Mother Nature is in possession of a great many sights and sounds, but there are some that she is less willing to share than others. The northern lights are among the most beautiful sights that you will ever behold, but you are very often forced to go well off the beaten path to see them, and even then, there is no guarantee that they will appear when you want them to. You can most certainly be assured of seeing the northern lights in Iceland, but there are some very specific times and places where you can improve your odds of ogling the aurora.
The Best Time to See Northern Lights in Iceland
One of the great things about the northern lights in Iceland is that they are on display for a large portion of the year. The fact that the island lies so close to the Arctic circle helps, as does the fact that here is very little in the way of light pollution in Iceland, even in Reykjavik, where 60% of the current population makes home. If you had to choose just one place to go to be almost guaranteed a glimpse of this most spectacular aerial light show, then Iceland would almost certainly be the best bet.
The best time to see the northern lights in Iceland depends on timing and a little bit of luck. The aurora borealis is active in Iceland between September and mid-April, which means that you have a very solid window of opportunity available to you. Going to Iceland during those months does not mean that you are assured of seeing them, though, as Mother Nature does like to throw a curveball in the form of inclement weather on the island. A day that looks perfectly clear can soon turn into a night with nothing overhead but cloud cover.
There is some help available to help you increase your chances of seeing the Iceland northern lights, and that comes in the form of a forecast on the Icelandic Met Office website. This can greatly increase your odds of seeing the aurora, but it can also save you a lot of time and frustration, as you won’t feel the need to go out to your chosen viewing spot if the forecast is for total cloud cover that will make it impossible to see anything in the night sky.
You have a couple of different options when hunting the northern lights in Iceland. The first of those is to rent a campervan and head out to one of the more remote camping sites where viewing is available. You can keep track of what’s going on in terms of weather and aurora activity on the website, and then just wait it out. The other alternative is to reserve a spot in an official aurora tour, as the people who operate them are experts at knowing the ideal spots and conditions that will bring out the light show.