Best Time to See Northern Lights in Iceland- 2021 Basic Trip Guide

best time to see northern lights in Iceland

Best Time to See Northern Lights in Iceland

A lot of us have a dream to witness the Northern lights, but we don’t know the best time to see or witness the amazing Northern Lights in Iceland. In this article, we will discuss everything that you need to know about the Northern lights in Iceland. This is one of the most admired and prestigious Icelandic tourist attractions in the world. A lot of people flock from across the globe to see and witness this great essence of nature. It is said to be remarkably beautiful. One has to see and witness it with their own eye to actually feel the actual greatness of the northern lights.

However, it is a bit difficult to actually be there at the right time. This is because you cannot see it throughout the year. There is only a certain time and window in which these amazing lights apparat in the dark sky. One has to do a lot of research and pre-planning so that they can be there at the right time. Hence, it is important to know when to plan your visit to Iceland.

Also, the extreme temperatures and unfavorable topographic conditions make it even more difficult to reach there at our own convenience. That is why we are here to share the top things that you need to know about the whole trip to Iceland and the experience of the Northern lights. We will talk about the best time to see Northern Lights in Iceland and many more important things and tips that you need to know about.

Overall Experience

One of the major things that you need to keep in mind before you go or plan a trip to Iceland or the Northern lights, to be specific, is that you have to go for an overall experience that the journey and the Icelandic beauty have to offer. You have to plan the entire trip for the natural brilliance at least a month prior to the best time. The weather and the month that you choose to go to plays a very important role here. There are numerous things that you will get to experience there, like Glacier sightings, glacier hiking, and even the adventurous snowmobile ride. Also, you and your people have to make sure that you camp your stay inside the aurora belt where these lights appear.

The Months

Usually, they appear in the months of August, and they are likely to be a part of the sky for the deep winters. No matter how well you and your partners plan and prepare for your trip to Iceland, you have to keep in mind when you visit that there is no surety or promise that you will get to see those lights for sure. So make sure to plan the timing and month of your trip very well. You can also use the various apps and websites that keep a track and forecast the aurora lights that may appear in the dark winters of Iceland. But keep in mind that these apps or forecasts can give and vouch for no guarantee whatsoever.

It Depends on the Darkness, Not the Cold 

best to time to see northern lights in Iceland

Another thing that you have to keep in mind is that there is a high probability that the lights will appear only in the dark, and that will have nothing to with the temperature that is there in Iceland. Moreover, one has to know that the lights can be active and inactive throughout the year. The only factor that makes it visible to our naked eye is the darkness that prevailed in those ice desserts. That is why in the window of March till July, you cannot see them if they become active or visible to our naked eye for a certain period of time. The pitch darkness and the combustion of the gasses light up the sky and not the cold waves of chilling weather. Hence, the best time to see the northern lights in Iceland is after August, and it can go up till the month of March.

Be Prepared for Anything

When we say that you have to be prepared for anything, we mean that there can be any sudden flip in the temperature at any point in time. No app or website can and will give you 100% accurate results. The weather can dangle into extremities at all times. So it is vital for you to pack and prepare for any weather that you may get to see or experience there. The dark and cold nights in Iceland can be a bit too much for a lot of people to handle. Another thing that you have to keep in mind is the resources. Unlike the cities and the urban areas, you don’t get much there (even the Internet). In fact, you have to pack up everything that you will need there. The isolated booths or cottages won’t have everything that you’ll need.

Go an Extra Mile 

Best time to See Northern Lights in Iceland

After you are aware of the best time to see Northern Lights in Iceland, there is a lot more left to do. You have to understand this basic trip advice that a lot of factors that you need to check. This will increase your popularity of getting to see those lighting skies to the maximum. You cannot plan a trip to a regular city in Iceland and expect to see those at any night. Even the surrounding lights and pollution plays a vital role. In order to avoid these points, you need to go beyond the cities. By this, we mean that you need to go to the outskirts of the city and spend the night there.

This is the best way to see those lights shine bright in between the blanket of stars. Watching this wonder of nature will make all the efforts worth it. That we why, recommend that you go with the assistance of a tours and travels company. They will help you to find the best spot at the best time. These companies will take you to places that are far from the city limits. This is because of the clean air quality and the darkness that covers the vast and open lands. Also, keep in mind that the weather and the climate can change to extremes.

In the alternative, you can take the do-it-yourself route and personalize your northern lights itinerary. If you hold a valid driver’s license, you can rent a campervan in Iceland. Contact a campervan rental company like Cozy Campers to check the availability of campers and more importantly to book one that is best equipped for the endeavor. This will ensure your comfort and safety while going the extra mile to find the world-famous attraction in Iceland.

Focus on the Right Side

This is something that many people take for granted. Even after knowing the best time to see the northern lights and being well prepared for everything, they miss a key point. The key point is the direction where you are most likely to see the light. As the name suggests, they are northern lights. That means that you have to face north while waiting for the lighting sky. This is a simple yet a very important trip advice for all those who are planning to travel to Iceland for this sole purpose. However, you can even take the help of some locals that may tell you even more about the sightings and some basic dos and don’ts.

A Colorful Affair

This is another fun element about the whole Northern Lights experience. As if the sky brighten lights weren’t enough, there is more to it. The different colors that show off in the sky are simply breathtaking. Mostly, you can see in the pictures and the videos that the sky is full of green colors. That is because the gasses that combust in the sky is green. However, that is not the case all the time. You can even spot some spurts of white or grey lights in the dark sky. The overall variations of the colors that it has to offer are simply beyond our imagination. As said earlier, it something that one just has to experience to feel it.

Sky, Stars, and More! 

best time to see northern lights in Iceland

As we know that the canvas for nature’s artistic display of light is the vast and deep sky. The sky can add various elements to your experience as well. For example, a shooting star or any other wonderful sight of the sky will enhance the overall aurora sighting even more. Even the moon can play a huge factor in this. However, many people believe that a full moon may cause a problem due to its brightness. This may make the whole lights disappear or dull in the sky. Though, none of this is true. The moon makes the event even more fun as you get to see the large moon in the clearest of skies in the dark night, along with the bright dance of the northern lights.

The Levels 


Another thing that one should know before you go on a journey to witness these mesmerizing lights is that where exactly do they take place. The lights and the whole combustion of gasses take place around 80kms above the earth’s surface. Also, the levels at which the lights and mix of gasses take place to throw off a different color at our eye.

Here to Stay

Don’t let anyone else fool you! A lot of scammers and tour planners often misguide the people to sell their trips. They do so by starting that might be one of the final times when you can witness these lights in the sky, so this is the best time to see them. But, this is all false. There is no end to those lights. They are amazing natural phenomena that will keep on happening as long as the earth is fine. But, some factors might hinder the experience in the long run. For example, the pollution or the expansion of the cities may make it harder for us to see.


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