NORTHERN LIGHTS IN ICELAND! Everything you need to know!

Photo by
Art Bicnick

When can I see the northern lights in Iceland? 

To experience the northern lights in Iceland you might want to visit in the winter. The high season for aurora spotting in Iceland runs from around mid September through March. Make sure to look for local recommendations and reviews when choosing the right service provider. Conditions can vary from day to day so stay alert and check the forecast regularly.

Where can I see the northern lights?

To see the northern lights in Iceland, a trip out of town is recommended as light pollution can prevent you from spotting the aurora displays. There are good “dark” spots within the city though and a few of them are listed in this “Best of Reykjavík” article.

If the weather is cloudy and you have no chance to see the auroras, we recommend a visit to Aurora Reykjavík, an interactive aurora exhibition. Also the “Wonders of Iceland” exhibition in Perlan has a beautiful northern lights feature in their 360°planetarium movie theatre. You can read more about it in this article from May 2019 and book your ticket here if you think you would enjoy it.

Don´t be shy to ask the locals for advice also. Some may have a secret spot they would share with you.

How can I see and experience the northern lights in Iceland?

You have a good chance of spotting the auroras by driving out of the city in any direction. Your chances are even better if you book a northern lights tour with one of the local travel operators in Iceland. Below are some of our local recommendations and reviews depending on what kind of experience you are looking for.

We encourage you to check out this article about one of the many aurora tours we have tried and written about. If you think this experience might suit your needs you can book a guided bus tour outside the city by following this link.

If you prefer going on an unforgettable aurora hunting boat trip you can check out this 2 hour boat tour out to Faxaflói bay. There is no light pollution at the open sea so this is a great way to explore the city from afar while experiencing the aurora at the same time!

You could also book this super jeep tour and experience the auroras in the utmost comfort and style! Highly recommended!

How can I photograph the northern lights?

Northern lights can be tricky to photograph. But with these settings on your camera you will get the best results:

  • ISO 800
  • Aperture 3.5 or lower
  • Exposure time 10-20 seconds
  • Manual focus

You can also read this guide from a few years back on how you can get the most out of your aurora hunting experience.

Who are we?

We are your local experts from the Reykjavík Grapevine! We have been publishing travel articles and reviews since 2004. Our main goal is providing our readers with the best local recommendation available so they can enjoy Iceland as much as we enjoy it. Feel free to follow us on social media for Icelandic news, travel features and food reviews. Also check out this article on everything you need to know about whales in Iceland!

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