Northern lights in Iceland: when and where to see them

Person staring at the northern lights in Iceland

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We are sure you’ve heard of the wonders you can discover in the tours in Iceland and, of course, of its northern lights, how beautiful and impressive they are and the exclusivity of seeing them. Not in any place or at any time is possible, but do not suffer because today we bring you prepared a master class to solve any doubts you may have about the northern lights in Iceland.

Aurora borealis in a forest in Iceland

What are the northern lights

Before going into detail, we believe it is necessary that you understand what is the aurora borealis, because it has nothing to do with magic, we warn you. The colors that come to your head when you hear aurora borealis, are the result of the ionization of solar particles that enter the Earth’s magnetic field in the upper atmosphere.

Quickly we explain the ionization. These solar particles we are talking about interact with the different atoms and molecules in our atmosphere. The energy of the particles excites the atoms, causing them to rise to a higher energy level. When they return to their fundamental state, they release the acquired energy in the form of dancing lights high in the sky.

Northern lights are usually green, but sometimes they can also be violet, red, pink, orange and blue. To conclude the quick chemistry lesson, we explain that the colors depend on the elements that are ionized, which give off some colors or others. The blue ones are the least common!

Colors of northern lights

Where to watch northern lights in Iceland

Not all corners of Iceland are optimal places from which to discover the northern lights, although the whole island can give you the opportunity. From Howlanders we reveal the best places from where to see the northern lights in Iceland.

So, here are the best places from where to see the Northern Lights in Iceland:

Reikiavik

In the settlements outside Reykjavik, the country’s capital, there is much less light pollution, which makes it possible to see the northern lights to perfection. Therefore, on the Northern Lights Tour from Reykjavik you get a bit further away from the central area of the town and ensure you get the full experience.

You have the opportunity to see these stunning lights in the sky from the water on a boat. Watching the Northern Lights on the Reykjavik boat is a once-in-a-lifetime experience, a must if you visit Iceland 😉

Seeing the aurora borealis from the reikiavik cruise

Jökulsárlón

On our Jökulsárlón Glacial Lagoon tours, located in southern Iceland, you will enjoy its spectacular views. And if you are lucky, on the South Coast and Jökulsárlón Glacial Lagoon two-day tour you will discover the Northern Lights.

This glacial lagoon acts as a mirror and reflects the lights that the sky emits. Seeing the aurora borealis sparkle both in the sky and in the ice chunks detached by the Vatnajökull glacier is unparalleled.That is why it is one of the best places from which to see this Icelandic wonder.

Tourist in Jökulsárlón

Geysir

Seeing the northern lights at Golden Circle of Iceland is possible and here’s proof of that. Even if there is light pollution coming from nearby utilities, when the northern lights have a certain intensity, seeing them from Geysir is spectacular.

Travelers in Geysir Iceland

Kirkjufell

Iceland’s most famous mountain peak and its north-facing orientation offers privileged views of the phenomenon. You should know that it is a very touristy place always full of travelers who want to immortalize the moment.

Person in Kirkjufell Iceland

Hvítserkur

It is a rock formation also known as the “Rhino” and faces north and seaward, making it a perfect location for photographing the aurora in northern Iceland.

Landsacpe in Hvítserkur at sunrise

Stokkness

It is undoubtedly the best beach to see auroras in Iceland. Stokksnes: The iconic Vestrahorn Mountains offer a great opportunity to see the northern lights of Iceland reflected on the beach surrounded by black volcanic sand dunes.

Lanscape in Stokksnes

Skógafoss

See the northern lights in a waterfall? It’s possible. The Skógafoss waterfall faces north toward the Eyjafjallajökull volcano (try pronouncing that), so light pollution is nonexistent. The only thing that can the views is the amount of flashes.

Caída del agua de Skógafoss en Islandia

Best time to see northern lights in Iceland

The season for seeing northern lights in Iceland runs from late August to mid-April. There’s no doubt that the best months are September and March. The reason these months are the best for enjoying colorful skies is that the nights are long, dark, and solar-active, a must!

If you want a good advice from a good friend, we’ll give it to you. Our favorite month is September because it’s possible to see the auroras almost without difficulty, it’s usually quite easy, and it’s also good weather.

To see the northern lights in Iceland what you need is to be in the right place at the right time, so you know, follow the instructions and enjoy the view. If you don’t get to see them don’t go thinking that your trip wasn’t worth it, Iceland is a small island, but there is a lot to see! Do you already have a clear itinerary?

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