When planning your trip to Iceland, consider the best time to see the Northern Lights. You can visit this beautiful country at any time of year, but the best chance of seeing the lights is in winter.
Summer is a popular time to visit due to the long days, but crowds are high in Reykjavik and the north. A great option is shoulder season in spring or falls when the weather is still good but fewer tourists.
Imagine seeing celestial lights dance across the sky in awe-inspiring green, red, and pink shades. This magical experience is what draws thousands of people to Iceland every year. The Northern Lights are a natural phenomenon that occurs when solar particles reach Earth and interact with our atmosphere. It’s a spectacular sight featured in movies and music videos, but seeing it in person is extraordinary. September is the best time to go to Iceland for northern lights because it’s between the summer and winter. This means the crowds are thinner and you’ll have a better chance of seeing the lights.
The days are also shorter at this time of the year. This makes it easier to find places that are dark and away from the light pollution of Reykjavik. A popular destination for Northern Lights viewing is the Snaefellsnes Peninsula, where there is zero light pollution and excellent wilderness accommodation. It’s a perfect place to escape the city and spend a night under the stars.
There is no best month to see Northern Lights in Iceland, and seeing them depends on solar activity, clear skies, and other factors beyond your control. However, if you travel during the dark months from September to mid-March (excluding December and January), you have a good chance of experiencing nature’s stunning display.
The first week of March is one of the cheapest times to travel to Iceland and marks the vernal equinox when sunlight returns. In the weeks before and after, there are usually twice as many geomagnetic storms as usual, which can bring the Northern Lights to life.
The weather is still warm enough to enjoy summer activities like hiking, snorkeling, and exploring waterfalls. And if you visit during a full moon, you may be lucky enough to see Skogafoss’ famous “moonbow,” a phenomenon produced when the waterfall’s spray is bathed in the light of a full moon.
The Northern Lights (also known as the Aurora Borealis) are dancing lights that appear in the sky. They are caused by electrically charged particles from the sun hitting Earth’s magnetic poles and being funneled down to the Arctic Circle. The lights are awe-inspiring and magical to watch, but you must be under the right conditions to see them. The most critical factors are night and cloud-free skies.
November is an excellent time to see the Northern Lights because it’s still not winter. There are also more hours of darkness, increasing your chances of seeing the lights. However, the weather can be unpredictable this time of year, so keeping an eye on the Northern Lights forecast is essential.
Another great time to see the Northern Lights is in September. It’s the end of peak season so you can expect fewer crowds and lower prices at attractions and restaurants. Plus, it’s the best month to go whale watching on Iceland’s Snaefellsnes peninsula, as these magnificent creatures are spotted in abundance around this time.
The winter months of December through January are when you will find Iceland’s most remote landscapes and the shortest daylight. This is also when you will see the most Northern Lights displays. For the best chance of seeing them, consult an aurora forecast to determine their likelihood of appearing on a night.
November marks the start of winter and, with it, snow and ice. But it is still a great time to go hiking, explore ice caves, and soak in a hot spring. Despite the drop in temperatures and daylight hours, you will have good chances to see the Northern Lights as the solar activity remains high.
You can also visit the main sites in Reykjavik in November, as they are less crowded than during the summer season. However, you will want to dress warmly for any activities you plan on doing. You can opt for a full-day tour of the Icelandic countryside with Gray Line or Reykjavik Excursions, as they will take you to locations away from artificial lighting where there is an increased likelihood of seeing the Northern Lights.
If the Northern Lights are at the top of your bucket list, you can improve your chances by staying in a remote area far from Reykjavik and avoiding populated areas. A great way to maximize your chances of seeing the lights is by requesting a wake-up call from your hotel if they see any activity in their area.
The dark winter months of January through February provide ideal conditions to see the Northern Lights, especially when the sky is clear, and there is no moon. Winter is also an excellent time to enjoy Iceland’s many thermal pools and snow-covered mountains with fewer visitors.
The Northern Lights occur when electrically charged particles from the sun smash into the Earth’s magnetic field. The resulting green, pink, and purple colors dance across the night sky.