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When Can you See the Northern Lights in Iceland?

When Can you See the Northern Lights in Iceland?

One of the most common questions we’re asked by our guests travelling to Iceland is when can you see the Northern Lights in Iceland.

Firstly summer is completely out of the question as there is almost 24 hours of daylight which, for obvious reasons, removes any chance of seeing the Northern Lights in Iceland because you need the darkness. Really you need to be looking to travel from September onward however this comes with a warning – the weather in Iceland, particularly in the winter period, can be extremely unpredictable – one minute it can be fine and within 30 minutes you can be in a blizzard. Often the risks from the weather are underestimated by tourists visiting Iceland which can cause accidents. We do not recommend hiring a car in Iceland during the winter period in Iceland, instead we suggest travelling with experienced guides only. Get in touch for more info on this.

Whilst never guaranteed, generally the Aurora in Iceland will be visible from mid September through until early April. This does however depend on the weather conditions. For example if there is snowfall, this is likely to reduce your chances of seeing the Northern Lights in Iceland owing to the cloud cover. There are Aurora forecasts that you can refer to however the best thing you can do to maximise your chances is to get out into the wilderness, away from a lot of light and be patient.

The thing about the Northern Lights in Iceland and anywhere across the Nordic region is there is no set time that they will be visible – the aurora may start at 5pm in the afternoon or it may not be until 3am. With this in mind, find a good spot, wrap up wart, potentially have a hip flask or flask of a hot beverage and then wait.

If you’re staying in Reykjavik, unless the Northern Lights are really strong then it’s unlikely you will see them – this is because of the light pollution. The best way to see the Northern Lights in Iceland is to take yourself out of the city centre and into the more wilderness areas.

The image below shows the Northern Lights above Jokulsarlon glacier lagoon in Iceland. Jokulsarlon is one of the most well known and well visited natural attractions in Iceland – it really is beautiful. Side note: Please don’t attempt to stand on the Icebergs as their movements are unpredictable.

iceberg lagoon Iceland