Best time to see Northern Lights in Iceland?



  • Lucky you:) - I think both of the dates are perfect, it is more question about how long time you will stay there. Going only for some short weekend break is really quite too short, or at least you need to be really lucky to hit the exact moment the aurora will decide to show up. But of course you could be lucky as they will be experiencing the peak of the 11 years long solar cycle in Iceland next winter. Are you planing any tours?
  • I would go for the Oct 23 as it is in the middle of the season. There are normally two main seasons - early oct to middle of nov - and then early feb to middle of March. So 23 of Oct is a slightly better date. However this isnt that important as Hurtler is saying. Good luck with your trip and send us some photos if you will be able to see it:)
  • Hello, I'm going to be in Blue Lagoon end of this year. but I also want to try to see the Northern Lights (Aurora Borealis) too. Does anyone know where is the best place to view them in Iceland? I would also stay at best SPA hotel.

    Any help will be greaty appreciated! 
  • Here is a post on exactly this subject In general you can see the lights anywhere in Iceland, however there are couple of factors that are important to look at. First one is light pollution - in general if you are in a city with a lot of other lights then it is difficult to see the northern lights. Secondly you dont want much of clouds, otherwise it will be difficult to see them and thirdly you want a solar storm to be active when you are waiting for them to be seen - the official MET office northern lights forecast combine this into one forecast here: So follow this very carefully when you visit. Before you go should primarily consider three things - a) dont plan your trip only around the northern lights - plan it as a adventure trip to Iceland and only look at it as a nice bonus if you are lucky enough to see the lights dance for you - b) it is very important to think about the length of your stay in Iceland. If you only stay over the weekend you need to be very lucky to see the lights, so try to stay at least for a whole week. It dramatically increases your chances to see the lights - and c) the best periods varies but on average the period sept-oct-nov - and feb-march are the best periods, however as we are experiencing a peak period in the 11 years long solar cycle you can expect any month from middle of August to middle of April in 2013 to be a good one.  
  • i`m going to see the northern lights around december - will the dark season affect tourism or tourist attractions - we`re particularly interested in going to see raufarholshellir and gullfoss

  • Hi there I would like to share with you a new attraction in Iceland that has all to do with the Northern Lights.
    Aurora Reykjavik is a Northern Lights Center that showcases and explains all there is to know about the Northern Lights.
  • Hi there, I found a good deal going to Iceland on Feb 13 to 17. As seeing the northern lights is the main purpose of the trip, but I check the weather and looks like it's mostly cloudy in Feb. So how much chance I would see the lights in these 3 night? Thanks a bunch for replying!
  • edited January 2
    How can you see it is cloudy in Feb!!! That is impossible to see as of now:) However only staying for 3 nights might be a problem - I would stay at least for one week if you are planning to see the northern lights. Also dont plan the whole trip around seeing the aurora, you should plan it around seeing Iceland and only see it as a nice bonus if you see the lights dancing:) Also this Iceland northern lights tour the Huffington Post was writing about is great. 
  • As far as I know since my husband has worked for an airline for 18 years..... Airliners will first put fish and other types of cargo on way before a person...Don't have to feed anyone, and only the staff needed are usually on so I guess any flight you get on is a chance... that is your real obstacle:( I also know that it's Norway in the winter that has the best chances...but it is all chances. Another place to look? Watch out for this exotic place to visit....ALASKA! LOL Hey, it's God's land, the closer and longer you are in the right spot, the better your chances. We're attempting to go to Iceland in August before the planes stop flying there.(I say attempt since we are obviously standby) I want to go for the hot springs and to just say..."I went to Iceland for vacation this year" I love people's faces when I say where I went each year since we only do one big international trip a is good and the world can be very beautiful despite what the news tells you:)

  • Atticus17 - Im not sure I understand you and what you are suggesting. Are you saying it is better to go to Norway or Iceland! How do the airlines having much to do with the decision where to go - there are a lot of flights to Iceland or Norway - or Canada, all winter. Good luck with being on a standby to Iceland for seeing the northern lights I would guess:) Be sure to be ready when the call comes because you will have a lot of fun here. 
  • Has anyone seen the northern lights in Iceland so far? I just arrived and have been on 2 tours and not seen them yet. I have been to Thingvellir and to some place near Keflavik airport, but no success. I was wondering if it would be better to leave Reykjavik and head out to the country side so I do not need to go for all these tours. I mean the light pollution is in Reykjavik and not in places like Hotel Ranga, so why stay in Reykjavik!! I have seen it now and I have tried out the nightlife:) so maybe it is best to head to places somewhere outside. Thinking about Hotel Ranga, Myvatn, Drangsnes, Isafjordur, Hotel Gullfoss or some places with low or not light pollution. Im however a bit sceptical of renting a car as I just learnt about the problems some other travelers got into due to the bad storm. It is difficult to estimate when there will be bad weather here in Iceland.
  • I am a photographer from Malaysia. The only time l can take out to visit Iceland for 2 weeks will be the middle of March 2014. Here l would like to ask the forum members is whether March 2014 is still a good chance to witness Northern lights in Iceland.
    Really honest advise as travelling to iceland is very expensive for me but l am into photography very seriously!

  • It is the perfect time - probably one of the best time period for long time to come due to the 11 year solar cycle. And you also stay long enough time as 2 weeks should be enough long. Many people come for only a weekend and believe the northern lights just show up in Iceland right away when the land. That is not really the case:) So I would say you are just fine. You can follow the northern lights forecast here but as with most forecast it cant give accurate information, but it e.g. includes the cloud forecast so it gives some what accurate informatio. Good luck. 
  • i have got the opportunity to visit iceland on either the 21st or 28th nov or anytime im march next year (2014).. which would be the best time ,in peoples opinion, to have a chance to see the northern lights? :)
  • Scientists are talking about December will be great for viewing the northern lights in Iceland, so if you are stay for some time the 28th sounds quite good:) However march is also great as statistics have shown us that second top (the northern lights season has two tops - one in oct-nov and then feb-march) is a bit better than the former. So as I have said to so many others - the number of days you are staying in Iceland is of far higher importance! So stay at least for one week - hopefully more - and you have so much better chances of seeing the auroras. 
  • Hi I am a single Mum with an 8 year old traveling around the world.  We have a chance to get a cheap flight from USA to UK going via Iceland.  I was considering stopping to see the northern lights.  We would fly out beginning of March.  We really dont have the clothes etc for extreme winter so dont want to stay in Iceland longer than a week.
    Would the first or 2nd week of March work for the Northern lights.
    Where would be the best place to see them without traveling far.
  • Hi, I am on my first visit to Iceland and am currently staying in Grindavik. We watched the Aurura for about 30 min last night, light green. Some pink and blue. It was one of the most encredable thing I have seen. I came to this site doing some research on best times to see the lights while I am here visiting. FYI photographs do no justice for this phenomenon. It is a must see in person to fully comprehend the beauty of it
  • There is a broken link in one of the comments above for the infamous Iceland northern lights fan page on Facebook - with all the northern lights photos and more information on the off-season in Iceland. Here is the right link
  • edited October 2013

    Dear Icelander,

    I'm from Malaysia and thinking to plan my trip to see the northern light. Most likely will be by end of Dec towards the earlier Jan. Please advise where is the great place to see the northern light (high chance). Apart from the northen light, i was thinking to do some sight seeing (in winter?). Some people said Iceland is great but some said Finland?

    Would appreciate if you could give me some advise.

    If possible please send to my email:





  • Hi.
    Im wanting to suprise my boyfriend to a trip to see the northen lights as he has always wantex to see them. 

    What is the best time to go?

  • Hi Aimee,

    There's a ton of great suggestions in this thread, I suggest you read above for tops from our expert, icelander.
  • Northern Lights in iceland can be seen in winters.
  • Hi Madbit - I believe I can answer most of your questions. First of all I think we should try to keep the discussion here on this thread so others can see it also. The thread is already having a lot of interesting discussion and links in relation to seeing the northern lights in Iceland. I think your timing is just perfect - end of dec to beginning of jan - is high peak season for the northern lights viewing in Iceland. It is not only the peak of the 11 years solar cycle but also a great time in the year. It is the time when it is really dark for most of the 24 hours. Only some 4-6 hours daylights, so there is far longer period each day that you have chances for seeing the aurora borealis. Also staying in Iceland over the New Year is crazy, just check out this video However it is more complicated to say where to stay as it chances depending on the clouds. So probably it is best to have as much freedom as possible as it could be in the south Iceland or north Iceland next day. Still most of the time you will have problems seeing the lights in Reykjavik because of the light pollution. So that is why quite a lot of people stay in luxury country style hotels outside of Reykjavik. Still most travelers stay in Reykjavik, so they can enjoy the nightlife, restaurants and culture of Reykjavik, and then do short trips outside of Reykjavik on guide tours, by bus or super-jeeps. Or even boat! Dont even think about going to Finland to see the northern lights.
  • edited February 2014

    Best time to see Northern lights Iceland is winters and end
    of September smoking cohiba esplendidos ; though april .In this season you can enjoy or experience the astonishing
    landscapes  and awesome incredible winter
    holiday .

  • edited November 2013
    If you interested to see real beauty of Northern lights then the colder periods of September through to March is the best time to look this wonders. Of course for the long day lights hours, it’s not a good idea to travel here in summer time. It needs to be clear nights and dark sky to enjoy the scene. I guess there are lots of interesting FAQ and activities you can enjoy besides Northern lights. Check here for more FAQ related to Iceland, Reykjavik and hope you will enjoy your time in Iceland….
  • Iv just booked for 20-24th april, but see that all the tours end on 15th, is there much chance of seeing the northern lights this late in april?
  • It is a little chance this late in the year. Of course you could be lucky but the daylight is icreasing fast - around middle of june we have 24 hours daylight. So I would say plan your trip to Iceland as a adventure and only look it as a very nice bonus if you see the northern lights dance
  • The good news for those seeking the Northern Lights this winter, anywhere they usually occur, is that the experts have announced that the displays should be particularly brilliant this season (the best in more than a decade apparently). Medstu92, perhaps that'll also mean they are visible a little longer than usual. Good luck!
  • Hi
    I am from Australia and the coldest it gets here least where I am from is plus15 degrees Celsius so if I want to see the northern lights this year then I would have to get some warmer clothing. Can any one recommend where to get the gear I need. Over here the clothing only caters to minas 2 degrees. Also can anyone out there tell me the best place to stay in Iceland to see them. I don't mind if it is simple accommodation or not but given how far I have to travel I want to have the greatest chance of seeing the Northern Lights even if it is away from the hotels etc.
  • Hey Downunder,
    Tourists tend to land in Reykjavik in Iceland and the city is a great travel base, but for your best chances of seeing the Northern Lights you need to travel away from other light sources. About 30-minutes out of the city the Northern Lights will be far more impressive. There are a number of organised tours you could take to see the lights. Reykjanes (northwest Iceland) is a great place to watch the lights from natural geothermal pools! 
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