Best time to see Northern Lights in Iceland?



  • 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! 
  • HI, Icelander / Evelina,

    Is that meant the best time to see the northern light is up to 15th April 2014? I had reschedule my travelling date from Jan to April.

    Can someone confirm with me the chances to see the northern light in April? Otherwise its going to waste my time to travel so far from SouthEast asia to Iceland.



  • Madbit, I'm afraid you may not be able to see them in April... although you might be lucky! The best time to see the Northern Lights is between mid-September and mid-March. But it is always a risk, even in the peak season, because they can never be guaranteed. Whenever you end up going make sure you plan other fun stuff for your holiday just in case the lights don't appear. Having said all that, this year the Aurora is supposed to be the strongest it has been in over a decade so maybe even in April you'll be able to see them... just know that you are taking a gamble going that late.
  • edited January 2014
    The best time is from October to April each year when the sky has clear and cold weather, because all the great location Iceland has for seeing the Northern lights only.

    Thank you..
  • Jaksonmith - cold weather has nothing to do with the northern lights. Often it is cold as between Sept and April it is cold close to the north pole e.g. in places like Iceland. April is end of aurora season and soon after the 1 april it starts to be too much daylight, so it is not necessarily there is less aurora activity, you just cant see it because of the daylight. So i would aim at coming either Oct-Nov or Feb-March. However the most important factor is the length of your stay. I would aim at staying at least for one week, preferably longer if possible at all.
  • Hi Icelander,

    I'll be getting married next year Aug 2015. I'm thinking it might be a good honeymoon trip to Iceland to see the Northern Lights. Would appreciate if you could advise the best time and place to go?

    Thanks alot!

  • just wondering end of Oct or early Nov can possible to see the northern lights??
  • Fellonbbq, as mentioned above, the lights are at their most visible between mid-September and mid-March, so you may well be lucky in late October/early November. It does depend hugely on where exactly you are going though? And always remember, no matter when you go, good sightings just can't be guaranteed.
  • edited June 2014
    The best time to see Northern Lights in Iceland is from September to October throughout  March to April. 
  • Hi how you guys doing?
    I'm planning to go to iceland in mid august for a all week with my girlfriend and we are planning to rent a car... can anyone recommend something i can not miss to do? (something  exiting) is it true that is better to rent a 4x4 car? will i have any little tiny chance to see the northern lights?
  • December - February are generally the best months. You need very cold weather and clear skies. But there is no guarantee. I've been to Iceland 6 times between late October-mid-February and have never seen the Northern lights. It's always been overcast
  • Hi! I am looking to visits Iceland for 1 to 2 weeks in sep or oct. Can someone please advise which week in Sep or oct is the best for viewing northern lights? I understand that there might be a solar peak in sep. Thanks in advance!!
  • Hi, I'm currently planning a trip to Reykjavik Iceland, staying for 5 nights, between December 2014 - March 2015, I know seeing the Northern Lights is not guaranteed, but which month would anyone advise, to maximise my chances, thanks to anyone who replies :)?
  • Aurorafan and Junelle - there is a new article on the northern lights Iceland website covering exactly when it is best to see the northern lights in Iceland. See it here:
  • It is impossible to predict auroras more than a week in advance. The northern lights become visible in Iceland from around the 20th August onwards. Once you are there you can keep an eye on aurora activity using an northern lights forecast site, like this one:
  • To those that want to see and experience the lights consider your location carefully. If it’s not your first time Aurora hunting you will know that the weather is not always your friend. I know plenty of people that have taken holiday's to places like Iceland only to have cloud cover for the whole holiday, during the winter Iceland can have 80-90% cloud cover for some months. You can take a trip to anywhere in the Aurora belt and be tottery scuppered by the weather. However there is a tiny village hidden inside Sweden‘s arctic circle, Abisko. It's one of the last settlements before you cross the border into Norway, Abisko is known to some as the gem of the arctic but also as the blue spot of Scandinavia. Because of the location and geography Abisko is one of the driest places to see the lights in Europe. Only a few miles away, near the Norwegian border, is one of the wettest. For a host of information about the Aurora Borealis and Abisko go to
  • I read through all the posts and I'm thinking the beginning of March 2015 for 10-14 days should be a good time to see the lights right? I was wondering how easy it would be to drive around the country, since I only plan to spend 2-4 nights in Reykjavik? The rest of the time possibly doing the road trip around the country-is that enough time?
  • Iceland is a mountainous island nation in the north Atlantic Ocean, located between Europe and North America Blue Lagoon,its features are volcanoes, hot springs which makes Iceland a unique destination that offers pristine nature, breathtaking landscapes and vibrant culture a must to see and enjoy..........
  • If you want to make the most of it and enjoy looking at the scenario in the sky, I would suggest that you go to the Borealis Hotel. Stayed there last week with my grandson and we absolutely loved it. We got to see plenty of Northern Lights! Can´t praise enough the accommodation I had there. The excellent down to earth food. The comfort and the silence of the hotel.
  • Hi all, I will be going to Iceland Jan 9th for 3 days, so could any one give me advice on camera settings for the northern lights and also photographing the icebergs at the ice lagoon? I would be very grateful if anyone could give advice please. I am using a nikon d800 dslr.
  • Here is an interesting article on the Northern Lights
    Visit for destination advice
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