When Is The Best Month To See The Northern Lights In Iceland? (Planning Your Luxury Vacation)
Updated: Feb 2
When Is The Best Month To See The Northern Lights In Iceland?
While an attractive tourist destination for travelers from all over the world, one of the most appealing aspects is the Northern Lights or ‘Aurora Borealis’, which are known throughout the world for their unique, haunting natural beauty.
Predominantly seen in high latitude regions, such as both of the poles, the Northern Lights form when solar storms from the sun collide with the outer atmosphere of the Earth. The combination of gases in the atmosphere, including oxygen and nitrogen, causes unusual and distinctive light displays.
Iceland & The Northern Lights
Due to its northern location, Iceland is one of the lucky places where the Northern Lights can regularly, and clearly, be seen.
As a popular destination, Iceland can get busy, especially when trying to find the Northern Lights, but luckily there are countless tours and guides to take you to where you need to be.
The Perfect Time
Of course, there are also times of the year that are better for viewing this amazing phenomenon.
Due to its global location, Iceland is dominated by winter for much of the year, and has a relatively short summer, spring, and autumn.
Luckily, the winter is the best time to see the Northern Lights, and the length of the season means you stand a much larger chance of catching a glimpse.
In Iceland, spring occurs between April and May, and the similarly dark nights of this season means that there are still chances to see the Northern Lights - even though you have missed the peak time.
The best time during spring is obviously during the beginning of April, and as the evenings get lighter and more sun reaches the country, your chances become slimmer and slimmer with each passing week.
Summer in Iceland is equally short but can be incredibly sunny, making it near impossible during the period of June and July to see the Northern Lights at all.
The best way to avoid being disappointed is by not booking for June or July, as it simply doesn’t get dark enough for the Lights to be visible.
As the darker nights begin to return in the autumn, it can once again become possible to catch a glimpse.
During August and September, the evenings begin to draw shorter, and the temperature drops, making the conditions better for viewing the Northern Lights.
The Perfect Location
There are many areas considered prime locations for catching a glimpse of the Lights, including:
Hella - a small northern town.
Hofn - a quaint fishing village.
Skogar - a village.
The Threngsli stream.
Vik - small village.
Eldborgahraun - volcanic region.
Djupavik - isolated village.
The Asbyrgi canyon.
Jokulsarlon - glacial lake.
Hvitserkur rock formation.
Thingvellir National Park.
Siglufjörður - village.
Each of them comes with different accommodation options and specific tour packages which allow prospective tourists to get the most from their excursion.
Of course, there are several ways to improve your chances of viewing the Northern Lights, and choosing the right location is one of them.
Due to the light and chemical pollution caused by industrial and urban areas, such as the city of Reykjavik, these areas often have cloudier nights and less clear skies, meaning that spotting the Northern Lights can be difficult.
For the best chance of seeing them, the trick is to choose somewhere extremely remote, ideally with as few people as possible.
The lack of settlements, smoke, and light pollution will mean the skies appear clearer, and there is more chance of spotting anything that might be visible.
On a different note, it could be a nice idea to choose the location for the viewing based not only on the suitability for this task but also on the additional things it offers.
This could be a National Park, a mountainous region you wish to explore, pools you wish to swim in, or famed natural landmarks you intend to see while you are in the area.
The Perfect Accommodation
Of course, with the remoteness of some of these prime locations, finding somewhere to stay the night can be tricky.
If your chosen location is both a village and a prime location to view the Northern Lights, then your chances of finding a hotel are high.
These areas receive a large number of tourists every year for this exact reason and base much of their local economies around providing shelter and meals for visitors.
The town of Hella is a great example and has plenty of good quality hotels for tourists and adventurers looking to see the Northern Lights.
Remote locations are obviously great for seeing the Northern Lights, but will often require a tour guide or a specific excursion to be booked in order to see them.
This ensures you won’t get lost, will have someone to take you there and back, and will ensure you don’t have to risk getting lost or not finding a hotel when you are trying to find the Northern Lights.
Of course, you might not be staying on the mainland at all.
Due to the popularity of the region, and the number of people wanting to see the Northern Lights, there are countless cruises available for people wanting to see the natural beauty of the Lights from the comfort of first-class, luxury accommodation.
This can be a great way of getting you up close and personal with the phenomenon, although it can obviously mean a busier and less intimate viewing experience.
And there we have it, everything you need to book the perfect vacation to see the Northern Lights in Iceland.
As a beautiful country with so much to offer in terms of landscape, culture, and natural landmarks, it is no wonder why it continues to draw tourists from all over the world.
Why not go check it out for yourself?
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