WHERE AND WHEN TO SEE NORTHERN LIGHTS IN ICELAND
An emotion impossible to forget
One of the reasons why one decides to take a trip to Iceland is definitely to see the Northern Lights. A natural phenomenon that colors the sky with a thousand shades and which gives unforgettable emotions: certainly an experience to try at least once in a lifetime.
The northern lights are generated by the collision between solar particles and atmospheric gases and are visible only in the absence of pollution and artificial lights on very clear nights.
Iceland, thanks to the vastness of its natural landscape and scattered urban settlement, is one of the destinations in the world where it is easier to see them, although it is very difficult to predict when they will occur. Here are some tips on how to increase your chances of seeing aurora borealis on your Iceland tour.
When to see northern lights in Iceland
The northern lights are visible in Iceland from September to mid-April. The phenomenon occurs throughout the year between sunset and sunrise, but only in these months the colored lights are perceptible to the naked eye, because the sky is dark, while in summer it remains clear. In some cases, the northern lights begin to appear as early as the end of August.
It is not possible to predict with certainty in advance when the phenomenon presents itself, however it is possible to consult the Boreal Aurora forecasting service, made available in real time by the Icelandic Met Office.
Where to see aurora borealis
The aurora is visible anywhere in the country, since Iceland is a sparsely populated land with unspoiled natural landscapes. The phenomenon is more easily likely to occur far from artificial lights, therefore outside of human settlements, but it is possible to see the aurora in Rejkjavik with a bit of luck.
The 5 best places to see the northern lights in Iceland
Westfjords, the region of the western fjords, being located to the north, has longer and darker nights than the rest of the country: conditions that favor the appearance of the northern lights. A privileged point is the town of Bogarnes, from which you can observe the phenomenon on the pier, even comfortably seated in the car.
Landmannalaugar region is a mountainous area between Hekla volcano and Vatnajökull in the south of Iceland, famous for its colorful and surreal landscapes. It is a region where the northern lights are easily visible, but reaching it is difficult. It is necessary to venture into demanding trekking routes or to move in 4x4 with a special insurance. But the sight will absolutely repay the effort of the trip.
Why not wait for the northern lights sitting on the beach at night? One of the best places to wait for the lights sitting on the sand is the town of Vik (and the whole southern coast). A step away from the waves of the sea and the lights that color the sky: an experience that is bound to take your breath away!
Jökulsárlón iceberg lagoon in the south-east coast is one of the most renowned sites for the sighting of the aurorae. It is commonly known as "the jewel of the Icelandic crown" because of its natural beauties. Here, in addition to the northern lights, you will admire the spectacle of the huge icebergs floating on the water, detached from the glaciers.
Seeing the northern lights in Rejkjavik and its surroundings is not impossible. A privileged vantage point is The Pearl (Perlan), a museum with a rotating transparent dome. A 15-minute drive from the capital is the village of Álftanes, where the presidential residence of Bessastadir is located, where one is likely to see the phenomenon appear.
A 30 minute walk from the city is also Seltjarnarnes, the smallest town in the country, which stands on a peninsula from which you can see the northern lights.
You have no more excuses, you just have to leave and try your luck!