What is the Best Time to See Northern Light in Iceland?

Best time to see northern light in Iceland
Photo by Tony Armstrong Sly on Flickr

Who is not fascinated by the milky ways, the stars, and the galaxies? Since not everybody can travel to space to explore for themselves, many people hunt down the best spots to witness this natural phenomenon.

One of them is northern lights and there is always a best time to see northern lights in Iceland. It is a miraculous horizon that is surrounded by bright colors and glittering bouncing rays is a spectacle that you should experience once in your lifetime and treasure forever.

Every traveler’s bucket list definitely includes seeing the northern lights, also known as “Aurora Borealis”, which is definitely a captivating sight, to put it mildly.

And anyway, the Aurora Borealis is the most enigmatic natural phenomenon on the planet. Discover the best time and all the best sites in Iceland that allow you to experience the captivating “dawn of the north” and make your fantasies of doing so an actuality!

Almost every adventurer has an item top on their wish list which is to see the Aurora Borealis firsthand. The region around the Arctic Circle in the northern latitudes is where one can observe this unusual natural show.

Iceland Northern Lights
Photo by Giuseppe Milo on Flickr

Alaska, the Northern regions of America, Scandinavia, and Iceland are among the greatest locations to watch the Aurora Borealis. While they can be observed from October through April, your odds of spotting the Aurora Borealis will be better in the wintertime when the nights are the longest and in places far from the city lights.

There are many places to seek northern lights in Iceland, and surprisingly, the best time to see northern light in Iceland varies a lot.

The event is exclusively accessible to those who have the endurance and fortitude to wait, thus you cannot get a reservation for this magnificent spectacle. When ideal circumstances at the best time to see northern light in Iceland exist, you will be awarded an amazing light show in the night sky.

These breathtaking spectacles may continue all night, yet they might also endure just a couple of minutes. The grandeur of this unique sight, which features vivid violet, turquoise, and green shades flashing over the sky, is typically at its peak at night.

The aurora must be observed well in clear, night skies with minimal to no ambient light, hence, knowing when is the best time to see northern light in Iceland is important.

You have to be in the right place at the right moment for the amazing views of perhaps one of the most beautiful natural phenomena to be witnessed, the northern lights hunt is not easy as it seems, even with forecasts available.

So, what is the best time to see northern light in Iceland, let’s find out!

Aurora Hunt
Photo by Fernando Garcia on Flickr

What is the Northern Lights Season?

As you approach the “Northern Lights period,” this duration of year is typically thrilling for enthusiasts of aerial displays. It is regarded to be the most spectacular night event for a reason, including its fantastical hues and extraordinary elegance. Are you curious to know more about how you can explore the breathtaking views? Then read on to find out the best time to see northern light in Iceland.

Theoretically, since these electrified particles are constantly traveling closer to Earth, the Northern Lights season never ends, although the best time to see northern light in Iceland varies. You have now reached the period of the year when it is more possible that those of you who don’t live at the pinnacle of the planet will get an opportunity to witness them.

As pertaining the best time to see northern light in Iceland, the Arctic’s clear skies are sufficiently dark around the period from September to April for the Aurora Borealis to be spotted under certain circumstances. The winter solstice in September and March is when the light is most vivid.

Although the aurora is supposedly visible for a large portion of the calendar year, there are insufficient periods of blackout during the summertime, even beyond the Northern Hemisphere, to view it. If you have been waiting for the best time to see northern light in Iceland, you must start planning your trip now.

Quite frequently, in the months of the best time to see northern light in Iceland, the aurora emerges around 5 pm to 2 am.  The majority of the time, they barely flash briefly before gliding off and then coming back.

If you are fortunate, an amazing show might continue on for a few hours or even longer, but it usually only lasts for around fifteen minutes to half an hour.

The skies must be pitch black and cloud-free in order to observe the aurora. Many seekers think that aurora only appears during colder weather. This is not the truth; rather, temperature changes typically fall when there are no clouds in the sky.

In the periods of the best time to see northern light in Iceland, you just need a dark sky with no light pollution to witness the Northern Lights. Also, if you choose to explore more of Europe after watching the Northern Lights, have a look at 6 breathtaking winter holiday destinations in the UK.

Aurora Borealis
Photo by Janne Rakkolainem on Flickr

Determine the Best Time to See Northern Light in Iceland

Since you know by now that the Aurora Borealis is a nature spectacle, the best time to see northern light in Iceland, and it is infamously challenging to forecast their emergence more than a couple of hours ahead of time.

Solar radiation affects so many factors, and while you can figure out the amount of solar output that could form on the planet, you cannot correctly forecast how often or when consistently they will do so.

Due to Iceland’s high elevation, there is no stark dark nightfall between the middle of April and the middle of August. Aurora can not be seen during this period. Nevertheless, after 6 o’clock it becomes dark and one has the best possibilities between the last four and first four months of the year.

That does not imply, although, that you cannot or won’t witness the aurora at other periods throughout the year. It is just that it will be more favorably predicted and anticipated in the months of the best time to see northern light in Iceland.

Dark night skies are a need for observing the Aurora. This eliminates daytime hours right away, and in contrast to common belief, the Aurora Region is not completely dark for the whole span of wintertime.

Regardless of the reality that the sun never rises above the zenith, even the smallest day—December 21 brings a few hours of blue or grey daylight, making it impossible to see the Northern Lights with bare eyes.

The Lights may be spotted at any hour of the day of the best time to see northern light in Iceland is when there is stark darkness. But it tends to be best between the hours of 9 pm to 1 am, so you must focus most of your hunts then.

These episodes cannot be hundred percent predicted, as they always are dependent upon solar activity and the earth’s magnetic field. It requires patience for spotting the Northern Lights. If your quest renders ineffective, you can go back to your lodgings, but it is typically the brave souls who face the chilly night who will have a story to share when brunch time comes around.

Top Spots to See Northern Lights in Icelandic Winter

1. Jokulsarlon Glacier Lagoon

Jökulsárlón is unofficially known as the ultimate tourist destination along the Southern Shores, earning it the nickname “The Crown Jewel of Iceland” for its breathtaking, intuitive allure.

One of the rarest sites to see the Aurora in play is the stunning Jokulsarlon glacier estuary. The icy rocks on the black stretch of the beach, which is towards the southeastern region of “Vatnajökull National Park”, absorb and reflect the red and green radiance of the aurora borealis, creating a picturesque kaleidoscope image.

Perhaps one of Iceland’s finest breathtaking locations to watch the aurora dance is Jokulsarlon. Many glaciers and ice sheets that break off here are responsible for their splendor. By mass, it is the biggest sea ice in all of Europe.

The lowest reservoir in Iceland is called Jokulsarlon, and it has a range of about 248 m. This lake keeps getting bigger because of global warming. Jokulsarlon Glacier Lagoon is encircled by luxuriant greenery, sparkling snow, and enormous cliffs, which draw a large number of visitors.

The lakeside is well renowned for being a hub for savoring an unhindered viewing of the aurora due to the absence of industrialization in this area and the uncontaminated atmosphere.

The park is home to some of the world’s most spectacular scenery, including uphill mountaintops, icy ravines, and lush greenery.

Jökulsárlón has developed into one of those locations that Borealis seekers aspire for, a place of sufficient obscurity where it is difficult to discern whether the skies or the land is offering the more brilliant spectacle. Furthermore, there is no nearby urban growth. Jökulsárlón is regarded as unrivaled when it pertains to keeping an eye out for the light on just that basis.

If you are fortunate enough to see the Borealis here, you will certainly encounter them from infamous Diamond Beach, which is only a quick stroll from the lake. The countless numbers of sparkling glacial ice that wipe ashore against the dark sand of the shore and adorn the region like a tiara from nature are what gave this stretch of shoreline its name.

Ice caps in the lake leave through Diamond Beach before continuing to float through into the Atlantic. Tourists may actually watch this entirely natural procedure in action, which gives them a terrific understanding of the natural ecosystem that has evolved to characterize the region.

2. Thingvellir National Park

This park is located in “Bláskógabygg”, which is thirty miles towards the southwestern region of Reykjavk, and encompasses a sizable region along lake Thingvallavatn’s shoreline.

Despite the fact that it is not the most beautiful nature reserve in Iceland, it is unquestionably the most significant, and its arid landscape can offer some of the finest locations to see the aurora close to Reykjavík.

Thingvallavatn, Iceland’s biggest natural lakeside, as well as a stream and a cascade can be found here. Even scuba divers flock to the beautiful river’s northernmost tip. Thingvellir is a well-known place to view the spectacle in the wintertime.

Check the Northern Lights forecast online before leaving the capital city of Reykjavik for the most recent details on the weather and the finest viewing locations. In the wintertime, the roadways are typically swept, but as always, double-check the weather forecasts prior to your travel.

With such a substantial and significant historical landmark right outside its door, it is simple to ignore the area’s stunning scenery.

The lakeside itself might be regarded as among the finest on the planet for fishing because of a significant flow of freshwater from nearby streams and rivers a particular distinctive ecosystem, and the presence of a number of the biggest trout and salmon in the globe.

You will require your own rental car or take one of the numerous groups leaving Reykjavik due to the absence of public transportation to or within the area.

3. Laugardalur

Locals visit Laugardalur, an active leisure area outside of Reyjavik, to get some exercise while trekking several paths. Spacious pools, hot tubs, a gymnasium, and an amphitheater are all present. Massive outdoor areas beyond the Laugardalur are ideal for hiking, events, and celebrations.

A flower park and zoo are also located inside these outdoor areas. Altogether, Laugardalur is a fantastic destination and a fantastic location to observe the Borealis. You could relax at the campground and watch the Aurora there.

Due to the many services it provides, including bicycle trails, hot springs accessible into the evening, botanic flower beds, backcountry campsites, skating rinks, and a range of wildlife, Laugardalur Park is renowned as the folk’s park of Reykjavik which is always open. It is the perfect place to view Aurora while relaxing in one of its hot baths due to the absence of artificial light.

4. Seltjarnarnes Peninsula

The city region’s farthest edge is towards the northwestern region of Seltjarnarnes Island. There isn’t much pollution on that section of road. On evenings with cloudless skies and a fair prediction, your chances of sighting them are excellent. The Grotta watchtower offers one of Reykjavik’s top vantage points for viewing the Aurora Borealis.

On the coast, there is a small hot bath that allows you to relax your legs while you await for Aurora to appear. In Seltjarnarnes, far from the district’s center and pollution, is where you can see Aurora the clearest.

Another of the greatest locations, for instance, is the Grótta tower near Seltjarnarnes if you would like to keep nearby the city while still seeing the Aurora in Reykjavik. There isn’t any cloud cover here because the sea surrounds it.

While strolling the alleys of the Seltjarnarnes, bask in the Aurora as they dance over the skies of Iceland. You must not overlook this spectacular natural spectacle. The mysteries and fascinating details regarding the ethereal Borealis will be revealed by a charming tour expert.

5. Klambratún

Despite the fact that it may appear to be the best apparent place to look for the aurora in Reykjavik, this enormous facility’s border is lined with trees, which effectively block out incoming light from the adjoining residential buildings.

The sight of the well-known Hallgrmskirkja cathedral, which is fully visible from the area, is available to every member of your group. Choose a location in the vast grassy area and await aurora when everybody has had enough roaming around and playing.

Another of the greatest sites to watch the Borealis in Reykjavik is right in the middle of the town, which may sound odd. It seems you would anticipate that there would be a lot of ambient light given the number of nearby houses.

Klambratn Park is among the top picks for watching the light in Reykjavik because of its prime spot in the city’s central area. Due to its large amount of green land, ball fields, and frisbee country club, people adore this parkland.

Because of its size, if you happened to position yourself in the midst, you would be virtually entirely free from artificial light, increasing your chances of seeing the flowing colors that paint the sky. This is among the top locations in Iceland to watch the Borealis if the timing is good.

Things you Must Know About Aurora Borealis

Since you have become aware of the “where, when, and what” of the Aurora Borealis, all that is left to discuss is the “how.” You can search for the Northern lights in a variety of ways, regardless of how long you plan to spend in Iceland or if you just want a night excursion.

It is advisable to start your northern lights quest by considering how many hours you have to spend. Aurora Borealis’s self-driven vacation is ideal if you are arranging a little holiday break and can come on any day.

However, you may consider signing up for an escorted trip if you might prefer to go with extra individuals and profit from a knowledgeable tour guide. A calm, clear, and dark sky is necessary to witness the Aurora Borealis, so make sure to check the northern lights tour operators about the official northern lights season before visiting.

The Northern Lights tours predicts when projectiles from the solar system infiltrate Planet’s surface and rapidly clash with atomic nuclei, hence there must also be cosmic rays on the solar radiation or the sun. There are predictions for the degree of aurora activities, and you can simply utilize the Borealis Prediction application.

Make sure you understand which way is north before setting out by yourself to look for the Aurora. The Borealis can occur suddenly and is unanticipated. Additionally, it can be simple to detect when it is dark since it resembles a thin grayish or white mist.

Knowing which way to look will boost your odds. Speak to a local for help if you are lacking a sense of where to go. A native may advise you which way the Aurora most frequently emerges because they frequently show in that direction, just like the sun coming up.

Relying on how powerful the show is, a comparatively benign light activity could only be visible to your eyesight as a faintly glowing or white mist. If the weather intensifies, stunning blues and greens may be visible to the naked eye once your eyes have adapted to the night.

The rays will materialize if you carry a camcorder, put it on extended exposure, and hold it motionless. Just keep in mind that while smartphones are considerably more accurate than human eyesight at detecting hues at night, images of the light you see on digital networking sites may not correspond to what you could witness in the exact location.

Northern Lights Iceland
Photo by Shan Zhi Ing on Flickr

Should you Hire a Tour Operator?

A few essential elements are necessary for the Aurora to appear, such as you must know by now are the mostly cloudless and darker sky. Additionally, the clearer, the less artificial emission in the skies. This causes a lot of people to claim that if the moonlight is glowing strongly, you won’t be able to view the lights.

Although it is undeniable that a moon might somewhat dull the Borealis, it by no means completely eliminates your possibility of witnessing them.

Many solo tourists mistrust guided excursions, believing that traveling alone invariably results in more enriching experiences. This could be the situation in many instances, but don’t believe it holds true in the instance of the Aurora Borealis.

You definitely should be with an individual who is somewhat experienced in “catching” the Borealis in for you to be able to view and fully appreciate this beautiful spectacle. Someone that can decipher the weather predictions, interpret the KP indicator, and know when to hunker down and how to relocate to a new place in the expectation of seeing the Lights.

Additionally, most guides have acquaintances who are also experts, and numerous of them converse while out searching for auroras. In other words, there is a decent possibility your operator will learn about a nice observation somewhere and take you there.

For more tips and tricks in addition to knowing the best time to see Northern Light in Iceland, have a look at how to see the Northern Lights.

Northern Light Iceland
Photo by Image Editor on Flickr

The Bottom Line

As infamously erratic as the Aurora Borealis themselves, the climate in the North is. Sunny weather, solar storm, thunderstorms, rainfall, snow, hailstorm, blizzard, and strong winds can all occur on a single day. Even if you awaken to the bright sky, it does not guarantee they will remain that way until it is dark enough to see the Aurora Borealis.

Because the circumstances must be ideal for this wonderful display to occur, seeing the Aurora is an encounter that several adventurers wait years or perhaps their whole lives to have.

However, the excellent news is this: The circumstances that are ideal for viewing this spectacle are predictable to a great extent to rule out the best time to see northern light in Iceland. The greatest time to see this intriguing spectacle is typically from December to March because of the prolonged blackness in the night skies of the Arctic.

But keep in mind that even if you miss the Aurora Borealis on your first attempt, you can still experience Iceland’s wealth of stunning features. Now that you know the best time to see northern light in Iceland, start packing!


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