Reykjavik christmas, Gullfoss waterfall

Reykjavik is a capital city of Iceland and is also witnessing a place where exhibits visibility of the northern lights. If you are in the capital city and it is just a short drive away from light pollution to maximize the chances of the lights visibility. Under this city there are many other places where you see lights like Thingvellir National Park, one of the tourist destinations in Reykjavik. Or else you can visit the wild Reykjanes peninsula surrounding the city or Blue Lagoon. These places are also witnessing more visibility of northern lights during night.


2. Hella

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Hella is a small town with a population of 781 people, located in south Iceland. If you are in the Hella area and you wish to explore these nights, better to come to hotel Ranga. Where you can enjoy aurora alert service and outdoor hot tubs. It includes an onsite observatory with astronomers on hand to help you take full and clear skies.


3. Hofin

Premium Photo | Green northern lights in the sky of iceland near hofn

Hofin in Iceland always should be at the top of your bucket list when it is comes to Northern lights. Place which is nestled in the midst of a massive glacier and crashing sea, considered as a little fishing spot and best viewpoint to see Aurora Borealis viewing on the planet. Not only that, it is famous for no light pollution, razor sharp night skies and natural views. Never miss spending your night in a scenic seaside lodge, where celestial shows are like nowhere else.


4. Skogar

110+ Auroral Zone Stock Photos, Pictures & Royalty-Free Images - iStock

Like Hella, Skogar is also a small town well known for its Skogafoss waterfalls. Through above the waterfall you can see the aurora and see the green light reflected in its river. Even today Skoga’s waterfalls are considered the most photographic destination in the whole of Iceland. Apart from northern light views, the site is known for its lunar rainbows or “moonbows”. Remember visiting the full moon will make it harder to see the northern lights.


5. Snaefellsnes

Premium Photo | Landscape of snaefellsnes peninsula in a night with a beautiful northern lights. iceland

Very nearest city to the main capital of Iceland, Reykjavik. It is a Snaefellsnes peninsula, a wide area of land with less pollution and wilderness accommodations. Which will help to make your northern light views more visible and clear. If you want to stay at any hotel, better to choose the luxury Budir hotel near Budakirkja, an iconic black church.

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Iceland’s Northern Lights Tour

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There are a good number of guided tours available in Reykjavik to see the northern lights. Normally it includes Gray Line’s northern light tours and Reykjavik Excursions. Normally 3 to 4 hours of tour drive make you see the countryside to different locations each day with the optimal viewing options. It is very important to wear warm clothes before hopping on the bus.

Every day after 5 pm about whether the tour will take place, depends on visibility of sky, weather and other important factors. Suppose if your plan is cancelled, either your money will be refundable or a chance to take a tour again.

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Glacier National Park.

Q: When can you see the Northern Lights in Iceland?

A: Normally northern lights in Iceland are visible throughout the year, but not much more visible than the months of late September to mid-April.

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