The Northern lights are the most spectacular natural wonder in the world and countless people visit to see the beautiful lights every year. Visiting Iceland between the months of September and April can bring you a chance to witness the magnificent light display as the shades of purple and green dance over the sky.
What are Northern lights?
The Northern lights scientifically known as Aurora Borealis is the natural phenomenon where greenish and purple color lights appear on the sky in high latitude close to the Arctic and Antarctic circles. This peculiar phenomenon results in a fantastic spread of colors and dancing lights over the sky.
To see the beautiful Northern lights show you need to be away from the light pollution in the main cities. The chances to see the Northern lights increase if you book a guided tour as they know and take you to the best spots to pursue the lights.
There are many ways to go witnessing Northern lights including guided bus tours, super jeep tours, boat cruise, and even private tours. Most of the people visiting Iceland tend to stay in the south of Iceland for watching northern lights and other sightseeing. Therefore here we will tell you about a different way to go there from Reykjavík.
Big bus tour
The bus tour is a reliable and most economical option. It offers flexibility about rebooking. You really have no need to worry about booking and it is also easy to rebook in case of cancelation.
As compared to boat tours, the bus and other road tours have minimum chances of cancelation and they can also move in whatever direction they feel favorable at any given night but the boats are restricted to their routes.
Super jeep tour
The jeep tour is another option to go and look for Northern lights show but it is really expensive. If your budget allows paying for one person on super jeep tour equivalent to four people on bus tour then you can go for this adventure. The jeep tours are good on snowy roads because they can go faster on off-road driving.
The boat tour is offered by very few companies from big boats to yachts. All of these boats leave approximately from the same point in the old port and they go out on Faxaflói bay, far enough to take you out of range of city lights pollution. The cancelation chance of boat tour is higher as compared to land tour.
Therefore if you are on a short trip and can’t rebook, the boat cruise is not a good option for you. But if you have possibilities and more time to rebook then the boat is the great option.
If you are traveling with your family or in small groups, you can choose a private tour. For families especially with young children where you need to stop for the bathroom very often, private tour is a good option.
In contrast, if you are traveling alone, the private tour is not a good option because it is quite expensive as compared to booking scheduled tours. Private tours usually don’t offer second chance if you don’t see Northern lights which most of the guided tours offer. It means you will not get all for your money, but it is not always the case.
The best place to see northern lights in Iceland
If you are planning to visit Iceland for Northern lights, you may want to ensure that you see them on your trip. To increase the chances of watching Northern lights when you are in Iceland, we will tell you some nice spots where you can see the best view of Northern lights.
There are some places in Iceland where light pollution is lesser and chances are more to see lights show. Here are some of the spots:
Perlan (The Pearl)
Perlan is very close to downtown and offers you a stunning view above the whole city and the night sky. Although there will be some light pollution because of the nearest city still these lights can’t beat the outstanding Northern lights view inside the limits of the city.
Another best place to see Northern lights in Iceland is Grótta lighthouse in Seltjarnarnes. It is the small-cap town close to Reykjavík. There is very poor light around the Grótta lighthouse; this is what makes it the best place to view wonderful Northern lights.
Þingvellir National Park
The Þingvellir National Park is also a great place to look for Northern lights. It is far away from Reykjavík and is known for its amazing landscape of lava rock. Try to make a reservation at the Aurora Bubble Hotel if you are driving to the ring road. The guests here can spend nights under the stars and see the Auroras.
If you don’t want to go far from Reykjavik, Öskjuhlið is the best place to go. It is an amazing woodland near Reykjavik. A hill, 61 meters high above the sea level gives a great view of the city and as outstanding visibility of Northern lights.
Vik is another best place to see northern lights outside the town. Vik is a small village in the southwest of Iceland. The black sand beach next to Vik is a great place to see the dancing lights over the sky.
The Jökulsárlón is the best place to see northern lights and you can capture a unique photograph of Northern lights which is practically impossible anywhere else on earth. At the Jökulsárlón glacier lagoon, you can see lights shining in the ice falling off the Vatnajökull glacier.
Best time to see Northern lights Iceland
If you are visiting Iceland for especially seeing Northern lights, the months between September and April are preferred. It is because in these months the season is usually fall and winter with maximum hours of darkness.
Therefore, the best time to see the lights show is when there is maximum darkness. Summer and spring are associated with longer days and no total darkness, so it is impossible to see northern lights in these seasons.
There are many other factors which affect Northern lights Iceland visibility in the sky such as clouds and solar activity. Solar activity is much obvious in the equinoxes, meaning that the end of September and March are considered as the best times to see a huge show of Northern lights in Iceland.